With the publication of Forbes “30 under 30”, a series of portraits of 30 of Europe’s most successful young professionals in finance, Finbuzz takes a look at ten extraordinary careers.
“If you want to change the world, being under 30 is now an advantage”, says Caroline Howard of Forbes. And while we might be used to musicians transforming the world in their youth (think the 27 club), that these transformations could take place in the sphere of finance is something entirely new. When making their mark, millennials will not allow themselves to be limited to the arts.
The agent of this radical change is technology. The barriers which once limited the ability to reach millions and expand into new markets to the select few with capital have been torn down. At the same time, as Howard explains: “Those who grew up in the tech age have way bigger ambitions — perfectly suited to the dynamic, entrepreneurial and impatient digital world they grew up in”.
Yet while technology is largely responsible for this change, not all those who have made a name for themselves by the age of 30 have done so through digital startups. While the freedom and responsibility of setting up a business is very attractive for ambitious millennials, many have chosen to either remain within the world of the established banks or to enter it at a later stage. Research by McConnell HR Consulting shows that large firms can retain and attract young talent by recreating the startup atmosphere in their offices. Specifically, the research suggests establishing flexible working hours, rapidly changing roles and responsibilities, and making sure the truly talented are given plenty of responsibility and rapidly promoted.
If you don’t have time to read the whole list at Forbes, here is a selection of ten of individuals who took the brave new digital world head on and made it their own.
Amy Kang (South Korea) was named a Vice President at Bank of America at the tender age of just 26! From intern to analyst to manager to VP, Kang’s stratospheric rise through the ranks at Bank of America has taken just five years.
Joachim Bale (Norway, 29) worked as a private equity associate at Bain Capital Private Equity in London and as an associate at McKinsey & Company. In 2013 he joined billionaire Tom Steyer’s Farallon Capital, where he still works managing an energy markets portfolio.
Goldman Sachs says that a third of its newly minted managing directors are millennials, born after 1980. At 28, Dan Avery (UK) is currently the youngest of them.
At just 26 Laura-Maria Baz (UK) rocketed through the ranks at Citigroup, working in Russia, Korea and Abu Dhabi, before being taken on as an investment professional at commodities giant Vitol.
After completing a number of off-cycle and summer internships at investment banks such as NM Rothschild and Sons and Goldman Sachs, Jonathan Bensoussan (Spain, 28) became a full-time analyst at Goldman Sachs in 2011. He is currently employed as an investment professional at BlackRock in London.
Niklas Nikolai (Germany), at just 22, is the youngest of our selected finance professionals. He has just started a new job as an investment professional at the European private equity firm EQT Partners, but in the few years of his career he has managed to work at such titans of banking as Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley and Merrill Lynch.
Maximillian Thaler (Germany, 29) learnt his trade under the watchful eye of billionaire John Paulson in his investment management firm Paulson & Co. Now he works for DJE Capital, where he keeps a close watch on the blooming German-speaking tech sector.
Frances Houweling (Netherlands) seems to have a great sense of how to make money in any market, boasting successful bets on the Hong Kong fund management firm Vistra and even the Belgian cleaning product maker CIS Lines. In 2013 she was made Associate Director at IK Investment Partners at the age of just 27.
As managing director at Rocket Internet, Uwe Horstmann (Germany, 29) enjoyed astronomical success in launching new products, before leaving the company to found Project A Ventures, a $100 VC fund with offices in Berlin and Sao Paulo.
Christoph Knaack (Germany, 29) is an analyst at KKR’s Private Equity team in London. At KKR he has played a key role in a number of major acquisitions, including that of Trainline and Scout24 Schweiz. To get to where he is today, Knaack had to complete a series of internships with banking giants such as Morgan Stanley, Citigroup and Goldman Sachs.