How Can I Get the Finance Job I Want in China?

Dear Work Coach,

I like your blog very much and I have some problem. I hope to get help
and advice from you.

I live in China. I am major in management which is the most difficult to find a job. While in college I have learned the same course as MBA in China. After graduation I find it is very hard to get a job with my major so I enter into a company to do cost control and analyst also including some warehouse and logistics management. The first job is from my relatives who help me and introduce me into the food and beverage industry. But after one year work I find that it is not my favourite so I choose to find another job.

While in my university I learned a lot about finance and do something
to enhance my ability in computer and quantitative field. Also I know
English is very important so I improve my English greatly. After one month waiting I find a job which is the assistant of the CFO in a
small business which is going to do IPO in NASDAQ and at first I like
it because it can make me to use all the financial knowledge about
finance, but after some time I find it is only a translator position. I
could not do any thing except translation. Till now I find that I could
not obtain anything from my job.

Nowadays I am thinking how to make my next step better. I think I have
already waste lots of time. I must decide to do something for my
future.

MBA is a dream of me when I was young but now I find it is not easy
for me because the cost is very high and good background is required. I
can not afford it and my experience is very plain. If I choose to get a
MBA I must choose the best business school but I can not have enough
to pay for it also I do not have brilliant working background, so I
dropped it now and I think maybe I will try it again in future when I
have meet the requirement of it.

I hope to get some certification and I guess it may help me to get a
profession position. For example ACCA or CICPAor CFA. Although they
cost high but I think I can afford it.

Still now I do not know how to develop and what should I do about how
to set the career goal for me. I think now I still do not have a good
career goal.

My interest is finance and management. As for finance, I like to do
something in the investment bank but I know it is very hard. I do not
have the background that the IB need. And in china most positions about
finance require the candidates should major in law, finance or
accounting. Management is a hot major but so hard. Also I like to be a
consultant, but I do not know if it is fit for me.

Could you give me some advice? So many thanks.

B

***

Hi B!

Thank you for the kind words about my blog. I can understand how frustrating this must be for you.

I wish I could offer you brilliant advice that fits your needs exactly, but unfortunately I am not an expert in business practices in China. Barely an expert here in the United States! 🙂

Figure out what you really want and set your career goals

You are right. Your first step is to figure out what you really want and set your career goals. It’s hard to ask others for help or look for a job when you yourself still aren’t sure. Otherwise you might just go from job to job, expecting something that isn’t there and never finding what you want.

Many of us don’t know what we really want until we’ve tried a few things, so don’t feel bad that you’re still unsure. But it helps to take some time to really think about your skills and interests and see what might match YOU.

You seem to have an idea about investment banking, but I’m not sure you know what that means on an everyday basis. Exactly which parts of it interest you? Financial analyst? Underwriter? Trader? Deal maker? System designer? Risk analyst? Many more possibilities. It would help to do some research and figure out which part most fits you.

A situation like yours might best be helped by a local mentor or coach, someone to guide you. Do you know any professors or former employers who might offer ideas and assistance? Do you have relatives who could offer good advice? There’s also a book here that helps people look at these very things. Not sure if it would help you, but I mention it anyway. It’s called What Color Is Your Parachute?

Meet with people to get career information

Once you have some ideas, find ways to meet with people just to get information. It will help you learn more about what kind of jobs there are that you might qualify for. Here we call them informationals. You meet with the person just for information – not to ask for a job. This helps you plan where to look and also sometimes they have suggestions for other people for you to meet with. Networking (talking to people you know or people in the industry or anyone who can help) is a great way to find a job.

How do you get yourself these informational meetings? Not sure if it’s true in China, but here your best bet is to start with people you know, including that former professor or employer. Anyone who might help. Here we also look for conferences or public meetings where we can meet people in the field and try to arrange a short meeting. Or sometimes, we just use the internet, find some names, and write to them politely.

The main goal is to explore some of the things you think you want and learn more about them. You current boss would be a good person to think about asking. Part of your own self-education. You might be surprised what you’ll learn from him if you ask him for his advice.

Speaking of your current boss…have you sat down with him and explained all this to him carefully, telling him what you want? Would that be at all possible? Maybe if he understood, he could help you work toward that goal in your present company. If there’s going to be an IPO, there could be tremendous growth coming. just because your work today seems boring, doesn’t mean three years from now there might not be exciting opportunities. And you’re at the ground floor (the beginning of something that’s growing, like a new business)!

You have to spend time “paying your dues” (as we say here), but usually if a company sees talent, they help you work toward better things. And sometimes (later on) they even help pay for your MBA (at least in this country). Good to make sure of your current situation and its possibilities for the future before you look elsewhere. You never know. A smart businessperson looks for opportunity wherever they are!

And if your boss still needs you to do what you’re doing, maybe you can come up with a project to suggest that you take on in addition. It will show your ingenuity and resourcefulness. And your determination. The worst he can say is no. And if he does, just try again in a few months. If you are polite, positive and enthusiastic each time, eventually he may give you that chance!

Also, you say your relatives helped introduce you to the food and beverage industry, but you didn’t like what you were doing. Any chance you maybe left too soon? Having connections like that can be very helpful. Was there a way to move up there? I know it takes time and it’s hard to do a boring job, but the kind of experience you were getting in logistics and warehouse management could actually at some point transfer elsewhere, for example in the banking industry. How? As a lending officer or analyst you get trained to analyze some of those very things using ratios. Inside knowledge is a plus.  Each thing in business can lead to something else.

We just need to give 100% and look for how to add extra value wherever we are – like creating new systems and processes that save money and add efficiency. Who knows…from that job you could have realized a whole new software product that revolutionizes the industry.

Now I’m not telling you to go back. That’s only an example. Just want you to understand that a strong business person can often find opportunity even in the most unlikely and boring places. I want you to remember that idea for the rest of your career, even if it doesn’t quite fit the situation now.

But let’s assume that you have no interest in that field and you are sure of that. Good. One thing to eliminate. So now where do you look?

After you’ve spent some time thinking about what you really want to do, besides the normal routes, you might look to see if there are any training programs with Chinese companies or international companies. Or maybe even a big consulting firm. Your language skills could be a big plus for an international firm.  Many large companies have training programs that expose you to various areas. This might be good for you. I was part of a bank training program that was excellent.

Education is key to your career goals

Now, if you tell me you can’t do any of this because you don’t have the right degrees, then your best bet is to work hard where you are (while trying to find ways to grow there too) and, no matter how hard or how long it takes, you get that degree you need. It’s worth the effort now to open up new opportunities for yourself. Figure out whether it’s a degree or certification you want, and don’t let anything stop you! Make that a commitment to yourself.

Good luck, B! Please let us know what you decide.

Ronnie Ann

***

For more on how you can make the most of a work situation:

20 Tips to Help Move Your Career Ahead

 

About the author…

Ronnie Ann, founder of Work Coach Cafe, bases her real-world advice on her many years as an organizational consultant where she helped interview and hire people, added to a certificate from NYU in Career Planning & Development and her own adventures as a serial job seeker. She can also be found on her new blog, and on Google+.

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