How the FinTech Boot Camp Transformed Marc Weimer’s 10-Year Banking Career
Marc Weimer graduated college in the midst of the 2008 recession — so moving across the country wasn’t an issue when he received a great job offer right out of school. A lifelong Chicagoan, Marc ended up moving to Houston, Texas, and jump-started his decade-long career in banking.
As a Director, Sr. Treasury Officer at Bank of America’s Global Transaction Services, Marc helps large, multinational energy and power corporations evaluate and implement day-to-day cash management solutions that support their financial transformation initiatives. His team helps these companies efficiently and effectively manage working capital, oftentimes by replacing legacy technologies and deploying new ones. Increasingly leveraging cloud infrastructure and machine learning, the team cuts costs and improves financial accuracies in the process. Naturally, Marc was curious to learn more about the technology that made these solutions tick.
“I began exploring tech boot camps because I wanted to get hands-on experience,” said Marc. “I wanted to gain an in-depth understanding of emerging fintech tools beyond the talking points so I could help point clients in the right direction. Knowing what you can do with each of these tools, where can you deploy them, and where other options are optimal was my goal.”
Rice University FinTech Boot Camp was the first long-form fintech program offered in the U.S. — and Marc was part of its inaugural cohort. The boot camp transformed the way he approached and performed a job that he had already held for five years. These are some of the biggest changes he’s noticed in his career since completing the boot camp.
Gaining an understanding of today’s technologies
“Our clients’ expectations are growing exponentially,” said Marc. “As a member of an established financial institution, everything from what we need to deliver to how we need to deliver it is changing. Fintech is challenging our industry, in large part because of how these clients are used to interacting with technology in their personal lives.”
From APIs to data visualization, machine learning to natural language processing, and neural networks to blockchain, there is no shortage of new technologies directly impacting Marc’s day-to-day role and responsibilities. And each one of these topics were covered — in some capacity — during the boot camp. Marc estimates that he put about 600 hours total into his studies. Through it all, he continued his full-time job at Bank of America and became a first-time father.
“Looking back, I now realize I had a superficial idea of what all of these technologies were before the boot camp,” said Marc. “As the son of a computer programmer, I was familiar with a few coding languages, but I definitely wasn’t a coder. By no means was the class easy, but I stuck it out. Our instructor was excellent. He was enthusiastic and knowledgeable, pushed us outside our comfort zones, and pointed us towards useful resources. Once we got deeper into the concepts and practiced deploying different languages into solutions, it all clicked, and my understanding of the tools multiplied. I was skeptical of getting into the code, but now I realize how much more I understand because of that foundation and experience.”
Applying a new skill set — and mindset — to his old role
Marc was impressed with how the course molded to the students’ feedback and needs, adjusting the material along the way to avoid burnout and provide maximum support to students. The diversity of student backgrounds brought in a range of interesting perspectives — and the opportunity to work with more experienced students was particularly helpful. Now, Marc feels a lot more competent in his understanding of fintech, and exceedingly confident in his ability to service his clients.
“My clients are some of the largest energy companies in the world and they’re looking to us to suggest tools for their financial transformation,” Marc said. “Whether they’re looking to deploy them externally as part of their client-facing offerings or internally to help the efficiency of their own operations, it’s my job to advise them on the different solutions available for the specific problems they’re trying to solve. There’s no question that I’m better equipped to do that now.”
Realizing his newfound potential — and running with it
Soon after the boot camp ended, Marc met with the head of IT of a large client and his direct reports. Usually, Marc would bring a colleague with a technology or product deployment background, but nobody could make the meeting on short notice — and he didn’t want to lose the opportunity.
“I had created a deck, and began to talk through some concepts Bank of America is deploying,” said Marc. “What I thought was going to be a one-sided presentation became one of the most fruitful conversations of my whole career. I entered the room with a whole new depth of understanding, and to speak on the same level as a CIO, whose role is fully immersed in technology, was incredible. I came out of it praised for both my personal achievements and those of Bank of America.”
For Marc, that experience summed up what he gained from the boot camp. He didn’t go into the boot camp to change careers or land a new role. He did it to thrive in his current role — and that’s exactly what happened.
“I believe I have more worth and value at work now,” he said. “I received a promotion last year, and I think the boot camp played a large role in that. I’m able to have conversations and solve problems that I wouldn’t be able to if it weren’t for taking the course. I still have a lot to learn in the fast-evolving field — but I feel significantly more empowered to make my institution better and move forward my career.”