How a UBS employee became a data analyst for lawyers
By Kylee McIntyre08-Nov-2018Views 1572

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Gan Tian, data analyst at UBS. Location courtesy of District6.

The thought of a software engineer or a data analyst may draw to mind imagery involving a harried programmer hunched over a laptop or a startup yupster wearing a specific type of business casual. But when data analyst Gan Tian goes to work at banking giant UBS, she ends up spending time with a lot of attorneys.

“Working with the lawyers, you need to be precise in your communications. You need to be straightforward and clear," she explains. Much of the data she crunches at UBS is internal and has to do with investigations and compliance. It gives her a high level of clearance and a lot of responsibility.

She ends up spending time with a lot of attorneys.

She welcomes the challenge, though, and the continued learning journey that UBS has been for her for the past five years.

From uni to UBS

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Location courtesy of District6.

Tian began work at UBS as a summer intern while she was in her third year at university at Singapore Management University. At SMU, she studied information system management with a second major in finance.

Due to her performance during the internship, UBS kept her on for their graduate program, saving Tian a lot of trouble. Unlike many students who have to worry about their final exams and landing a job soon after, she already knew where she was going to work months before she completed her program.

“I was quite lucky," she remarks.

Her graduate program lasted two years, during which time UBS let the interns rotate around to try out different areas of the company. Tian experienced areas including group technology business, and automation. She found that tech-related work suited her, which helped her solidify her own professional plan when she was a fresh graduate.

She already knew where she was going to work months before she completed her program.

“I think maybe at the start, the earlier stage of the career is me thinking of where I want to go, what skill I want to acquire. It was a process for me to establish myself," she says.

Tian spent the first four and a half years at UBS working on various roles within group technology - automation development, IT infrastructure, and virtualization tech. She spent most of her tenure there working as an end user services engineer, doing automation development.

Working with UBS has also given her the opportunity to gain global exposure from UBS' Singapore, Hong Kong, Shanghai, US, and UK offices.

Investigation team

Detectives aren't the only people who work in investigations. via GIPHY.

About a year ago, Tian joined the newly established Group Investigations function as a data analyst, working on investigations related to financial crime, regulatory enquiries and employee misconduct.

Basically, she is data support for an investigative team.

“It was a very different domain - mainly legal and regulatory-related functions, and our investigators are mainly the lawyers from litigation, so my role was mainly providing structured data analytics support," says Tian. She communicates her findings and assignments with non-tech parties, so she must balance efficiency with pinpoint accuracy.

The position came to her through her assignment in Shanghai, and in one day, she can work with a combination of lawyers, bankers, senior management, HR representatives, and more. Tian finds the team quite nurturing. Her job involves a lot of research and on-the-job learning, and her small team offers good and affective support.

The new position is not something she planned on, but Tian has learned to strike a balance between where she wants to go and leaving an opening for new opportunities that might arrive.

“It's always good to have a goal or longer term plan in mind," she advises. “You might not go through with your plan, but opportunities will come if it's the right time or [you] are flexible enough."


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Kylee McIntyre
American tech, science, health, and environmental writer. Lover of scifi, fantasy, travel, and coffee. Find her on Twitter @ejkyleem.
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