NEWS - Dec 2008
Exams Over and Let Your Hair Down
Dear students from Intensive Review class, tutorial class and Mock Exam
Good to see some of you yesterday. With the exams finally over, it’s time to
let your hair down. I would like to invite you to the mini-Xmas party on coming Wed evening, where you will get a
chance to meet up with finance professionals.
During this period, some of you have approached me seeking career advice or
even sent me your resume looking for opportunities. While the macro environment is clearly unfavourable for
job-seekers now (with headcount freezes and restructuring exercises), I feel that there are two things that one
should start working on, if one is aspiring to join the investment mgt industry (buy-side/ sell-side) eventually.
Passing the CFA Exams is only part of the equation; networking and competency building is what it takes to
eventually land anybody a job in the finance industry and I will elaborate on these points in this post-exam
(1) Professional Networking:
It is important to leverage
on contacts in your job search because many vacancies are filled based on referrals, whether you like it or not. It
is very common for one’s boss to ask his team-mates if they know anybody with a certain skill set to fill any new
role they are contemplating. Such openings are generally not publicised at all. Referrals are preferred, as one of
the team members may have worked with the new person before and most likely would have a good working relationship
with him/ her.
When I was still outside the finance industry more than two years ago, the
number of contacts I had in the finance industry could be counted with one hand! After I realised the importance of
networking, I made it one of my personal objectives to attend networking events regularly and meet acquaintances
and friends for lunch/ drinks to better understand the industry structure through them. Today, though I already
know many people in the investment mgt industry, I still see value in professional networking as a continual
process, very much like a basic survival skill. I attach some words of advice that I shared with my friends on my
experience with networking events.
(2) Competency Building:
Typically, at interview
sessions, potential employers ask you how many years of relevant experience you have got. This is tough and very
much like a “chicken and egg” question, coz one obviously does NOT have any relevant experience as one is not in
the finance industry YET. I have gone thru this myself and am fully aware how tough it can be. However, I still
believe there are a few things one can do to demonstrate proactiveness in building up one’s competency, one of
which is to broaden your market knowledge and gain exposure to analyst research. For a start, if you are not yet
sure what you wish to achieve in the finance industry, read a bit of everything… and when you are more certain of
what you wish to do, focus your attention to reading the more relevant stuff. It’s very much a self-discovery
[I have one word of CAUTION though: the finance industry is not for the
faint-hearted (i.e. anybody who is worried about job security).... so one needs to be aware of the ups and downs.
Personally, I think this job suits me well, coz I feel life is full of ups and downs, and we just gotta ride thru
the waves.... I am happy to have found what I enjoy doing.]
Finally, if you need some career advice, feel free to hook me up for lunch/
drinks, and I will be happy to prescribe and share some reading material with you.
Mr Yeoh, Chief Tutor
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