Alumni Career Stories: Lucie Kresl (BS IEOR ‘19)
We recently sat down with Berkeley IEOR alum Lucie Krestle to discuss her journey after graduating from UC Berkeley.
What are some of the most important and useful skills you learned as a Berkeley IEOR student?
One of the most important things I learned from my classes is how to use intuition and optimize processes. I also learned how to take a step back and look at the big picture before jumping into a problem or project. This has been particularly useful in my current job, where I need to be able to communicate clearly with people from different backgrounds and speak in both technical and non-technical terms.
What was your favorite class as a student?
The one class that continues to help me to this day was called "Tech Firm Leadership." I took that in my senior year. It was a lot of reading for a non-engineering class but taught me invaluable communication skills. I use the skills I learned in that class daily to motivate people and build trust with my team.
What was life like after graduating from UC Berkeley?
After graduating from IEOR Berkeley in 2019, I moved to New Jersey where Barclays has a big technology and operations office. I was part of the company's graduate program, which is a leadership program for recent college graduates. The program offers many opportunities for professional development and mentorship. In the beginning, it took me a while to understand how my role fit into the bank as a whole. I was assigned to the technology infrastructure services group and specifically worked in an area called Workplace and Collaboration, which is now called Solution Engineering and Delivery. We work on collaboration tools that are used by the entire bank, so our customers are other Barclays colleagues. Many people on my team have technical backgrounds -- they are engineers and developers. My role involves more logistics and project management, such as bringing the right people together and gathering requirements from the business to communicate to the engineers. It's an interesting role because I get to talk to people from different departments and backgrounds.
Did the COVID-19 pandemic affect your organization and the work you do?
When the pandemic began, I was only 6-months into my new job as an analyst at Barclays. Almost immediately, there was a significant outbreak in our New York office. We had to set up remote work and adapt within a very short period of time and in a fast-paced environment. We thought only our office would be impacted, and that it would be temporary. Soon, however, we realized that everyone would have to work from home - our contractors, consultants, traders, everyone. Although I was an analyst, I was selected to manage a team of contractors and make sure all the necessary devices were delivered to our traders. We quickly set up an assembly line to build the devices and ended up shipping over 500 desktops and 1500 monitors within five weeks. The data we collected in the U.S. was used to set up remote work in other offices around the world. I received much recognition for my leadership in response to the pandemic, including a Group Technology Award in 2020 from Barclays.
It was great to realize that in times of stress, I can build trust quickly with my team. Since receiving the award, I have been put on more business-critical, front-facing projects with different clients and customers. It has been an interesting three years that have resulted in my promotion to Assistant Vice President. I was recently nominated as one of the Top 100 Women in Tech for my day-to-day role as Vice President. The award is given to up-and-coming female leaders in financial services, consulting, and all sorts of tech leaders.
Can you tell us what projects you are currently working on?
I am currently working on four projects. One of them involves supporting our engineering team with decommissioning domains from acquired companies. Another project is a SharePoint online migration that affects the entire bank, and I am providing stakeholder updates for it. I am also the PM for a future enhancements project, which is a development tool for SharePoint. This is challenging because it involves working with consultants. The big project I started recently is focused on banking and IT. It involves working with senior people to gather technical requirements and finding the right people for the project.
Do you have any advice for current students?
I think it's important to be open to different job opportunities and not get too caught up in the names of companies. It's also important to interview the company to make sure it's a good fit for you. Once you start working, showing up to events and being present can be very helpful for networking and making connections with people in your field.
Thank you, Lucie, for sharing your story with Berkeley IEOR!