The Insider’s Guide to Working in Investment Banking

An investment bank is typically a private company that provides various financial-related and other services to individuals, corporations, and governments such as raising financial capital by underwriting or acting as the client's agent in the issuance of securities.

An investment bank may also assist companies involved in mergers and acquisitions (M&A) and provide ancillary services such as market making trading of derivatives and equity securities and FICC services.

Unlike commercial banks and retail banks investment banks do not take deposits.

The Insider’s Guide to Working in Investment Banking

It’s not all big deals and trading

Investment Banking Guide

Investment banks are most well known for their involvement in trading and corporate mergers and acquisitions deals. These are important parts of the business for most investment banks and there are exciting roles.

Wherever you’re working, you’ll find investment banking is a competitive industry where you’ll be well rewarded if you are prepared to keep learning and to help the business develop and adapt to change.

Investment banks need graduates with a wide range of abilities and will teach you anything you need to learn to do your job.

Investment banking involves sensible extracurricular activities, and a real interest in finance is what will get investment banks to take a serious look at your application.

Investment banking is unlike other banks since it employs every qualified individual due to their recognition of the social and economic value of employing a range of different types of person.

For instance, if you are a female individual working at an investment bank, you’re likely to have access to mentoring and networking opportunities designed to help women progress.

Many investment banks are involved in the worthwhile community and environmental projects. As an employee recruit, you might find yourself doing something else helping the community.

Some investment banks are taking things a step further and are using their financial expertise to help out small local businesses or the growing environmental finance sector.

You are likely to spend a lot of time in the office working if you are working in an investment banking in that if you are doing corporate finance-related work, your hours can be just as lengthy, and unpredictable and antisocial to boot people really do work all through the night at short notice on big deals sometimes.

Many investment banks are setting up initiatives, such as buddy schemes and protected time off, to safeguard the health of their employees, though how much of an effect they will have at the coalface is still an open question.

Investment banks have recruited and are growing huge technology teams that are designing and implementing interesting developments in everything from big data to high-speed networks to cybersecurity.

Investment Banks also help companies and governments issue securities, help investors purchase securities, manage financial assets, trade securities and provide financial advice.

When businesses and governments need capital, they call on investment banks for help. Investment banks intermediate between issuers of securities and the investing public, distributing offerings through their dealer networks or direct sales to clients.

They also securitize assets, structure corporate mergers, and acquisitions, and arrange private placements of debt or equity securities.

Other investment banks are regionally oriented or situated in the middle market, others are small, specialized firms called boutiques which might be oriented toward an industry vertical, bond-trading, M&A advisory, technical analysis or program trading.

Investment Banking provides an insider's perspective on what's happening in the industry, what it takes to break in and how to advance your career. Whether you seek to trade stock or become a research analyst for an established investment bank, this guide can help you master every step of your job search.

When joining an investment banking, you may get stuck, stranded and lack what to say during the interview time. Don't worry below are some of the things you will be required to do as an individual.

Have a good attitude because this will be 70% of your overall assessment.  Associates in the recruiting team will essentially look for flexible, enjoyable personalities; people who will be willing to continuously be loaded with work and who they will enjoy being around for 15 hours a day. Contrary to what you may have heard, they do not look for over-confident people with great intelligence, particularly if you cannot fit in a team. Have a positive attitude when demonstrating technical skills.

Smiling is another tricky but simple task to do in an interview, you will find in some situations many candidates forget to smile because of stress. Smile genuinely and enjoy the moment this is nothing more than an exercise.

Suggested: Read more about Investment Banking Careers

Demonstrate humility

You can do this in four different ways, remove any mark of over-confidence instead show respect, and never give the impression you know more than your interviewer.

Doing the opposite of this may just make you be on the losing side because investment banking remains a very hierarchical industry so you’d rather be humble before your interviewer.

Another way is to try to be as short and concise as possible in your answers, you are advised to always summarize and let the interviewer ask for the details they need.

The interview is a short exercise, so show maturity by understanding that juniors, given their workload and lack of sleep, always need to get to the point quickly.

The third thing to be that tries as simple as possible to speak slowly and clearly. And finally, listen to the interviewer definitely do not interrupt them.

Stay confident, though

You can be confident about what you are saying without tipping over into arrogance. I encourage you to say what you really think.

Successful candidates are those who are honest about what they think, regardless of what opinion the interviewer might have. Your interviewers are also not more talented than you are. They are just older, with more experience.

And finally, as an analyst candidate, you do not need to know everything about the job (forget trying to show financial modeling skills during the interview, for example).

Once you have started interviewing with several banks, you will realize investment banking interviews are generally the same. The same questions come up every time: your preparation of the fit and technical questions, as well as brainteasers, is key.

Come prepared for the fit interview questions such as why the industry, why the firm, why the region, and why, specifically, you. That is real ‘all’ they need to hear from you in the fit interview.

In your preparation, ask yourself the four questions above, try to be honest with your answers, but still, including the reasons why they will hire you. The points below are what you need to include.

Show some interest that you actually eager and really want to learn because anyone already in the business assumes that junior investment bankers bring little to the table.

Instead, they’re essentially blank slates who have been drafted in to learn the ropes. So, when asked about your motivation to join the industry, remember that banks will be particularly sensitive to your appetite to learn.

The learning curve is steep, hours are long, and exposure to senior management comes early.

Remember, it’s a people business so it will be very wise of you not to mention league tables, transaction size, corporate culture or the intelligence of its people as an argument to the ‘why our firm?’ question; they are irrelevant.

The best answer is to say you have spoken with a few people from the firm and you are eager to learn from their experience and work alongside them.

Speak with professionals from the firm through your school alumni network, through social media or in recruiting forums. If you have not had a chance to speak with any, talk about the people from the firm you have already had interviews with.

Show your qualities because there are two primary qualities that investment banks want to see in their junior recruits that you interact well with a team and that you have a strong work ethic. Show evidence of this during an interview or you can forget your chances.

However, boutique investment banks do not have the resources to train new recruits and are more interested in juniors that have had prior experience in investment banking and that could start on projects immediately. If that is the case, you should also make this clear during the interview.

Make sure you know about accountancy because the M&A technical interview is not only about valuation, discounted cash flows, multiples or LBO, a large part is also based on accountancy principles essentially the interaction between the three primary financial statements.

It’s important to understand these getting any answers wrong will ruin your chances, primarily because accounting is at the core of any modeling exercise.

You are also informed not to neglect brainteasers and that is mental and maths.

If during the interview you struggle with brainteasers and mental math no matter how strong you have been at fit and technical questions, you will be out. This can happen when you are stressed up. So you know what to do, don't have so much stress instead, and relax.

If you follow and consider these tips believe you me, you're going to get a chance with absolute recommendations.

Author Bio:Hamza Shahzad is a freelance writer, experienced blogger, and a professional social media coach. Currently, He’s working with xbinop.com which provides binary option brokers. Furthermore, Hamza assists in the business creation and control social media content planning.

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2 thoughts on “The Insider’s Guide to Working in Investment Banking”

  1. Hi, I am Company Secretary and LLB by profession and i am having experience of 6 years in the field of Company Secretarial work. Now i wanted to get into finance as my initial interest. Request to suggest me suitable path for the same.

    Thanks,
    Dipali Joisher

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