Do you want to work in finance? What about on Wall Street? While many students know about job opportunities, such as becoming an accountant or an investment banker, universities rarely touch upon wealth management and credit analysts. This is partially due to the fact that this is a relatively new field. But that also means it’s rapidly changing and growing, making it worthwhile to specialize in.
Read on to find out how you can get a Credit Analyst position in Wealth Management:
For students interested in finance careers, custom credit is worth researching. Not only is the paycheck much larger than for other types of banking, but it’s exciting.
You could work with famous athletes, musicians or CEOs. The job requires risk, experimentation and innovative thinking. In-depth analysis and teamwork are required for every deal, and deals can take years to negotiate and assemble. All of which you’ll find more mentally stimulating than offering the same pre-made menu.
If someone owns a successful company and wants to buy back company shares for millions of dollars, who can they ask for money? Believe it or not, regardless of how safe the loan is, most banks will not lend in these situations. The bank two blocks from their house would likely reject a client like Jeff Bezos solely on the collateral he is proposing, especially if that asset would need to be sold for the bank to make back their money if the loan failed.
The formal pre-requirements for custom credit are surprisingly lenient.
Since there are few college programs for Custom Credit or wealth management, students’ majors don’t matter as much. Now, the applicant should have the ability to demonstrate an understanding of finance. You can do this by using tests like the SIE, CFA, CFP and CPA. In addition, the student should have a logically applicable major, such as math, business or finance. But clubs are another way of showing readiness, and while most schools don’t have related clubs, this opens the opportunity to find one. An example would include an investment club.
“When university students are first applying, and you’re interviewing them, your expectation is not for them to know what custom lending is or to be able to even do a case study. Because there’s no way that they would have seen something like this before unless perhaps they did an internship or something like that,” Director of Private Bank Lending for Stifel Bank and Trust Mauricio Osorio said. “So, you’re not necessarily looking for specific knowledge on the topic. I think the most important thing is just energy. You get a good sense of the person’s energy and their ability to learn things quickly.”
That said, there are several ways to stand out as a candidate. Researching your interviewer before the interview is one such way. While they don’t expect you to understand this field or the nuances going in, having this knowledge through research will likely impress them. Furthermore, reaching out to successful alumni in similar fields can be a great means of researching, if not networking. Given the newness of this field, there aren’t many online resources. But that doesn’t mean there are no resources. You have teachers, textbooks and scholarly articles to cross-reference.
“It’s not the most fun…to sit down and do two or three, maybe even four hours’ worth of research in the library or on Google to figure out ‘what is regulation?’… but being able to speak to that during a conversation, you’ll find goes a long way,” Credit Analyst with Stifel Bank and Trust Zachary Kramer said.
However, Kramer also noted the importance of showcasing your charisma. Specifically, he advised showing that you’re a team player. A humble ego and positive attitude will help you advance both on and off the field. Again and again, my sources made it clear to me that an integral part of this job is the ability to socialize— a lot. Unlike some other finance-related careers, it seems impossible to do this job well without working with your teammates. Furthermore, putting yourself out there helps build your network.
“As a finance major in the heart of the financial district in New York City, I knew I had to take advantage of the many internship opportunities that Pace helps their students obtain through various job boards, websites and networking events. I proactively reached out to individuals on LinkedIn and in the Pace network in order to get these internships,” Senior Credit Analyst for Stifel Bank & Trust Andrew Bowers said.
The ability to network proved a make-or-break skill. While networking can sound intimidating, from my perspective, it’s the fun part. Networking really just means being charismatic and putting yourself out there, making friendships and connecting with colleagues. This job no doubt requires more communication skills than most finance careers. Not only are you required to have the ability to assemble a compelling deal, but you need to be able to explain it.
Building a network requires three steps.
The first, reaching out to professionals in your desired field and asking them for fifteen minutes of their time to talk. Never outright ask for a job, just advice or a conversation. The second is to establish a relationship. If they ask you to listen to a podcast or read an article, do it. Email them with your thoughts. Third, maintain the relationship. Regardless of if you get what you want from this person in the short term, they will be a valuable connection long term.
“You have to work at it and every time you go to a city, you have to call those people and be like ‘Hey, can you go grab a coffee?’ And they’ll say, ‘hey, yeah, when are you gonna be here?’ Like, no, I am here. Let’s grab coffee. And then they do. Same thing happens in New York…San Diego… San Francisco… Chicago… Dallas… but you really have to work on it and you have to stay organized with it,” Managing Director and Head of Commercial Real Estate Lending for Stifel Bank & Trust Jeff Rombach said.
Networking often requires listening more than talking, as people, especially higher-ups, will often assume you’re intelligent until you prove otherwise. On that note, it was mentioned to me only to ask essential questions, as most industry experts can tell when you’re just talking to talk. While asking questions may seem like a good way to seem engaged, if your question is easily answered, your potential employer may assume you’re not qualified. For this reason, if you can figure it out using resources already available, that is the better course of action. An anecdote was anonymously shared with me detailing a Columbia graduate interning at Goldman Sachs who asked his boss for help with the printer. While this may not seem like a big deal, it demonstrates a lack of problem-solving skills, and fixing a printer is presumably not an acceptable use of your boss’s time.
Even though you don’t necessarily need a finance background, hard work and research pays off.
This brings me to another frequently suggested point in this field— availability. Rombach explained that he would be the first to volunteer for every assignment, the first at the office, and the first to work overtime. This was partially because he felt passionate about the work. He looks for similar availability and passion from potential candidates.
“You need folks who are resilient, but also people who are intellectually curious. People who are intellectually curious they’re willing to learn new things; they ask a lot of questions. They think about issues because those people are lifelong learners. So, they’ll do a job well, but they’ll go on to do other jobs well and learn more skills and grow accordingly,” Managing Director and Market Head – New York and West Coast for Deutsche Bank Anthony Valvo said.
Like most careers, a love of learning will always benefit you. But especially in custom credit, you don’t know what niche knowledge you could need. Experience in real estate means an intimate understanding of how real estate agents may try to mislead banks. A love of art history means that if your client wants to purchase a multi-million-dollar work of art, you are better able to assess its worth. Being raised a farmer means that you could more easily identify a profitable farm from an unprofitable one. Overwhelmingly, interviewees were not born into their networks, or inherited other advantages, in part due to the newness of the field. Anybody with passion and drive can find themselves working on Wall Street.