From the monthly archives:

November 2009

Switzerland’s biggest bank may increase its investment banking staff by as much as 10 percent in the next two years. But not in Switzerland. Rather, they aim to staff up in Canada, reports Bloomberg. All told, more than 700 investment bankers, traders and analysts have been hired this year in North America by UBS as well as Canadian-owned banks such as Royal Bank of Canada and Bank of Montreal, which owns mid-market investment bank, BMO Capital Markets, in Chicago and New York.

 The move comes during a period of relative stability in the banking industry in Canada. Canada is also bolstered by a strong commodities market. While big banks such as Zurich-based UBS cut thousands of jobs during the downturn, they have since announced plans to hire internationally, and their Canadian arm is ahead of the pack in hiring.

Canadian banks have been able to snap up seasoned pros and experienced bankers from such U.S. firms as Goldman Sachs and Citigroup.

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Ever wonder how one candidate manages to land that investment banking job, when hundreds, even thousands of others are out of work and still looking? CNNMoney revealed the tenacious strategy used by one candidate named Ebony Blue, a financial analyst laid off by Citigroup in December, 2008. A graduate of Ithaca College, Ms. Blue had only two years of experience before she was let go.

After running up against the usual wall of rejections and lack of leads, she took time off to think about her future. But then attacked her job search with renewed tenacity, spending 10 hours a day on the hunt. She widened her horizons to target London, Atlanta, New York, Boston and several cities in Texas. More importantly, she focused on building her network of contacts from college, colleagues, family and fellow members of a non-profit organization called Management Leadership for Tomorrow (MLT).  MLT assists African American, Hispanic and Native American professionals to join the ranks of business leadership.

After identifying a potential investment banking job online, Ms. Blue used the MLT database to find a member who worked at the company. She sent him her resume and cover letter and landed four interviews with the firm. And the next day, a job offer.

All together, Ms. Blue applied to more than 700 job openings. But it was the combination of online job search and extensive networking that got her the job. It’s a strategy that more candidates should use, according to executive career coach Cheryl Palmer of Call To Career in Silver Springs, Md.

Job seekers should network far beyond the people they know personally, she says. Palmer notes that connecting with friends of friends, second- and third-level contacts on social networking sites such as LinkedIn, as well as university, community and religious associations, can exponentially expand your network. It might just find you that key contact for getting a foot in the door for your next investment banking job interview.

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Call it “the Harvard Factor.” In fact, that’s exactly what Ray Soifer, a former banking analyst and Harvard Business School grad does  call it. Soifer is now a consultant and has discovered that the number of Harvard graduates who pursue Wall Street jobs is a contrary indictor to the strength of the job market.

According to his “Harvard MBA Indicator,” when the number of Harvard grads finding jobs in investment banking, private equity or hedge funds exceeds 30 percent of the graduating class, the market is overheated and ripe for a tumble. Conversely, if the number of grads falls below10 percent, it’s a long-term “buy” signal, and time to start hunting for an investment banking job, according to a story in BusinessInsider.com

Only about 28 percent of Harvard’s MBA class pursued financial careers in 2009, compared to 41 percent in 2008. While it’s not an out-and-out bullish signal, it may indicate that job opportunities are picking up. The last time the Harvard MBA index dipped below the 10 percent for a “buy” signal was in the early 1980s, when the Dow Jones index traded below 1,000.

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Investment Banking Job Bonuses to Increase

November 9, 2009

Equities and fixed income traders at investment banks can look forward to a healthy year-end bonus this year, outpacing their peers in other areas of the financial services industry. So says Johnson Associates, Inc., a New York-based compensation consulting firm in Marketwire news release. The stock market rebound and improved performance will trigger sharply higher […]

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Investment Banks Hiring Grads for Jobs

November 2, 2009

The financial crisis hit the investment banking industry particularly hard in 2007. An article in UK’s The Guardian pegs the numbers of entry-level positions as having declined by 44% from 2007 to 2009. But almost as quickly, the big names in the industry have started hiring again, including positions for entry-level graduates. The newspaper reports […]

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