Thursday, December 10, 2009

Responding to an Investment Banking Recruitment Ad

If you are a third-year Analyst, you are ready to move on to Associate level. Of course, some move faster than others. I have clipped a recent recruitment ad for discussion.

Associates, Corporate Finance
· A Top Tier Investment Bank
· Excellent Opportunity to work with huge transactions
· Highly Competitive Remuneration
Our client is an established Capital Markets outfit, focuses on the origination of equity and equity-linked, fixed income and securitization/Asset-Backed products. They execute Initial Public Offerings, Follow-on offerings, Convertible Bonds offerings, High Grade/High Yield debt instruments, Asset/Mortgage backed securities and loans.

It is just as important that you have the confidence and credibility to build relationships with clients, and possess excellent communication skills. Not to mention that we expect you to work well both independently and effectively in a team, while exhibiting the highest commitment to integrity and ethical decision making. You also need to exhibit flexibility, adaptability, and resilience to work in a challenging environment, and can work under pressure on multiple projects.To qualify, individual must possess:

· 3-4 years relevant experience in the Banking Corporate Finance Industry
· Ability to understands deal issues / mechanics and take the lead on calls/ books / meetings
· Strong numerical and analytical skills (Logic)
· Competent Bloomberg, Power Point and Excel skills
· Proficient language skills preferably with an additional language such as Chinese (Mandarin)
· Strong team work and able to communicate well with both juniors and seniors internally and externally

Candidate with less experience will be considered as Analyst.

This ad is written by an employment agency. Some agencies write good ads, while some others write over-demanding, unrealistic requirements. This one is just fit, realistic and well written.

Client is a top tier investment bank looking for an Associate in their Corporate Finance division. When answering an ad, study the ad carefully and present yourself as exactly the person they want.

People Skills – see if you possess the qualities they request – e.g in the above ad - relationship building, communications skills, team player… Tailor your resume and cover letter to answer these needs. Actually you won’t go wrong either you are replying to an ad or proactively introducing yourself by incorporating these into your resume. Product knowledge can be trained, people skills/personality is not likely. Remember, you have to survive in a highly competitive, rigorous environment of well-qualified peers. Present yourself as a person with such abilities.

Achievements – these are what employers want to see. Make sure to present them in a way appropriate to your position. To answer this ad, describe how you have been, as a team member, contributed in client relationship building and decision making.

Up-side Potential – if you can demonstrate you are not only good at what they want you to do now, but with the potential and desire to grow, then you’ll stand out from the crowd. At the stage of a third-year analyst, you would still need a bit of extra curricular activities on your resume. It could even be better if you have leadership experience in these activities. Remember, what you do at your leisure time can help to demonstrate what kind of a person you are.

Amazing Cover Letter
Amazing Resume Creator

Investment Banking Resumes Writing

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Investment Banking Classes


I just browsed this website with great interest. For those who are not yet hired, but want to pursue an investment banking career, you might want to check out the training classes offered by Investment Banking Institute.

Investment Banking Institute (IBI) employs 10 investment bankers who have worked for some of Wall Street's most respected firms, each having between 5 and 15 years of I-Banking and Private Equity or Hedge Fund expertise. Moreover, each of their bankers have, at some point in their careers, been an instrumental part of the training programs and hiring process in the banks they worked for. I've browsed their bios, and they are well qualified individuals.

· Investment Banking (Boutique, Mid-Market, and Bulge-Bracket)
· Private Equity
· Hedge Funds
· Equity Research (Buy-Side and Sell-Side)
· Asset Management

· Corporate Finance and Strategy
· Private Wealth Management

CLASS FORMAT: There are 8 sessions and each is 3.5 hours long for a total of 28 hours of in-class live training. Classes are available in 11 cities in the Americas and 4 in Europe.

What interests me most is one-on-one resume revision and mock interviews with industry professionals (including common interview questions) during and after course completion.

The Investment Banking Institute is registered with the CFA Institute as an Approved Provider of continuing education programs. This program is eligible for 24.5 CE credit hours as granted by the CFA Institute. If you are a CFA Institute member, CE credit for your attendance at this event will be automatically recorded in your CE Diary.

CLASS FEE: ?? I am unable to find out in the IBI website. You might have to email them and check it out.

Investment Banking Classes

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Investment Banking Resumes Guidelines

My blog is approaching three years. I receive one question recently: The world is changing, will your resume guidelines be changed? Good question. I quickly browsed through my older posts and review them. Yes the world is changing, but there are things that never change, such as the sun won't rise from the west. Likewise for investment banking.

100-year old shop Lehman Brothers shut down, but the basic requirements for an investment banking resume won't change. You will always need an error-free, clean and tidy resume, in terms of layout and format. In terms of content, you will always need to present precisely your skills and achievements in a way that your future employer believe that you will bring contribution to them. These are the big rules that will never change.

The one-page length is somehow debatable. Depends on the experience you have, two pages as a maximum is acceptable. However for entry to mid level roles, I would still insist that one page is the perfect length. I've once presented a CEO's one-page resume. If a CEO with 30 years of experience can write a one-page resume, anyone in this world can.

Strategies to Shorten Your Resume

Anything 10 years or longer from now can be simplified. If you are a regional manager now, no one will care how you perform as an audit clerk some 20 years ago. You may write a line like this: 20 years audit and accounting experience started 1976 as an audit clerk at ABC Company. Details of early career available on request.

Focus on your most recent 10 years of experience, (could be one, two or three jobs), depends on how long you stay with each job and how relevant those experience are to your prospective employer.

For experienced job seekers, anything else can be omitted, except education which can be simplied. You need only to list your degree, college and year of graduation. GPA, major/minor, extra cirricular activities are not required.

Try these and see if you can craft a one-page resume for yourself.

Amazing Cover Letter
Amazing Resume Creator

Investment Banking Resumes

Friday, October 9, 2009

A GREAT Job Interview Follow-up Letter Secret

I received this article from Jimmy Sweeny. He is not an investment banking guru, but he is a generalist career guru, one of my most respected figures in the field. This article is very innovative and I’m sure you will benefit from it. Enjoy reading.

A GREAT Job Interview Follow-up Letter Secret

You've just finished the interview you hoped to get and it went pretty well as far as you can tell. Now you must play the 'waiting game,' as the hiring manager makes his or her decision about offering you the job. However, you can be active even as you wait. Here's a secret most people don't know about—so keep it to yourself, okay?

