We caught up with Ed from the Corporate Client Servives (CCS) team at UBS to find out more about his role and to get his tips for others looking to get ahead at this top bank.
Tell us about your role
I came to UBS from a mixed background, having studied Maths and Modern Languages at University College London.
I joined UBS for the Horizons Programme in my first year at University, which involved both a Spring Week in April and a charity project in Costa Rica. This led to an eight-week internship in my second year. I started on the Investor Client Services desk which provides services to professional investors across financial markets. I then moved over to the CCS business, which provides coverage, advisory, capital markets and financing solutions for corporate, financial institutions and sponsor clients. This was halfway through, and I joined the leveraged finance team.
CCS is split into three kinds of teams – country, product and sector. If you are part of a product team, for example, you cover that one product in various countries. The sector I specialise in is infrastructure, exclusively covering things like ports, airports and toll roads, along with infrastructure funds.
Why did you pick this stream? What makes it distinct?
Even at a junior level, you get a lot of responsibility early on. Another attraction is that it’s more project based, so if you have a project to complete you can be focusing on that for a couple of months. You really get to drill down into a topic and learn a lot as you go.
For me, it was the chance to take on long projects and deliver real value for clients that drew me in.
What do you enjoy?
The best thing is when I have to deliver a large piece of analysis. You go to the presentation session and talk your audience through how everything works, and you may well be explaining things to people a lot more senior than you. It’s a really rewarding experience.
UBS also has a very supportive culture; the hierarchy is almost non-existent. There are distinct roles, but I never have problems communicating directly with my MD. In some other places there are so many levels between you and the top you never get any exposure – our relatively flat structure means you get a lot of support.
What surprised you?
The level of responsibility was a big shock. After just two months on the job I found myself explaining to a CFO how their company worked. It was definitely surprising, but good at the same time.
What are your top tips for people applying?
Tip 1: Network like crazy
Go to networking events and get as much information as you can about how it works at various institutions.
It’s so important to find out what the work will really entail, as opposed to just reading the brochures.
Tip 2: Don’t worry about your background
A lot of people worry you have to be an economics or maths major – in fact a lot of our people come from arts backgrounds and tend to do really well, so don’t be discouraged.
Tip 3: Stay abreast of key issues
Be aware of what is going on in the financial world. Before you apply make sure you're up to date with the press and make sure you know about recent transactions that the bank has been involved in.
Find out more about what it takes to make it at UBS here.