3 Steps to Become Incredibly Valuable to Your Company

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By Peter

We all want to be the superstar of our company – the one that everyone thinks is simply awesome. 

But how do we do it?

How do we develop the skills we need to be the MVP of our company? In a previous post I’ve written about my experiences across 3 different industries. My observations across these industries led me to see how certain people evolved to become very valuable. Here are the lessons that I learnt.

Learn new things

One of my biggest life lessons that I’ve learnt on the job is to constantly seek to improve yourself and diversify your skills. Especially when you are young try to have an open mind to all aspects of the industry and later on you can focus on what you truly feel is the right path for you. This can be just for either yourself or requirements for your work. 

For example, this can be languages. I speak French and English and looking to learn Mandarin (Chinese). In the work environment because of the ever increasing complexity of the financial industry, many firms encourage you log CPD hours (Continuing Professional Development) where it can be conferences, reading or other related activities. This provides information to employees in order to keep up with what is happening in the world.

As to my interest in taking up Chinese, it is merely to better myself in the industry. The fund industry in Asia and especially China have been growing significantly. As I am early in my career, I have time to develop my skill set in order to advance in the job ladder. 

And of course, most of you are already doing this by undertaking the CFA exams (and if you aren’t, here are 7 reasons why you should consider it). As written previously, the CFA exams give you a whole range of financial analysis and assessment skills that you’ll be able to add to your repertoire.

Be a Knowledge Ninja: Know stuff no one knows

Two years ago with no prior experience and no exposure whatsoever, I never seen myself to be writing code. However at that time, I was looking into VBA (Visual Basic for Applications) because it was recommended by a colleague. Since then I have built multiple programs coding via VBA on Excel. When dealing with spreadsheets on Excel many financial firms are trying to simplify and analyse large amounts of data, this is where VBA coding can be a valuable asset. 

From my own experience I didn’t encounter many people familiar with VBA. And because of that it is a rare commodity. It is an important skill to have where you can improve internal procedures for the bank or even construct complex statistical risk profiles for hedge funds.

If you plan to work in the hedge fund industry it is definitely an important skill to have. Many employ statisticians and programmers in order to develop their quant models using C++, Java, R and VBA.

But what about your own firm and industry?

The next time you’re at your desk, take 10 minutes to assess your surroundings. Think about the one skill you could develop that would help your team immensely. Then consider learning it.

If you are the guy (or gal) that everyone HAS to go to for a particular thing, you’re a valuable resource!

Know the skills you need for your next promotion

Everyone wants to secure the next promotion. But how do you get around doing it?

At the start, promotions may simply be a function of tenure. Work long enough as an investment banking analyst, and you’ll soon be an associate.

But as you climb up the ladder, your bosses will be looking for specific skills. So think about the role you’re trying to get promoted into. Does it differ significantly from what you’re doing now? What would you need to do more of? Consider developing that skill.

You may think that it is not for you, just like I did two years ago. But trust me, it will pay off in the long run. 

Invest in yourself. What skills will you develop next? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below.

Zee Tan
Author: Zee Tan


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