Sticking With Passion

Posted by: Francesca Di Meglio on April 14, 2009

With the economy in turmoil, many MBA graduates are finding the job search tough going. To give readers some insight into the strategies they’re pursuing and the difficulties they face, BusinessWeek has recruited four out-of-work MBAs to write about their experiences for a new feature called “The Hunt” that will appear periodically on the Getting In blog. Comments, as always, are welcome.

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By Juan Manuel Meneses Buchanan
I have not changed the idea of my dream job because of the recent financial events, but I have reflected on my future and the future of banking. I know that financial services will still be needed in the future. The questions that keep me awake at night are about which industries and products will survive this storm.

How can I know if the elective courses I’m taking are worth it or will soon be considered dead languages? On the other hand, one thing that has changed for sure is people’s perception of investment bankers. Those who used to be glamorous and well-regarded are now labeled as the reason for the whole financial crisis. Still, there’s a positive outcome, too. Now that investment banking has lost its gloss, only those who truly enjoy the field will try to enter it.

In my case, after working in different roles and industries, I happened to understand that I am truly passionate about capital markets. The fast-paced, highly challenging environment motivates me to be the best that I can be.

During the 10 weeks I spent in London at a summer internship at Lehman Brothers, I was able to experience firsthand how the financial world operates. For me, it was the most incredible experience to be either on the equity or the fixed income trading floors with thousands of traders looking for every possible market in the world.

My internship was like a movie with noise everywhere and billions of dollars being traded. At the same time it was a challenging environment because I know that the people sitting and shouting in front of me were the best of the best in what they do. What I will always remember and take to other jobs is that even if it looks disorganized and crazy, it was a highly interconnected environment with many procedures and rules that have to be followed. Still, it was as dynamic and fast paced as it could be. That experience touched me deeply, and it keeps me looking for a role that is closely related to capital markets.

Now it’s hard for me to think about giving up that dream job. In developed markets the opportunities are practically nonexistent, but developing markets are still attracting talent. Even though the markets are not as big and as fancy as Ney York or London, they have special features, such us higher spreads and the possibility to implement new products in those markets, which make them attractive.

Going into this job search, I had two options: Aim for my dream job in other regions or give up, leverage my previous experience in finance, and seek a position in my previous industry. I couldn’t give up my dream so easily, so I’m focusing on Latin American markets and hoping the market will generate opportunities.

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