On 24th April 2013, the Chennai Chapter of the Indian Association of Investment Professionals (IAIP) organised a Career Day event at IFMR, Chennai. 63 people, including charter holders and candidates attended the event. They were from various streams like Investment Advisory, Research, KPO, Banking, Information Technology and students from IFMR. The panel consisted of very experienced people from the industry viz. Paul H Smith CFA, MD Asia Pacific Region CFA Institute, Vidhu Shekhar CFA, Consultant to National Stock Exchange, K Ramakrishnan, ED & Head Investment Banking at Spark Capital, and S Ravindran, ED Finance & Administration, Turbo Energy respectively.
Key Take-aways from the event
Paul Smith, CFA began his speech by sharing some interesting statistics about CFA Charter holder profiles. Around 25% of them work in Asset Management, 30% – 50% in Investment Analysis and the remaining in other streams ranging from KPO to free-lancing. He shared his insights on how to move towards a career in investments / research. It is not where you start that matters, it is where you finish. In this competitive industry, it is very difficult to make a sudden shift into investments or research from other functions or streams. A career shift might not happen instantly. One needs to progress towards it gradually. He highlighted on the importance of networking with people in the industry. Networking can help fruitful interaction with professionals in the industry, and this would play a very important role in progressing towards your career goals. Employers often look for people who are different and can stand out when compared to others. He also emphasized on the importance of ethics we need to follow all through our career.
K Ramkrishnan threw light on various aspects which an employer looks for in a candidate. CFA Charter holder definitely stands out among the others, as he/she brings a holistic picture of the investment business and is more tuned to the finance industry. He gave his wonderful insights for people who would like to make mid-career shifts. He mentioned that it would be quite difficult to get a toe-hold onto established companies as there are other candidates with relevant experience. One way to progress towards this would be explore opportunities in KPOs or BPOs which handle projects related to investments research, market research and advisory. Then, one gradually progress towards the investment industry, and networking is the key to achieve it. It is important to be knowledgeable than to appear knowledgeable. A job-seeking candidate needs to have demonstrated passion and commitment. This is very important. He should also have a fair knowledge about the industry and financial analysis, and should be able to interpret the data presented to him. And, the most important factors – Sincerity & Integrity. No substitutes to these very valuable qualities.
S Ravindran, who has experience in handling various functions of an organization, shared his views on how candidates are evaluated. He stressed on the importance of a job that can offer a candidate tremendous learning. A professional degree is not a guarantee for a job. While evaluating candidates, employers look for job-related skills and what he can deliver. He stressed on the importance of not using jargons which are not easily understood by many people. One has to keep it simple and be able to communicate with the employer effectively.
Vidhu Shekhar, CFA said that in India, there are about 20,000 candidates out of which around 40% are students. There are more number of Level 3 pass-outs who are not yet Charter holders, when compared to the rest of Asia. He discussed the success stories of various professionals, who are pursuing or have completed the CFA Program. He also encouraged the participants to share their success stories in getting a career break-through. There was active participation from the audience. He also reiterated on the importance of networking with people in the industry. He also shared some insights about the advantages of volunteering in a local society of the CFA Institute. Such volunteering activities can help one improve and expand his professional network.
The Event was interactive, in which there were various questions from the participants including online viewers as well as suggestions for the CFA Institute. It concluded by felicitation of the volunteers of the Chennai Chapter – Nethra Bhat, Anand Krishnakumar, Meera & Venkatramh – and a networking dinner.
Contributions by: Venkatramh Balasubramanian
Photographs by: IAIP Volunteers