Is it possible to get a job in the financial sector without a finance degree? Yes, it is. And it is probably more in your favour than ever to have a different background. Diversity is a hot topic and not only when it comes to gender, but also when it comes to background.
Noa Zijlmans, our Delft representative, studied Technology, Policy and Management and came in contact with the world of finance. But why should you consider a job in the financial sector with a tech background and how can your technical background be of use? These are the questions we get a lot from our members in Delft, so our Team of representatives in Delft decided to interview Noa. Because you can’t be it if you can’t see it.
From studying at the Technical University Delft, to doing an internship in Investment Banking in Amsterdam
Name: Noa Zijlmans
Education: BSc Bachelor Technology, Policy and Management @ TU Delft
– Awareness Committee at Yes!Delft Students
– Investment Banking Internship at Barclays in Amsterdam
– Private Equity internship (Starting May 2022)
First things first, where did it all begin?
Noa: “Besides doing a minor in Finance at Delft University of Technology, I did not have any experience in the financial sector before I applied for my first internship in Investment Banking. However, it did start during my minor, when an event with ten prominent investment banks was promoted. I decided to participate.”
“During this event we had to solve a case and I got the chance to get to know the Barclays team. I really enjoyed this day, became enthusiastic about the company and decided to apply for the internship.”
And you got the internship! What do you like most about Investment Banking?
Noa: “The industry is high-paced and focussed on obtaining good results. This creates a challenging working environment in which you gain a lot of skills during a short period of time.”
What were your main responsibilities?
Noa: “My main responsibilities were, doing company specific research, preparing materials for presentations/pitches and some financial modeling.”
Why would you recommend Investment Banking to other technical students?
Noa : “There aren’t many sectors where you can challenge yourself to this extent whilst learning so much in a short period of time. Also, it might be an interesting shift from all the technical stuff you learn at university.”
“There aren’t many sectors where you can challenge yourself to this extent whilst learning so much in a short period of time.”
What is according to you the biggest difference between finance and the technical sector? And was your technical background useful in any way?
Noa: “In my opinion, there is more emphasis on presenting the end result in the financial sector. Therefore you will spend a lot of time in Powerpoint as an investment banking intern. Furthermore, the math is much easier ;)”
“And yes my technical background was definitely valuable. Analytical skills gained during my studies were very useful. Besides that, technical knowledge was helpful for researching some specific (technical) companies and understanding their business model.”
We are also curious: What were your main challenges coming from a technical background (and how did you overcome these)?
Noa: “In the beginning I was a bit thrown off by some of the technical terms and methods. However, everyone was very willing to help me out with this. Also, self study materials were very useful. And you learn a lot on the way!”
“And before applying I did my research and talked to people who had already done a comparable internship. Therefore I knew what to expect. When applying for an internship I would definitely recommend to do the same!”
What are your plans after the internship? Are you planning on continuing your career in finance?
“At the end of my Investment Banking internship I was looking into new opportunities. I had been interested in Private Equity for quite some time and decided to undertake action. This led to an interview with Bridgepoint. During a coffee meeting we hit it off and I decided to apply for the internship. After having done the interview, I can excitedly say that I will start as a PE intern with Bridgepoint in May.”
“Analytical skills gained during my studies were very useful. Besides that, technical knowledge was helpful for researching some specific (technical) companies and understanding their business model.”
Interviewer: Elisabeth Brzesowsky