Investment Banking To Private Equity: How An MBA Drove My Career Change

Napol Kamthornkittikul enrolled on the Tsinghua-MIT Global MBA-MIT Sloan MSMS dual degree to develop his understanding of business and finance, and swapped investment banking for private equity

Swapping investment banking for private equity 

Shortly after the MBA, Napol joined Barclays investment banking arm in Singapore, following a successful internship with them between his first and second year. He says that, before the MBA, his perspective had only really been informed by his time working in Thailand. Now, he doesn’t consider himself a strictly Thai citizen, but a global one.  

“During my time in Beijing, I learned Mandarin, which turned out to be a really useful skill in investment banking when overseeing flows of money and business coming in from China and vice versa,” he says. “I got to meet and deal with people from very different backgrounds. I really did get the best of both worlds, with exposure to western and eastern business cultures.” 

As well as financial experience, he now has a sound business understanding that helps him to bring in business, negotiate, and encourage investments.

He really enjoyed the process, describing it as a meaningful contribution to the company. The equal balance between business and finance brought Napol to the decision to move into private equity, which he says is a far more hands-on approach to investment.  

94f779d6317af8905e4c5331576338daaeaa1df9.jpg A winter trip to Harbin with Tsinghua MBA classmates

Private equity firms raise funds from institutions or wealthy individuals, with the idea of then investing that money into buying, adding value, and then divesting businesses for profit. 

Presented with an opportunity from a friend back in Thailand to move into the private equity industry with Lombard Investments in Bangkok, he jumped at the chance and made the switch instantaneously. 

“I loved investment banking and investments, but the lifestyle usually involves working very long hours––sometimes on tasks where eventual impact is hard to measure. There was less time for spending time with family and relaxing,” he admits. “But, in finance, private equity is where you see real impact. You see the risk and rewards directly linked to your own performance; you’re completely responsible for your investments.”  

As well as being a more hands-on approach to working with investments, Napol adds that investment banking airs more on the side of finance, whereas he gets to employ both his financial and business skill sets in his current job role.  

“There are so many varied and interesting routes in finance,” Napol concludes. “From investment banking, to corporate finance, asset management, and private equity. Having an MBA backing will give you access to all of those industries. You can work in the area that works best for you.”