Nicholas (Nick) Schumann
HSBC North America
US Head of Financial Crime Program, Framework & Engagement | Compliance Member, HSBC’s Employee Resource Group (ERG) for Veteran/Military Service-member issues, “Valor”
Nick Schumann enlisted in the US Army Reserve in 2003 and gained a direct commission as an officer in 2007. He currently serves as a Major in the US Army Reserve with more than 19 years of service. As a Reservist, Nick is currently attached to United States Southern Command (Southcom), which is based in Miami, FL. He is also a student at the Command & General Staff College.
After a couple deployments to the Middle East while enlisted, and after gaining his commission and going through the Officer Basic Course and functional area school, Nick began looking for roles in the public sector. Luckily, he was able to join the US Treasury’s Office of Terrorism and Financial Intelligence, the Treasury’s national security division. Nick was hired into this role by a fellow Army veteran he had served with in Kuwait. While at Treasury, he focused on illicit finance and helped develop targeted financial measures, such as sanctions, against national security threats primarily in Latin America and the Caribbean.
While at Treasury, Nick also earned his MBA at the University of Florida which was fully paid for by the post-9/11 GI Bill. This degree was helpful in his transition to the private sector and wouldn’t have been possible for Nick, without VA funding. After almost seven years at Treasury, Nick began looking at opportunities in the financial sector, specifically in the risk and compliance space (so as to carry on with his work combatting financial crime). He was then recommended to HSBC by a former US Treasury manager and was able to land a leadership role with the newly formed Financial Intelligence Unit.
Nick accredits his placement in his current role to his Army experience, which served as the foundation for his professional career. Nick states, “The Army got me to into Federal Government service as a civilian, with the Treasury Department, and my Treasury experience helped get me to HSBC.”
As Nick immersed himself into his current role, he wanted to find a community of fellow Veterans and Veteran supporters that he could connect with. Fortunately, he was able to do so through HSBC’s Veterans-focused Employee Resource Group (ERG), “Valor”. Valor focuses on a range of Veteran and service-member related areas such as Veteran recruitment, retention, employee policies, and volunteerism. Nick shares, “ERGs, like Valor, offer an excellent venue for supporting the transition process and I would strongly recommend joining one. And if one doesn’t exist, start one yourself”.
We asked Nick what advice he may have for service members and veterans considering a career in financial services?
“The advice I would give for service members and Veterans considering a career in financial services is as follows:
- Financial institutions are great places to work and they have a wide variety of different roles where Veterans can make an impact. Please don’t think that you need a degree in finance or an MBA to work at a bank. And you can find all sorts of different financial institutions across the country from large banks to FinTechs to cryptocurrency exchanges. Once you’re in a financial institution, you can also serve in different, rewarding roles over the course of your career.
- Don’t wait until your service obligation is about to end to begin your transition process. Be proactive and get an early start.
- Consider relevant training and certifications options for your field of interest. We’re currently working with a variety of training and certification providers in the risk / compliance field, for example, that have either developed or are beginning to develop Veteran-specific offerings.
- In college, I had a summer job selling books door-to-door. I found that there was direct correlation between the number of doors I knocked on and the number of books I sold. Apply this logic to your transition process. At the same time, understand that relationships matter so leverage the people you already know to aid you in your job / new career search.
- Finally, using a baseball analogy to apply to the transition process, understand that hitting a single is just fine. You don’t need to hit a grand slam your first time up to the plate. Your first job / role coming out of the military may not be your dream job but understand that it’s a step forward and that’s ok.”