Inviting culture and rewarding teamwork at Discover Financial Services
Looking for a career in financial services with a company that has an inclusive culture and offers great benefits? Why not try Discover?
Discover is a leading digital bank and payment services company, whose mission is to help people spend smarter, manage debt better, and save more to achieve brighter financial futures. But what really attracts people to work and prosper at Discover is the unique work culture.
That’s according to Brittany Bannister, who has joined Discover twice. “The big reason I chose to come back is the wonderful work culture at Discover - the way everyone collaborates to get jobs done, along with the company’s commitment to furthering our practice. There’s a lot of focus on improving our craft and that’s been a big deciding factor in me coming back and staying.”
Brittany’s work relates to setting up new communication channels with customers for card accounts – but there are many different roles across the company to suit a variety of backgrounds.
Soumya Raju has a master’s in computer engineering, which, alongside an interest in the financial services industry, opened the door to a job at Discover twelve years ago.
“Discover is a large local employer, and my neighbours told me it was such a great company to work for, with an awesome work culture and great flexibility for a good work-life balance - plus it’s a Fortune 100 ‘best company to work for’. Fortunately, they thought I would fit in well. Discover made it possible to work while I was bringing up my two children - it’s truly an awesome work culture and offers flexibility to juggle all the other things going on in our lives.”
Since then, Soumya has risen quickly through the ranks, tackling a variety of roles. “I am an example of career advancement at Discover. I started as software engineer, because of my technical background, but it has been an amazing journey since which has opened opportunities to show my wider potential. I moved to an infrastructure solutions architect role, then analytics product owner, agile coach and product coach and now I’m a senior product manager. The experiences have been invaluable and taught me a lot about the financial services industry and best practices in software delivery, as well as in leading tech transformations and embracing modern engineering practices – a lot of insights into different realms. Discover has given me that chance to move and advance my career.”
Soumya says that if she had to pick an aspect of her education that has been most useful in her job, it would be clear and concise communication, rather than hard technical skills. “Over the course of my degrees I interacted with experts and learnt how to craft messages for different audiences. Clear and concise communication is key when interacting with customers and colleagues.”
Soumya’s managerial role now focuses on defining and creating product strategy and roadmaps for immersive learning journeys focused on product delivery – “it’s a service for the enterprise focused on product delivery - a form of training and technical support.” Looking ahead, she wants to expand the training process into coaching and practising, “because training is only affective if adopted and practised.”
There are many different roles at Discover, and not just for candidates with financial backgrounds.
Spun off from Morgan Stanley in 2005, Discover Financial Services aims to focus on the customer, alongside community development and ESG goals. Brittany sees this in action every day: “It’s all about the customers, requiring smooth communication... We have teams serving internal and external customers – I serve a variety of both. This means lots of human interaction.”
Dealing with people has become Brittany’s favourite part of the job, but that wasn’t what she necessarily expected. “When I started as a Product Owner it was my worst nightmare as I’m not a big talker. But I do love asking questions, and I’m insanely curious. So, working with many external and internal customers from different functions across such a large organisation is really something I’ve learned to enjoy – it used to be challenging, but now it’s second nature.”
Brittany, like Soumya, also found fresh opportunities to progress within the company. She started as a phone agent, followed by another field location role as a coach and then to headquarters through an internship, where she secured a full-time position as a product owner. “So, regardless of where you start in the company there’s opportunities to move around.”
Discover also provided Brittany with the chance to go back to school to build on earlier college qualifications, “although even without a degree, career paths are open to me because of my experience in the company,” she says.
Brittany and Soumya’s stories show that Discover has roles for candidates from a wide variety of backgrounds. Financial services qualifications are not necessarily required, although everyone in the company builds up an understanding of the financial services industry on the job, and that can have personal benefits too, according to Soumya. “You need to build an awareness of what the financial services industry does, but that also helps with personal finances.”
Brittany agrees: “Initially I did not have a clue how to manage my personal finances, but our focus is to help people build brighter financial futures – and that is applied to staff as well as customers,” she said. “Working at Discover has helped me immensely in my personal life as well.”
Soumya says financial services is a great industry to explore, and Discover is in the forefront of customer-focused modern engineering, “For anyone starting out, they will not only be working for a great company, but also increasing their own financial acumen – that’s me about 12 years ago. It’s so much more than just a credit card company or bank. We also care for one another – we have a people-focused culture; I cannot speak highly enough of that.”