Where do you work now?
Currently at Citigroup in New York, I work in the Markets and Securities Services division within the Institutional Clients Group as a Sales and Trading Analyst. My day to day revolves around G10 and Local Market Foreign Exchange and by extent anything involving interest rates, monetary policy, macroeconomic data, politics, commodities and equities.
What did you find particularly challenging on the way to your current position?
As has been echoed by other Project Firefly members, breaking into the recruiting process is the ultimate challenge. Coming from a non-target school adds a challenge as does having a career interest in a specific niche (in my case, FX). At the end of the day, as with most things, it means putting in the extra hours while acquiring the relevant skills and applying them appropriately.
Can you share some details on your recruiting experience?
Having spent time on the other side of the recruiting experience, it is probably worth noting some general thoughts from an interviewer’s perspective. For one, it becomes incredibly obvious within the first few minutes of an interview whether an applicant is well prepared. Such preparation does not come from memorizing answers to common interview questions. True preparation starts years before the interview via work experience and immersion within the field.
What do you think are the biggest challenges in the changing global labor market?
The status quo in education. it’s incredible (in a bad way). Technological advancements should continue and even at a slower pace than today that still means more creative destruction across the world. There are economic and geopolitical consequences as a result and that goes largely undiscussed. Historically, similar periods of rapid creative destruction in closed economies/political structures have been met with rejection. This always leads to lower relative living standards over time. Meanwhile, similar periods of create destruction in open economies/democracies have ended in protectionism, isolationism, political upheaval or worse. This isn't a speculative scenario analysis- it's all taking place today.
In the 21st century we have more accessible information better centralized than ever, yet the private and public sector continue to operate in the 20th century with regard to the education and skills services sector. Every day the gap is getting wider between the global labor market skill set and the necessary global labor market skill set. We’re not just talking about the disillusioned youth in closed economies. We’re also talking about the disenchanted adult labor force who turn out in elections.
The current state solution (supplementing lost income through transfer payments) is an unsustainable endeavor. The failure to understand these implications is one of the bigger challenges of our time.
Which skill do you deem particularly necessary in today’s competitive environment?
The skills are constantly changing (hence the importance of a more dynamic education service sector). The qualities remain largely the same though... always having a sense of urgency is important.
What would you advise peers who are aspiring for a similar path?
I have seen this quote attributed to a number of people, but never said more simply and straightforwardly as when said by Michael Bloomberg: “I'm not the smartest guy, but I can outwork you.” As someone who has always been more comfortable in a working environment vs. an academic one, that quote has always resonated with me. There’s no piece of advice that applies to everyone equally, but if that quote resonates with you as it does with me, discover something different that drives you and run with it.