A Gift That Continues to Give

Give the interviewer a 'gift.' No! Not a Starbucks card or a movie pass. In fact, if you're not careful such a gift might be considered a bribe, so of course you want to avoid that. However, you can give something of value that will be seen as a kind gesture from a person who has taken note of the employer's interests and hobbies.

You can pass on a 'gift of information'—an article from a magazine or newspaper, a reference to a certain web site, or a brochure or pamphlet––that focuses on something the hiring manager would welcome, use, and enjoy.

Thank You PLUS

For example, suppose you and the interviewer talked about your mutual interest in golf or dog training or skiing or chess. How nice it would be to include some printed information on one of these topics that reminds the hiring manager of your conversation and your thoughtfulness. This gift along with a short but friendly note of thanks for the interview would surely put your name and face in a prominent place in the interviewer's mind.

Employer Benefits

Even if you don't get the job, you've taken a good and kind step toward another person. That will pay off in one way or the other.

1. It shows enthusiasm for the open position.
2. It displays your diligence and commitment.
3. It demonstrates that you paid attention to the interviewer and his or her interests.
4. It illustrates that you are a thoughtful and generous person with your time and energy.

And finally, such gifts sent periodically, help you keep in touch with your interviewer until the job is filled

Written By Jimmy Sweeney
President of CareerJimmy and Author of the new,
Job Interview “Secret”

Visit our friends at Job Interview “Secret” and discover Jimmy Sweeney's breakthrough strategy that will have you standing out from the competition like a Harvard graduate at a local job fair… DURING your next job interview.

Investment Banking Resumes - Thank You Letter

Saturday, September 26, 2009

HSBC CEO To Move To Hong Kong

September 25, 2009 - Bloomberg

HSBC Holdings Plc is moving Chief Executive Officer Michael Geoghegan to Hong Kong from London as Europe’s biggest bank increases its focus on emerging markets.

HSBC will still be domiciled in the U.K. and has no plans to move, the bank said today in a statement. Chairman Stephen Green, Chief Financial Officer Douglas Flint and investment banking chief Stuart Gulliver will remain based in London.

“There’s a shift of gravity going from West to East,” Green said on a conference call with journalists. “Nothing about the economic crisis changes that. If anything, it’s being accelerated.”

HSBC plans to expand in China, India and Brazil, among the world’s fastest growing economies over the past decade, to take advantage of increasing demand for banking services. Unlike U.K. rivals Lloyds Banking Group Plc and Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc, HSBC avoided a government bailout, even after posting $67 billion of provisions for bad loans in the past 3 1/2 years.

Geoghegan, 55, will take over responsibility for the “evolution of group strategy” from Green, the chairman said.

Geoghegan, who became CEO in May 2006, has worked outside the U.K. for about 29 years of his 36 years with HSBC. He started the bank’s Brazilian unit in 1997 and became head of South American operations in 2000. He also spent eight years in Asia and seven in the Middle East.

Source: Bloomberg, read more

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Powerful Words In A Cover Letter

I receive a beautiful summary essay recently. Let’s analysis what elements are good and how we can transfer these into an amazing cover letter and generate interviews.

I began my career in the finance industry 18 years ago as an intern at Goldman Sachs in New York. Since then, I honed my statistics and economics training at Stanford, implemented sophisticated quantitative strategies in emerging market currencies at ABC Partners, and helped bring my current employer, PQR, to the top of the industry in several areas from quantitative models to algorithmic trading. Over the past two years, I have been the Head of Sales and Trading in Asia ex-Japan for PQR, a global technology-focused broker-dealer. In this role, I have transformed PQR in Asia from a small outpost of an American company to a formidable brokerage with a large and growing footprint in the region. Throughout my career, I have developed strong relationships with clients and colleagues on the buyside and sellside of the finance industry in North America, Europe and Asia.


Experience: clear – 18 years in finance industry
Skills: implemented sophisticated quantitative strategies in emerging market currencies; sales & trading
Geographic knowledge: North America, Europe and Asia ex-Japan
Achievements: transformed PQR in Asia from a small outpost of an American company to a formidable brokerage with a large and growing footprint in the region
Value added: strong relationships with clients and colleagues on the buyside and sellside
Choice of powerful words: see my highlighting.

Usually when writing a cover letter, you would need a paragraph to describe yourself. Many failed in this section by writing too long which caused the hiring manager to give up reading.

If you are writing to apply for an entry role, you might have only 18 months of intern experience. Use the above sample, specified what experience you have and where you gained them, together with the appropriate choice of powerful words (make sure to avoid exaggeration). Of course you won’t have much achievement to describe but you can describe how you achieve or exceed your target.

From the 20-second point of view, the above sample paragraph is a bit too long. Try to make it short and precise and make sure it will take about 20 seconds to finish reading.

amazing cover letter - more tips from Jimmy Sweeney

Investment Banking Resume Cover Letter

Thursday, August 13, 2009

What Value Can You Add to Investment Banking?

Successful bankers are not born to be, they can be trained to be. If you are able to bring additional value to a banking role, investment banks are willing to train you.

Maria Leung is an outstanding female in her career change from advertising to investment banking. After graduating from the University of Hong Kong, Maria held a number account servicing roles at a couple of top ranked advertising agencies. At her late 20s, she joined Citibank and started her banking career at their Card Business. She joined ABN AMRO in 2004 as Head of Wealth Management. She was soon promoted to SVP and pioneered the Bank’s Van Gogh Preferred Banking Domestic Business.

What has advertising and banking in common? What has lured each other to make Maria’s career change? Advertising clients are among those toughest and most demanding clients in the world, especially those who spends huge amount of money in adverting campaigns. Likewise, rich people looking for people to manage their money are equally demanding. You would need to be confident in dealing with and satisfying these extremely demanding clients. Analytical skills and strategic thinking, together with the ability to make decisions and execute them timely and accurately are all necessary in servicing private banking clients.

What other skills can you bring to investment banking from your field of business? Review what you are doing. Are you able to motivate, influence and manage others? You would need these skills to work with a pool of talented staff like researchers and analysts while you work your way up.

After all, if you want to build a banking career, there is a basic element you need – a flair for numbers – be able to read spreadsheets and earnings reports and be able to take those numbers and crunch them into financial models and projections. So you would need to love numbers and not afraid of them.

