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The Best Time To Land A Banking Job in Asia

Published on Friday, 17 Jul 2015

A job in banking is one of the best ways for young professionals anywhere in the world to enter a well-paying and dynamic profession. With its economy continually on the rise, Asia has become increasingly sought after by young professionals in the banking industry. To score a job in this up and coming market, it is important to first be aware of the factors concerning job eligibility in the region. Once all requirements are met, increase the chances at getting your dream position by finding the best time to land a banking job.  

Have you graduated from a top tier university? For most banking firms, the university from which you graduate carries weight when getting a position. The same is true in Asia. Locals looking for banking careers in Hong Kong or mainland China should specifically consider attending one of the preferred universities in the region: Peking University, Tsinghua University, Fudan University, or Shanghai Jiaotong University. International institutions are also favourable. If you have not attended a top tier school, fear not. With a little bit of elbow grease and experience on your resume, you still might be able to find a good position with a top banking firm.  

Do you have proficiency in the local language? Foreigners who have little or no experience with an Asian language may find they will be hard pressed to make a way into Asia’s banking market. This is simply because you will be conducting most of your business in the local language. Additionally, the aspiration for a banking career abroad often comes with the common stereotype that this international move is only for a short time. Without adequate local language skills, it could show that you are not as serious about a career in the international banking market and will choose to return to the West whenever you’re ready. Understandably, companies will not want to invest in candidates who are unable to communicate fluently and do not see themselves as lifelong employees of the firm.  

Do you have a banking resume? Luckily, lack of language skills won’t matter as much if youhave industry or deal experience to offer. Companies will look more favourably upon candidates above the VP ranking. Additionally, a “returning” local candidate will have a bolstered application if their previous experience is overseas, and particularly in London or New York. Competition for positions is extremely fierce, but because of thorough analyst training from Western companies, candidates with this experience stand out and gain respect from colleagues and clients. 

Once you have all the necessary requirements and language knowledge in place, the next important step in finding a banking job is knowing when to start looking. Quarter three, or between the months of July and September, is the time when the majority of hiring is done at many banking institutions. Because banking firms have a tendency to hire recent university graduates, it is really no surprise that this correlates with most graduation dates as newly appointed MBAs and graduates will be on the market for jobs during these summer months. Moreover, when internal employees apply for new positions, they must give a three month notice. Generally, their new position is granted by the end of the first quarter. They fulfill their term of a three month notice until June or July, just in time for new grads to start working.  

While hiring is likely to take place during the summer, bear in mind, however, that most hires have a connection somewhere within the company. Because of this, tt’s beneficial to network and initiate contact well in advance of applying for a job during the busy hiring months. Remember that internships could also be your best way into a banking career so in the months prior to graduation time, you really should be focussing on making a stellar impression during your internship and with those you network with.   

When looking for a banking job in Asia, it is best to start with your goals and then devise a smart plan to work toward them. Qualify yourself with necessary skills and experience. Don’t be discouraged by the length of time that might be required to land a banking job. It is well worth the time and effort you put in to acquire such a lucrative and exciting career in banking.

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