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GUEST COMMENT: Long term career management in a short term world.

Senior corporate financiers who’ve been around the block a few times can get a little misty eyed when talking about the business in Europe in the early 90s. Less competition, opportunities everywhere you looked and client relationships built on trust and quality of advice rather the commoditised, product pushing environment of today.

Since then, an explosion of new product offerings, greater business volumes and globalisation has meant that corporate finance expertise has become far more specialised. It has also created difficulties for bankers in managing their careers.

Banking is a cyclical business, yet bankers are challenged to produce stable and consistent revenue. But how do you continue to demonstrate your value when your market falls away and the inevitable management spotlight falls upon you? Witness the experience of so many in leveraged finance or structured credit recently.

From a headhunter’s perspective, a banker needs to display at least one of two things to present long term value: an active clientbase, or a breadth of product expertise that maintains his or her value irrespective of the cycle.

Thus, to remain in demand, bankers need to have a broad offering at a high level, which can be challenging when specialisation is all the rage. Coverage officers should be able to talk strategically about Credit and Cash Management not just M&A and Capital Markets. Bankers should be wary of the risks of overexposure to one product or having limited coverage responsibilities.

It helps to work for a big brand name. However, a high quality, smaller but more flexible work environment that gives greater client exposure and a broader experience can increase your value to future employers more than the brand of your last employer. Position yourself to do repeat work with major clients and look to stable platforms, not just the best offer. Short term riches may be alluring, but the long term game is still the best career move..

Comments (10)

Comments
  1. Thanks for the refreshing, well thought out article. You’ve clearly spent alot of time thinking here. Please don’t do it again.

    @Sarah – Can I ask you a favour please? In future articles, please don’t include any paragraphs that begin “from a Headhunter’s perspective…”

    These people are leeches and the entire world has grown tired of them. I undestand that this is a career website, but giving these morons a platform to spout is beginning to antagonise.

    If you must give them the opportunity, label the headline as ‘Recruiter Comment’ rather than ‘Guest Comment’ – that way we can refrain.

  2. I agree with Brasenose. Skimming through the most recent articles on the site, the common threads are either head hunters b1tching or having targets painted on their back by Sarah & Co. just for other areas of the recruitment arena to have a pop. Presumably this merger attempt at stoking controversy would explain the dilution of the content of this site and also why comments like the above are becoming common place.

    Perhaps it is time to raise your game Sarah and try to compete with the more cerebral peers of your trade. So far the only direction towards defining a style or niche has been for EfinancialCareers to become the Heat magazine of the financial recruitment press.

    Surely a better use of the site would be to give meaningful insight in the trends of the industry and basing it upon actual investigative approaches.

    The Real Ali Desai Reply
     
  3. @TheRAD – If you look back over the articles of this week, I would disagree that the common threads are headhunters bitching or being victimised. We run one headhunter focused article a week; in some cases it’s negative, in some cases it’s not.

    Arguably, the defining factor about the article you have commented on here is that it’s not controversial in the least, which also seems to be a point of contention.

    I would argue that we do offer insight into trends in the industry. We could, admittedly do more ‘sector-focused’ articles. However, the challenge here is that by focusing on one narrow area we don’t appeal to those working outside it.

    We’re always open to ideas for guest comments or subjects to cover. Feel free to get in touch at Editor@eFinancialCareers.com if you have any.

    Sarah, Editor, eFinancialCareers Reply
     
  4. Ha ha well said @The Real Ali Desai…….Sarah are you beginning to spot a common theme here with your journalism style?

    Just report some interesting facts and stories…..blimey just copy and paste the FT articles and change the words around…I think most would settle for that as a minimum!

  5. @ Sarah -does eFinancialCareers recieve payment from the Recruiters that you are so keen to hand over your platform to?

    You really need to prevent their species from infiltrating your website, otherwise you will lose your standing.

    Please start to behave and re-engage with your readers.

  6. The common theme you should be concerned Sarah with is the increasingly derisive commnet on here about the articles.

    Agreed there have been some ‘insights’ offered, but they are always from headhunters or parties removed from the epicentre of current events. How about phoning a line manager at a bank, Fund, manager etc….

    Rather than ganrering ideas from reader, how about the notion of original thought and reports from the front line being promoted within Efinancialcareers!?

    The Real Ali Desai Reply
     
  7. @Ali Desai – We have 5 articles a day, one of which is from readers. We do speak to line managers, but they are not quoted for the simple reason that if they are quoted what they say is sanitised by the press office. And, as I have pointed out previously, one good headhunter will speak to 10 MDs in his/her area of business, providing an insight across the industry. I’d also argue that the derisive (sic) comments are outweighed by supportive ones.

    Sarah, Editor, eFinancialCareers Reply
     
  8. I think Sarah is great. All these other people are just fakers.

    The really real Ali Desai Reply
     
  9. This article is correct. And it applies to all sectors in finance. Specialisations, and the degreee of specialisation is constantly changing. 4 years ago everyone wanted to get into ABS, CDOs etc and that’s died. Finance develops, and careers can be dashed, just as fast as in the technology industry where there has to be constant learning to keep up. A niche offering a lot of money today, could wither in 4 years time.

    As for Sarah… ignore the comments from people who always follow what you write, then complain about it. They are probably under-employed Oxbridge & Durham failures or ex-phones4U sales morons now working as recruiters, the ultimate job for muppets.

  10. @Sarah – I have no complaints about this site. Yes your articles sometimes leave room for ridicule by pedantic morons out there, but on the whole I think we can all look past that. What frustrates me is that you repeatedly rise to the bait offered by these morons when they post negative comments. Why do it? Seriously, just rise above it and stay silent. You are the editor of this site, you are under no obligation to respond to these guys when they post vitiolic trite about you. Just leave them to it and have faith that the majority of us who do not post are happy with the content and are returning customers.

    PrinceWilliam&GeorgeMichael’sFriend Reply
     

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