How to avoid "organ rejection" when you transition to fintech
Making the big leap from banking into the world of fintech can be daunting. Working in "tradfi" gives you plenty of skills, but they may not be as relevant as you think. Global head of fintech at headhunting and organizational consulting firm Kornferry in New York, Deepali Vyas, says you need some things more than others if you're to avoid “organ rejection” when you transplant yourself into fintech.
Firstly, successful fintech candidates are “entrepreneurial,” says Vyas. When fintechs hire ex-bankers, she says they want to see that have had a strategy and, "executed it with good results."
This is because fintechs are currently run with a bottom-up perspective. Teams are smaller and more focused, and there's a greater sense of accountability. If you're thinking of moving from banking to fintech, Vyas says you should ask yourself, “Have I run my unit like a CEO?” This applies particularly to PnL management.
If you want to work in fintech, you'll need to be comfortable with data as a tool in decision-making. “The data that you work on will determine what strategy you go into,” says Vyas.
Show risk appetite
Another key question to ask is “how much of a risk appetite do I have?”
Moving to fintech isn't necessarily for people who want a sedate life. Pay is typically skewed away from salary and in favor of stock options and those options will fall if valuations plummet. Vyas says the ideal candidate is one who is happy to take this risk in their stride.
Choose jobs adjacent to your current role
Fintech is about technology, but some jobs are more technical than others. Vyas says that “payments, crypto and digital assets" jobs lean towards hiring people with technology backgrounds. However, “fintechs that are in more traditional capital markets lean towards traditional finance because they need that institutional knowledge, so it's a kind of two-thirds, one-third split."
Know how to code
In many roles, some level of coding ability will help. Vyas says Python and SQL will stand you in good stead. So will, “being data literate in financial strategies, data research, data science, data visualization and tableau."
Show you are high conviction, high delivery
Perhaps most important of all is conviction. “If you have high conviction about what you’ve done in your current role, if you believe you can do things, and deliver on your milestones, you can write your own resume and write your own compensation path,” says Vyas.
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