Salima Neek Gilani, Business Strategy and Analysis

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Manager, Performance Management, Royal Bank of Canada (RBC)

Don’t be afraid of technology if you’re not technical – tech is everywhere now! You really don’t need much technical knowledge to sell a technical concept to someone.

Salima's CareerMash

Salima combines business knowledge, including finance and project management, with her tech skills in RBC’s Technology & Operations (T&O) division. With over 8,000 staff, T&O provides tech services to all of RBC. It provides the bank with technical tools and support for activities like opening customer accounts, processing student loan applications, as well as new projects like mobile banking apps. 

Salima’s group focuses on performance management. It reports on how T&O as a whole is doing. She looks at what’s working, what isn’t,  if projects are being completed on time, and if customers are happy with the bank’s tech solutions.

A day in the life

To successfully report on the T&O division’s performance, Salima needs a lot of information. She gathers it from all the various groups in T&O, in addition to online research.  She connects with analysts and consultants outside the bank to learn about “best practices” – the best ways to get things done based on real life experience. She looks at what other groups are doing and looks how best to measure performance.

After Salima collects all the information that is needed, she looks for the story behind the numbers and presents an analysis of it to the Chief Information and Operating Officer (CIOO) in a clear and concise way that makes it easy to understand.

Why this job rocks

“Although I work in tech, I don’t do hands-on technology work. I don’t program or need in-depth knowledge about how a system or server works,” Salima says.  She gets insight into everything the bank is doing, because technology is used throughout the company.

Salima loves the tremendous career opportunities available at RBC. She started out in a two-year leadership training program for new grads that gave her the opportunity to work in six different jobs. It gave her a rich context to build the skills and knowledge to get a promotion into management. 

Salima also appreciates the culture of volunteering at RBC. “I’m part of the Green IT volunteer committee. It aims to reduce the environmental footprint of technology, and also to use tech to reduce the impact of other things we do at the Bank. I’m also part of GenNext, a networking group for young people to give back to the community, and Mosaic, a diversity group,” she says.

Roadmap

  • Salima earned a Bachelor of Business Administration with a major in international business management and a minor in marketing from Assumption University in Bangkok, Thailand.
  • She expanded on her studies there with a Masters of Business Administration (MBA) in Technology Management.
  • In 2007 she immigrated to Canada to complete a 12-month Masters in Business, Entrepreneurship & Technology (MBET) in the Faculty of Engineering at the University of Waterloo.
  • Salima joined RBC in fall 2008 as a Technology & Operations Associate. She moved through a series of jobs that prepared her for her current management position. 

Tips for success

  • Don’t fear technology: Don’t be afraid of technology if you’re not technical – tech is everywhere now! You really don’t need much technical knowledge to sell a technical concept to someone.
  • Everyone is different: When you are communicating with different personality types, it can be a challenge to get what you need from them, when you need it. You need to approach different types of people in different ways.