Specialist Markets: Graduate Area of Work

Developing expertise in a particular sector and client base is part of a graduate’s job in specialist markets.
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Specialist market teams are usually experts of their fields, ranging from healthcare to technology and energy. Their tasks encompass quite a broad area, from assisting clients in specialised sectors with investment and financing strategies, to mergers and acquisitions (M&A) between companies within a certain sector.

Depending on the size of the organisation that you join, you may be required to deal with different volumes of financial products.

Bigger organisations may cater to a whole range of sectors, thus dominating several niches at one time; whereas smaller boutique consultancies may instead focus on servicing several sectors within one specialist area.

A big part of this job lies in understanding both your clients’ businesses and the sector(s) they operate in, and then looking for a way to bridge these two.

It is necessary to start by recognising the wants and needs of your clients – the assets that they possess, their goals, and the steps that they are willing to take in order to achieve those goals – before you can give them specialist advice.

Career overview

Graduates starting out in this line usually begin with some training in the company’s products as well as general investment banking services. Specialist knowledge, on the other hand, will be picked up through accumulated experience on the job, as well as learning from more experienced seniors.

Depending on the size of your hiring organisation and the numbers of sectors that they cover, you may be rotated to service multiple sectors so as to gain a better understanding of how their products can be best applied to each one.

As a newcomer to the field, you will usually start off researching and preparing presentations and models for client meetings, as well as analysis of your clients’ companies.

Once you have progressed in your role, you may be asked to join in discussions to generate ideas and to provide financing solutions to clients. You may even be assigned as the person-in-charge during mergers and acquisitions once you have established yourself well enough in the company.

At more senior levels, members of specialist teams may even be called upon for expert consultation by CEOs or board members at client companies. 

Required skills

Sector-specific knowledge is most important for those who are working in this line. Having a holistic, comprehensive, up-to-date understanding of a sector’s inner workings will determine your success in this line of work.

Due to the importance of such knowledge, most organisations will want to hire graduates who demonstrate the ability to absorb information quickly.

The learning curve is usually steep (particularly at the beginning of your career) due to the sheer amount of highly-specialised knowledge you’ll need to pick up in a relatively short amount of time.

Being flexible and possessing an enthusiastic yet level-headed nature will also stand you in good stead. Most hiring managers will appreciate those who are willing to work hard and are eager to take the initiative to look for opportunities.

Good communication skills are also necessary for this job, as you have to be able to convey your message clearly to your clients.

Ups and downs

You may encounter demanding clients who are unwilling to go the extra mile for their goals but still expect superior results, or customers who are reluctant to take your advice. Patience is imperative under such conditions, and so are tact and diplomacy.

Working hours may also be unpredictable as each project will have a different deadlines andpeak periods.

Nonetheless, working in a specialist markets team is a great way to build a wealth of contacts and knowledge that will serve you well if you intend to become an expert in financial services for a particular sector.

This is a great line of work to start off in if you plan to branch out into a consultancy career sometime in the future.