Fanoula graduated in 2001 with a degree in French and Spanish. Her role encompasses Strategy, Planning, Communication & Chief of Staff at Barclays, in Global Digital and Platform Payments.
Working in financial services might seem an unusual choice for a languages graduate, tell us about your role?
Immediately after graduating I took a marketing role and used my languages but I soon found my home at Barclays in the international division looking after Corporate Customers. I progressed to other roles in the 18 years I have been with the bank including strategy, project management and communication roles. I make sure the team is organised, is on message and is delivering against the overall strategic roadmap.
Every day is different and I enjoy the challenge and stimulation that it brings. I also have a fantastic team around me that always make me laugh no matter how stressful work gets.
My Modern Languages degree helped form me into an excellent communicator with trained analytical skills. Unlike other degrees, I was delivering multiple pieces of work every week which helped me in keeping pace in the working world once I graduated. There are very few jobs that require you to deliver one dissertation in six months!
How do you think your time at Kent helped you?
I believe my degree was fundamental to my success. My time at Kent was also spent building a social network which is a skill I continue to use to this day.
I spent my Year Abroad in France for six months followed by six months in Spain and I volunteered to be an interpreter for a nursing school student trip in my final year. Living abroad for a year meant I had to be methodical and creative in order to navigate difficult administrative tasks like getting my residency permit. I find this experience set me up for success, as I am able to navigate the daily challenges in my work.
What are your plans for the future?
We will see what life brings – I don’t generally plan for the future, I normally take opportunities as they present themselves.
Any advice for prospective students?
Do a Modern Languages degree – it is one of the most versatile degrees available and the skills you learn can be applied to any industry after you graduate.
The University has great staff and wonderful resources available, so make use of them. Also, campus life and close access to the City gives you the best of both worlds. One of my favourite memories is sitting on the grass in front of the Library looking down at that glorious view.