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.