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Fresh Engineering Grad want to switch to Banking

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  #31 (permalink)  
Old 02-06-2011, 12:24 AM
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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.
thanks... but i will not underestimate the influence of luck in the whole equation..

if you are thinking of changing career via the MBA route, the absolute key is to secure an internship in the industry of choice... and this you do by begging, grovelling, cold calling and just about every non glamourous route you can think of, and doing so persistently. i got lucky in this - after i did all of that nonsense, i managed to secure one via a contact of mine who knew of an opening [and via further begging and grovelling, albeit of a more targeted kind]...

once you secure that all important internship, half the battle is won... at least you get invited for interviews [without excessive begging and grovelling]...

then the other rule of thumb is that - you either change country or you change industry - you cannot do both... so if you study in UK or US, and you want to change into the finance industry, you best bet is to apply for finance jobs in Singapore... if you want to work in UK or US (as the case may be) then you need to pick a job in the same industry as your pre-MBA days...

so at the end of the day, it comes down to basically luck and preserverence... i.e. you preservere long enough (or in other words, beg and grovel long enough) and broadcast your intentions widely enough to relatives/friends/acquintances, you eventually get lucky...

now, is a role in finance worth all that pain? that's a whole other question altogether...

oh ya, one other thing, remember that it is much easier to move from a non-glamourous company to a glamourous company in the same industry than it is to change industries... so even if you get an offer from a never-before-heard-of bank in the industry of your choice, you should give it serious consideration, because once people in the industry know you, you can move between banks in the same role without an extraordinary amount of effort...

gd luck

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  #32 (permalink)  
Old 02-06-2011, 12:53 AM
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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??
in evaluating candidate, MBA schools look at a few things, the more important factors being (i) prior job experience (ii) GMAT scores and (iii) nationality, because these 3 factors have strong impacts on their rankings (and rankings are v v important to MBA schools, as highly ranked MBA programmes are viewed as a cash cow within the university)...

Prior job experience because it affects post MBA pay (i.e. if you are a consultant or ibanker pre MBA, chances are you get a pretty high paying job after your MBA, which will skew the school's average salary statistic upwards). GMAT scores cos its one of the factors of MBA rankings. Nationality because student diversity is also one of the factors of MBA rankings.

As a Singaporean, you already have a plus point because you will contribute to the diversity of the university be it a US or UK uni. If you are consultant with a high GMAT score, you are a shoo-in. But if your previous job experience is nothing to shout about (like mine, which was why i was thinking of doing a MBA in the first place), then I would focus an extraordinary amount of effort in doing well in the GMAT exam.

If you can get 750 and above, you greatly enhance your chances because some schools manage the various MBA ranking factors on a portfolio basis i.e. (instead of targeting for a class full of bankers/consultants with high GMATs, which is not easy) balance a few banker/consultant types with middling GMAT scores with a few students with spectacular GMAT scores, such that on average, both the average post MBA salaries and the GMAT scores look respectable.

so long story short, get a few years working experience, and focus on doing very well on your GMAT, and you should be ok... there's no guarantee of course, as with everything else in life, but you optimize your probabilities...

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  #33 (permalink)  
Old 03-06-2011, 08:14 AM
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Thanks mate.Wise advie for me to consider.After completeing my Engineering degree gonna grab a engineer job first(cos it's tough to find a finance job ) mean while planning to do CFA qualification and sit for Dec exam hopefully after level 1 would seek for some finance job!!! and will continue doing level 2 & 3 !!!!!
What kind of FO jobs do u recommend for me to consider given that im a engineering grad(part time degree) good with no's/stats/maths thou!!!



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  #34 (permalink)  
Old 04-06-2011, 11:26 PM
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Thanks mate.Wise advie for me to consider.After completeing my Engineering degree gonna grab a engineer job first(cos it's tough to find a finance job ) mean while planning to do CFA qualification and sit for Dec exam hopefully after level 1 would seek for some finance job!!! and will continue doing level 2 & 3 !!!!!
What kind of FO jobs do u recommend for me to consider given that im a engineering grad(part time degree) good with no's/stats/maths thou!!!
To be honest, there is no straightforward answer. The best way for an engineer to break into the finance industry is via a related role i.e. IT or programming role in a bank.

If you are keen on a front office role, it may be better to try find an internship now, nevermind that the pay may be middling and that the role may be quite difficult to come by. If you do 2 to 3 years of engineering, its going to be quite difficult to get out thereafter (you will need a pay cut as your engineering experience will not be recognized) and its even harder to be an intern when you are around 30. Also, a CFA helps if you are already in the industry, but not sure how useful it is in actually getting someone into the industry (as a few friends of mine have not managed to land a role after passing all the exams).

