Work in Big Four or Multinational Banks? Part 2 – Differences in Work Content, Coworker Relationships & Evaluation of Work Performance

Last week we have already discussed about ¨Work in Big Four or Multinational Banks? Part 1 – Differences in How Busy, Staff Composition and Pay¨. Today we will give you more comparasion of working in both kinds of firms.

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  • Work Content
  • Overview

Work in Audit Department (Big Four) is mainly about verification, included whether the number is correct, confirming with the third arty of whether the accounting information is true or not, etc.  You could learn a very systematic method to deal with the problem.

Work in Tax Department (Big Four) is mainly to declare the tax of clients, offer bookkeeping service, build up branches of clients, and offer consulting services related to tax and finance. The associate in any Big Four probably have the chance to do some preparation, but it comes to seniors, they have more complex cases and offer customized tax planning based on different situation of clients, which includes many profession skills of tax administration, e.g. transfer-pricing, merging, and liquidating, etc.

Work in multinational banks is to assess the information of clients and decide whether and how many loan to offer. Also, the work is also included some operating services according to clients´ requirement, like drawings, rollovers, prepayment, etc.

  • Division Inside Departments

In Big Four you have to be a multi-task talent because the division is not specific. The division in audit depends on the client. Sometimes 1-2 people could handle one small client while to handle the big client it is required some people only handle receivable, for example.

Generally you need to know everything in tax department. However, the situation is different in each agency. PwC has different divisions for corporate tax and personal tax, so sometimes there are 3 associates or seniors for one client. KPMG has a special division for accounting related business. There is no division in Deloitte no matter in audit or tax department and normally there is only one person from each work level for one client, which the editor thinks it better for personal development in career.

In multinational banks the division is quite specific and every team has its own responsibility. There are four main divisions

  1. Loan department:  consists of customer managers, who screen the customer and decide how much loan to offer based on their analysis of the financial performance of company clients.
  2. Operation department:  Drawings, Refunds, Collections, etc.
  3. Treasury department: allocate capital funds of the bank, interbank lending, etc.
  4. Foreign exchange department: Exchange foreign currencies for clients
  • Requirement of Accuracy

Tax department requires accuracy in every detail of work because they have to be responsible for clients and the tax bureau, who are both very sensitive in every penny. Therefore work in tax department is a common to double-check or triple check even though the work has been done accurately.

The requirement of accuracy in audit department depends on the client.

Multinational banks normally control the accuracy in big numbers especially in credit analysis and the interest. However, customer has a stronger attachment to banks than to agencies; therefore, work in banks has more flexible space, although accuracy is a basic requirement.

  • Coworker Relationships

Due to every year there is recruitment and promotion every year in Big Four, associates from the same year have a better relationship, in which people are like classmates. In the senior level, co-workers become more competitive with each other because of a more complex composition (senior from associates, hoppers, oversea returnees, etc.)

In multinational banks peer relationship is not as strong as the one in agency because the recruitment of banks is random. However, there is less pressure for promotion in the higher level position so that the competitiveness is less fierce.

  • Evaluation of Work Performance

Evaluation of work performance is directly related to the salary and promotion so that it is very important.

In audit department the evaluation is made by the senior or manager right after every project for different clients and at the year-end there is a comprehensive evaluation based on your performance in all the projects.

In tax department, direct supervisors (e.g. senior to asociate) will have a meeting together and give the evaluation.

In Big Four the evaluation could be more objective because it depends not only one person. However, in multinational banks, due to a specific work division, only one direct supervising manager would give the evaluation.

(To be Continued…)

 

Edited by Simeng Zhang

 

The GrowinFinance.com Team

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¨Growinfinance.com is an international financial job site specializing in bringing together top companies, business schools and candidates to one networking platform. More than 1,000 recruiters, banks and financial institutions have advertised their vacancies on our job board. We are keen to provide the best job opportunities and career advice for all the professionals working in banking and financial markets.¨  

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Work in Big Four or Multinational Banks? Part 1 – Differences in How Busy, Staff Composition and Pay

If you work in multinational banks, have you ever wondered whether it would be better to work in Big Four? How will the work life look like there? Follow the article to compare the differences in professional life in these two kinds of firms.

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  • How Busy

As the entire world known, Big Four is a common to be busy, or even crazily busy, while in the multinational banks, though we definitely cannot say it relax the workload is much lighter and regular.

  • Big Four

Audit Department has peak-time and off-time with regard to being busy. During the peak-time, it is common to work until 2 a.m. or 3a.m. every day, and probably you have to sacrifice weekends too. Also, you have to flexible with travel very frequently without staying home for a single day (like the character George Clooney played in ¨Up in the Air¨) during the busiest time because you would fly directly from one city / country to the other directly. But during the off-time is very relax, sometime if you dare you could barely go to work or just sit tight and reading your favorite book in the office. Therefore, the good thing of audit department is that you could earn more money and vocation during the peak-time while relax well or improve yourself by preparing for a certificate during the off-time. However, Tax Department is busy regularly, and it is still very common to work until 11p.m. or 12 p.m.

