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Business vs Engineering Degree

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  #11 (permalink)  
Old 15-11-2011, 11:12 AM
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Here is advice from a local grad who have worked in IB roles for a US Investment bank and currently for another overseas BB.

I have an accountancy degree whereas my colleagues have diverse degrees from Engineering to History.

The more important thing to do is to pick a course that you can do well in. Because to get into such roles you are usually the top 1% in whatever field you choose to study. (generally speaking)

Whichever field you study, bear in mind that you should be at least familiarised with basic accounting / finance concepts. This may mean electing for additional courses in the Uni or doing a supplementary CFA.

In short, choose the field that you will do well in. Which usually means the field that you are naturally inclined at and which you are genuinely interested in. To me, engineering is tougher than finance to score well. Maybe just my preference.
If only i receive this piece of good advice 5 years ago, i would be driving a BMW M3 right now. Sigh...
Kudos to you sir!

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  #12 (permalink)  
Old 15-11-2011, 11:27 AM
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Originally Posted by wootnick View Post
damn you guys are awesome with the responses thanks so much!

@Wiseman1:

Haha while Business seems like an easy 16 hour work week, there are alot of projects and presentations that will add on to the hours. I know this because my friends in the course are facing with a heavy backlog of projects on top of their exams. So I suppose the hours are comparable to that of an engine student?

As far as I know only NTU has a 3 years honors programme. For SMU it's 4 but I have heard stories of people condensing all their modules into 2.5 years, at the expense of all other rest time.

You're right about the girls though.. haha..

@local grad doing IB dude:

Well I should consider what I do best then and enroll into that. You're right in a way, no point doing something I'm bad at even if it's a "good" degree because that isn't what employers want anyway.

MBA wise, I think I'll draw a study loan or beg my parents for money to sign up for one immediately after I graduate. Should take advantage of my sharpened mind after 4 years of education huh?
My friend, doing project work and presentations add alot more value and provide good training for much needed soft skills in the working world....this is any time better than spending time on endless mugging which Engineering courses (especially NTU) is notorious for. You are still better off in terms of hours

I am speaking from experience....I came from the business school. I compare myself wif my counterparts from Engineering, I think I beat them hands down in terms of communications and presentations skills anytime...

Engineers are trained to be very good with doing the ground work, the leg work, but they are not trained to be "visible", to showcase their work, to network and interact with senior management....this is the way if you want to climb the corporate ladder quickly (no offence to Engineers but this is a fact)

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  #13 (permalink)  
Old 15-11-2011, 10:13 PM
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My friend, doing project work and presentations add alot more value and provide good training for much needed soft skills in the working world....this is any time better than spending time on endless mugging which Engineering courses (especially NTU) is notorious for. You are still better off in terms of hours

I am speaking from experience....I came from the business school. I compare myself wif my counterparts from Engineering, I think I beat them hands down in terms of communications and presentations skills anytime...

Engineers are trained to be very good with doing the ground work, the leg work, but they are not trained to be "visible", to showcase their work, to network and interact with senior management....this is the way if you want to climb the corporate ladder quickly (no offence to Engineers but this is a fact)
I work in IB, from what I observe

engineering, physics graduates - quant, exotics/options trader, structurer, market risk managers
general degree - vanilla (FX, MM) traders (Note most such traders are in early 40s, not many openings left for young graduates). Also private bankers
MBA - Sales, structuring, M&A, Corp finance, asset management
accounting - credit risk managers, finance (COO type)

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  #14 (permalink)  
Old 16-11-2011, 12:10 AM
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Hi... I am the local accountancy grad who ended up in IB and I thought I'd share some of my experiences / lessons I have learnt.

Ask yourself again, do you really really really want to join IB? If so, read further:

Some of my advice may not sound too pleasing, but I will be as honest with you as I possibly can.

Statistically speaking, less than 1% of finance graduates from local universities in Singapore end up in a pure IB front office position upon graduation. I define this as starting pay >$10,000 pm, we sometimes refer to these employers as the BB "bulge brackets". You would have read about such salaries in the papers, so I won't bother to mask this truth from you.

You are competing with not only the top of your cohort, but also the top of the cohorts from other fields of study (engineering, finance, arts etc). Since IB hiring is Global, you are also competing with applicants from the region. Remember all those smart friends in JC who went overseas on scholarships? They will break their bond and come back to compete with you for that IB job.

Getting into IB is tough, and there is a lot of luck and chance involved. I hope this gives you a better view of the path towards IB and perhaps manages your expectations as well.
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Old 16-11-2011, 08:04 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Unregistered View Post
Hi... I am the local accountancy grad who ended up in IB and I thought I'd share some of my experiences / lessons I have learnt.

Ask yourself again, do you really really really want to join IB? If so, read further:

Some of my advice may not sound too pleasing, but I will be as honest with you as I possibly can.

Statistically speaking, less than 1% of finance graduates from local universities in Singapore end up in a pure IB front office position upon graduation. I define this as starting pay >$10,000 pm, we sometimes refer to these employers as the BB "bulge brackets". You would have read about such salaries in the papers, so I won't bother to mask this truth from you.

You are competing with not only the top of your cohort, but also the top of the cohorts from other fields of study (engineering, finance, arts etc). Since IB hiring is Global, you are also competing with applicants from the region. Remember all those smart friends in JC who went overseas on scholarships? They will break their bond and come back to compete with you for that IB job.

Getting into IB is tough, and there is a lot of luck and chance involved. I hope this gives you a better view of the path towards IB and perhaps manages your expectations as well.
Plus u have a bunch of kids of connected people (tycoons, ceos, ministers etc) getting first dip into that very limited pool...

