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."