Generally spoken, it is your destiny to be busy when working in audit firms like Big Four. But it still depends on your choice. Normally associate is the hardest worker in the whole firm because all managers and seniors can give him / her extra work. That is why in the interview of Big Four they will always ask you ¨what are you going to do if the manager and senior ask for you to do something at the same time¨! In the interview you could probably give a prioritized answer, however, in the real life, you would probably weight again all the options if you would like to become top performer and get the top pay (although the top pay does not depends on your performance rather than how busy you are).

  •  Multinational Banks

The working time is more or less 8 hours every day, which is quite normal as any other professions. You can work elegantly and quite relaxingly, compared with the fighting-like work in Big Four.

  • Staff Composition
  • Sex Ratio

Big Four and Multinational Banks are almost the same in this part, the ratio of male to female is 1:3 or 1:4. And of course, there are more male employees when it comes to higher positions. PwC has more male employees compared with the other three.

  • Age

Big Four has relatively younger staff because every year you could be given a promotion to a higher position because even managers or partners are generally around 35 years old.

Multinational Banks have a wider range of age among the staff because on one hand banks prefer the employees could stay longer and on the other employees would not prefer to leave because of the work environment with lower pressure.

  • Position

Big four normally have 4 positions: from low to high are associate, senior, manager, and partner. In Deloitte there is a ¨consultant¨ between associate and senior. And in KPMG, after 3 years as associate you could become assistant manager (like senior), then 2 or 3 years more you could be promoted to manager.  It is worth mentioned that among managers there are still differences depending on the performance and working experience, however, there is not authorized relationship between managers.

In Multinational Banks, the organization is quite hierarchic, consisting generally of staff and executives. There are different levels among staff and normally there is low possibility to have a cross-level promotion. Executives have right to authorize and make decision and there are directly jurisdiction between each other.

  • Diversity

Big Four and Multinational Banks are quite similar in this aspect. However the senior level positions have more people from the regional head quarter. Deloitte, however, has more local staff because its localization strategy.

  • Pay

Associates in Big Four and normal staff in multinational banks have similar salaries. However, there is a big difference in the higher position in both organizations.

  • Basic salary

In Big Four getting a raise is quite regular. Every year there will be a rising by from 10% to 50% (sometimes 200%), especially when you get a promotion.  However, in multinational banks the rising rate is a few percent because the promotion is less frequent.

  • Overtime Payment

Audit department of Big Four has more opportunities to over-time payment while tax department has less extra income. The overtime payment does not depend on how many extra hours you have worked, and it depends more on the client, the service fee gaining from the client, and the preference of your manager (managers decide whether to encourage the team works in overtime). In Multinational Banks, the payment usually depends on extra hours, for example, if the off time normally is 6:30pm but you have to work till 7:00pm, there will be an overtime payment in the multinational banks while in Big Four it could be barely counted a overtime.

It is worth mentioned that managers in both firms have no overtime payment.

  • Bonus

Only manager and partner in Big Four have bonus (partners have also dividends), which depends on performance.

Bonus works differently in multinational banks, for example HSBC have no while HSB yes.

  • Travel Allowance

Travel allowance is a very important income for worker from audit department in Big Four. Normally it paid by days with accommodation in 5-star hotels.

(To be continued… Work in Big Four or Multinational Banks? Part 2 – Differences in Work Content, Coworker Relationships & Evaluation of Work Performance)

Edited by Simeng Zhang

The GrowinFinance.com Team

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¨Growinfinance.com is an international financial job site specializing in bringing together top companies, business schools and candidates to one networking platform. More than 1,000 recruiters, banks and financial institutions have advertised their vacancies on our job board. We are keen to provide the best job opportunities and career advice for all the professionals working in banking and financial markets.¨

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How can I pass First Round Interview of Deloitte?

The article is based on a rencent interview with Mia Wang, a graduate student from University of Melbourne. She has participanted in the graduate program of Deloitte of 2012.

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  • Online Application

I got the information of Deloitte Graduate Program from my university. During the online process, besides an outstanding CV and cover letter I paid more attention to the following parts; email address, ¨behavior¨ questions, and online test.

1. Email address

An appropriate email address should be looked as givenname.surname@hotmail.com, which gives the HR a professional impression at the first place.

2. ¨Behavior¨ Questions (More details please check How to Nail the Interview of Big Four and Investment Banks – Part 1)

One of the typical questions I have seen is ¨what is your goal in the next 3 years¨, required 100 words. Given my experience, the answer should be neat and clear. In this case the required length is 100 words but I think it should be no more than 80.

    What is your goal in the next 3 years?

