Congratulations, you nailed an interview at one of the top investment banks in the world.

You‘ve studied for the interview by learning everything you can about the bank, the job, the culture and the marketplace.

So you know what to say. Now, do you know what not to say?

From interviews with recruiters, coaches and former bankers, eFinancialCareers compiled what it described as a “list of things that must never be spoken.” Some like badmouthing a former employer or boss or admitting you failed to do some part of your homework on the company are universal no-nos.

In the banking industry, though, you should never talk about work-life balance, and never say you want to be an entrepreneur.

Both of those may be positives in other industries, or at least won’t get you dinged. But in banking, even hinting you want a life outside your job is enough to kill your chances of getting the job. “I don’t want to hear from anyone who’s going to talk about work-life balance,” one senior M&A banker told eFinancialCareers. “I want people who are hungry, who are all-in. I’m not looking for someone who wants a hobby job.”

Saying you are entrepreneurial or want to be one is a red-flag to hiring managers. “If you say this during a banking interview, you’re just going to imply that you’re another restless Millennial or Generation-Xer who won’t stay long,” a former banking industry recruiter said. Besides that, eFinancialCareers says bankers may associate entrepreneurialism with too much risk-taking.

Some risk is part of banking, but no hiring manager wants to hear a candidate say they like to double-down on losses. Steven Goldstein, a trading coach and former FX trader at Credit Suisse, tells eFinancialCareers, “Some people do double down successfully, but if you say you’ve done this you’ll be perceived to be irresponsible.”

In that same sense, never say you “smack things around a bit.” So important is this that it’s listed in bigger type in the article than every other point.

Goldstein says he’s heard traders say they “like to smack things around a bit” in reference to the market during interviews, and that this does not reflect well upon them. Avoid any hint of that, the article says, quoting a senior banker who advises, “If you’re not sure whether you should confess something, don’t.”

Photo by Kristina Flour on Unsplash

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Accounting’s Use of Big Data Will Double This Year

Accountants have always dealt with data, but now their adoption of “Big Data” is set for a break out.

The Institute of Management Accountants says the accounting profession will double its use of big data, exceeding the implementation of other technologies such as data visualization and process automation. The IMA report — The Impact of Big Data on Finance Now and in the Future — foresees big data analytics having its greatest, initial impact in performance management. While this includes employee performance, analytics use will involve organizational processes, equipment and the like.

In the IMA survey, 100% of the responding organizations said they were already using big data analytics in performance management. Three-quarters were also sifting through reams of data to help in formulating business strategy.

“The increased emphasis on data provides an opportunity for finance and accounting professionals — who traditionally are proficient at pulling data from a variety of information systems, manipulating that data, and gleaning insights from it — to build on this core competency and assume a business partnering role with others in their organizations,” the authors of the study write in the report.

Specifically, the report authors say, “To stay relevant, finance professionals must take advantage of opportunities to create value around Big Data.” They identify three areas of focus:

  1. Data governance — Because of the profession’s rigor and discipline in managing confidential data, accountants are well positioned to take a leading role in the security and use of data.
  2. Insights into business trends and operations — With big data, accountants will “provide analysis to help business functions understand the financial implications of their activities or plans. They can help business functions improve the quality of information that goes into financial decision making.”
  3. Risk management — “Finance professionals can leverage the resource of Big Data to help organizations anticipate or preempt risks—and protect performance… By including diverse sets of data in their calculations, accountants and finance professionals can help better identify and mitigate the risks faced by their organizations.”

Before accounting and finance professionals can realize the full value of Big Data, concludes the report, “They will need to develop new skills, including enhanced abilities to organize, structure, and understand data sets; the ability to provide more in-depth, strategic analysis; and the ability to collaborate across the enterprise with other functional teams. Communication and interpersonal and leadership skills will also become even more important for accountants and finance professionals in the new silo-less, Big Data-generating corporate environment.”

Photo by fabio on Unsplash


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