6prog interviews | Armand Sarkizians
Hi Armand, if I asked your colleagues to describe you what would they say?
Great question Andy, haha.
OK … He is a collaborative, creative and delivery driven leader experienced in the financial services industry. He delivers large programmes, projects and change initiatives.
How did you start your career?
I started my career on the business side, where I was responsible for the migration and integration of a large American investment bank during the financial crises. Subsequent initiatives have been a mix of business and technology projects, so I can wear both hats with ease.
What is keeping you busy at the moment?
Currently, I am running a sizeable stream of a €3b digital transformation program, where I juggle multiple responsibilities in a super Hybrid role as a Product Owner / Programme Manager for House banking products, and Senior Project Manager for Client Clearing. I also step in as SME to trouble-shoot a large range of mostly technical and product related issues. Further, for regulatory change, I wear the traditional waterfall project manager hat, and follow the relevant procedures with documentation and governance.
I am responsible for pitching ideas, obtaining large budgets and designing the programme, all in a more traditional waterfall style and then managing the day-to-day software development and delivery purely in Agile.
That sounds like a decent challenge. We have met a few times in previous projects, which was your favourite?
Previous to my current role, I led a large programme to implement a big data risk platform for a strategic risk programme at a large financial institution as an external consultant, where traded risk was sourced, cleaned and transformed to a common format, before being loaded into an object store that could then be accessed on a real time streaming basis by various users for BI among other needs.
Actually I also quite enjoyed one project where we were implementing European risk management regulation for HFT and e-trading, and designing a implementing a new E2E Fixed Income Derivatives trade capture, traded risk production and PnL platform for the equity derivatives desk (to hedge rates risk) of a large American bank.
Do you enjoy managing people or projects?
Both. It is difficult to have one without the other! I have directly and indirectly (matrix) led and managed teams of 5-50+ people, and have extensive expertise in identifying, hiring and training new global talent, for on and off shore locations.
You probably don’t have much time for anything else!
You could say that but, I have undertaken a significant academic and qualification upskilling exercise over the last 2 years, and have successfully completed the first half of an intensive MSc in Data Science, and boosted my qualifications with certifications in Scrum Master, Leading SAFe and MSP certificate in program management.