The other day one of our UK contacts got in touch and said the following exact words “Getting a job offer from any top sell-side investment bank is not a problem. I have already declined most of them.”
I knew the person could not be serious, because I have simply never heard of that in this current environment, where we all have to fight tooth and nail to get a job at an investment bank. On the other hand, the people we deal with at Harrison Careers typically have impeccable integrity, so I was curious to find out more. I looked this guy up (yes, it was a guy). If you are, like me, always looking for an easier way to get a job offer from an investment bank, then you want to learn other people’s secrets, right?
I was shocked to see that this guy was not even a British or European Union citizen. That is relevant because even though the rules on immigration are going to change, currently international students are still discriminated against because companies have to get a tier-2 Visa for them to work in the UK.
Then I saw that he did not even go to Oxford or Cambridge. Nor LSE nor Imperial. I became ever more suspicious as I scrolled through his profile.
And then I saw the reason. Even though this guy does not graduate for a couple of years yet, he has been a competitive programmer for the last 10 years. I know that they have Math Olympiads in various countries, and in the US they have spelling and geography bees and math competitions. I guess they must have the same thing for programming.
So yes, I really do believe that this person did get offers from most of the big investment banks.
It made me ask myself the question about the usefulness of certain degrees. So many people I know happily study Finance or Economics. It is what I did, and it was what banks were looking for back in the day. However, things have changed now. I think now if you want to be the complete package, you have to add some kind of Computer Science or Data Science or other tech skill into your degree. Maybe you do not have to major in that subject – or perhaps you do. I am a Finance guy through and through, and I always thought my kids would study Finance – but all of them so far are studying Computer Science or some derivative.
I wonder what proportion of candidates hired by the investment banks are studying some type of Computer Science as part of their degree? Comments welcome!