Monday, July 6, 2009

How to Generate Interviews with a Relatively Weak Resume?

Investment banks always look for best of the best. What if you have a relatively weak resume, with your GPA below 4 and not graduating from famous institutes like Harvard or INSEAD? Though 'to hire the best' is the rule, but sometimes people don't work to rule. Some very senior bankers do have only a basic degree without much outstanding academic credentials. And in my other posts, you would find some very senior executives even had no qualification at all.

To start your investment banking career, personality fit is more a determining factor rather than skill sets or academic results. However to persuade the hiring manager to grant you an interview and to find out more on your personality is a separate issue.

My peer, Jimmy Sweeny, always reiterate that an amazing cover letter will generate interviews, even with a relatively weak resume. You might want to browse his website and get some insights from him. Of course you can browse through my blog for more tips about writing an effective cover letter.

Investment Banking Cover Letter

Monday, June 22, 2009

Informational Interview - Young Analyst

Have you been trying to set up an informational interview? Before you make up your mind and devoted to be an investment banker, ideally you should speak with some people in the field and understand the business. In addition, you may consider looking into business analyst

If you haven’t had one, read this article – a young investment banker talks about his career. You will find some friendly answers to the questions below.

1. What made you decide to become an investment banker? How did you become an investment banker?
2. What does an investment banker do?
3. What do you like about your job?
4. What is your least favorite part of the job?
5. What advice do you have for someone considering becoming an investment banker?
6. What kind of an education do you need to be an investment banker? What kind of education did you get?

Source of article:

Try to structure more questions according to your own need and interest when preparing for your informational interview.

Investment Banking - Career Overview

Friday, June 12, 2009

How to Become a Private Banker

Under the current financial turbulence, rich people loss a lot of their money. Well, likewise for the poor and the general public. As rich people would need to re-build their strategy and get their wealth well managed, why not consider starting a private banking career? This site is one place to start, to find business courses that may help you develop a finance career.

Last year, just before world market slumped, I clipped this article in my file. I think it is a good time to share it with you. Pay attention to the Entry level hires, as it contains valuable information for those who wants to start a private banking career.

The draw of private banking
PRIVATE banking, which used to be a second class cousin to investment banking, has in recent years been attracting top graduates here and in the region. This is in part due to a growing population of millionaires, Singapore's positioning as the world's wealth management hub and, of course, increasingly attractive remuneration.

Says Fock Siew Tong, associate dean of Nanyang Business School and a former private banker: 'The two most preferred banking niche areas that top graduates are pursuing in the last few years are in investment banking and wealth management, specifically private banking. However, given the prevailing turmoil in the global financial market, a consequence of the sub-prime crisis, private banking takes added precedence in terms of career choice in the banking industry.'

But landing a top job as a wealth management trainee in top North American and European banks is not a simple task since limited hires are done at entry level.

In most private banks or wealth management arms of global investment banks, the number of junior banker positions - which is where fresh graduates typically start off - usually makes up only a mere 10-20 per cent of a private bank. Even with the increase in new hires over the past two years, private banking is still very much dominated by experienced senior bankers.

Entry level hires
For entry level hires, the competition is very stiff with many top graduates vying for these direct positions in wealth management trainee programmes.

'Over the past two years, there have only been approximately 200 to 300 entry level hires in Singapore, which again emphasises on the prestige and difficulty in landing a top private banking job upon graduation,' says Gary Lai, front office banking manager of headhunting firm Robert Walters.
'Alternatively, the easiest route for undergrads who aspire to become future private bankers is to start off as a personal banker and progress on from there. This would be relatively easier compared to the direct entry to one of the wealth management trainee programmes since it is not uncommon to see many undergrads competing head on for a very limited number of positions in the latter case.'

A good mix of academic excellence, an active involvement in co-curricular activities and an outgoing personality are some of the qualities hirers are looking out for when making their full time hires. Those who make the cut and qualify for the wealth management trainee programmes can expect first year salaries in the region of S$60,000-S$80,000 annually.

'Having an outgoing personality, being presentable and able to articulate well with confidence are all pertinent attributes of a private banker,' adds Mr Lai.

'Candidates should read up on the bank they are interviewing with, talk to people within the private banking circle to have a clearer understanding of this position they are interviewing for. They should also show passion and commitment by doing their own research to obtain a broad understanding of whole spectrum of private banking products. It is also an added bonus if the candidate has a good network of HNWIs (high net worth individuals).'

It would also help if budding private bankers show that they have some broad technical knowledge in a variety of financial products, says Dr Fock. 'They (budding private bankers) need to be well dressed, suave and yet discreet in terms of mannerism,' he adds. 'In addition, they should have a disposition that is warm and sensitive to a client's needs. Having a foundational exposure to accountancy or banking and finance during college will also be helpful.'

New private banking recruits can expect to be put through rigorous in-house training programmes lasting three to five years. They are usually guided by mentors, typically senior colleagues. 'These apprentices and mentors, together with their clients will typically go through the wealth cycle that involves wealth creation, wealth enhancement, wealth preservation and wealth disposition stage,' says Dr Fock.

'And it is through these extensive apprenticeship programmes that apprentices understand the real business of private banking which go beyond understanding the financial investment needs of the immediate client and often extend to that of servicing the needs of the client's family - providing advice for buying overseas properties and even setting up a trust to provide the operating financial charges for the client's children overseas.'
The outlook for private banking has never been rosier than in the last two years. And opportunities still abound for the private banking industry in Singapore.

'Despite current market volatility, we believe that the wealth management sector in Asia will continue to thrive with the incessant pace of wealth creation as driven by the new generation of entrepreneurs,' says Akbar Shah, managing director and region head of Citi Private Bank. 'Growth will come from Singapore and other established markets like Hong Kong, Taiwan and Indonesia.

'And Singapore remains an attractive choice for wealth managers looking to locate their headquarters in Asia and is poised to experience even greater growth in the near future. Its geographical position gives it ideal proximity to one of the most vibrant economic regions, which encompasses India, Greater China and South-east Asia.'

This article was first published in The Business Times on Jun 9, 2008

Investment Banking Interview Guide

Job Interview Secret

Monday, May 25, 2009

Credit Suisse places ads to hire Asia private bankers

While some of the investment banks are shedding off staff, I do hear some encouraging news lately. This might make even more sense to my Asia Pacific readers.

