Originally from Oregon, US, 26-year-old Emma Northcott now lives in London, where she’s worked for Monzo (formerly Mondo) Bank as its Head of Customer Operations for the past eight months. Here’s what life’s like working for a digital bank…
When do you usually arrive at the office?
Emma Northcott: “My alarm goes off at 7am and I’m usually in the office by 9:30am, unless I’m playing early squash with one my colleagues. There’s a group of about six of us who play on a weekly basis.”
What’s the first thing you do once you arrive?
“As a mobile-only bank the first thing I do is check the in-app customer support and address any queries as quickly as possible. The in-app chat is crucial because it helps us have a two-way conversation with our customers and lets them know that we are dealing with their requests.”
Can you describe your typical morning?
“Each morning I make a ‘to do’ list in Trello – an app-based workflow and collaboration tool we use. As Head of Customer Operations my role encompasses everything from representing customer feedback in product meetings, to liaising with our card issuer on customer-related reports and resource planning to keep up with Monzo’s amazing growth.
“The whole team has a quick stand-up meeting at 10am – the ‘10 at 10’ – when we update on anything new and flag any meetings or visitors we are expecting. Apart from that, no two mornings are the same at Monzo. Depending on the day, I may be interviewing potential hires, training new staff, meeting with another team, or preparing reports for internal meetings and card issuer.”
What happens at lunchtime?
“I try to get out of the office every day at lunchtime for at least half an hour. We each have a ‘lunch on Monzo’ every couple of months, which is an opportunity to go out with randomly selected members of different teams. It’s a great way to stay in touch with what’s going on in the rest of the company, explore new ideas and get a fresh perspective on projects that I am working on.”
What does a typical afternoon look like?
“Again, it changes every day. I have weekly afternoon meetings with the product and operations engineers when I give feedback from customer support on feature requests and bugs for both the app and internal tooling. This is hugely important because we are building Monzo with the help of our customers and this is what makes our bank so different; we really are listening to what our users want and need to make Monzo a bank that customers love.”
What’s the best thing about what you do?
“Customer feedback is highly valued at Monzo. I love being able to interact with the product, engineering and regulation teams to feedback on our customers’ wants and needs. I’ve never worked in a company where these opinions are so highly valued by the larger team, and where they can so strongly influence the development of the technology.”
What time are you home usually home?
“That depends – I usually wrap up in the office by 7pm but Monzo is also a very social office and there may be something like yoga or an organised staff event on, which means I will get home a bit later.”
What do you know now that you wish you’d known when you were leaving university?
“I wish I knew it was okay not to know what I wanted to do. When I finished my undergraduate degree I went to study an MA in fashion entrepreneurship. It was really interesting but it made me realise fashion was a hobby for me, not a career path. But it was through that course I realised my interest in technology and start-ups, which, eventually, brought me to Monzo.”
What single piece of advice do you have for today’s graduates?
“Think out of the box and explore different opportunities when it comes to job hunting. There are many pros and cons to both the corporate and start-up route, but I think pigeonholing yourself into one industry or company may mean you miss out on some great opportunities.”
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