Tuesday, December 23, 2008

BNP Paribas Continues To Hire

For those who are in the banking business or who want to start an investment banking career, this is an encouraging news despite the recent financial turbulence. On the date when Mr. Serge FORTI appointed Chief Executive Officer Asia-Pacific for BNP Paribas Wealth Management, he made the announcement.

December 10, 2008
'We already have the list of people,' said Mr Serge Forti at a lunch meeting on Wednesday at The Tower Club.

BNP Paribas Wealth Management Asia-Pacific will continue with its hiring plans despite the financial turmoil, said its newly appointed chief executive Serge Forti. BNP Paribas, France's biggest bank, has a headcount of about 300 at its wealth management unit in Singapore.
And this number is likely to rise to nearly 500 by the end of the first quarter of next year, Mr Forti said.

Of the new additions, about 30 will be senior relationship managers, each with over five years of experience and each bringing with him at least US$200 million in assets.

'We already have the list of people,' said Mr Forti at a lunch meeting on Wednesday at The Tower Club.
Source: Strait Times

More New About BNP Paribas

December 4, 2008
BNP Paribas named ‘Global Bank of the Year' by The Banker magazine

October 24, 2008
BNP Paribas has won two of the most sought-after awards at this year's AsiaRisk Awards

October 13, 2008
BNP Paribas rebrands its private banking business BNP Paribas Wealth Management and strengthens its organization

October 9, 2008
BNP Paribas is named as one of the world's safest banks

BNP Paribas Career Site
Amazing Resume Creator

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Holiday Resume Tips

I receive an interesting article from Jimmy Sweeney. It is not investment banking focused, but it contains very practical and useful tips in writing a resume, which every job seeker should benefit from. I have Jimmy’s permission to reprint his article here. Please enjoy reading.

Spice Up Your 2009 Resume Now…Add This Little Gem

From Times Square in New York City to Tiananmen Square in Bejing City, people will be ringing in the new year with a glass of cheer, a toast, a song, a display of fireworks. And the following day they'll dive into 2008 with new dreams, goals, resolutions, and commitments for the months ahead.

What will yours be? Perhaps among your goals is an exciting new job. To make that a reality, however, you'll need to brush up your resume or better yet, create a fresh one.

But don't just list your previous jobs and responsibilities,
important as they are.

Add a bit of spice! Include a section that focuses on your good will, your volunteer work, and your acts of kindness in your previous work place, church, and community.

Such activities often say more about you than your professional profile. For example, consider how valuable you'd be to a company as a department manager or sales trainer if the hiring manager read in your resume that you managed a group of lay leaders who banded together to put up housing for the poor in Mexico. Imagine how well you'd be thought of for spending one day a month teaching homeless men a skill they can use in the workforce.

The virtue of kindness is sorely lacking in our society today, but it is one that is valued and appreciated when it is expressed.

How can you share this cup of kindness in a resume without sounding self-satisfied or arrogant? Here are some workable ideas that may spark some of your own.

1. Place a headline at the top of the section of your resume reserved for these activities. Example: Community Affairs Volunteer Work

2. State the name of the organization, your responsibilities, and the relevant dates. Example: Edgewater Young Adult Club, taught basic life skills, goal-setting, and personal hygiene to impoverished youth, monthly starting in January 2006 to the present.

3. Describe how your volunteer work relates to the job you are seeking. Example: My work with youth has prepared me to train, lead, and motivate salesmen and women to serve others, not merely sell. By building relationships with the young men and women of this club I learned the value of interpersonal relationships, networking, and common courtesy toward others––skills that can increase the bottom line of your company and improve employee-customer relations.

A well-worded statement such as this will show the hiring manager what kind of person you are, where your values lay, and the level of integrity you operate with when you engage with people on the job and in the community.

If your objective is to land a job interview, what could be more important than harnessing the reader's attention with your ability to do the work and exercise kindness toward others at the same time.

Spice up your resume with a cup of kindness––and see your new year's resolution come to pass––an interview with the hiring manager of the firm you want to join.

© Written By Jimmy Sweeney

Author of the brand new, Amazing Resume Creator

Investment Banking Resume

Monday, December 8, 2008

Investment Banking Dictionary

Current Turbulence
The recent turbulence is really no good for our money. One email that has been circulated among us in the investment banking world described how Wall Street CEOs’ and other investment gurus’ wealth had shrunk. If you loss money in the market, you are not the only person, the world is suffering.

Two things I would want to remind you. There is a life cycle for everything. Market is slow now, but it won’t be slow forever. Though some bankers lost their jobs, but star bankers are always sought after. If you are good, you are always wanted.

The slow market is obviously responsible for the reduced number of graduates being hired by investment banks. In a slow market, best thing to do is to enhance our knowledge and have us better equipped.

Everybody should have at least two dictionaries, one at home and one at work. In fact you should need one more online dictionary. Either you are working in an investment bank or any other financial services companies, a finance focused online dictionary is a very practical tool. For me I always check Investopedia. It might not be the best, but it is quite comprehensive and provides a quick reference of many finance terms.

Couple of the most recent highly searched terms are P/E Ratio and Warren Buffett. You might want to check them out and see if you are happy with the results.

Discover your real potential

Investment Banking Career

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Resume Critique – Value Added Elements

Let’s call the author of this investment banking resume David. David has only two years full time experience, but his resume looks very rich. I have simplified his job descriptions which were also very well written.

David has cleverly embedded many value added elements in his resume without over emphasizing them however present him as a unique outstanding young individual.

David’s Valued Added Elements
I have highlighted these elements in his resume. Scroll down, review my previous post and you’ll see them.

Geography – David has worked in Hong Kong, New York and Singapore. All are financial hubs. Excellent geographies for investment banks. The value of his resume might decrease if he doesn’t mention these locations.

Deal List – David obviously doesn’t have a long list due to his limited experience. However he has cleverly included a couple of selected transactions into his resume. He has also described precisely the deal size, nature and his role in it. The Redtree deal is very well written.

Outstanding Achievements – David won the Warren Buffet Award. Not many people have these, so they can remain on his resume forever. Even at his later career, these will demonstrate that he is not only outstanding now, but ever since he’s very young.

Other Mini but Clever Elements
1. Add a line of short description about the division or department you are working for. This can give a quick and general idea of your job scope. Make sure to write sensible ones. If you work for Morgan Stanley, never write ‘a leading Wall Street investment bank with $$$ turnover and XXX employees worldwide’ – everyone in the banking world should know this. But ‘US$15 billion hedge fund affiliate of Texas Pacific Group’ will help to illustrate where you work.

2. Language. David has only indicated Spanish, as he understands that English is the default language for any English resume. You don’t have to specify your English level, unless you are not fluent. Spanish is a strong asset if David wants to develop in the emerging markets, such as Latin America.

3. Hobbies. I personally do not think that hobbies should be included on resumes. But if you want to, be selective. David might have a lot of hobbies, but he only outlined two – bungee jumping and wreck diving. Not many people do these. So it is easier for him to attract the interviewer’s attention and remember him. During an interview, he can even lead the conversation if the interviewer touches this topic. One important thing is you have to be honest. If have only do bungee jump and wreck diving once in life, don’t mention it. It is better to prove that you are an expert in what you do than lying.

Anna Maria’s Thoughts on Value Added Elements
A sensible short list is always better than a comprehensive long list.

