How to go into investment Banking?
How do you get into investment banking? These are the ten best routes to follow.
If you’ve tried applying for a job in an investment bank, you’ll know that getting in isn’t easy. Front office investment bankers still earn considerably more than almost anyone else, except footballers and ‘celebrities, ’ and banks are accordingly inundated with applications.
If you want to achieve a career in financial services – particularly in M&A or sales and trading, you’ll need to be good. But you’ll also need to know the processes that will get you in the door. Banks are bureaucracies. There are tried and tested routes into their jobs. Some involve graduate programs, but graduate programs are not all there is. Before you give up on your chances of working in banking, read through the list below.
1. Apply during your bachelors degree
Banks hire students with bachelors’ degrees onto their analyst programs. These programs are incredibly competitive: only the best of the best get in. However, 80% (or more) of the people who get hired as full time analysts will previously have worked for that bank as summer interns – meaning that the real moment for getting into an investment bank is during the summer internship in the penultimate year of a university course.
In turn, a lot of banks are making accelerated offers for summer internships to students who completed ‘spring weeks’ or ‘sophomore internships.’ If you really, really want to get into a bank out of university, you therefore need to start applying for internships from the moment you arrive on campus.
2. Apply before or during your Masters in Finance
If you have a Masters in Finance, you’ll still join a bank as an analyst. Therefore, you’ll still need to complete a summer internship. With most Masters in Finance courses only lasting for one year, it’s advisable to complete this internship during the summer before the Masters even begins. In other words, you’ll need to apply for internships during the final year of a bachelors degree.
3. Intern, intern, and intern again
It used to be the case that students completed a single summer internship during which they received an offer to join an bank full time, or they didn’t.
Not any more.
Nowadays, some of the best students applying for jobs in investment banks have completed multiple internships (spring weeks included). More importantly, some have continued to work as interns even after they’ve graduated. And some have received offers to join full-time at the end of these internships.
Most banks now offer ‘off-cycle internships’ to students or ex-students who are available outside the summer months. It’s not uncommon to come across analysts in investment banks who’ve completed several of these off-cycle internships before settling into a full time job.