Career Choice: Finance – Asset Management (AM)
Salary band: £35,000 – £50,000 (as an intern in Geneva)
What is your current role?
I work as an Investment Analyst based in Geneva in Pictet AM’s Fixed Income department. I sit within the Strategy and Solutions team which has two mains roles: Strategy is carrying out investment research and having a view on global bond markets, with an emphasis on what Central Banks are likely to do next (e.g. the Fed in the US, the ECB in Europe, the BoE in the UK etc.); Solutions is working on transversal projects that impact all Fixed Income Investment teams at Pictet AM (e.g. helping teams to integrate sustainability data and criteria in their investment processes).
What are you most proud of in your career so far?
Establishing myself in a completely new area, and in a new country! I was lucky Pictet AM decided to offer me a five-month internship as a Market Intelligence Analyst, despite having very limited financial experience. Luckily, they saw the skills I had picked up at school and studying Earth Sciences and decided I could learn quickly. Eventually I found myself on the graduate programme and spent two years learning about different areas of the business, completing rotations in Marketing & Products, Developed Market Credit and Equity Hedge Funds, across both London and Geneva. Part of the process was continuing to study in my spare time and I was very proud to pass all three levels of the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) certification at the first attempt.
What are the future opportunities for you in your career area?
There are so many interesting roles within Pictet that I was completely oblivious to before joining. Just within the AM department, there could be opportunities to work in sales offices all over the world, to manage money within an investment team or to think strategically about where the business is heading. I’m also interested in sustainable investing or “Green” Finance, an area which is becoming far more prominent, so I’m keeping an eye on this too.
What made you study Earth Sciences at Oxford?
I was not overly enthused by the prospect of studying pure maths, chemistry, physics or geography (my A level subjects)! Earth Sciences seemed the perfect way to combine these subjects and learn about a vast array of interesting topics.
What was your favourite aspect of the Earth Sciences course?
Field Trips. My favourite field trip was to Spain in the 3rd year, our last trip together as a year group. I hear the Bermuda trip in 4th year was pretty good but I made the questionable decision to go to Greece. Not that Greece was a bad trip at all, it’s just that the Bermuda trip sounded excellent.
What advice would you give to current students, either just starting out, or about to graduate?
I discovered that I learn better in a group. Many assume that it is compulsory to lock oneself in the library and avoid all human contact until the early hours to prepare for exams; this seems particularly true of Oxbridge culture. I found working with a couple of friends in department a really good way to learn the material and stay calm in exam season. Obviously this won’t work for everyone but do give it a go.
Also, Conall always told us to keep things in perspective: one exam is never worth more than a few percent so it’s best to just stay calm and move onto the next one if an exam goes wrong. Of course, this doesn’t work if you blow every exam but we really are lucky compared to those students who sit their entire course in five or six exams, all within a week for good measure!