    ¨My goal is to become a qualified public or charted accountant equipped with in-depth knowledge about the profession and the needs of clients in 3 years’ time. It is because by becoming a qualified accountant not only shows my eagerness and ambition to excel further in my accounting career, but my accounting skills will also be polished as well as gaining the required professional experience to go further. (Word count: 68)¨

3.Online Test

The test is made of 4 parts.

  • Verbal: fast reading of articles with more than 5 lines, answer ¨true, Don´t know, False¨, and the content is widely covered, from anthropology to finance.
  • Numerical: for example, you could see a chart with various kinds of information and then you need to calculate very quickly to get the answer.
  • Induction: you will see 4 pictures, find out the logic of changing behind, and then choose what the l 5th picture will look like
  • Personality: the question would be ¨you will help other colleagues even when you know it means it will stay late for work, a: strongly agree, b: agree, c: neutral, d. disagree, e: strongly disagree¨. To be mentioned, Big Four value a lot ¨being a team player¨, so that I tried my best to strongly agree the options related to teamwork ability.
  • 1-hour greeting

I was invited to the DTT head quarter office with another 100 students. Around us there were some people from various departments in DDT. After a warm-welcome speech of HR manager, you could have around one hour to talk with people from the division you are interested.

Just for your information, this could be a part of interview, and therefore, try to impress.

For example, I am interested in people from audit and financial service and you could easily find them through the name card on the suit or through HR. Remember, our purpose is to impress, so it would be wiser to join a conversation with only 2-3 people. I normally start with ¨would you mind if I join in?¨, which show the politeness and catch the attention to the DTT people. After a firm handshake, I begin to introduce myself; where I am from; which university and major I have studied in. And then I could ask the questions I prepared before, like ¨what are your hours like¨, ¨how long have you been with DTT¨, ¨what is the most challenge part of his work¨. Just one thing, no questions related to personal life and payment should be asked in that situation.

  • Group Activity

This is the most important part of the whole interview. Candidates will be organized as a group of 6. Besides, there are 2 group leaders from HR and a specific division will supervise in each group.

In my case there were around 10 groups participating at the same time, which makes barely can breathe easily under such a pressure.

When I came to my table, everyone started to introduce himself / herself, but the leader was really nice. He occasionally asked me some questions like ¨what kind of sport do you like?¨ in order to help me relax a bit.

The reading material I got was really long with 40 pages in all while you have only 15 minutes to finish. The content was about environmental protection and carbon emission, which aimed at developing a campaign for DTT charitable fund.

It is understandable you cannot follow up every detail in the reading but at least, I tried my best to focus on the following points; what is the objective, which could be potential solutions, what is the budget, the match between each potential solution and our objective, supported data, and questions you would like to ask.

And then it came to the 15-minute free discussion inside the group. I have taken some training in my school about the group interview. So generally during this time, the HR would evaluate the following aspects of candidates; ability of expression, analysis, conclusion, leadership, teamwork, time management, etc.

When the discussion started, we all had no clue and the first two candidates were so nervous that they just made a summary of the situation. I was nervous but I tried to remind all the team players our objective, potential solutions, my opinions to strength and weakness of each solutions, supported data with logic reasons and something we should pay attention to. I felt more relieved when seeing the group leader nodded his head. Also, when the time almost ran out, I kindly reminded the group about the time we still had and suggested that we make the conclusion of our discussion. Again the group leader was nodding with a gentle smile.

After this, the leader suddenly brought us a pile of papers and asked us to draw for our campaign. Mine finally came up with the campaign with Marathon. I put the effort to explain the wide  influence of Marathon, the reasonable budget if we could use television to broadcast, and the highly match of marathon and our objective because marathon is the spirit of perseverance, which could express our pride to make effort to encourage environmental protection.

After the draw, the leader gave everyone a paper for writing a professional memo to the board of DTT. The purpose I supposed was to test the written expression. Time: 20 min, Words: 200.

  • Face to Face Interview

It was almost the ending of the whole first round.

I got three classic questions:

1. How do you think you went in the group activity?

I was frankly telling the HR I had done great although I was really nervous. But I felt really good because my outstanding performance in the marathon part. However, if I have more time to prepare I could have done better. I would really have appreciated if I could get more familiar with the topic and have more discussion with other group members. (The HR was smiling and very encourage, which made me more confident and made me like DTT more.)

2. What do you think you did the best? And which part you found you could get it improved?

The HR was laughing right after asking this question because I had already answered in the previous question and she explained that was a formality that they had to follow. I felt more relaxed for her humor and I explained again all the points with more details.

3. Do you have any questions for us?

I have already prepared some questions ahead, like ¨what is the process like from here on?¨ and ¨which signal do you like the best out of the 7 DTT signals¨. I would suggest in this question, it would be better to show your gratitude to the interview opportunity, the desire for working in DTT, and the preference of DTT culture.

At the end of interview, I kept smiling while shaking hands with HR and asked for a business card from the HR. Normally the selected candidate for the second-round would receive a call from DTT in a very short time. I got their call and email confirm right in the evening after the first-round.

