Could you please describe your current position?
I am Patricia Lormeau, a Managing Director in the Domestic Market Team at BNP Paribas. In our team, I cover logistics and business services sectors. These sectors are highly interesting because they give signals about future economic and commercial trends.
Daily, I gather information about the sector through meeting management teams of the companies or other teams inside BNP Paribas. Being constantly in touch with executives in one sector gives you the legitimacy to speak with other executives and enables you in the end to reach new potential customers.
Being a managing director also means supervising the project team for each ongoing deal meaning nominate the members of the project, split the work to improve efficiency and sometimes dealing with two teams working on the same project. At this level in the banking industry, it is mainly a coordination, supervision and human job. It requires a lot of interactions with the junior staff preparing technical inputs and PowerPoint presentations to make sure these are correct and adequate to the goals of the project. This doesn’t make your job easy because you should keep a critical eye, spotting the mistakes the others didn’t see, maintaining a global view on the ongoing process to ensure its completion. While doing so, it is also critical to take time to teach your team because it represents a long-term time gain.
Personally, it has always been important for me to help young professionals to build their network because I know how critical it is in a successful career!
But this doesn’t mean, you cannot have a personal life. On the contrary, to stay in the long-term in the banking industry, you should keep a sane equilibrium requiring you to continue activities that you appreciate. For example, in my free time, I am the president of a charity promoting caring management and organizing conferences about current issues such as environmental ones
How did you become a Managing Director at BNP Paribas?
I am a kind of exception in the senior M&A bankers because I did not work in an M&A team before. In the beginning, I was a business lawyer following my studies in ESSEC and law university. I chose law because I wanted to be involved in the business environment while dealing with complex issues.
After a few years, I felt the need to discover other things and became an economist at BNP Paribas. I did appreciate the public side of this job because I was regularly questioned by French journalists on macroeconomic issues. But I was afraid to stay away from the business world too long, so I joined Iberia in Spain as Head of Financing. I preferred finance to law to intervene at the beginning of a project and not at the end when all details are already negotiated. What I liked in this experience was to become an expert in one sector and took part in professional conferences. Besides, working for Iberia was thriving as all our customers were abroad, so I travelled a lot. This job required me to be creative in the difficult aftermath of the World Trade Centre attack, which hurt badly the aeronautic industry. This pushed me to develop the parking credit to avoid a liquidity crisis for the aircraft owner.
After four years at Iberia, I went back to BNP to develop shipping financing when it was not as structured as today and had the opportunity to work in Japan.
I came in the Domestic Market Team thanks to a colleague, who was eager to benefit from my network and my ability to deal with complex issues. This enabled me to break into M&A in a senior position without previous experience.
Have you some advice for the young professionals?
Take time to travel abroad to understand business environments different from the French one. This will become valuable knowledge when you (potentially) go back to France to distinguish yourself from your colleagues.
Take time to try several sectors before developing expertise in a sector in which you are interested. Being an expert on a few sectors is required when you reach more senior positions because it will give you the legitimacy to speak your mind.
After the first years, it will be your network and your ability to adapt that will help you seize thriving opportunities. Bears it in mind during your first years.
You should keep a sane equilibrium requiring you to spend time with your family and continue activities that you appreciate. I have four children and I have always done my best to take care of them while pursuing full-time positions. Also, in my free time, I am the president of a charity promoting caring management and organizing conferences about current issues such as environmental ones.
Finally, you spend a lot of time with colleagues, so do not hesitate to change team if you don’t feel included. There are many places where using your financial skills and different kind of working environments. You just have to find the right one for you.