Wells Fargo Expert Puts GGU Finance Students around the Corner from Must-Have Knowledge

Yvette Hollingsworth Clark’s office at Wells Fargo is virtually around the corner from GGU, which puts GGU students close – literally and figuratively – to the latest in the financial industry practices. As Regulatory Innovation Officer at the bank’s Innovation Group, she responds to the impact of adopting emerging technology on banking and financial institutions. Working with other financial experts, strategists, coders, data analysts, risk managers, and lawyers, Clark leads the integration of infusing risk management requirements during the design stage of transformative digital solutions to enhance the customer and team member experience at Wells Fargo.

Wells Fargo designed her position on the strength of a paper she wrote advocating that compliance and risk management requirements be part of the initial transformative design process, ensuring that Wells Fargo is positioned to meet customer needs and help customers make informed decisions. For example, Artificial Intelligence (AI) is an aid to human intelligence, she says, that can help explore more data and assess linkages more quickly than a human mind can do on its own.

We asked Clark what skills she wants to bring to the GGU classroom.
• Real-life examples of how the classroom experience translates to the office or boardroom
• Working domestically and globally
• Suggestions to navigate your career
• Influencing and managing challenging situations
• Interacting across all levels of the organization
• How to champion and challenge work content
• How to ask others to help you be successful

The Fundamentals Matter

While AI and virtual-reality applications (How can someone buy a ticket safely during a “virtual tour” of a basketball arena with their debit or credit card) are her direct concerns, the business fundamentals matter. “We meet with many Fintech companies who pitch cutting-edge technology solutions to help solve business challenges. These solutions can include tools to help with financial reporting and analysis, a systematic approach to comply with a complex regulatory requirement, or an algorithm/financial model that helps an analyst assess financial scenarios more effectively” she says.

Clark will bring her critical eye to GGU students in the Financial Reporting and Analysis course this spring and focus on, “real-life examples of how the classroom experience translates to the office or boardroom.”

Clark started building the foundation of banking and risk-management knowledge early on, joining the Federal Reserve System as a grad student. Citigroup was her next stop, where she contributed on the corporate side (focusing on anti-money laundering compliance testing) and on the business side (focusing on financial crimes risk management in the Corporate & Investment Bank). After serving as regional head for North America at Citigroup, the UK-based Barclays offered her the role of the global head of financial crimes and operations compliance –adding international experience to her resume.

American Banker has ranked Clark as one of its “Top 25 Women to Watch” three years running.

What Skills Does She Need on Her Team?

As a team lead, Clark hires for positions that require technical expertise in banking regulatory requirements, risk management, technology, data analysis and project management skills. When it comes to hiring for risk management roles, many freshly minted MBAs don’t emerge with all the skills that she is looking for. A conversation at a professional organization about candidate skill-gaps led to a teaching invitation at GGU.

Clark says: “The needs of an MBA have changed since I graduated. MBAs need more quantitative and data analytic skills given the use of technology and the need to analyze big data. Irrespective of which industry an MBA seeks to pursue for employment, the need to understand business processes and how to interpret the data associated with the business or a specific product is needed. In conversations with a few universities, we discussed how to augment MBA curriculums to capture this need. I want to see a mix of technical skills and a successful ‘integrity check’ in the interview process. In my discipline, I am hiring people that know the anatomy of a law and regulatory requirements, the basic fundamentals of business and who demonstrate that they will make all decisions with integrity and in an ethical manner.”

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