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Women in Risk Advisory: Krisztina S. Nagy on how rewarding teams for their achievements builds trust

As a partner in Risk Advisory at Deloitte Hungary, Krisztina S. Nagy knows a lot about taking advantage of new opportunities and staying committed to her team. With over 10 years of experience in risk, she has made an impact not only in her home country but also across countries and Deloitte divisions as a leader in financial risk management.

We recently had the pleasure of sitting down with Krisztina as we honour Deloitte’s Women in Risk Advisory. She discusses her experiences at Deloitte, notable achievements and advice for women entering careers in risk.

How a financial advisor became a risk leader

For Krisztina, a career in Risk Advisory was not always what she had planned for herself. After graduating from university, Krisztina applied for a role at a large accounting firm in its financial advisory services department, hoping to advise clients on finance and investments.

“But I ended up starting my career in risk because of an HR mix-up!” Krisztina says. “Instead of interviewing with financial advisory services, I got set up with the financial services advisory team instead, which focuses on risks in the industry. It was fortuitous, though! Even after I admitted that I was strictly prepared to talk about finance, I found the interview and role so exciting that we kept talking. I ended up getting the job!”

After working at that firm for a year-and-a-half, Krisztina moved on to Deloitte, tackling similar risk topics in Risk Advisory. Since then, Krisztina has taken on many leadership roles, including her current one as partner in Deloitte Hungary, where she leads a team of 100 people across a number of Risk Advisory offerings.

Krisztina also manages the financial services industry (FSI) regulatory team at Deloitte Hungary and leads the FSI environmental, social, and governance (ESG) go-to-market strategy for all of Deloitte’s Central European operations.

So, despite the change in career path, Krisztina still works with the banking and finance industry, just from a risk management perspective.

“Life throws you many curveballs that you have the opportunity to catch,” she says. “And I was able to turn that accidental interview into a career that’s really fulfilling.”

And what excites Krisztina most about her role today? Change! Krisztina might not have always seen herself in risk, but she did always envision herself as a consultant because of the constant change and new opportunities involved.

A unique way of solving client problems

Throughout her career at Deloitte, Krisztina has spent time working at different global offices, including in London. While there, she noticed a difference in business and market culture, compared to the culture back home in Hungary.

“I have a unique perspective when it comes to solving problems for our clients,” Krisztina says. “Often, the business challenges and technology trends back in London percolate shortly after to Central Europe. When that happens, I have a better idea of how to handle them.”

According to Krisztina, there are three hot topics that prompt her Central European banking sector clients to turn to Risk Advisory.

  • First, credit risk is increasing due to the recession in Europe. Krisztina says that there are many factors that have contributed to the recession, including the energy crisis, as a result of the Ukraine war; inflation; and the increase in interest rates. Banks face the need to find different ways of identifying financially vulnerable customers and develop targeted approaches to support them throughout this period, she adds.
  • Secondly, Europe is undergoing an ESG revolution, where banks have a key role to play, Krisztina says. “I believe that the energy crisis is not going to relieve the pressure on banks. On the contrary, there will be an even greater push to transition towards a greener and more sustainable economy,” she notes.
  • Lastly, Krisztina says financial stability can be fragile — and it’s important to be prepared. “There is a big regulatory focus on bank resolution, which is about preparing banks and regulators for potential bank failures, with an aim of minimising negative implications for depositors using tools like bail-in and asset separation,” she says.

Risk Advisory’s goal is to help clients navigate difficult times and be prepared for such challenges or prevent them from happening in the first place.

“We love data,” Krisztina says. “My team tries to predict the future based on what has happened in the past. And as the saying goes, what is not measured is not managed.”

But at the heart of Krisztina’s role is listening to clients, understanding their needs, and mobilising resources Deloitte has to meet those needs. And she loves the people-focussed aspects of the job — interacting with people every day motivates her, Krisztina says, as does building trust with her team and clients.

“The best client relationships come from long-term projects,” Krisztina notes. “That’s because through more collaboration, strong trust forms between the two sides, and that brings success.”

Rewarding achievements builds strong teams

As a leader in Risk Advisory, Krisztina has experienced many successes, but she says her most notable one happened while she was working in London early in her career.

She was put on a project working with a bank to establish and build its risk function. And while it can be challenging to start and build a function from the ground up, Krisztina found it extremely rewarding to see the growth.

“You could really see the impact we made because something physically changed on their side — making them stronger for the future,” she says.

That sense of achievement and overcoming difficulty together translates to a really strong team and builds trust, she says.

But success is measured differently by each person, she notes. Because the risk business is a very people-focussed business, success for Deloitte translates to satisfied clients, who are driving business resilience and improving results.

“When we get out of bed each morning, that’s what we have in mind — satisfying and supporting our clients,” Krisztina explains.

Krisztina says that it’s important for leaders to understand what their clients and team members need because there’s no cookie-cutter approach to defining success. One client might view success as higher revenue, while another might view it as reaching net zero emissions.

She adds that her colleagues also appreciate the impact they’re making on clients. They crave knowing that what they’re doing matters and is making a difference.

“Everyone just wants to leave their mark,” she says. “This is why I look for win-win set ups. Every time we embark on a new project, I make sure to ask: What is there for my team to gain from collaborating with this client? What will our client gain from working with us? What is each party’s definition of success, and how will we measure and celebrate it?”

And as milestones are met, it’s important to celebrate successes as a team. “We work so hard that sometimes we forget to stop and see what we’ve accomplished,” Krisztina says. “We need to recognise each other for our efforts and successes because as humans, we need that recognition.”

Advice for women in risk

As a woman in Risk Advisory, Krisztina has learnt how to embrace her strengths. Early in her career, Krisztina was often the youngest at the table — and the only woman. And while working on the bank project in London, she says she also found herself as the only Eastern European employee.

“One of the challenges I had at the beginning was that I was always trying to be like everyone else,” she says. “But that didn’t work. I was too young, not Western European, and a woman. At some point I just learnt to let it go and to focus on what I was good at.”

Krisztina says that approach helped her overcome a lot of her anxieties and mental blocks. She says she still makes mistakes and faces challenges — but she does so in her own way and without fear, knowing the experiences will help her grow. So, her advice for women in risk? Be yourself!

“The more women are able to be true to themselves, the more success they’ll experience in their journeys,” Krisztina says.

She also advises women to invest in subject-matter knowledge — because the risk industry can be very technical — and be open to new opportunities.

View Deloitte’s Women in Risk Advisory Series.