If you’re applying for a 2016 graduate job at an investment bank in Singapore you had better be quick – deadlines are looming. But before you apply you also need to know what kind of experience and backgrounds banks are looking for in candidates.
To give you a guide, these are some of the profiles of recent analyst hires at investment banks in the city state. How do you measure up against them?
Investment banks like to hire analysts who excel beyond the classroom. Tay is a case in point – he won three gold medals in squash at the Singapore University Games. He also has a taste for internships at British banks, having done summer stints at Standard Chartered, HSBC and Barclays itself. Tay also attended the global summer studies programme at the Haas School of Business, Berkeley, giving him the sort of international educational experience that banks seem to go for.
Sembiring’s CV is proof that winning a competition (or three) can help get you into an investment banking job even if you didn’t study at a global elite university. Sembiring was in the champion teams of the Keppel Corp Singapore Business Case Challenge, the NUS Stock Pitch Challenge and the CFA Research Challenge. He also ranked in the global top 10% in yet another event, the ‘BNP Paribas Ace Manager Case Competition’ in which participants compete in ‘company valuation, market sizing, portfolio management and valuation-at-risk challenges’.
Before joining HSBC, Wang interned at Citi and Citic in Hong Kong. She also boasts the kind of adventurous extracurricular credentials that all investment banks love to see on CVs – she is the founder of the Singapore branch of environment charity ‘Top to Top Global Climate Expedition’.
Banks in Singapore are clamouring to hire Singaporeans based at top overseas universities and Zhan joins Goldman with a newly minted degree in Business Economics from University of California Los Angeles (UCLA). She hasn't only studied at a desirable overseas university – at UCLA Zhan was a member of Alpha Kappa Psi (a business fraternity), the Undergraduate Business Society, the UBS Investment Banking Workshop, Bruin Asset Management, the Chinese Cultural Dance Club, and the charity Volunteer Income Tax Assistance.
Let’s be clear – the vast majority of fresh analysts at investment banks in Singapore this year were interns at the same firm last year. However, you CAN still join a bank you didn't intern with, as long as you've interned at plenty of other banks instead. This is the case with Elo. Before joining Morgan Stanley, he was a corporate finance intern at Stone Forest Corporate Advisory and PwC, and an investment banking intern at Dymon Asia Capital and Deutsche Bank.
UBS has been prioritising the growth of its private bank over its investment bank recently, especially in Asia – but Goh’s CV shows that’s it’s still possible to move into IBD at the Swiss firm after interning in wealth management. With large banks in Asia increasingly trying to cross-sell capital markets products to private clients, don’t rule out a summer stint in private banking as a route into investment banking.