Building a Career in Finance at Nielsen

Michael is a finance business partner for our global Data Science organization, currently based in Chicago, Ill. Michael joined Nielsen’s Financial Leadership Program in 2009 and has since held several positions which have allowed him to excel in his finance career.

I joined Nielsen in 2009 and began what would turn out to be the first step of many in building a great career. I was recruited at Miami University in Ohio on the premise that Nielsen was starting an Early Careers program for various functions, including my area of interest, finance. Since I was a part of the inaugural class, there weren’t any hard selling points on how the program would operate, or what types of roles graduates could obtain once we were out of the program. This made me feel nervous about the unknown, but also excited to a part of something new!

In the first two years of the program, I had four managers, moved to three different cities, and lived in another country. I wasn’t able to study abroad in college, so living in Singapore in my early 20s was an unparalleled experience. It was intimidating, yet fun, to learn about (and integrate with) all of the cultures in the office, the country, and its surrounding regions that I had previously only read about or seen on TV. I also had to learn how to balance and cultivate my network and relationships from halfway around the world. I couldn’t believe how much time, effort, and resources Nielsen invested in me and the broader program.

I spent the next four years in a different leadership development program that was in the finance area of the business called the Corporate Audit Staff. Here, I partnered and consulted with many businesses in Nielsen’s global portfolio. I traveled to more than 30 Nielsen offices across 15 countries, where I analyzed risk and the prioritization of projects, and ensured they were aligned with company goals. This allowed me to expand the depth and breadth of my understanding of the Nielsen business model and build a vast and diverse professional and personal network along the way.

After I completed that program, now six years into my career at Nielsen, an opportunity presented itself that would stretch me to new levels. I relocated to Mexico City to lead our finance team during a period of process breakdown and high turnover. Being an expat again was a lot different this time around. I had gotten married six months earlier, and had to convince my wife to move to Mexico. And this time, the work expectations were a lot higher. I was definitely nervous about the challenges I would face but I had a great background to stand on, and an even stronger network to utilize along the way.

My time in this role was a great learning experience that allowed me to pave the way for my next opportunity, which was to lead a finance transformation team in Latin America. We reshaped the roles and responsibilities across all of Nielsen’s Latin America finance teams by implementing a service model that promotes efficiency, controllership and business partnership. After a year in this role, I was offered the opportunity to work as the finance business partner to our global Data Science organization. I moved back to the U.S. and now partner with our Chief Research Officer, Mainak Mazumdar, and his leadership team to drive the financial agenda aligned with the business strategy. My experiences allowed me to learn how Nielsen designs and implements our methodologies and provide value through my diverse financial background.

I love that Nielsen doesn’t develop entry-level associates by pushing them through a leadership development factory just to have them all come out the same. Instead, the company provides opportunities and presents challenges that allow associates to grow up with Nielsen, be themselves along the way and make real and lasting differences. Looking back on the past eight years, I couldn’t have imagined a start to a career that would be so rich in opportunities, relationships and experiences.