Career story: studying and working in fintech

27 September, 2021Juno Baker

Luke Barry works in Corporate Cards at Lloyds. He was already busy – studying for a degree and working towards chartered status – but when offered the chance to learn more about fintech, he couldn’t resist. He tells us about ‘wow’ moments, applying his learning to his day job, and managing work and study.

Luke BarryThe great thing about working in fintech has to be the wow moments. People are literally like “Wow!” They think a human has to do something, but actually the tech can do it now. What a great area to work in, where you can make people go “Wow! I didn’t know that existed!”

Fintech is a fast moving place. Commercial cards exists only because of fintechs. I think here at Lloyds, we’ve partnered with about 31 fintechs to provide our services. So I’m quite embedded with a lot of them.

Why did you want to study fintech?

I’m extremely interested in fintech, but a bit of a sceptic, I have to admit. I wanted to learn more so I could understand whether fintechs are bringing real innovation.

Tell us about studying Certified Fintech Practitioner (CFP)

Instead of a class, it felt like a group of professionals who work in the industry having conversations and finishing those conversations with knowledge-sharing.

You get people who are creating their own fintechs – talking about everything from seed funding to the platforms, to how the software works, the ideas, the pitches. But you don’t just hear about fintech – you hear about the journey of fintech.

So that six-week period – whilst it was hard, whilst it was intense – it was a really easy and enjoyable way to learn.

Has the course helped with your day-to-day role?

The big thing CFP has done is given me credibility. Before, I understood certain areas, but CFP’s given me a far greater understanding. Now I can speak to clients about the fintech they already understand, to bring them on board with mine.

Only the other day I was talking about embedded finance with a client and I explained it using a retail term, which I never would have before.

I compared it to Amazon – using an example from something in their life, pulling apart what it actually is and showing how it worked. By relating my product to that process, I brought it to life and it became understandable. And actually they wanted to move it forward.

That’s something the qualification helped me with.

How do you manage work-life balance while studying?

I don’t let myself have days off. I work five days a week, and five days a week I will study for an hour minimum. If I’m enjoying the subject maybe I’ll study a bit more.

On Saturday morning, I’m reading or watching videos while I have a cup of tea, so that’s not hard work. Then it’s putting pen to paper on a sleepy Sunday afternoon.

My second tip is don’t plan to plan. Just do it!

Really important, get a work buddy who you can discuss the learning with. Because sometimes when you’re talking with other people, you’ve read the same thing but taken different things from it and that discussion helps clarify.

Another thing I’d recommend is using a ‘text to speech’ app. I scan some material and put it into an mp3. When I go for a bike ride, I have it playing on repeat. That helps because I’m a listening learner.

What’s next in your career?

Role-wise – to move out of sales towards product management. Actually, this qualification has really helped me with that. I applied for a role and the guy saw my digital badge.

Study-wise – I need to focus on chartered!

Related content

More about CFP on the Centre for Digital Banking and Finance microsite