International Credit Perspective--A Series of Interviews with Some of the World's Leading Practitioners
A Passion for Business
Jacky Jamieson admits that she has a passion--and that passion is international business. "I truly enjoy my work," she shared with me during a recent interview. "It is exciting, dynamic and challenging." Named one of the "Fifty Most Influential People in Credit" by Credit Today, it is clear that Ms. Jamieson's passion has been a catalyst for her success in the world of international credit and finance.
A noted international credit and financial risk management executive, Ms. Jamieson is the Director of the International Division for The Credit Department, a Minnesota-based credit management firm that helps companies create or re-engineer their credit and collection policies and procedures. It also provides outsourcing services for the entire credit department function. As a credit and financial risk program developer, she utilizes an extensive network of international bankers, risk rating agencies, software solution companies, trade insurers and government agencies to fit the individual needs of clients participating in international transactions. She and her team are experienced, structured trade finance negotiators on sales ranging from $50,000 to $25 million. She advises customers on corporate workout strategies, manages international banking relationships worldwide and coordinates international legal portfolios. Before joining The Credit Department as a principal, Ms. Jamieson was the Director of Inter national Credit for ConAgra Refrigerated Foods Company, a Fortune 100 company.
I asked Ms. Jamieson if she would share with us how she entered a career in international financial risk management. "My educational background helped me tremendously in working with and understanding international relations. I majored in ancient history and early European history because that was where my interest resided. But I also took a minor in accounting because my father advised me to have a marketable skill. Studying history not only trained me to think analytically, but required me to become a good writer as well. Doing historical research is like working with a puzzle--you learn to fit together bits and pieces of information and then analyze the whole."
Ms. Jamieson began her career working on the finance side. While employed at Harvard University as a fund accountant for the director involved in international affairs, she became intrigued by the international finance aspects. "I began to do a lot of reading. I also took MBA classes on political economics, which led me to study country risk analysis. My finance background piqued my interest in customer risk and foreign bank risk. Eventually I went to work for ConAgra as a corporate controller. Later, I moved into the area of credit risk management control and eventually assumed the position of director of international credit after creating the international risk methodology and infrastructure for the company's $1.5 billion international portfolio."
Regarding the avenue(s) to follow if pursuing a career in the field of international credit risk management, Ms. Jamieson recommends starting out by getting "plugged" into the world of international business. "Become informed about the hot areas of international finance where the investment risks are. It is critical to understand the methodology behind the country's risk, as well as the foreign bank risk. The skills for international risk management are global. You can choose to focus on a region by interest or by market, then dive into that market to become more specialized. Always remember the three basic primary risk elements: customer, country and foreign bank. …