Is it possible to make a switch from other industries to banking? How to do it right?

India is one of the fastest-developing countries in the world. When a country or an economy thrives, the banking and financial sectors develop too, as they are pivotal to its economic growth. Think about it this way. Regardless of its industry/sector, every business needs to avail of the banking sector’s financial transactions services. Hence, even if a few industries are not performing well, others might thrive and keep the bank profitable. Thus, when it comes to choosing a career path, opting for banking can be a smart choice. However, most of us don’t analyze the economy so thoroughly while making career decisions during our younger years. Does that mean you cannot move to the banking industry later? On the contrary, many successful banking professionals started their journey in some other sector and decided to switch careers at a later stage in their lives.

Banking is full of processes and compliances. While many industries require years of professional training, banking can be learned in a relatively shorter span. Hence, if you decide to move to the banking sector at any stage of your career, the learning curve will be less steep than in some other sectors. The modern-day bank has clearly defined roles and technology-aided processes, making it easier for non-commerce-oriented individuals to switch to a banking career. To give you a small example, most people can get through an entire career in banking without knowing how to read a balance sheet, something that is integral to finance and accounts. Technology has made banking a service-driven industry that adheres to regulations. Hence, professionals from any industry can easily make the switch to banking.

What capabilities/skills do you need to thrive in the banking sector?

Every industry has specific requirements from its employees. While the banking industry offers a great career trajectory for its employees, it is a demanding industry, and employees are expected to perform in a high-pressure environment. However, to compete with your peers and surge ahead in your career, it is essential to equip yourself with specific capabilities and skills:

  1. Knowledge of the banking industry: A banker is expected to be aware of the banking and finance industry. You should also possess a thorough understanding of the economy and its impact on the sector. Further, you should understand and analyze financial trends and business growth in India and around the world.
  2. Basic technical knowledge: Like any other industry, the banking sector has some technicalities that candidates are expected to be aware of. Some such concepts are the basic banking process, clearing process, taxation, financial reporting, risk management, etc. Additionally, in the current times, understanding digital banking can be an added plus.
  3. Compliance and Auditing skills: A banker needs to display basic auditing and compliance skills like collating spreadsheet data and analyzing it, checking the accuracy of financial records, preparing reports, analyzing accounts and financial systems, etc.
  4. Numerical skills: Banking is primarily about two things – customer service and numbers. Having a statistical approach to numbers is a valued skill in a banker. You should be comfortable with pivots, charts, tables and be able to analyze numbers with ease.
  5. Problem-solving skills: Regardless of your role in the bank, one skill that might help you surge ahead of your peers is your ability to solve problems effectively and within a short span. This requires skills like inquisitive questioning, analysis, strategic planning, etc.
  6. Knowledge of the investment market: Banks are no longer insulated from the investment world. Today, most banks double up as depository participants, have a stockbroking division, open mutual fund accounts, offer investment advice, and have many products that merge investments with traditional banking accounts. Hence, to succeed in this sector, you need to be aware of the different investment avenues available and the role of the modern-day bank in investments.
  7. Communication skills: This is one skill that is required across all industries. However, since the banking sector is primarily about service, effective communication skills are highly important. It can also help you leverage opportunities within the organization.
  8. Time management skills: Being compliance and process-driven, employees in the banking sector are required to have effective time management skills to ensure that deadlines are met.

How should you prepare for the banking sector?

While the list of capabilities and skills required for the banking sector might seem overwhelming, several courses can help you get started. TKWs Institute of Banking and Finance (IBF) offers a Global Post-Graduate Diploma in Banking and Finance to help you make the switch from any industry to banking. This program is integrated with a certificate in investment banking, a business banking certificate, and a certificate in international trade finance. TKWs IBF believes that with the world turning into a single marketplace, bankers of the future will need to have a global orientation. The one-year PG program has been designed to help candidates be better prepared for a successful career in banking.