In one of my earlier articles, I had explained to you readers, the importance of having a good education qualification and additional certifications when it comes to getting a good financial analyst job.
But believe me when I say that the story does not end there.
It’s just the beginning.
Your learning does not stop at a professional qualification or a degree or even by acquiring additional professional certifications.
Believe me when I say that life is all about continuous learning, at every level in your professional career. It is important that this learning never stops.
According to me there are two things which every youngster aiming for that dream financial job should always keep in mind:
- Doing internship programs with reputed financial organizations and
- Giving maximum importance to on the job training.
If you ask me, these two things are like the most important things that every candidate should value the most.
In fact many times there are also a lot of youngsters who come to me who are not able to attend the top tier colleges or get high percentages or grades in their educational degrees.
These youngsters, when they are looking for their dream job within financial institutes, fail to get those most coveted jobs, as there are many candidates who have done their schooling from more reputed schools or have achieved better or higher percentiles than them.
Obviously the hiring companies will prefer those candidates who have degrees from reputed colleges and have high percentages.
So what does a candidate like this do?
Think and tell me...
Here's the answer - Try to get an internship program with a reputed financial company first!
Importance of internship program when it comes to a financial analyst job
So it makes a lot of sense for young candidates to first try for an internship program in a reputed financial organization, before gunning for their dream jobs.
Which organizations to target for an internship program?
Many times fresh graduates are confused as to which organizations to choose when going for their internship programs.
Do you go for the top organizations and take your chances or aim for the smaller companies where getting internship programs are comparatively easier?
This is a very common confusion point for most entry level candidates.
But don’t worry it is not that big a problem.
I believe that you should decide upon the type of organization where you are going to try to get an internship based on your education qualifications and from where you got those qualifications.
It’s really no use going into a war without proper ammunition.
Similarly, it’s no use targeting top level companies if you haven’t got a fancy degree from a fancy or a top level college or university.
If you do not have those fancy degrees, not all is lost.
Try to get internships with smaller firms to start with.
You can learn the tricks of the trade quicker in smaller firms and then approach larger firms with your experience.
But on the other hand if you already have that fancy degree from a reputed university, you should always aim high and try to get an internship program with a big and popular organization which helps you get a jump-start to your career.
An internship from a reputed organization on your resume is like words in gold.
Recruiters will always give strong weightage to internship programs from reputed organizations.
How to get an internship program?
The easiest way to get anything is to ask for it!
Many times we just don’t do certain things thinking that it might not happen.
But believe me perseverance definitely will bear you fruit one day.
Don’t be afraid to approach any organization for an internship.
First decide which organizations you want to approach for an internship programs.
Study those organizations in detail. Understand what you will have to do there if you actually end up getting into an internship program in that organization.
Once you are clear about these things, first create a good resume wherein you detail all your educational details along with your strengths and career goals.
You can look at another article that I have written on ‘How to make your CV standout when approaching a financial analyst job’ which will help you write real good and effective resumes.
Getting an internship is not only about an effective resume but also about giving a good interview.
Make sure you are properly prepared for the interview and know your domain knowledge very well.
You will get only one chance to crack the interview. So give it your best.
What to do during your internship program?
Ok! So now you have got that most coveted internship program.
Now what do you do after that?
What are the things that you should remember to do during your internship program?
The most important thing that you have to remember is that your internship program is not going to be more than two or three months at the most.
So you have to make sure that you have to make the most of the time.
Remember to keep your eyes and ears open all the time.
Observe and listen all the time.
Absorb as much as you can.
Make sure that you understand all the instructions given to you and follow then perfectly.
Don't be scared to ask if you do not understand anything.
Remember you are there to learn, so don’t be scared to ask questions.
Make sure you keep notes of all the important points and learning every day.
Most important thing is to look out for a mentor who can be your guide throughout your internship program.
Try to make the most of your time with your mentor and learn everything possible from him or her. Do not say 'No' to any work. There is a learning in everything that will be told to do there.
Try to make as many connections with in the organization as possible as they will be useful to you throughout your career.
