The Risk Analyst who failed his A-levels
Where did you grow up? St. Vincent and the Grenadines
What was your childhood like? I used to be antisocial and weird....I'm only weird now. : )
What did you want to be when you were growing up? My initial career choice was either a pilot or an architect. I was always fascinated with planes and building things with my Lego blocks when growing up.
What do you do now? I am the Risk Analyst for the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB). Basically my job entails analysing all risks that the Bank may face, whilst also contributing to mitigation strategies. Not only is financial risk a task of my day-to-day job, but also the non-financial aspect of things such as operational risk, environmental risk, and disaster risk reduction etc.
What drew you to this field? My first job in banking (Bank of St Vincent & the Grenadines).
What educational preparation did you have to do? Mostly university degrees namely: BSc. Banking and Finance (University of the West Indies), MSc. Risk Management and Financial Regulation (Queens University Belfast) and MSc. Risk, Crisis and Disaster Management (University of Leicester). I have attained other certificates and diplomas from UWI, University of Oxford, Maastricht University, Eastern Caribbean Central Bank and the World Bank. Also some courses attended with Fitch, Moody's and Bloomberg helped to increase on the job knowledge.
How did you fund your studies? I got the Sir Arthur Lewis Scholarship Award for my bachelors, Student loan for my first masters and the Commonwealth Scholarship for my second masters.
What is a typical working day like?
My days are often hectic but usually a learning experience. This is due to the vast knowledge and skill-set of my fellow coworkers here at the Caribbean Development Bank. I am proud to be included in an environment of great thinkers who can really make a difference towards regional development.
What is the most rewarding part of what you do? I learn a lot from my colleagues on a day to day basis and also about the challenges faced by our Caribbean Islands. From this, the most rewarding is being able to assist with development in some way or another through an advisory capacity, infrastructural projects and technical assistance.
What’s the most challenging aspect of your current profession? For me, because risk management is a control environment, the hardest part was adjusting my behaviour to suit the profession which is of a more serious nature compared to my personality. You must be looked at as a no-nonsense person when it comes to risk because of how critically important risks can threaten to derail any company's progression.
Who are your role models or who do you look up to?
My parents and anyone where the odds were against them and they made something of themselves with what little they have.
What motivates you? Early retirement! However, helping the Region if even in some little way is what I am most passionate about.
What are you most proud of?
My ability to help others in need...no matter how small it may be.
What are the biggest obstacles you have faced so far in pursuit of your goals? Wanting to do too much in a short space of time. I often have to take a step back and decide what is priority first.
What is the best piece of advice for someone wishing to enter your field of work? Due to high levels of competition at multilateral development banks, I would suggest attaining the highest grades possible up to graduate level. Unfortunately, undergraduates studies aren't enough to secure a position. Also, studying for a designation would be an asset such as the FRM, PRM and CFA. Most importantly, working experience within or in similar fields is highly desirable, which should set you apart from other candidates.
What do you like to do when you aren’t working? I love bowling, reading supernatural and science fiction novels and collecting coins from my travels.
Anything else to add? The most interesting thing I would like to add is the fact that I failed most of my A levels. I only passed geography with an A but everything else was a disaster. I worked hard at the local bank in SVG but I was unsatisfied. Wanting more for myself and not just following the easiest path, was the best change in perspective for me. I resigned after five years of service and pursued my bachelors degree which was the best decision of my life. From there I went even further to masters level and currently, I am investigating schools for a possible PhD. When you really motivate yourself to want more, the sky is the limit. And this is coming from someone who failed and didn't even have the grade to get a full-time acceptance at University. From this I always tell anyone, it is never too late to change your life and you can never go wrong with advancing through education.
CariScholar Q&A with Krishna Clarke - A Risk Analyst at the Caribbean Development Bank.
This series aims to give a glimpse into the professional journeys of some of the most accomplished academics and professionals.
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