From Underwriting to Business Analyst with English as Her Third Language

From Underwriting to Business Analyst with English as Her Third Language

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Hello and welcome today. I’m here  with Zineb Lotti from Zurich who   is an ACBA recipient with us and also a  participant in the Business Analyst Blueprint.   I’m really excited to learn more about her story. What I know is she started before she was a   business analyst and then she got a very exciting  opportunity to move into a BA role last year.   I’m excited to hear more about it. Welcome. Thank you very much,  

Laura. Thanks for inviting me. Very excited to have you here. Can you share   a little bit about where you were in your career  before you started with us in the Blueprint?  You said it. Sure. I wasn’t a BA. I didn’t know  about the BA at all. When I started, I was Senior   Assistant. I worked for an insurance company. When  I started, I had worked with them for 13 years.  

But I felt that I was in a  situation where it was stagnation.   I was ready to do something else, but I  didn’t find any opportunities open for me   inside of the company. At that time,  I decided I need to do something else.  I started looking for jobs outside and by  chance I saw a job ad with one of the biggest   consultants looking for business analysts for the  domain I worked for. Then I was amazed. I said,   “I know that this is my work. I know  everything. But what is a business analyst?”   I read the requirements for the job and  I said to myself, “This is good for me,”   but I didn’t know some of the tasks that are  required there with requirements, specifications,   process mapping. I can’t imagine what is  that and how to do it. All the relationship   with the others and the communication with the  others there. I said, “Okay, it’s me. I like  

to speak to the others. It’s not a problem.” So, I applied. It didn’t work, for sure   because I wasn’t a business analyst. But then  I said to myself, this is a job that they need   my skills, but I don’t have what they need  also. So, I have to do some effort and build   some skills. I did some research on the internet  about the business analyst and by chance, again,  

I came across your organization. That was quite a journey.   And how so many people find that this is a role  that I’m really excited about and well suited for,   but there’s this gap in the skill set or  even the terminology. There’s a lot of   terminology in the business analyst role for sure. Can you talk a little bit about your decision to  

join the Business Analyst Blueprint Program,  specifically? Did you have any doubts and what   ultimately prompted you to join that program? As I stated, I started looking on the internet   about how I can learn the skills for business  analyst. I came across your organization, but   I had some doubts, yes, for sure. I remember I  asked one of the colleagues located in the U.S.,   I asked, “Please, can you see if this  organization is serious and accountable.”   I waited one week or more for her  answer. She didn’t answer then.  In the meantime, I was reading your  blogs, your articles, I watched the videos   and I was amazed at the content. The content  resonated with me. I found it serious and  

I said, “Here, I’m going to apply.” I  signed up first for the Masterclass.   I started with the Masterclass. As soon as I  finished the Masterclass, I started the Blueprint.  That’s right. I remember that now. It was quite  back to back for you. The timing just worked out. 

What ultimately prompted you to try? What  were you looking for out of the program?  As I said, I was new for everything and when  I did the Masterclass, it wasn’t easy for me   to understand everything. It was a hard time  to learn. I spent too much time reading and   reading again, twice, third  time, reading and reading. But   I managed to do it. Afterwards, also,  I could also join the Blueprint.  Does any particular module or component  of that program stand out to you?  It was amazing with the Blueprint. It was  the use case and the wireframe. I remember,   I think, for the process one, I get stuck with  the use case and the wireframe, I remember. My  

instructor was Alexandra and she was trying hard  to push me because when I worked on the workbook,   I think I went in the wrong way the first  time with this module. She noticed it and   she got in contact with me saying that it’s wrong;  we have to work it again. I was upset because it   was the holiday. But she tried to explain  to me the problems and what I should do. I   did the rework in my workbook and I appreciate all  the work and effort she did with me to understand,   to complete it successfully. I’m grateful to  her. I appreciate all that she did with me. 

That is one of the things a lot of  our instructors is they really do   care. All of them care. Alexandra was your  instructor and they want to see you succeed.  Exactly. I had the same experience  with Deidre also from the Masterclass.  It’s not uncommon. That’s part of why the  instructor support is so important, too, is   when a concept is so new, to kind of get off  track a little bit and need that redirection.  

I think there is more learning in the rework  even though the rework is incredibly painful.   It can be really painful. That’s where  the real learning happens for sure.  Exactly. Here we see your  excellence, your instructors.  And of you to persevere through  that. That’s pretty awesome.  I know that English is…is it your  second language or your third language?   Because you’re multi-lingual. 

My mother was a language addict.  My second language is French.   I don’t know if English is the third or  the fourth because I speak also German.   I can say it’s the third. It’s the third because  I started to learn English before German.  I would be interested to hear, and to share  with others considering the program, too,   we’ve talked a little bit about this, but some  of the success strategies that you used with   English not being your primary language.  Obviously, it is a course in English.   I think that created another layer of challenge. 

