Skiddy Von Stade, CEO of OneWire, is consistently talking to some of the biggest names in the finance world. von Stade's aim is to gain the insights that would-be finance professionals need to know in their quest to find jobs and obtain careers. Usually, the advice is specific to the finance industry. However, two interviews with high-ranking professionals confirm that an individual's worldview is just as important to their success in the finance industry as their work ethic or skills can be.
One person who proves this point is Jeffrey Solomon, currently the CEO of the major investment bank, Cowen and Company.. It wasn't just finance skills that got Solomon to his current employment—he started his career worlds away from the finance industry. Originally, he aimed to earn his living as an actor. However, his path took a different turn, illustrating the need for individuals to keep both their dreams and their skill sets wide-ranging.
"Post-college, I decided that I wanted to go and live in New York, and be an actor," Solomon said during his interview. "But I felt like, right after college, if I could just do two years of good, solid training in something tangible—like finance—that I could always be an actor at 24, instead of at 22."
Solomon's path illustrates why it's so important to keep an open mindset during one's career. Though one may plan on a life in the arts, interesting financial analyst jobs—like the one that Solomon accepted at Lehman Brothers during his 20s—could change one's course. Solomon, currently the chief executive officer at Cowen and Company, would have never found the success his career has brought him had he not followed his desire to try his hand at a profession outside of his comfort zone.
"I'm a big believer that you have to have a big dream," he told us during his interview. "Big dreams are super important when you're a kid and a young adult. If you have big dreams, they take you to places you might not otherwise go."
Another non-industry-specific trait employers always want: generosity
Glenn Hutchins, co-founder of top technology investment firm Silver Lake, explained a lot to von Stade about the finance industry during his exclusive OneWire interview. One of the most important quotes he offered was in regards to what he finds most attractive in applicants applying to work at Silver Lake, such as a hard work ethic, and proven professional experience.
"One thing is we need people who are very smart, and very hard-working," he detailed. "We very seldom hire young people right out of college. They typically go to work at an investment bank, or at a consulting firm. We take the very best from those organizations. We let the universities do the first cut, then the investment banks and consulting firms do the second cut, then we take the top tier [of workers who have proven successful.]"
However, he also went on record about another trait, aside from dreaming big, that prospective finance professionals should display in their search for a career. He noted that when you're making big money in your finance career—perhaps through highly paid professions like wealth management jobs—it's essential that you give back to your community in some way.
"My view is that you give back to the institutions that help you, the city you live in, the country you're a part of, and help the people who are the most needy along the way," Hutchins professed, at the conclusion of his interview, illustrating how more than just financial know-how is necessary to succeed in the job market. "I think that's really important. Not everybody has to do it that way… but find a place where you can help people out, and go do that, as an important part of [whatever it is] you do."