How to get a job at a global bank

By Nick Lambe – Managing Director, Links International

I was recently quoted in an article on eFinancial Careers that gives young bankers advice on how to make it into an international firm despite not making the cut at graduate level.

As Stanley pointed out in his recent article entitled “Fresh Graduates – Winning the Uphill Battle”, being a graduate, particularly in Hong Kong, is no easy ride. Competition is rife, and nowhere more so than in the banking industry in Asia. It is therefore inevitable that, despite having a great CV and thinking the interview went really well, not everyone will make the cut and get into their first choice of organisation.

Working at a local bank can, however, have its benefits and can give candidates a wider range of experience in order to stand more of a chance of getting into their preferred company a little further down the track.

The article on eFinancial Careers lists a number of steps that young bankers can take in order to reach their goal of landing a job at an international bank. Each step is backed up by either a banker or a recruiter, in order to guide young bankers on their way to success.

In my opinion, if you didn’t manage to get into your preferred choice of employer the first time round, there are a number of options available to you.

Firstly, you can continue with your education by doing a Masters or equivalent degree, especially if the Masters is in a subject related to banking, such as Financial Mathematics. Once you have that further education, try your chances again, as having that additional qualification should put you ahead of the competition.

Another option would be to aim for a role within the Financial Services practice of the Big 4 and then, after two to three years, you can either do an MBA, or aim to move to a global banking team as an associate.

Some strong candidates can make the jump from a Chinese bank to a global bank relatively easily after a year or more, especially if they are fluent in Mandarin and have experience of working on large transactions in the mainland, as this will inevitably make them more employable.

Although it is relatively rare for someone to move from Corporates to Banks, this can be done either through a management trainee programme, or after completing an MBA first.

The good news is, with solid experience, passion and determination, almost anything can be achieved. It sometimes takes a bit of patience and acceptance that things may not always go exactly as you would like them to, but if you have a goal in mind, there are ways to achieve that goal, provided you want it badly enough.

If you need advice on how you can take your career to the next level, please do not hesitate to contact us.