If you thought a career in investment banking was just for finance graduates, maths geniuses and quantum physicists, think again. We hear from Heather Cameron Watt, discussing her professional background and her career at Morgan Stanley...
"I studied European Studies, Spanish and French at Trinity College, Dublin. My course had an extremely broad remit, taking in philosophy, politics and economics as well as other subjects. It was a perfect fit for me given that I wasn’t yet sure what I wanted to do after leaving university.
I did a number of work placements in law and politics and then my parents, who both had a stock-broking background, encouraged me to think about finance. I applied for the internship scheme at Morgan Stanley and haven’t looked back.
I’ve worked in Sales & Trading for just over a year now and I’ve just come back from a client meeting in Singapore, where having a languages background was a real benefit. For one thing, it’s given me the confidence to speak to people from different nationalities and backgrounds, which is a key requirement of my job.
Being able to communicate well is so important, which is where my experience of essay writing comes in. I send out a daily email to my clients, summarising what’s going on in the markets. It means drawing on your creative skills to make sure you put the information across in a way that’s punchy and grabs their attention.
Overall, I’d say making the leap from university to investment banking has been a learning curve, but the company has been fantastic in providing training on the markets as well as the technical side of things, for example building a model of a company.
I don’t think there’s any reason to downplay your abilities just because you don’t come from an economics or maths background. Languages students have plenty of transferable skills, so it’s just a question of playing to your strengths during the application process."
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