We interviewed International Master in Finance graduate César Fernández to find out what he has been up to since graduation. César holds a BSc in Business Administration and Business Economics from the University of Louisville (U.S.). Before coming to EADA, he gained experience in Nestlé, as a Treasury Advisor and Analyst, in his home country of Panama. César currently works at Citi as Assistant Vice President – Risk Treasury.
Tell us a bit about your current responsibilities in Citibank.
My role consists of managing investments and the liquidity of the bank; we also deal with balance sheet gapping, paying short-term liabilities and making long-term investments. The investments are mainly fixed income sovereign bonds. We also must comply with the same standards for minimum liquidity as all other banks – these standards are set by banking regulating bodies and the corporation.
What has your career been like since graduation?
I joined Citibank in July 2018 as a trader of fixed income instruments. I had to obtain the licenses required by the local regulating bodies to be able to work in the stock exchange. After a year and a half, I was promoted to my current position of Assistant Vice President within the same business unit. I have the highest responsibility in terms of financial results and the most seniority in the committees in which I participate.
How did your previous position in the Treasury Department of Nestlé differ from your current position as Assistant Vice President – Risk Treasurer at Citibank?
The biggest difference between my role in Nestlé and my current position is that working in the treasury department of a company outside of the finance sector consists of looking for efficiency, savings and improving processes. On the other hand, financial institutions are much more revenue-driven and focused on how decisions generate revenue for the company.
What is the most interesting aspect of your job?
For me, the most interesting part of my job is having the opportunity to make decisions based on global economics. As a manager of fixed income portfolios, keeping an eye on the shifting interest rates around the world is key to obtaining good results for investors. A tweet from President Trump or a global health crisis, such as the coronavirus, can affect the global financial markets, hence making investment decisions related to developments like these is the most demanding part of the job.
What do you think are the most important qualities for a person in your position?
It is important to maintain a broad and healthy curiosity and to painstakingly resolve any doubt you may have. There are many different factors that can influence your learning process, but it is critical to be learning and growing all the time.
How did EADA prepare you for your career?
The balance in EADA’s programmes between soft skills and hard skills is very important – it helped me develop an appreciation for both types of skills. It is valuable to have the technical knowledge of an area, but the most important thing is to be able to communicate –in a professional manner– what you know to people who are less knowledge in the area. This is especially true when those less knowledge people are senior management.
The high quality that EADA demands of student presentations gave me a real advantage in the corporate world, an advantage that I use on a daily basis.
What advice would you give to graduates looking to work in risk management?
I would tell them that the most important quality to have is the ability to adapt to change. The sector is changing quickly, and innovation is a definite priority. Financial knowledge is not the only requirement for professionals entering the sector – companies also value experience in Artificial Intelligence, algorithms, machine learning, Python, etc. Tools like these are becoming a part of the daily work of leading financial institutions.