Derrick Zhou

Derrick Zhou

Credit Flow Trader, Hong Kong

Societe Generale offers a two-year Graduate Programme to final year university students and recent graduates to kick off their career. During the two-year programme, an intensive and comprehensive talent management approach will be adopted to develop the candidate’s skills and professional expertise. After successful completion of the programme, graduates will be on track for more responsibilities and career opportunities. They will be integrated into a specific team within the bank which corresponds the best with their profile. Derrick Zhou, who joined the programme in 2018 in Hong Kong, shares his experience.

How was your experience during the 2-year programme?  

I joined Societe Generale Hong Kong in the summer of 2018 after graduating from Columbia University with my Master’s degree. Over the timespan of 2 years within the Graduate Programme, I had the chance to rotate through three very different desks within the Global Markets Division. I started off the Programme working for the Global Markets Marketing team, where I worked closely with the pricing team and supported the structured product distribution franchise. Afterwards, as I opted for the trading stream in the Programme, I carried on rotating for 8 months each on two trading desks: Delta One Index Trading and Credit Flow Trading. After completing the Programme this summer, I joined my last rotation desk permanently as a Trader.

''The best thing about the Graduate Programme is that it offers young people with aspiration a chance to truly experience different business lines and to find a placement within the bank where it suits best. Intrinsically embedded in the Programme are countless networking opportunities with senior finance practitioners as well as the bank’s senior management.''

What is the best part of your current role?

I now work as a Trader in the Credit Flow Trading team. What I enjoy the most of my current role is the diverse nature of my mandate. I started off covering the overnight session in Asia hours for US and European Investment Grade bonds. Progressing forward, I started to make markets for Asia Investment Grade bonds as well. I have daily interactions with my New York and London senior traders, and it is my utmost pleasure to help contribute to our global credit franchise. 

How do you find the culture in Societe Generale? What’s it like to be working here and how is your interaction with other colleagues?

Working at Societe Generale is like working in a big family. Colleagues and senior managers are very easy to talk to and I can always find help whenever needed. One of the core values of Societe Generake is team spirit – with the supportive working environment in place, it is much easier for one to perform. I like this culture very much. Moreover, although I came to Hong Kong with no prior living experience here, I developed deep and lasting relationships with many of my colleagues, with whom I spent a lot of time off work.

What does it take to build a successful career in investment banking? And what advice would you give to an aspiring applicant to the next Graduate Programme?

In order to build a successful career in Investment Banking (and possibly in any industry), one must always be hungry to learn more. In other words, you need to have the inner drive which pushes you forward to think out of the box and come up with innovative strategies to better service our clients. There is a need to show your competency in the industry but in the meanwhile, staying humble and open to new ideas will get you even further.