Whether you’re coming close to completing your studies, just starting out, or somewhere in the middle, you’re naturally turning your attention to what comes next. Options include further study, the chance to take on an internship (some of which pay up to $8,000 a month), or your first, serious, full-time job in the industry of your choice. So, what if that next step introduced you to the world of investment?
Financial Study is Not a Prerequisite
In an interview for Grad Diary, Belina Mann, Head of EMEA Graduate Recruitment at J.P. Morgan, assures that one of the greatest misconceptions is that investment is only a career path for those with an educational background in economics, math or finance. Mann insists that J.P. Morgan actively recruits from other areas including science, engineering, humanities and even the arts, as those students offer a different set of skills that are ultimately highly valuable to the company. Most importantly, these graduates are not shaped by the economic dogma of their university lecturers and are fresh for moulding.
The corporate world, public services, politics and commerce all need number-crunching whizz kids who seemingly have the ability to make money grow on trees and who have a knack for anticipating where new opportunities lie before anyone else even gets a whiff of the idea. But to make a success out of a career in investment, you’ll need a lot more than a passion for math and razor-sharp instincts.
Learn from the veterans
A great way of deciding whether a career in investment even interests you and then of making a success out of it should you choose to go down that route, is to keep a close eye on the veteran investment gurus of the moment, such as Jason Sugarman.
With 20 years of experience in asset-based lending, private equity and debt investments, Sugarman was recently compelled to act against general investment consensus by choosing to invest in the online shopping potential of Marucci, a brand closely associated with Major League Baseball, despite the tanking stocks associated with traditional retail.
The interesting moves that well-versed investors choose to take are a true education, like Warren Buffett’s golden rule for picking the most mediocre investments you can imagine.
Play to your strengths
While a financial education might not be the be-all and end-all for anyone considering a career in investment, there’s no denying that those who find success in the investment world share a number of basic character strengths. The first thing to bear in mind is that hours are long and the work is incredibly intense. Young investment banker, Alex Khosla, highlights his 5.30am start and the pressure to “always get things right” as being two of the most demanding elements of his role. It’s a world that demands you develop a thick skin, take on responsibility fast and own up to your mistakes should things take a turn for the worst.
A second vital skill is the ability to adapt to a wide range of situations, clients, tasks and areas. If you work for a large, global player, like the UBS bank for example, you might be evaluating the profitability of online advertising for one client in the morning and then shifting your attention to why China is building railways for another in the space of just a few hours.
Clients expect you to be thoroughly informed about each subject. Indeed, they come to you for investment advice because you apparently know more about the area than they do. This is why a high tolerance level for reading in depth reports, detailed documents and for checking all sources of information with a fine tooth comb is also a necessary quality for the successful investment expert.
Springboard into future opportunities
The really attractive nature of a career in investment, especially for recent graduates, is that it often acts as a stepping stone to future career paths. It can even provide the kind of grounding necessary to then launch a personal business idea later on in life. Doors don’t start closing on you when you work in investment. On the contrary, they often open new ones; ones you had never even dreamed of walking through.
So with that in mind, and by way of wrapping things up, the key to profiting from the benefits of a successful career in investment is learning how to roll with the punches and to follow the tide. You’ve got to be ready to take on the next challenge, doubtful of your ability to handle the pressure or not. Anyone who shies away from the next step in an attempt to take things at their own pace will find the investment world a difficult environment to work in. It’s time to just dive in!