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Everyone knows that investment banking is a lucrative business. Entry-level jobs quickly provide six-figure salaries. Senior investment bankers earn tens of millions of dollars every year. Reaching the top of this field is a multi-step process that requires a combination of education, ambition, hard work, skills, experience, connections, and sometimes more than a little luck. Here are some suggestions for getting to the top of the investment banking field.

Key points to remember

  • It is best to get a university degree from a top school, with a specialization in finance, economics, or a business-related field.
  • Getting an MBA or other higher degree or certification in finance will give you an edge over other applicants.
  • Getting an internship at a top-tier company is essential for exposure to the culture, on-the-job training, a chance to impress potential employers, and networking.
  • Network like crazy to find a job. Industry groups, the school, the company you’re doing your internship for, or even family and friends can all be great sources of networking opportunities.

Get a university degree …

A college degree in finance or economics is usually the starting point for entry-level jobs in an investment bank. Accounting and business are also common courses. While it is true that liberal arts majors can find jobs on Wall Street, if you have investment banking at heart, you will tip the scales in your favor if you stick to traditional fields of study that are most closely aligned with your career goals.

… in a high-level school

Investment banks recruit from the best colleges and universities in the world. In the United States, young investment bankers are often torn from Ivy League schools. In Great Britain, the London School of Economics is still the first choice, with University College London, the University of Cambridge, the University of Oxford and the University of Warwick among the perennial leaders. Remember that investment banking is a global business with New York, London, Hong Kong, and Tokyo home to major central banks that employ many of the most successful investment bankers in the world.

Can you go to a less prestigious institution and still achieve your goals? Of course you can, but just like choosing the right field of study, choosing the right school will help tip the scales in your favor. The schools that investment banks recruit from are well known, so attending one of these schools is like putting you in a position where you are most likely to be noticed.

When it comes to grabbing attention, your grades are also important. Getting your degree at the top of your class will put you in a good position to grab the attention of campus recruiters and hiring managers.

There are nearly 17,000 investment firms in the United States, but less than two dozen are significant globally.Think carefully if you want to work for an international entity or a small business.

Choose a higher degree

While you can get a job with a bachelor’s degree, having a graduate degree is another way to improve your prospects. A master’s degree in business administration (MBA) or a graduate degree in mathematics can add to your appeal. A chartered financial analyst (CFA) certification can also help.

Get an internship in investment banking

Internships allow students and recent graduates to secure full-time employment in just about any occupation. Investment banking is no different. An internship gives you the opportunity to try your chosen field, learn about the culture, gain work experience and impress potential employers. It’s a great way to jumpstart your career.

Network, Network, Network

Investment bankers spend their time selling. They find exorbitant amounts of money and convince people to give it to them. They are the engines of Fortune 500 company mergers and acquisitions, initial public offerings (IPOs) of private companies that commission stratospheric valuations, and other high finance transactions that generate huge fees. Networking is an essential part of the job, and maybe even more so for those looking to enter the field.

Long before you land your first mega-deal, you need to land a job. Selling yourself will be your first task, so every opportunity to do so is important. You need to mix and mingle with the people who have the power to hire you or who can recommend you to people who hire. And you have to make a good impression.

Of course, having a parent, uncle, cousin or family friend who works in the company or has the right contacts never hurts either. The right words in the right ear can open doors. When trying to land the job opportunity of a lifetime in one of the most competitive fields in the world, most job seekers will take advantage of any path that gives them access to the top 10 investment banks. of the world.

About this good impression

Investment bankers work with and for some of the richest people in the world. These people wear selected clothes, drive selected cars, and vacation in selected locations. They spend their time with people like them and give their money to people who understand them and share their culture.

If you’re not one of that crowd, it can be difficult to break into. A study of UK Government Social Mobility Commission provides a fascinating insight into how subtle mistakes, like wearing the wrong color shoes or having the wrong haircut, can be enough to derail job seekers.If these things weren’t in your background, it pays to be a quick study, at least to the extent that you can blend in during your early years in this area, according to some included in the UK study.


The approximate number of employees in the investment fund industry in the United States, as of 2017.

The bottom line

After you get the best education, choose your specialty, and network like crazy, getting a job is a big step in the right direction. From there, keeping the job and moving up the ranks are the next challenges. Staying in your job will require work weeks that consistently exceed 80 hours. If you want to drive a Ferrari, sip champagne and vacation on the French Riviera, you will have to work for it.

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