Today I went for a Meet & Greet held for candidates of the Management Associates Program at Café Bisou, Asian Heritage Row. I would probably not have gone if Eza hadn’t put her foot down and vowed not to go, and if Charlie hadn’t made me. When the program coordinator first approached me and asked if the recruitment company could conduct a mini-interview about working for a bank and get it all down on camera for the program’s publicity, I was extremely apprehensive; being three weeks old in the company, what would I know about working here, aside from just the things I do everyday? Fortunately, the mini-interview was only a few minutes long, and Eza, being only two weeks older in the company than I am, was pulled into it at the last minute, so the few minutes split between us saved us from having to yank things out of our asses.
Then today, at the Meet & Greet, which was split into two 2-hour sessions, the employees of the company had to talk to the candidates in little groups, speed-dating-style. And because Charlie was in the end indisposed due to a sinus attack, I ended up staying for both sessions and had to talk about my division and what it does, which was unnerving because again the question arose: I’m new, what do I know apart from what I do everyday?
Enough to get aspiring investment bankers interested in corporate communications, apparently.
Today was the first time I began to realize the magnitude of my job scope, simply because I was talking about it. In spite, or maybe because, of all the running around and just focusing on getting one thing done after another without botching it, I never had the time to sit quietly and think about what I’ve learned in the last three weeks. If caught off-guard, I might not have been able to tell anyone what the other teams in the division did, or even were. But today, as I talked and talked about how my team deals with the media and the press, and how the other teams handle sponsorship, advertising, events and Corporate Social Responsibility, and how the division as a whole deals with every single person they work with, for and around, I found that one second to think, Wait… I have learnt something.
Admittedly I was also quite abashed by the candidates, who ranged from being extremely laidback to being open-minded to being driven to the point of trying too hard. They all knew what they wanted to do (mostly investment banking at that), they knew where they could see themselves in five years — managing roles of some sort, as opposed to me just seeing mysef doing well in whatever job or field I happen to be in (which incidentally was an answer that worked very well on Charlie during my interview) — and they knew why they wanted to be in the banking industry. Regardless of the possibility that they could change their minds about what they want to do after being in the program for some time, at least they knew. I, on the other hand, just happened to fall into this job when I wasn’t even actively searching for one, which sometimes makes me feel like I’m in need of a good kick in the pants when I’m teetering on the edge of a lull.
That’s not to say that I may or may not have found It. I don’t know if this is just beginner’s luck or the novelty of trying something new and actually relevant to what I graduated in, but I actually do like my job. It’s absolutely nothing like what I did back in the States, which I also loved, but the dynamics of how I feel about both jobs are vastly different. I loved being in social services and training to teach because I knew I was doing something to help people, and I like what I do now because of what I get to learn every day, in the hopes of being able to impart that knowledge onto someone else just as eager to learn.
In an industry that has to move and evolve as fast as, if not faster than, the world does, that there will always be new and bigger things to learn. I might never learn them all, no matter how much I do, but at least I won’t have to, if ever, say that this is ‘just another job’. For now, I know who the best person in the Credit Cards Division to speak to is, when to give the PR answer and when to just shut up, who to send press releases to knowing that they won’t end up in the trash, that the corporate logo is no longer in reverse-white printing, and who appreciates candor and who needs to be coddled, among many many other things.
Oh, and in Malaysia, it’s not ‘investment banking’. It’s ‘corporate finance’, which is a small part of investment banking.
Even I know that now.