Exactly. It was challenging. Like I said, the  Masterclass for me, it was challenging because   everything was new, the vocabulary.  As I said, I had to read the material   once, twice, three times and every time, also,  I was noting the vocabulary. Sometimes, also,   watching videos about the one vocabulary,  functional specifications. What is this?   I couldn’t, in my dictionary, I couldn’t  find it. What is this? I had to watch some   videos to understand. The language, which is  a challenge, but the hard work also paid off.  

As I said, also, the excellence and the  skills of the instructors helped me.  Let’s talk about because I know you started  not in a BA role. You told us about being   in underwriting. But now you are in a  business analyst role. How did that role   come to be? How did your Blueprint coursework  play in to that? What was the path? I just want to   hear more about it and be able to  celebrate that success with you as well?  Thank you very much. You know  I’m not a business analyst.  By title. That’s kind of, exactly.  

Everything I learned, I apply it now,  although my title is not a business analyst.   My new position now is Transformation Manager. I actually think that is a way cooler title   than business analyst. Transformation Manager. I use the techniques I learned.   What I learned with you and with the  program, it opened my thinking of analyzing.  

Much before deciding. Solving problems. It  was in my skills before, solving problems,   I like to analyze figures and things like  that, but when I did the program, also,   it’s reinforced the skills. Today,  I’m using everything I learned.   In my position today, because we  have a migration system, I’m working   solving problems it creates, this migration. The process mapping, also, is something that   I’m doing today. I didn’t do it myself, but I  work in a group with other people. Their function  

is the process modeling, but they came to me  to help them. As soon as I read the process,   I see that there are gaps here or errors here  and without your program, I couldn’t do this.  It sounds like you’re making a huge impact.  What do you like most about this new role?  Various tasks and new routine, helping  others. There are some challenges.   I can do my work without analyzing things. This  is the thing I was looking for. I needed work   where I can think, analyze and then solve a  problem. It matched with the business analyst. 

If I recall, you’re working in a  German-speaking company now, right?  Because I am sitting in Switzerland, we  speak German locally. But I work for an   international team. With the team, we speak  English. But I still work for the French   company, so I help others as I speak French also. Have you found, because we get this question a lot   and me being American, English-based speaker,  I don’t have personal experience in it,   but how have you found the business analysis  processes to apply in all those different   cultures? Are there variances to it or are you  able to apply the same kinds of techniques?  I think this is the same. Now  it’s the same because we work   with the objective of standardization. I worked  with other colleagues to map the processes from   four countries. We have to do it in the same tool,  in the same manner. There are no differences.  

During the work, we can see some differences  in the way that people process the work.  That makes sense. How did this  opportunity actually come to be?   You took the Blueprint and then there  was some space, and then the opportunity   came up. Can you kind of walk us  through that a little bit more?  When I started the Masterclass, I  asked that I join a project team   working just for 20% of my time. I could get  this opportunity and they started to help   one project team, like I was an SME. It took two  years doing this, but when I got the certification  

of the Blueprint, I contacted the project  manager here in Switzerland and I explained my   objective, my goals, and explained what I  did. I was clear. I said I would like to join   your team. It wasn’t easy because in  every company there is a budget for   onboarding new members. It took some time. But as  soon as the opportunity was open and he could have   the budget, they called me and I started. In between, before the decision came up,   I got two interviews. I was frustrated  waiting for this decision to come. 

And then really excited when it happened. Yes.  Last question. Thank you so much for  your time and for sharing so generously.   Last question I have for you is what would  you recommend to people who are in that stage   and looking to follow in your footsteps? They  might be in a role that they felt was limiting   and that they were stuck in and they  were a little frustrated that things   weren’t happening more quickly.  What would you recommend to them?  What I can recommend is that if someone feels  like me, the desire to evolve in their career,   they have to do it, but they have to invest in  themselves. I would recommend and advise that   they don’t need to wait until the  employer or the organization they work for   pay for the development. It can happen.  It might be that they have no budget.  

This is what happened with me. I didn’t  ask because I knew that nobody would invest   in my education or in my development.  I did it and now I invest in myself.   And as you see, it paid off. Everyone, if someone  chose the path for becoming a business analyst and   I can just recommend, invest in yourself if  you don’t have the support from your employer.  The second thing I can say, also, that  I recommend your organization, your   courses to everyone because they are hands  on courses. It’s not just abstract or theory,   it’s practical. When we are finished, we  know what to do if we are business analysts. 

The second thing is it’s a framework. The course  is a framework flow if you want to work like a   business analyst. It gives everyone tools to use.  You are not empty. You have backup with the tools.  Awesome. I just want to celebrate and honor  the investment that you made in yourself,   too. You made the choice and then you followed  through and I’m so excited to see where you  

are today and to hear you have that amazing  title of Transformation Manager, which is   still a business analyst. I still feel it is a  business analyst and probably more. Very cool.  Congratulations and thank you  so much for sharing your story.  Thank you very much. Thanks  to you. I’m grateful for   what I learned with you. I’m grateful to you. Thank you.

2021-05-23 10:29

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