Meet Kylie Poole

EMBA Global Women's Leadership Scholar tells us about life at Cass

Kylie Poole is an EMBA student at Cass Business School, currently studying in the 19th intake, and is one of four Cass Coca-Cola Global Women's Leadership Scholars.

She has 10 years’ industry experience working as a successful broker and account manager within interdealer financial markets. She manages a broad range of investment banking client relationships, and has had exposure to a range of asset classes including commodities, derivatives, and bonds.

Kylie has a first class Economics degree from the University of Essex and won the McGraw Hill final year prize in 2006 after obtaining the highest graduating classification. Kylie is passionate about the benefit to companies of supporting higher female participation at senior levels, and is excited to be part of the Cass Global Women’s Programme at inception.

Can you tell us about your career to date?

“I started as an operations junior at an interest rate swap trading house, and worked my way into the front office via the ICAP graduate training scheme.  I’ve 10 years of financial trading experience, most of that spent as an interdealer broker in the commodities and derivatives space. The majority of our business used to be conducted via the phone but as markets have developed and matured, technology and data have grown into vital and central aspects of the future of financial markets.

“Sales and trading is very fast paced and male dominated but I’ve thrived in the buzzy and active atmosphere. It’s a space that could hugely benefit from increased female involvement but that’s improving, and initiatives such as the Cass Global Women’s Leadership programme are at the forefront of driving such important change.”

What made you decide to study for an MBA at Cass?

“Working within sales is exciting and dynamic but you’re often executing upon decided strategic direction, rather than shaping it. I’m interested in the reasoning and decision processes made at the core of a business, and I’d like to give myself the tools and confidence to become more involved in those types of originating decisions.

“Cass is ranked number one globally for Strategy, so it was a natural choice for me. I was also impressed by the aspirational yet friendly environment at Cass - the faculty are top class and there to do a job but they’re also warm, available and interested in you as an individual.”

How are you finding your MBA?

“I’m really enjoying it. It’s been refreshing to have met so many interesting people from diverse cultural and professional backgrounds all on a mutual journey of discovery and collaboration. The volume of reading/work to get through is a lot - as I expected and worried frequently about before the course started! What’s been great is that it’s been so fascinating so far - enjoying financial accounting has come as a shock! I was surprised that many concepts directly related to my professional sector - for example the role of fair value accounting in contributing to asset inflation in the lead up to the mortgage credit financial crisis.“

How do you apply what you have learned in your day job?

“It’s quite early days at this point but the Organisational Behaviour module has given me a fresh perspective on the operational dynamics within companies. I envisage that as I progress through the programme there’ll be ample opportunity to apply my learnings as there’s a consistently strong focus on practical and real life application of theory.”

What advice would you give other women from non-business backgrounds considering the EMBA at Cass?

“Don’t be fazed. One of the earliest benefits I’ve experienced on the course is an exposure to people from a wide array of career backgrounds - it’s really interesting to hear everyone’s unique story and perspective. My cohort isn’t overly finance focused - for example we have buyers from Selfridges, scientists, teachers and architects. It’s once you get talking amongst the cohort that it becomes clear the surprising similarity in the logic, methodologies and problem solving techniques that we’re all applying at work, but within different sectors.”

Have you had any particular female role models or mentors in your career so far?

“I’m very inspired by Sheryl Sandberg.  She’s hugely successful and famous but her main rhetoric in ‘Lean In’ is what really speaks to me - be confident!  It’s a mantra I try to constantly remind myself of because if left unchecked, I can tend towards hesitation in situations where I need to sell myself. Delivery is how people hear you so it’s important to know your worth and be happy communicating it.”

Where would you like to be in the future – and how do you think your MBA will help you get there?

“I hope to progress within the ranks of my company and become increasingly involved in strategy formulation and directional decision making. I'd be proud if within five years I was in a position to be able to help support, promote and nurture female talent within my company. An MBA will provide me with the framework for understanding strategic problems and the methodology to effectively resolve them. It will also provide me with an enhanced understanding of different business functions within large corporations.”

Kylie recently wrote for the MBA blog about here experience of studying at Cass.  Read more here.

Find out more about the Cass Global Women's Leadership Programme here.

Kylie with two of the other three Global Women Scholars; L-R: Esra Baykal, Renee Kroner and Kylie Poole

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