"Credit Suisse gives me the opportunity to work with cutting edge technology."
HackZurich, Europe's largest hackathon, is being held for the fifth time from September 14-16. Balazs Pinter, one of the winners of last year's Credit Suisse Challenge, has now signed up to work for the bank. While Credit Suisse is delighted to have gained a promising talent thanks to this event, Pinter is excited by the opportunities that the bank has opened up for him.
At last year's HackZurich, you won the Credit Suisse Challenge with Team BankTalk. What precisely did you develop?
The aim was to draw on a number of different technologies to develop an application that would allow database searches to be made by voice. And by voice recognition alone, with no tedious manual input required. A kind of Alexa for banking, as it were. Before this I had only participated in a few small hackathons. So it was really great to be successful when taking part in a major event for the first time.
What were you personally responsible for in the team?
I originally studied Business Information Technology in Budapest, before then spending a year in the US. But by the time I took part in HackZurich I was already living in Switzerland, working for a developer of banking software. So the world of financial services was definitely not alien to me. As I had been programming for years I took over the programming role and handled the architecture and application design of our solution.
What was your impression of Credit Suisse?
I thought they were outstanding. Initially we wanted to take on a challenge of another company. But then we visited the Credit Suisse booth; we chatted to the bank's representatives and heard more detail about the CS challenge. The support and helpful attitude of the Credit Suisse team was impressive, and really took us by surprise. So we abandoned our original plans and took up the bank's challenge.
And you've now recently started working for Credit Suisse.
After HackZurich we all added each other on LinkedIn. Some time after that I was thinking about changing my job. My first thought was to switch internally, but I couldn't find an exciting position with my existing employer. So I looked around and stumbled across a vacancy at Credit Suisse. I contacted the people I knew at the bank through HackZurich to sound out whether the job in question might be something for me. They in turn put me in touch with HR, and within three or four weeks I had signed a contract.
How is the bank supporting your professional development?
Credit Suisse gives me the opportunity to work with cutting edge technology and to continually learn new things. I am currently involved with big data technologies in the area of financial crime compliance. We collect data from sanction lists published by external providers and then feed this into a giant database. We then reconcile these entries with our own client data so that we can identify possible matches in a targeted way. If we then find we have a connection with a sanctioned party we can respond immediately. So we are contributing to Credit Suisse being compliant at all times.
What advice would you give to anyone participating in this year's HackZurich?
Don't be shy. Visit the company booths, talk to them all. Try to network, exchange thoughts and ideas with other teams, and try and make sure you benefit from the event as much as possible. Put simply: Be open to new things and don’t forget to enjoy yourself.