UC Berkeley investment Banking
Shannjit Singh landed a coveted analyst job after graduating in 1999 with a BA in Economics. He shares his insights into what it's really like in I-Banking.
Career Center (CC): Describe what you do at JP Morgan.
Shannjit Singh (SS): I am a third year investment banking analyst in the TMT group (Technology, Media and Telecom) in San Francisco. I work with a variety of financial products including mergers and acquisitions, equity, debt, and private placements. My day-to-day responsibilities fall into two buckets: Valuation and Marketing.
Valuation incorporates both finance and accounting, both of which you will pick up in training courses and on the job. (Incidentally, some of the best bankers did not major in business or economics.) The other significant part of the analyst job is marketing financial products to current and prospective clients, including both Fortune 500 firms and start-up entrepreneurs.
Marketing usually comes in pitch-book form and covers many different subject areas, from overviews of emerging industries such as "The State of American Stock Exchanges" to an investment bank's capabilities in cash management or mergers and acquisitions. Our efforts are to inform both current clients along with prospective clients about our views on industry trends, financial markets and our various financial product capabilities.
CC: What are the rewards and challenges of working in I-banking?
- The chance to regularly work with the leaders of both large and small, public and private companies
- Tremendous learning curve
- Intense exposure to finance and capital markets, which is an excellent springboard for opportunities like business school, private equity, venture capital, and in-house corporate finance
- Chance to work very closely with smart and interesting people
- Extremely long hours, including evenings, weekends and holidays. Little time for personal or social life
- Some challenge in juggling multiple projects with fluid deadlines and an incredible amount of work
- As glamorous as travel sounds, delays and changes frequently eat into your personal time
- Keeping a good attitude while working in a fast-paced, often high-stress environment
CC: What contributed to your success in obtaining an I-banking job?
SS: I obtained my job through on-campus recruiting events and the aid of the Career Center. I attended a variety of resume critiques and mock interviews and talked very candidly with friends who had graduated before me. I attended numerous on-campus company presentations to learn about the respective companies. After finding companies that I was interested in, I applied through On-Campus Recruiting (OCR).
One mistake I made in my first interviews was a lack of preparation, but I quickly learned that preparing well thought out answers on why I chose my previous internships and what I learned from those experiences would be vital to my success in landing a job. It also helps to apply early and stay on top of the recruiting calendar. Resume drop deadlines come up very quickly, interview slots fill up quickly, and firms have very little flexibility for late applicants.