How did I get to take a selfie with our CEO?

Well, it all started when I got the opportunity to be one of the interviewers for an event where Graduate Talent Program participants (GTPs) ask questions to our CEO, Sergio Ermotti. To be honest, the selfie wasn’t at all planned. But let’s start from the beginning, with the preparation for the event.

Together with the team involved, we tried to figure out which questions would be best to ask. This took quite a while! We wanted to include all the topics that graduate trainees, interns and school leavers submitted beforehand. But this was only one part.

We then had to rehearse. We needed to get everything we wanted to say very clear in our minds. At the same time, we needed to make sure that we could listen carefully to the responses and tailor follow-up questions on the spot.

When the day arrived, I was very nervous. This was noticeable at the beginning of the interview, since the speed at which I posed the first question exceeded the speed of light.

But, as the interview progressed, I started feeling more comfortable and my speaking rate reached a normal level. Then the selfie happened. We were talking about social media and – what’s more natural? – I asked him if he would take a selfie with me. Of course he had to say yes! He even suggested that we include the public in the background. This actually helped break the ice and the conversation from then on was quite relaxed.

Towards the end of the interview we still had some spare time, so I took the chance to ask him one last personal question: “What’s the best excuse you’ve come up with when you were late?” Our CEO was speechless – he couldn’t recall a single instance where it had happened! I definitely didn’t expect such a reaction.

Nevertheless, after some thinking he told us a story of a time he was late to a football match, and the coach didn’t let him play because he wasn’t on time. This was very upsetting for him. Our CEO’s advice was then: don’t be late; otherwise you won’t be able to play. Which we can apply to the game of life.

Overall, it was an amazing experience to interview our CEO on stage. And, of course, simply to have a conversation – and a quite pleasant one. My biggest takeaway from this experience was that with enough preparation you can conquer anything!

Natalia in a nutshell

Natalia started as a GTP in Group Technology and is now on rotation in Wealth Management. She is originally from Mexico City and came to Switzerland for her university studies. She graduated from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) in Zurich and started working for UBS in August 2015.

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