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Linda Duncombe is the director for customer experience, digital banking and marketing at Citibank in Australia.

She recently attended the advanced management executive education programme at Harvard Business School in the US.

Before joining Citibank, Ms Duncombe held senior positions at National Australia Bank. She has also been involved in the Women in Banking and Finance organisation, guiding others as a mentor.

1. What is the best piece of advice a teacher gave you?

Be all you can and want to be. Never let someone tell you otherwise.

2. What is your biggest lesson learnt?

Never be afraid to say sorry and share your mistakes with others. These are usually the best opportunities for growth and shared learning.

3. Who is your ideal professor?

Michael E Porter. He has designed strategy that is proven and when I saw him present a lecture at HBS there were excellent real life examples from around the world.

4. What is the strangest thing you have ever done when studying?

I had to come to class once in a tracksuit to help ‘creative thinking.’ It was a class on a Friday night, when we are all normally in suits. It felt and looked like we were going to exercise.

5. What academic achievement are you most proud of?

Attending the Advanced Management Programme at HBS. I was nominated by other participants to give the graduation speech. To stand on the stage for graduation at HBS and represent the student faculty was the greatest honour. The participants were from companies around the world and at the highest level. To be in that group and be selected to speak on their behalf was a moment I always struggle to put into words - it meant the world to me.

6. How do you deal with male-dominated environments?

I stay true to myself and let my performance speak for itself. I have many friends who are male and I try to show the benefits of diversity across all aspects (gender, culture etc).

7. How do you deal with pressure?

I don’t rush into decision mode or make any hasty judgements that I could regret later. I step back from the issue and see what is the greater learning. I have been told one of my biggest strengths is how I can deal with pressure.

8. What inspires you?

I am inspired by people that do what they love. Make sure you enjoy what you do as life is too short, always do your best.

9. If you could do it all again, what would you do differently?

I would have worked overseas at an earlier age. The people I met at HBS are now some of my closest friends, I wish I could see them more often.

10. What advice would you give to women in business?

Be yourself.

Compiled by Charlotte Clarke

Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2017. All rights reserved.
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