Jake Baker is flying high with OnDeck
|Jake Baker is in for the long-haul at OnDeck Australia after his recent promotion to Product & Sales Operations Manager.
Since moving to Australia from his hometown of Sheffield, UK in 2009, Jake Baker has never been one to idle for long. Jake immediately took an apprenticeship as an aircraft engineer working on civilian and military helicopter engines at Bankstown Airport in Western Sydney when he landed in Australia.
While the young engineer was reasonably happy in the aviation industry, he quickly concluded the sector came with a career ceiling. “I could see where I’d be at 40, at 60 and so on. Some people like that level of certainty, but that wasn’t for me.”
No fear of heights
University studies now beckoned Jake. However, he required his Australian citizenship first. During the 12-month interim he needed to wait to become an Aussie, Jake worked as a scaffolding subcontractor.
“I was in my early 20s and wanted to get into something that paid well but didn’t require previous experience or training,” he said. Scaffolding ticked these boxes, and while the work was excruciating, his stint as a scaffolding subcontractor gave Jake some handy small business insights when he joined OnDeck as a Credit Analyst in January 2019.
Jake explains, “As a credit analyst, it was my job to appraise a client’s application, and check through their credit files and bank statements as part of the approval process.
“The scaffolding job helped when I dealt with clients operating in the construction space. When you work in an industry, you understand different transactions such as subcontractor payments and other revenues on applicant’s bank statements.”
Why small business lending and OnDeck?
By 2016, Jake had his citizenship and embarked on a Bachelor of Arts majoring in History and Sociology at the University of Wollongong. While a valuable degree, there are limited roles for history majors! Jake said, “I’d always wanted to work in finance when I was younger, and my dad is in finance in the UK.
“I’d finished my university degree and was checking out a few job market websites and OnDeck jumped out at me.
“I felt OnDeck were relatively new and would have a start-up type business environment. They also had some significant partners, and this made me feel like they’d have an exciting and vibrant background for new recruits.”
Fortuitously, Jake’s previous background in engineering had some parallels with Cameron Poolman, CEO of OnDeck, who worked as an engineer earlier in his illustrious career. “Cameron interviews everyone that we hire at OnDeck. In my interview, he encouraged me by telling me he’d been an engineer, then an auctioneer before starting a finance business.”
Jake continued, “Ever since I joined OnDeck, Cameron has been very supportive and is always at least three steps ahead of everybody else.”
OnDeck is the best place to work
Over the last three years, Jake has seen OnDeck achieve the highest designation available as one of the nation’s “Best Places to Work” and one of only two Fintech companies included among Australia’s Top 40 employers.
Jake agrees that OnDeck is a great place to work. “OnDeck is a dynamic and fast-paced environment and I have been lucky enough to be involved in a wide variety of different projects and different parts of the business.”
From the get-go as a credit analyst Jake had great support. “I shadowed several people to get a feel for the business but then you’re on the tools reasonably quickly as that is the best way to learn by getting your hands dirty fast,” he said.
Since then, Jake’s career has flown high. In February 2020, he started working with our current COO Charlene Batson helping our Sales team with cases and escalations. “I essentially formed a bridge between different departments in the business,” Jake says.
He then played a key role in an internal project which streamlined and codified all our business rules and processes. Significantly, these processes enabled the creation of our Lightning Loan product that can have up to $150,000 in funding to a small business in just two hours.
Then came Jake’s promotion to Product & Sales Ops coordinator in September 2020, where he had a strong focus on our major business transformation project, again working closely with Charlene Batson and Director of Product Angeleca Sklavenitis. This role has morphed into his current management position that will continue to cover the ongoing transformation project but will also have a heavy emphasis on business process improvement, increasing OnDeck’s operational efficiency, and driving down the speed to decision for customers.
Jake says the opportunity for career progression at OnDeck, unlike his time in engineering, is limitless. “You’re not left in a cubicle and forgotten.
“OnDeck is a place where if you are willing to grab an opportunity, put the work in, and have an open mind, they will provide you with every opportunity for career growth.”
Check out a range of great opportunities on our careers page: https://www.ondeck.com.au/careers/
Prepared by OnDeck Capital Australia Pty Ltd ABN 28 603 753 215 (“OnDeck”) for general information purposes only. Content may belong to or have originated from third parties and OnDeck takes no responsibility for the accuracy, validity, reliability or completeness of any information. Information current as at April 2022. You should not rely upon the material or information as a basis for making any business, financial or any other decisions. Loans issued in Australia are subject to the terms of a loan agreement issued by OnDeck. Loans are subject to lender approval. OnDeck® is a Registered Trademark. All rights reserved.