QQ - Masters Graduate & IBD professional
Quick Questions with an IBD professional and Masters Graduate.
Our guest today is a bilingual finance professional with a background in Investment Banking covering leveraged finance and M&A, and has recently completed their Masters in Finance (outside of Japan):
Why were you interested in joining Investment Banking?
I decided to join Investment Banking Leveraged Finance team after graduating as I did not want to commit my career to a specific industry right away. I thought it could be better to pick a speciality and develop strong transferrable professional skills, get some career experience and then when I am around 30 to focus my career on a specific industry.
What skills have you developed from your time working on Leveraged Finance and M&A transactions that you feel are the most valuable to your career?
In terms of Hard skills and Soft Skills I would say:
Hard Skills: Developing strong general finance skills, knowledge of accounting and financial analysis, financial modelling, excel, PowerPoint, legal documentation, etc - these are very portable skills that can go across various fields in both Japan and overseas.
Soft skills: During my time in IBD I mainly engaged in the execution of transactions, which would require a lot of meticulous process management, I feel this is an important skill although it seems a bit boring..
Why did you decide to pursue further education during your career? How and why did you decide Masters over MBA?
For me it was a simple decision as it was an important requisite to get promoted, but I was also personally interested to do it and get beneficial international exposure for my long term career.
I wanted to get my Masters as I intend to stay within my industry and it would help me build deeper skills. I feel taking an MBA would be useful if I wanted to make an industry change. Also other factors are Masters is a shorter time commitment and cheaper.
Can you share any websites or resources that you found most useful for studying your Masters?
I did my masters in finance so it is helpful for people to make sure they are confident in their excel and statistics skills. Some of the resources and books I found helpful were:
For Financial Modelling = https://www.wallstreetprep.com/
An Excel Add-In = https://macabacus.com/
Corporate Finance = https://amzn.to/3dyuRmS
Statistics = https://amzn.to/3ST2vnp
Do you have any physical item or gadget that you found essential to your Study? (e.g - bag, virtual note book, airpods, etc)
A laptop with a high level CPU and large screen. Looking back I wish that was the item I brought as my laptop struggled to keep up with the zooms (using financial models while sharing the screen with classmates or clients) and remote work needed at my internship during the masters.
How did you organise and track the tasks you needed to complete during your Masters?
Nothing special, a mix of using Evernote and outlook calendar for regular tasks.
If I had a complicated task, I would use Excel to break it down into a specific list and manage the progress there, a similar way to how I track my to-do's during my career.
Is there anything you know now that you wished you knew before starting your Masters?
There are three things that come to mind:
If considering to apply to a Masters Program, then applying earlier in your career I feel could be better as job opportunities could be wider if graduating in late 20s especially when trying to change industries.
Plan how to spend time during the masters program. In advance of arriving try plan internships, connect with current students or Masters alumn or people working at/in your target company/industry to start getting a better view on what type of opportunities could be available. Networking via LinkedIn or others will be strongly encouraged by career service centers of business schools after starting programs, in any case.
Relating to entrance exams, I would suggest trying to complete the required tests as soon as possible (TOEFL/IELTS and GRE/GMAT) to get a good score so then can have flexibility to start applications. Prep schools can also be helpful for getting tips and help to prepare for tests.
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