Marni shares why she loves her career in finance – and how you can too. 

Whether it’s a career in Investment Banking, Sales & Trading, Investment Research or Investment Management, a day in the life of finance isn’t just Microsoft Excel and playing around with numbers.

In this article I will share some of the attributes of working in Finance that I love and have kept me satisfied in my career, as well as a crucial tip for success for new entrants to this industry.

Intellectual rigour

No day in finance is ever the same. The work and concepts I deal with tend to be intellectually stimulating and often require quick thinking. Given the multitude of factors that influence financial markets and the variety of companies, there’s a lot of information to consume. If you are able to synthesise, filter and stitch together this information to develop opinions knowledge of various issues, and do it all in a quickly, you have the right skillset for the job.

I love to be challenged and have a genuine interest in what drives businesses and the wider economy, which is compatible with the intellectually rigorous nature of working in Finance. My job requires me to educate myself on a variety of issues, be on top of current affairs and to spend a lot of my time reading and speaking with experts in order to deepen my knowledge of companies, industries, regulation and the global economy.

Fast-paced environment

Almost everyday in Finance is fast-paced, characterised by unexpected developments arising – no day is ever the same! I love going to work each day and not know what is coming. One minute I can be in the middle of building a financial model, and the next I need to drop what I’m doing to respond to something else, such as attending a meeting or reacting to and understanding a new development in the news. I thrive under pressure – an essential skill to be successful in this career.

The opportunity to travel is something I love, and a huge part of working in Finance. This adds to the fast-paced nature of Finance – especially as travel is often organised last-minute. It’s a welcome change from sitting analysing data at your desk!

Career in finance

Meet Marni

Research and new faces

A typical responsibility of junior employees in the industry is to conduct deep-dive research on companies and industries to enhance investment decision-making. This research is not just limited to reading industry reports, filtering through newspaper articles and conducting quantitative analysis on Microsoft Excel, it involves speaking with senior management at a variety of companies.

Most junior employees, like myself, have the opportunity to meet many Chief Executive Officers, Chief Financial Officers, Chairman and other Board Members and Key Management Personnel of various listed companies as part of their research efforts. I have found this a highly rewarding experience, with the quality of my research enhanced by directly communicating with companies and their executive teams – plus it develops my own sense of self confidence and inter-personal skills.

Just remember, learn how to roll with the punches

When first joining the industry, I had just finished high school and I had to learn new concepts very quickly and complete tasks I was not entirely confident of in terms of required knowledge and the quality of my output. This was a stark contrast to my experience in high school, where learning was slower paced and I had time to digest new ideas and thoroughly think through how concepts worked.

A piece of advice to newcomers and graduates I give is that one should put their Type-A perfectionistic tendencies to the side and focus on learning the key points of given issues, doing a task correctly and not being shy to ask for guidance when needed. You will initially feel outside your comfort zone, but you will pick up this skill quickly and learn how to roll with the punches. The more regularly you are exposed to these unexpected and challenging situations (which is guaranteed in Finance), the better you will be able to adapt and roll with the punches and come up to speed with issues and responsibilities as they emerge. An essential life and career skill – regardless of industry!

If you’re interested in a career in finance, check out our day in the life of a trader