Executive Director/Vice President,
Industrials Group

Investment Banking Division, Hong Kong

See how Karmen utilizes skills from her STEM background in a career in the Industrials Group within the Investment Banking Division at the Hong Kong office.

"I’m Karmen. I’m a vice president in the Industrials Group within the Investment Banking Division. We do everything from M&A to IPOs to equity issuances to debt issuances. It really is quite diverse which makes it interesting. As a vice president, a lot of times you manage the processes that are run for each project; make sure that you try to liaise to the client, make sure that their expectations are delivered.

I studied chemical engineering at Columbia University. I used to work with molecules and I remember being in the lab all day trying to come up with solutions that you want to come out and banking is completely different. But I think what is similar is the fact that engineering at the end of the day is very analytical, very methodical, in terms of how you problem solve. I remember in my college days being there late at night solving this big problem set with my friends in the library and in a sense like banking you have the same scenario on the floor. That problem solving process and the teamwork involved is very similar.

Coming out of business school you want to be a sponge and soak up as many experiences as possible. There’s no lesson plan that can really train someone to build common sense or business acumen. It comes from the projects you work on. When you are on deal after deal after deal, each asset is different you build those experiences and apply to your next project. Slowly you kind of find what you’re good at what you enjoy doing what people you like working with and I think banking is that path for me as a next step.

Sustainability in banking is very much being able to set those boundaries between the work that you have which is always going to keep piling up and what’s important to you.

I try to stay healthy, my boyfriend is also a big runner. We try to go running, hiking, there’s a lot of trails in Hong Kong that the city offers.

There is an IPO that I’m working on that focuses on the environment here in Hong Kong. They have big dreams about the value that they want to provide to the country and the people and as you know pollution is a big issue in the country. You want to make sure they are successful in getting the funding they need for growth. You want to make them successful you want to help them to get to their destination and that’s something that I think makes the job worthwhile."