Credit Suisse places ads to hire Asia private bankers
23 April 2009 Reuters News

Credit Suisse has placed advertisements in newspapers to hire experienced private bankers in Asia, at a time rivals have been shedding staff.

The Swiss bank placed an advertisement in the Wall Street Journal Asia on Thursday asking bankers to make appointments with senior Credit Suisse officials in Singapore, Hong Kong, Japan and Australia.

Similar ads went out in the Financial Times and Singapore's Business Times, a Credit Suisse spokeswoman said.

"Amid unprecedented market turmoil, our private banking business recorded strong asset inflows," the bank's head of private banking for Asia-Pacific, Marcel Kreis, said in the Wall Street Journal ad.

"Private banking is one of the core businesses of Credit Suisse, with a notable high performance in Asia."

The No. 2 Swiss lender's advertisements come as jobs are cut at the private banking arms of rivals such as UBS and HSBC, and ahead of Credit Suisse's first-quarter earnings later in the day.

UBS last week laid off about 240 private bankers in Asia, while HSBC said on Tuesday it was cutting 100 private banking jobs in Hong Kong [ID:nLL396647].

Citigroup , Societe Generale and Barclays also recently shed staff from their wealth management arms in Asia.

Credit Suisse's private banking arm last year generated 50.9 billion Swiss francs in net new assets including 8.4 billion Swiss francs from clients in the Asia-Pacific.

A Credit Suisse spokeswoman in Singapore declined to say how many bankers the company was planning to hire.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Qualities of An Analyst

Many successful bankers started their investment banking career as an analyst. Successful analysts work hard, understand spreadsheets, and have fine analytical skills. Analysts can be promoted to associates who do similar work, but more of it.

Investment banks hire many entry level analysts annually. What determines who are being hired and who are not? Many would say a high GPA from a reputable college. These could be helpful, but there are plenty of such students. What will determine success? There are certain additional qualities that bankers look for.

Keep the following factors in mind while attending an investment banking interview.

People who work smart usually tend to work less hard. However in investment banking, you would need both. Analysts and associates are expected to work hard, long, and late hours. For entry level analysts, ‘work hard’ would even rate higher. During an interview, you need to show a great attitude in your willingness to work hard. Moreover, when asked about past experiences, describe situations that you were able to overcome adversity with your positive and optimistic attitude.

Attention to Detail
Attention to detail is vital in investment banking because it is indicative of a bank’s quality and level of professionalism.

An error-free resume is your first step to prove your attention to detail. During an interview, you have to answer questions precisely. For example, you should be able to quickly and flawlessly describe the various valuation models. You would also need to demonstrate your ability to count. Quoting numbers in your answers is a good strategy.

Team Player
All of the work performed at an investment bank is conducted in teams. Therefore, your ability to work in a team is highly sought after. Present yourself as a good team player by discussing your past experience of being a member of a successful team. List a number of team activities on your resume to attract the interviewer to ask teamwork-related questions.

Quote from the Website of Job Interview Secret
Puts you in such high regard during the interview process that employers don't want you to get away—and many times are prepared to pay you more for this fact.

Now, for the first time ever, you can create a customized 'Secret Career Document' for your job search in just 10 minutes flat using my fill-in-the-blanks templates and step-by-step system.

Investment Banking Interview

Monday, April 20, 2009

Investment Banking Qualifications ?

A reader asked me whether he should go for an MBA or CFA in order to pursue an investment banking career. Actually either or both will be fine. I have come across people studied Criminal Psychology or Physical Education had become very successful investment bankers. What about people without any qualifications?

When I started my headhunting business, I believed strongly that good qualifications are important in any career. Good qualifications from famous institutes (such as MIT, Harvard, INSEAD..…) are even more sought after. However when I come across more and more resumes, I have changed my mind.

From time to time, I receive resumes from non-bankers as many candidates are not aware of our business focus. Couple of the qualification-less resumes caught my attention. Both are from very senior people from reputable MNCs.

The first one was from a CEO who’s resume started ‘Left school at the age of 16 without qualifications…’ He started as an apprentice and earned his first managerial role in 10 years time. I had no job for him, or I must call him up and find out his story.

The second was from a Regional Director whom had even no education section on his resume. My boss happens to know this candidate personally and told me it was because he had ‘none’, i.e., no formal education. He started as a salesman and earned his first managerial role in six years time.

If for any reason your qualifications aren’t better than others, don’t worry. Opportunities are open to capable people, though it might take a little longer to prove yourself. However as investment banking is concerned, I would still insist that a bachelor degree in any discipline would be a basic requirement. So far I haven’t seen any qualification-less CEOs in investment banks.

Investment Banking Career

Monday, April 6, 2009

"Season" Your Cover Letter With A Great Quote!

I received this article from Jimmy Sweeney which is really inspirational.

We shall talk about some investment banking related quotes afterwards.

Have you ever heard or read a quotation you just had to share with someone? How about one of these?

"Plan your work for today and every day, then work your plan." Norman Vincent Peale

"Real success is finding your lifework in the work that you love." David McCullough

"Success depends on your backbone, not your wishbone." Unknown Author

Each one provides good advice as well as inspiration. Consider including an appropriate quotation in your cover letter. It will pack a punch, give the hiring manager something fresh and motivating to read, and elevate you in his or her mind. Cover letters that offer more than simply a list of job skills, will rise to the top of the pile. Managers will notice such a person and want to call you in for an interview.

How to weave a great quotation into your letter

Suppose you are applying for a position as a sales manager for a book publishing firm. You thank the hiring manager for the opportunity to introduce yourself, let him or her know where you found out about the opening and the good things you read or heard about the company, why you believe you're a good fit for the position, and of course something about your previous employment. Add a sentence that asks the employer to look at your enclosed resume for further details. Next, start a new paragraph with a snappy, insightful quotation.

Example: "Setting an example is not the main means of influencing others; it is the only means." (Albert Einstein)

Then add a sentence showing how you will do just that—set an example for the people you manage. Example: You can count on me to live these inspiring words. I know the importance of influencing people for good and that is what I want to be known for. I'd welcome the opportunity to meet with you in person so you can judge for yourself.

When it comes to cover letters, it is essential to make a strong, first impression. You can do that with a great quote from someone known and respected in the field you are aspiring to.

