Investment banking may have a battered reputation, with many industry players calling for long hours, heavy workloads, and burnout, but budding young graduates are still enthralled by the profession. .
The exorbitant salary, benefits and career progression are just some of the many attractive features of the job. Those who want a powerful life after having had their time need look no further than Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak and French President Emmanuel Macron as examples of former investment bankers who have reached great heights. .
But what does it take to be successful in such a competitive industry? Financial news has put together some tips and tricks from city figures on how to get a job in investment banking.
The first mistake many future graduates make is to assume that, because they don’t have a background in math, they wouldn’t be considered for a career in investment banking. This misconception translates into many missed opportunities, says David Gillespie, head of UK and Ireland for consultancy firm Oliver Wyman.
Gillespie says that one of the key skills of someone working in an investment bank is the ability to work in a very high pressure environment within a high performing team. This, he says, applies to back office, mid-office, and front-office roles.
âYou have to be able to work with real efficiency and real focus in a team environment,â explains Gillespie. Financial news, adding that success doesn’t just depend on where a potential new member went to college or what type of doctorate they have under their belt.
âInvestment banks seek out the best talent, integrate them into high-performing teams, and then help them improve continuously,â he says.
First impressions count
For Scott Grundy, investment banking recruiter at Morgan McKinley, a successful interview is essential for graduates looking to break into the industry. Often, he adds, applicants who make it to the interview stage have a solid academic background and tend to come from the top twenty universities.
âIt’s important that you understand that you are someone who can figure things out quickly and that you are up to speed on what’s going on in the financial world,â says Grundy. âYou have to understand the bank you would work for, what it focuses on, what products it works on, how it differs from the competition. “
A candidate should also be able to give examples of situations where he has been under pressure and prove he can work long hours, adds Grundy. This is especially important for new graduates, who will go from limited teaching hours at university to grueling 100-hour weeks where the stakes can be very high.
City, the University of London warns aspiring investment bankers that the work environment “can sometimes be extremely stressful with high expectations and lofty goals.”
An article on the university’s career development portal dealing with investment banking also states that industry experience is “virtually essential,” particularly in exposing students to the “realities – and rigors – of life as an investment banker â.
The power of personal relationships
For the Corporate Finance Institute, an online finance learning platform, networking is another important way to increase the chances of getting an interview. He recommends that students ask their university’s career center to introduce them to alumni who work in investment banks, making a first conversation an opportunity to learn more about the industry.
Rupal Patel, who previously worked at several of the city’s investment banks and is now responsible for network engagement at high-tech company Acin, also stresses the importance of networking.
An aspiring investment banking graduate should ‘be bold and ask for information about what people are doing and how it connects to. [their role], Patel said. This can help them “get the big picture” at the bank.
Breaking the mold
Investment banks – and businesses in the financial services industry in general – face a number of challenges that they will need employees from a variety of backgrounds to help them, such as climate change and diversity.
âEveryone needs new ideas and new approaches [when tackling climate change]Gillespie says, noting that these institutions will be looking for talented people capable of providing innovative and creative solutions to the problem.
âHow can we make a business response and approach to climate change financially viable? What is the economic model? The investment bank is at the heart of answering these questions, âhe adds.
To contact the author of this story with comments or news, send an email Berengaria Sim