Management Lessons and the Future of Financial Services Industry During the Pandemic

Amanda Chen ’20 interviews Citigroup CEO Michael Corbat on how the firm handled the early days of the COVID-19 crisis and how the pandemic has changed the financial services industry.

Leadership, The Workplace, Strategy

In late January, as COVID-19 infections began to rise, Citigroup CEO Michael Corbat canceled a global gathering of the firm’s senior leadership.

Then in early February, almost a month before the COVID-19 outbreak was declared a pandemic, Corbat enacted a travel ban for its employees.

“Soon my inbox began filling up with some very unhappy people,” Corbat said. “But we knew what was coming and we knew we had to get ahead of it.”

As Corbat explained in conversation with recent graduate Amanda Chen ’20, Citigroup’s response to COVID-19 from the onset was informed by the pace and the trajectory of infections and the firm based its decisions on those projections.

“You’re not always right, but it is much easier to dial it back than it is to play catch up,” Corbat said.

When COVID-19 forced offices to close, requiring staff to work from home, Corbat said the firm stressed communication with its team members not just for business concerns, but to help understand the challenges of employees’ personal lives.

Corbat also discussed how the financial services industry have been affected by COVID-19, the government’s response, and the importance of flexibility and resilience in a post-pandemic world.

More Webinars

A composite photo of headshots of Sheena Iyengar, Sandra Matz, and Erica Bailey

The Value of Authenticity in our Professional and Personal Lives

From Facebook to the boardroom, both corporations and individuals are called on to be our “authentic” selves, but what does authenticity really mean and why is it so powerful?

slepian headshot
The Workplace

Increasing Connections With Others

Professor Michael Slepian discusses his latest research on how to foster feelings of inclusion, belonging, and authenticity at the workplace and the world at large.

Leadership, The Workplace, Strategy

2020: A Test of Leadership

A look at what it meant to be a leader in a year unlike any other.

Strategy, Economics & Policy, Healthcare

What’s the Impact of the 2020 Presidential Election on Businesses?

Faculty experts and alumni business leaders discuss how the incoming administration will affect retail, healthcare, and energy infrastructure.

Rise to the challenge.

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the world of business, while bringing historical inequities and injustice into sharp relief.

Subscribe to Leading Through Change to receive the latest insights from Columbia Business School to help you navigate this unprecedented time.