In the last decade, with the ever-growing list of high-profile parties involved and the lucrative benefits of being involved in such transactions, my investment banking as a career has sky-rocketed.
However, being an Investment banker is not only about the intelligent business suits anymore - especially not in the current financial sector.
Understanding Investment Banking
Investment banking is a branch of a bank or financial institution branch that provides mergers and acquisitions (M & M&A) advisory services to governments, businesses, and institutions along with underwriting (capital raising).
Investment banks operate as go-betweens for investors (those with money to invest) and corporations (those with money to support) (who require capital to grow and run their businesses). These institutions also enforce anti-money laundering policies as a method to monitor potential fraudulent transactions.
Nevertheless, one needs to differentiate between the working of an Investment Bank and that of an Investment Banking Division of a bank. Whereas a dedicated Investment Bank will offer you a wide range of services, the Investment Banking Division of a particular bank can only help with underwriting and M&A advice.
A full-service Investment Bank offers the following services:
Underwriting: Working with underwriting and capital raising groups, Investors and firms look to raise money or go public through the IPO process. The primary market, sometimes known as "new capital," is served by this function.
Mergers & Acquisitions (M&A): The Bank takes on advisory roles for both buyers and sellers of firms, as well as management of the M&A process from beginning to end. Investment bankers issued by the Bank advise clients on either the acquirer (buy-side) or the target (sell-side) in a transaction (sell-side).
Sales & Trading: In the secondary market, these banks match the buyers and sellers of securities. Investment banking sales and trading departments function as agents for clients and can also trade the firm's funds.
Equity Research: The study of securities by the equity research group assists investors in making investment decisions and facilitates stock trading.
Asset Management: The Bank manages investments for a diverse group of clients, including institutions and individuals, in various investing approaches.
The Investment Banker is the key to fulfilling all the above roles of an Investment Bank. So how to become an Investment Banker? First, let us see if you are made for the role or not:
- Being aware of the skill set required for the job (i.e., Excel, Word, and PowerPoint) and being good at them
- Readiness to handle the pressure in the hierarchy as with every corporate job - all work will eventually roll downhill
- Determination to put in the long hours because there will be many data to analyze
- Excited about the learning curve ahead and not doing it just for the money.
If you have your priorities sorted about why you want to pursue this career path, we can go on to explore how to become an Investment Banker.
- Getting into the right business school is the stepping stone to start your career.
- Network in the right circles to increase your chances of landing an interview
- Mastering technical skills such as valuation, financial modeling, and accounting are crucial for doing it smarter and better than others.
However, once you are in the role, your job entails much more than just financial spreadsheets. Money laundering is quite prevalent within such financial institutions - with or without the parties' knowledge.
Therefore, as an Analyst or Associate, it becomes their job to abide by the Anti-Money Laundering policies to monitor and report any suspicious activities or transactions that may have the potential of being dishonest money. After all, it is all in a day's work!