Amazing Resume Creator

Resume Writing

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Investment Banking Resume – Value Added Elements

Your Geographic Location
International exposure is a value added element on your investment banking resume. Relocation/international travel happens a lot in the IB world. Tell your employer that you can and you have been working in various geographies is a definite asset. I notice some candidates are highly international ever since they were interns. When you start to write and build up your resume, make sure to keep a record of your work base and mark them on your resume.

Deal List
This is something you need to build up in order to enrich your future resume. If you are new in the market and your deal list is short, you can include it as part of your resume. However as your experience grow, attach it to your resume as a separate document. Be selective. Make sure to keep track of the deals you have significant participation and with reasonable quality. This will serve as a support document to prove your ability and experience.

Outstanding Achievements
Not everyone has this, but if you have, keep them on your resume. 'Outstanding' does not mean you were selected the best student of a certain university or the best employee of a certain company. However awards from open competitions or public examinations are. For example, you were one of the winners of Warren Buffet’s Award to Philanthropy and Young Leaders to 16 students in the USA; Again, be selective. Don’t make it too long a list. Make it attractive enough for you to stand out from your peers.

Resume Sample
Here a very good investment banking resume with plenty of value added elements in it. Go through it and I will analyze it.

Candidate Name
One line address telephone email

UBS – Hong Kong/New York – 07 to present
Associate - US$15 billion hedge fund affiliate of Texas Pacific Group
Job description

Morgan Stanley – New York, 2006 to 2007
Investment Banking Analyst – Leveraged Finance & Restructuring
Job description

Selected Transaction Experience
Redtree – Sole agent for the US$5 billion acquisition of Hutton Wire, in a US$4 billion pay-in-kind, bond, bridge and bank debt financing transaction, where the team also served as lead M&A advisor. Assessed the effects of multiple operating scenarios, integration costs variations and capital structure alternatives. Collaborated with clients and lenders to compose prospectuses and develop management, sales force and ratings agency presentations.

Grand Credit Singapore – Lead Book Runner for $750 million unsecured bonds to provide additional liquidity and fund upcoming maturities.

Goldman Sachs – New York, 2005
Business Planning – Summer Analyst, SEO Career Program Intern
Job description

American Express – Singapore, 2003
Intern – Travel Related Services and Private Banking
Job description

Name of University, City/country
Degree, major subjects
Dean’s List 2003, GPA 3.8/4.0, with Honors

Licensed, Series 6 and Series 63
Language: Fluent in Spanish
Awards: Warren Buffet’s Award to Philanthropy and Young Leaders to 16 students in the USA
bungee jumping, wreck diving

Anna Maria’s Thoughts on Value Added Elements
Author of this resume has cleverly embedded many value added elements in this resume which doesn’t take up too much space however brushing up his resume. At least it catches my eyes even it is quite a junior candidate. I would want to interview him definitely if I have a junior role. Come back and read the critique in my next post.

Amazing Resume Creator

Monday, October 13, 2008

Analyst Resume Critique

Let’s call the author of this resume Henry. Henry is currently an MD level analyst. Hence he doesn’t need to present his entry job in much detail. However if we are looking for an entry level research/analyst job, we need to describe our intern or other experience with great care.

Present yourself as an Analyst
Set this as your primary objective in writing your analyst resume. Ask a number of people to read your resume and see if they feel that your resume is written by an analyst. This first impression is very important.

I’ve done a resume critique that the candidate was looking for a banking job, but the resume was full of his engineering strength. Certainly people looking for engineers will be interested in him, but not bankers.

Make sure your resume presents a proper image of yourself.

Henry’s rating: Good. He is a 100% analyst on his resume.

Important Elements
Bankers work long hours, but unlike some other professions that are paid according to hours, bankers are paid by results. If your research results are of value to the banks and their customers, then you are a good candidate. Of course entry level candidates won’t have many results to present. Don’t ever try to say that you help increase the bank’s revenue by 25%. Everything has to be realistic.

The most important elements on an entry level analyst resume are:

* Can you analyse?
* Do you attend to detail?
* Can you count and manipulate numbers?

If the manager reviews your resume grants you three yeses, then you are on the right track.

Henry’s rating: Pass. Henry might need to include more numbers in his resume.

What and How
With the above in mind, it won’t be difficult to formulate a strategy in your writing an analyst resume. List these:

* What do you do
* How do you do
* What are the results

Investment banks won’t hire gurus to entry roles. You just prove that you are someone with the potential to become a successful banker. Therefore 'what you do’ and ‘how you do’ would weight higher than the ‘results’, which could be out of team effort and guidance of your superior.

Henry’s rating: Good. He described exactly what he did at each department at Lehman Brothers.

Use Intelligent/Effective Words
As I said previously, don’t just write responsible for… Use words that actually describe what you do. I have highlighted a number of Henry’s effective words. You might want to scroll down and review my previous post.

Henry’s rating: Good pass.

Anna Maria’s Thoughts on Analyst Resume
Henry’s resume answers one frequently asked question. Can I be an investment banker without any finance background? Yes, Henry was a biological analyst by education. He only had a bio chemistry degree, however his analytical skills impressed Lehman Brothers to hire him into an analyst role.

Analyst has to write research reports, hence it’s relatively demanding on English skills. If you don’t enjoy writing, you might consider sales or trading roles.

Resume Writing Skills
Amazing Resume Creator

Monday, October 6, 2008

Analyst Resume – Writing Skills

Star analysts in investment banks are paid well. While some people move faster than others, you will normally move up to associate level after being a third year analyst. In ten years time, even you are at MD level, you are still referred to be an analyst, if your focus is still in research.

Many graduates start their IB career as an analyst. Let’s go through an analyst resume sample before we discuss its writing skills.

Analyst Resume Sample

Here is a resume extraction from an analyst who is now at MD level. This is how he described his research role while he was at Lehman Brothers some years ago.

LEHMAN BROTHERS - Tokyo, Japan, 2001

Principal Transactions Group, Global Commercial Real Estate Group, Investment Banking Division
* Co-authored the Taiwan and China Investment Memo evaluating LB Asia-Pac strategies in the non-performing loans/real estate markets

Fixed Income Quantitative Research, Capital Markets Fixed Income Division
* Constructed Japanese swaption forward/underlying matrices. Analysed swaption volatility to formulate forecasts models
* Modeled 10-year JGB price/yield using Principal Component Analysis and other econometrics tools

Risk Arbitrage Group
* Analysed risks and identified arbitrage opportunities in M&A activities within the global mining industry

Rotations: Fixed Income Derivatives, Hedge Fund Sales, Program Trading, Equity Sales, Equity Finance, Pharmaceutical Equity Research

ZYX SCIENTIC HOSPITAL – New York, USA, 1998 – 2000
Research Scientist, HLA/DNA Department

* Created DNA database to facilitate DNA identification/isolation/purification
* Devised biomolecular experiments for in-house and contract clinical projects

Come back for my next post for the resume critique

Amazing Resume Creator

Resume Writing Skills

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Investment Banking Resume – Writing Skills

Apart from layout, format, content and work history, writing skills is another important element in an investment banking resume.

Every now and then, my blog readers ask me to do resume critiques for them. One of the comments that I made most is ‘your resume is good, but just too good’. Let me introduce a couple of ‘too good’ examples.

