Karis Stander manages Investment2020, a company that places talented young people into trainee roles with top asset management companies. In this interview, she talks about how to get into the industry, and the rewards of teaching young people about how they can benefit from a career in asset management.
Name: Karis Stander
Industry: Asset management
What is your job: Managing director at Investment2020
How long have you worked here? 18 months
University: University of Cape Town, South Africa
What was your very first job?
Clothing buyer in ladieswear for a South African high street chain.
What did you want to do when you were at school?
I really didn’t know what I wanted to do when I was at school, but I knew it had to be something in the business world working in the City.
How did you find out about investment management?
I fell into it… and then I fell in love with it! The investment management industry is one of those industries that doesn’t have a high-street presence and is therefore not that well known by students when planning their career.
How did you get there?
After moving to London I worked within financial services support functions which introduced me to different niche areas within financial services, and also the breadth of jobs and career paths available. After working within learning and development I moved into attracting young people into the industry, and found it hugely enjoyable sharing my knowledge and understanding to those who didn’t understand the industry and the opportunities available to them.
I found my current job through the networks that I made as part of my job. I was approached by a client about coming to work for Investment2020 and the opportunity sounded wonderful!
What is a typical day like?
My role is about leading the Investment2020 team and no one day is the same. In one day I could be meeting with heads of investment management firms promoting Investment2020, to delivering an interactive student careers event to raise awareness of our industry, to planning our business strategy for the next year.
My business focuses on different projects, from finding creative ways to promote the industry and our entry opportunities in education, to communicating with our corporate clients on our strategy and progress so far, through to organising and arranging learning and development events and workshops for our trainees to broaden their industry knowledge.
What’s the best thing about your job?
The best thing about my job is the variety and that no one day is the same. My clients are so diverse in that I get to work with corporate clients in the investment management industry, helping them with entry level recruitment programmes. At the same time get to work with education and young people so that they understand how exciting and important our industry is to society at large. My diverse client base makes it an exciting and very rewarding area to work in.
What is the most challenging thing about your job?
Getting the word out into schools and colleges about the opportunities we have in the investment management industry and how starting your career from school or college offers the same career trajectories as starting from university.
What advice do you have for people who want to do what you do?
A career in entry-talent promotion and recruitment is a fantastic career path that exposes you to a breadth of different areas within business and skills development. You need to have strong communication and influencing skills and be very focused on delivering good customer service. An ability to plan and organise your life, juggling many different things, is part of the job. To differentiate you from your peers, knowledge on current issues is essential and having a high-level understanding of what these current issues mean for the industry you are looking to enter.
You can start a career in entry-talent recruitment either straight from school/college or as a graduate. Once you have a foot in the door, on-the-job experience is the best way to progress and it is also helpful to develop knowledge and understanding through professional qualifications for the industry you service. For investment management the foundation qualifications are the IOC and Claritas.
What things do you wish you’d known before starting your career?
The three key things that I didn’t appreciate when I was starting out my career were:
- Understanding that I alone was in charge of making my career happen, others could advise but I am the captain of my own ship.
- There is opportunity everywhere and always make the most of these opportunities.
- Financial services has a wealth of opportunity for creative people to expend their creative juices and that you don’t need to look at ‘creative’ industries to have a genuinely satisfying career.
Where would you like to be in 5 years?
As a young start-up, there is a lot of opportunity for growth. My aspiration is to remain as Managing Director of Investment2020, grow the business so that we have many more trainee opportunities on offer for school/college leavers across all aspects of the investment management industry, and to bring on board a greater number of firms to participate in our trainee programme.
If you like the sound of Karis's world, Investment2020 offers a stepping stone straight from school through their trainee programme. You'll join a top company for one year, do real work with talented people, and maybe even get permanent job offer. If you're smart and have bags of enthusiasm, you probably have what it takes. Find out more...