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Giulia Calcabrini

Giulia Calcabrini profile picture

What degree course did you study and when did you graduate?

BSc International Management (2016)

Why did you choose that particular degree course? E.g. did you have a specific career path in mind?

Back in my school days, I remember being very unsure about my future career path. The idea of choosing a specific course for university, let alone deciding on a career after graduation, was quite daunting! So my main goal at that time was to keep my future options open and find a degree that would give me the space to explore things. It felt like a natural choice to opt for a business/management course, which offered a balanced mix of subjects, both quantitative and qualitative. What really stood out to me about the International Management course was its flexibility. Starting from the second year, I had the freedom to choose most of my modules, which I thought was a great way to shape the course around my evolving interests.

About your employer - please summarise the organisation you work for and its customer base.

I work for Moody's, a global risk assessment company. I’m part of Moody’s rating agency, most people know us as one of the big three credit rating agencies and our work revolves around looking at the credit risk of a wide range of debt instruments and entities. This includes everything from government and corporate securities all the way to structured finance. Essentially, our ratings provide investors with insights into the creditworthiness of borrowers - in other words, how likely they are to repay their debts. Our customer base includes a diverse mix of investors, financial institutions, corporations, and even governments and regulatory agencies across the globe.

What was the position you were recruited for. Please briefly outline the position you were recruited to within your organisation and summarise the business needs and role you fulfil.

I joined Moody’s back in 2017 as a Ratings Associate (or, as it was known then, an Associate Analyst). In this position, you’re essentially the right-hand person to senior analysts, assisting them with everything related to credit analysis, ratings and research. A big part of the job is keeping a close eye on the credit quality of a portfolio of issuers. This means staying on top of market developments, diving deep into financial reports and having direct interactions with issuers. It’s all about understanding the financial health of these entities. But it’s not just about monitoring - as a Ratings Associate, you also get to play a part in shaping the research strategy, which can mean brainstorming ideas and drafting reports, and in attending investor briefings and issuer meetings. It's a role that keeps you on your toes!

What attracted you to this position?

What really drew me to this role was the variety of tasks it encompassed. This job had me working on financial models, where I'd project and evaluate key financial metrics for the future. It also involved writing research on specific issuers or on wider sector trends. But that’s not all – I had the chance to present findings to senior members within Moody’s and to issuers. Depending on the team you’re a part of, you might also get to work in several different sectors, which is particularly thrilling as there is always something new to learn. It's a position that is both challenging and rewarding, packed with opportunities for personal and professional growth!

What are the key skills you learnt at Warwick that have helped you with your career to date?

Warwick provided me with essential accounting and finance skills, but most importantly, it increased my ability to think critically, a crucial skill for this role. As a credit analyst, you’re constantly sifting through a sea of information, discerning what is relevant, spotting patterns and making well-informed judgments about an entity's financial health. It’s also about being able to anticipate changes in market conditions, regulatory environments and industry trends that can impact credit risk. That’s where critical thinking is key, as it allows you to challenge assumptions, question the status quo and consider alternative scenarios. Critical thinking is also instrumental when engaging with issuers; it empowers you to ask incisive questions, challenge claims when needed and provide valuable insights in research and rating discussions.

What has been your greatest career challenge to date and how did your experience and skills help overcome it?

I’d say the biggest, yet most rewarding, challenge in my career was transitioning between teams. I’ve switched teams three times over the past six years. Each jump was a leap out of my comfort zone and a test of my adaptability – you have to re-establish yourself within a new team and grasp new sectors and issuers in a relatively short time. Plus, leaving a team I genuinely enjoyed wasn’t an easy choice! But these transitions have been some of the most enriching experiences of my career. They’ve broadened by technical knowledge, propelled my career growth and introduced me to a diverse array of people. When it comes to navigating such a steep learning curve, a proactive attitude and eagerness to learn are crucial, as well as not being afraid to ask questions or seek advice. Finding what sparks your interest in every new venture will make the transition smoother and more rewarding.

What top tips would you give to students looking for a career in your market sector?

My number one advice is: don’t overlook the importance of a company’s culture when deciding where to work. In the financial services sector, you’ll find a myriad of companies offering similar roles. The challenge is to find the one that’s right for you, and the company culture plays a pivotal role in that. Treat job interviews as a two-way street – you’re not just being interviewed, you’re also interviewing the company! And don’t hesitate to connect with alumni who might be working at the company you’re eyeing. They can provide first-hand insights into what it’s really like to work there.

What do you know now that you wish you had known when you were applying for jobs?

It’s totally okay if you don’t have a clear picture of “where you want to be in five years”. I’ve been working for seven years now, and I’m still not entirely sure where I’ll be in five years! It’s more beneficial to keep an open mind and understand that career paths aren’t always a straight line. This way, you’re ready to seize various opportunities as they come your way. New jobs are created every year – your future job might not even exist yet! So, maintaining an open mind is key. My philosophy is simple: if you love what you’re doing and continue to learn every day, then you’re on the right track.

Any additional advice or comments?

Any extra experience you gain during your university years is valuable. Be it an internship, a year studying abroad, a part-time job, participating in societies or sports team, or even volunteering. And don’t forget that not-so-great experiences are just as useful. After all, figuring out what you don’t like is as crucial as discovering what you do like. Every experience has a lesson to offer!