Inaccurate Use of English

‘…..raised the bank’s revenue by 25%.....’

This looks normal if it appears on a CEO’s resume. However for a summer intern bank teller, it is just ‘too good’. No one in the world can relay how a bank teller can help raise the bank’s revenue by 25%.

I guess the writer meant ‘exceeds target by 25% in bringing in new accounts’. This looks more realistic for a bank teller who has to talk to walk-in clients and bring in new accounts for the bank. Look, ‘exceed target’ is an extremely useful and powerful term in a graduate’s resume. Give a percentage of how you go beyond your target is even better.

Unrealistic Achievements

‘…..developed marketing strategies which lead to the magazine’s first month circulation of 300,000 and a subsequent current circulation of 2,000,000…..’

Again, no one in the world can relay how a single summer intern’s effort can lead to such a circulation figure.

I guess the writer ‘was member of a successful team which developed marketing strategies that lead to …..’ This does not only make the achievement realistic but also demonstrates team effort and team spirit which is highly sought after in an investment banking environment. Look, ‘member of a successful team’ is also a very useful and powerful term in a graduate’s resume in describing his intern experience.

Use Effective Wordings

Ineffective: Responsible for / worked with / handled
Effective: Lead, oversaw, managed, analyzed

How to Differentiate Effective and Ineffective
Your resume should be skills and accomplishment driven. It should demonstrate how your skill sets and experience can add value to your new employer. Effective verbs/phrases on a resume capture the essence of your duties by demonstrating action or transferable skills set. It is also important to quantify or give a numerical value to each achievement.

Ineffective: Responsible for the daily processing and payment of cash transmittals and disbursements between private equity funds, investors and banks.
Effective: Processed cash transmittal payments and disbursement between private equity funds investors and banks totaling 20 million daily.

Use an Objective?

I don’t know what make candidates want to include objective, career goal, executive profile etc in their resume, which won’t contribute value however occupies a lot of space. Let me compromise a little if it is a trend. Write an objective only if you are proactively submitting your resume and not responding to a recruiting ad. Even so, write an effective objective instead of an ineffective one. Make it a one-sentence, one-line objective. Let’s compare effective and ineffective.

Ineffective: To obtain an entry level position in a leading financial institution.
A high energy college graduate seeking to secure a challenging and rewarding entry level role which will enable me to apply my education and skills to the benefit of the organization.

Does the recruiter know where to place you with this kind of vague objectives? No.

Effective: To secure a full time opportunity in Equity Research.
To assist hedge fund mangers in developing fund of fund

More resume writing tips from Jimmy Sweeney's Amazing Resume Creator

Investment Banking Resume Writing Skills

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Lehman Brothers is Over

The 158-year-old firm, which survived railroad bankruptcies of the 1800s, the Great Depression in the 1930s and the collapse of Long-Term Capital Management a decade ago, filed a Chapter 11 petition with U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Manhattan on Monday September 15, 2008. Lehman bankruptcy

Sadly I have to remove Lehman's career site from my blog, as it will soon disappear from the world of investment banking.

Today I received a number of resumes from candidates currently working for Lehman Brothers. On the other hand, some star bankers are being named by competitors and had us to approach them. If you are doing well, the banking world has always a seat for you. Our search firm survived the Asian financial crisis and the need for investment banks to recruit quality bankers had never declined.

If you are still tempted by an investment banking career, come back tomorrow and we will talk further about resume writing skills.

Recommended Career Tool
Amazing Cover Letter Creator

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

What Are The Big 5s in Investment Banking Interview?

Among all the investment banking interview questions, these seem to have been come across by almost every candidate, in same or similar wordings.

1. Walk me through your resume. Tell me about yourself.

Never talk about your family background, your education history or your hobbies. Focus on your skill sets and experience that are related to the job you are interviewing for.

2. Why do you want to be an investment banker? Why Investment Banking?

Make it clear that you DO understanding what investment banking is and that is what you are exactly looking for and prepared to.

3. Why our bank?

Visit the career section of the bank’s website. You’ll usually find ‘Why Goldman Sachs’ for example. Take notes from that section and be sure to include those points in your answer.

Also mention the bank’s ranking (refer to source if possible) and that you know what the bank’s strength area is and that is exactly the area you are interested in and wanted to devote yourself to.

4. What are some different ways to value a company?

Be sure you know three to five of them and how they differ from each other. Of course you should know the pros and cons of each of the methods and make sure you are able to walk someone through the steps in each of the valuation types you mentioned.

5. Walk me through a Discounted Cash Flow (DCF) valuation.

If you answered DCF in your previous question, be prepared that you’ll have to answer this as a subsequent question.

If you are able to answer these five questions in a smart way that impresses the interviewer, you are likely to have built a nice first impression and be ready to go on to the next steps in the interviewing process.

I found a blog which suggests very impressive answers to these questions. Take a look and it will certainly add value to your next investment banking interview.

Recommended Career Tool
Amazing Cover Letter Creator

Investment Banking Interview

Sunday, August 24, 2008

What Did Senior Investment Bankers Do?

Some readers asked me if their previous retail banking or non banking finance experience will be counted when they apply for an IB job. You might be interested to know what senior bankers did when they started their investment banking career. Let me tell you some real samples. Please note these candidates are currently working for international bulge brackets.

Current role: Head of Asia Equities
First job: Reinsurance Analyst/Broker (2 years)
Total years of experience: 17

Current role: Head of Credit, Asia Pacific; double-hatting CAO
First job: Associate, Syndication and Capital Markets (4 years)
Total years of experience: 28

Current role: Managing Director, Asset Management Division
First job: Executive Trainee/Customer Accounts Manager, branch deposit accounts (3 years)
Total years of experience: 26

Current role: Quantitative Analyst, Hedge Fund Division
First job: Research Assistant, Centre for Fin. Eng., XXX University (1 year)
Year of work: 10

Do I Need an MBA or CFA?
Some readers asked me if they should go for an MBA or CFA in order to start an investment banking career or get a promotion. Answer is: it is good to have one, but it is not a must. As I mentioned before, a basic university degree (in any discipline) is good enough for you to start a banking career. In some cases, a country head or a regional head had only one bachelor’s degree. I even met a CEO without completing any formal education and left school at the age of 16. Of course these are rare cases, but if you can prove your capability, you are on the road towards success.

Learn to write cover letters in an appropriate tone with persuasive power from Jimmy Sweeney's Amazing Cover Letters

Investment Banking Career

Sunday, August 17, 2008

What are the signs of a good interview?

An entry level investment banking interview is around 30 minutes. If your interview last longer than this, it is a good sign.

If you feel comfortable throughout the process and feel like a friendly discussion rather than being interrogated.

Body Language
The interviewer’s body language can tell his interest level in your story or if they are happy with your answers. It is a good sign if you can gain his full attention.

Benefit Selling
If the interviewer doesn’t ask you a lot of question and start telling you the benefit about the banks, it is a good sign that he wants you to work for them.

Probing for Competition
If you are being asked with which other banks you are interviewing and the progress, it is also a good sign. It is also a good chance for you to push and speed up the process a little, if you are in the final interviewing stage with another bank. However please make sure you are honest, as the investment banking world is small.

