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Fresh Engineering Grad want to switch to Banking

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  #21 (permalink)  
Old 31-05-2011, 03:15 PM
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I notice every time the word "bank" get thrown out, there will be a wave of "experts" all claiming to be from the banking sector dishing out advice on pay and bonus one after another. I always think if banks can really offer out of the world salary to so many, then why anyone bother to work in the other 99% non-bank companies?

I duno man, all the friends I know who work in banks dun seem to have the pay that anonymous people online always say they have. Either all the bank people I know are all bottom losers who cannot command all this fancy money or there is a lot of loose big cannon fairies here.
Aiya, online chatter just listen & talk talk lor, why so serious? I hope nobody is dumb enough here to really negotiate for pay base on what is written here.

At the end of the day, only HR from the banks have access to all the employee pay & I think they have confidential agreement cannot divulge what they know, it is considered commercial secret.

Anyone either in real life or online can claim whatever they want, I can also go around my friends and relatives & tell them I got 10 months bonus last year, nobody will ask me for payslip to verify wat...

My HR friend tell me the only way to get real verified info is to buy market intelligence from management consultants, but then they are more for professional use, so also not cheap ~ US$1,500 per report.

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  #22 (permalink)  
Old 31-05-2011, 05:00 PM
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Well, reality is, I have been on both sides of the fence.

I've been the engineer racking my brains as to how I am ever going to hit S$4k with my $50-100 annual increments.

And I've been the intern that was shocked at the intern pay - I was hoping for an intern pay of S$4k per month and quite disappointed to see that it was only S$1,200 per month...
Until I looked more closely to see that it was actually S$12,000 per month as a MBA intern.

So that's the reality. And I wish I knew that reality earlier.

Hence, all I do here is to provide information that I wish I knew many years ago, to help me decide on that is the right industry or sector to go into. Not only starting pay (which can easily be verified if you check with NUS, NTU or SMU career services), but also the likely pay 6 to 8 years down the road (the salary ranges can be easily verified if you talk to any VP in corporate banking or ibanking).

Take it as you will - whether as gospel or with a barrel of salt, that's your choice. But it is reality as I have known it, and I hope that it benefits some folks in making their career decisions.
What path did you take again? I gather you were formerly an engineer who got into MBA program and then to banking? How many years did you work in engineering before going to MBA?

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  #23 (permalink)  
Old 31-05-2011, 10:21 PM
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Yes I was an engineer for about 3 years... Starting pay was good at just sub $3000 but Pay only increased by $300 thru 4pay reviews ...

Loved the job, my colleagues and my boss, but nonetheless felt like I was in a real rut career wise with no easy way out. I could clearly foresee where I'd be in 5 or 15 years and it wasn't exciting.

Looked to move into sales engineering, starting up a tuition agency on the side, doing property agency part time etc but none of these panned out.

So an MBA was the other thing I tried, and thankfully it worked out. but getting into finance was about the toughest and most frustrating thing I had to do in my life, with shameless cold calling and countless rejections. But all it takes is one company to accept you, I guess.

If I knew back then what I know now, I wld have tried like crazy to get into finance from the start, instead of taking the long detour that I ended up taking.

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  #24 (permalink)  
Old 31-05-2011, 10:27 PM
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Im been sending out my CV for the past 2yrs looking for a career switch to finance industry. Countless rejections from recruitment agencies and companies. Im on the verge of depression if im not already...
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  #25 (permalink)  
Old 31-05-2011, 11:51 PM
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don't worry - you're not alone in this ... me and about a half of my mba classmates were at that stage at some point in time or other in the two years we were in the mba programme...

here's what i learnt about applying for front office roles:-
- applying thru newspaper ads/recruiter is a very low probability exercise
- for front office roles, its not what you know its who you know - so start with talking with your parents / siblings / uncles / aunties / friends / classmates etc etc etc about your interest and mine them for info on openings or recommendations etc (sometimes an uncle may have a good friend in the finance sector who just happens to have a job opening or an internship op)
- if you are able to afford the time, take a 1 or 2 yr MBA course from a good uni and concentrate all your energies on securing the internship in the sector you want (work for free if need be)

even with all the above, you still need some luck in this exercise... if you take an MBA and graduate at the wrong time, (i.e. 2008), then it would all have been for nought... so sometimes I do wonder if I may have been better off if I expended all the energies, frustration, and capital from my MBA school fees into starting my own business instead!!

however, the other thing i realised is that front office is not the be all and end all. MO and BO roles can pay quite well too. For eg, if you are in IT line , you may be able to find a related role in banks which may very well pay better than IT in a non-bank industry.

so don't be disheartened and good luck...
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  #26 (permalink)  
Old 01-06-2011, 06:17 AM
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Yes I was an engineer for about 3 years... Starting pay was good at just sub $3000 but Pay only increased by $300 thru 4pay reviews ...

