5 Tips For A Career In Investment Banking From A Real Investment Banker

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Many students and graduates want to work in finance because it is known to be very rewarding and financially exciting. However, he is also under pressure, stressful and demanding. Investment banks often look for people who have the intellectual skills required for such a role, coupled with the psychological ability to survive in a very unforgiving environment. There are so many different careers in finance, from front office to back office, buy-side to sell-side, but one of the most sought after and famous is investment banking. Investment bankers consolidate companies or assets through various types of financial transactions, or they facilitate company-to-market (IPO) transactions. We spoke to a VP of Equity Capital Markets at a leading investment bank who gave her top tips on the skills needed to succeed in the industry. Many of the tangibles can be measured, but some are intangible. Here is what she advises:

I have been working in this industry for a few years now. I have seen and interviewed many students who are in graduate programs and so I wanted to pick out five essentials that these people need not only to enter the industry but also to support them in a long career in the within it. Some are more obvious than others, and many of the skills can be learned or acquired.

1. Starting with perhaps the most obvious – the Intellect: This job is very technical and analytical, so you need a strong intellect with a focus on math, economics, and analysis. It will help you in your daily work requirements; however, you must have intelligence beyond that. Your intellect should be inquisitive with the ability to understand not just what you’re doing, but also what the wider team and teams around you are doing and how the whole puzzle fits together. Investment bankers are generally happy to solve complicated problems, but not only; they enjoy trying to create new and innovative solutions to these problems. Studying subjects such as math, physics, engineering, finance, accounting, and economics are good choices for honing a person’s natural problem-solving abilities and curiosity. Postgraduate courses like the CFA are also recommended.

2. Entrepreneurship: This one is not so obvious due to the rigor and structure involved in the work. It is, however, highly valued, and those performing at the top of their game can approach a problem or mission in a way that can be innovative and original, developing a pathway for products and services. This quality is intangible and the ability to approach something in a new and different way is often guided by instinct; however, academics can certainly reinforce such behavior. Consider taking entrepreneurship courses in college and science and social studies courses which can introduce a more innovative way of thinking.

3. Self-discipline: Movies and newspapers frequently report the sums of money that investment bankers earn and the multi-million dollar bonuses that some of the top bankers have received. They often fail to point out the grueling work and the amount of hard, unsociable hours needed to earn those rewards. Whether you are an entry-level worker or an experienced MD, all investment bankers work in a high-pressure environment and are subject to intense scrutiny and demands. They need to make sure they can perform well under these conditions in order to keep their jobs. Although these characteristics and traits are usually innate, they can be learned or improved in several ways. You might sign up for a difficult task that is outside of your comfort zone. For example, if you get very nervous when speaking in public, join the debate team. Put yourself out there, test yourself and see how you deal with it.

4. Relationship Building: It’s extremely important to your career and its future, and it’s hard to see on your resume.

In addition to the required technical skills, you must also have interpersonal skills. It helps a lot if you are liked and get along well with the people around you. You will need to learn how to deal with difficult people, including demanding customers, while always being perceived as an optimistic and positive person who understands what the customer wants and needs. Maintaining customer relationships is crucial because without customers your business goes unpaid, so strong interpersonal skills are essential.

5. Global: We are all too aware of how the world is globally connected at all levels, including businesses. In investment banking, it’s considered a big plus to be able to think globally and gain insight into other cultures and countries.

Knowing how other companies are similar and different from yours and having experience with those companies is invaluable. Knowing another language or multiple languages ​​is often a requirement of specific recruiting offices, but having also used those languages ​​outside of the classroom and knowing the customs and traditions of that culture attached to them will look impressive on your resume. If you have studied/lived abroad, been involved in projects with other cultures and are able to demonstrate your language proficiency in an interview, this will be very helpful to you. Some languages ​​are more valuable than others; for example, Mandarin and Arabic are in demand at the moment, as well as European languages ​​such as French or German.

You can learn more about the roles available within investment banking on the Fmi Investment Banking pathway.

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