Dorothee Blessing is both part of a banking dynasty in Germany and one half of a power couple in the financial sector.
She is married to Commerzbank CEO, Martin Blessing, and followed in her father’s footsteps – Paul Wieandt is the former chairman of savings bank Frankfurter Sparkasse. Meanwhile her brother, Axel Wieandt, has worked at Deutsche Bank and Credit Suisse and headed up Hyper Real Estate Holding for two years.
But Blessing’s career is equally as distinguished. She broke into the hallowed partner level at Goldman Sachs, where she eventually led its Germany and Austria business, but ‘retired’ after 20 years of service in 2013.
This fallow period didn’t last long – she resurfaced at J.P. Morgan last year as vice chairman of investment banking for EMEA and head of investment banking for Germany, Austria and Switzerland. Senior female banking executives remain relatively scarce, but this is particularly the case in Germany, where Blessing is one of the few high-profile examples. She gives her tips to junior bankers.
There’s an acute shortage of junior bankers – from analyst to VP level. What is the situation like at J.P. Morgan?
The training for our junior bankers is very, very important at J.P. Morgan and it enjoys a very good reputation among graduates. It does not end with the initial training programme in New York and London, but it’s equally important to provide ongoing training at all levels. Globally, we have increased the number of junior bankers by about 10% over the last year.
What advice would you give students and graduates seeking a route into investment banking?
Many students use the summer break to gain early professional experience through internships and use them to identify their interests and strengths. I think this is extremely important, because we also use this opportunity to discover new talent on the job. Another tip to young professionals is to stay curious and not be afraid to ask questions.
What advice do you have to junior bankers starting out?
Young investment bankers should take advantage of the opportunities offered at major investment banks. In addition to the training and education programs, there’s also the chance for international mobility and to rotate across programs in other locations. They should also know also discover the different product areas and industry groups across the organisation.
This is an extract from a longer interview with Dorothee Blessing which appeared on our German language website.