Pursuing a Career in Investment Banking

You’re currently doing an internship at the small business loan department of one of the banks in Salt Lake City. You are currently finishing your bachelor’s in economics at the University of California in Los Angeles (UCLA). Your father works in Wall Street, and you want to follow in his footsteps. You’re planning a career in investment banking. Are you on the right path? What are the primary considerations for you to successfully pursue a career in investment banking?

Let’s look at the possibilities.

Investment Banking Industry Overview

The investment banking and securities dealing industry earned $133 billion in revenues as of June 2019. If the 2.7% annual growth rate for the past five years continues, that amount will probably go beyond $200 billion by the end of the year.

If you want to work in investment banking, you probably have on your sight companies like Bank of America Corporation and Morgan Stanley. You would be right as these are the top corporations to work for. But will they have you on their sights?

Education Pedigree

University of Pennsylvania, New York University, Harvard University, University of Cambridge, and Cornell University are the top five universities belonging to approximately 22% of where the big corporations recruit from. Where is UCLA? You would be pleased to note that UCLA belongs to the top 10 universities where the remaining 78% of the recruitment happens. So you might not be on the radar of some banks, but you would be in others. Bank of America, for example, recruits from Penn State, which is also part of the 78%, but JP Morgan doesn’t.

Are You on the Right Path?

Experts advise that people planning to work in investment banking must reflect deeply about this choice. But since you’re already enrolled in one of the recruitment schools and are already doing your internship, which earns you a few brownie points, you’re probably on the right track.

Ace the Interview

Competition is fierce, so you need to be compelling in telling your story. The interview doesn’t only happen during actual job interviews. You will find yourself talking to someone at a party or an event. Make sure that you are ready to tell your pitch about yourself. Prepare for a short and long version.

Financial Services Expertise

Develop your knowledge of the financial services while you are at your internship and even after. You must gain a deeper understanding of historical market trends as well as knowledge of how a new breed of investors is shaping it. For example, you need to understand how young entrepreneurs are managing their investment portfolios. Read plenty of publications and, when you can, attend seminars and short courses.

Key Skills

Banker and client

You need to have a particular set of skills at a very high level. No, not the ones Liam Neeson’s character has. But communication, research and analysis, spreadsheet and computer literacy, and multitasking are the skills you require to thrive in this industry. Time management and your willingness and ability to work long hours are also crucial for the job. The world market is open 24 hours a day at least five days a week.

Plan for an MBA

Although banks have become more meticulous about getting someone with an MBA degree, this is still an excellent credential to have for when you try to navigate through the recruitment process of other investment banks.

“Every battle is won before it’s ever fought.” Gordon Gekko, played by Michael Douglas, quotes Sun Tzu in the film Wall Street. You got to have a strategy to survive. Playing to win is Gordon’s motto. It should be yours, too.