Growing up in an Air Force family, Joshua Loud had the opportunity to live in many different places—including abroad in Germany. He recognizes that part of his childhood as a strong motivator to take his career abroad and give his children a multicultural experience of their own. After completing his degree in Economics and Political Science at BYU, he graduated from the Stanford School of Business. Rather than take his political economics PhD into academics, he sought to apply his research at the U.S. Department of Treasury before moving into country risk with GE Capital in Connecticut. Joshua Loud shares his experience working in global finance as the current Head of Sovereign and Country Risk at the European Bank for Reconstruction & Development (EBRD) in London.
European Bank for Reconstruction & Development
Development banks are government-sponsored financial institutions designed to strengthen developing economies, the most well-known of which being the World Bank. There are four development banks at the regional level, with the EBRD primarily servicing Eastern Europe and Central Asia. The EBRD was created to assist newly democratic Europe in the transition to market-driven economies after the Berlin Wall fell in 1990 and has begun to expand to Middle Eastern countries in recent years. As part of the bank’s goal, country risk addresses the broad risks of a macroeconomy to promote sustainable market prosperity. Loud appreciates the variety of roles within global finance that challenge him to learn new things. Like other areas of finance, he sees the future of country risk as one where professionals will utilize AI and other technological tools to improve the discipline.
Working in a Global Environment
The nature of the EBRD creates a very diverse workplace environment. Important shareholders include European governments, the United States, Japan, and Mexico. The diversity of clients provides opportunities for travel, while the range of ethnicities on staff provide a broadened perspective. Loud says that coming to know people from different countries and cultures is one of the most rewarding aspects of the job and makes current events more meaningful. Cautioning against personal biases or stereotypes, he encourages those working in a global environment to learn how to communicate effectively on an individual basis. “At the end of the day, people are people...It’s more about knowing the members of your team than it is about knowing where they’re from.”
Preparing for an International Career
With many opportunities available, Loud suggests that aspiring professionals make it clear to themselves and potential employers what they are interested in. International finance in London is very different than working for an organization in Africa; it is important to determine what students want to do and where, so that the goal can be worked toward. He suggests candidates consider applying to positions that will either be able to place them globally or will teach the skills that will get them there. Lateral moves have a less defined path but can provide the experience to move into the positions that are ultimately wanted. Loud emphasizes prioritizing the hard skills of the roles that may interest students. “International finance is still finance, so you have to have the methodological chops to do the work...If you can’t demonstrate that you can do the job, then you won’t get the job.”