The above is based on what I've seen, so should not be taken as gospel truth. Am sure the CFA has helped some engineers get into finance, but I just have not seen it. If anyone has done it, pls do chip in as to how you managed the transition.
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  #35 (permalink)  
Old 05-06-2011, 08:13 AM
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Do you think with a part time engineering degree I could apply for finance internships??? I have about 4 years of engineering experience(Junior lever)Currentley working as an assistant engineer.
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  #36 (permalink)  
Old 05-06-2011, 09:10 AM
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Yea since my degree is Mechanical Eng I dont have much exposure towards IT or programming!!
So i dont have much luck towards those roles pretty good in excel and normal engineering softwares like SPC & CAM .Given that what sort of role would you suggest me??

Thanks folks
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  #37 (permalink)  
Old 05-06-2011, 09:46 AM
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Yea since my degree is Mechanical Eng I dont have much exposure towards IT or programming!!
So i dont have much luck towards those roles pretty good in excel and normal engineering softwares like SPC & CAM .Given that what sort of role would you suggest me??

Thanks folks
One obvious route is through the retail banking personal banker route. If you do well, you can move to premier banking (higher net worth clients), and once you build up your client base and asset under managerment (AUM), you can try to make the jump to private banking. But, (i) that's a sales job with sales quotas and competitive ranking systems etc and (ii) the move up to premier banking and subsequently to private banking is not assured (actually quite difficult, especially private banking).

But have seen people do it before, and is not impossible.

The other way is to try to get into SME corporate banking covering the industry you are in, where you will probably know all the main players and therefore have a competitive advantage. If you have proven yourself within your company, maybe you can try to effect a move into the finance & treasury department, then a move into SME corporate banking from there is a relatively natural transition.

Finally, an internship. Typically, for fresh grads, the university's career office will help you find a placement. For grads without the assistance of a career office, the most realistic way is via contacts or cold calling companies (very low probability).
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  #38 (permalink)  
Old 05-06-2011, 10:01 AM
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Finally, an internship. Typically, for fresh grads, the university's career office will help you find a placement. For grads without the assistance of a career office, the most realistic way is via contacts or cold calling companies (very low probability).
What I meant is cold calling companies is very low probability and via contacts is actually quite high probability (if you have the right contacts).

Try to get to either MO or FO, but you should do some research into which areas you are interested in, can contribute to and can speak relatively intelligently about (most folks - like me in the past - only know ibanking and capital markets which are darn difficult to get into).

There is a very good series of books - Vault (can check Vault.com) - that will tell you everything you need about most of the top companies and about whatever area of finance you are keen to learn about.
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  #39 (permalink)  
Old 19-06-2011, 11:11 PM
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Default is there any point in getting a good hons?

I will be taking NTU mech engineering next year, and i'm wondering, with the stagnation of salary of the engineering industry here, is there any point for me to study hard for a 1st class hons ( which im intending to do) ?

I read of many engineers salary reaching only 4k+ after so many years, and I'm already thinking of moving to finance sector after i graduate, as the salary increment is much better there. However, is there any point in studying for a good hons since I apparently heard that only govt/civil service cares about the honours and not pvte sectors like banks?

I for one am already inclined to going to work at a bank after i graduate, so should I bother to study hard for a good hons in engineering, which is totally unrelated...?

Thanks for any input!
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  #40 (permalink)  
Old 20-06-2011, 01:00 AM
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I will be taking NTU mech engineering next year, and i'm wondering, with the stagnation of salary of the engineering industry here, is there any point for me to study hard for a 1st class hons ( which im intending to do) ?

I read of many engineers salary reaching only 4k+ after so many years, and I'm already thinking of moving to finance sector after i graduate, as the salary increment is much better there. However, is there any point in studying for a good hons since I apparently heard that only govt/civil service cares about the honours and not pvte sectors like banks?

I for one am already inclined to going to work at a bank after i graduate, so should I bother to study hard for a good hons in engineering, which is totally unrelated...?

Thanks for any input!
If you can get 1st class hons, go for it. Its always good to have that in your resume, it shows you have brains. Even if you don't join the gov sector. And if you do join the gov sector, you'll probably get around $200 more than someone with 2nd upper. Good luck.

If I could turn back the clock I should have studied law, or studied finance and become a banker instead of being a typical engineer. Its not that being an engineer is bad, but compared to the pay you can get in US, what we get in Singapore is lousy.
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