Black Immigrant Daily News
Chief Executive Officer of CIBC FirstCaribbean Mark St Hill believes that students should focus on getting a strong educational foundation and while they may favour a specific career, they should not ‘lockdown” themselves.
“Pick an area, enjoy it but try to get as much education as possible before you start work,” St. Hill told four students, Omari Cheltenham of St Leonard’s Boys; Caleb Collymore, Coleridge and Parry; Dario Cox, of Combermere; and Micah Pitt of Queen’s College who were chosen to participate in the bank’s International Men’s Day outreach activity to secondary schools. This year, the activity was done a little later than the traditional November, 19.
At the start of the day, all four who have an interest in finance or business said they were grateful to be selected by their schools and would seek to gain as much as possible from the opportunity.
Omari Cheltenham said he expected to get an insight into the working of the bank which would be helpful as he plots his future career path, while Caleb Collymore said he was looking forward to the event and learning as much as possible.
During their official welcome, they got their first taste about CIBC FirstCaribbean when St Hill explained that CIBC FirstCaribbean was best described as a finance company, driven by technology and he suggested that in addition to pursuing subjects traditionally associated with banking, those entering the field need to keep an eye on technology and data.
He said that information security was critical to the bank and those working to maintain the security system in such institutions were currently few and in demand.
Hill’s advice not to lock themselves down was reinforced by Managing Director of Barbados Operating Company, Donna Wellington during her session, when she cited herself as an example, having started outside the banking sector but eventually taking opportunities that led to her current position. She added that she had to work while studying, which was challenging though not impossible, therefore, she too suggested that students do as much academic work as they could, before entering the world of work.
It was from Chief Administration Officer Neil Brennan, who is in charge of the bank’s human resources, that the students got knowledge of the several career streams in the bank. He said that several areas which they might not associate with banking but were part of the company include law, marketing, technology and looking after real estate. He added that like many organisations today, the bank was interested in the environment and reducing its carbon footprint, therefore this was another area with career possibilities.
During the day, the students visited and were engaged by officials at the bank’s branch at the Dome Mall in Warren’s; as well as various departments including risk management, marketing and technology.
At the end, they said they had learnt a lot. Micah Pitt described the exercise as valuable, noting that he got an insight into how the bank operated and was grateful to have gathered information about the various positions available. But he said the point which stood out and remains with him is that one must not think that a career path must be or will be straight. This, he said was obvious to him after meeting top officials who started with one thing in mind but embraced growth and opportunities and were now in positions, they might not have initially thought about, but in which they were satisfied.
Fellow participant, Dario Cox said the event broadened his view on the commercial bank which he previously viewed almost entirely from a retail perspective. At the start, he was not settled on a career path though he cited Business and Finance, Accounting, Sports Coaching, and International Cricket as his forerunners. But he said during the exercise, he had seen some more interesting areas including technology and customer complaints.