(For more details about how to prepare this question, please check Do you have any questions for me? Part 1.  & Do you have any questions for me? Part 2 )

 

Edited by Simeng Zhang

 

The GrowinFinance.com Team

Email Us

 

¨Growinfinance.com is an international financial job site specializing in bringing together top companies, business schools and candidates to one networking platform. More than 1,000 recruiters, banks and financial institutions have advertised their vacancies on our job board. We are keen to provide the best job opportunities and career advice for all the professionals working in banking and financial markets.¨  

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How to Tell Your “Story” in Investment Banking Interviews in 5 Simple Steps

So we’ve talked a lot about your “story” in interviews, how important it is, and the mistakes you could make that will cost you an offer.

But now I’m going to go beyond that and actually give you a blueprint that will let you tell your “story” effectively and win offers no matter what level you’re at.

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  • Why Does This Matter So Much?

Three reasons:

  1.     Your story sets the tone for the entire interview, and a poor first impression is impossible to overcome.
  2.     Interviewers often make offer / no offer decisions subconsciously within the first 2-3 minutes, based 100% on your story.
  3.     It’s easier to fix your “story” than to “fix” your lack of finance/accounting knowledge. We’re talking hours vs. weeks.
  • What Is This “Story” Business?

It’s your answer to the “Walk me through your resume / CV” or the “Tell me about yourself” question that you get at the beginning of every interview.

Sometimes it’s phrased differently and sometimes it’s not always the first thing they ask, but the idea is always the same:

  • Who are you and why are you here?
  • So How Do You Tell Your “Story”?

You structure it around these 5 points:

  1.     The “Beginning”
  2.     Your Finance “Spark”
  3.     Your Growing Interest
  4.     Why You’re Here Today
  5.     Your Future
  • The “Beginning”

You want to start your story… at the beginning! Sorry, this is not a Quentin Tarantino film and even if Pulp Fiction is your favorite movie you still can’t jump around chronologically.

There are 3 good places to start your story:

  1.     Where You’re From / Where You Grew Up
  2.     Where You Went to University
  3.     Where You Went to Business School

#1 is good if you’re still an undergraduate, #2 is better for the MBA level or beyond, and #3 is better if you’re way beyond that (which should be almost no one reading this, but hey, just to be complete…).

Don’t dwell on this part if it’s not particularly interesting or relevant – but you do need to mention it because every story needs a beginning.

  • Your Finance “Spark”

Depending on when you got interested in finance, this one might be combined with your “Beginning” – e.g. if you started day trading when you were 12, then you would combine them.

Otherwise, make this a separate point and be as specific as possible.

Ideas for finance “sparks”:

  •     Information Sessions / Case Competitions / Activities / Clubs
  •     Specific People You Met Through Networking / Classes / Activities
  •     Any Investing / Trading of Your Own You’ve Done
  •     Family Businesses / Learning About It From Other Family Members
  •     Summer / Other Special Programs

Specificity is key.

I was in an investing competition and had fun.

Eh.

I was in this investing competition, did some in-depth research on the pharmaceutical industry and recommended investing in Pfizer – their stock later rose by 50% and our team won 1st place.

Ok, I like the sound of this.

If you don’t have a specific event, person, or activity it’s not the end of the world – but look through your resume and figure out what you can spin into sounding like the real reason you got interested.

  • Your Growing Interest

Here’s where you explain how each of your internships, full-time jobs, or activities led you in the direction of investment banking.

You need to logically connect each one and go in chronological order to avoid “story fail.”

Two important points here:

  1.     With each experience, you want to mention something that you liked and something that could use improvement.
  2.     If you have a complicated history of career changes, resist the urge to go into detail on everything – keep it to 2-3 “hops” at the most.

So let’s say you’re a university student who’s looking for an investment banking summer internship right now.

You started out working on-campus, then you worked in marketing at a local company, and this past summer you did private wealth management at a bulge bracket bank.

You might say something like this:

  1.     “I started out with just the usual on-campus work, which I did well at, but I wanted to do something more relevant to my major and get some experience in the real world…”
  2.     “So I went to [Name of Local Company] and did marketing there for the summer. I did well, liked the business aspect, and helped improve their online marketing campaigns by 20% over 2 months but I also wanted to do something that was more quantitative and closer to finance…”
  3.     “So the next summer I did private wealth management at [Bank Name] and analyzed clients’ portfolios and made investment recommendations. I enjoyed the investing aspect and the analysis a lot more – but I wanted to work with clients on a larger scale…”

And then you would lead directly into why you’re here today (see the next point).

This is just a sketch of what you might say – since your story should be 2-3 minutes long, you will have to go into more detail on each point or you’ll run out of stuff to say.

  • Why You’re Here Today

Luckily you don’t have to be a philosopher to tell this part of your story – you just need to be very explicit with what you say.

Yes – you should actually say, “I’m here interviewing today because…” and spell it out in clear terms.