Anna Maria’s Thoughts on Investment Banking Interview
If you don’t know the answer to a certain question, either technical, fit or teaser, please don’t panic. Investment banks don’t expect to hire a finance guru for an entry role. You learn on the job. There are many other qualities they look for. Interviewers want to look for people who are devoted to the job, with the appropriate level of smartness and willingness to learn. More importantly they want to find someone whom
they feel comfortable and happy to work with.

Investment Banking Interview

Friday, August 1, 2008

Cover Letter Tip: Step Out of Your Career Comfort Zone!

I have borrowed this article from Jimmy Sweeney. It is not investment banking focused. However it is very universal and anyone in the job market should find it useful.

© Written By Jimmy Sweeney
President of CareerJimmy and Author of the new
Amazing Cover Letter Creator

There are cover letters––and there are cover letters. Some are cookie-cutter predictable. And some offer a tasty surprise—like a cherry under chocolate frosting. Which ones would you like to receive if you were a hiring manager?

You know the answer. You'd like the ones with a surprise—letters that show the job seeker has stepped out of his or her comfort zone and is willing to offer something special.

If you'd like to write such a cover letter, here's the most important thing to do:

Express yourself in a clear and friendly manner, using language that will engage the hiring manager, wording that draws a reader in and compels him or her to read all the way through to the end.

In other words, write as though you were sitting together over a cup of coffee or tea.

1. Greet the hiring manager by name if possible (not Dear Sir or Madam).
2. Create a headline that will grab his or her attention, such as:

Sales Executive Ready to Expand Territory

3. Write one or two sentences about your experience. He can read more in your resume.
4. ASK to meet for an interview and offer a selection of dates and times. Be proactive.
5. Provide your contact information clearly—especially your cell phone number.
6. Thank the employer for reading your cover letter.
7. Sign your name and then add a P.S. in a friendly tone. "I'm really looking forward to meeting with you in person."

A well-written cover letter that sets you apart from other job seekers is one that shows you're not afraid to step out of your comfort zone and show the real you!

Jimmy Sweeney is the president of CareerJimmy and author of the brand new, "Amazing Cover Letter Creator." Jimmy is also the author of several career related books and writes a monthly article titled, "Job Search Secrets."

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Investment Banking Interview - Brain Teaser Q and A

Three envelopes are presented in front of you by an interviewer. One contains a job offer, the other two contain rejection letters. You pick one of the envelopes. The interviewer then shows you the contents of one of the other envelopes, which is a rejection letter. The interviewer now gives you the opportunity to switch envelope choices. Should you switch?

The answer is yes. Say your original pick was envelope A. Originally, you had a 1/3 chance that envelope A contained the offer letter. There was a 2/3 chance that the offer letter was either in envelope B or C. If you stick with envelope A, you still have the same 1/3 chance. Now, the interviewer eliminated one of the envelopes (say, envelope B), which contained a rejection letter. So, by switching to envelope C, you now have a 2/3 chance of getting the offer and you’ve doubled your chances.

Note that you will often get this same question but referring to playing cards (as in 3-Card Monte) or doors (as in Monte Hall/Let’s Make a Deal) instead of envelopes.

You are given 12 balls and a scale. Of the 12 balls, 11 are identical and 1 weighs slightly more. How do you find the heavier ball using the scale only three times?

First, weigh 5 balls against 5 balls (1st Use of Scale). If the scale is equal, then discard those 10 balls and weigh the remaining 2 balls against each other (Second Use of Scale). The heavier ball is the one you are looking for.

If on the first weighing (5 vs 5), one group is heavier, then of the heavier group weigh 2 against 2 (2nd Use of Scale). If they are equal, then the 5th ball from the heavier group (the one not weighed) is the one you are looking for. If one of the groups of 2 balls is heaver, then take the heaver group of 2 balls and weigh them against each other (Third Use of Scale). The heavier ball is the one you are looking for.

You are given 12 balls and a scale. Of the 12 balls, 11 are identical and 1 weighs EITHER slightly more or less. How do you find the ball that is different using the scale only three times AND tell if it is heavier or lighter than the others?

Significantly harder than the last question! Weigh 4 vs 4 (1st Weighing). If they are identical then you know that all of 8 of these are “normal” balls. Take 3 ”normal” balls and weigh them against 3 of the unweighed balls (2nd Weighing). If they are identical, then the last ball is “different.” Take 1 “normal” ball and weigh against the “different” one (3rd Weighing). Now you know if the “different” ball is heavier or lighter.

If, on the 2nd weighing, the scales are unequal then you now know if the “different” ball is heavier (if the 3 non-normal balls were heavier) or lighter (if the 3 non-normal balls were lighter). Take the 3 “non-normal” balls and weigh 1 against the other (3rd Weighing). If they are equal then the third ball not weighed is the “different” one. If they are not equal then either the heavier or lighter ball is “different” depending on if the 3 “non-normal” balls were heavier or lighter in the 2nd Weighing.

If, on the 1st Weighing, the balls were not equal then at least you know that the 4 balls not weighed are “normal.” Next, take 3 of the “normal balls” and 1 from the heavier group and weigh against the 1 ball from the lighter group plus the 3 balls you just replaced from the heavier group (2nd Weighing). If they are equal then you know that the “different” ball is lighter and is 1 of the 3 not weighed. Of these 3, weigh 1 against 1 (3rd Weighing) If one is lighter, that is the “different” ball, otherwise, the ball not weighed is “different” and lighter.

If, on the 2nd weighing from the preceding paragraph, the original heavier group (containing 3 “normal” balls) is still heavier, then either one of the two balls that were NOT replaced are ”different.” Take the one from the heavier side and weigh against a normal ball (3rd Weighing). If it is heavier, it is “different,” and heavier otherwise the ball not weighed is “different” and lighter. If, on the 2nd weighing, the original lighter side is now heavier, then we know that one of the 3 balls we replaced is “different.” Weigh one of these against the other (3rd Weighing). If they are equal, the ball not weighed is “different” and heavier. Otherwise, the heavier ball is the “different” one (and is heavier).

If you get this right and can answer within the 30 minutes alloted for the interview, then you probably do deserve the job.

Source: ibankingfaq - click to check for more brain teaser Q&A

Investment banking interview

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Investment Banking Interview – Brain Teaser Questions

You don’t necessarily come across brain teaser questions, but you have to be prepared, as they are quite popular in investment banking interviews. Don’t worry if you can’t produce an answer. This is a way to see how you deal with stress. Even if you don’t know the answer, it is a strategy to voice out your analysis and calculations to let the interviewer know your logic and how good your analytical thinking is.

To save my time in writing, I have found some popular questions for your practice.

Come back and check the answers tomorrow.

Three envelopes are presented in front of you by an interviewer. One contains a job offer, the other two contain rejection letters. You pick one of the envelopes. The interviewer then shows you the contents of one of the other envelopes, which is a rejection letter. The interviewer now gives you the opportunity to switch envelope choices. Should you switch?

You are given 12 balls and a scale. Of the 12 balls, 11 are identical and 1 weighs slightly more. How do you find the heavier ball using the scale only three times?

You are given 12 balls and a scale. Of the 12 balls, 11 are identical and 1 weighs EITHER slightly more or less. How do you find the ball that is different using the scale only three times AND tell if it is heavier or lighter than the others?

Investment Banking Interview

Sunday, July 20, 2008

How To Get Investment Banking Offers

As we move further into summer internship season, many have asked me why they can get interviews but can never seem to get actual offers.

