From Boonies to Investment Banking Leader

How does someone born in the tiny town of Fort Smith in the Northwest Territories of Canada (population 2,400) manage to land a job overseeing the world’s leading investment banks and financial institutions?

That’s a career path worth studying, and an inspiration to just about anyone who dreams of an investment banking career and reaching the upper echelons of finance.

We’re referring to Bank of Canada Governor Mark Carney, who this past week was appointed chairman of the Swiss-based Financial Stability Board (FSB). The FSB was founded in 2009 by the G20 countries, in an effort to come up with tougher regulations to monitor and strengthen the entire global financial system.

The FSB post is a part-time gig, so Carney will remain as head of Canada’s central bank through his seven-year term which ends in 2015.

So how did a Fort Smith boy end up atop the financial world? Surprise, surprise: Carney, 46, worked at Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (GS) for more than a decade before becoming a policy maker in 2003 and then chief of Canada’s central bank in 2008, reports Bloomberg. Carney replaces another Goldman Sachs alum, former Bank of Italy Governor Mario Draghi, in the top spot.

Carney began his career as an Analyst at Goldman Sachs working in London, UK, from 1988 to 1990 before moving to the Tokyo office for a year. He returned to Goldman Sachs in London with responsibilities as a Co-Head of Sovereign Risk and Executive Director of Debt Capital Markets, with responsibility for advising sovereigns in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa. Mr. Carney served as Vice President of Corporate Finance at Goldman Sachs, New York in 1998, where he worked on mergers and with corporate finance transactions. In 2000, he moved to Goldman Sachs in Toronto to manage investment banking relationships and also served as its Managing Director, according to Businessweek.

Carney also got a good start to his education. He father was a high school principal and later a professor of education at the University of Alberta, where the family moved when Carney was six. His mother was an elementary school teacher. Education looms large in the Carney household; Carney and his two brothers all went to Harvard University as undergraduates, where Carney earned a B.A. in economics. He then went on to attend Nuffield College at Oxford University, where he received a master’s in economics in 1993 and a doctorate in economics in 1995.

Numerous articles have documented how Goldman investment bankers have gone on to dominate the finance departments of governments around the world. Will the trend continue? Add your comments below.

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