Like me, a number of our mentors have benefited from rotation programmes during their careers i.e. changing roles every few years. And, the main purpose behind these changes is broader development as a professional, including building new skills from fresh experiences. In my own career, I’ve moved roles both within companies and outside, including shifting countries and responsibilities for different experiences, especially as learning something new greatly appeals to me – I find it a fantastic way to ride the learning curve.
Read more on my career experiences (as an example of rotation) in this next article, which concludes with suggestions on how to create your own growth opportunities by rotating during your career. It follows on from the first rotation-themed article which concentrated on the corporate and managerial perspectives.
Rumbi Munyaradzi enjoyed an investment banking career operating across Sub-Saharan Africa, and is well-travelled, believing that a global perspective alongside local innovation can create unique solutions. Her career vision is to help build a brighter and more inclusive future for Africa. Rumbi is currently on sabbatical, during which she has completed a Masters in Digital Transformation and Innovation, and has been writing about her experiences on her personal blog. She’s also passionate about youth mentorship, and has written an e-book for teenage girls. These are her reflections on aspects of the investment banking industry and nature of work she particularly enjoyed, and her tips for success:
“In my 12-year investment banking career, I benefited from a wealth of experiences that have shaped my worldview. For most of that time, I focused on covering Sub-Saharan Africa Debt Capital Markets for J.P. Morgan in Johannesburg, South Africa. My role included originating, executing and conducting liability management on hard currency bonds for sovereigns, corporates and banks across the region. As I was promoted along sequential ranks from Analyst to Executive Director within the same team, there was a lot to learn about the evolution of my role and how to be an effective team player. In sharing my personal journey in the investment banking world, I’ll touch on what I enjoyed and what I learnt about succeeding in this environment. For fellow banking professionals, or others considering this career path, I hope it yields some helpful insights.
What I enjoyed most
Investment banking is a curious combination of complex financial systems, structured processes, microscopic details alongside macroscopic strategising all while using creativity and technology to generate competitive advantages. With so many functions and teams in this type of environment, I chose to work in African Debt Capital Markets to combine my passion for finance with a desire to work on impactful transactions across the continent.
This exposure helped me to identify and flex certain personal strengths that are well-suited to the banking environment. Once I had mastered the technical skills, I shifted focus to gain what I now refer to as power skills rather than soft skills (more on that in this Forbes article). This was the hardest part for me, but also the most rewarding. Four main areas stood out for me:
One of our mentors (Trevor) likened Protagion to a rotation programme for professionals within and across companies, which got me thinking… He called us a “bigger thinking equivalent to a rotation programme… to plot a [career] path… and see the bigger picture [for your career]”. Definitely an insightful comment which prompted me to reflect further, and I’ve set out my thoughts in two related articles on rotation. This is the first.
Read more for my thoughts on corporate perspectives on employee rotation, the concept of ‘tours of duty’ to align interests, and your developmental responsibilities as a manager. The second rotation-themed article then shares an overview of my own career experiences as an example of internal and external role rotations, and offers suggestions on how you might create your own growth opportunities by rotating during your career.