Life is not all glitz and glam, but working among shiny new cars all day might just be a silver lining. Many girls have yet to decide what career path awaits them in 2020, so I embarked on the search to find a few careers that might be less common but highly rewarding.
Maruleen Do Amaral is a successful F&I Business Manager at Daytona in Melrose Arch, Johannesburg, and we asked her what her secret to success is.
Maruleen joined Daytona in July 2019 after working with Mercedes-Benz for 15 years. As an F&I she offers clients vehicle finance, insurance and provides them with a thorough explanation of value-added products by offering extended maintenance, service and warranty plans.
The secret to achieving success in this industry is purely about maintaining good working relationships with the various financial institutions. That way you will be able to secure competitive interest rates and financing deals while processing financing deals accurately and securing approvals through the various financial institutions. As well as understanding and complying with the necessary governing bodies (NCR/FSB/FSP).
What is your definition of success?
The late Coach John Wooden defined success in the best way that I would possibly describe what success means to me:
“Success is peace of mind, which is a direct result of self-satisfaction in knowing you made the effort to do your best to become the best that you are capable of becoming.”
What was your first job?
Sales Executive for SMART and Mercedes-Benz Vehicles
Did you have to study for your current position? If yes, through which institution did you study?
Yes, Moonstone and F&I Academy
What do you love about your profession?
What I love about my job is the collaborative environment, and that I have a great degree of control and freedom within my job. I work full-time on a flexible schedule, both in and out-of-office. My profession also allows me to be innovative; every day is different. The variability of my job is what keeps me challenged. Feeling a sense of accomplishment when a transaction has been successfully concluded.
Which challenges have you had to overcome in your career?
Staying engaged and motivated when the economy is suffering is really challenging. Dealing with change and being put out of your comfort zone, and dealing with difficult clients because not every transaction runs smoothly.
Have there been any disappointments in your career?
Rather not a disappointment but a lesson learnt…
I was managing a finance transaction for one of our biggest clients at my previous company, and I was so eager to please them that I overcommitted. I thought it was doable, but it ended up taking much longer than anticipated and they were not happy. Looking back, I realized I should have been more conservative in my estimate to the client. I realized that a client isn’t going to be upset if you’re clear about the timeline in advance, but they are going to be disappointed if you promise something and then don’t deliver. So I took this experience and used it to become much better at managing clients’ expectations during transactions.
What is your motto in life?
“Success is not final; failure is not fatal: It is the courage to continue that matters.”
What advice do you have for young girls today?
Believe in yourself, you are valuable and powerful and you deserve every opportunity. Get out there and pursue and achieve your own dreams! Only you can determine your destiny.
Every girl knows true success is finding a car that matches your favourite pair of heels
What is the one misconception that you think people today have about your profession?
It can be a challenge… Being an F&I Business Manager can be a rewarding career path, it’s important to recognize that it can be challenging as well. It’s not a job you can be hired for and train onsite. Internal training is still a critical element in your career, but being accredited is necessary to ensure that you remain compliant with the ever-changing financial industry and its laws and regulations. As long as you choose a reputable Business School, you can rest assured that you will get the necessary tuition to be able to do your job and do it well.
Your customers will be able to count on your in-depth knowledge of the financial sector, so they can get the credit loan they need, as well as any other related products that allow them to get behind the wheel of the car of their dreams. For those who want a challenge in their work, F&I management is a clear winner.
What is your 5-year goal?
I am driven to be the best at what I do and I want to work where I’ll have opportunities to develop my skills, take on interesting projects, and work with people I can really learn from. I want to obtain a degree in accounting in the next 5 years.
For more about Maruleen and the exciting world of Daytona follow Maruleen on Instagram.