Monthly Archives: July 2011

Network & Plan Well to Overcome the Lack of Experience – Janice

The hiring wave is here! Since the beginning of the year, I have been receiving cold calls by recruiters for various fixed income positions. I have yet to pass my first anniversary at my current firm! Now it might sound like good news for hopefuls aspiring to be part of the investment management community, but hereby likes the tricky part. Majority of vacancies are looking for experienced hires, preferably with 3-5 years of direct experience. What hope then does that leave the hopefuls?

I would like to quote Yoman on his mantra: Network and network. As we all should have realized by now, many vacancies are made known by the word of mouth before being advertised. Right at this moment, my own team is actually looking to fill a vacancy. Just based solely on referrals and internal job postings, the response by these hopefuls is overwhelming.

I too was one of the hopefuls on the other side of the looking glass, so eager to get a foot in but the openings for those without the relevant or direct experienced are sparse. On top of networking, my advice is one must also have a course of action to equip yourself with the necessary and relevant skill set. I am not a business or finance graduate and knew that I would need to educate myself on investment 101. Hence my first permanent job after graduation was to work as an investment accountant, while at the same time embarking on the CFA program to bring my finance theory up to speed. After a couple of years, I managed to land a position as a research / credit analyst in the treasury department of a Japanese bank. Ten months ago, I moved to my current role as a fixed income analyst in a local asset management firm and “graduated” from Yoman’s equity research program

Now why the long story of my career moves over the past few years? My point: one must be willing to take the long and indirect route if the direct one is not available. At the same time, do what you can to garner relevant experience, network and be ready when the hiring wave starts. I must say I am very glad to be given an opportunity to be part of the Springboard Program. Even though many who were involved in the equity research program had to spend precious personal time on various assignments by Yoman, most would agree with me that we all had benefited in one way or another. On my part, not only did it expose me to the work that an analyst is involved in, I had also made a few friends along the way. Not only did potential employers have evidence of my interest in finance, I have also reinforced my initial decision to enter the investment field.

In short, my advice for all hopefuls is: Network with like-minded people, gather relevant experience / exposure even at the expense of your personal time and most importantly, be ready to take advantage of any opportunity that open up!

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AKY’s First Note on his hard-earned Success moving into Finance from IT

I feel honored to speak in the SV’s mailer. As a new speaker, let me briefly introduce myself. I graduated with post-graduate degree in computer science from a local university and worked in the IT department for a local finance institution for a few years. I’ve been a Yoman’s student associate under the Equity Research training program for one year and subsequently referred to a broking house as an intern. I will soon move on to be a full time research associate. Before I started to talk in greater details I would like to thank SV for providing the learning facilities and opening myself up for more career opportunities. Learning points are available throughout the context.

During my years with the previous company, I realized that IT job is not my passion of life though pay is not too bad and the life is stable. I started to take the CFA exams to see if there are other better career options. I was not doing too badly in the exams and lucky enough to pass all three levels. After the exam, I was just like many of you who passed the CFA exam and started looking for a career switch. I’ve tried to apply for different roles outside the IT sector but the response from head hunter or the HR is rather lukewarm. I read a number of online posts about how to find a job and realized that in the post-crisis era, company is cautious about hiring and thus experience rather than the certification speaks louder.

By chance I got to know SV and its upcoming event in December 2009, probably the first publicity and student associate recruitment event organized by Yoman and Eng Yew. During the event, I understood that Yoman wanted to recruit some student associates to help with his research work. I was pretty sure that working with Yoman for numerous fact sheets will benefit my knowledge of equity markets and surely will prepare for my job hunting, though not a single cent is paid.

I was soon recruited and started to work on the appetizers and subsequently start-from-scratch sector fact sheets. Not too long after that, I was assigned with more time critical pieces like IPO deal research fact sheets as well as guiding newly recruited student associate.

In fact, in the latter stage of work, I was involved in writing up the recruitment exam question sets based on my fact sheets and developing trading algorithm to back-test the famous turtle trading story. Full report is written for the test result. I think neither I nor Yoman has anticipated this in the first recruitment event. The implication? Don’t just do what you are asked to do. Think about what else you can do to benefit and make your best attempt. The reward will come later.

Thanks to the economic recovery, after Yoman’s endless effort of referral and student associate learning experience, I started to receive calls from head hunters as well as attend interviews. Needless to say, I have much more to talk about with potential employers than someone who has merely passed the exam. Finally, I was referred to a regional equity analyst to do fundamental research work. After three months of internship, I was confirmed with the full-time position as research associate.

This is where I am now. I hope that my experience will give you a deeper insight into Yoman’s favorite slogan – “continue learning and keep on networking”.

I look forward to meeting you at future SV events and sharing with you more in the future.