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Old 30.01.2018, 23:05
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how DIFFICULT to land a job in Finance (Front office)

Hi everyone,

Just want to say how depressed I am now.

My background: Swiss Uni master in statistics + BA in finance + total 4 years Risk experience at a Swiss Hedge fund and an Swiss Asset manager

My firm changes the job profile from market risk (quant) to compliance risk (legal) which is really not my field and I see no future on my career.

So I left and I tried to look for any Front office role (junior or internship is ok) for 6 months but got rejected (such as junior portfolio manager, structure products, quant analyst, asset allocation, junior trader). I don't know how those smart people could find their first job in these fields.

The only interviews I got shortlisted were somewhat risk related roles, such as UBS CIO office, UBS AM.

HR usually has a super closed mind - if they see I worked at risk in the past, they assume I could only work at risk for the rest of my life! NO CHANCE for me AT ALL!

I really feel stuck and no way out of this situation (not even an internship)! What should I do? Do another master degree so as to land an internship in the future?

Many thanks.
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Old 30.01.2018, 23:11
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Re: how DIFFICULT to land a job in Finance (Front office)

As you're a non-EU national what permit do you have? If you had a tied B permit and you've quit your job then your permit is no longer valid. Are you on RAV?
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Old 30.01.2018, 23:21
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Re: how DIFFICULT to land a job in Finance (Front office)

Don‘t give up! Financial sector is difficult to get in at the best of times. If you have no direct front office experience, you will be interviewing against people with many years experience.

The first biggest step is getting your foot in the door. One possible option is taking a risk role, then looking for an internal transition to a front office role. It might seem a longer route, but getting your first opportunity in a new area requires networking, tenacity and a bit of luck. If you can already build up a strong network within the bank, your chances of transition are easier. Once you are on the inside, you will see positions which are advertised internally first.

Good luck!
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Old 31.01.2018, 00:53
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Re: how DIFFICULT to land a job in Finance (Front office)

Well the first thing to realize is that after the last several years, there is a glut of people with front office experience to choose from.

Second risk management is the growth area in banks and it’s where banks need people so expect to be pushed in that direction.

Also in my experience over the last 25+ years, there are certain nationalities you will almost never see in the front office of a Swiss financial institution. Simply because it is not what the clients expect to deal with in such situations - Swiss of course, Italians next best thing, Germans ya sometimes, French the jury is still out and after that you don’t see many others.
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Old 31.01.2018, 11:13
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Re: how DIFFICULT to land a job in Finance (Front office)

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Hi everyone,

Just want to say how depressed I am now.

My background: Swiss Uni master in statistics + BA in finance + total 4 years Risk experience at a Swiss Hedge fund and an Swiss Asset manager

My firm changes the job profile from market risk (quant) to compliance risk (legal) which is really not my field and I see no future on my career.

So I left and I tried to look for any Front office role (junior or internship is ok) for 6 months but got rejected (such as junior portfolio manager, structure products, quant analyst, asset allocation, junior trader). I don't know how those smart people could find their first job in these fields.

The only interviews I got shortlisted were somewhat risk related roles, such as UBS CIO office, UBS AM.

HR usually has a super closed mind - if they see I worked at risk in the past, they assume I could only work at risk for the rest of my life! NO CHANCE for me AT ALL!

I really feel stuck and no way out of this situation (not even an internship)! What should I do? Do another master degree so as to land an internship in the future?
You left your stable job without having another one lined up? Seriously?
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Old 31.01.2018, 11:35
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Re: how DIFFICULT to land a job in Finance (Front office)

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You left your stable job without having another one lined up? Seriously?
Especially as a non-EU person...... See Medea´s post
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Old 31.01.2018, 12:00
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Re: how DIFFICULT to land a job in Finance (Front office)

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Especially as a non-EU person...... See Medea´s post
I'd second Roegner's comment and add it for pharma / bio-tech.
I've received calls but have gotten flat-out rejections just because I'm non-EU.

I wouldn't comment on your choice to leave but would say not to give up.
Just so long as your permit is OK or that if you're Swiss, you can still hold out by applying to RAV.

頑張って! (It means to keep fighting / working to achieve your goal in Japanese).
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Old 31.01.2018, 15:36
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Re: how DIFFICULT to land a job in Finance (Front office)

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As you're a non-EU national what permit do you have? If you had a tied B permit and you've quit your job then your permit is no longer valid. Are you on RAV?
C permit. RAV though with penalty on the number of days


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The first biggest step is getting your foot in the door. One possible option is taking a risk role, then looking for an internal transition to a front office role. It might seem a longer route, but getting your first opportunity in a new area requires networking, tenacity and a bit of luck. If you can already build up a strong network within the bank, your chances of transition are easier. Once you are on the inside, you will see positions which are advertised internally first.
Good luck!
Thanks, in small firms such as hedge fund or asset manager, little chance for internal transfers. But I do like some UBS non-front office roles, because the company do encourage internal transfer and they are big enough to do it.

