My route from Intern to Vice President in GTS at Bank of America Merrill Lynch

We examine the career progression of a graduate within Global Transaction Services at one of the world’s leading investment banks.
Investment banking
Doing the job

Amy Kang completed a summer internship with GTS at Bank of America Merrill Lynch in 2010.

She joined the company’s graduate programme the following summer and has since undertaken a number of roles, most recently that of a global liquidity product specialist.

Bank of America Merrill Lynch are currently recruiting for off-cycle internships.

Her achievements have since be recognised by Forbes who included Amy in their inaugural ‘30 under 30 Europe’: Finance list. We spoke with her about her career so far.

Becoming an intern 

“I grew up in a banking family so it was always clear in my mind that this was the industry I would like to go into. 

“I realised early on that I really wanted a role with an international focus. Having been born in South Korea, I grew up paying attention to global financial developments, including the decisions taken by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and their impact on countries like Korea.

“I started talking to a group of employees from GTS at a campus recruitment event. It sounded like a really good fit so I decided to apply for an internship with the department.

“The internship lasted nine weeks, which was more than enough time to realise that GTS was exactly where I wanted to be. I really enjoyed the work and was offered a place on the graduate scheme at the end of the programme.”

From student to analyst

“It all happened very fast. The day after I graduated I was off to New York for three weeks of initial training.

“I found it quite easy settling back into the team I had interned with. I was already familiar with how they worked and had started to gain an understanding of how the different parts of the area fitted together.

“The jump from studying to a full-time working environment is quite a big one. At university you get used to working hard in short stretches and then having long holidays where you can re-energise. 

“The real world isn’t like that; there’s much less downtime, especially in the financial sector where the demands can be more intense.

“Coming through the intern programme was extremely useful in this respect as I’d already had a chance to adjust to the fast pace of work.” 

Learning the role

“The graduate programme in GTS consists of two, 10-month rotations across different areas. 

“This means that, as an analyst, you have the opportunity to sample life in different areas of the division and to determine the kind of work you’re best suited to. 

“My initial placement was with the Strategic Solution Delivery team, or SSD. The division sits between sales and product management, so you are working closely with clients to understand the kind of financial products and solutions they need. 

“I was in the thick of the action, regularly attending client meetings as well as helping the senior members of the team to draw up proposal documents to send to clients. 

“At all times I was encouraged to have a say, to raise points during meetings and generally play a key part in our interactions with clients.

“Being fresh out of university, I was really pleased with how much responsibility I was given and I felt that my contribution was valued by the rest of the team. 

“You sometimes hear stories about analysts in other industries being left with the menial tasks nobody wants to do, but in my case this couldn’t have been further from the truth.” 

Becoming an associate

“At the end of the graduate scheme I was rewarded with a permanent position as a liquidity product manager in the EMEA Product Management team. This coincided with my promotion from analyst to associate.

“It meant a big step up in terms of the level of responsibility I was given. It was a steep learning curve but looking back now, I’m really proud of how well I coped with the transition. 

“The key was to just get stuck in and spend time on the detail of the role, like getting to understand the various financial products we develop for our clients and how they use them. 

“One of the things you soon come to appreciate is how much you learn when things go wrong. In any job there are times when things don’t go exactly to plan; it’s about how you react in these situations and manage your client’s expectations.” 

A new challenge

After two and a half great years as a product manager, I’ve recently switched to a new role within GTS.

“I’m now a liquidity solutions specialist. In simple terms this means I’m responsible for creating solutions to help get money to the right area of the client’s operations when they need it. 

“A client may be looking to grow their business in a particular region, or to pay back local debts. We ensure the financing is in place for them to do this.

“It’s a slightly more client-focused role than my last position – I’m talking to companies about their financial needs and discussing the kind of services that could be useful to them. 

“I then work with the product teams to design the right solution for that particular client. It means I have a direct impact on the way the relationship develops.

“I’ve also taken on a number of other responsibilities outside of my day-to-day role. I’m part of the ‘LEAD’ committee within the bank, which is an employee network that focuses on promoting professional development through a variety of means including information, education, advocacy and networking.

“I run the committee’s communications team and am responsible for putting together a monthly newsletter that is distributed to 2,000 people across the EMEA region.”

Next steps

“I have just been promoted to Vice President. Moving up another level should be an opportunity for me to stretch myself and play a more central role in managing client relationships while also expanding my network within the bank.

“I also want to gain more international exposure and I’m exploring the possibility of moving to a US-based role within the company during the next couple of years. 

“I’ve always been keen to work overseas and take on all of the experiences and challenges it brings. It’s just a question of the right opportunity coming up at the right time.”