Loved the job, my colleagues and my boss, but nonetheless felt like I was in a real rut career wise with no easy way out. I could clearly foresee where I'd be in 5 or 15 years and it wasn't exciting.

Looked to move into sales engineering, starting up a tuition agency on the side, doing property agency part time etc but none of these panned out.

So an MBA was the other thing I tried, and thankfully it worked out. but getting into finance was about the toughest and most frustrating thing I had to do in my life, with shameless cold calling and countless rejections. But all it takes is one company to accept you, I guess.

If I knew back then what I know now, I wld have tried like crazy to get into finance from the start, instead of taking the long detour that I ended up taking.
i see... do you mind saying which mba program you did? was it ntu/nus, or a foreign branded one like insead or wharton?
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Old 01-06-2011, 07:42 AM
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i see... do you mind saying which mba program you did? was it ntu/nus, or a foreign branded one like insead or wharton?
I did a foreign mba, from a top 20 school.

of course, if you are able to get into a top school like insead or wharton, it boosts your chances even more than my top 20 school, as their career services offices are even stronger.

Also, all banks will have their 'key recruitment' schools, where there's a certain no of allocated seats. For eg, a bank may want to recruit 100 MBA grads for their annual management associate programme. So assume the bank has 4 'key recruitment schools', each with 20 allocated seats, that means that 80 seats (4 X 20) are accounted for and they will only take in a total of 20 people (100 - 80) from the thousands of other MBA schools globally. That's why its so hard to get in if you are not in one of the 'key recruitment schools'.
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Old 01-06-2011, 09:28 AM
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I did a foreign mba, from a top 20 school.

of course, if you are able to get into a top school like insead or wharton, it boosts your chances even more than my top 20 school, as their career services offices are even stronger.

Also, all banks will have their 'key recruitment' schools, where there's a certain no of allocated seats. For eg, a bank may want to recruit 100 MBA grads for their annual management associate programme. So assume the bank has 4 'key recruitment schools', each with 20 allocated seats, that means that 80 seats (4 X 20) are accounted for and they will only take in a total of 20 people (100 - 80) from the thousands of other MBA schools globally. That's why its so hard to get in if you are not in one of the 'key recruitment schools'.
I see. Congrats, that's pretty amazing what you did there. I've heard that banks usually prefer to recruit MBAs with pre-MBA finance experience, so it must have been even harder for an ex-engineer like yourself to get in. How did you sell yourself to interviewers who were doubtful of your previous experience? I have about 5 years worth of government experience (ex-scholar), and now that my bond is over I'm looking to go into finance, so I am really hoping that getting into a top MBA will help me overcome my experience handicap.
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  #29 (permalink)  
Old 01-06-2011, 10:35 AM
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I did a foreign mba, from a top 20 school.

of course, if you are able to get into a top school like insead or wharton, it boosts your chances even more than my top 20 school, as their career services offices are even stronger.

Also, all banks will have their 'key recruitment' schools, where there's a certain no of allocated seats. For eg, a bank may want to recruit 100 MBA grads for their annual management associate programme. So assume the bank has 4 'key recruitment schools', each with 20 allocated seats, that means that 80 seats (4 X 20) are accounted for and they will only take in a total of 20 people (100 - 80) from the thousands of other MBA schools globally. That's why its so hard to get in if you are not in one of the 'key recruitment schools'.
So you did a foreign MBA!! That means u were out of Singapore for a while doing ure MBA?? After completion did you get good job offers?? Globally or just in Singapore??

I am graduating soon with mechanical eng degree(part time) I have abt 4 years of eng exp!!! do u think I can get in to a well known MBA programme??
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  #30 (permalink)  
Old 01-06-2011, 05:49 PM
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Aiya, online chatter just listen & talk talk lor, why so serious? I hope nobody is dumb enough here to really negotiate for pay base on what is written here.

Anyone either in real life or online can claim whatever they want, I can also go around my friends and relatives & tell them I got 10 months bonus last year, nobody will ask me for payslip to verify wat...
Just because you cannot make it doesn't mean other cannot. Most banking graduate make more money than a 40 year old engineer or department manager. You just need to face reality.
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