MBA Careers: Demand And Pay High For Financially Trained Talent
In buoyant financial jobs market, employers pay premium for well-trained talent. Barclays, Credit Suisse, Deutsche Bank, Bank of America hiking junior bankers' pay.
As financial institutions come under pressure from competitors and regulators, they are driving up demand for well-trained talent.
The need for financially fit graduates is high. “The [financial] job market remains very favourable for business school graduates,” says Viet Ha Tran, a senior associate director for the master in finance programs at IE Business School.
There is a growing need for financiers with professionalism coming from financial sector employers and even regulators, according to Stephen Horan, a managing director at the CFA Institute, the global association of investment professionals.
“Clients are increasingly demanding that their investment advisors have mastered globally accepted standards of practice,” he says.
On clear sign of this is the hiking of salaries by top global banks for entry level talent. Barclays, Credit Suisse, Deutsche Bank, and Bank of America Merrill Lynch have all increased junior employee pay, by as much as 20% in some cases.
Data from the latest Masters in Finance Rankings show private equity and venture capital offer the best remuneration — $89,000 on average. Consulting, asset management and investment banking are ranked as the top three employment sectors, each employing about 10% of all graduates.
M&A and sales and trading desks were particularly strong recruiters from the Master of Finance program at HEC Paris, says program director Jacques Olivier.
Employers are looking for graduates with strong analytical backgrounds, especially around financial modelling, according to Dr Julia Knobbe, program director at the Frankfurt School of Finance & Management.
“IT and digitalization are also getting more and more important in the finance area,” she says, as banks in particular hone mobile services and data analytics.
Steven Young, head of finance at Lancaster University School of Management, says that soft skills, such as critical thinking, leadership, and communication, also rank highly among finance employers.
“Prior work experience — placements, internships — is also starting to emerge as a key requirement,” he adds.
Yet competition for spots on these schemes is immense. Morgan Stanley received 90,000 applications for its summer analyst and associate positions last year; Goldman Sachs had 17,000 applicants for its 350 investment banking internships in 2013.
Perhaps the biggest shift in demand from finance sector employers is the emphasis placed on expertise around risk management, financial regulation and ethics since the global financial crisis.
“Risk management is a hot topic,” says Professor Bo Becker at the Stockholm School of Economics. Issues of financial system stability, systemic risk, and the macro-economic environment have gotten more attention, he says.
This is forcing a shift among financial training programs. Business schools have been among the most adaptive institutions.
For example, at Warwick Business School in light of the many recent financial scandals, a project was launched to incorporate ethics and sustainability into the syllabus of its masters in finance. “This is seen as a common thread permeating everything we do,” says Alex Stremme, assistant dean.
But he adds: “Unfortunately, some of our students that arrive still see a degree in finance as a way to ‘get rich quick’.”