My Working Day: Emily Li on finding data insights to help clients and customers
Emily Li joined Barclays eight years ago and has since worked in several sectors of the bank – but nothing has piqued her interest quite like analytics. She explains what her role as a Senior Decision Analyst entails, how the information she finds helps clients and customers – and what she does to relax after a busy day on the job.
My alarm goes off… at 6:30am – or it used to, as before lockdown I’d go to the gym before work. At the moment I don’t set an alarm; I naturally wake up at 7:30am, which gives me plenty of time now I’m based at home.
My morning routine involves… watching BBC News for a bit before work starts. Sometimes I go for a run in the morning, but I’m definitely a fair-weather runner. It’s a nice start to the morning because you feel like you’ve achieved something before the working day even begins. The endorphins help, too!
Rather than waiting for customers to come to us, we can be more proactive in how help them.
Senior Decision Analyst at Barclays
My job as a Senior Decision Analyst involves… a lot of analytics supporting Barclays Partner Finance – Barclays’ point-of-sale finance business, which offers customers financial solutions such as ‘buy now, pay later’. My role is project based and I manage a team of assistant vice presidents (AVPs), supporting them in their work. I also have my own projects, looking at data to derive any insights that might be useful for the business to drive strategy, helping sales teams strengthen client relationships and supporting clients.
My role helps customers and clients by… using Barclays data to identify opportunities where we can improve or develop propositions, to help fulfil customer and client needs. This work can involve anything from analysing the way customers behave, to reviewing our own internal policies to ensure we are doing business for the benefit of customers, clients and shareholders.
My working life has changed since COVID-19… as we have been working from home for over a year now. Previously, you could bump into people in the office and have a two-minute conversation.
Now, to make sure the team are still connected, we have a weekly quiz – where the winning prize is that you get to be the next ‘quizmaster’ – as well as fortnightly team calls to go through projects and updates. I also have weekly one-to-one meetings with individual team members to have a general catch-up about their wellbeing and anything else on their minds.
I started at Barclays… after training as a chartered accountant at an accountancy firm. Barclays had a scheme for qualified accountants, which was a good way for me to get into financial services. Later, someone in the analytics world came to tell us about what they did – I found that really interesting, so I moved into analytics. I've been with Barclays for eight years now, but it doesn't feel that way because I've worked in a lot of different roles.
My typical work day involves… meetings with stakeholders to go over analysis or requests, and regular catchups with my team. Quite a significant part of my time is prioritising work, because we have a finite number of people and hours, so we need to make sure we tackle high priority tasks first. Then I probably spend around 40% of my time doing analysis – working with different systems to interrogate data and come up with insights. The final output is usually a PowerPoint deck that is presented to stakeholders with our recommendations.
I've been with Barclays for eight years now, but it doesn't feel that way because I've worked in a lot of different roles.
Senior Decision Analyst at Barclays
The thing I love most about my job is… finding the insights that can help the business and customers, so we can improve what we offer. Rather than waiting for customers to come to us, we can be more proactive in how we help them, by identifying any gaps or potential areas of improvement in our processes or products. The whole team has also been great to work with, especially during the pandemic. We have supported each other throughout, and shared stories about how we’re entertaining ourselves outside of work.
My involvement with Barclays initiatives includes… working with a charity called The Access Project to tutor GCSE and A-level students from disadvantaged backgrounds in physics or maths, depending on what they need. I’ve been doing that for the past couple years. It had to stop because of COVID-19, but we’re starting up again online. I’m also a Be Well Champion – promoting initiatives to enhance wellbeing at Barclays.
After work… I used to like taking classes at gym studios, or meeting friends and trying as many restaurants as I could around London – but that hasn’t been possible recently. My husband and I have been quite productive around the flat because we couldn’t do the things we normally do. We’ve done a lot of DIY projects like laying flooring, painting. Although, a year into the pandemic, we now spend more of our time watching TV – we have most of the streaming services!
If I wasn’t at Barclays… and if money wasn’t an issue, I would probably be volunteering my services to work on analytics for a not-for-profit organisation. It’s a very interesting and rewarding area to be in.