An interview is not the time for subtlety or subterfuge. It’s time to sell yourself with everything you’ve got.

You need to answer 2 questions with this one:

  1.     Why this bank / group specifically?
  2.     Why now?

If you’re a student, #2 is easy: you need an internship / full-time job. If you’re already working full-time, talk about how you’ve achieved a lot but feel you’ve reached your limits and that your talents would be better put to use in banking.

#1 is easy to answer if you have a background that matches the group you’re interviewing with (e.g. tech/healthcare background going to those respective groups): you want to combine your expertise with finance.

If you’re coming in with more of a finance background, talk about the advantages that this bank / group presents over other places you’ve worked at – whether that’s the type of companies you work with, the culture, the people, the added responsibility, or anything else.

  • Your Future

This one is closely linked to the previous point about Why You’re Here Today, but you need to add something at the end that shows:

Your Background + Investment Banking = Future Success

Popular “future plans” include being an investor or advisor to companies in a particular industry or region, or working with a certain team at a bank.

Two points:

  1.     If you’re interviewing for Analyst-level positions, you don’t need to have concrete plans – just some idea of what you want to do.
  2.     At the Associate level you need to show more commitment and say you’re here for the long-term because they don’t want people to jump ship to PE after a year.

So What Do You Do Now That You Know How to Tell Your “Story”?

Go through your resume and all your previous experience and figure out what you’re going to say for each of these 5 points:

  1.    The “Beginning” – Where You’re From? University? Business School?
  2.     Your Finance “Spark” – Person? Event? Club? Program?
  3.     Your Growing Interest – Which 2-3 Jobs/Internships/Activities Will You Mention?
  4.     Why You’re Here Today – Why This Bank, and Why Now?
  5.     Your Future – What Do You Want to Be When You Grow Up?

Make a quick 5 bullet point outline, then practice your story with a friend or anyone you know in the industry.

Aim for 2-3 minutes – 2 minutes if you speak quickly (like I do in all my videos) or 3 minutes if you speak more slowly.

Whatever you do, do not memorize it word-for-word or try to script out everything.

And then go forth, conquer your interviews, and land investment banking offers.

(More Tips for Interviews of Investment Banks, please check How to Nail the Interview of Big Four and Investment Banks – Part 2)

 

By Brian DeChesare

From http://www.mergersandinquisitions.com/how-to-tell-your-story-investment-banking-interviews/

The GrowinFinance.com Team

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¨Growinfinance.com is an international financial job site specializing in bringing together top companies, business schools and candidates to one networking platform. More than 1,000 recruiters, banks and financial institutions have advertised their vacancies on our job board. We are keen to provide the best job opportunities and career advice for all the professionals working in banking and financial markets.¨  

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How to Nail the Interview of Big Four and Investment Banks – Part 2

Investment Banks

Investment banks have a really different style of interview compared with Big Four though it is really structured. However, you would barely hear the classic sentence of ¨behavior¨ questions in ¨Big Four¨ (Interview Tips for Big Four) and only some of investment banks would ask specially questions about ¨teamwork¨.

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  • Tell Me About Yourself – Broadcast Yourself with Story

It is still a very classic introduction in every kind of interviews but a very impressive beginning could strongly influenced the interviewers in investment banks because for them the following questions in the interview are only used to endorse your story.

The story should be well organized by the following parts;

  1. The ¨beginning¨ – Where are you from? University? Business School?
  2. Your Finance ¨Spark¨ – Person? Event? Club? Program?
  3. Your Growing Interest – Which 2-3 jobs / Interships / Activities Will You Mention?
  4. Why You are Here Today – Why This Bank, and Why Now?
  5. Your Future – What do you want to be when you grow up?

(More information please check How to Tell Your “Story” in Investment Banking Interviews in 5 Simple Steps)

  • Technical Questions

It is quite easy to prepare this type of questions because normally candidates all use Vault Guide as the Bible. However, it is still really risky if you only focus on memorize all the information in one book. Sometimes, interviewers would change the questions so that it is very necessary to understand why and how comes out the answer of each question. For example, a very common question would be ¨What is the formula for enterprise value?¨ Everyone knows the simplest version of answer is ¨ net debt + equity value + minority interest + preferred stock¨ if he or she read the guide book before. However, interviewers would probably ask a follow-up question like ¨Why do you need to add minority interest in calculating EV? ¨ Besides technical questions will be related to your back ground.

  • ¨Fit¨ Questions – ¨Tell me about your experience with XXX Company¨

¨Fit¨ Questions are those related to your work experience and the purpose is to know what you have done in the professional life and evaluate your ability of expression. Due to the different experience of each person, it is very hard to conclude a universal format in this part. The most important preparation here is to get familiar with your CV. It would be better to review your CV and for each point make sure yourself have something to talk about for 3 minutes. Sometimes, it is very possible for interviewers to ask your experience from long time (3 or 4 years) ago, so that make sure you have a clear points for those experiences.

