Investment banking is one of the lucrative careers in the finance sector. It’s no wonder that every finance graduate wants to get into investment banking. Apart from handsome salary, experience of an investment banker is also a ticket for entry to private equity and hedge funds.
As bulge bracket firms are open to hiring non-finance graduates for various roles across investment banking, it throws opportunities for non-finance graduates too.
All said and done. How do you break into investment banking?
Here are three routes you can take to start a career in investment banking:
1. The undergraduate route – This is the simplest and easiest route to investment banking, but you must decide in advance if you want to get into investment banking, preferably in your 1st or 2nd year of under graduation. Some top bulge bracket investment banks like Goldman Sachs hire for investment banking-related roles. Interviews for summer internships starts as early as a year before.
2. The graduate route –Some boutique investment banks hire graduates for roles related to investment banking. Corporate banking, corporate finance, and valuation jobs at Big 4 companies are primary roles for graduates. The chances of making into investment banking depends on market conditions. If the market is dull, you will have a hard time cracking into it.
Further, if you don’t have a finance background, you will have to consider a master’s in Finance or going for an MBA.
3. MBA and certifications – You might be inclined to get into investment banking after a few years of full-time working experience in a non-finance field. If that is the case, you will need to get into an MBA post which you can look for offers in investment banking. You will need to start your efforts as early as before the program starts and build your network.
Start working on building your network by connecting with alumni who are working in investment banking and seek their help. Top MBA programs in finance will ideally work best for you. If you come from non-finance related domains, additional effort in terms of investment banking certifications will work in your favor.
4. After MBA – Breaking into investment after extensive experience, say 10 years, will be hell, to say the least. Your chances are negligible. Still if you want to work in investment banking, a better approach is to continue working in your area of field and advance to a senior executive role and move into finance from there. You are more likely to easily make this transition easily than trying to switch at a mid-level position.
Financial analysis, financial modelling, and valuation related skills will be helpful along the way. To equip yourself with these skills, taking short term courses or finance certifications will be helpful.
Overall, get into investment banking, at any level, you will need to show commitment and passion for the job
1. At undergraduate level, it will be through internships
2. At graduate level, it will be through work experience and internships
3. At MBA level, it will be through networking and pre-MBA internships.
Investment banking is a sought-after career for many reasons. It requires a gamut of skills but more than that it’s the commitment which is required to get through. As is evident from above, the early you start, the better opportunities and chances you will have to break in the investment banking industry. Decide early and work for it.
Like all successful paths, investment working requires hard work and dedication, so don’t expect it any less. While you are on your way, keep hustling and learning.