From the monthly archives:

July 2011

An MBA may do a fine job of training you in the financial modeling and decision-making skills you need for an investment banking job. But it does a lousy job at training you for what to do if you ever lose that job.

That’s the premise behind a recent Linked-In post by Hank Blank, an advertising and marketing professional who spends a fair amount of time speaking to groups in transition about networking. Most executives, says Blank, are poorly prepared for the shock and drastic transition to unemployment. And professionals with the best degrees from the best schools can have the hardest time making that transition.

“I think that the majority of MBA schools probably think they don’t need courses on what to do when you are in transition because they think their curriculums and degrees will make their students bullet proof,” writes Blank.

It’s worth preparing for the alternative, especially given that the unemployment rate in the U.S. is hovering around 9.2 percent. Blank also cites an article that says if you’re around age 30, you have a 90 percent chance of getting fired over the next 20 years.

Getting a new job today requires a lot of street smarts and excellent networking skills, says Blank. And those skills are not being emphasized in today’s MBA programs. Instead, schools should have courses on how to build and cultivate a lifelong network of contacts. Schools need to impress upon MBA grads that networking is a lifelong pursuit and not something you only do when looking for a job. Your database of industry contacts may be worth as much to your career as your business degree.

Blank also says schools should teach students how to develop their own personal websites and marketing materials. How to use LinkedIn and other social media to their greatest advantage. And schools should teach how to build your “personal brand”, which is something that stays with you and gets constantly updated, no matter which investment banking firm you may be working for.

“What is more important for you?  That your kids have an MBA or a strong network?  It’s time to change curriculums to compete in the new world,” Blank says.

What’s your opinion? Do you think business schools do an adequate job of preparing grads with the practical job-hunting skills they need throughout their career? Add your comments below.

{ Comments on this entry are closed }

Anyone who’s young, smart, and ambitious enough to land an investment banking job will likely have many interests and passions. But at what point could these interests interfere with your job? And does your employer have the right to limit your activity to protect their reputation?

Those are the questions raised by a recent story from Dealbook, which profiles a young investment banker named Allen Mask, who joined Goldman Sachs as a retail analyst. He’d been an amateur rapper during his years at the University of North Carolina, had recorded several albums, and hoped to further his music career while in New York.

But then a financial blogger discovered Mask’s second life and chronicled his activity as the “hip-hop investment banker.” Other media picked up on the story, and Goldman’s media relations execs were none too pleased. The firm eventually gave Mask an ultimatum: no more performances or media interviews.

Mask decided to quit and pursue his music career full-time. He now works for Google and lives in Silicon Valley. But his story is hardly unique.

Another example is Tom Comerford, who worked in Goldman Sachs’ graphics department. In his spare time, he used to give guided tours of New York’s financial district. But when a British newspaper caught wind of it, Comerford was summoned to meet with Goldman’s legal and compliance officers. He has since left Goldman.

“People expect their bankers to behave like bankers,” says one former trader at JPMorgan Chase, who left the firm to pursue a film career. The trader, who spoke to Dealbook on the condition of anonymity, also added, “You’re not supposed to be known for anything else or stand out for anything besides your work.”

What’s your take? Do you think the banks are being fair and prudent to limit the public activities of their investment bankers, to protect their reputation? Is this the price you pay for working in investment banking? Add your comments below.

{ Comments on this entry are closed }

You probably know that recruiters can help you land an investment banking job and you may have even worked with one. But in an amusing twist, the Financial Post recently revealed 11 ways to ruin your chances of getting a job through a headhunter. Ignore these at your peril.

First and foremost, remember than headhunters work for the employer, not the candidate. “Clients sometimes say: ‘I’ll just contact a headhunter who will get me a job.’ Headhunters aren’t career counselors…they’re motivated by earning the commission,” says Bettina Seidman of SEIDBET Associates.

Second, always be upfront and tell your recruiter when your company, position or compensation preferences change. Because bringing a change into the discussion at the last minute can be an instant deal-breaker. It also makes you look sneaky or untrustworthy.

Third, write clearly and go easy on the jargon. Talk in simple terms about what you’ve accomplished. Show specific and measurable results, if possible.

“Don’t make me as the listener/recruiter/prospective employer have to translate what you’re saying into how it will benefit me or fill my needs. Talk to me in terms of my needs and what you will do for me,” says Caroline Ceniza-Levine, a career coach and co-founder of SixFigureStart.

And maybe most importantly, don’t assume the headhunter is going to do all the work for you. And don’t put all your hopes in the headhunter basket.

A headhunter’s real job is to find the right candidate for the opportunity. Not to find a job for every candidate who crosses their desk. So if you don’t match a job description as well as the next person, they will gladly suggest another person.

And finally, be laser-focused on what type of job you want and what you are good at. Because it’s not the headhunter’s responsibility to tell you what you might be good at. “When the job hunter says that they are ‘open to new opportunities’ a headhunter hears, ‘I’m clueless,’” says David Perry, an executive recruiter and co-founder of Perry-Martel International.

You can read the full list of 11 ways to ruin your chances of getting a job through headhunters in the Financial Post. Meanwhile, are you using a headhunter as well as online job postings? What has your experience been? Add your comments below.

{ Comments on this entry are closed }

Investment Bank Job Hiring Opens Up for MBAs

July 4, 2011

Job offers are back on the table for MBAs, including investment banking jobs, in a turnaround that has taken many business schools by surprise, reports the Financial Times. Career counselors were surprised because banks hired so few interns in 2010, says Jackie Wilbur, senior director of career development at MIT Sloan. So one would assume […]

Read the full article →
Real Time Web Analytics