Vault Q&A: Analyst, UBS Investment Bank

by Derek Loosvelt | March 10, 2009

Name of Employee: Wouter Kneepkens
Title: Analyst-- 1st year
Department/Division: Investment Banking Division (IBD)
Location (city): London
Number of years at firm: One.
Number of years in current role: One
Degree (s): International Baccaleurate of Science in Business Administration, MSc in finance and investment, MSc in Control and Financial management, LLM -- a financial law masters. Studied at ERASMUS University in Rotterdam, the Netherlands.


How did you first decide to enter your industry? What first attracted you?
It started with campus events in Rotterdam where I got to meet [representatives from] a number of the major banks, and from then onwards I started collecting more information and visiting as many of these events as I could. That was how I got more and more interested at each step and that led me to applying. I did an internship in Amsterdam at Barclays and afterwards, while I was still studying, I kept working there part-time (as an investment banker) and then I switched to London.

What are the typical education requirements? What skills and/or experience are important for success?
The minimum is a Bachelors degree, which holds up for my UK peers, but a lot of my continental colleagues have Masters degrees. The subject people study doesn't matter at all. I myself have a financial background however I've worked on teams here in the UK, particularly with colleagues from the UK, who have a Master of Arts or even a Bachelor of Arts in something like history. It's the academic level that matters and not subject.

What is the typical career path in your industry?
Typically in investment banking, you would be starting out as an analyst. That would usually be for three years. From then onwards some people might do an MBA. Or if they stay, they would turn into an associate. At UBS you would turn into an associate director. That would be for another three years after which you get promoted to executive director and then stay in that role for another two years until you get to managing director status. That is what I would see as a typical path.

At UBS you are meant to rotate, so after one and a half to two years we are all meant to rotate to another team. It could be in the same division. And this rotation is applicable to all UBS investment bank analysts from the IB division. You could also do an international rotation. For example a colleague of mine from Holland went to New York on a rotation. International opportunities exist.

What is the best part of your job?
The best part of my job is winning a pitch, announcing or closing a deal. Those are the things you've often been working towards for weeks months and even years. You put a lot of effort into that, so winning is very rewarding.

What is your least favourite part of your job?
Everyone has heard the horror stories. It can take long hours, weekend work -- these types of things -- to get the deals done. The long hours can have a big impact on your social life. On one hand it is fun because our work is unpredictable, but on the other hand it makes planning very difficult.

How relevant is your education to what you are doing today?
I have a financial background so it is pretty relevant in the day-to-day work.

Can you offer any advice to graduates seeking a career in your industry?
Talk to a lot of people. Try and meet as many people as you can. And see if you like them, if they like you and if there is a match. See if what makes them tick also makes you tick. That is very important as you will be working with these people on these deals. Once you know you are interested, then preparation and coming across interested is important. Read about the bank, read about some deals and make sure that you are prepared for your interviews.

Filed Under: Finance


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