Name: Enton Nikaj

Major at Baruch College: BBA Finance
Graduation Year: 2000
School within Baruch College: Zicklin School of Business
Company and Title:  Bank of China, VP and Know Your Customer Officer

1. Tell us about your company and your role there.

I work at Bank of China NY Branch as the "Know Your Customer" (KYC) Officer. I manage the KYC Team in the Legal and Compliance department with the team assisting all First Line Unit personnel with advisory issues in regards to our policy, standards and procedures and reviewing certain customers of the Bank. We perform training as needed to increase awareness of policies and procedures and in response to issues identified.

2. What made you interested in Finances and what drives you in your current profession?

I started at Baruch in 1997 as a transfer student and Finance was something I was interested in during high school. I felt that the field offered a combination of opportunities to learn and develop myself in addition to a rewarding career path. In my current profession, the drive is to work with my team and other personnel to protect the Bank by executing on the current policies and procedures, identifying issues and trends and acting based on those to improve the KYC and Compliance framework. There is part of the work that is always changing as new regulations become law and new trends and typologies in Financial Crime are identified.  This makes the job both interesting and challenging.

3. What were some unique challenges you faced as a VP KYC Officer at Bank of China?

I have never worked for a Chinese Bank in the past so in addition to adjusting to a new company, I also had to adjust to a new culture. However, the last year has been rewarding in building valuable professional and personal relationship which allow me to perform better in my role.

4. How was your experience at Baruch like? How do you feel it benefited you and your career?

Baruch has provided the foundation and education for my career. It allowed me to obtain the first job in corporate America and break through my own glass ceiling as an immigrant to this country. The school was a melting pot with a diverse group of students originating from all over the world and living in almost every borough in NYC. I believe that coming from this environment was a value added as I entered the workforce.

5. What is one of your favorite memories you have from your time at Baruch?

Having quick lunches or dinners at the various casual eateries close to school with students from various countries and backgrounds. It was both a culinary and culturally eye opening experience.

6. If you could change one thing during your time at Baruch, what would it be?

I worked full time while attending school full time. I wished I was working part time and have more opportunities to participate in the extracurricular activities and clubs in the school. It was challenging to balance full time course work and full time work in the evenings and weekends. I also felt that I missed out on student events and the opportunity to get to know more of my fellow classmates and exchange our experiences.

7. Do you have any advice for Baruch students and alumni who majored in Finance?

Expose yourself to internships in the areas of interests and read about the specificity of the roles you wish to perform. Supplement that knowledge by speaking to people who work in these jobs and do a reality check if this is what you want to do. Make adjustments to your career plans as needed.

8. How can people contact you?