Imagine the results you'll experience in your job search when your cover letter includes not only details about your abilities but also insight into who you are as a person? A prospective employer will actually be excited to meet you, to discuss the job, and to hand it over to you! Potential employees who show creativity and color in their communication are a gift to any company.

So, include a strong, inspirational quotation to your next cover letter and then get ready for the phone to ring!

Quotes From Investment Banking Gurus
Couple of famous quotes for your reference. See if you can make use of them and incorporate into your cover letter.

A man always has two reasons for doing anything: a good reason and the real reason - J Pierpont Morgan

Man is the creature of circumstances - Robert Owen

Jimmy Sweeney is the president of CareerJimmy and author of the new, Amazing Cover Letter.

Friday, March 27, 2009

The Worst Cover Letter

A good cover letter won't guarantee success, but a bad cover letter will guarantee failure, such as this one:

To: Anna Maria D'Souza
Sent: Mon Jan 12 00:40:56 2009
Subject: Seeking for Jobs

Dear Anna
I am currently seeking jobs. Please find attached CV for your reference. Please feel free to call me at 1234-5678


You might not believe, but this is a true email which I received recently. I have decided not to include this candidate into our database.

Author of this cover letter is an analyst of over 10 years expereince. On the resume, his experience doesn't look bad. However, investment banking is a business which requires personality fit and as for analysts, above par English writing skills.

This particular cover letter reflects immature personality and poor writing skills. Though I always go for short - short cover letter, short resume, but please make sure not to write any cover letter as short as this one.

Amazing Cover Letter
Amazing Resume Creator

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Investment Banking Salary 2009

It is investment banks’ bonus period. So let’s talk about money. In Hong Kong, UBS is said to have cut most of their bankers bonus by 95% comparing to that was paid last year.

Many might doubt in the current financial turmoil that if investment banking is still a tempting job for making big money. Asia Pacific is a dynamic and aggressive market for those who are targeting big. So let’s take a look at what money are the bankers here making. Let’s take Hong Kong as an example.

In our knowledge (among banking headhunters and banking insiders), here is an indication of how much bankers made as of January 2009.

Corporate Finance
Analyst (1-3 years of experience): US$77K – 103K
Associate (3-5 years of experience): US$103K - $128K

Equity Research
Analyst (1-3 years of experience): US$39K – 62K
Associate (3-5 years of experience): US$77K - $103K

These numbers represent annual base salary and guaranteed bonuses. Bankers in Hong Kong make the most comparing to Singapore, Shanghai and Tokyo. Of course the actual number you make will depend on variables like qualifications, experience level, company size, industry sector and job scopes.

So are these numbers attractive? Well, they might not be as attractive as previously. But comparing with entry roles in other fields, it doesn’t look bad at all.

Investment Banking Salary

Monday, March 2, 2009

Cover Letter Tip: "Thank You" Magic

I received this article from Jimmy Sweeny, one of my most admired career-related author. This article is not investment banking focused, but will surely benefit anyone who wants to write an effective cover letter.

The holiday decorations are down. The carolers have put away their songbooks. A new calendar page awaits your comments and appointments and to-do list. It's also time to say thank you to everyone who sent you a gift or a card or a cheery e-mail.

It's also an ideal time to spread your appreciation to your business pursuits and contacts. As you write your cover letter to prospective employers, be sure to tuck in a few words of gratitude for the opportunity to introduce yourself and your skills, even as you ask for an interview for the job you want.

"Gratitude is the rosemary of the heart,"
according to 19th century American writer, Minna Antrim.

Keep in mind that the hiring manager has no obligation to respond to your cover letter. But if you sprinkle your letter with a bit of 'rosemary' he or she won't be able to resist contacting you. Why? Because you will be among the very few who are more concerned with gratitude than greed. You will display your good heart and your interest in others, not just yourself. This small addition to any cover letter will put you in a class by yourself and it will be a signal that you are someone who would be a welcome addition to the company staff.

Some Ways to Say 'Thank you' Within Your Cover Letter

Use clear and simple language in your cover letter to convey your appreciation while at the same time displaying your talent and skills for the job you are interested in.

1. Thank you for taking a moment to consider my cover letter and resume. I appreciate how busy you are.
2. I appreciate the time you give to prospective employees such as me. I do not take it for granted.
3. I welcome a chance to talk with you about my skills and your expectations. Thank you for this opportunity to hear about your company and to share how I might fit into your plans.
4. I appreciate the job application guidelines you provided online. I'd like very much the opportunity to express my thanks in person for making it easy to introduce myself and my background and to find out how I can contribute to your company.

Avoid gushing or being sentimental. Focus on clarity and sincerity. You have what it takes to land the job you want. Make gratitude a high priority and you will succeed.

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

Investment Banking Cover Letter

Monday, February 23, 2009

Who's afraid of turmoil? Not Barclays

In a slow market, not many investment banks continues to hire. Therefore this particular news sounds encouraging and I would like to share it with you, though it is quite Asia focused. For those who wants to start an investment banking career, you can still check out what kind of quality do banking bosses look for.

12 February 2009 - Straits Times
UK bank presses on with plan to hire up to 1,500 skilled staff here

BRITISH banking giant Barclays is sticking to its aggressive plan to hire up to 1,500 highly skilled staff by early 2011 in Singapore - despite the turmoil that has ravaged many financial institutions.

The bank wants project managers, applications development managers, and software and IT specialists for its Business Technology Centre at Changi Business Park Central launched last year.

Barclays has already hired 250 staff - mainly locals - and wants to increase this headcount to 650 by the end of this year.

'We need hundreds of people. So, in the next few weeks and months, we'll keep hiring as fast as we can,' Mr Frits Seegers, the chief executive of Barclays' global retail and commercial banking, said yesterday.

The centre will allow Barclays to run its international cards and banking platforms out of Singapore.

'I'm looking for the best of the best,' said Mr Seegers, who cited candidates having Master of Engineering degrees. 'But most of all, I'm looking for people who are passionate about their jobs...people who know how to win and survive.'

The new staff are in addition to the 2,500 that Barclays already has for its investment banking and wealth management businesses in Singapore.

Mr Seegers said the corporate bank team here, which comprises six staff including bankers, is also set to expand.

'I can't give you numbers, but we're going to grow it very quickly,' said the British-based banker.

