Lotte Nickel is a Vice President on the Matrix platform, part of the Institutional Securities Group Technology division at Morgan Stanley. Born and brought up in Germany, she did her BSc. at the University for Applied Sciences in Wiesbaden and then moved to Dublin for further studies and graduated with a Master of Science by Research from Trinity College Dublin in 2006.
She is a Careers City Rising Star following her being nominated by Morgan Stanley.
Tell us a little bit about a day in the life of a VP in Technology
Up until a month ago, I was a developer, leading smaller projects doing mostly HTML5 development – which I loved. I was recently appointed as a delivery manager for our Matrix Content– which is a much bigger project. My new role involves new challenges, requiring me to better manage my schedule, working with and organising my team, while co-ordinating with other groups on the project and managing issues.
What did you study or what experience did you obtain in order to get in to your current role?
I did a BSc in Computer Science in Germany and then a MSc at Trinity College Dublin in Ireland. I met some Morgan Stanley representatives at a career event and was fascinated by the variety of technology systems employed by the Firm and by the amazing graduate program that they offered.
Initially, I focussed only on development, but then started to take on more responsibility by leading projects. Another important aspect that helped me develop my career was having a wide network internally and enjoying working with others in a team.
What do you most enjoy about your role?
I enjoy the challenging and time-constrained projects most of all. One of the highlights of my career at Morgan Stanley is the work I did on an HTML5 iPad app, used to support clients (i.e. board members, CFO, CIO) during IPOs. To be on the cutting edge of technology is very interesting and challenging – we only had two months to work on the initial version of the app and had to write a lot of code from scratch, as no libraries existed yet. As the date of an IPO is set in stone, it was great to have a working app ready on time and support the go-live in New York.
Can you tell us a little bit about what is great about working at Morgan Stanley?
To start with, there is the graduate program, which is great in helping to build a global network, brush up on technologies and get to know Morgan Stanley before moving into a team. Then, there is the variety of projects that I work on, without having to move teams. I love to be challenged and keep learning and I feel my role caters to this! Another great thing is the amount and variety of training opportunities (technology, finance, management, ..), networks, mentors and social events.
Do you network either internal or externally?
Mostly internally. I am on the ‘Social and Charity Committee’ for technology which provides a variety of fun, charitable networking events (such as Summer BBQs, dragon boat racing, bowling, quiz nights, or wine tasting). It is great to be involved in creating events for others and it means I get to meet many people. As I lived in Ireland for a few years, I am also a member of the Internal Irish Network (Net-Éire).
Tell us about your own career aspirations?
I have recently been promoted to Vice President and started a new role. It is challenging, as I have moved from a mostly developer role to being a delivery manager on a large project. There are many things to learn such as team management, expectation management and budget planning. Once I have mastered the first year as Vice President, I will start looking at working towards promotion to the next level, Executive Director.
What advice would you give to someone wanting a career in Technology?
Technology is a very wide field at Morgan Stanley – from a front-office role working with traders, application development with business exposure, language expert for other technologists to an engineer working on networks – each role has its advantages and different challenges. The one bit of advice I would give is to do internships as early as possible in your career.