Essential Investment Banking Career Advice – with Rick Sopher

Incredible salaries, fat cat bonuses, luxury offices  – yes we’re talking about the financial world and quite simply, if you can’t beat them – should you join ‘em?

Whilst it may not get the greatest press, the financial services industry provides the infrastructure for life as we know it and forms the backbone of the economy (hence the panic when it all went pear shaped). To outsiders the financial world may appear monochrome, dealing simply with banks, figures and shares; in fact the industry is multi dimensional and offers a wide range of opportunity.

Innovate CV TV met with Rick Sopher, Managing Director of LCF Rothschild Asset Management, who highlighted the challanges and opportunities facing those looking to enter the profession.

“If you’re a brain surgeon… …the size of the universe that you look at each day is only about two inches wide….in finance… …everything in the world somehow affects what you do.”

Career Paths into Finance:

Sopher briefly describes the career path that he has taken which is typical in some respects. A degree from Cambridge University led to accountancy where he quickly became a partner (at BDO Stoy Haywood). Following this, he moved into financial services, where he now finds himself in his current role in LCF Rothschild Asset Management, a subsidiary of the LCF Rothschild Group. The company offers services in portfolio management, investment advice, company administration, consulting, insurance, fund management, brokering and real estate.

Sopher offers several points that are crucial to achieving a footing in the financial world.

An interest in the industry and the particular firm is imperative. As Sopher highlights, the finance industry spans a broad spectrum. Some knowledge of key areas and a genuine interest in all relevant activities are definite requirements. Good contacts and friends are important as in any industry, but in finance such connections will be vital, especially when looking for a promotion.

The significance of work experience placements is another major factor; the importance of which, Sopher cannot stress enough. In his own words, “nobody at that placement thinks that you’ll take their job. It’s a great opportunity to find out about business in a short space of time.”

Despite mentioning a variety of factors that can enable one to succeed in the finance industry, in Sopher’s mind nothing is a substitute for lots and lots of hard work.

A free Innovate CV can help you get the job you always wanted. Find out how we can help you with your job search!

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Categories: Articles for Job Seekers, Business

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13 Comments on “Essential Investment Banking Career Advice – with Rick Sopher”

  1. Mark P
    July 16, 2010 at 5:30 am #

    Although he’s probably quite unique and special in his natural abilities, I think his advice was applicable to all – even very average finance students like me 😉 cheers!

    Mark P
    Liverpool

    • July 16, 2010 at 12:19 pm #

      Don’t be so quick to under-estimate yourself, Mark! Thanks for the feedback, and we’re glad to be of assistance.

  2. mst
    July 16, 2010 at 11:09 am #

    I’m about to start an internship, and that piece of advice regarding how open people will be with you if you just ask (I guess, only if done appropriately) was priceless. Top notch.

  3. Jean-Victor Côté
    July 18, 2010 at 5:04 am #

    Thanks. It seems that contacts are important in Banking. This is a very enjoyable talk. I spontaneously moved my chair back and leaned on my elbows as I listened in rapt attention.

    • July 19, 2010 at 6:52 am #

      Thanks Jean-Victor for your glowing response! We’re happy to have helped. But Mr. Sopher certainly is a fine speaker.

  4. Amy Stern
    July 18, 2010 at 5:24 pm #

    You are right. Career opportunities are endless in the financial field. A banking career is only one of many you could choose from. No matter which one you pursue, I believe you need help going through the process of choosing the job, to the interview, etc.

    • July 19, 2010 at 6:51 am #

      Thanks for your comment, Amy. You’re right, one certainly needs help throughout the entire job-seeking process. Having spoken to recruiters, it’s remarkable how many candidates think they can simply “wing it”.

      • Rathernotsay
        July 19, 2010 at 1:58 pm #

        Many of my friends at uni, including me, don’t have a clue about the job-search process. Our careers centre is useless, and no tells us anything about how to get a job, or how to write a resume etc. So we all look for our information on the internet. So thanks to websites likes yours.

  5. Phuong Nguyen
    July 30, 2010 at 9:21 am #

    That’s is helpful. Is it late for people start pursuiting financial career path at 30?

    • Christopher Phillips
      August 3, 2010 at 8:58 am #

      Or even starting a financial career path at 40? What is the best way to break in to this career path?

    • October 31, 2010 at 6:18 am #

      Hi Phuong,

      Rick suggests that a switch into the finance profession is possible, even at 30. But everyone’s circumastances are different. To decide if it’s the right move for you, one needs to honestly reflect if one has the (1) ability, (2) means and (3) motivation to make the challenging switch.

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