In the latest installment of our Career CPR series, we hear from a Chinese returnee who’s finding it very tricky to nab a front-office job in China. Read his dilemma and offer your advice in the comments box below.
Although you regularly hear about the talent shortage in China’s financial sector, the surprising reality is that Chinese returnees like me find it hard to get a job. I graduated with a MBA from a UK business school earlier this year and have been looking for a front-office role in an investment bank since May.
My previous work experience was in South America, focusing on the pharmaceutical industry. I worked for seven years in the finance departments of MNCs, taking on increasing responsibilities and gaining strong skills in treasury, financial modelling and management accounting.
Because I wanted to expand my horizons further, I decided to pursue my MBA studies. During my 18 months of studies, I interned as a management trainee in two multinational banks, one in China and the other in the UK. I also studied in China, passed my CFA and met many industry insiders. Through my own networking efforts, I managed to land two interviews, but to date I have yet to get a job. Can you guide me in the right direction?
Our expert’s take:
Emma Charnock, regional director of Hays in Hong Kong and China provides some advice.
– The candidate’s CV looks fine. The key problem is banking is an exclusive industry and is highly regulated. It’s not very often that we see candidates who are able to jump into banking from a different industry background. Ideally, most candidates would have started their banking career as soon as they completed their university education, or at least within three to five years after graduation.
– Investment banks normally consider candidates from other investment banks first, then secondly, candidates with front-line experience in commercial banking. This usually gives them a large candidate pool, making it hard for industry outsiders to get a look in.
– If the candidate is really interested in investment banking, he should consider roles within i-banks where he already has experience. For instance, within planning and treasury or finance.
– The candidate could also widen his search beyond Shanghai to Beijing and Hong Kong.
– Broadly speaking, we have seen some candidates in similar positions. A lot of people believe that a financial qualification will be enough to get themselves into banking, but this is not the case. You will need both experience within the banking industry and additional qualifications such as an MBA to help you make the transition. Most trainee positions are normally only open for young graduates and most banks will not open their senior positions for people who may have financial qualifications, but lack relevant experience.
Need some career CPR yourself? Email us explaining your dilemma and outlining your work experience at firstname.lastname@example.org. We’ll publish the most interesting problems (anonymously), our experts will answer your queries and netizens will give you their take.