On the job with an Analyst, Debt Capital Markets at UBS

GradAustralia met with Christopher Harvey to learn about life as a Analyst, Debt Capital Markets at UBS.
Erin Delaney
Team GradAustralia
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Christopher Harvey studied a Bachelor of Laws and Bachelor of Commerce at The University of Western Australia and graduated in 2015

What do you do day-to-day?

UBS acts as a financial intermediary performing a variety of services for a variety of clients. The Debt Capital Markets team provides advice to clients regarding a range of funding options across a variety of markets. As an analyst, I crunch the data that supports the team's ideas while preparing the material we present to clients.

DCM is quite a specialised product area of the investment bank — one that was not exactly covered by a university degree. Accordingly, I’ve found that while university provided me with a useful skill base, most of my learning has come while on the job. This, I think, is not limited only to DCM but applies across investment banking more broadly.

What's your background?

Born and raised in Perth, I spent the majority of my life out west. After finishing high school I spent a phenomenal gap year in Malaysia on a Rotary Youth Exchange. During this time I decided a law/commerce combination would be an interesting experience and started at the University of WA in 2009. These two degrees complemented each other nicely and provided me with a broad range of options from which to choose a future career path. During my time at university I also enjoyed two exchanges to Copenhagen and Milan. I 100% recommend exchange to everyone — you make lifelong friends and have the time of your life. During my studies I also completed a number of internships in law and finance firms before applying to UBS for the 2014/15 summer internship period. Following my internship, I accepted a full-time role with UBS that commenced at the beginning of 2016.

Could someone with a different background do your job?

Absolutely. Although a degree in finance provides a useful base of understanding, applicants with a whole variety of degrees/backgrounds can be successful in investment banking. The finance knowledge can be taught – what is (more) important is having genuine interest, a great attitude and being proactive.

What's the coolest thing about your job?

Working in product team, much of my work is market-focused. This translates into a very dynamic and fast-paced role where markets are constantly creating new opportunities we can present to clients. Deals are also fast paced — we can be contacted by a client mere hours before they want to launch a transaction. I also really enjoy the significant client interaction that comes with the DCM role – this builds on the general push within UBS to increase/enhance the exposure of juniors to clients.

What are the limitations of your job?

Investment banking is as much about knowledge as it is about attitude and perseverance. The hours can be long and, yes, weekends are not sacred. The learning curve is steep and there are numerous concepts to learn. However, you will be supported by a great team capable of guiding you through all the complexity the graduate world brings — helping you forge a set of skills that you will use throughout your career.

Best piece of advice for keen students

  • University is important, but not that important. Enjoy the relaxed schedule and related social aspects.
  • Student exchange is one of the best things you can experience while at university.
  • Get involved with the finance societies on campus — great source of information and guidance.