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Which way should I go?
posted on Wednesday, 31 August 2011 12:21

I was graduated from a local university 8 years ago, major in Econ/ Finance, and now working in a bank’s middle office as a lending product development officer. I would like to have a movement now to enhance my exposure and so that I can climb up to managerial position in near future.

I have several options now:

1. Switch to Risk Management. Although I have focused on lending products these years, it seems not easy for me to enter this field as a manager without solid experience. A junior position may be the only way for me to enter this field

2. Stay in the product development field but switch to other bank product. 
Title and position would be almost the same as current one. I wonder if this is a clever idea as my knowledge on lending product would become irrelevant, however, I can enhance my exposure to a different product.

3. Stay in current position and try my best to get promotion in near future

Pls give me any advice!

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Stan Ho - Career Doctor's picture
Stan Ho - Career Doctor  
Posted Thursday, 03 November 2011 07:08 PM

Dear Ying

Thanks for your three questions. Let me try answering them one by one:

Switching to Risk Management

Risk management is a completely different area from product development. Besides, risk management itself has different specialisations including credit risk, market risk and operational risk, each of which requires very different knowledge and skill sets. For instance, credit risk professionals working at banks need to have solid accounting and industry knowledge so that they can access the counterparty risks, while operational risk professionals need to have good background in business continuity and procedures and systems. All these are very specialised fields which your current background will not fit in.

Besides, it is wrong to assume that you can switch to another field if you go for a junior position in that field. In fact, employers looking for junior candidates without experience would go to universities to target the young, smart and hungry graduates from the top universities, rather than a 30-year old person coming from a completely different background. The only exceptions are those who go to the top MBA programs in the US and Europe, work as summer associates in an industry different from their pre-MBA jobs, and then leverage both the MBA and summer internship to switch careers upon graduation.

Staying in Product Development but Switching to Other Bank Products

What other products will you cover? What are the growth prospects for those other products? Does covering those other products require additional skill sets like statistical and/or legal knowledge? How are you compared to the product development colleagues covering those other products? All these questions need to be thoroughly considered and answered, before you really move away from your current lending coverage to other product coverage. In fact, I would suggest keeping the existing coverage on lending (which should be your core expertise) but incrementally adding additional product coverage to the extent possible. This may result in longer working hours or workload, but can give you both downside protection (with your current coverage) and upside potential (with any new coverage).

Status Quo

How can staying in the current position lead to any future promotion? In other words, if you were the boss, why would you promote someone who has been doing the same job for ages? I would not suggest staying in the current position without adding any new responsibilities.

Anonymous's picture
Posted Wednesday, 21 September 2011 01:31 PM

Dear Ying

I am sorry but have to say that it needs pretty exceptional good performance to climb up to a mgt post in 8 years. Having said that, I am of the view that it is no need asking for any advices as it is common (and necessary) to look for better pay (and with promotion in grade) job while you are doing the current one. So just keep looking for posts that you are interested in (and capable to do) while doing the existing one. I don't think you will accept an offer without a higher pay, or without any promotion in grade.

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