To be fluent in finance, you need to immerse yourself in all sides of the business
Ivan Ivanov shares his career journey at Verizon that helped transform the finance organization.
“Pomp and Circumstance” blared through the arena as graduates moved their tassels from the right side to the left side of their caps.
For many graduates, it marked the beginning of their job searches. For Ivan Ivanov, a Bulgarian-born immigrant fluent in 5 languages and the son of a fashion designer, he barely had enough time to take a breather between assignments before beginning his new job.
“I graduated from college on a Friday and started working the following Monday,” he said. “Even though I didn’t have a lot of time to rest, some of the best advice I received from my mother was very applicable even today: always dress for success.”
That’s how Ivanov, an executive director in financial planning and analysis at Verizon, started at the company 15 years ago. Along the way, he has held a variety of roles that led him to his current position.
Working at Verizon
“I built a foundation through internships in college in investment banking, but I knew I wanted to pursue a career in a large American corporation,” he said. “That’s how I landed in corporate development and strategy at my first job.”
But that was then. This is now.
We’re bringing in top talent – whether its bankers, consultants, or industry experts – to transform the overall financial organization
Ivanov’s current responsibilities include financial planning and analysis (FPA), performance management, commercial analysis, quota compensation and fiscal governance.
He likens his job to an architect. He said he and his team are able to visualize something, build it, and see the outcome of their decisions directly.
“In my role I can experience first-hand how we manage the business, how we interact with customers, and how we build the brand to better serve our customers,” he said. “We’re bringing in top talent – whether its bankers, consultants, or industry experts – to transform the overall financial organization.”
Leading a team of nearly 60, Ivanov’s organization supports Verizon Consumer Markets, the second-largest Verizon business unit with 9,000 employees focused on the company’s wireline business.
Ivanov explains Verizon is distinguished as an employer of choice in financial planning and analysis because these team members are very “on-the-ground” with their roles and responsibilities.
He said, "We like to involve and develop employees so when it’s time to make significant decisions, they are ready.”
That means promoting movement within the business to gain exposure as to how the business operates. For example, engineers might be moved to the finance side of the business – and vice versa – so that individuals can grow and develop both their professional and personal skills and network.
Ivanov knows from first-hand experience.
Prior to his current role, Ivanov led Verizon’s capital allocation function for an annual program exceeding $17 billion in investments across all business units including network, IT, operations, and products. In addition, he held roles including corporate development, mergers and acquisitions, and strategic planning.
Interest in finance
Ivanov said to look at his own background for individuals who are interested in starting a career in finance at Verizon. The company offers a fast-paced atmosphere and the opportunity to work on complex decisions (with finance being at the center of all decision-making).
“We look for individuals who have an intellectual curiosity about finance, that have agile thinking, and that have the attitude and aptitude to succeed in the organization,” he said. “Verizon is at the epicenter of the technological revolution. Few large companies can offer that unique combination of diversity, movement in the business, and the capacity to learn.”
He added, “That’s the beauty of this job. I’ve been exposed to different areas of the business, and I bring that experience to the table every time a decision needs to be made.”
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