Panel Discussion: Building a successful career in Financial Services


Contributed by: Abhishek Dhall CFA

Panelists: Kazi Arif Uz Zaman, MD, Private Equity, Everstone Capital; Anuj Ahuja, Head, Valuations Practice, Barclays; Harish Chander, Director, Investment Consulting, AON Specialist Services; Ram Venkatramani, Director, Thomas White International; 

Moderator: Vidhu Shekar CFA

After a lively and candid discussion in Bengaluru by the senior human resources and business leaders on the Role of educational qualifications, and importance of augmenting one’s qualification”, the second session brought together an even more vivid set of panellists who shared their thoughts on “Building a successful career in financial services”. Moderated by Vidhu Shekhar who is the Country Head, India for CFA Institute, the discussion focused on exploring how CFA designation can help the candidates in pursuing a successful career in financial services.

Our first panellist, Kazi Arif Uz Zaman who is MD, Private Equity at Everstone Capital shared how the CFA curriculum helped him, especially early on his career in understanding the various micro and macro factors which impact the valuation of financial securities. Kazi also advised the CFA candidates looking to kick start their career in finance in India to not just focus on roles with buy-side firms but to also explore the various positions offered by sell-side firms given the fact that sell-side firms (and the sell-side opportunities available) currently outnumber buy-side firms in India.

Agreeing with the thoughts put forth by Kazi, our second panellist Anuj Ahuja, who heads the Valuation practise at Barclays India, shared how the CFA curriculum helped him in enhancing fixed income valuation processes at his firm. Drawing on his rich global experience, Anuj stressed upon the role of networking by advising the audience and young CFA candidates to seize the initiative to network at events and to develop soft skills which would help in striking meaningful ice-breaker conversations with employers.

Our third panellist, Harish Chander who is Director, Investment Consulting at AON Specialist Services took the discussion forward by sharing his thoughts on how to land the elusive “first” job in financial services after completing the CFA exams. He said that contrary to popular belief, his firm and many other firms are open to hiring lateral candidates with experience in industries other than financial services provided the candidates have the clarity of thought on why they want to change industries and start a fresh career in financial services.

Our last panellist, Ram Venkatramani who is a Director at Thomas White International, emphasized the role of networking by stating that almost 2/3rd of the hires at his frim are via referrals. Talking about the importance of the CFA curriculum he stressed that the same provides a great structure to analyse the equity markets and to understand the business drivers for various sectors and industries.

The quality of the engaging session can be judged by the fact that the panellists were seen continuing to answer audience questions well after the discussion was completed.


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