Economy

‘Skill building, rather than obtaining more qualifications, will help gain expertise’

Satya Sontanam BL Research Bureau | Updated on August 02, 2021

BusinessLine and CFA Institute hold webinar on ‘Career Insights: Gaining an Edge in the Post-Covid Investment Industry’

Investment management has become a lucrative career option for young professionals as increasing income levels and booming markets draw more investors to financial assets.

“It is an evolving industry and there’s something for all type of personalities with varied aspirations.

“The industry can broadly provide opportunities in asset management in wealth management companies, which are customers of asset managers as well as in asset owning institutions such as pension funds and insurance companies. Jobs in rating agencies, consulting firms are available, too,” said Vidhu Shekhar, Country Head – India, CFA Institute, bringing to light the wide-playing field the industry has to offer. He was speaking at a webinar jointly organised by BusinessLine and the CFA Institute on ‘Career Insights: Gaining an Edge in the Post-Covid Investment Industry’ on Sunday.

The interaction provided answers to the several questions of students and young professionals who are keen to make a career in investment management – the qualifications and skill sets required, the impact of technology on the profession, the current opportunities, and future of the industry, among others.

Build expertise

While the scope was broad, Nisha Awasthi, Managing Director and Head of HR, BlackRock India, emphasised on the importance to gain and build on expertise in a particular field within the investment management profession. “As a young professional entering into the industry, give yourself enough time and commitment to go deeper and stronger in a particular field of business that leverages your strength,” she advised.

Saurabh Mukherjea, Founder and CIO, Marcellus Investment Managers; and Vaibhav Jain, Head, Strategic Partnerships and Sales, WealthDesk, were the other panelists. The discussion was moderated by BusinessLine’s Chief of Research Bureau, Parvatha Vardhini C. Saurabh Mukherjea was of the view that one needs to get out of the mindset of earning more and more degrees and professional qualifications to showcase expertise. The focus should instead be on skill building, he said. “If one enjoys selling, upskilling on transaction analysis and negotiation analysis makes sense,” he explained. Seconding Saurabh’s point of view, Nisha said that apart from qualifications, recruiters also look at how intellectually curious the candidate is. “They look how a candidate demonstrates energy for learning process and agility in case of change, among others.”

With technology changing the way business is done everywhere, investment professionals, too, can’t be cut off from it – this was the unanimous view of the panelists.

Commenting on the kind of knowledge investment professionals need to have on the technology side, Jain said that while learning coding may not be required, understanding terminologies, application and algorithm are important. He also added that while selling skills are important, risk management skills is also becoming necessary for those in this industry.

The B-school myth

Busting the myth that recruiters in the industry prefer candidates from high-profile institutions, the panelists reiterated that organisations are moving away from this notion and are giving more importance to the attitude and skill sets of the candidates. With many students keen to go abroad, Saurabh said that it was a mistaken notion that a career abroad would make one successful. “Successful careers are increasingly based on singularity or the originality of thought. If you are grown up in India, you have are having perspectives on one of the fastest-growing economies; and if you work abroad, to my mind, you lose some of the originality that you have,” he explained.

Compensation

In terms of the compensation that the roles in this industry offer, Vidhu said that candidates shouldn’t prioritise the pay package in the beginning of their career. He added that the work that they were doing and what they gain from it are much more important in the initial years.

The investment rule of going for long-term gains versus short-term profits should be applied when evaluating a job based on its compensation as well, concluded Nisha.

Published on August 02, 2021

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