I have kept blogs in a variety of places before and this is the first and only time the website sent me a stats summary with such details for the bygone year. For the constant thrive to optimize user experience and the degree of dedication, I want to first thank WordPress for offering me, and many other bloggers in this world, an intimate place to pursue our passions, to share our curiosities, and to develop a legacy.
I also want to take the opportunity to appreciate every one of you who has stopped by my blog over the past year. For those who have commented on my posts, cheered for me on my facebook walls, left a message to me on LinkedIn and Gtalk, followed me on Google Reader, or mentioned my blog to me face-to-face, I want to thank you for being my constant motivation and inspiration. Your encouragement means the world to me.
Started in mid-April 2010, the blog had 70 new posts and was viewed about 21,000 times over the course of 2010. Not bad for the first year I have to say. Thanks for sharing this with me.
Here are my Top Posts of the Year:
This was an introduction email on career opportunity that I have been waiting for. As I know most people are still struggling on how to effectively network and communicate, I figured it was a good idea to share the email and my interpretation with you.
I came across your profile on linkedIn while going through the ‘Business & Jobs New York’ group, and you came across as a great person to connect with. I am writing to you because I am really interested in joining the XXX Group at XXX Firm and would really appreciate getting some insights from your end. I have been making online applications to this group and nothing has come up so far.
To give you a brief overview of my background; I graduated from XXX College with a bachelors in Economics/computer science, joined XXX Bank prime brokerage group for over a year then XXX’s wealth management as a Client Service analyst for a couple of months. Thereafter I went to graduate school at XXX University where I received my masters in Financial Economics.
I would like to forward you my resume for critique and directives. Kindly let me know if you will be willing to assist me. Your advice and time would be invaluable.
Many thanks and I look forward to hearing from you.
Of course, this is a very articulate and well-written letter. Now, why do I have an incentive to write back to this person, among all others? Because he/she perfectly answered three big questions in my little head whenever I am reading such letters.
At some point you are going to ask yourself: Do I want to be a small fish in a big pond or a big fish in a small pond? It’s a tough decision.
A big fish in a small pond can be an attractive idea to everyone. Some headhunter called me again yesterday, another marketing/investor relations/client-facing position at another boutique fast-growing HF. More freedom, more flexibility, and more money: the rosy picture of the so-called “fast-track”.
I would by no means want to discourage those who want to really step up in their career, but before you get too much ahead of yourself, take a moment to think about the following:
Success here doesn’t promise your greatness there
You might be very good at a big firm, but chances are this it not because of who you are and what you are capable of (of course these matters big time too), but more importantly because of the training you get, the resources you have at your disposal, and the whole supporting platform that lies in every aspect of your work life.
I am not a recruiter myself but as our group finally started hiring again, I had the opportunity to sit on the other side of the table a couple of times recently. There are many articles out there on “must prepare interview questions”, “how to ace an interview”, etc, many of which are quite helpful. Yet what I want to focus on today is the fundamental questions an interviewer wants to answer during his/her conversations with you.
- Common Sense: Can you help me to make sense of your experiences?
You will probably say: everything is on my resume. That is not enough. You need to help the interviewer to “connect the dots” and to tell good stories so he will understand why you worked at A before, and then B, and then C. You also need to answer the questions of why you want to move from consulting to investment management, and why from SF to NY, and how your past experiences relate to what you are doing today and your future goals.
- Motivation: Is this what you really want for yourself, NOW?
Sometimes it is not you who decided to move on. Sometimes you just have to move on, because someone else has been staring at your spot for too long. –thoughts on the competitive job market and career path
The following is from my lovely, sweet, and dearest colleague Esther Kim and I resonate with so many things she has said below:
You know you’re a true financial analyst in New York city when you know:
· the late-night security guard by name
· how to fix all kinds of printer problems
· if you can’t fix it, you know 4 back-up printers in your building
· that the starbuck’s staff notices when you’re taking a day off
· your co-worker’s favorite work outfit
· when to go get water and use the restroom to avoid bumping into people you prefer not to small-talk with while you take care business
· which fruit stand sells the best fruit
· at what speed to walk in order to catch your next subway when transferring
· your cabinet has a full inventory of eye-drops, some for of Excedrin, and a week’s worth of power-bars
· you have failed to find a way to stay away during long meetings after an all-nighter
· which conference rooms are always freezing
· been asked to do the Vending Machine challenge
· you can’t use any other font style other than the one used at your firms
· you want to say “going forward” instead of “from now on” and “month-end” instead of “end of the month” when talking with your friends outside of work
· you don’t have friends outside of work
· how to turn pages at rapid pace without drying your fingers
· when to pull out your metro card and how to swipe without slowing down at the turnstill
· know who will notice if you sat in his chair
· when to order food to get the fastest delivery
· quirky eating and sleeping habits of your cub-mates
Defend performance and retain revenue is probably a buy-side problem emerged during the most recent financial crisis. Sell-side has only more explanations to do, but most of their job is done when capital is raised, stock sold, and the merger happened. But as a fiduciary asset manager, you have to engage another step where you have to deal with clients who are unhappy with the performance of their portfolios.
A Wall Street trader once told me, the investment management industry is the most ridiculous industry of all. Who in the world would give you the money to manage and pay you for doing that, no matter you win or lose? And the next issue raised amid the financial crisis when everything went to shit is the debate on the whole “compared with the benchmark vs. absolute return” idea. If benchmark went down 20%, and you went down 15%, on a relative basis you’re still outperforming but essentially you are losing money for the client.
But what will piss off a client even more is when they have several external managers, and one of them simply falls behind the other managers, regardless of the market direction. Every client-facing person in the asset management industry would have faced situations where you have to defend your portfolios as well as your firm’s reputation in the past two years. So how exactly do you do that?
Explain what happened and what went wrong