Usually, they lack a hook. To get an investment banking job, it's not enough to show you can do the job well and have a serious interest in it.

You have to show them that they need you more than you need them.

Of course, this is never really true. You're just a resource. They're a $100 billion firm. But a hook makes them think differently, at least temporarily.

What's A Hook?
A hook makes you stand out from everyone else. It can be your extreme enthusiasm over the job that caused you to email them 59 days in a row. It can be the experience you had working at a Chinese Private Equity firm last summer. It might even be how you were a Varsity Athlete in that sport they've never heard of.

But it can't be, "I really want to do banking so I can learn!" or, "I like the fast-paced environment!"

Those are just standard reasons to say you want to do the job.

When bankers interview you, they try to check off 3 boxes - 1) smart 2) can do the job 3) like him. A hook makes sure #3 is a "check."

But I'm Just A Normal Person, How Can I Get A Hook?
One good tactic is to make a connection with your interviewer by having similar interests, asking questions about some topic he or she likes, or having friends/alumni in common.

This requires upfront research and isn't always possible. But when you can do it, it works well.
Was your interviewer in the Marines? Maybe your brother/cousin/uncle was too. Was he in the industry where your dad/cousin/uncle works? Same undergraduate schools?

No One Wants You Until Someone Wants You (Then Everyone Wants You)

Everything is just high school all over again.

Another "hook": Convince the firm that you have offers with other investment banks. When they find out others want you, they'll be afraid they're missing something and want you more.

The correct answer to, "Are you interviewing with other firms?" is NEVER, "No." Even if you're not, never say, "no." Just be vague and say you are interviewing and considering several options.

If you are indeed interviewing successfully with other firms, mention the names - this works especially well if they are competitors. Naming any of the bulge brackets when interviewing with a bulge bracket, for example, would give you a boost.

Worst Case Scenario
Sometimes none of these tactics above actually works. This is why you spread your net wide and interview at many different banks - because eventually your hook will work and you will land that investment banking job.

Ian Spellfield, a former investment banker, advises students and young professionals on
understanding investment banking and how to get investment banking employment.

Article Source:

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Guide To Technical Questions In Investment Banking Interviews

One topic everyone asks me about is how to answer technical questions in investment banking interviews. What should you expect, how do you keep your calm, and what do you do to prepare beforehand?

I actually think people tend to focus too much on technical questions when preparing for interviews. Your fit and enthusiasm for the job are much more important.

That said, if you have some previous finance experience or have studied economics or finance in school, it is important to get these questions right.

There are 3 types of technical questions you may be asked: 1) Valuation/Modeling Questions 2) Accounting Questions and 3) Brain Teasers.

You should know the three main valuation methodologies and be able to explain them to your interviewers.

First is comparable company analysis - looking at publicly traded companies and the multiples they trade at, then applying those to the company in question. This depends very much on "market data" to value companies, and the main downside is that sometimes there are no true comparable companies to use.

Second is precedent transaction analysis - looking at what buyers paid for sellers in similar industries and with similar financial profiles and applying the multiples to your own company. Again, there are often no true comparable transactions. Precedent transaction analysis also tends to produce the the highest valuations because of the control premium required to acquire companies.

Finally, there is the Discounted Cash Flow Analysis - using a company's projected cash flows, discounting them for the time-value of money and cost of capital and summing those to find the company's present value. This is the "purest" way of valuing a company since it depends solely on its financial performance, but the drawback is that it depends heavily on future projections, which tend to be unreliable.

Know these methodologies and the various advantages and disadvantages of each.

Modeling Questions
The most likely financial modeling questions you'll get will concern merger models (when a company acquires another company) and Leveraged Buyout, or LBO models - when a private equity firm buys a company using equity and debt.

The most important part of a merger model is the accretion/dilution - will a company have a higher or lower earnings per share (EPS) after acquiring another company? A merger model is an analysis of the trade-offs between using cash, stock, or debt to finance an acquisition. Any of these methods, or any combinations, will result in a different EPS. Beyond just the EPS impact, you also have to consider how much debt the buyer can afford, how much cash they have, and how much stock they can issue.

In an LBO model, you're trying to solve for the private equity firm's return on investment - the IRR. It's very similar to buying a house with a mortgage - there is a down payment (the equity part of an LBO) and the mortgage (the debt used to finance an LBO). The model measures how much the company's value grows and how much debt is paid off over 3 to 5 years. The most important drivers are purchase price, exit price, amount of debt used, and the company's growth rate and profitability.

Accounting Questions
Make sure you know the three financial statements - the income statement, balance sheet and cash flow statement - link together and be able to walk through how changes to one of them will affect the others.

One common question here is how an increase of $10 in depreciation will affect all the statements.
On the income statement, depreciation is an expense so operating income would decline by $10. With a tax rate of 40%, net income would drop by $6.

On the cash flow statement, net income is down by $6 but depreciation - one of the "addbacks" - increases by $10, so cash flow from operations would increase by $4.

On the balance sheet, Net PP&E would decrease by $10 because of the depreciation, while cash would be up by $4 from the tax savings. The $6 decrease in net income would also cause retained earnings to decrease by $6, so that the balance sheet balances - both assets and liabilities / shareholders' equity are now lower by $6.

Brain Teasers
It's hard to give a detailed overview of brain teasers because questions are usually completely different. In general, though, you want to keep your calm and focus on your thought process rather than getting the answer exactly right. Brain teasers are really just stress tests, so keep that in mind as you go through interviews.

Ian Spellfield, a former investment banker, advises students and young professionals on
understanding investment banking and how to ace their investment banking interviews.

Article Source:

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

How To Answer Investment Banking Fit Interview Questions

If you've managed to land investment banking interviews, you need to keep in mind 3 big themes as you go through interviews and try to get a job:

* You can "burn the midnight oil" - you work hard, consistently.
* You "don't shake the Jello" - you do not make mistakes.
* You "want to be Gordon Gekko" - you love business and finance.

Burn The Midnight Oil
More than just claiming you "work really hard" you need very specific stories here. When I was interviewing for these jobs in my senior year of college I discussed my experience working at a big company and how I regularly put in 100 hours a week and lived at the office toward the end of my internship there.

How can you show just how hard you work?

* Starting your own company: Not even banking is this much work.
* Taking leadership of a large project that takes several months to complete.
* Working 2-3 jobs at once and multi-tasking all the time.
* Running a political campaign over many months.

Don't talk about Finals Week or how you worked hard for 1-2 weeks with something. In banking you'll often be exhausted for months at a time, so come up with something at least this long in duration.

Don't Shake The Jello
As a junior investment banker, your most important duty will be checking numbers and not making mistakes. As with showing your interviewers that you can burn the midnight oil, you need specific stories here to stand out.

The way to show your attention to detail is by emphasizing that whatever you did was used by real, paying customers or read/viewed by a lot of people. Having wide exposure implies that you had to get your work right.

A perfect example of this kind of experience would be running a website or publication with thousands of daily readers. If you were editor of this publication, you would have to spend hours checking for mistakes and errors before publishing anything. And by relaying such a story, you could get across your leadership abilities as well.

If you have nothing like this, make a list of every single organization you've been in and every single project you've worked on over the past 3-4 years. Find the one where you were most attentive to detail and speak to that.

Want To Be Gordon Gekko
Even if you're not quite Mr. Gekko himself, you have to convince me that you're actually interested in finance.

