Making the Move from Wall Street to FinTech Part III

Part I discussed how to define FinTech and find your place in the 19 different Fintech sub-sectors. Part II showed you how to create a target company list that will welcome you.

We now turn to the FinTech roles that you can target to speed your journey.

Your exact current role may or may not exist in the FinTech world.

If FinTech Has Your Exact Current Role

The roles below are directly applicable to FinTechs.  In many cases, the FinTech role has the same title as you may have, more or less.

  • Developers/Solution Architects/Data Scientist, etc.
  • Sales/Marketing
  • CFO/FP&A
  • Corporate Development
  • Partnership Development

There are always exceptions.

That makes it easy, right?  Anything but.

Unless you are currently in sales and have a 50%+ overlapping customer base with the FinTechs, you still have a challenge.  The challenge is harder the more “tech” and less “fin” a FinTech is.

If you ask any FinTech CEO why there might be a bias against Wall Street professionals.  You will most likely hear some version of the following:

  • You’re too old (only if you are 35+)
  • You don’t know how to speak with developers
  • The massive hierarchical structure you have lived in doesn’t work here
  • 10+ years in the same job/field means you are “institutionalized”

Combatting these misperceptions is not easy.  To learn to deal with the 2nd above, check out my blog 3 Ways Wall Street Finance Execs Can Break Into Google and BigTech.  How to combat the rest?  Well, that is beyond the scope of this blog. Check back for future blogs covering the rest.

Your mission is to show the FinTech ecosystem how your big company skills can fit into a smaller, nimble world. My best quick advice is to sit down with a FinTech professional, in your exact role or close, and start learning what you don’t know.

Capitalize upon your ignorance to create that bridge.

 If FinTech Does Not Have Your Current Exact Role

Current roles which make a transition harder are:

  • Traders/Sales Traders
  • Research Analysts (equity, fixed income, macro)
  • Treasury
  • Wealth Managers
  • Capital Markets
  • Structured Finance/Leverage Finance

There are always exceptions.

Should you give up and pull your kids from their Manhattan private schools?  Maybe, maybe not.

Start with These 6 steps if FinTech Doesn’t Have Your Exact Role

1st, be honest with yourself that maybe your skillset is not what FinTech wants.  You can blame your resume, LinkedIn profile, and interview skills, but face the reality that FinTech is a new world order.

2nd, you need a massive education on the FinTech ecosystem.  Start with signing up for free newsletters from CB Insights and LendIt FinTech who have the best educational material.

Read Part I from this series about understanding the FinTech 19 sub-sectors. Corner friends or business associates that are working in one of the 19 sub-sectors and book 30-minute educational calls.

3rd, research available job postings from the FinTechs you really admire to see the roles they might be hiring and the skill sets mentioned. Some FinTechs have decently worded job postings.

As much as I have written that job postings are an inefficient way to get a job, they are great for education.  Stick with LinkedIn since most companies do also.  It has great search filters.

You’re Doing Great: Keep Going for Steps 4-6

4th, take a course on Python, data science, machine learning, artificial intelligence from Coursera. Take one, take many.  Coursera does a good job with beginner courses.

You won’t be the developers/coders, but you need to work with them so understand how to speak their language and how they think.

5th, sit down with yourself and really explore what you love to do and what you are really good at. You could take a personality/skills assessment from Myers Briggs and others, but I don’t find them helpful in job search unless you are totally lost.

6th, search your network for professionals in the job roles you want.  Get round robins of 30-minute strategic calls. On the calls, admit you don’t know where to go, that you might have skill gaps, and get real candid advice.

These are not interview calls, they’re “reverse” interview calls since you don’t have to be at your best and should admit your weaknesses/strengths.  Raw market feedback might not be what you want, but it’s what you need.

Just make sure these professionals don’t work at your target FinTechs.

Bottom Line

The transition is hard, regardless of whether your current role exists in FinTech or not. You have a hill to climb, get your gear ready.

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