To Sum Up

No matter for Big Four or investment banks, there are something else you could do better in the interview.

  • Body Language

Control your nervous and be confident. You have to know, your breath, your voice, the way you put your hands and legs could all transmit information to the interviewer.  Keep smiling could be a good solution.

  • Why Our Firm

This question definitely will come up, especially in the 2nd interview. The best way is to talk with people inside and learn how the company is.

  • Questions for the Interviewer

It would be better to prepare ahead because it could be the ¨knock-out¨ of the whole interview.

(To know more about how to prepare these questions, please check the following links; Do you have any questions for me? Part 1, Do you have any questions for me? Part 2)

  • Thank-you Letter

Remember to ask for a business card after the whole interview and then send an thank-you letter to the interviewer to express your appreciation.

Edited by Simeng Zhang

The GrowinFinance.com Team

Email Us

¨Growinfinance.com is an international financial job site specializing in bringing together top companies, business schools and candidates to one networking platform. More than 1,000 recruiters, banks and financial institutions have advertised their vacancies on our job board. We are keen to provide the best job opportunities and career advice for all the professionals working in banking and financial markets. ¨

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How to Nail the Interview of Big Four and Investment Banks – Part 1

To many finance professionals, it is a dream to work in Big Four and Investment banks. Therefore, Interviews of them are the most difficult and the most important with regard to whether you have been successfully recruited. However, it is always better to prepare ahead and get a general picture of the whole process, in case of nervous shaking legs.

Big Four

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  • ¨Behavior¨ questions: ¨Tell Me a Time When You… ¨

The interview process is very structured in Big Four, and the most important ones are ¨behavior¨ questions, which always start like ¨Tell me a time when you …¨ (e.g. when you work in a team, when you demonstrate leadership, when you prioritize tasks, etc.)

It is very easy to answer ¨behavior¨ questions if you prepare ahead and the only thing you need to do is be a good story-teller. Normally it would be better to prepare 5-6 stories which could be used in various situations, like teamwork, leadership, when facing difficulties, etc.

Every story should not last more than 3 minutes in order to make them clear and simple. When preparing, candidates could develop your stories with ¨STAR¨ principles – situation, task, action, result – which is frequently used by HR. It could be helpful to write down the story and revise them several times, but never try to memorize every single word because no one would appreciate a robot speech. When in the real interview, it is important to emphasize and pause rather than talk fast because the interviewer would appreciate not only your professional skill but also your passion in career.

  • Prioritized Questions

Another highly frequent question is ¨prioritized questions¨, for example, what are you going to do if the partner, manager, and senior give you work at the same time. Big Four value more in teamwork spirit, so that it won´t be a good answer if, for example, you try to finish all of the tasks one by one yourself. The ideal answer should emphasize in ¨communication¨, for example, tell the senior ¨I am working on the task A right now, which is for a key account in 5 hours, and would it possible to help you tomorrow?¨ Because in the real work of 4 Bigs, it is impossible to handle all workload by yourself and therefore, and ensure your colleague understand exactly what you are doing and ask for help when necessary.

(To be Continued for interview tips of investment banks… )

Edited by Simeng Zhang

The GrowinFinance.com Team

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Goldman 14 Business Principles

Image1. Our clients’ interests always come first.

Our experience shows that if we serve our clients well, our own success will follow.

2. Our assets are our people, capital and reputation.

If any of these is ever diminished, the last is the most difficult to restore. We are dedicated to complying fully with the letter and spirit of the laws, rules and ethical principles that govern us. Our continued success depends upon unswerving adherence to this standard.

3. Our goal is to provide superior returns to our shareholders.

Profitability is critical to achieving superior returns, building our capital, and attracting and keeping our best people. Significant employee stock ownership aligns the interests of our employees and our shareholders.

4.  We take great pride in the professional quality of our work.

We have an uncompromising determination to achieve excellence in everything we undertake. Though we may be involved in a wide variety and heavy volume of activity, we would, if it came to a choice, rather be best than biggest.

5. We stress creativity and imagination in everything we do.

While recognizing that the old way may still be the best way, we constantly strive to find a better solution to a client’s problems. We pride ourselves on having pioneered many of the practices and techniques that have become standard in the industry.

6. We make an unusual effort to identify and recruit the very best person for every job.

Although our activities are measured in billions of dollars, we select our people one by one. In a service business, we know that without the best people, we cannot be the best firm.

7. We offer our people the opportunity to move ahead more rapidly than is possible at most other places.

Advancement depends on merit and we have yet to find the limits to the responsibility our best people are able to assume. For us to be successful, our men and women must reflect the diversity of the communities and cultures in which we operate. That means we must attract, retain and motivate people from many backgrounds and perspectives. Being diverse is not optional; it is what we must be.

8. We stress teamwork in everything we do.

While individual creativity is always encouraged, we have found that team effort often produces the best results. We have no room for those who put their personal interests ahead of the interests of the firm and its clients.

