In this series, SuccessGoGo interviews successful professionals from banking, consulting and law to provide helpful insights into climbing the corporate ladder. In this interview, SuccessGoGo sat down with Vivian, a private banker who manages portfolios at a Swiss bank.
What's the best part about being a banker?
Dynamic, exciting and close to the markets.
Did anything at school help prepare you for the job?
I was an economics graduate and finance and accounting modules helped to prepare me for the job and to take exams like CFA or CAIA which are pre-requisites for certain banking jobs. Also, excel skills. Excel skills honed from projects at school certainly helped at work.
What advice would you give to an undergraduate to help maximize internships?
Focus on conversion/ getting offered a full time position. This should be at the back of the mind of every intern.
Equally important is to build your network, this may come in useful in the future.
Another important thing is to learn as much about your job and also about the other roles in the bank - you might discover new roles that you might want to try for future internships. As someone just starting out in the banking industry, it's quite difficult to choose a specialization or area of expertise right from the start. And you wouldn't even know what options there are until you explore them. Once you do discover a direction you'd like to pursue, find out from your colleagues what are the steps / skills required to get you to your dream position.
What are 3 things during your interview preparation process that made a difference?
Being well prepared with the basic questions - self introduction, strengths/weaknesses (examples to back it up) and revising my technicals. Being honest and being myself has also worked for me to connect with the interviewer.
How do you approach CV writing? Do you have any tips?
Be clear / not too lengthy and tailor it to the role you are applying for. I prepare my CV according to the particular company and role I'm applying for, I make sure to highlight the relevant strengths to the job.
What do you feel made you stand out as a candidate in the hiring process?
Personality/job fit - I've realized that companies are just looking to hire someone that is a good fit for the job. Being smart helps but usually they don't expect much from an intern/fresh grad, so someone with a good work attitude and can learn quickly on the job is usually what they look for. This works both ways, I have had situations where I had the technical skills for the job but the job fit wasn't there, and ultimately it's best for both parties to let go, as you really need the right culture fit for both employee and employer to make it work.
Check out other installments in this series: Interview with a Litigation Lawyer, Corporate Lawyer, Private Banker, Portfolio Manager and Management Consultant.
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