Remember to use your internship program as a launchpad to gel within the organization and become an integral part of the organization.
A stipend is a form of salary, which is typically paid for an internship program or apprenticeship which usually a beginner undertakes.
It is different from a salary or a wage as it does not essentially signify payment for work done,but it signifies a payment that allows somebody to be exempted partially or entirely from a waged or salaried job in order to assume a role that is usually unpaid or voluntary, or which cannot be calculated in terms of a task.
Stipends are typically lower than a permanent salary or wage for similar work.
Never think of stipend when you plan to go in for an internship program.
Stipend will always be nominal.
It should not be your preference criteria when you look out for an internship program.
The most important thing that you as an entry level intern should concentrate on is quality of work that you get to do there.
Remember never follow money in your career, let money follow you.
And believe me if you are successful, money will always follow you, you don’t need to run behind it.
Follow this theory like a gospel at least at the start of your career and believe me you will soon enjoy the fruits of your hard work.
Generally, stipends at internship programs are quite less.
In smaller firms, such as brokerage houses or equity research firms, especially if the candidate is from a lower rung school or university, he or she could get a stipend of anywhere from rupees two thousand to rupees ten thousand.
But at the same time in larger firms or firms such as large private equity firms or investment banking organizations, if the candidate is from a top rung school or university, he or she could easily get up to rupees fifty thousand or even up to rupees one lakh!
Below I have given a grid which will help you understand the range of stipend that various candidates can get in different types of organizations based on their education background.
Again this is quite indicative and may vary from organization to organization and from country to country.
But typically private equity firms and investment banking corporations tend to hire only candidates from top ranking schools and are happy to pay handsome stipends.
But again to reiterate, please do not make stipend your priority.
I know so many successful professionals today (including me) who had accepted internships with zero stipends!
They used the internship programs to learn and absorb and used these learning in their career very successfully.
Today these people are very successful in their lives!
Importance of ‘on the job training’ when it comes to a financial analyst job
If you ask me, ‘on the job training’ is one of the most important elements in a person’s career.
Believe me this is even more important than your formal education.
During your graduation, you will read a lot of books and attend a lot of lectures.
But you will never get real time experience of working in a professional corporate environment.
This is what you will get from ‘on the job training’.
What exactly is ‘on the job’ training?
On the job training means the training that one gets at the place of work, while the employee is actually doing the job.
It is teaching the skills and competencies required to perform a specific job within the work environment.
While occasionally it could be provided by an external trainer, most of the times, it will be provided to you by another employee who performs the work competently.
Why ‘on the job’ training is very important?
As much as your educational qualification is important, on the job training plays an even more important role in enabling you to perform the tasks efficiently when you are already hired and working.
As a new analyst you will face many challenges, you will have to develop financial tools, and interact with clients.
On-the-job training will enable you to strengthen your foundation of practical application of financial theories.
This will also broaden your understanding of markets and financial products and enhance your technical skills.
Effective on-the-job training will enable you to broaden your conceptual knowledge, and fortify your practice and applications.
What to remember to do during your ‘on the job’ training?
Most important thing that you have to remember is to keep your eyes and ears open all the time.
Absorb as much as you can.
Remember this is the time to learn.
You are allowed to make mistakes during this time, but remember not to repeat the mistakes.
Learn from them.
This will definitely take you a long way in your career.
Again I would like to impress on the concept of a mentor.
Seek a mentor and try to learn as much as you can from him or her.
Believe me they will be able to teach you many more practical things that probably you didn’t learn in your degree program.
Final words . . .
If you do well in your internship program, believe me there are more than hundred percent chances of you getting an offer in that company.
The recruiters have seen you and know what exactly they can expect from you. So if you have done a good job in your internship program they will definitely prefer to hire you than an unknown person.
I hope I have been able to explain the importance of getting a good 'internship program' and 'on the job training' when it comes to getting that dream financial analyst job.
Just to reiterate, learning does not stop any time in life.
Always keep an open mind to learning throughout your career.
Do let me know if you have any comments or haven’t understood any segment.
I’ll be happy to help.
All the best in life and in your careers!