All information from girlbanker.com has now been transferred here, to katsonga.com/girlbanker.
"Girl Banker®" was my persona when I founded girlbanker.com back in 2012.
Originally from Malawi, in 2002 I received a full scholarship to read Economics at the University of Cambridge. It was at Cambridge that I discovered the weird and wonderful world of investment banking.
After an internship at Goldman Sachs in the summer of 2004 I was offered a full-time position to begin in 2005 when I graduated. Several teams wanted to have me so after the internship period I was given the chance to go in and have extra conversations with the two teams I was vacillating between.
I chose to join the Structured Finance Team which sat within the Investment Banking Division (IBD). Their main function was securitization and corporate debt advisory to infrastructure assets.
After two years in IBD, I decided to explore the world of derivatives.
When I heard there was an opening on the Corporate Risk Advisory Team at HSBC, I applied through a headhunter and was offered the job about two weeks later.
During my time in banking I was a member of Women in Banking & Finance (Wibf) and Worldwide Women in Banking & Finance (W3BF). Both are great organisations for networking with other women in banking.
Coaching and Mentoring You
If you want me to mentor and coach you for a banking career, I'd be happy to do so.
Note: I have a very direct approach. If you're extra sensitive, I'm not the coach for you. I myself received coaching to navigate my way into banking so I know the benefits. I have one standard package for everyone that wants to get into banking.
I'll work with you for three months. In that time I will help you to:
I will be able to answer any questions you might have about getting into banking and if I don't know the answer I'll know where you can get.
My coaching is not cheap and I don't do discounts, however, you'll be able to see the value I add immediately.
You can ask for a refund within 14 days. If I have done some work for you already a reasonable amount will be deducted. Scroll down for testimonials that I have received in the past.
A Note On Mock Interviews
All mock interview sessions are via Skype or telephone.
Each session involves a question & answer period of 55-minutes with a 5-minute round-up at the end. Mock interviews are tailored to the division you are applying to. Specifically, I offer the following types of mock interviews:
If you are not ready to invest in coaching, that's fine. Here are free and almost-free resources to help you get that banking job.
Get My Book - It's Had Great Reviews on Amazon & From Customers
You can get my book as a paperback, on kindle or as an audible audiobook.
What's in the book:
Support via Social Media
Unedited testimonial following a mock interview session
"The coaching session I had with Heather was extremely helpful. The sample questions provided by Heather were incredibly useful given the fact that a couple of those questions came up in my actual interview. There is no beating around the bush with Heather - she will tell you how it is and will ensure you have the right technical knowledge and interview technique. I was quite nervous at the start of the interview but Heather made me feel comfortable. There were a few technicalities that I was unsure about but Heather was effortlessly able to simplify them for me. I would definitely recommend Heather for anyone looking to gain interview practice and help in securing a role in investment banking.
JM, University of Exeter"
Unedited testimonial from someone who received multiple job offers after coaching
"I recently purchased the Girl Banker Ferrari coaching package and I would highly recommend it to anyone who is serious about landing an Investment Banking Internship. I received two in depth mock interviews in addition to invaluable advice on my CV and applications. The mock interviews were fantastic as I was given advice on how to improve my approach and structure my answers better; this greatly improved my confidence in my recent interviews. Girl Banker helped me to put myself ahead of the competition and I have already received an offer for a Summer 2013 Bulge Bracket Internship! The CV and application advice is worth the price of the package alone, but with the two mock interviews and unlimited access via-e-mail to Girl Banker the Ferrari package is amazing.
Note: after her initial offer of a position at a Bulge Bracket bank Sarah received a couple more offers from more high status banks. Before getting coaching she'd been rejected by a much lesser bank. I saw her potential right away but even I was astounded by the number of offers that she received in the end given the economic climate. Heather
Unedited testimonial following a mock interview with someone changing jobs
"I approached Heather to assist me with an interview for an investment research role as I was inexperienced with answering the type of technical questions that arise in such interviews. She helped me answer the common technical questions that are frequently asked and how best to articulate the responses to these. Heather gave me excellent feedback as I answered these questions and highlighted a number of things that I needed to improve upon or needed to be conscious of with each of my answers. Some of these questions I was prepared to answer however conducting this in an interview type setting helped to highlight exactly where I needed to improve. She was patient with me and provided this feedback with a very nice manner.
Having practiced my answers with Heather and improving upon them with her assistance I was extremely confident in entering into all of my interviews. As a result of this I was able to expertly deal with all of the questions we practiced and I was far more assertive in dealing with any other type of additional job-specific questions that came out of left field.
Heather was professional, patient, accommodating with her time and very pleasant to work with. I felt ultimately that my interviews went extremely well and the training with Heather was a large contributor in helping me to answer all types of interview questions effectively and with great confidence.