9. The dedication of our people to the firm and the intense effort they give their jobs are greater than one finds in most other organizations.

We think that this is an important part of our success.

10. We consider our size an asset that we try hard to preserve.

We want to be big enough to undertake the largest project that any of our clients could contemplate, yet small enough to maintain the loyalty, the intimacy and the esprit de corps that we all treasure and that contribute greatly to our success.

11. We constantly strive to anticipate the rapidly changing needs of our clients and to develop new services to meet those needs.

We know that the world of finance will not stand still and that complacency can lead to extinction.

12. We regularly receive confidential information as part of our normal client relationships.

To breach a confidence or to use confidential information improperly or carelessly would be unthinkable.

13. Our business is highly competitive, and we aggressively seek to expand our client relationships.

However, we must always be fair competitors and must never denigrate other firms.

14. Integrity and honesty are at the heart of our business.

We expect our people to maintain high ethical standards in everything they do, both in their work for the firm and in their personal lives.

Reference: http://www.goldmansachs.com/who-we-are/business-standards/business-principles/index.html

The GrowinFinance.com Team

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Monday Café: Has Fortune Made Chinese Entrepreneurs Happy?

China is one of the most powerful economies in the world and Chinese entrepreneurs have made undeniable contribution to its success. However, it is always a controversial topic whether the money brings happiness. On May 28th2013, Forbes China, collaborated with NYSE: NOAH, releases ¨2013 China Entrepreneur Happiness Report¨, which, for the first time, unveil to the whole world the deep-hearted insight of happiness among Chinese Entrepreneurs; what they value more in personal life, how they spend their spare time, how they manage their wealth, etc.

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In the report, it defines 10 factors to measure the happiness; fortune, career, health, family life, self-realization (e.g. charity), social network, life quality, governance environment, natural environment, and social security. The score is 1-11; 1-5 means ¨Not Happy¨, 6-7 ¨Quite Happy¨, 8-11 ¨Happy¨.

It is reported that generally Chinese entrepreneurs are a little bit more than ¨Quite Happy¨, with a score of ¨8¨ in most happiness factors. However, most of them are under significant pressures because in the research almost 40% entrepreneurs admit that they are ¨very stressed¨ and almost 2/3 entrepreneurs are ¨quite stressed¨. The pressure mainly comes from physiological stress instead of that from material life. Almost 50.2% entrepreneurs are suffering the pressure from career, while 40% are facing the pressure from society, especially an inevitable situation to balance among all the stakeholders (e.g. shareholders, employees, consumers, related government office, etc.) inside the community behind their business.

The 3 main triggers to the happiness of Chinese entrepreneurs are Family Life, Career, and Health. And it is showed that male entrepreneurs in China value more in family life than female ones (29.9% vs. 15.3%), which is on the contrary to the stereotype traditional image of Chinese women.  But for both genders, career pursues still remain in the center of their life while the family life is the final belonging, which shows both factors are complementary to each other and neither of them can be dispensed with. However, it is recognized in the report that Chinese entrepreneurs increasingly care more other factors influenced personal happiness, like health, life quality, social network, etc.

Besides family and career, more and more Chinese entrepreneurs pay attention to build up an active personal life or cultivate interesting habits to realize their self-values. The 3 most popular activities among Chinese entrepreneurs are travelling (54.9%), training & further education (52.3%), and Charity (40.9%). Chinese entrepreneurs have regular oversea travels or land excursions with a long distance, which could help release high work pressure while training and further education could help self-improvement.  Besides, charity could build up a social responsible image for themselves and their companies while educate their employees and children. Besides, Chinese entrepreneurs are paying more attention to personal habits. For example,  the chairman of ¨Vision Knight Capital (China) Fund I, L.P.¨ , WEI Zhe, has realized his dream to teach in the university and have more than 200 students in the class, while partner of GGV Capital, ZHUO Fumin, realize his self-value through keep pursuing in painting and photography.

About wealth management among Chinese entrepreneurs, the satisfaction score is 7.6 / 11. It is showed that Chinese entrepreneurs still have a higher preference to the traditional interpersonal finance service, which makes  ¨personal financial planner¨ and ¨professional financial planner¨ turn out the most satisfied factors in current Chinese personal wealth management.  At the same time it is also showed the current complex purchasing process of high-end finance product / service makes it the most unsatisfied factor. The participant entrepreneurs express, when evaluating the importance of wealth management, they value more the following 3 factors; a tailored invest project, a professional finance planner,  and an objective, independent and cross-industrial suggestion to allocate assets.