Barclays - one of the few major British banks that has yet to receive an infusion of government capital - reported relatively strong results this week, with last year's full-year net profit down just 0.8 per cent from a year earlier.

Mr Seegers, who is forgoing his bonus for last year, said that to dwell on variable compensation is to miss the full picture.

'I have 130,000 colleagues, and many of them work in the retail network - cashiers, personal bankers, commercial bankers. The bonus for them is the difference between going on holidays with their family and not going on holidays with their family. They've worked hard, and I would argue that they deserve to be... rewarded for their hard work.'

Barclays, which snapped up small Indonesian lender Bank Akita last year, is not ruling out further acquisitions.

What about buying Citi's precious Singapore business, which will give Barclays an entry into the home loans and credit cards-sort of business here?

After all, Mr Seegers once ran Citi's consumer banking operations in the Asia-Pacific out of Singapore.

'I have an old rule, and I never comment on what I'm going to buy,' he said. 'My nickname is Discount Dutch. If you talk about what you're going to buy, it's going to become more expensive.'

Mr Seegers hinted that what he is looking for are 'networks' - basically banks with branches and a retail presence.

'People like to do business with us because we're able to turn things around in a short amount of time,' he said.

Investment Banking Resumes - News

Monday, February 16, 2009

Intern Resume Critique

Have you wondered why I consider this as a good resume? It is good because the author is looking for his first intern job. You won’t expect PhD, MBA qualifications together with those Wall Street bulge bracket names on such intern resume.

Let’s call the author of this resume Henry. Henry’s resume has a professional layout. It is well organized and easy to read. Good enough to build a good first impression.

Henry doesn’t even have any commercial experience. However I could visualize from his resume a very energetic young person who participates in various activities and is willing to take up responsibilities in those activities. He also has achievements in what he does.

As I said, a bachelor degree is your basic key to set your feet into an investment bank. Of course if you come from a famous institute, you have a slight relative advantage. But this does not imply a sure win. Apart from qualifications, personality fit is an important factor. Henry managed to present himself as a team player which will earn him extra credits.

Scholarship is one of the most attractive factors on intern resumes. My market resources indicates that the MNC scholarship does exist but the amount Henry gets is rarely given, except to really outstanding students.

Anna Maria D’Souza’s Thoughts on Intern Resume Writing
You might have a long list of your goodies. Try not to list all of them. Consider the readers - What will generate their interest to interview you? Compose a ‘best list’ rather than a ‘long list’.

Investment Banking Intern Resume Critique
Amazing Resume Creator
Amazing Cover Letter

Monday, February 9, 2009

Best Investment Banking Resume Sample – Intern

My niece submitted a resume from her schoolmate for my critique. I found it a gem and would like to share with you. This is one the best intern resumes I have seen. Though everybody has a unique story, but if you manage to produce a resume like this, I’m sure investment banks would want to consider you as an intern candidate. Author of the resume has asked me to remove names to keep his privacy. Come back and see my resume critique in my next post.


One Line Address
(+321) 1234 5678 (mobile)

Sep 2007 - Present XXX University
Major: Quantitative Finance
Courses taken: Financial Management, Advanced Calculus, Statistics, Economics, Accounting
Expected Graduation Year: June 2011
1st year GPA: 3.36/4.00

Aug 2008 - Present Leadership Development Programme of XXX University
* One of 28 selected from 3,600 first and second year students
* Developed leadership and team building skills, practised presentation and communication skills, improved critical and logical thinking

Sep 2007 - Present XXX College Toastmaster Club
* Assumed the post of Treasurer in the Committee, making year plan and budget for the Club
* Organised regular club meetings and promotional activities
* Took on various roles as MC and giving speeches

Oct 2008 - Academic Cup of XXX University
* Learnt to effectively analyze cases and clearly present ideas
* Practised team building and working under time pressure

Jul 2008 - University of Overseas Summer Programme
* Learnt to communicate effectively with people from different cultures to complete tasks together and exchange ideas

Sep 2007 - Present - XXX Federation of Business Students Mentorship
* Coordinated regular meetings between mentor and mentees
* Learn about the financial industry through regular informal meetings with mentor

Dec 2007 - Information & Design Business Week
* Took charge of the Service and Information Counter, deploying more than 500 translators
* Coordinated work between 9 helpers
* Successfully answered enquiries and provided assistance to honoured guests

2007-2011 A Famous MNC Scholarship (value: $500,000)

* Proficient at Microsoft Office: Word, PowerPoint, Outlook, Excel including Macro; Programming: Visual Basic
* Proficient spoken English and Chinese, effective writing skills

Investment Banking Intern Resume Sample
Amazing Cover Letter

Thursday, January 29, 2009

For Those Who Are Interested in Asset Management

I have recently read this article which is worth sharing. The story described how Madeline Ho, managing director of Fidelity Investment Management, moves from banking to asset management. She had worked from bottom up and personally experienced different challenges within the business.

For undergraduates wishing to prepare themselves for a career in asset management, Ms Ho says that a good learning attitude rather than perfect technical knowledge is pertinent when entering the industry. 

A bachelor's degree is the basic requirment for any entry role.  Consider an Online Degree in case you need one.

Now, let's see what the veteran says.

Managing other people's money
12 January 2009 - Business Times Singapore

An asset management industry veteran shares with JASON LOW what it takes to make the cut in her line.

SHE describes herself as an 'accidental financial person' but Madeline Ho, managing director of Fidelity Investment Management (Singapore), is certainly no accidental success in the industry.

Mrs Ho, who graduated from the National University of Singapore (NUS) in 1990 with a bachelor of business degree, wanted to go into marketing. But the markets were slow then, so she had to look for alternatives.

'When I graduated, the markets were not exactly fantastic and it wasn't easy to get a role in marketing . . . so the natural way was to get into the financial institutions and eventually get a role in marketing there,' the 40-year-old says.

She worked her way up and eventually made the cut. Today, she works for one of the world's most prominent fund management houses.

Ms Ho started in consumer banking upon graduation. In 1996, she switched to asset management at Templeton Asset Management, now known as Franklin Templeton Investments.

According to her, the move from banking to asset management was something that she looked forward to, since she was able to learn something different, especially about the foreign institutional culture in a foreign fund house.

'The industry then was very different from what it is now,' Ms Ho recalls. 'Then, the competition was against the local names. Now the competition is more global.'

