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Life after a returnship. Q&A with Credit Suisse Real Returns 2014 participants

What happens to participants after a returnship programme? How do their careers develop and are they happy in the longer term to be back in the corporate world? We spoke to Adriana Ennab and Sinead O’Regan who were part of the first Credit Suisse Real Returns cohort (April to July 2014) to learn about their experiences since the programme. They also have some great advice for future participants. [If this inspires you to apply for the 2016 Real Returns programme, get on to it quickly as the deadline is this Sunday 17 January. See here for details]

Adriana, what is your current
role and remit?
I am a Director in the Public Affairs and Policy Department in London. The team
advises senior management and select clients on policy and regulation affecting
Credit Suisse’s strategy, its clients, Private Banking and Wealth Management
and the Capital Markets. We maintain an active dialogue and advocacy effort
with policymakers, trade associations, regulators, and international standard
setting bodies. The team covers a broad range of topics including Prudential,
Securities, Tax and Political Risk. Given my former background in Securities in
my previous life, my initial remit was covering Shadow banking, Collateral and Margin requirements on OTC Derivatives.

What are
your reflections on what you gained from the programme?
have gained my independence again. I remember who I was before I took time off
to raise a family. I am confident and feel fulfilled in a different way than
the fulfilment I got from raising a family. I feel like I am in control of my
life. I learn something new every day and I also teach something new. I am able
to help others through mentoring. I also feel like I am able to be a great role
model for my kids managing to work and raise a family.
How has your career
developed since the programme?
I began my new role at the end of the programme, I started with a blank page. I
knew about the markets back in my day but had no idea about the world of
Policy. I have been learning daily and building my knowledge. As mentioned
earlier, my original remit was securities focused as that was where my previous
experience was. I now cover areas such as Digital and am working on the
bank’s Brexit committee as well other exciting projects.
What advice would you
give to future returnship participants?
would advise you to not box yourself in. Do not only think of the job you did
previously but what your skill set is, what are your strengths and how can you
transfer those. The team working on recruiting for the Real Returns programme
did more than any head-hunter I had spoken to in the past. They did not try to
place me in the same role I had before but looked at how I could transfer the
skills that had made me successful previously into a new role. I would also
recommend reading the papers daily and keeping up to speed with trends in the
market and current affairs. If you have time, take classes that could help you
get up to speed faster when you start. Excel, PowerPoint, coding-anything that
you feel you are a bit behind the curve on. Not only will that help you once
you get a job you will also feel like you can hit the ground running.
would also suggest asking questions once you land at Credit Suisse. There is a
very open door policy from management. If you do not know, ask. Learn as much
as you can about your area, your division, and the bank. Meet as many people as
you can. Find a sponsor. Attend all the workshops that you can, use all the
fantastic resources at your disposal at the bank. Join the networks available.
You have much at your disposal at Credit Suisse but it’s up to you to take
advantage of it!
Sinead, what
is your current role and remit?
am currently working in the Compliance and Regulatory Affairs group. I am
responsible for contributing to various team initiatives, such as the Risk and
Control Self Assessments process, which leverages my previous professional skills
What are your reflections on what you gained from the programme?
Most importantly, the Program gave me an
entry point back into the corporate work environment. It was always my
intention to return to my professional career as soon as all my children were
in full time education, but after a four-year absence and four children, I knew
this wasn’t going to be easy. The Program was the perfect opportunity to test
drive a return to work and I valued the excellent support, mentoring and
training immensely, both from within my team and the Program. It gave me a
chance to re-fresh knowledge and re-use technology, all in a safe environment.
Over the course of the Program, I felt that I was brought back to the level of
professionalism and understanding that was standard for me in my prior
position. It was also a chance for me to try something new by working in a new
industry which would not have been possible outside of the Program. My
background is in Accounting and Tax and I qualified as an Irish Chartered
Accountant and member of the Irish Institute of Taxation. Prior to my absence,
the bulk of my career was spent with Andersen and subsequently Deloitte within
their respective taxation practices in Dublin, Luxembourg and laterally London
and my most recent role was with Deloitte London’s real estate taxation group
specialising in tax structuring of international real estate funds. Although it
is a complete change of industry, I have found that I have been able to
leverage my previous professional experience and knowledge. At the end of the
Program, I had built up valuable relationships both within and outside the team
especially the network of my fellow 16 ‘Real Returners’ as we supported each
other throughout the Program.
has your career developed since the programme?
program was a great start and I have remained in the same team, now as a permanent
employee, becoming more integrated, building relationships both within and
outside the team and taking on more responsibility as my confidence and
knowledge has grown.  I have also been able to combine the role very well
with family life through a great part-time arrangement. The biggest hurdle for
me in making a return to work manageable was the school holidays, especially
the long school summer holidays. So I agreed an arrangement giving me a 4 day
week and extra holidays. This works very well and gives me one day a week on a
Friday to organise the house and extra time to spend with the children during
the holidays. I am looking forward to my future within the team as we grow and
continue to tackle new and interesting work.  I am delighted with the
direction my work has taken and could never have imagined that I could combine
a great job and family life so well.
advice would you give to future returnship participants?
full use of the program’s amazing training, networking and mentoring
opportunities, as the Program passes by very quickly. Use the Real Return
cohort and alumni as it is a great resource and ready-made network, this is
invaluable in the initial settling-in period as there will be good days and bad
days! And going forward, they are a great point of contact in the different
sectors throughout the bank
other comments?
can’t recommend the Program enough, it has given me a chance to come back to a
corporate working world that I thought was behind me.
Posted by Julianne