Tips on how to build a career in investment banking

Investment banking is one of the most coveted careers now. If you’re thinking about breaking into investment banking, then let’s discuss how we can ace the interviews and build a great investment banking career.

  • Understand that top global investment banks are severely rigid with their recruiting. They are conservative and traditional organizations sticking to what has worked for the past decades. The top global investment banks also have a strong preference for undergraduates and business school students at the top most universities such as Wharton, Yale, Harvard, Oxford and so on. So it’s going to be a lot more difficult to break in if you’re a working professional or not from a top school. The top global investment banks have this assumption that if you’re not from a top university or business school, then maybe you’re not smart enough or hard-working enough.
  • Know that there are two entry-level positions in investment banking which includes analysts and associates. The analysts are out of undergraduate or master’s programs or sometimes they’re 1-2 years of full-time work experience. Generally after working 2-3 years, analysts go into another field such as private equity, hedge funds or venture capital. Associates are from top MBA schools and they manage analysts. They work directly with the clients and senior bankers such as the vice president or managing directors. They are expected to stay in banking for long-term then moving to private equity, hedge funds and venture capital. So, which of these two roles-analyst or associate positions-should you aim for and most importantly how do you get it?
  • If you’re in a top school, then you might have the opportunity to go through on-campus recruiting and also network with various alumni, family, professors and student groups. After getting the banking internship, you have to go through the same recruiting process and strengthen your experience into full-time job offers for the analyst position. After graduation you can have 3 years of full-time experience and apply to the top business schools to go for the associate positions.
  • Don’t come across as annoying Ivy League geek. Build a good resume with solid internships and great technical skills. Try to avoid typical interview mistakes. Prepare answers for the commonly encountered questions on interviews. Show your interviewer exactly how you think and what sets you apart from others.
  • In order to land interviews and job offers at top global investment banks, you have to network like a ninja for investment banking career. Developing relationships and cold-calling are the two methods of networking. Focus on developing relationships via weekend trips, information sessions, and informational interviews.

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