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

12 comments:

Master said...

Do you provide resume/cover letter check paid services?

Leila said...

Dear Anna,

If you are still offering free resume critique to junior-level people with limited work experience interested in working in IB and related businesses, please e-mail me at leila.shu@gmail.com as I have a resume that would appreciate if you can take a look. Thank you.

Leila

Anna Maria D'Souza said...

Lelia

Yes, I do. But to better utilise my limited resources, I will now only do it free for those who are still at college and without any full time job experience (intern not counted). Make sure your resume is conformed to my guidelines in this blog and in Word format. When you are done, drop me a line and I'll contact you.

Anna Maria D'Souza said...

Master
Yes, I do, but I will only do it for those with less than three years full-time work experience. US$80 for one-page resume and US$100 for resume + cover letter. Resumes/cover letters should be written according to the guidelines in this blog and in Word format. Only suggestions will be made, without editing. If this is fine with you, drop me a line with your private email, and I'll contact you.

kgao said...

Anna,

To some extent that's infinitely more impressive - the ability to succeed while overcoming major career obstacles. Those people definitely have other qualities going for them (eg, determination, persistence, hunger, etc).

Kevin
Management Consulted

Anna Maria D'Souza said...

Kevin

I am sure you are right.

han said...

Anna,

Just bumped into your blog as I was researching IB career.I am a computer science engg. grad (have always been) both bachelors and masters but honestly I always felt I was more inclined towards business. I have had strong phy.chem.math. scores(90 percentiles) in my high school and I love number crunching.

I am 27 now and really seeking a shift into IB. What would you advise I do next?

Thanks
Pradip

Anna Maria D'Souza said...

Hi Pradip

I do see some successful bankers switching from other professions towards their 30s and they are doing very well. However it all depends on the opportunities you are facing and the skills and value you can bring to the bank. Timing wise, the current financial turmoil won't encourage banks to take in new blood. Perhaps you would need a bit of patience. You might want to find out the name of the Head of Research of your target bank, write to him directly and explain what kind of value you can bring to his team. Wish you luck.

Minh Nguyen said...

Dear Anna,

First of all, I'd like to congratulate you for your blog.

Like Pradip, I decided one year ago to move back to study finance and hopefully start a new career in IB (I was a sound operator at an international radio). This year, I'm doing a MSc in Finance in my final year and I was looking for an insight person to review my cv.

Do you stil provide this service?

Thank you so much.

MN
26

Anna Maria D'Souza said...

Hi Minh
Due to my full time job commitments, I am unable to provide free resume review any more.

For those with less than three years full-time work experience, I will charge US$80 for one-page resume and US$100 for resume + cover letter. Resumes/cover letters should be written according to the guidelines in this blog and in Word format. Only suggestions will be made, without editing. If this is fine with you, drop me a line with your private email, and I'll contact you.

prakash said...

Hello Anna

I am a Computers Graduate, Working in general retail banking Industry for the Past 19 months. I am having a true Interest towards Investments and markets stuff. I have got good communication and presentation skills including working with MS Excel, Word and Power Point. I want to pursue my career as an Investment Banker like an analyst initially. Does my profile suits my
interest and Please suggest me what should I do to get into my dream Profession.

Anna Maria D'Souza said...

Hi Prakash
The best way to start an ibank job is to go through an intern or trainee program. You are still young as you have only 19 months of experience. You can still look through the career website in my blog and apply to the banks directly. Competition is keen, so you may look for an ibanker to write your resume to increase your interview odd. There is also a link on my blog's sidebar to such service.