In this series, SuccessGoGo interviews successful professionals from banking, consulting and law to provide helpful insights on climbing the corporate ladder. In this interview, SuccessGoGo sat down with Michael, an investment banker at a leading investment bank in Singapore.
What's the best part about being a banker?
The width of exposure to multiple industries and businesses, interaction with leaders of industry and c-suite level management very early on in career and learning from senior bankers.
Did anything at school help prepare you for the job?
The soft skills you learn (teamwork, communications, project management, etc) in school probably matter a lot more than whatever is officially taught as part of your degree. The caveat is that you will also polish your technical and financial skills and knowledge to the level needed to pass the interviews and start on the job.
Do you like working alone or in a team? Do you have any insights in becoming a better team player at work?
I'm comfortable with both. It depends on the situation and nature of the work required. It is very much a team effort for the most part. Having said that, it is also important to show that you can be trusted to run independently if needed.
Be open in your communications to your team, both upwards and downwards. It can be incredibly frustrating for team members to find that they are only being told half the story or even worse, a different story.
What advice would you give to an undergrad to help maximize internships?
There's a set duration for an internship, please do it give your all. It's almost unfair to the other applicants who did get the spot if you were to get a position and choose to not to put in maximum effort during the the internship. It will most certainly be unfair to yourself.
During the internship, you should also be assessing whether you genuinely want a career in IBD. It's very much a lifestyle and not just a job.
What are 3 things during your interview preparation process that made a difference?
No secret sauce here. Make sure you are up to speed on your fit and technical questions, know the industry and whichever company you are interviewing with well.
Might help to figure out how to pass the airport test as well.
How do you approach CV writing? Do you have any tips?
There are multiple articles and templates available online on this topic (see for example, SuccessGoGo's comprehensive Resource page). I would say to focus on getting all your check boxes ticked and coming across as a solid candidate rather than trying to do something outrageous or trying too hard to be overly-spectacular.
For those who are into the NBA, think Tim Duncan rather than Kobe Bryant.
Naturally, there must actually be things for you to put down on your CV. Make the most of your time in university to rack up activities, competitions, job experience, leadership experience. Please do not focus solely on academics.
What do you feel made you stand out as a candidate in the hiring process?
Can't think of any to be honest. Probably luck?
The recruitment process is pretty brutal, I reckon it is doing everything you can to best set yourself up for it and every opportunity that comes your way. However, understand that there is an element of randomness as with every process. Take any failure in your stride, learn from it and keep pressing on.
Check out other installments in this series: Interview with a Litigation Lawyer, Corporate Lawyer, Investment Banker, Private Banker, Portfolio Manager and Management Consultant.
Visit SuccessGoGo's Resource page for more career tips or send us an email if you have any questions at firstname.lastname@example.org