A huge congratulations to Jan, who after attending our annual Bright Network Festival, landed an Internship at Standard Charted Bank. Read below to find out how Jan's incredible dedication and hard work has helped him be where is his today.
Why did you choose this firm and this role?
I am very interested in emerging markets and given the Standard Chartered's prominent position in this sector I realised that as a part of the investment banking team at Standard Chartered I can really contribute to and help to shape the African/Asian region. Standard Chartered has been involved in incredible deals such as the Chinese One Belt One Road plan to reshape the global economy and transform the world trade and I knew that these challenges would push me even more while adding value to the world we live in.
My interest in Investment Banking started when I interned at KBC Bank in Prague and I worked on a project that covered a market entry of Nexen Tire. I undertook the role of researching different companies Nexen Tire could aquire in the Czech market and I also analyzed the rational of the potential acquisiton which I found very exciting. More importantly, to build up on what I said above as an investment banker I can really help comapnies growth or I can finance projects that have an impact on millions of people. As an investment banker focused on emerging markets this means that I wil be able to help the region prosper and help people out there which is something I find personally very exciting.
What was the toughest part of the application process? And your favourite part?
I would say that the toughest part was the assessment centre which was also my favourite part. It consisted of three interviews with directors and I had to impress all of them. The interviews were focused on my background, work experince and I was asked many questions about myself so the interviewers could get to know me as a person rather than just being asked a number of technical qustions which is very common at large banks. All of my interviewers were extremely nice people and I really enjoyed the interview with them.
Were you surprised by anything in the process?
I have a very different background from most of the candidates in investment banking. I am originally from Prague (Czech Republic) and when I graduated high school I did not speak English. I saw this as a challenge and with the spark of desire to get an offer from a reputable university in London and breaking into investment banking, I came to London after I graduated and spent one year working in restaurants/coffee shops and studying English by myself. When I finished at work I would usually spend the rest of the day studying English and learning about how to write a university cover letter so I could study here. Eventually, it worked out for me and I was accepted into Cass Business School.
What surprised was that my different background really helped me during the interviews. All of my interviewers really liked my story and appreciated the hard work I put it and I believe this is what helped me differentiate myself from the rest of the candidates.
What three top tips would you give your fellow Bright Network members?
Breakinginto investment banking is very challenging for everyone, and if you are coming from a background like mine it is even harder, but still possible. So be ready to:
1) Put a lot hard work into it (even sacrifice weekends and nights out with friends).
2) Never give up - a rejection only means that someone else has yet to tell you yes.
3) Most importantly, and do not underestimate this, ask for help and find yourself friends who push you even harder. I would say that having a friend who shares the same dream as you do and pushes you hard is vital.
What's your lucky charm or pre-interview ritual?
I always try to arrive at the place at least 15 minutes early and go for a little walk around. A lucky charm? Smile, smile, smile - it works.