Innovating Across Industries
A Day in the Life
Published: Thursday, December 9, 2010
Updated: Thursday, December 9, 2010 16:12
Wuen-E Hank Chang
How did you get hired: I took the opportunity to develop some independent consulting work on weekends. A friend from college connected me with an entrepreneur for a short summer project, and that same entrepreneur connected back with me a couple years later when he had become a VP in MetLife's Investment division. You never know what kind of job will lead to something better in the future, so do your best at each one.
Why you chose the company: A great opportunity to get into the financial industry, lots of derivatives knowledge, a good reputation for benefits and training. But most of all, I liked every person in the group that I worked and interviewed with. I'm very much an advocate of liking the people you work with – you see them more than family, sometimes.
Please describe a typical day: Starts pre-market (7:00 AM) to get on my emails and do some project work before the daily interruptions of meetings, calls, and requests start to hit my desk. The news starts to hit the wire, changing derivatives markets within a blink of the eye at times. Portfolio managers, lines of business, auditors, and more people request trades, analysis, scenarios, and reports. The day winds down after the futures market slows at 6pm (or as long as it takes to finish).
What do you love most about your job? There is never a dull moment with derivatives – plenty to learn, high scrutiny, and demanding markets across the world. It is a growing field that has plenty of room to refine modeling and best practices, and develop new, complex solutions and products.
On the job challenges: Well, where to pick up lunch from is probably the hardest non-market decision of the day. The greatest challenge is to develop, track, and analyze an accurate, adequate risk hedging program.
What is the one class at Stern that you find the most helpful towards your role? The accounting introduction has actually introduced me to a whole new side how our investments work. I'm also looking forward to Decision Models and Valuations.
Things you would advise your colleagues that would like to join the industry: For derivatives trading, networking is key, especially as the derivatives industry is a small one. Investments in an insurance company in general are a much broader spectrum of asset and liability classes; associates are expected to bring in experience with finance and the broader your skill set, the better. A good attitude (people fit), strong skills in math & finance, and an open mind to learning are useful, too.
Management Consulting: Global Strategic Sourcing
How did you get hired: I was looking to make the transition from a large established consulting firm to a fast-growing mid-sized firm. A detailed LinkedIn profile got the attention of several recruiters, which led to many interviews, and finally the job I was looking for.
Why you chose the company: ICG Commerce was a fast-growing company focused in the strategic sourcing field who had several marquee clients despite being relatively new to the industry. The people I interviewed with were intelligent, ambitious and very upbeat about the company's future.
Please describe a typical day: My day typically begins at 8:00 AM with internal team meetings where we connect the dots between data analyses and our market research and experience to make strategic recommendations to our clients. We also have several negotiation sessions with potential suppliers for our clients. A couple of times a month, I visit my clients either to make final recommendation presentations or to lead joint negotiation sessions.
What do you love most about your job? As a Global Sourcing Lead, I manage project teams and clients across different continents. Our projects are seldom identical, yet every project is a new learning experience which can be applied to a future project. Our projects also implement tangible change and seeing the results of our efforts impact high profile companies is fulfilling.
On the job challenges: As a Consultant, you are hired to bring new ideas and processes to a company. Unfortunately, a lot of people are resistant to change especially when it involves going against something they have believed for years. It is always an uphill task to convince seasoned veterans to change the way they think and accept different solutions.
What is the one class at Stern that you find the most helpful towards your role? Business Communications and Negotiations. The Supply-Chain Management & Global Sourcing concentration.
Things you would advise your colleagues that would like to join the industry: This industry is as much about establishing relationships, building trust and managing expectations with clients and suppliers alike as it is about quantitative analysis and strategic thinking. If you don't consider yourself a ‘people person', if you aren't comfortable being assertive or if humongous amounts of data intimidate you, this field isn't for you.
Vitech Systems Group Inc.
How did you get hired: I found my job at Vitech (Mar'07) through a friend, who introduced me to the recruiter at the company.