The desire to make the transition from audit and accounting into investment banking is not a new trend.
Many candidates starting their careers within the Big 4 in transaction and advisory and auditing teams, find themselves wanting a seat on the opposite side of the table. Though known to be hard work over long hours, the excitement of high value transactions and being at the front end of the financial markets can be a big draw. Whilst the modelling, valuation and due diligence experience they have acquired are relevant, not all candidates can make a successful move.
Some of the key differentiators that can support the transition include coming from a background that covers multiple industries at once, or an industry that looks at corporate finance such as Property. Having a passion for investment and an understanding of the nuances of dealing with business owners considering large financial decisions about the future of their company are also prerequisites.
To bridge the gap, a successful approach can be to make the move into corporate finance as a stepping stone. Candidates can consider internal team moves, look to mid-tier banks or boutique offices as a way to make the transition. As more Chinese companies enter the market to manage investments from Hong Kong, we’ve seen corporate finance positions open up to candidates with traditional finance backgrounds.
In interview, candidates must demonstrate that they belong. Communicating knowledge of the latest M&A deals, being detailed in explanations of models built, and expressing passion to work the long hours required to make a difference in their careers are all ways in which candidates can refute concerns regarding fit. Increasingly Mandarin and English reading and writing skills are essential to support Chinese report and proposal requirements, given the increasing volume of overseas deals for which candidates can expect frequent travel.
If you are interested to discuss how to make the move into corporate finance for the long term, or as a step towards a career in investment banking, please get in touch to find out the latest opportunities.