You must love finance to have a successful career

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Fancy a finance sector job? Think again, unless you can say with all your heart that banking is your passion, says veteran investor Jim Rogers.

During a recent talk at the National University of Singapore, Rogers told his student audience that even during the current financial turmoil, there are still career opportunities in financial services. But in order to be successful, students must figure out what they love the most.

"If you don't love Wall Street with a passion, don't go there, because it's going to be very difficult there," he says.

"In the 1970s, very few people went to Wall Street because it was a nightmare, and the few people that did go got thrown out of Wall Street unless it was their passion. I was there in 1968 and it was the exact top of the market. It was a disaster for the next 10-15 years on Wall Street, but I didn't get out because I loved it so much."

Let us say you love gardening, Rogers muses. "If you get out of this university and say to the dean, 'I'm going to be a gardener,' he's going to do his best to talk you out of it. But if that's your passion and you pursue it, I promise you, some day you're going to be the gardener at the Istana. Some day, you're going to have a chain of gardening shops all over Asia. Some day, your company is going to be listed on the New York Stock Exchange, and some day they're going to name a school after you."

Christopher Leong, a partner at Chris Allen Search, believes banking is still perceived as a glamorous, exciting and high-earning career choice. "The sound of being a private banker, an investment banker or a trader is usually the top of the wish list of most graduates," he says.

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