Each year, thousands of students interested in a career in finance take the Bloomberg Aptitude Test (BAT), which measures individuals’ strengths and weaknesses as related to a career in finance. Employers such as investment banks, hedge funds, and asset management firms use the BAT to find graduates that are a good fit for their positions.
In 2013, two IE students scored exceptionally well on the BAT. In March, Alex Beloshevsky scored a 700, which earned him a second place ranking in Europe, Middle East and Africa. In November, Ola Kvalheim scored in the Top 5 in Europe, Middle East and Africa. After graduating from IE in December, Alex started a job as a financial analyst at a leading Israeli software company. We caught up with him to learn more about his career, his experience at IE, and his plans for the future.
IE: How did you start your career in finance?
Alex: I started my career in finance by studying economics and business management at Ben-Gurion University in Israel. This track is the most finance oriented of all possible tracks at BGU and I felt that it would be a great fit for me. After graduating with honors I started working for one of the two leading credit ranking agencies in Israel and tried to learn as much as possible on the job. Just one example from the top of my mind is that the diamond industry is notoriously secretive; what I did in order to get around this problem and to be able to produce more value-added credit reports on participants of this industry was to learn the historic reasons why this industry is so secretive and to learn the lingo used in the industry. This way I was able to provide more insightful reports than other economists in this field. The secret (at least for me) was to question why things are done one way and not another, and to leverage these lessons and to try to become a better professional.
IE: What attributes are most important for success in this field?
Alex: In my opinion, the most important attributes are curiosity, an analytic mindset, and a healthy dose of skepticism. I believe that anyone can cover an experience gap if they want to by reading the economic and financial literature and newspapers. However, if you just read the material without thinking what it means, analyzing the meaning of what you have read, and without trying to figure out why someone is saying something and not something else, you will not be able to provide the deep and thoughtful insights that are expected from a financial expert, either in a corporate setting or at a financial institution.
IE: What was your favorite part of IE’s IMBA program?
Alex: My favorite part of the IMBA was getting exposed to my classmates who had different experiences and cultures. I found their insights fascinating, especially when they were speaking outside of the scope of their experience. For example, listening to an engineer from a totally different geography speaking during a marketing or corporate finance class is an enlightening experience. You can see how different we are because of our occupational experience and culture, which forces you to look at what you think is right and try to reevaluate if you still think it’s true after hearing what others think.
IE: What is your dream job for the future?
Alex: My dream job is a financial management role in one of Israel’s largest corporations. Seeing as Israel’s main export is software, I have started my transition by joining a leading Israeli online marketing firm in an analyst position.
IE: What trends do you think will be most important in finance in coming years?
Alex: It is my firm belief that automation will become more and more widespread in the coming years and that it will take away most or at least a large portion away from the dirty work that financial professionals face now, especially at the entry level. Therefore, I believe that in order to be able to compete and to stand out, the financial professional of the coming years will need to be able to synthesize larger pieces of information that computers will provide for him and to provide meaningful insights.