Barry, San Diego"
By Rebecca Williams (Finance Writer)
Millennials, or those born between 1982 and 1994, are the scourge of the modern office and the focus of many blistering news articles about a lack of productivity and discipline. I’m not buying into the hype. This intrepid generation has already survived the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression. And, I might add, they’re very tech-savvy.
Distracted? Maybe. Lazy? Definitely not. Millennials are experts at getting things done with minimum effort, because that’s the expectation silicon valley has engrained into them. As the first generation to go to college with a smartphone that has more technical horsepower than NASA’s entire 1969 operation to get us to the moon, it’s hard not to lean on the efficiency (and distractions) that technology brings to the table.
As millennials continue the transition from college and into the workforce, financial responsibility becomes a determining factor in their long-term prosperity and fulfillment. The millennial generation is unique, and so are the financial challenges they face. The good news is there are common-sense solutions to virtually every financial challenge. So, let’s dig in and find ways to beat everyone’s expectations!
1. The Burden of Crushing Student Loan Debt
More than sixty-percent of college students take advantage of the Federally subsidized student loan program. A mind is a terrible thing to waste, and student loans certainly empower high school students from every background to continue their education. But, millennials are graduating with extremely high levels of student loan debt. A financial future is definitely a terrible thing to waste.
Making student loan payments, while struggling to clear the first hurdles to a fulfilling, financially rewarding career is a challenge; especially when the student loan payments can be as much or more than the cost of rent each month.
Solutions to Navigating Student Loan DebtIn most cases, student loan debt cannot be wiped away by bankruptcy. Loan consolidation can be tricky, and you definitely want to avoid converting an unsecured debt into a secured debt. So, student loan debt can be solved three ways:
2. The Tax Implications of the Freelance and Sharing Economy
In the aftermath of the Great Recession, a boom in alternative income streams became popular. As employers looked to slash their overhead and minimize full-time staff, they increasingly turned to freelancers and other project-based outsourcing solutions. Recent graduates and those laid off embraced opportunities to earn a living from home, while searching for full-time work.
Now that the economy is beginning to reach pre-recession levels, many millennials are hesitant to give up their side-hustle. Even as they secure full-time employment, some are opting to keep, or go all-in on the freelance lifestyle. This additional source of income created tax obligations that, if improperly reported and paid, could lead to fines and tax debt.
Solutions to Keep the IRS at Bay
Trust me, there are few organizations that outperform the IRS in terms of resources and the ability to focus on a single goal: identifying and collecting back taxes. Millennials that earn additional income streams, beyond a traditional employee income, need to:
Because I ignored their letters, incorrectly assuming that I could cover my bases on my standard tax return, I was assessed late payment penalties and was threatened with an audit. I had no intention of misleading the government, or mishandling my financial obligations, but ignorance is not a defence.
The majority of IRS tax debt specialists will tell you that the most important factor in resolving an issue with the IRS on favorable terms is the speed with which you address the issues at hand. Act quickly to avoid penalties. I promise, ignoring the problem will not make it go away.
3. Credit Card Debt
It seems like as soon as the freshman start to move into their dorm, the credit card companies start handing out “free” swag on campus, along with credit card application forms. Thanks to the CARD Act of 2009, this trend has slowed, but it certainly hasn’t come to a money-saving halt. Students with little to no source of income certainly find the chance to charge their weekend beer runs to a piece of plastic exciting.
Unfortunately, their monthly payments usually only cover the minimum balance, or neglect to be remitted on time. So, after four years of living the college life, their credit card debt balance looks very scary!
Solving the High-Interest Credit Card Debt Dilemma
The easiest way to solve a credit card balance crisis is by cutting up the plastic cards in your wallet and committing to never using them again. Millennials have a lot of life left to live. By making smart money choices early on, the full potential of a life well lived is theirs for the taking. If you feel like you’ve already dug yourself a financial hole, it’s time to contact a qualified debt professional (right now!). There are a multitude of options available to transform a financial disaster into a manageable problem, and lasting life lesson.
You're going to love this! To save you time in applying for jobs, I've collated links that take you directly to the recruitment section of the top 50 investment banks' websites. I list the top 20 then the next 30, each group is in alphabetical order.
TOP 20 INVESTMENT BANKS (in alphabetical order)
I created my investment banking blog in 2012 as soon as I resigned from i-banking & published my book, To Become An Investment Banker.
Initially published at girlbanker.com, all posts were later subsumed into my personal website under katsonga.com/GirlBanker.
With 7 years of front office i-banking experience from Goldman Sachs and HSBC, in both classic IBD (corporate finance) and Derivatives (DCM / FICC), the aim of GirlBanker.com was to make it as straight-forward as possible to get into a top tier investment bank.
I'm also a CFA survivor having passed all three levels on the first attempt within 18 months - the shortest time possible.