Before joining Capgemini’s Financial Services Academy (FSA) four months ago, I often found myself overwhelmed with information on it and unsure of what exactly I should expect. After all, what exactly does a collaborative environment mean? And how will I manage this steep learning curve that is mentioned everywhere? Honestly, I really struggled explaining to my close family exactly what I would be doing as a member of the FSA. Fortunately, working in a big team on a regulatory project for a big financial services institution, everything about the Academy has become much easier to quantify and understand.

Below, I will attempt to explain some of the basic DNA qualities of the FSA through the use of five simple analogies.

FSA is TEDex

Have you ever seen one of those TEDex YouTube videos where intellectual people from all around the world express their ideas and views on a topic of common interest? This, as well as the fact that it is a place where creative minds pioneer ideas worth sharing and apply them to daily tasks for the project teams, pretty much describes Capgemini’s FSA.

Indeed, it was only few weeks in my first FSA project when a colleague of mine suggested the use of Robotics and APIs in developing a solution for a client’s struggle. Following a team brainstorming session, we went on to communicate our idea through a presentation to the head of our project, and we are now discussing the next steps of implementing this and its feasibility as a solution.

Tottenham Hotspur

Football fan or not, you must have heard that Tottenham Hotspurs have evolved into one of the greatest and most stable super-powers of English Football. How have they achieved that though and in what way do they resemble Capgemini’s FSA? The answers is through collaborative players and inspiring management.

Team spirit is prevalent at every stage of daily life in the FSA, and the willingness to help others without any credit is absolutely thrilling. The sense of a community comes naturally, boosted through weekly forums, activities or post-work events. As a result, the vision of the Academy comes first to every other single individual’s goals.

Additionally, and this is also true for Tottenham’s coach Mauricio Pochettino, the FSA leadership team manages to inspire people to be productive, agile, creative and innovative, with hierarchy silos being minimal and strong ties more than apparent.

Well-Equipped Gyms

Visiting the gym constitutes one of my favourite activities in London (FYI, Capgemini offers a 50% discount for one of the best gyms in the city – Pure Gym). And what really excites me about Pure Gym is the breadth of the facilities. Similarly, one of the most admirable FSA traits is its incredible range of personal development opportunities offered.

Finance-specific training opportunities, such as e-learning financial modules or even banking certifications are numerous and frequent. Other general consulting development sessions are available to be picked up as well.

Frodo Baggins

The protagonist of the Lord of the Rings films (for I haven’t read the books) is given the “One Ring” from his uncle Bilbo and is directly assigned the almost impossible quest to destroy it. Immediately, he encounters evil and so he learns how to protect himself, to survive within a fellowship and how to unleash his true potential.

In the same way, day one responsibilities (one of the biggest clichés in consulting) happens to be one of the biggest truths for the FSA at Capgemini.

Personally, it was just only a few days into my first project when I had to travel to Edinburgh and present a project plan and timeline to a committee of the client’s programme team, something I had never done or even seen before. That proved to be one of the most memorable moments in my project so far. Overall, organising and attending workshops, interviewing people, managing stakeholders, analysing packs of information and presenting it back are realistically only few of the actual tasks I was “demanded” to cope with just in my first few weeks in my first ever project.

The FSA promotes the deep-diving of its members into water from the very beginning of their careers. This is something absolutely desirable and pleasant, as the pace of learning and the skillset development are accelerated through real client exposure even right at the beginning of a project.

FSA Insight Event

Eurovision Song Contest

Finally, one of the most straightforward comparisons to Capgemini’s FSA is that with the Eurovision Song Contest.

Undoubtedly, the FSA’s Holborn offices are some of the most multicultural locations in London, as people from hundreds of nations are gathered to work together under the same roof here. With the Eurovision contest, European (and even some non-European) nations come together under one roof.

I consider this to be one of the biggest gifts the FSA provides to its members, as working with people from Bulgaria, Albania, Cyprus, Lithuania, Wales and of course England on my project has been a great benefit in terms of examining foreign cultures, habits and ways of doing business, which helps expand my knowledge.

So what?

Hopefully, having read this you now hold a cleared understanding of the FSA. Namely, how creative idea sharing is promoted in Capgemini’s FSA such as in TEDex, and how the community is built under the fundamentals of collaboration and inspiring management, like Tottenham Spurs. How personal development opportunities are like the variety of facilities you find at a well-equipped gym and the new joiners’ steep learning curve resembles the learning curve of Lord of The Rings’ Frodo Baggins. Finally, how the co-existence of hundreds of different nations and cultures in one building resembles the Eurovision event.

Above all, the primary message that has hopefully been delivered is how overjoyed I feel about making my first steps as a consultant in an environment like that of Capgemini’s Financial Services Academy.