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Career Doctor
Looking for new career opportunities
posted on Sunday, 11 April 2010 14:50

Dear Career Doctor,

I have an engineering degree and now working in electronic industry as a software engineer for about 8 years. It seems to me that the job market in this field is shrinking in HK so I'm thinking of switching to banking/finance in which the career prospect looks better at least in term of job opportunities and salary.

I believe that I'm interested in and strong at quantitative and programming skills which make me likely to be a good candidate for risk analyst so I'm planning to study another PG program in risk management and planning to achieve some professional qualifications such as FRM.

Here comes with my concerns and questions:

1. What do you think about the career prospect in risk management? Is it really better?

2. I'm 30 year old so do you think that it's easy to make a switch at this age?

3. I'm just wondering if I should study the course full-time to speed up the change. The advantage would be that I could pick up the relevant skills faster and have time to study for the professional exams. I believe that I'm currently reviewing the financial impact, the opportunities in risk management and if there is any chance that going back to my old field in case I fail to find job in my target field. What do you think about a break for study? Do you think it makes senses or completely ridiculous ?

Many thanks in advance.

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Anonymous's picture
Posted Monday, 26 April 2010 10:15 PM

Only top US B-schools might help, e.g. Yale, Stanford, MIT, Chicago etc. But you need extremely high GMAT to get in. It's a dream to study top B-school, but you have to make the dream come true for the study first, before the job interview.

Anonymous's picture
Posted Saturday, 24 April 2010 12:34 AM

Hi Passby,

Thank you very much for sharing your views and insight about the industry.

What do you think about a MBA degree? Would it be more helpful for switching to a new career, probably in banking / finance industry?


Career Doctor's picture
Career Doctor  
Posted Tuesday, 20 April 2010 04:04 PM

Do you know what a risk analyst job is about? How can you transfer your quantitative and programing skills to make you a qualified candidate I am very interested to learn, please educate me!

As to your question No. 1, who can guarantee you a better prospect in any job/industry? What kind of a world are we now living in? It's the word "CHANGE" that made Obama the first black President of the United States, isn't that enough to inspire you? And you're asking me a comparatively question, better as compared to what? In what terms?

Question No. 2, you're only 30, even if you're 50 or 60 you can still switch, but you need a clear direction and goal to help you achieve, or to be able to achieve and reach that goal.

Question No. 3, you can of course quit your job and go back to school studying full time, but that won't do magic! Just that degree itself, whatever degree it is, can't take you to where you can't go now.

Instead of staying focused looking for alternatives leveraging on your valuable experience and knowledge you're wasting time day dreaming about a job you think you're of a good fit?

Sorry, I know you're only writing here wanting some career advices, don't mean to be harsh but it drives me mad seeing you young guys so clueless and unrealistic. No prospect for software engineers in HK? I can't comprehend, I really don't!

Anonymous's picture
Posted Tuesday, 20 April 2010 03:23 AM

The no. of openings in middle office (risk management) is very very few. Banks would love to hire more brokers and dealers to make profit, rather than hire more risk management persons to calculate the risks, 1-2 are enough, they don't need an army of FRM, but they need an army of dealers.

In London, they tend to hire PhD in Maths and Physics for trading and risk management, what PG program in HK can enable you to compete with PhD from UK universities or MBA from Ivy league schools in US, why you think will get you a job in ibank in HK with a HK PG program or FRM? Why they don't transfer someone from States or from London? It's ok to try if you are before 25, but not 30s, banks don't take extremely old graduates (>30s) with nil experience at all. They want bright and glamour graduates, not those who face setback in career during their middle ages.

Anonymous's picture
Posted Thursday, 15 April 2010 04:05 AM

The chance is not slim, but almost zero.

Your electronic background is totally irrelevant to the banks (bank doesn't want people from manufacturing), and software engineering has nothing to do with risk management. HK banks will prefer fresh grad (younger) than you if you both have academic qualification only.

However, it will be easier to get into financial planning positions in international financial centre like HK.

Anonymous's picture
Posted Monday, 12 April 2010 05:07 PM

I think your prospect of getting into risk analysis is slim because of a lack of relevant working experiences. If obtaining relevant academic qualifications had sufficed, many people would have succeeded in changing fields just by obtaining relevant qualifications.

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