A day in the life of a trade analyst at BNY Mellon

BY Dawn Rzeznikiewicz03 February 2022, 15:10

Katherine McCormick, VP and Business Data Architect at BNY Mellon (courtesy Chris Szulwach—The Story Photography)

The business analyst role is still relatively new, but it’s becoming an increasingly common position in business, with projected growth faster than the average for all occupations, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics.

It’s challenging work that can vary widely from company to company, although it can be described more simply as a master problem-solver. That’s certainly the case with Katherine McCormick, vice president and business data architect at BNY Mellon, a graduate of Syracuse University’s Master of Applied Data Science program.

“When there’s a problem that seems insurmountable and I can work together with trusted partners…it’s so satisfying and exciting for me,” says McCormick. “At first it’s like [the solution] is blurry, then it becomes sharp.

While BNY Mellon offers a wide range of investment solutions to its clients, McCormick focuses on what is called Data Vault. This product helps financial companies efficiently collect, connect, store and distribute data across their organizations. It is the job of the McCormick team to ensure that the product is customized and implemented for each client’s specific needs.

While there’s a daily cadence to McCormick’s role, her favorite part is that ultimately she gets to deliver solutions that make someone work better and faster. Fortune spoke with McCormick to learn more about how a business analytics degree takes shape in the real world and what a typical day looks like. Here is what she told us.

Business Analytics in Action

A business analytics degree can prepare graduates for all kinds of roles, with job titles ranging from data scientist and systems manager to product manager and management consultant. The International Institute of Business Analysts (IIBA) defines the general role as a change facilitator, someone who uses a disciplined approach to introduce and manage change within an organization. In other words, business analysts use data and technology to help companies do their jobs more efficiently.

“We are responsible for implementing the technology for our customers,” explains McCormick. “We’re looking at the technologies the current business has and will work to architect a smart, elegant, and simple solution that works for it.”

A surprisingly interpersonal role

The role of a business analyst sits between the people who build digital products or software and the people who want the build done. For McCormick, that means her primary responsibility is to be the “chief communicator” and convey business needs to her team of business analysts and developers.

“I make sure that the developers get the answers to the questions they need from the customer, and that the customer feels that the solutions are designed to their satisfaction,” she says. “That’s what keeps me going throughout my day.”

McCormick spends about half his day in meetings, collaborating with others. Each day begins with an internal team meeting to review the day’s tasks and is often followed by a working session with the client, which takes place three times a week. BNY Mellon clients are generally Fortune 500 companies in the fields of investment managers, global banks, pension and benefit funds and brokerages.

The rest of his time is spent collaborating with his team to solve various problems. “I spend a lot of time with my developers,” McCormick says. “Most of my day is spent in conversation or in-depth examination; collaborate with the people who build the solutions.

Part of a business analyst’s job is to ensure that all stakeholders and line managers are aware of the progress of the project. “I have some governance and status reporting in my life,” McCormick notes. This involves providing status reports during weekly calls as well as logging more granular conversations in a system like Jira to keep track of what has been done and what remains.

“I don’t write code all day; I read the code”

McCormick notes that while some of his colleagues spend the majority of their days writing lines of code, that’s not typical for his position. “When I graduated, I was like, ‘Oh my God, am I just going to be in a cube all day? Not talking to anyone, creating something that comes out the door. Thankfully for me it is not.

In reality, McCormick spends his time reviewing, asking questions, and testing the code while switching between his team and the client. When the team is heavy on delivery mode, McCormick holds working sessions with the client to answer questions such as, WWhat are your business requirements? Where What results do you expect? Where What is the logic for creating these particular fields?

After obtaining these specific requirements from the customer, McCormick’s team creates the product or feature and then returns to the customer for review. The final steps are to create all the necessary documentation for the customer to approve the finished product.

“Day to day, I read someone’s code and communicate to make sure we have the answers to the questions we need to get a truly powerful and useful tool into the hands of the people who use it” , says McCormick. .

Master problem solving

“I actually found it extremely helpful in the financial services field to have a background in English literature,” McCormick says of his undergraduate degree. The value of this non-financial experience is rooted in the extensive communication requirements of the role, but also because of the critical thinking and problem solving skills that are required in business analysis, and often emphasized in a liberal arts education. .

Continuing her education with a graduate degree was also of immense value, says McCormick, adding that she learned the necessary fundamental skills such as programming, SQL, Python, etc., in the course of the program. mastery. Moreover, this experience has also given him the professional poise when it comes to maneuvering for promotions and raises in the working world.

When asked what’s the number one sign of someone not being cut out for a business analyst career: “If you don’t like struggling with problems,” McCormick replies with a laugh.

See how the schools you are considering have landed Fortune’s rankings of the best business analytics programs, data science programs and part-time, executive, full-time, and online MBA programs.

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