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The Returnee: The four best backgrounds to have if you want a buy-side job in China

Want to break into the buy side in China? If you have one of these four backgrounds, I think you’re most likely to succeed.

Investment banking

If hedge funds and private equity firms can’t poach from competitors, candidates with an investment banking background are the first substitutes. Job responsibilities such as modelling, pitching to clients, roadshows, client due diligence and financial evaluation are common to both investment banks and buy-side firms

Consulting firms

Compared with IB employees, candidates from consulting firms have broader business knowledge because they are less clearly grouped by industry coverage. In addition, they have broad exposure across different areas like strategy and operations.

Candidates from other industries

I have a friend who recently joined a local PE firm. He covers telecommunication deals because of his previous experience in a major Chinese telecoms service provider. His knowledge of the industry, especially investment opportunities and growth trends, makes him an outstanding performer for the firm.

Returnees with project management experience

Project management is a popular role in large international banks in overseas financial hubs. Transferable skills such as problem solving, analytical thinking, research, leadership, and communication skills are highly valued by buy-side employers in China. Because a deal cycle in a buy-side firm is similar to a project cycle, candidates with project experience can learn industry knowledge fast and will enjoy a smooth transition.

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