Out of Your Comfort Zone and Into a World of Opportunities
Wanted: Young finance or finance-inclined university graduates looking to be pushed out of their “comfort zones” and seeking to be challenged by a combination of intensive learning in the classroom and on the job.
This is how regional participants in GE’s Finance Management Program (FMP) might describe FMP, which is one of GE’s most highly valued finance and leadership training and development programs.
“FMP is an amazing place to self-develop in all areas of your life. It is very challenging, with lot of studying and long hours of work, but it is very rewarding in return. On a daily basis, you have the opportunity to work and learn from senior finance managers, even CFOs. You are constantly put out of your comfort zone and challenged with situations you never faced before. It is a perfect, safe environment to make mistakes, ask questions, and learn from them,” says Toufic Bechara, who participates in the program from Lebanon.
This intensive two-year early career program has four rotational assignments and is widely considered the premier program of its kind. It is the first step in many successful GE management careers and builds leadership and analytical skills through classroom training and key assignments on the job.
Steep learning curve
Emad Hassan from Pakistan says part of the challenge is that each rotation places you in a “different sub-function within finance, within a different GE business, in a different geographical location and under a different manager.”
“It’s an incredibly steep learning curve!” he says. “From frequent relocations and having to settle into an unfamiliar city, to presenting your projects to top management, FMP is about mastering your fears. And this is what leads to a unique learning experience.”
Marwa Thabet from Egypt adds, “You’re expected to generate new ideas and come up with easier and faster ways to get things done — to think out of the box and take risks. Between all the work deadlines, the tests, assignments and committee work you are more excited to do your job and you are guaranteed never to be bored!”
Anas Jambi from Saudi Arabia says one of the aspects of the program he appreciates is meeting and working with participants from countries across the Middle East, North Africa and Turkey. As well, different FMP programs in different global regions exchange some participants, so during his rotations, Anas expects to meet FMP participants from places like Europe and Sub-Saharan Africa.
“The different types of cultural backgrounds that I get to interact with during the program just amaze me! It allows me to grow as person, as well as a finance professional,” he says.
Marwa and Emad agree that the networking and interaction among FMP participants is allowing them to “build a network within GE from all different backgrounds that will help us grow.” Emad mentions the opportunity to “build a strong network of FMP peers that will last a long way into our careers.”
Keys to success
All four participants have a clear understanding of what can help them succeed in the program. Marwa says the “key factors for success within GE are to be flexible and open to change and to be eager to learn.” Anas points to determination: “set a goal and be very determined in achieving it.”
Emad lists consistent hard work and dedication. “You have to be willing to soak up and learn as much as possible. Other things include communication skills and a positive, proactive approach. One should also be able to quickly adapt to different business environments.” Toufic advises: “Hard work, extra hours and studying much more than what you’re used to; asking all your questions, even if you think they are not the best ones. Also, dedicate some of your personal time to the program.”
A broader impact
FMP is led by senior GE professionals and mentors, and combines course work, intensive job assignments and interactive seminars to equip participants with exceptional technical, business and financial management skills. It is the first step in many successful GE management careers.
All four participants said that after they complete the program, they plan to apply to even more competitive GE leadership and development programs, specifically Corporate Audit Staff (CAS), an intensive two-year program designed to provide high potential employees with unparalleled on-the-job development opportunities.
Although the participants are in the early stages of their programs, they have already seen a big impact. Toufic says, “It is the perfect program and environment to prepare you to become, not just a leader, but a very strong talented one. You even slowly realize how you are utilizing these new great qualities, which you gain from the program, for the betterment of your everyday life.”
Emad senses a feeling of pride because of his involvement. “My role puts me in direct contact with all the GE businesses operating in Pakistan, and even though my part in it is tiny, I am proud of our contributions towards helping build the country’s infrastructure.”