Edited by Simeng Zhang

Reference:  http://www.forbeschina.com/review/201305/0026026.shtml

Download the whole report (Chinese)

¨Growinfinance.com is an international financial job site specializing in bringing together top companies, business schools and candidates to one networking platform. More than 1,000 recruiters, banks and financial institutions have advertised their vacancies on our job board. We are keen to provide the best job opportunities and career advice for all the professionals working in banking and financial markets.¨

The GrowinFinance.com Team

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2013 Increasing Risks in Asia-Pacific Banking Industry – S &P

Compared with European banks and Americans with a depressing financial performance during the crisis, Asian banks has been enjoying a brilliant growing time, with a better performance in income statement and with rapidly expanding in asset and business.

However, Standard & Poor´s reported in May 28th that in 2013 main Asia-pacific banks would face narrowing interest spreads while an increasing risk due to a lower interest rate and easing monetary policy of more countries within region. Therefore, the profit margin in Asia-pacific banking industry will possibly reduce.

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In the report S & P conclude 3 reasons for the result of reducing profit margin among Asia-pacific banking industry.

  • Deteriorating Credit Quality

The market bubble in real estate market and the over-borrowing situation among companies deteriorate the credit quality of Asia-pacific banks. Volatile property prices pose various risks across the region, like Hong Kong, Singapore, China, Australia, New Zealand, Korea, and Malaysia.

Corporate excessive debt is one of the most important uncertainties faced by banks inside the region. S & P points out that Hong Kong banks are very typical. The economic imbalance following the over-pricing in real estate could be considered as the cause of an over-concentrated in mortgage related loan of banks.  S&P believes it will be a critical risk point for Hong Kong banks in the coming years, however, with the support from China mainland, Hong Kong credit condition will remain stable and the risk will be mitigated.

  • Narrowing interest spreads due to  Japan Abenomics

S & P believes that Abenomic leads the devaluation of Japanese ¨yen¨, which brings a lot of pressure to other economies in the region, especially South Korea, China Taiwan region, etc.

For example, due to Japan´s excessive easing monetary policy, the export in South Korea has been facing much more pressure.

On one hand, this situation further narrows the interest rate spreads between banks, which is the main income of South Korean banks.

On the other hand, the liabilities of export-depending companies will negatively influence the asset quality of South Korean banks.

Besides, the competitive environment in South Korean banking industry is fierce, while the applicant-friendly loan policy currently makes banks lose more power in front of big company clients.

  • The Slow Growth of Chinese Banks

In 2012 Chinese banks has resulted in a slower profit growth due to various factors, such as the slowdown of China´s macro economy, the acceleration of reform on interest rate liberalization and tightened regulatory constraints on capital, etc. The Chinese banking industry will face a similar fate in 2013.

S & P predicts that the major Chinese banks will have an ROA reducing from 0.1%-0.2% to 1%-1.1%. Besides, influenced by the slowdown of Chinese macro economy, asset quality of Chinese banks could deteriorate because of a weak growth in banking-supported export sector and higher debts of financing platform of local governments. However, S & P emphasizes that the deterioration of bad debts will not worsen in a short time but the interest spread will significantly narrow in Chinese banking industry with a high possibility.

Over all, S & P believes although in 2013 asset quality and profitability of Asia-pacific banks is less than those in last year, stable funding and liquidity, adequate capitalization, and government support continue to underpin ratings on Asia-Pacific banks. The expectation of 40 Asia-pacific banks is 85% ¨stable¨, while half of Japanese banks and all the India banks still remain ¨negative¨.

Edited by Simeng Zhang

Reference: S & P ¨Increasing Global Monetary Easing Adds To The Risks Faced By Asia-Pacific’s Top 40 Banks¨

The GrowinFinance.com Team

¨Growinfinance.com is an international financial job site specializing in bringing together top companies, business schools and candidates to one networking platform. More than 1,000 recruiters, banks and financial institutions have advertised their vacancies on our job board. We are keen to provide the best job opportunities and career advice for all the professionals working in banking and financial markets.¨

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2013 World Environment Day

The 2013 theme for World Environment Day is Think.Eat.Save — Reduce Your Footprint. http://www.unep.org/wed/

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  • The resource on our earth is not unlimited; therefore, let´s cut our uncontrolled consumption and avoid huge wastage.
  • It is obligated for everyone to classify the trash according to their composition, which can help recycle more than 2/3 of the trash.
  • If every citizen in the world can practice trash classification, it would reduce the contamination and almost 30% CO2 emission.
  • The disposal of medical wastes can not only damage our environment, but also become a source of resistant bacteria that make treatment, like antibiotics, inefficient.
  • All the medical wastes should always be disposed in the SIGRE points of the pharmacies.
  • The forests and seas provide us with important resources and O2 that we need to live.  Therefore, we shall not leave any trash in these areas in case of their contamination.

Edited by Simeng Zhang

The GrowinFinance.com Team

¨Growinfinance.com is an international financial job site specializing in bringing together top companies, business schools and candidates to one networking platform. More than 1,000 recruiters, banks and financial institutions have advertised their vacancies on our job board. We are keen to provide the best job opportunities and career advice for all the professionals working in banking and financial markets.¨

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