Should you ever look back once you leave an investment bank? Being a ‘good leaver’ and not burning your bridges when you depart an employer is important in any career, but is it really worth heading back to a previous company once you depart?
Recent recruitment at Morgan Stanley suggests that gaining experience in another employer before heading back can be very beneficial indeed.
In recent months, despite big cuts across the organisation, Morgan Stanley has welcomed back former employees and elevated them into decidedly loftier positions. If you want the same, you must do one thing: you must gain extra skills when you leave.
Take Biagio Mazzi, who recently came back to Morgan Stanley to head up its London-based team of CVA quant traders. He left in 2009 as a vice president and spent nearly six years working for the World Bank as a senior financial office on its structured finance desk.
Or take Olga Basirov, who left Morgan Stanley in 2005 after 21 years and spent a decade working on the buy-side in a variety of hedge fund consulting roles. She moved back to the bank in December to a role it its ‘senior relationship team’, which deals only with its biggest clients.
Time away is also useful for career switches. James Brown left Morgan Stanley in 2007 when he worked in leveraged finance. He moved to hedge fund Citadel, then into emerging markets trading at Deutsche Bank and has just returned to Morgan Stanley in a structured credit emerging markets trading job.
Generally, recruiters advise against returning to your old employer, but career consultants who work with banks think otherwise.
“If you join as a graduate and stick around, you’re a known entity but there’s often a feeling that you’re coasting along, or have a set of skills that the bank has taught you,” says Andrew Pullman, a former head of HR at Dresdner Bank and head of careers consultants People Risk Solutions. “You can leave and come back years later with new, desirable skills, but the organisation has more trust because you’ve worked there before.”
The “risk factor” in hiring you is removed, says Pullman, principally because they’ll always be someone still at your old employer who can vouch for your abilities.