Investment Banking is a career path that is as sought after as it seems elusive and almost hovering on the “sex” appeal, considering that so many aspirants look at it through Hollywood lens. Wall Street action, making loads of money, sharp suits and slick personalities. The good news is that though some of it could come out true for you, there is grit and determination combined with a nerve of steel that is required.
Investment Banking, per se refers to a wide range of services and products that a large financial company will sell to wealthy individuals, corporations, investment firms, and governments.
What is the nature of the job?
Broadly we can say that there are three areas that you can explore within Investment Banking, 1) Investment Banking Consultant 2) Research 3) Sales and Trading
As an Investment Banking Consultant your core responsibility will be to understand the “market” and its fluctuations like your heartbeat and navigate the clients through the complexities and nuances by decoding the financial markets. You may be involved in setting up of IPOs, consulting private equity firms, mergers and acquisitions or even assisting government on how to raise money or where to put it.
As a Researcher, you would be literally researching a wealth of information, gather stats, prepare a report and analyze it, helping companies and corporations reach vital decisions.
Sales and Trading professionals enact as brokers between sellers and buyers of stocks and bonds. They are usually split across different desks, with each desk selling and trading different types of securities. Although roles vary at individual desks, sales professionals will generally call clients (usually big investment firms) to persuade them to buy or sell certain stocks or bonds through specific desks. Traders then execute (i.e., fulfill) these buy and sell orders.
What is expected of Me?
You will be required to gain an in-depth knowledge of business dynamics, finance and expected to build a great network across the industry. Whether you contribute towards M&A (mergers and acquisitions) deal or research a company’s stock, you should be able to keep a sharp focus on the dynamicity of the macro-environment and be able to reinvent accordingly. Strong analytical skills, a love for number crunching and a pleasing personality is a given.
Some Positives of life as an Investment Banker:
- Generous compensation and benefits
- Recognition of talent and a quick rise
- Well defined career path
- Opportunity to network across multiple arenas
- Good fertile ground for learning and then eventually set up your own business/consultancy
The Flip side of the Coin:
- Unpredictable long hours
- Threat to the job especially in the junior ranks during economy fluctuations
- Intense work culture with no room for error since large amounts are riding
- Steep learning curve; depending on your gumption a sink or swim culture
How can I UP my game and be Successful
Success as an Investment Banker is commensurate with the ability to think on your feet, have your pulse on the market and its fluctuations, willingness to work really hard, striking a perfect balance between soft skills and technical understanding and the ability to create and maintain good relations with seniors, colleagues and clients.
The BIG Boys of the Industry
- GoldMan Sachs
- JP Morgan
- Morgan Stanley
- Credit Suisse
And many more.