A hot-shot career, a high-profile job with an equally attractive pay-check, investment banking happens to be among the most sought-after careers for college and MBA students in finance and business, alike. The job of an investment banker, as glamourous as it may sound, entails great responsibilities and challenges combined with abundant learning, along with the promises of a fancy Swiss vacation it brings with itself! However, before you set foot in that door, do you have what it takes to be hired by topnotch investment banking firms?
Investment bankers come from a wide range of backgrounds but your strength must lie in mathematics; a bachelor's degree in accounting, finance as well as physics or computer science also helps. However, simply holding a degree alone cannot do much wonders to your career in investment banking. Here are some of the qualifications that will help you take a step in the direction of pursuing investment banking as a career:
● A degree in finance preferably from any of the top-tier B schools- Big names like IIM- A/B/C or ISB have a good impact on the recruiter. In fact, global companies visit these campuses to recruit young professionals directly for internships or even at entry-level trainee investment banker jobs.
● CFA qualification- A Chartered Financial Analyst is a highly esteemed investment banking course and has a global accreditation in around 150 countries around the world. It helps in portfolio management as well as equity research.
● Knowledge in financial modelling- It is advisable to pair your post graduate or PG-diploma programme with financial modelling. Not only does it give you an additional edge as compared to other students or young professionals but also, amps up your overall knowledge in the field of business from an investment banker’s perspective. Additionally, knowing how to chart financial models on spreadsheets in definitely going to have a positive impact on the recruiter.
● An investment banking internship- A hands-on experience will definitely stand out on your resume while you are looking for opportunities to start your investment banking career. By taking on multiple, or at least one internship while in college, you not only gain exposure to the multi-faceted industry but also be able to decide which aspect of investment banking actually draws you the most.
● Developed knowledge on the segmented financial industry- As you move up the ladder, from an educational background to the onset of your career, a clear understanding of how the financial industry works will benefit you in multiple ways. Read up on emerging trends in the finance sector, research on highs and lows of the industry and keep-up-to-date by reading more trade journals that are likely to keep you informed about past and present market patterns.
● Have a solid resume or cover letter- Use the right phrases and sentences to present your accomplishments and goals in the right manner to the recruiter. Your resume and/or cover letter should be aesthetically pleasing as well, highlight the most important areas of your qualifications or experience.
● Relevant case experience- This is probably something that no investment banking course will teach you. Case experience means having worked on an assignment that would be relevant or in along the same lines of your banking job. The recruiter may actually test your practical knowledge to see if you are a fit candidate for the job or not.
● Participation in extracurricular activities- A campus club membership, some experience in a leadership position in college or anything that adds value to your personal portfolio often adds value to the job you are applying for, as well as adds to your recruiter's interest. This may also include taking up online courses, running student organisations or even reading for pleasure.
Last but not the least, getting recruited by investment bankers also depends on your networking skills ad that final round of interview. Be confident, use the correct jargon to questions asked, and do not shy away from admitting what you do not know yet. Let’s face it, a little ignorance but a lot of honesty and integrity might actually land you that dream job in your dream investment banking firm. With the aforementioned qualifications and these tips, you are sure to find an opportunity thats been waiting for you, right around the corner.
Also Read: Career & Scope in Investment Banking