How Team Sports Advance Wall Street Careers

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Investment Dealers Digest points out that finance-oriented athletic leagues offer opportunities to deepen relationships with co-workers and clients, make new contacts, practice teamwork, self-discipline and analytical skills outside of the office - and even scope out business rivals.

Andrea de Cholnoky, co-head of the Wall Street practice at Spencer Stuart, told the magazine employers like candidates who have been part of team sports: "It gives them confidence, and shows they worked in an environment where they tried to achieve something as a group, where they think of themselves as a critical member of an entity that accomplishes a goal. It's not a requirement, but in my experience, people like to see it."

Job-seekers pursuing a particular firm or market sector will be pleased to learn that sometimes you needn't work for a company to join its sports team. For instance, the hockey team at Wall Street law firm Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom includes bankers from firms it advises.

But corporate athletics isn't just fun and games. Many participants are former nationally ranked college, semi-pro or even professional athletes. The competitive drive and performance focus that dominate bankers' daytime activities carry over to the tennis court or soccer field. The BNP Paribas ice hockey team "approaches games in the same fashion that it deals with business," its captain told IDD.

Although golf may be more compatible with actual deal-making, the article notes that more intense sports like soccer, tennis and hockey help to cement relationships even when players don't talk shop on the court.

A BNP Paribas equity derivatives trader, who's a member of the bank's indoor soccer team, said that playing "reinforces relationships and creates a human dimension, beyond the mere professional one."

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