Q&A: A Ginsberg-reading UBS FX strategist talks about his career

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1. How long have you been working in financial services?

I have now been with UBS for just over 2 years. I previously interned with the bank following my undergraduate finals and have also interned at a couple of other institutions.

2. Has your career path been conventional or capricious?

I would say somewhere between the two. On paper I have a fairly orthodox background for a macro strategist – studying economics at a major economics school and interning the summer before taking up my current role. However, I don’t feel like I was always destined to work in an investment bank. One of the principal reasons why I took my current role was because it offered a fairly unique experience of the financial industry – working as a macro strategist requires all the skills acquired from studying economics but also requires some leftfield and creative thinking.

3. What matters most: talent or hard work?

I would say a combination of the two. Hard work is a necessary but perhaps not sufficient condition for success, while talent can easily be wasted if effort is not applied in equal measures.

4. What would you always advise people to do before they step into an interview with you?

To have something interesting to say which is non-consensus and thought-provoking. I think it is clear when responses and/or questions are scripted and would strongly advise against that. This is not to say that preparation is not necessary, but it should come in conjunction with a genuine interest in the subject of discussion.

5. What do you know now about working in banking that you wish you'd known 15 years ago?

15 years ago I was 9 years old. So in all honesty, I’m quite pleased that I had zero knowledge of the financial industry at that age and could accordingly live a relatively normal 9-years old's life.

6. You are only allowed to hire one person over the next six months. Can you describe their ideal profile?

If they are looking to work in macro strategy, both technical and theoretical proficiency is required but a strong interest in macro-economics is equally as important. Enthusiasm and deep thinking are also important skills to have.

7. In no more than three sentences, can you say what your business area will look like in 2016?

Macro strategy should always remain in demand provided there is a global economy (a fairly safe assumption). Its interaction with other areas of finance may change (perhaps it will be more closely linked to trading or sales) but the essence of the job should stay the same. It will probably take more of a cross-asset approach than it deos currently.

8. What would you do if you weren't working in banking?

I would like to think something vaguely similar, involving ‘big picture’ macro themes. Perhaps economic consultancy, journalism or some other form of research.

9. How do you relax?

I tend to split my spare time between DJ’ing (I run house music nights around London), kickboxing and spending time with friends and family. I enjoy good literature, food and (partly as a function of my job) keeping on top of politics and current affairs.

10. Who do you most admire?

I am very close with friends and family and accordingly hold a great deal of admiration for them. Academically I admire the work of Keynes, Galbraith and many liberal thinkers while in the arts I admire the pioneers of early US house music and numerous authors such as Ballard, Ginsberg and Brodsky.


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