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BlackRock

  • 1,000 - 50,000 employees

Obi Mbakwe

Every day at BlackRock presents challenges that are fresh and unique. Here is an example of what a typical Monday looks like for me.

4.30 AM

Regardless of how busy a working week may be, I always start my morning with my daily exercise fix. I love to keep fit, so every morning I’ll either be cycling my bike along Sydney’s eastern beaches or training on the outdoor workout equipment at the local park. Staying active is a key facet of BlackRock culture, and so it’s common practice for many of my workmates to exercise during the workday, either going to the gym or playing social sport. I’ve always exercised early and probably always will, but BlackRock promotes staying active as part of a healthy work-life balance, at whatever time that best suits. After I exercise I clean up at home and pack my food for the day (because buying out every day gets mighty expensive!) before jumping on the bus and heading into work.

7.15 AM

As soon as I get into the office I sit down at my desk and start reading a book. My ‘go to’ is usually something related to finance or economics. This benefits me in two main ways: firstly, reading is a hobby that allows me to start my day with an activity that I genuinely enjoy; and secondly, the content of the books that I read, being finance related, implicitly helps me with my job.

8.00 AM

After this, I turn on my computer and read the Australian Financial Review online. This helps me stay up to date with any company or market-specific news that may be of relevance to our clients, and any other markets that I have particular interest in. I then take some time to respond to any emails that I may have received overnight from colleagues in our overseas offices. I address priority emails first, such as client queries or investment updates, before addressing emails that are less important.

BlackRock Obi Mbakwe at his desk

9.00 AM

I run upstairs to the client business meeting that is attended by every member of the Australian client business, including the Melbourne and Brisbane offices who are video-conferenced in. These meetings allow us to review any key events that may have occurred over the previous fortnight, whilst discussing strategy for ensuing weeks. Today’s meeting was particularly interesting, with portfolio managers from both the Fixed Income and Fundamental Equities Investment teams presenting on the state of the global macroeconomic environment, and the potential implications that it may have on our clients.

10.00 AM

I return to my desk and start work on whatever item is highest on my priority list, which I usually compile the night before. I’m currently in the process of responding to a request for proposal for a multi-asset mandate that is being tendered by a large Australian client. Given that the proposal is due to be submitted next week, a large proportion of my day will be dedicated to completing it. As the mandate requires input from a variety of stakeholders within the businesses, I’ve organised meetings with several of the teams within BlackRock, both locally and domestically, to source their input for the proposal. As these meetings are scheduled for the afternoon, I spend the morning addressing the questions within the document that I can respond to.

12.30 PM

I typically can’t survive much past 12.30 pm without succumbing to intense pangs of hunger. I grab my lunch and join a few of my workmates in the kitchen. The topic of conversation is usually eclectic and engaging, although Mondays are typically reserved for a review of the weekend’s activities. Lunch is the perfect time to catch up with colleagues from other teams that I seldom see.

BlackRock Obi Mbakwe meeting

2.30 PM

By mid-afternoon it’s time for me to get out of the office for a walk around Circular Quay. The nature of my job means that I spent long periods of time in front of a computer screen. An afternoon walk gives me the opportunity to have a break, stretch my legs, rest my eyes and refocus for the remainder of the day.

3.00 PM

When I commenced the graduate programme, our firm’s chief operating officer (COO) organised for me to catch up with him on a monthly basis to discuss my progress through the programme. These meetings allow me to ask him for career advice, flag any aspects of the programme that I think need improving and speak about the general state of the Australian investment management market. Today we spent our time brainstorming the types of roles that I could conceivably fill at the conclusion of the programme. These meetings have proven to be invaluable as I continue to assess the shape of my future career.

4.00 PM

After returning to my desk, I jump on a call to discuss some of the outstanding items from the request for proposal that I was working on this morning. The call includes product strategists from San Francisco, the Global Consultant Relations team in New York, Client Contracting in Singapore and Legal and Compliance in Sydney, highlighting the truly global nature of the firm. Virtual meetings with global teams are always a highlight as they provide insight into what working within other teams in the firm is like. Following the call I spend the rest of the afternoon finishing smaller tasks that have been received over the course of the day.

6.00 PM

By 6.00 pm I finish work and eat dinner in the office.

6.30 PM

By early evening the office quietens down significantly, with the majority of my colleagues either headed home or winding down for the day. This provides the perfect space to complete any personal administrative tasks that I may have outstanding. I also spend a couple of hours studying for next year’s Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) exam that I’m currently in the process of preparing for.

Once done, I pack my bag and head home for the evening.

9.00 PM

By the time I arrive home, my mother is usually sitting in front of the television. Though typically none too interested in what she is watching, joining her in front of the TV provides a great opportunity for me to catch up with her and my other family members before they head to bed.

10.30 PM

I check my personal emails, polish my shoes and pull out my suit for the following day before jumping into bed.