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Also in my experience over the last 25+ years, there are certain nationalities you will almost never see in the front office of a Swiss financial institution. Simply because it is not what the clients expect to deal with in such situations - Swiss of course, Italians next best thing, Germans ya sometimes, French the jury is still out and after that you don’t see many others.
That's probably the hidden rule in the market. It makes my life tougher given the fact that I don't speak German/French

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You left your stable job without having another one lined up? Seriously?
Absolutely correct!
My British friend who is a British Airway retired pilot living in Zurich also questioned the same.

I told him: when you were at my age of 30 and got trained as a captain in London, would you ever consider to work for Swiss Air as a Ground Service staff assuming the Swiss salary is 50% higher that a BA pilot? He then has his answer.

I don't need a job, but I need a career. I would be very grateful to have an UNPAID internship at front office rather than a senior risk role with good salary.

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頑張って! (It means to keep fighting / working to achieve your goal in Japanese).
Thanks!
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Old 31.01.2018, 15:45
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Re: how DIFFICULT to land a job in Finance (Front office)

A small thing to add:
I graduated with Dean's list (summa cum laude) and got offers from two universities to do a Phd (not too hard to get them). People in the industry highlight that front office doesn't need a Phd degree and it's really a long-term commitment (4 years).

So I am applying for MBA/master at Oxbridge. Hopefully to have a better chance to land a job. Good choice?
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Old 31.01.2018, 16:04
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Re: how DIFFICULT to land a job in Finance (Front office)

Maybe your true future is actually in Machine Learning.
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Old 31.01.2018, 16:10
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Re: how DIFFICULT to land a job in Finance (Front office)

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Absolutely correct!
My British friend who is a British Airway retired pilot living in Zurich also questioned the same.

I told him: when you were at my age of 30 and got trained as a captain in London, would you ever consider to work for Swiss Air as a Ground Service staff assuming the Swiss salary is 50% higher that a BA pilot? He then has his answer.

I don't need a job, but I need a career. I would be very grateful to have an UNPAID internship at front office rather than a senior risk role with good salary.
That is just naive logic. There is nothing to stop you looking for a new career while maintaining (however loosely) a stable job... most of us have done it in our lives. Instead, you made an idealistic and immature decision to cut off your source of stable income, which is just about the biggest no-no for anyone within Switzerland that is not on the verge of a mental breakdown or complete burnout. Regardless of whether you saw a future in that job, if you are now "depressed" (more likely you mean extremely frustrated than truly depressed) as a result of finding no new job and having no stable income in the meantime then you really only have yourself to blame and should consider it a life lesson learnt.
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Old 31.01.2018, 16:25
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Re: how DIFFICULT to land a job in Finance (Front office)

I heard if people train to be a plumber or so these days then they can easily find rather well paid jobs..think the financial sector is a bit overpopulated these days...:-)
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Old 31.01.2018, 16:33
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Re: how DIFFICULT to land a job in Finance (Front office)

OP, when did you last apply to UBS AM - they are currently hugely expanding in the Asian market right now.

Btw. I have worked with two excellent senior level portfolio managers with Asian backgrounds over the years within major Swiss Asset Management companies.

Good luck - now is a good time to apply, as the bonuses will soon have been paid-out, and the job market will become more fluid.
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Old 01.02.2018, 02:22
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Re: how DIFFICULT to land a job in Finance (Front office)

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if you are now "depressed" (more likely you mean extremely frustrated than truly depressed) as a result of finding no new job and having no stable income in the meantime then you really only have yourself to blame and should consider it a life lesson learnt.
1. I am still very happy for the decision to leave. No regret at all
2. stable income? I have no family to feed and no mortgage/debt and I have an algorithm to trade earning a few thousands per month (based on my small capital) so really no financial stress.
3. stable income? I have two offers of PAID Phd positions as back up - I have time till September to think whether I would like to take it.
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Old 01.02.2018, 02:35
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Re: how DIFFICULT to land a job in Finance (Front office)

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OP, when did you last apply to UBS AM - they are currently hugely expanding in the Asian market right now.
.
It's an Associated Director position at UBS AM. Applied in December, Interviewed last week, 2.5 hours with three people one by one (Head, line manager, colleague). More like a Middle office role. No luck.

I don't see any opening related to Asian market at UBS AM right now. But I do see offering at UBS WM required an Asian language speaking, but it's a "Client Advisor APAC" role, not FO, so I don't apply.
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Old 01.02.2018, 05:58
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Re: how DIFFICULT to land a job in Finance (Front office)

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It's an Associated Director position at UBS AM. Applied in December, Interviewed last week, 2.5 hours with three people one by one (Head, line manager, colleague). More like a Middle office role. No luck.

I don't see any opening related to Asian market at UBS AM right now. But I do see offering at UBS WM required an Asian language speaking, but it's a "Client Advisor APAC" role, not FO, so I don't apply.
I loved your reply about the stable job, helping us former generations so nicely to understand the different approach to risk that younger generations have. Kudos to you.

Question:
What makes in your view an asset manager role a more appealing step, career wise, than a wealth manager role? Aren t they both front office roles, at least with respect to the customer contact? I still fail to see what is the career path you are chasing.
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