The Linguist

The Linguist 54,1

The Linguist is a languages magazine for professional linguists, translators, interpreters, language professionals, language teachers, trainers, students and academics with articles on translation, interpreting, business, government, technology

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24 The Linguist FEBRUARY/MARCH FEATURES If you thrive on travel and a fast- paced environment, investment and asset management could be for you, says Jessica Moore 'I wanted to understand how creative ideas became a reality,' Laurenne Chapman explains, articulating how she went from being a language student with a passion for music to a Business Development Consultant at investment management company Kames Capital. 'People have always interested me. Being a linguist, I'm fascinated by relationships.' This, she says, has been crucial to her career in the banking sector, thriving in roles that she believes require interpersonal and language skills every bit as much as they do business nous and an agility with numbers. International, multicultural and undergoing rapid expansion, the industry has a lot to offer a variety of people. The Investment Management Association (IMA), which represents the UK investment management industry, reports that its members managed more than £5 trillion of assets on behalf of UK and overseas clients in 2013, an increase of 13% on the previous year (see Opportunities look good for newcomers too. According to the Association of Graduate Recruiters Summer Survey 2014, the banking and financial services industries showed a predicated increase in graduate vacancies of 54% and median starting salaries of £43,500 (see Vacancies are hard fought over, with an average 150 applicants per post. The good news for linguists, though, is that the sector has an increasing need for language skills. 'If a UK company wants a German speaker who can understand finance, there aren't that many people around who fit the bill – and that can play to your advantage,' says Chapman. 'Linguists coming out of university might not think that finance or business is right for them – but there's a wealth of opportunity here in careers that can be a lot of fun, and languages can open some doors.' Philip Dodds, a Senior Managing Director at investment bank UBS, agrees. Having studied German and French at university with a subsidiary in Dutch, he has worked in Japan, France, Germany, Holland and the UK during his 30-year career. 'The City today is international, multicultural and multilingual,' he says. 'If you are completely monoglot, you may feel less well-adapted than people who have got language skills. In this environment, linguists are incredibly useful.' Even a little knowledge can make a difference, he notes. While working on Japanese investments early in his career, Dodds' employer offered him the chance to take Japanese language lessons. 'That helped me feel more comfortable and integrated when I moved to work in Japan,' he recalls. 'I can't say much in Japanese, but I can find my way about in taxis and greet people, and that sends a message to clients that you're interested in their culture and want to connect.' Primarily, however, 'what recruiters in this sector are really looking for are people who have banking skills with commercial nous, a sense for numbers, drive and appetite – but also those that are comfortable working with all sorts of people in international settings,' Dodds says. 'If those characteristics come with strong language skills, then I think that's a very attractive package.' Dr Martin Wurzenberger, Head of Retail Sales in Central and Eastern Europe for Erste Asset Management GmbH, goes further. 'I always knew that, in an international banking environment, I'd need another language,' he acknowledges. 'It is part of the job description in the finance sector and it's impossible to do without.' His company has offices in Austria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Romania and Slovakia, and a presence in Germany and Istanbul. Wurzenberger himself is Vienna-based, and speaks German and English. However, this industry-wide desire for languages is relatively recent. 'With the globalisation of the economy comes social mobility, and we've also seen the rise of technology and communications,' says Dodds. 'All of that has made the world smaller, and rendered the banking industry an incredibly international place. When I first joined, it was heavily male, white and middle- or upper-middle-class English. That could not be less the case now.' Interestingly, though, he believes it has simultaneously become a more difficult sector to enter. 'When I started off as a graduate trainee, I was a linguist and that was fine – there was no sense that economists or business students would be selected over arts students. But the sector has become more technical,' he explains. 'In some areas, you need advanced mathematics, and there are Money talks

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