Banking Wears Prada — what it takes to be a Star

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After I left my last job, I had about 2–3 years of working experience in equities research.

I realise that is actually the best number of years of experience in finding a job. Because you know your job, ie, the modelling, the report writing and the whole process. You are not that expensive as well.

The first 2–3 years are also the steepest in terms of learning curve. Once you get through that, you will know the basics and its more about developing your client relationships and personal brand after that.

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Again as fate would have it, after a few months of searching, I met a new analyst who was referred to me by an ex-colleague. He wanted to hire him initially but he didn’t want to leave so he referred me instead. I still remember meeting him for the first time at a Starbucks Cafe (Yes, there are a lot of sneaky meetings at Starbucks and various coffee places in this career). He was right at the peak of his career and looking for a competent associate to help.

I find these in between jobs gaps end up been really great. However, during them, you will feel very anxious and stressed but looking back, all these career breaks had led to good outcomes.

Since I just really came from hell so helping him was much better even though this new analyst also had a reputation of being demanding.

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A lot happened in between the years we worked together. At one stage, he thought I was leaking information to my old boss and he was calling to scold me when I was on vacation. A lot of team members joined and left. We switched to 2 different firms. I was poached once and seriously thought about leaving but got countered. After that, I got promoted and later nearly laid off but he saved me.

But in the end, we worked together for over 5 years and had a really amiable relationship. We still keep in touch today.

One of the reasons now that I think about it was I stayed really loyal to him throughout. That is because I am not sure if it is really my personality, values or just my Zodiac sign — dog.

In a way, when I watched The Devil Wears Prada, it quite resonated. During the years we worked together, I noticed how much a good analyst has to give up to achieve that “star” status.

The personal time — he has to spend a lot of time with investors/clients, company management externally as well as our own management internally.

It was also from watching him over all these years that I realised banking is not really my true passion afterall.

PREVIOUS — Banking = Battlefield — When you get hit by a bomb, you die no matter how prepared you are…

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Categories:careers, investment banking

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