Pathways into Financial Services: meet Craig Calkin

One of the benefits of joining our next event, Pathways into Financial Services on 4 June in London is that you’ll be able to meet those who have served and hear about their own experiences in sourcing civilian employment. The Forces Employment Charity met former British Army Officer, Craig Calkin, who is now a Vice President at BNY Mellon in its Third-Party Governance and Controls domain. His primary focus is on ensuring compliance to extant vendor management policies.

Prior to joining BNY Mellon in March 2024, Craig was commissioned into the Royal Logistic Corps and spent 30 years employed as a logistics officer within the British Army. Upon leaving the Army he worked in different private and public sector roles.

What made you consider a career in this sector?

To be completely honest, after 30 years in the Army, I wasn’t really sure where I would ‘fit’ in civilian life. I had read a lot of different pieces of advice from Service leavers and held discussions in many quarters prior to leaving but nothing specifically jumped out at me. After trying a few different things over a six-year period, an ex-Army friend suggested that I investigate employment opportunities within the financial sector.  Initially, I never thought that this would be a viable option for me, as I had no experience nor perceived skill set in finance/banking, but the more I learned about the multiple opportunities in support roles within the sector, the more sense it made to me.

Why choose BNY Mellon?

Another ex-Army friend informed me that BNY Mellon was starting a new and bespoke ‘VETNET’ hiring system. I made some enquiries and looked at the sort of opportunities which may exist within the bank for someone with my skill set and background. I was really pleased with what I saw and submitted my CV into their system.

How do you feel your skills from the Armed Forces community converted across to your role?

My new role with the bank is deeply involved with speaking to people all over the globe ensuring that our vendor relationships are compliant with BNY Mellon’s governance procedures. Key to the role is the ability to assimilate information quickly, particularly processes and procedures (SOPs), and then facilitate the building of effective relationships between the bank’s vendor engagement managers and the vendors themselves ensuring compliance with the rules.  I feel that my ability to communicate with all manner of people effectively, learned in no small way in the Army, underpins my primary role.

What are your personal positives to your role?

My skills, both in logistically oriented academic qualifications and my ability to plan, particularly in planning for contingencies, have prepared me perfectly for my role. I also love the fact that the vast majority of my time is spent talking with people all over the globe. I really had no idea how comfortable I would so soon become when I joined BNY Mellon but the ease with which I am finding my primary role has astounded me. Looking back, I can’t believe that I harboured such reservations about working with a global leading investment bank.

Any challenges – and how did you overcome them? (If any)

Once again, to be completely honest, I don’t believe that I transitioned out of the Army at all well.  Thirty years is a long time to do anything and, although I do regard myself as a mentally agile and very flexible person, in the Army I developed many traits and habits that I now need to be aware of when dealing with those who have never served. The biggest challenge for me is to try to contextualise my many experiences into relatable, professional terms when dealing with my civilian colleagues.

What tips would you share with anyone considering a role in financial services?

This is the easiest question of all to answer. The financial services environment has nearly every conceivable function that the military does. Think about what you enjoy doing within your military role, and with a few obvious and solely military-oriented exceptions, you will find it in financial services. Free your mind and look for what will make you happy. I joined the Bank at the age of 54 having never been in the financial sector whatsoever previously and highly recommend it.

Sign up to Pathways into Financial Services, and other events!

Register to livestream Pathways into Financial Services today (registrations to attend in person are now closed). Living in Scotland? We are also running a regional evening event in Glasgow at Barclays on Tuesday 18 June.

Consider also our fully funded LinkedIn Essentials course on Wednesday 5 June by Lincoln Coutts. Afterwards, you’ll be all set to build/refresh your own LinkedIn account!

Our ‘Pathways into…’ events are part of Op PROSPER

The Forces Employment Charity provides one of three workstreams of Op PROSPER. A government-led programme through the Office for Veterans’ Affairs, awarded to us through the Armed Forces Covenant Fund Trust. We provide the Employment Pathway workstream through our ‘Pathways into…’ events which aims to empower veterans and their families, to thrive by ensuring equal access to employment opportunities and supporting them into sustainable, valuable careers.

 

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