Meet Guillaume Gendron, CFTE’s alumnus, who is currently an Innovation Manager at Credit Agricole, with all-round expertise in digital finance. He successfully completed the CFTE’s Fintech Foundation and AI in Finance courses. In this interview with our Co-Founder, Tram Anh Nguyen, he shares his transformative journey into Fintech.
What’s your background and current vocation?
I finalized my training course with an MBA e-business. Today, after 12 years of experience in a digital agency and then in real estate, I am currently working as an “Innovation Lead” within the Group Credit Agricole. Thanks to different experiences in digital, AI/data and startups, I am at the service of the Group on the animation and coordination of innovation and on an advisory approach to a different business line. The consulting dimension with the different business lines is important in my daily life as well as the startups scouting in connection with all the subsidiaries of the Group.
What was the turning point that made rethink your career path?
Innovation brings together many skills as fascinating as each other but after having evolved in digital and AI/data it seemed essential to integrate a more global unit with the possibility of supporting and transmitting my knowledge on these subjects with interlocutors from different backgrounds and also to learn from them in return.
What did you learn during your job transition and how CFTE helped you in the process?
CFTE has helped me progress through “AI in Finance” and “Fintech Foundation” training. The first one gave me a global view on the technology impact on the financial world, and this allows me today to better focus on my work through the definition of internal use cases and the contribution of external partners. The second allows me to have a more detailed analysis during my startups scouting and to make a better selection according to the use cases. I already had a background on these two subjects, but CFTE allowed me to structure my approach thanks to this global vision.
Beyond the popular image of fintech, what was its most surprising aspect for you?
The completeness of the team, their involvement and a foolproof mindset. Fintech is powerful since it often focuses at the start of a specific problem, but it remains very fragile on different aspects. What amazes me the most is the ability to capture a colossal number of clients in a meteoric way in a short time and often without communication (some Chinese and Korean startups are incredible).
What is the best advice you would give to someone who wants to change his/her job in finance and who wants to develop his/her own career?
It is essential to step back and ask yourself the right questions but if the desire, the energy and the courage accompany you then the change will prove to be positive. Then it is a good idea to capitalize on your experience in order to identify the skills that will help you reach this new goal. Finally, be curious and give yourself the means to learn every day and CFTE was a way to progress concerning me on my new function.
Lastly, do you think it more difficult to train yourself and change your job in the finance industry as it requires technical skills?
It depends on the type of structure that you integrate and especially the type of position. It is quite rare that we ask for double competence in an industry where agility is improving and where the “Business & IT” binomial in all its sense. It seems more important to be concentrate on your most important expertise and to give you the possibility to lightly upgrade on the other (I mean in finance).
For more information, you can get in touch with Guillaume through his LinkedIn.
The interview was originally published in French in the Finance Mag.