This sounds elementary but you'd be surprised how many people don't do this. Why are you applying for this job if you're not interested in it? Yes, it pays a lot of money but you'll never be able to stick with it unless you're genuinely interested in the industry.

Here's an example dialog showing how to convey your interest in an industry:

Interviewer: "Tell me about a market you're interested in."

You: "I really enjoy following the alternative energy industry because it's so new. There has been a lot of activity lately in the solar cell manufacturer sector, driven by technological breakthroughs and favorable government subsidies worldwide."

Interviewer: "Did you invest in any companies? It seems like there's a lot of hype surrounding everything solar."

You: "I agree, most solar companies are overvalued. After researching the major companies, I invested in Solar Company X a year ago. They were trading at a discount to their competitors, despite growing at a 50% rate with 10% profit margins. And their Price To Earnings ratio was only around 30 rather than the 40 to 50 other companies had."

Interviewer: "Sounds good, but why were they valued so much lower than the competition?"

You: "They came in below earnings expectations just before I invested, and announced expansion plans and new capital expenditures at the same time. Investors questioned why they were spending more and more on product development when they were getting less profitable."

Interviewer: "So why did you invest anyway?"

You: "I found a much stronger correlation between annual stock returns and growth compared to profitability. Investors were focusing on short-term results instead of thinking long-term and looking at other companies in the industry. It is a nascent, high-growth industry so growth matters more than short-term profits."

This response shows you've put some thought into this stock pick and can explain in simple terms the qualitative and quantitative reasons for investing.
It's important to do both because candidates often focus on one or the other without considering the whole picture.

Ian Spellfield, a former investment banker, advises students and young professionals on
understanding investment banking and how to get an investment banking summer internship.

Article Source:

Investment Banking Interview

Sunday, July 13, 2008

The Investment Banking Interview Selection Process

As summer holiday is approaching, many of you might be invited to attend interviews. I have been busy recently and have therefore borrowed a number of articles from Ian Spellfield, a former investment banker, who has a similar mission like mine. Here is his article on investment banking interview.

One of my most frequently asked questions is how investment bankers decide who gets an offer following a day of interviews. Even if you did everything right, there's no guarantee you'll get an offer if your interviewers didn't like you.

Who Calls The Shots
Unlike the resume review process, Managing Directors are actually involved in handing out offers. HR does very little aside from scheduling the interviews - usually the MDs even tell them how many Analysts they need.

Typically everyone from Analyst to Managing Director will interview candidates. Everyone does have a say, but it's ultimately up to the Managing Director who gets hired.

Sure, junior people can disagree with something or try to push back, but the Managing Directors can never be overruled. This is investment banking, after all.

The Selection Process
After the first round of interviews, the interviewers decide who they want to invite back for Superday - where 10-20 candidates are interviewed and final decisions are made.

Sometimes there are too many people and not enough slots. In this case we'll give interviews to the best few and put everyone else on the waiting list.

During Superday, each interviewer will evaluate different qualities -leadership, drive, technical skills, for example. Candidates are not necessarily ranked on these, but we have an idea of who was the best in each area.

Afterward, HR gathers everyone for a debrief and sees what people thought. Usually consensus emerges pretty quickly on who we give offers to, who goes on the waiting list and who is rejected. Very rarely are we overwhelmed with star prospective bankers. Most of the time we are only impressed with 1 or 2 people.

How Many Get Selected
In general, we receive 500-1000 resumes for 30-50 interview spots, then give Superday interviews to 10 of those 30-50. Then we pick 2-3 of those to actually receive offers.

These odds don't look great, but most people we interview do not stand out and you can greatly improve your chances just by practicing and knowing what to expect.

What We Look For In Candidates
We look for people who really, really want the job and will do anything to get it.
Some interviewees are doing it just to test the waters and don't really know what they're getting into. Bankers can spot people like this from a mile away. Don't be one of them.

Prove that you can work hard on very little sleep, learn quickly, play well in teams and are hungry to get experience and you will get offers.

Ian Spellfield, a former investment banker, advises students and young professionals on how to get investment banking jobs and how to ace investment banking interviews.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Ian_Spellfield

More interview tips from Jimmy Sweeney's "Job Interview Secret" job landing system.

Investment Banking Interview

Monday, June 16, 2008

Sample Thank You Letter

A good thank you letter not only conveys the message of ‘thank you’. It is a powerful tool to further enhance your candidacy. In the case of an entry level investment banking candidate, it is also a way to show your maturity and how well you can deal with people relation.

Here is a sample thank you letter that impresses us all. My boss like its style, I like its sincerity and personal touch. The author even very skillfully push us on timeline in a very friendly however persuasive manner. Though it is from a experienced headhunter’s candidate, it is also a good sample for entry level candidates. Observe these important elements of a thank you letter while reading:

* Style
* Sincere
* Personal


Thank you for taking the time to meet with me yesterday. I enjoyed our interview and was especially pleased to learn more about how you came to choose your particular career path.

As I mentioned to Sam, ABC Company (my firm) seems like a wonderful place for congenial professionals to work. Till now, when I looked at career opportunities my thoughts would be; "is this a right move," "will this help build my resume," "will this propel me to a bigger role next time around." But during our interview, I kept getting the feeling that I would fit in well, contribute, learn a lot and be happy here. The sentiment was more of becoming a part of a family than just searching for the next big step.

I would very much like to be considered as a candidate and will be happy to provide more information to help you make your decision. I do need a favor, as mentioned I am currently being considered for a regional role in South East Asia; this will be finalizing within the next three months, and once committed it would be very hard to switch my answer. So if ABC Company could be mindful of this timeline while scheduling the selection process I would greatly appreciate it.

Thank you again for the time you took from your busy schedule.

Use the above as a backbone and write a thank you letter to the hiring manager of one of your recent investment banking interviews.

Recommend Career Tools

Amazing Cover Letters

Amazing Resume Creator

Secret Career Document

Thank You Letters

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Best Sample Resume – Career Change

I am trying to convince this candidate for a career change, as I need an REIT banker and this resume looks perfect.

If you are considering a career change to become an investment banker, compare your resume with this.

I love this resume, as this is one of the most outstanding resumes I have ever seen. I am sure many investment banks are happy to consider him as an REIT banker. This resume is just one page. I’ve even short-listed his major achievements only.

Please note all names are dummies.

Henry Headhunter
One line address and contact email/phone

CAREER HISTORYMNC Group plc (Revenues: £3.1bn; employees: 16,000) 1998 – present

Global Head of Property Markets – London (2 years)
* Founder of
www.mncre.com, the global information service for the real estate investment professionals; applied innovative product development methods; 12,000 professionals from 6,000 organizations in 100 countries registered for the service in 12 months after early launch

* Built a new global business for MNC; conceived the “Global MNC Real Estate” idea, then took it through initial internal venture funding, to the launch and integration with the core business

Head of Corporate Strategy Group – New York (4 years)
* Led and facilitated a range of strategy projects that contributed to the MNC turnaround and growth story. Participated in the reorganization team 2003-2005 and growth strategy team 2005-2006; the Company turned losses of £205m in 2002 into profits of £452m in 2005, share price recovered by more than 400%

* Served the Group Management Committee and the Board of Directors as the main internal clients; reported to a CEO-1 executive

Manager, Strategic Planning Group – London (1 year)
Led a range of internal management consulting projects. Created the Economic Model of the Global Finance Industry with McKinsey, modeling 30 finance businesses, their individual value chains and flows of funds

European Graduate Program in Business Management – Europe (2 years)
Selected to the group of 15 graduates for a MNC pan-European rotational management training program, split into international assignments in Germany and Russia in sales, support and finance

MBA – INSEAD (2007)
MSc – Management & Marketing (with honors), Prague University (1998)

Native German, fluent English, Polish, French, conversational Russian and Spanish

Holder of International Master in Fencing Title since 1993; Champion of German under 20 in 1992 and under 16 in 1991.

