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Chirag Gandhi is an IITB alumnus from the department of Metallurgical Engineering and Material Science, batch of 2017. He had been working with Credit Suisse at the time of answering this questionnaire.

Disclaimer:

The above answers were drafted at 2.50AM. Thus, please consider them with fistfuls of salt. The views expressed are solely of the author and do not reflect the views of any of the companies or entities listed in the answers.

What made you choose the finance sector amid many rising non-engineering fields?

Ans: As someone in the second year with a heavy dose of information asymmetry of industries, I was simply intrigued by the way Finance affected me in various facets of life. These include taking loans on personal assets, trading stocks, insurance products so on. In retrospection, none of these align with what one does on a daily basis, but a curiosity of knowing how they work is a good starting point to check your interest.

How did you stay motivated and stick to finance? Were there any instances where you had second thoughts regarding other sectors? If yes, please mention it in short.

Ans: I figured out the areas other than finance that interest me. They struck me as desire to know trends in innovation, wanting to guide/mentor people and learning business fundamentals. I spotted Venture Capital industry at the intersection of these and will be pursuing just that.

Could you mention in a good detail, about the kind of work you do?

Ans: Credit Suisse is a Swiss-based Investment Bank. It goes without saying that it puts a lot of emphasis on compliance, client trust, security and risk.

The work culture at the firm (specifically, risk team) is very open. Employees are usually nurtured and mentored to take up complete ownership of their work. The firm culture is averse to spoon-feeding and encourages employees to take up initiatives at work. The working time varies from team to team, but the fluctuating amount and kind of deliverables dictate the duration and interval. On average days, employees generally have a 11AM to 8PM shift.

The skills one needs to succeed at roles in Financial Risk Analysis are usually a mix of i) technical skills, ii) knowledge of financial products, risk methodologies, terminologies and standards and iii) the ability to balance interests of multiple stakeholders.

Describing my role at the firm, it is researching, devising and fine-tuning methodology to capture the economic risk of illiquid investments (think Private Equity, early-stage deals, Joint Venture) of Credit Suisse portfolio globally. The usual cycle is to come up with a new model or adjustment to existing model, propose it to the validation team (second line of defense) for approval, present in the Methodology Steering Committee (a meeting of 20+ super senior members) for approval and work alongside the technical team for its implementation in the system. In more ways than one, the role is pretty similar to that of a Product Manager at a startup.

How close does your profile (1 / 2 years ago) match with the work you are doing right now?

Ans: A year later, the profile exactly matches the kind of responsibilities taken up at work.

What are some exit options (MS, startup, something else)? What comes after availing of these ptions?

Ans: In my knowledge, most young analysts in the Risk domain usually exit to one of these:

  1. Risk roles in other investment banks -> Career growth in Risk
  2. Masters in Mathematics, Quantitative Finance, Financial Engineering and like -> Research/Trading/Analytics roles
  3. MBA in Indian B-Schools
  4. Sell-side roles: Equity research, Credit research, Investment Banking -> MBA
  5. Buy-side roles: Venture Capital, Private Equity -> MBA

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