Getting a Job in Investment Banking is Harder Than Most Think

Landing a job in a tough economic environment is tough enough as it is, let alone when there are other outside factors that can impact the decision-making of a hiring manager. The issues inherent in making a job choice are further compounded in the investment banking industry where jobs are not necessarily in abundant supply. Not only that, but there is strong demand on the employee side to join the ranks of some of the top investment banks. There are a number of factors that can help you stand out from the crowd when it comes time to find the right investment banking

Talk the Talk and Walk the Walk

If you really want to succeed as an investment banking intern or associate, there are a number of things you can do right out of the gate to help to ensure you will be more successful than most:

  1. Know Excel and know how to model. The best investment banking candidates know how to model out complex cash flow and earnings structures. Those with the most experience and expertise will land the jobs, hands down.
  2. Have good oral communications skills. Know how to write an email and definitely know how to present yourself well.
  3. Know how to network. The very best investment bankers are those that can source and have access to their very own deal flow. That means knowing business owners and working a system that allows you to bring deals and new transactions into the firm in which you work.
  4. Know the regulations. It may be wise to find a way to get licensed as an investment banker through your own broker-dealer. This process can be arduous, but is something that needs to happen if you are going to hang your shingle out there as someone selling securities.

Start Your Own

If all else fails, you can even start your own investment bank from scratch. This strategy likely could take years to build-up, but is something that is available. For most, it will mean taking some time to invest resources into your personal brand and company goodwill (see the list previously mentioned above). There are those who have started their own investment bank, but who may not have succeeded because they lacked the personal goodwill and ample connections that can help a deal move forward.

While starting your own investment bank could be an option, it requires a great deal of knowledge and understanding about the industry, including all the potential regulatory barriers that can and will arise as you are preparing things like your broker-dealer registration with FINRA and the SEC. Not only that, if you have other registered representatives that you have working for you, that means more examinations and more regulatory oversight for the person running the broker-dealer. Either way, starting your own investment bank is certainly no easy task.

Landing your first job is always going to be the most difficult task. Once you are in the industry, there are many ways you can go—both sideways and upwards. For those with the tenacity and fortitude to stick it out, the industry can be quite lucrative.