On the Job with Sam Bates from UBS

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Lynn Elsey
Lynn Elesy
Team GradAustralia
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Sam Bates is an investment banking analyst with UBS. He graduated in 2013 with a Bachelor of Commerce/Bachelor of Economics, from University of New South Wales before joing UBS as a graduate in 2014. 

Why were you interested in UBS? 

I had already completed a summer internship at UBS, so the decision to join as a graduate was easy. I was attracted by the high calibre of people you get to work with and the collaborative culture. Additionally, the bank is involved with Australia’s highest profile, most complex transactions and has a great global business. 

How does the program work? 

As a graduate you are part of the broader team and are given a high level of responsibility right from the start. UBS does not have a formal rotation program, but the opportunity is definitely there if required; a number of colleagues in my cohort have rotated through other teams. I have been in the Real Estate Investment Banking team since I started. 

The six-week session in London, where were received extensive technical training and the chance to get to know our offshore colleagues, was one of the highlights of the graduate year. 

What have been the best bits? 

The best part of the role to date has definitely been the number of interesting and varied transactions I have been involved in. In just two years I have worked on a number of initial public offerings and capital raisings, private sell-side transactions, a takeover defence and an $11 billion public merger. 

What has been most challenging? 

I think the most challenging aspect of any investment banking role is striking the right work-life balance. My team has been very accommodating in this respect and improving work-life balance of junior bankers has been a key focus of UBS globally. 

The most surprising aspect of your job? 

I was surprised by the high level of responsibility I was given right from the beginning of my career. The bank has a flat structure, which means I work directly with a range of senior bankers and am constantly given the opportunity to engage with clients. 

What skills have been particularly useful in your role? 

Completing one or two corporate finance subjects was definitely useful background before I started my internship, as well as having a good knowledge of Excel and PowerPoint. 

Any advice to current students? 

A summer internship – or any industry experience – is the best way to get hands-on experience and see if a role is the right fit for you. Try to get involved with as many things that interest you outside of your studies as you can; university is the best time to try new things and recruiters always like to see that there is more to a person than just a degree. 

The best way to prepare for the role is probably to read the Australian Financial Review each day and have a reasonable understanding of what is happening in the industry.