But the one thing that has not changed over the years in this industry is the principle behind asset management: to help people achieve their goals with better management of their wealth, she says.

Ms Ho believes that having the commitment to serve and help people to manage their money is one of the most pertinent requisites for her work.

'If you're deciding to be in this line, it is imperative that you have the commitment to serve and help people through proficient wealth management. Personally, that's what I think is my biggest motivation at work,' she says.

'A lot of times, the average person on the street doesn't have the necessary knowledge and expertise to manage his own funds and that's where we come in. This industry offers you the chance to help people manage and create wealth; and it is, to me, a very meaningful industry to be in.'

Asked what she thought makes a great fund manager, she says: 'He is one that needs to have the natural interest in this business, not just profit-driven but commitment-driven. Commitment to serve, that is. Someone who has the innate interest, passion and focus to achieve long term objectives. That, for me, is someone who has the potential to rise to the top.'

For undergraduates wishing to prepare themselves for a career in asset management, Ms Ho says that a good learning attitude rather than perfect technical knowledge is pertinent when entering the industry.

'While mastering the technical aspects of the asset management business - such as your valuation measures like P/E and P/B - is important, the attitude to learn and being inquisitive about things are much more important. The former can be learned, but it takes a much longer time to cultivate the latter,' says Ms Ho, who has been at Fidelity since 2006.

Indeed, the willingness to invest in oneself through learning and training is critical.

Says Ms Ho: 'One must be willing to invest in himself. Otherwise, no one would be willing to invest in him. The time invested on self-learning will never go to waste since what one learns stays with him.'

Such self-learning certainly helped Ms Ho on her way up. Sharing her experience in rising to the top, she reveals that during her time at Templeton, she had tried her hands at almost everything - from the most basic tasks such as folding mailers, to more advanced roles of managing people.

'I've done almost everything from bottom to top, personally experiencing the different challenges that one would have to go through while making his or her way up in an asset management firm. Learning it the hard way . . . made it more difficult for people to fool me,' she says.

The bottom line is to be committed to serve and be motivated by the opportunity to help others.

'Having the dedication to serve and proficiently manage the clients' portfolio is one of the cornerstones of asset management,' Ms Ho says. 'You are managing other people's money after all, thus maintaining a high level of commitment and integrity when serving clients is paramount.'

When not working, Ms Ho likes to spend quality time with her family. The mother of two says: 'Both my kids are at school-going age, so weekend movies are a fixture in our family calendar. We also make it a point to bring the kids to different destinations for holidays during the June and December school holidays.'

Having a work-life balance means a lot to her, and she's glad to be able to take time off to spend with her family.

Her final piece of advice for aspiring fund managers: 'The journey is as important as the destination. If you enjoy the journey, you will undoubtedly be able to reach the destination faster.'

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Quick Tips for Your First Intern Interview

Investment banks usually conduct initial intern interviews around December and January. Some banks like to do the first round of interviews through phone calls. If this is your first phone interview, don’t feel nervous. These quick tips should be helpful.

Venue – make sure to find a private place to do your phone interview. Background noise not only disturbs your listening and talking, it will create a negative image to the interviewer.

Mobile phone – not recommended. Make sure to use a landline where line quality can be guaranteed.

Be yourself – don’t try to be someone you aren’t. The interviewer will be looking for someone who’s genuine and authentic – not pretentious and superficial.

Be polite – thank them for the opportunity to be interviewed. Also thank the interviewer at the end of the call.

Thank you note – if you have an email contact (ask for one, if you don’t), send a short thank you note afterwards.

Listen carefully. Interviewing is all about listening hard and responding sensibly and succinctly. Don’t talk too much and keep your answers well thought out and relatively short.

Answer questions. Make sure to answer the question which is being asked. If you can’t answer it, tell them: people respect honesty, rather than BS.

Ask questions. Ask incisive questions about the Bank. Do your research in advance on the bank, its culture and values, their recent moves and their strategy and ask what they are planning to do globally and in Asia (or the region where you are). This shows that you’re really motivated to work with them, are really interested in their organization and have prepared well for the discussion.

Wrap up. At the end, ask the interviewer if he or she has covered all the points he or she wishes to address – and ask about the next steps in the interview process.

Investment Banking Interview

Investment Banking Interview Guide

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Does A Short Interview Imply Failure?

I have recently presented three candidates to a client. They all flew in to Hong Kong to interview for the same post on the same day. My assistant had been busy arranging transportation among airport, hotel, our office and client’s office and to prevent them from bumping into each other. What a hectic day!

From the driver’s report, I obtained some first-hand information. The first candidate had his interview for almost two hours; the second was an hour plus; the third was only 50 minutes.

For senior roles, if your interview is less than an hour, you can almost assume a failure. With this concept in mind, I felt sympathy for the third candidate for flying 10 hours to do that 50-minute interview. However when I followed up with my client the next day, I was shocked that they like the third candidate the most. Here’s what my client told me.

He answered our questions in a very smart way. His answers were direct, precise and with extended information that made our asking follow up questions unnecessary. However he has limited his talking and his contents were gems and no non-sense at all. He also listened very intently and asked talent questions. After 50 minutes, we just felt that we had known him for several decades. And at that point of time, we all felt that we had no more questions to ask. Hence the interview was short.

So next time, if you had a short interview, review the process and see if you were one of the “third candidate” type of candidates. If so you are likely to succeed even with short interviews. My boss had been in the recruiting business far longer and I do, but it was his first time to hear a story like this. We must admit that there is no single golden rule that governs the world.

Investment Banking Interview

Friday, January 9, 2009

Resume Writing Q & A

HAPPY NEW YEAR! I do hope that 2009 will bring peace to the world and investment banking will be doing far better than the previous year. Let’s start the new year by quickly refreshing some investment banking resume writing skills with a Q & A checklist.

What are the most basic elements of an investment banking resume?
In this exact order if you have less than three years experience.
1. Name and contact info.
2. Education
3. Experience

You might not believe that some of the resumes I receive had no names on them. Some others had no contact info. Please make sure you won’t let this happen. A telephone number and a sensible email address (never use are necessary. Include country and city code in your telephone number, unless you are only sending your resume to your neighborhood companies.

