When most people enter college or university they do not have a clear idea of what they are going to do. If you are one of the lucky ones that has worked out what you are going to do early on (and it is investment banking) then you can position yourself so that you give yourself the best shot at getting a job in what is always a very competitive industry.
Note that these steps still apply even if you decide later on in your degree that investment banking is the career for you. It is never too late to start positioning yourself for an investment banking career.
Follow these 7 simple steps to land yourself a career in Investment Banking:
- Go to the right college or university
- Get good grades
- Get involved and interested in finance in a way that you can prove at a later point
- Be well rounded
- Do an internship in a related field
- Land an investment banking internship in your penultimate year
- Nail the investment banking internship and leverage this into a graduate offer
Obviously if it was that easy then you wouldn’t be reading this site and I would be writing another blog. Each of these steps is actually important in its own right and I’m going to cover them in far more detail in other posts but for now here is the briefest breakdown of the above steps and what you need to do to give yourself the best chance of landing a graduate job:
- This matters an incredible amount and if you are at a non-target school or university then your probability of getting in to Investment Banking is reduced significantly
- Note that your degree also matters – doing a relevant degree is as important as going to the right school
- Grades are important but far less important that you may think. Investment banks rarely use arbitrary cut offs
- That being said…why wouldn’t you give yourself the best chance of getting into investment banking by getting good grades
- The fact is that if you are interested in doing investment banking you really should be interested in finance. But make sure you do this in a way that you can prove:
- Do you read and subscribe to the financial press?
- Do you belong to the finance societies on your campus?
- Are there investment banking competitions run through your college?
- These things (and more) are so easy to do and yet so few people think about doing them
- Getting good marks and being interested in finance is important but the fact is that well rounded candidates are always more attractive than those who just study
- Do things that interest you – whatever they may be. There is no right and wrong answer. When I was at university I did a lot of Latin dancing…and it came up more times than you can imagine in my investment banking interviews
- It is really hard (although not impossible) to land an investment banking interview before your penultimate year
- If you can, do an internship in a related field – if you can’t one that is directly related them keep going further and further until you do a summer job somewhere
- Easily the hardest step of this whole process and I’m going to dedicate lots of posts to help you do this but everything you do should be working towards this point
- Networking, application skills and interview skills all come into play in landing your internship
7. Nail the investment banking internship and leverage this into a graduate offer
- Getting the internship is the hardest part – if you work hard during your internship and are likeable and someone the bankers can see themselves working with you should be able to leverage this into a graduate offer
- Again there is an art to this and I will cover this much more in posts to come
Although it may seem a little extreme to start planning well in advance, it is certainly better than waking up one day and realising that you need to somehow land a job offer in a competitive industry and you have nothing to back your application up with. That being said, I personally did not start doing a lot of this stuff until much later in my degree (when I worked out what I wanted to do).
Once you have decided to do banking get out there and start preparing and positioning yourself to make yourself the most attractive candidate possible.
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