Anna Maria’s Resume Critique

Henry’s resume speaks for himself and he doesn’t need to write long. His resume is not only outstanding in terms of work history, he has also demonstrated his very talented resume writing skills. In terms of format, it is clean, tidy and easy to read. In terms of content, he has highlighted his achievements in a short and precise way. Certainly he has had lots of achievements that made him walk fast on his career path, but he has only listed those that are most interested to hiring managers.

As I have reiterated in my blog, the first day you start your first full time job, you should aim at building a resume/career history like Henry’s. Look for some good quality internship or graduate program should be one of your primary targets during your undergraduate years.

More resume writing tips from Jimmy Sweeney's Amazing Resume Creator

Resume Writing

Monday, May 26, 2008

Where Do I Fit In An Investment Bank?

Many might ask where I should start my investment banking career. There are various divisions within a bank and yet you might feel uncertain of where to start. Goldman Sachs, as one of the most admired employers from Wall Street, has designed a quiz to help you analyze and have a better understanding of yourself.

You would have to answer 12 questions which have no right or wrong answers. The quiz is informal and has no impact on their hiring decisions, as results won’t be retained. Objective of the quiz is just to help find out where you fit in.

Where Do I Fit In

Investment Banking Career

Recommend career tool: Amazing Cover Letters

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Career Change Cover Letter

Let us review the elements of a 20-second resume cover letter which is best suited for investment banking.

A 20-second cover letter must answer all these questions precisely:

1. What are you doing?
2. What do you want to do?
3. What are you able to do?
4. What do you want the reader to do?

A career change cover letter is more or less in the same structure. Remember you don’t have to tell a full story on your cover letter or resume. Always reserve something interesting that the hiring manager wants to find out and you’ll win an interview.

Here is a recent career change cover letter that I receive and I find it impressive.

Subject: Director of Credit Risk Management

Dear Anna

A Hong Kong-based colleague referred me to you. I am very keen to build upon my senior management experience with the United Nations, and am seeking a director-level position with a Wall Street investment bank as head of credit risk management.

My background is in behavioral scoring, leading organizational change, advocacy, and fund-raising.

I would prefer to be based in Hong Kong, but am open to other cities in Asia.

I've attached my CV, and I look forward to the opportunity to talk with you or one of your colleagues about next steps.


Anna Maria’s Thought of The Day – Looooooong Resume / Cover Letter Won’t Work
Today I received a record-breaking resume of 32 pages in full colour powerpoint format. It was interesting to flip through the first few pages, but I gave up after page six. Too much information on a resume will only make you loss the chance of an interview. Either hiring managers don’t have the patience to read or they know your everything that they don’t need to see you. Always keep your resume and cover letter with the right amount of information and length.

Learn to write cover letters in an appropriate tone with persuasive power from Jimmy Sweeney's Amazing Cover Letters

Cover Letter

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Belated Successful Investment Banking Career

A number of readers asked if they can switch to investment banking without any banking background. Answer is ‘yes’. A number of successful investment bankers didn’t start early and without any banking related education. Peter Redhead, the former head of Asia equities at JP Morgan used to fight criminal crimes at his early career. Nick Sibley, the recently retired head of personal finance at HSBC didn’t start his banking career until 30.

Investment banks do need talents with different expertise. Make sure you’ve gathered sufficient valuable pre-banking experience from a certain business in order to contribute value to the banks and their customers.

Career Change Investment Banker
Nick Sibley studied literature at university. He was definitely not a banker, to start with. He had completely no banking experience when he joined Lloyds Bank’s internal audit department towards his late twenties. In 12 years time, he left the Bank as their Head of Group Retail Consumer Credit Management. He then spent another 12 years at HSBC and before he retired in 2007, he was the Bank’s Head of Personal Financial Services in Asia Pacific.

My suggestion is to get hold of any opportunity to set your feet into an investment bank and then develop your career from there. Strategies would include answering to their recruitment ads, checking their career sites, writing to their department heads, seeking referals while networking or even approaching a headhunter.

What Contributes to a Good Career Change Investment Banking Resume?
When we recruit headhunters, candidates’ outstanding work histories and academic credentials are more important than their investment banking experience. Investment banks have a similar strategy.

Here are my suggestions for your resume writing if you want to be considered by investment banks for a career change.

- A basic university degree;
- No jumpy work history. If you change job every year, the value of your resume will be deflated, regardless of the excellent reasons you can provide;
- No jumpy work nature. It is better to have an in-depth knowledge of a certain business rather than a diverse portfolio of experiences;

- No demotion or no more than one lateral movement. Again this won’t look good, no matter how strong or solid your reasons are;
- Indicate each of your work locations. This will help telling how international you are;
- Honest. Make sure all the facts on your resume are true. Sometime in life when you are promoted to senior management, you must be subjected to a resume check. I have witnessed a CEO who failed in his resume check when he was set to join the board, and he lost his job at the same time.

More resume writing tips from Jimmy Sweeney's Amazing Resume Creator

Career Change Cover Letter
Come back and see my next post.

Investment Banking Career

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Ideal Investment Banking Cover Letter

Here is a sample of an ideal 20-second resume cover letter, extremely suitable for applying investment banking jobs. His one-page resume is also very well-written. A very good candidate though a little green for now. I'm sure he will be on my radar screen in a couple of years.

Dear Anna

I was referred to you by a friend. I am currently a third year analyst at Societe Generale Asset Management based in London. I am actively looking for opportunities in asset management or capital markets in Hong Kong/mainland China. Please find attached a copy of my resume. I would like to discuss in detail with you, please let me know if you will be available to speak on the phone in the next few weeks. Thank you for your time. I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Kind regards,

(note: all names are dummies)

Learn to write cover letters in an appropriate tone with persuasive power from Jimmy Sweeney's Amazing Cover Letters

Resume Cover Letter

Saturday, April 26, 2008

French Resume?

ESCAE Amiens, France

I come across this from a resume yesterday. What kind of education/ qualification is this? One of my colleagues speaks French, but couldn't help. Can French readers please help?

Resume Writing Skills - Write Things That Make Sense To The Reader
Actually this is not the first time I come across information that doesn't make sense on a resume, at least not making sense to readers who are not familiar with a certain language or geography. Someone wrote "place of birth: Kriv". Where is Kriv? Try not to make the hiring manager guess, write clear and precise information.

In Asia, some universities do not carry an official English name. While you cannot expect every employer read your language, please do your best to translate a name that will make sense to the reader.

Before I recruit investment bankers, I used to do NED searches for listed companies. In one of the searches, client specifically required a Chinese ethinic candidate. One of my top candidates came from this college: 山西矿业学院机械工程系. This college does has a website, however in Chinese only. What I have to do is to write something like this in order to present to the client: Shanxi Mining Technology College, Mechanical Engineering Department.

