BANK ON IT: Kimberly Oliver, Process Improvement Analyst

By Madeline Martin on Thursday, March 31, 2022

 Name:  Kimberly Oliver |  Age:  24 |  Hometown:  Stuttgart |  Alma mater:  Arkansas State University (undergraduate); University of Arkansas (graduate) |  Major:  Agricultural Business & Animal Science (undergraduate); Agricultural Economics (graduate) |  Job title:  Process Improvement Team Analyst |  Employer:  Farmers & Merchants Bank

Why did you choose a career in this field?

After earning a master’s degree in economics, I enjoy solving problems and finding the most efficient solutions to those problems. In my role as a process improvement team analyst, I can utilize those skills to help other departments within the bank.

Did you always plan to go this route?

No, I actually began my college career thinking that I wanted to be a veterinarian. As I progressed further into my education, I began to realize how much more I enjoyed my business- and finance-related classes compared to my animal science courses. I then began looking for internships that would allow me to explore this. After my professor spoke with a board member of Farmers and Merchants Bank, who then spoke with Brad Chambless, President and CEO, I began interning for the bank in the summer of 2019. This opportunity helped solidify that a banking career was definitely a good fit for me.

Do you have a financial role model?

My financial role models would be my parents who have encouraged me from a young age to understand the value of money. When I turned 16 and got my first car, I was responsible for paying gas and insurance. I was in the work-program in high school where I got out of school a class period early to go to work in the afternoons. Looking back, I think those expectations from my parents helped me become a responsible adult.

What is the most surprising thing about your job?

The most surprising thing about my job has been the amount of time and resources that we can save employees and the bank through our updated and even some automated processes. It has felt very rewarding learning to use the different software platforms and completing projects that truly make a difference within the bank.

What natural abilities should someone have to succeed in this field?

In my opinion, a hard work ethic and self-motivation go a long way no matter what career field you’re entering. In banking, attention to detail and accuracy is very important. Also, good communication skills can be vital in a position with frequent customer interaction.

How do you feel about this statement? “I can’t work in a financial role because I’m not good at (or hate) math”?

I don’t think this statement is true at all! Not all banking positions are math-focused, such as careers in the IT, security or marketing departments. Other positions that generally use more math, such as a career in lending, can be centered more around analyzing the numbers and not necessarily calculating the math.