In what order should I list my work experience?
Reverse chronological order. All hiring managers want to find out at the first sight of what are you doing, with whom and for how long. Second they would want to find out what you have done so far. If you fail to provide answers in the first 30 seconds, the hiring managers are likely to loss their patience. List your current (or last) job first and work backwards. Likewise, list your MBA prior to your BA degree. Secondary, ‘O’ or ‘A’ levels can be omitted, unless they are your highest achieved education.

What is the ideal length of an investment banking resume?
One page. Experienced bankers can be longer, but no more than two pages. If you are young and don’t have much transaction experience, you can include your transaction list within your one-page resume. Otherwise, make it a separate list.

Is a career objective needed?
No. Hiring managers don’t really care about this, especially for entry level roles. Even if you are getting experience and want to make clear what you want to do, keep your objective short – one sentence or one line. You can also write this on your cover letter and not your resume.

Do I have to list my skills?
Yes, but only those which will contribute value to the role you are applying. If you are an investment banker, don’t list Word, Excel, Powerpoint, but Bloomberg, Reuters. You don’t really have to say that you speak fluent English, as this is a default requirement in the investment banking world. List other languages that you speak, but make it a simple and precise list, just to avoid occupying too much of your valuable space on a one page resume.

Should I list my hobbies?
It is not completely necessary. Yes, if you have space and no, if you don’t. Again make it short and include hobbies that will add value to your resume and the role you are applying. I would avoid cooking or bird viewing. But football team member or club financial secretary or any other activities that will grant you credit on leadership, team building and achievements.

Should I list my GPA on my resume?
I have come across some hiring managers who are not interested in candidates with GPA lower than 3.5. Though it could be a matter of the individual hiring manager’s preference, but if you don’t list yours, you will be assumed as doing very bad. So unless you are really bad, I would say yes, to include it on your resume. On the contrary, you don’t have to include your GPA if you have already a few years of experience, unless your score is exceptionally high.

Resume Writing
Amazing Resume Creator
Amazing Cover Letters

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

A Rare Breed of Investment Banker

I come across this interesting story today and would like to kick off 2009 by sharing it with you. You must enjoy reading it either you are already in the business or want to start an investment banking career.

Who is Ashley Wilkins?
FinanceAsia 7 January 2009

The primary focus of this Societe Generale banker is sustainable relationships, not slash-and-burn banking.

Ashley Wilkins is a rare breed of banker these days. He has been employed in the industry for more than 25 years, but has only worked for two bank groups in his career: NatWest and Societe Generale. He joined the latter in 1996.

"If you only work for two companies, and don't whiz around, you have to take a completely different approach to work. You have to think about sustainability," says Wilkins, who leads the bank's capital raising and financing operations in Asia. "If you make transgressions - or bad decisions - those bad decisions will come back to haunt you. So you can't make transgressions. You have to make decisions that are sustainable. You can't slash-and-burn."

Given Societe Generale's troubles earlier this year with its own rogue trader, this is refreshing. But it's not surprising from Wilkins. Whenever we have met we have talked about the longevity of banker/client relationships, be it his own, or when critiquing other deals. One of his first questions tends to be: Has the client returned to the bank for another deal? Surely, this really should be a criterion nearly as important as any league tables. It speaks of professionalism.

And Wilkins has maintained long-term relationships with clients. For example, he led the financing for Shell and PTT on the $1.5 billion Rayong Refinery deal in Thailand in 1993, and then advised them again on the restructuring deal for that refinery in 2004. He advised BP in its bid for the $6 billion west to east Natural Gas Pipeline in China in 2001, advised BP and Sinopec in their $3 billion petrochemical project in Shanghai in China in 2002, and then again advised BP (alongside Mitsubishi and CNOOC) on the Tangguh LNG deal, a $6 billion greenfield liquefied natural gas project in Indonesia.

His repeat client work isn't just with folks in the oil and gas, and power industries. He worked on Asia's first limited recourse gaming project, the Wynn Resorts Macau deal, which Societe Generale led and closed in 2004. Wynn returned to Wilkins the next year when Societe Generale led the expansion financing for this now $1 billion gaming project, which closed in September 2005, and again Wilkins worked with Wynn on a third financing deal for $1.55 billion that closed in June, 2007. As Macau grows, so too does the relationship casinos have with their banks.

"There were no such gaming projects deals done before that first Wynn one," says Wilkins. "I'd say that's another example of a first. Indeed we were proud to support a sustainable, high-quality robust business such as this, which along with other developments in the industry has transformed Macau SAR and its government's revenues over the past five years."

"Asia is a great place to do business, but it is also an easy place to lose money for incautious and/or new 'jet fresh' bankers ," notes Wilkins, pointing out that you not only have to take care of your clients you also need to know what deals not to take. Sometimes, the transactions you've walked away from are more telling of your integrity and skill than those you've executed.

See the world

Wilkins was born in England, but raised in Jersey, where he was surrounded by people that worked in the finance industry that dominates that small island. While he read philosophy and classics at Wolfson College at Cambridge University, it was a far more concrete world in which he wanted to work. "I thought it was a great plan to join an internationally focused bank and see the world."

And he reckons it was a good decision. If he had things to do over again, he'd take the same career path, though adds he might have spent more time trying to gain exposure to the asset management side of the business.

He is married to a former soloist at the English National Ballet and they have four children - three boys and one girl (who was adopted in Hong Kong in 2000 - Wilkins jokes that if they had tried to have a fourth child, they would have likely had another boy). But on a more serious note, he says they are his motivation for working and are who keep him grounded.

Grounded is a good trait to have during these volatile markets. But he's also humble. Indeed when we met for lunch we spent most of the interview talking about the latest news of bank failures and mergers, and which banks would emerge as the new powerhouse - and far less time talking about Wilkins. He's not the sort to toot his own horn, or hype too much for the firm.

While discussing all the business that has disappeared, I did ask him to do some crystal ball reading: He sees the principal finance model as one that is ripe for further growth in the region during the next three to four years. Admittedly, as head of capital raising and financing, and as a banker whose previous role at Societe Generale was project finance and advisory and real estate operations in Asia, Wilkins may see the world through principal financing eyes. But it's not that he's overly bullish on the sector; he cautions that it will be all about picking the right partners, right deals and making sound choices. "The trick will be to get the balance of profit and pain right," says Wilkins, adding: "But isn't that always the trick?"

Ashley is Head of Capital Raising & Financing, Corporate & Investment Banking, Société Générale.

Investment Banking Career