Jargons on Resume
This is the only exception when you can write things that other people don't undetstand, where "other people" means people who does not involve in the hiring process. You might not know what NED is, but people in my business know. So when you are writing your investment banking resume, feel free to write banking jargons or abbreviations. This is a way to tell the hiring manager that you know the business and the terms. I believe my blog readers should all be able to write these in full: AUM / M&A / ECM / DCM / TMT / FIG / ABS / OTC

In my business, everybody should know: LTIP, RSU, COLA

More resume writing tips from Jimmy Sweeney's Amazing Resume Creator

Resume Writing

Monday, April 21, 2008

Investment Banks Shuffle Senior Rainmakers To Asia

I have mentioned several times in my blog that if you are dedicated to investment banking, you should be prepared to relocate. New York, London, Tokyo and Hong Kong are the four major cities you must be acquainted to. Today I am adding Singapore to the list.

Recently, I read an article from Dow Jones with a headline of Investment Banks Shuffle Senior Rainmakers To Asia. This is a norm, in my experience, Asia is a booming region, a heaven for those who are hungry for money and want to make the best out of their IB skills. I can’t give you the actual link to read the article as it is for paid subscribers only. However I have extracted some facts for your reference.

Investment Banks Shuffle Senior Rainmakers To Asia
11 April 2008 - Dow Jones International News

Investment banks are shipping some of their best talent to Asia, following the money as deals are drying up elsewhere, to bulk up their business in a booming region…

In recent months, global financial institutions from Morgan Stanley and JPMorgan Chase to Deutsche Bank have transplanted heavyweight rainmakers to Asia….

Asia, excluding Japan, already accounts for more than 15% of revenues for many investment banks…

"Colleagues from overseas are increasingly interested in transferring to the region," said Robert Morse, Asia Pacific chief executive officer for Citi’s Institutional Clients Group…

Goldman Sachs will soon move a number of senior staff in to key regional roles in Hong Kong and Singapore, according to people familiar with the situation.

Last week, Morgan Stanley transferred star M&A banker Scott Matlock to Hong Kong from London to fill a newly-created role as chairman of Asian M&A. The bank also recently tapped its global asset management head Owen Thomas to become its Asia chief executive...

JP Morgan transplanted 22-year New York veteran banker Winthrop Watson to Hong Kong a few months ago, also in a newly created role as head of Asia-Pacific High Grade DCM; and Credit Suisse appointed European structured derivatives sales head Osama Abbasi to head the newly created position of global securities for non-Japan Asia from Hong Kong…

"With the downturn in the West, we have the opportunity to bring out good people to build up our Asian business, and often, we create new titles for them," said one person at a U.S. investment house. "Increasingly, many bankers in the U.S. and Europe feel that Asian experience would be good for their career path."

Moving Global Heads to the Region

In some cases, banks have even started basing their global heads in the region. Last year, Barclays Capital moved Ivan Ritossa, its global head of foreign exchange, from the U.K. to Singapore, while Citigroup recently relocated Ted Kuh to Hong Kong from London to head the Asian consumer and healthcare group while keeping his title as co-head of global retail. Also retaining his global title, Deutsche Bank's global equity trading head Noreddine Sebti has moved to Hong Kong from New York to head Asian equities...

"Relocating a global head to Asia ensures our center of risk management is aligned accordingly, while recognizing the changing polarity of global equity markets and the growing importance of the region," Deutsche Bank's Global Head of Equities Yassine Bouhara explained...

The defection to the region comes as bankers with Asian experience take on greater prominence within their firms. Last year, Credit Suisse's Asia-Pacific head, Paul Calello, was put at the helm of the bank's overall investment banking unit. Similarly, Goldman Sachs Asia Chairman Michael Evans was recently made global vice chairman…

Savills PLC, a real estate brokerage which works with major banks to relocate employees, noted that some corporate clients had as many as 100 to 130 moves to Hong Kong last year alone, about 30% more from 2006.

Growing Prominence

Many investment banks posted record revenues out of Asia last year even as their U.S. operations suffered...

"The rise of Asian global champions in recent years has underpinned record levels for M&A and capital markets activity in Asia Pacific - in 2007 the world's largest announced M&A transaction and two of the five largest IPOs globally were from the Asia Pacific region," said Citigroup's Morse….

Even star investors and not just bankers are feeling the need to relocate. Despite the recent market volatility in Asia, hedge fund guru Jim Rogers, cofounder of George Soros' famed Quantum Fund, is joining the rush, leaving New York for Singapore.

Investment Banking Career

Recommended career tool: Amazing Resume Creator

Monday, April 14, 2008

Investment Banking Salary and Bonus

Last year, two among the top three earners of Hong Kong University graduates worked for investment banks. They both made close to HK$1.2 million (c.US$150,000). Not bad for a first year job, however the number is not exciting enough. Asset management is the rising star of investment banking. Let me give you some exciting figures on one of my recent successful fund management candidates.

Candidate Profile
Position hired: CEO, Fund Management, Asia
Age: 46
IB experience: 21 years (London, Europe, New York, Hong Kong)
Qualifications: BA, CFA
Length of resume: two pages

Summary of Compensation Package
Base salary: US$475,000
Housing: US$240,000
Target bonus: US$1,900,000
Defer bonus: US$475,000
LTIP: US$140,000
Sign on RSU: US$1,000,000
Guaranteed first year bonus: US$790,000

Other Benefits
Retirement plan
Life insurance (self and family)
Medical (self and family)
Annual leave
Club (membership + debenture)
Children education
Car (parking, driver & fuel)

Thoughts on Money
Actually these are numbers on paper. The take-home money could have no ceiling. In terms of money making, you don’t need to target yourself to be John Mack or Hank Paulson. A low profile hedge fund manager can make more money than Wall Street CEOs. In the field of investment banking, salary only contribute a small portion of your total income, bonus is the real money. One of my hedge fund manager candidates reported to have made US$29 million in 2006 when he was only 29. (Note: The other side of the story is: if your fund isn’t making money for the bank and your clients, you’ll loss your job.)

Summary on Candidate Resume
This candidate has 21 years of IB experience, however his resume is only two pages. If you are doing well, you don’t have to write long. Your movements, i.e. your career history speak for yourself. The candidate worked for a total of three employers across three continents in the past 21 years. Started as an option trader and became a head of international equity mutual funds in 10 years time. Each of his movements was upward movements.

More resume writing tips from Jimmy Sweeney's Amazing Resume Creator

Investment Banking Salary

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Psychometric Tests

Some employers believe in psychometric tests. Even for senior hires, finalist candidates are sometimes required to go through such tests. Some investment banks use psychometric tests to assess graduate candidates. HSBC is one of them. Therefore they have designed two sets of questions to help you get acquainted to it. There are six questions for each numerical reasoning and verbal reasoning. You would need approximately 20 minutes to complete.

It is interesting. Give it a try.

Why is a UK bank being named Hongkong and Shanghai Bank?
Because it was established simultaneously in Hong Kong and Shanghai in 1865 to finance the growing trade between China and Europe.

Why are there more HSBC branches in Hong Kong than in Shanghai?
Unfortunately I don't have an answer. The fact is Shanghai has only nine branches, while Hong Kong has over 100. Hence, a lot of people simply call it Hong Kong Bank.

Investment Banking Interview