This article is dedicated to sophomore and junior college students thinking about an investment banking career. If you are a senior or recent graduate, please click here.
Before we begin, I’d like to introduce myself. My name is Stephanie, former banker and now author and publisher of a series of accounting and finance websites.
I heard about investment banking in my sophomore year and thought it was so cool. I applied for a few investment banking internships in early Spring, and didn’t land a single offer.
After reflecting on my mistakes and working on my weaknesses, I reapplied the following year and this time around, got a couple of offers and spent a fabulous summer at Smith Barney (now part of Citi)’s investment banking department.
I had such a “surreal” experience that I decided to go for the toughest group after I graduate – to the global Mergers and Acquisition Group where I spent time constructing financial models and preparing presentations for CEOs. You can read about my life as an investment banker here.
I’ve “retired” from banking, but I am happy to share my first-hand experience here on how to get into the investment banking analyst program.
If you’d like to get an investment banking job description in plain English, click here.
Investment banking is one of the most competitive jobs around the world because of the excitement, glamor, exposure and pay. In order to maximize your chance of success, you will need to excel in the following areas:
They are all inter-linked and we are going to go through them one by one.
There are lots of myths out there on what makes people eligible / ineligible for an investment banking job. I personally don’t think there is something as clear cut as that and I try to answer a few popular questions below.
The answers can be found here on investment banking qualifications.
We’ll talk first about the accumulating your experience because this is going to be the “content” of your resume and interview.
Most college students have some sort of part-time jobs, so why not make them relevant to your future career? Investment banks are looking for candidates who have:
Pick a job or interest that can highlight your strengths in these attributes. It can be anything like:
… as you see, as long as you can package it to fit most of the attributes investment bankers are looking for, you don’t need to work in a bank to make it a relevant experience. We will talk about how to package your experience in the resume writing section. It is the best if you can start accumulating relevant experience early in college.
Once you have some interesting experience in / outside of college, you should think about applying for an investment banking internship. Why?
Your resume is your “spokesperson” before you have a chance to meet the recruiters. It is therefore very important to know how to present your best in this piece of paper.
I have written a few articles on this topic and please take the time to read through and ask any questions that you may have:
For an investment banking internship, there is typically only one round of interview and your interviewer is most likely a junior i-banker (an analyst a couple of years older than you). If your college is one of the target recruiting school, he/she is probably an alumnus.
Here are some tips for your interview preparation:
Feel free to use any of the free resources found on this frequently asked questions page.