Some of Morgan Stanley’s recruits knew nothing about banking when they started college and often had other career plans. Why did they switch gears?
“You don’t start your freshman year [in college or university] thinking, ‘I want to have a banking career, so I guess I’ll study the history of North African Tribes’,” says 23-year old Lauren. “I didn’t know much about the industry and didn’t think it’s where I would end up because it’s not where I thought a degree in history would lead to.”
So what is she doing as an Analyst at Morgan Stanley, on her first rotation through the various areas of the Firm’s Wealth Management division? “I realized that the analysis and research skills I enjoyed while studying history were actually the kind of skills banks look for and that I now get to use every single day as an analyst,” she says. Lauren’s story is similar to a few other Morgan Stanley recruits we interviewed – here's why they decided to make banking their first career path after graduating.
1. It’s Not Hollywood Style Wall Street
“When I was a freshman I thought people in banking must be super cutthroat and competitive. It’s hard to explain to family, friends, and peers that it’s actually extremely collaborative and friendly,” says Lauren. “Everything is team-oriented, so all of your team members genuinely want to go out of their way to help you become as active a team member as everyone else. You are by no means left to sink or swim and no one is standing on your shoulders to get ahead."
2. Bigger is Better
“Some of my friends joined startups because they think that you’re just a cog in the wheel at a bigger firm and it’ll take you years to actually make any kind of personal impact. The reality is the complete opposite,” says Gabrielle, an Analyst in Human Resources. “If my manager is away then I’ll be asked to step up to the plate and take the lead on certain parts of a project. You’re constantly getting opportunities to lead and present your opinions straight away, not years after you’ve been here. "
3. It’s Happening Real-Time
“I can’t think of another job where I would feel so directly connected with everything that’s going on in the world,” says Lawrence, a New York based Analyst trading options in Fixed Income. “What drew me to my job in trading was the fact that the major market-moving issues of the day — elections, war, economic turmoil — are my issues. My job is pricing options and trading volatility, so we have to react to news events in real time. It really gets the adrenaline pumping.”
4. It’s a Global, Not a Parochial World
“One of the great things about working at Morgan Stanley is that you’re so often dealing with clients around the world,” says Heather, an Associate in the London Equity Trading department. “I’ve just been in a meeting with a client from Singapore and this afternoon I’m going to our Latin American conference to meet more clients. I love how much each day can vary. One minute I’m looking at the investing thesis on a multinational; the next a client could call for our view on emerging market currencies and the next I could be working on a bespoke field trip.”
5. Dynamic Training
“The training programs at banks are intense. You end up with a skill set that you couldn’t get anywhere else, and is relevant for multiple industries and careers. You’re not expected to turn up on day one and know how to trade volatility — you learn all of that when you get here,” says Lauren. “I think banks look for people who are smart, well-educated, passionate team players with all of the necessary ‘soft skills,’ so you know how to apply the training you’re given and how to work with those around you.”
6. The Choice is Yours
“During your summer program you’re rotated to different areas so you learn more and get to see what you like best,” says Annabel, who works in Fixed Income Sales. “In the last two years within my full time role I’ve worked for different teams, including eight months in New York and now back in London. There are so many areas that make up one business. In Sales & Trading alone you have sales, trading, structuring and research, and the products range from interest rates to foreign exchange and credit to equities.”
7. You are an Investment
“Global banks don’t go through the trouble of giving you a paid internship and putting you through an entire training program, only so you can leave for another job,” says Gabrielle. “It’s in their interest to make sure you feel like you’re thriving in your career. At Morgan Stanley, at least, there’s a huge focus on mentoring and training throughout your career so you can advance from your initial apprenticeship. The focus isn’t just on your first few weeks; career development continues throughout your time at the Firm."