Missed our build a bank event? Networking, commercial awareness and more…

QM alumni, now working for JP Morgan and Lazard, visited campus to share their experiences as part of the ‘Focus on Finance’ fortnight in October. Below you can read about their career paths and the importance of networking, work experience and commercial awareness.

After receiving a 2:2 degree Peter Daniel, JP Morgan, faced rejection after rejection when he applied for jobs in the City. To improve his employability Peter used his contacts to secure a job as a prop trader at Goldman Sachs. After 18 months he was recommended to work in the money laundering department. Following a stint there, Peter moved into equity derivatives, where was responsible for booking and confirming deals with clients. A well-maintained LinkedIn profile led to Peter being head-hunted by JP Morgan. Employers at the global financial firm invited him for an interview after viewing his online profile. Not gaining a place on a graduate scheme, one of the most popular routes into finance, did not mean Peter was unable to pursue a career in the sector. In fact, he was able to have increased autonomy over his career route and progression. His success shows that graduate schemes aren’t the only way to get into the sector and highlights the importance of networking both in person and online.

Many people know at least one person who could help them pursue their chosen career – even if they don’t initially realise it. Identifying existing contacts is a great way to start what can sometimes seem a daunting prospect. Find out more on how to network here.

Gautum Chhabra, Mergers and Acquisitions (M&A), Lazard, said that because M&A is fundamentally about accounting it doesn’t matter what degree background you have. More important is the ability to ‘get to grip with numbers’. Research and evaluation into the financial impact of mergers and acquisitions is central to the role, which involves working closely with a client’s lawyers and accountants. Findings are then presented to the internal board of the client’s company in the form of a set of projections and a business proposal. Guatam said that working in M&A meant an increased familiarity with Excel and PowerPoint (so if you are interested in this area brush up on these essential skills).

Although he suggested that the pace of M&A meant it had a shelf life for many, he argued that it provided great preparation for moving onto a career in corporate finance or investment. Gautam stressed the importance of students being knowledgeable of developments within their chosen industry. He highlighted some current issues within the sector including a squeeze on costs resulting in work being moved offshore, and increased opportunities due to new regulation in client clearing. Add these issues impacting the sector to your commercial awareness – a characteristic widely sought after by employers – as it shows them that you understand their business.  For tips on increasing your commercial awareness use the search the term in the box to the right.

Alannah Francis
Careers Information Assistant
QM Careers Centre

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