“For me, good decisions are made with the right tools and the right vision.” - Stephane Ma, lawyer at OMNI Bank and Financial Service

18/11/2022 | Stephane Ma

Right now, cutting-edge technologies are reshaping the way we work in every field. High-level data analysis and artificial intelligence are no longer only relevant to technological areas, and instead, are transforming decision-making in every field. 

Stephane Ma, a lawyer at OMNI Bank and Financial Service, acknowledged that her skill set needed to expand beyond theory and incorporate an entrepreneurial spirit and innovation into the legal field. This is what drove her to participate in a previous call for the Santander Open Academy | Digital Business program, launched by Banco Santander in collaboration with the University of Chicago

This training is aimed at those who want to train in the knowledge and use of new technologies and management models in a highly competitive professional environment. In this interview, Stephane explains how this experience helped her achieve these goals.

“I would say the most rewarding aspect of the course was the access to practical knowledge and learning from my colleagues' experiences.”

Stephane Ma

You're a lawyer at OMNI Bank and Financial Service. Could you explain more about your position?

I work with the analytics team in the legal department of OMNI Finance. I am a lawyer, with a speciality in business law with an emphasis on civil litigation. I have always worked with financial institutions and banks, defending clients and managing a portfolio of cases. 

Currently, my role consists of supporting the  company’s data scientists. The team was set up to develop the legal department's numbers and support  decision-making and monitoring in the area. As a lawyer, my job is to interpret the information generated by the analytics team.

To what extent are new technologies and management models important in your work environment?

Working with data is a task that requires diverse knowledge, tools and systems. Storing and processing data in large and medium-sized institutions is a complex process. This is the case for the legal department as much as any other. The extraction and processing of information directly affect the construction of organisational strategies

Leadership must always have in mind that the market is advancing every day. Not only that but trying new tools and management models are important to make your work more dynamic. For example, interactive dashboards are essential for business continuity, monitoring and providing managers with the autonomy and security to make decisions. 

However, observing the corporate world, I can say that success is not only achieved by interest or acquaintance with new ways of working. It is essential to have the criticality and knowledge to understand the need for change when applying new technologies and new management models. For me, good decisions are made with the right tools and the right vision.

How and when did you know that you needed to acquire some new digital and management skills?

Being a leader is not only about being in charge of a team. When you start to deal with data and implement strategies, it comes with great responsibility. As a lawyer, it was no longer enough to apply legal knowledge. I needed a course that would outline data management and AI so I could better understand the whole process of data science. That's why I applied for the Santander Open Academy | Digital Business

How was your experience with Santander Open Academy?

It was enriching to talk with my colleagues about different experiences and industries. In addition, one of the most rewarding aspects was the access to practical knowledge through the activities.

During the course, I had the opportunity to study business acumen for data analysis and evaluate machine learning tools. The exercises proposed in the course can make you think about what kind of information or what type of method is best suited to your field. 

For example, one of the most remarkable exercises was a project about developing artificial intelligence for a product or business of our choice. This task allowed me to learn about structuring a solution to the problem and elaborating on these ideas. This was directly applicable to data extraction tasks in my job and software that facilitates work in the legal field.

What has been the most valuable learning and the most rewarding aspect of this experience?

The most valuable thing I learnt from this experience was that leadership within an area that uses technology requires knowledge beyond technical skills. We must know what is necessary for the functionality of the area, the business plan, the numbers, and what is the best technology for the problem we need to solve

As a result, I am more confident in bringing insights and recommendations to the team. The course has helped me to focus on the business purpose and always think about the meaning of the information. I always try to think about the intellectual or financial value that my work can generate and how I want it to be seen and recognised. 

Interpreting the information generated by the analytics team

What are your future plans and your next professional steps? How do you face them?

My next step will be to prepare myself to assume a leadership role. As I said above, lawyers now have to understand data mining, statistics, and technology to make impactful decisions. To continue growing, I also recognise that it is essential to learn from those around you. Every day, I try every day to learn something new from my co-workers.

I know I will still face many challenges, but I always try to focus on the position and professional profile I have created for myself. With patience, perseverance, and knowing how to take advantage of opportunities, I believe we can all get where we want to go.


Like Stephane, do you want to keep studying, keep learning and keep upskilling in order to apply some new knowledge of technology and management models in a highly competitive professional environment? With this goal, Banco Santander, together with the University of Chicago, a prestigious institution with over 125 years of history and alumni that include several Nobel prize-winners, is launching 1,000 Santander Open Academy | Digital Business 2022

Access a 7-week online training programme in which you will explore the difference between traditional and digital marketing in the context of innovation. Additionally, you will create a successful Marketing Action Plan and analyse data for future strategies.  In line with your professional objectives, you can choose from one of the following three courses:

  • Building and Managing Resilient Teams: learn to create and manage high-performing teams, understanding the traits intrinsic to a resilient team, and effectively resolving conflicts.

  • FinTech: designed for financial analysts and professionals looking to learn the basics of FinTech and its disruptive power in the financial services sector.

  • Digital Marketing: this course aims to equip participants with the concepts, language, resources and strategic vision needed by professionals who want to focus on the world of digital marketing.

All of the courses are delivered by top-tier experts and are free to participants. And you don't need to have a degree or be a Banco Santander customer. They are also available in English, Spanish or Brazilian Portuguese.

On the course, all of the necessary knowledge can be acquired through tailored content, interaction between peers and virtual debates held in live sessions with mentors and learning facilitators. Upon completion, you will receive a certificate from the University of Chicago accrediting the learning achievements.

Want a unique training experience? Like Stephane, apply for the Santander Open Academy | Digital Business 2022 and gain the knowledge and tools needed to accomplish high impact initiatives. And remember, never stop learning!

(At the moment the Santander Open Academy Tech | Digital Business 2022 has reached its end, but we encourage you to take a look at the Santander Open Academy to find the training that best suits you and give a boost to your professional career. Seize the chance to develop your knowledge and skills!)

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Stephane Ma

Stephane Ma, lawyer at OMNI Bank and Financial Service

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