Retiring ANZ Chief On Carving Your Own Path
Though I believe firmly that it is important to start young if you want to build an investment banking career, there are exceptions. If you feel you want to join the field, do it.
John McFarlane, the ANZ CEO who stepped down by September 30, 2007, started his career at Ford Motors.
What Did John McFarlane Tell Graduates?
Here is an extraction of an interview published by Wall Street Journal on October 8, 2007 – the full article is only available to pay subscribers. Trying not to violate the copy right law, I can’t send you a link to read the full article, but extracted some content of interest to my readers.
WSJ: What was your first job and what did you learn from it?
Mr. McFarlane: My first job was in the production area of Ford Motor Co. in England where I was a graduate trainee in 1969. I don't think you'll find tougher circumstances, so everything after that was much easier. But I learned about manufacturing, operation, cost control, and purchasing. I learned that I didn't want to be in manufacturing, and I went and did my M.B.A.
WSJ: Do you think people should go to business school or skip the M.B.A.?
Mr. McFarlane: Going to a quality business school does matter. It teaches you the language of business and gives you an insight into all aspects of business, so that you aren't likely to come across any problem of which you don't have at least a basic awareness.
WSJ: What would you tell someone starting out in your field?
Mr. McFarlane: In my conversations with graduates, one thing that often comes up is how to find a good balance between work and life. I simply say get a life. Work is important, but there are other things that are more important.
The other question is how to succeed. Essentially this is ensuring you are passionate about what you are doing and that you are good at it.
About John McFarlane – A Short Bio
Born in Dumfries, Scotland, in 1947, Mr. McFarlane was educated at Dumfries Academy, later gaining an MA from the University of Edinburgh and an MBA from Cranfield. He advanced his finance studies at the London Business School.
Mr. McFarlane began his career in manufacturing with Ford of Europe in 1969, followed by a 31-year career in banking in Europe, Asia and Australia. Following 18 years with Citibank, ultimately as head of Citibank in the UK and Ireland, he became Group Executive Director of Standard Chartered in 1993, based in London and Hong Kong, and in 1997, became CEO of ANZ. He lives in Melbourne.
Source: ANZ website (published until September 30, 2007)
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