Decor
Career Advice

Navigating a Career within Credit

Our recent webinar focused on ‘Navigating a career within Credit’ and it was great to have a panel so enthusiastic to discuss how they’ve succeeded in the industry.

Our attendees were able to gain insights from Alberto Ceron (Bain Capital Credit), Ifi Ekwere (Barclays), Denisa Mitu (Lazard) and Carlotta Munini (Bridgepoint), each sharing top tips and the tools needed to get your career started in Credit and their tried and tested ways of achieving career progression.

Why a career in Credit?

The discussion began with covering the basics of the ‘what and why’ about a career in the Credit industry. Pathways into the industry are not always linear, and certainly not the same, so understanding the different experiences that impacted our panel’s route to where they are now helps to bring context to their career journey.

The key pull factors to the industry for our speakers were:

Complexity of thought: credit investors navigate intricate financial landscapes. They analyse risk, assess creditworthiness, and make informed decisions. The constant need to understand market dynamics and economic factors keeps their minds sharp and the job interesting.

  • Competitive sector: the Credit industry is dynamic and competitive. Constantly evolving regulations, market shifts, and innovative financial products keep professionals engaged and excited.
  • Deal exposure: credit professionals are regularly reviewing deals. Early responsibility means hands-on experience, learning from successes and setbacks.
  • Sceptical inquiry: credit professionals must always ask probing questions. They delve into the ’why’ behind investment decisions. This critical thinking fosters a deeper understanding of financial markets and helps mitigate risks.
  • Diverse exposure: working across the capital structure means exposure to various financial instruments. This diversity enhances expertise and broadens skill sets.
  • Macroeconomic context: credit is closely tied to the broader economy. Understanding economic cycles, interest rates, and fiscal policies is essential. Credit professionals stay attuned to these macro trends.

Internships and beyond: crafting your path

Practice, learn, and grow—every experience contributes to your professional journey and in turn, your growth.

Internships and extracurricular experiences offer the opportunity to experience different teams and industries, as well as refining your communication skills and increasing your professional network. As you embark on these opportunities, keep an open mind—you might discover unexpected interests and find yourself drawn to areas you had not considered before.

Remember that finance isn’t solely the domain of finance majors; it intersects with various disciplines. Attend career fairs, insight, and recruitment events, and don’t shy away from interviews to get a true understanding of the field.

Consider Denisa’s path: she chose the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) route over pursuing a Master’s degree. She wanted to dedicate herself to mastering financial concepts and the CFA requires strong learning discipline and commitment. It is a clear identifier of having a willingness to invest time and effort in your career development.

Juniors: stand out!

Beyond the accolades of academic achievements and various work experiences is a crucial aspect: showcasing your personality and character. Who are you to work with? Kindness matters - being genuine and displaying a positive attitude will leave a lasting impression on those who matter.

However, it’s not just about being pleasant as displaying a curiosity for learning is equally important. Ask the ‘why’ questions, no matter how simple they may seem and demonstrate your desire to understand the underlying mechanisms. It’s a win-win approach showcasing you positively and fuelling your own personal growth and innovation.

It goes without saying that having Credit sector experience, whether in financial analysis or modelling, is an additional CV-bump. It shows your practical understanding of complex financial concepts and your ability to apply them effectively.

Processes and preparation

The panellists were able to distil the interview process into three key aspects.

  • Interview with a team member or HR: assessing your CV and skillset

During this initial stage, you will likely meet with a team member or a representative from HR. They will evaluate your CV, work experience, and skillset. Be prepared to discuss your background, achievements, and any relevant coursework. Highlight your strengths and demonstrate how your skills align with the role.

Preparation tip: review your CV and the job description thoroughly. Understand each entry and be ready to elaborate on specific experiences., tailoring your response to emphasise skills relevant to the opportunity.

  • Case study panel: demonstrating analytical abilities

The case study panel typically involves a group of interviewers presenting you with a hypothetical investment scenario. You’ll need to analyse the situation, assess risk, and propose solutions, typically having to build a model and/or write an investment recommendation.

Preparation tip: practice producing relevant models and slides. Understand credit risk factors, financial ratios, and industry-specific nuances. Communicate your thought process clearly during the interview.

  • Meeting senior members: fit assessment and building rapport

As you progress through each round, you’ll interact with more senior team members. They’ll gauge your cultural fit within the organisation and assess your interpersonal skills. Use this opportunity to showcase your personality, enthusiasm, and alignment with the team and company’s values.

Preparation tip: research the company culture and the team members you’re interviewing with. Prepare thoughtful questions about their work, challenges, and long-term goals. Show you are genuinely interested in being part of the team and the work they are doing.

Conclusion

Our panel provided some real actionable take-aways for junior professionals wanting to break into and progress in Credit, but you must recognise that your own journey will be dynamic. Embrace continuous learning, network with your mentors and peers, and intentionally shape your career step by step. The industry thrives on curiosity, adaptability, and collaboration. As you embark on your path, absorb knowledge, ask questions, and forge your own way.

We’re extremely grateful for our excellent speakers who shared their unique career journeys and invaluable insights. For more information on the potential opportunities available to you, please get in touch with Samah Sahed if you’re a recent graduate, or Joel Sharpe if you already have experience outside of internships.

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