Central Project Management Office at BNP Paribas

The mission:

The banking sector faces new challenges: the customers' needs/way of life have changed and new technologies are arising. That's the reason why the sector has to adapt itself, rethink its solutions and processes to be the most efficient with adequate resources. In this context, we (Clé ment & Jayson) are part of the central Project Management Office at BNP Paribas to follow the biggest transformation plan of the Group named " Simple & Efficient".

Between 2013 and 2016, the bank spent 2bn€ to achieve an objective of 3bn€ of recurrent savings. This big transformation plan has two objectives: simplify the group (lighter structures, simpler processes, mutualisation of services, etc.) and improve its efficiency (smarter spending, asset rationalization, downsizing, etc.).

Our job:

For our very first project in our career, we were quite excited (and stressed) as we were working for top management of the biggest transformation plan of BNP! Our role was to follow the progress and the financials of the initiative to ensure its objectives' achievement. We have been the link between the program managers/head of regions across Europe and the Simple & Efficient board in Paris.

It has been a really demanding job, where figures accuracy and details were critical as we have been reporting directly to the Group's Executive Committee. With highly stressed period, this project made us acquire better organizational and analytical competencies.

A new challenge in Lisbon:

Our mission took a new dimension when we were told that this project will also be part of the creation of Group Finance Services (GFS), a European Finance Operations Center in Lisbon. When this information was brought to our attention, we greeted this news with enthusiasm. Indeed, we saw it as a chance to see something else alongside our daily job and an opportunity to develop new skills in communication and trainings since we were not only Project Analysts but also mentors for this new team.

From this point on, besides our day-to-day tasks, we had the mission to perform a knowledge transfer to the Portuguese team. We developed comprehensive training materials and reviewed all work processes and communication. Each Portuguese spent from 2 to 6 weeks in Brussels to get intense training and personal coaching. Then, each consultant from Brussels went to Lisbon for several weeks to ensure the completion of the training and the practical application. The coaching was quite challenging but we spent very pleasant moments with the local team and in this great city where we found nice dishes, warm people and, unlike Brussels, a sunny weather.

The end of the mission:

We are currently closing Simple & Efficient program, which overachieved its initial targets. Though, several new transformation plans have already started across the group. We have the feeling that the sector is changing so much that there is no other choice to adapt and cut costs if banks want to stay competitive.

As first project, it was a great and enriching experience - professionally and humanly - full of challenges and lessons. As one says, a " good school" for our future career at Avertim.