... and students from Harvard, Stanford, oxbridge etc using their alumni connections in the firm

... not to mention additional competition from experienced and recently fired analysts and associates in the market

... all set against the backdrop of a downsizing industry with very very limited hiring capacity

Honestly, I'm in the industry and its so so much harder now than it was in my time cos in my time no one really knew what ib is and how much it pays. Now everyone knows, in a time there are fewer slots available than in most yrs.
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Old 16-11-2011, 09:12 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Unregistered View Post
Hi... I am the local accountancy grad who ended up in IB and I thought I'd share some of my experiences / lessons I have learnt.

Ask yourself again, do you really really really want to join IB? If so, read further:

Some of my advice may not sound too pleasing, but I will be as honest with you as I possibly can.

Statistically speaking, less than 1% of finance graduates from local universities in Singapore end up in a pure IB front office position upon graduation. I define this as starting pay >$10,000 pm, we sometimes refer to these employers as the BB "bulge brackets". You would have read about such salaries in the papers, so I won't bother to mask this truth from you.

You are competing with not only the top of your cohort, but also the top of the cohorts from other fields of study (engineering, finance, arts etc). Since IB hiring is Global, you are also competing with applicants from the region. Remember all those smart friends in JC who went overseas on scholarships? They will break their bond and come back to compete with you for that IB job.

Getting into IB is tough, and there is a lot of luck and chance involved. I hope this gives you a better view of the path towards IB and perhaps manages your expectations as well.

Plus u have a bunch of kids of connected people (tycoons, ceos, ministers etc) getting first dip into that very limited pool...

... and students from Harvard, Stanford, oxbridge etc using their alumni connections in the firm

... not to mention additional competition from experienced and recently fired analysts and associates in the market

... all set against the backdrop of a downsizing industry with very very limited hiring capacity

Honestly, I'm in the industry and its so so much harder now than it was in my time cos in my time no one really knew what ib is and how much it pays. Now everyone knows, in a time there are fewer slots available than in most yrs.
Wow! Very comprehensive. Thank you.
Yes, its very very difficult to get in but it's not impossible, not impossible.
Regardless of your education level, if you meet the right person at the right time, ANYTHING is possible.

once again, thank you for sharing.
Please share more if possible. For example, working hours, lifestyle, people you interact & etc.
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  #17 (permalink)  
Old 16-11-2011, 10:18 AM
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Sometimes I wonder why everyone trying to be IB. Probability so low since everyone is trying to get there...

So many niche jobs that pay as well & nobody bother to consider...
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  #18 (permalink)  
Old 16-11-2011, 10:39 AM
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If you want to get into IB, best tip is to focus on getting a summer internship in a bulge bracket. This will set you on the path towards an IB role upon graduation. Start trying in year 2, (or even year 1) as this is very crucial. If you dont get an IB internship, your chances of getting into IB when you graduate is very close to zero (regardless of your grades)

As for lifestyle, contrary to popular belief there is nothing glamorous about being in IB. (at least in the first 5 years). Especially now after the 2007-2008 crisis and all the clamp down on banker bonus. Job uncertainty is always on the mind. This means that bankers no longer spend but save a large portion of their salaries.

Work starts at around 9:00am, ends on average around 12:00. Typically you will work on either Sat/Sun. Workload is grinding and often repetitive. Alot of data gathering & manipulation. Alot of excel and powerpoint. Bloomberg.

Weekdays, you will literally go home, brush teeth and sleep. Weekends you will not have much of a social life as your schedules are constantly interupted by work. You will realise you use the office washroom more often than your own bathroom.

If you are lucky enough to have a gf, and luckier if she stays with you. Remember to cherish her. You will realise that all your so called friends will slowly stop calling you out, largely because you are always late or constantly unable to join anyways. Whilst your social circle gets smaller, you will begin to appreciate the value of your loved ones. That despite you missing family gatherings, parent's birthdays etc, they are the ones who still care about you unconditionally. After sometime, you will dread the business trips. The glamor of 5 star hotels and business class travel will fade. You will begin to appreciate a home cooked meal, despite your $40 dollar dinner allowance. You would rather pay $40 to the company to get a chance to eat at home.

This is just after 3 years of being in the industry.. maybe things will change after 5


Quote:
Originally Posted by Unregistered View Post
Wow! Very comprehensive. Thank you.
Yes, its very very difficult to get in but it's not impossible, not impossible.
Regardless of your education level, if you meet the right person at the right time, ANYTHING is possible.

once again, thank you for sharing.
Please share more if possible. For example, working hours, lifestyle, people you interact & etc.
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  #19 (permalink)  
Old 16-11-2011, 10:47 AM
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Sometimes I wonder why everyone trying to be IB. Probability so low since everyone is trying to get there...

So many niche jobs that pay as well & nobody bother to consider...
Precisely. But the problem is that no one knows about these jobs.

5 yrs ago, the same was true for ib. But then the papers started publishing information on ib starting salaries, and suddenly everyone knows about ib and wants to get in.

I got into the industry before that and competition was keen (mainly from the top schools and from the connected folks who knew about this area) but nowhere near as frenzied or as broad based. And most people I knew had no idea what in the world I did. Now everyone knows.

So if the general public knows of these other niche areas u speak of, am pretty sure there will be a similar frenzy.
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  #20 (permalink)  
Old 16-11-2011, 11:40 AM
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I cannot understand why the discussion is always around IB and the fat salaries blah blah blah, if you take into account the ridiculous long working hours, the pay does not seem so fantastic anymore....
The Finance/Banking/Accountacy field is more than just IB....the following roles pay almost as well but with much better work-life balance:

(1) Banking risk management
(2) Banking compliance
(3) Product Controllers
(4) Priority Banking/Private Banking
(5) Finance Business Partners in big names IT firms
(6) Equity sales
(7) Fixed Income trading
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