My Experience Working @ one of the Big Five Banks

Hey!! 👋 I’m a 16-year-old who’s way too passionate about using emerging technologies like Blockchain, Machine Learning and Nanotechnology, etc. to solve important problems in the world.

Me at TD Bank
  • Met the Layer 6 Team, watched a review from the creator of ODE-RNN Time series and developed a good relationship with the CEO of Layer 6, Tomi!!
  • Gave a Tech Connect Presentation & Lunch and Learn to over 160+ TD Workers!
  • Built strong relationships with the CEO of TD (Bharat Masrani), EVP of Digital (Rizwan Khalfan), VP of Digital Channels (Franklin Garrigues) and Head of Innovation, Technology and Shared Services at TD (Michael Rhodes).
  • OH — and pretty much made besties with most (if not all) of the team in Digital at TD and other parts of the bank like mortgage, insurance and data analytics.
  • Learned about and developed skills in, market research, UX/UI, graphic design, design research and front-end/back-end web app development.
  • Developed basic banking, finance knowledge and got deep into the FinTech space. Check out this article I wrote on my knowledge ;)
  • AND more….
Franklin (left), Summee, Me, Azim, Kevin (right)

A New Culture: The Corporate World

I’ve worked with a lot of different startups but the corporate world is very different. I think getting corporate experience (especially early on in your career) is important because it allows you to understand how the world works by working with the big players that shape it the most, you get a lot of market understanding + you understand how to work with other big governments, & institutions.

Take notes on your progress, the stuff you’re working on, and things that you like and don’t like.

Establishing clear metrics to measure progress and success is just as important as delivering.

Learning how to work in a corporate environment from 9–5.

During my internship, I played around a lot with my schedule and environment to understand how I work best. I realized that working 9–5 required some schedule adjustments and I had to learn to communicate better and schedule my time in-between projects.

Ask Questions (Lots of Them!)

One of the main things that my co-workers remember about me is that I asked a lot of questions and always asked: “Why?”. Like “Why does this app not have this functionality?” or “Why can’t we change this and do it this other way?”.

Building a Web App or Product

When you’re working on a project, you often have to collaborate with a lot of people and pass it off to other teams before it gets officially released. This is especially true in the corporate structure where a task is carefully divided amongst various people. Which is why you have to keep other teams in mind while doing your role, but also don’t overstep where you don’t need too. For ex., while doing design, think about how feasible it would be for a developer to create that feature.

UX/UI: User Design is so Important!!

Here are some more design thinking specific things I learned about user experience:

  • If you make people think, you make them unhappy. People like to have control, which means they want to know what they should do immediately and then do it.
  • When a user opens an app or a web page they should be able to tell right away what it’s for. This comes from really understanding the value it is adding but also making things simple.
  • Doing lab tests are important. There are a lot of factors to consider when designing a product. There are also a lot of different people you can target but you want to make something that everyone can use. It’s easy to get tunnel-visioned when you are designing something but doing lab tests on any person (without bias) you can find issues that might have slipped away.
  • People will stick to things as long as they work well. This means you have to make your app “sticky”, so that 1. users keep using it after downloading it, and 2. it works well so people don’t move over to something else.

Take Ownership & Figure Stuff Out

Having an intention is so important. You always want to know what exactly you want to get out of working on a project. For me, one of the skills I wanted to develop was my technical knowledge.

Special Shoutouts

Really everyone I met during my stay at TD deserves a shoutout but I’ll try to showcase my gratitude here (hint: this won’t be short):

  • Nancy — for helping do all paperwork to make our onboarding and offboarding as smooth as possible.
  • Summee & Kevin — I can’t thank you guys enough for making this my best summer yet. You guys are the greatest managers EVER, and your constant feedback & help meant a lot!!
  • Tomi — thanks for allowing me to visit Layer 6 and get a glimpse at the awesome work you’re doing. Our conversation was very useful and it definitely helped me understand some more problems in the world to tap into!
  • Dave — for organizing an awesome Tech Connect and for all your appreciation.
  • Zuhair— I love seeing someone with a fresh perspective in the company, and you were exactly that person. Your experience with startups, our lunches and deep conversations about changes we want to see in the company helped me better understand how the world works.
  • Imran Khan — thanks a lot for your constant support and help with better understanding the wallet market space like Ugo.
  • Matthew — you were one of our very first friends on the team. You’re were constantly here to support us and give us constructive feedback, that meant a lot!!

I’m a developer & innovator who enjoys building products and researching ways we can use AI, Blockchain & robotics to solve problems in healthcare and energy!