Ever since Google has arrived on the Internet canvas, finding information has become extremely easy.
Although there is a plethora of search engines on the Internet, Google has been the most widely used one.
But Google will not give you ready answers; it will lead you to the right answers.
Now that we are talking about answers, one of the most popular sources of getting access to information is Wikipedia.
It is a very common practice across the world that anyone will type out text in Google, and the search engine will show a relevant Wikipedia link for text as the first search result.
Many of the students and professionals across the world do not even use a third step to find out information.
However, Wikipedia is not the best source to fetch information.
If you want to have a quick look at something and want to have a cursory glance over something, Wikipedia is the best option, but if you are doing some serious research I would not suggest you to follow the information provided there.
And this stands particularly true in case you want to look up for information related to Investment Banking.
In this article I will tell what all information will not be provided by Wikipedia, but still is very relevant in the context of investment banking.
Let me start with telling you some generic reasons why Wikipedia is not the best source to find out accurate information:
A. Tertiary source of information
Wikipedia is a tertiary source of information and cannot be banked on with full trust.
A tertiary source is one that uses multiple secondary sources and takes no responsibility of the authenticity of data.
Wikipedia too does not create the text or collect information on its own.
It uses data which is already out on the Internet and presents it using multiple sources, which sometimes are at logger heads.
B. Easy to edit content
It is very easy to edit content on any Wikipedia page.
Even you can change the content according to your convenience, which makes it even difficult to consider it as an authentic source. You just have to log in using a valid e-mail id and you can edit any page on Wikipedia.
There is no peer review or review of any kind before it gets uploaded and made available for public usage.
Even though some of the sources used are mentioned at the bottom of every Wikipedia search page, there is no way on earth to figure out who actually compiled, wrote and edited that page.
C. Opinion based content
Since the content is written by a single individual and not a team or a legal entity, there are high chances of the content being biased and perception based.
Also there is no way to find out who the actual writer of the content is; the credibility automatically comes down for information available on Wikipedia.
D. Dated information
As there is no content update mechanism on Wikipedia, more often than not you will end up having dated information at your disposal.
There are pages on Wikipedia that haven’t been updated for years. Even worse, sometimes there is no date mentioned for the content uploaded on Wikipedia which makes life difficult for the user in some cases.
Now that I have told you why Wikipedia is not the best source to use for your research in general, let me deep dive a little bit on why it stands even stronger in the case of Investment banking.
Investment banking is a very function specific domain and to be honest is beyond the comprehension of a lay man.
The concept per say might be very easy to understand, but the functionalities and technicalities require deep knowledge of finance concepts and the industry as a whole.
There will be two types of people who would search for investment banking using Wikipedia
- people who are fairly less knowledgeable about it, and
- people who know quite a bit about it
In both cases, Wikipedia would not be an ideal source for you, let me tell you why.
If you are new to the concept of investment banking, you should start by reading about it from an authentic source.
You would not want to start on an ambiguous note and it is suggested for you to look at credible source of information.
On the other hand if you already have the basic understanding of investment banking, you will know almost everything that Wikipedia has to offer.
Even if you come across something new, please validate it using a more reliable source.
Please do not use any information from Wikipedia for your professional/career related/academic work.
Wikipedia offers very basic level information for most of the topics, and investment banking in no exception.
If you are looking at doing some research on the Internet you should keep in mind that the following things Wikipedia will not tell you about investment banking.
1. Career path of an investment banker
Wikipedia does not have a page defining the investment banker. It automatically redirects you to the home page of investment banking where there is no explanation offered on investment bankers.
Investment banking is incomplete without investment bankers, and therefore it becomes utmost necessary for you to understand what an investment banker does.
Wikipedia has no information on the career path of an investment banker. If you are planning to start your career in investment banking,
I would seriously suggest you to first read up about the career options at your disposal, and that you will not find on Wikipedia.
2. Hierarchy within an investment bank
There is also no mention of the typical hierarchy followed in investment banks. As an aspirant you need to know the progression of your career and the reporting authorities that you will have to honor in an investment bank.
Although there is an explanation about the various departments of an investment bank but nothing related to the people working in those departments.
It is important information that aspirants like you need to know before starting your career in investment banking.
3. Job responsibilities of an investment banker
The tasks of an employee at various levels within an investment bank will give you a clarity of expectations of investment banks from an employee’s point of view.
It is vital for you to know what you will be doing for a larger part of your day in your working life, but Wikipedia doesn’t tell you that.
4. Working hours of an investment banker
Wikipedia does not throw any light on the usual working hours of an investment banker.
The work life balance, lifestyle and working hours are finer details that you need to know before embarking upon a career in investment banking.
You should know all this because a career is something that you will pursue for more than 20-25 years of your life, and therefore you should know what you are getting into.
If you are not comfortable with the expected lifestyle of an investment banker, I would suggest you to not go ahead with it as it could become really demanding at the hour of need.
5. How to find investment banking internships and jobs
I have told this a million times before that the best way to start a career in investment banking is by joining a firm as an intern.
Wikipedia does not give you any information on how to find internships, what work to expect, what compensation to expect, the type of companies that offer internships and the possibility of getting a permanent job after internship.
This is important information which Wikipedia completely ignores, but you shouldn't.
6. How to develop skills to become investment banker
Wikipedia might give you some idea on the skill set required to be an investment banker.
But it will not tell you how to acquire and hone these skills for you to perform better on your job.
There are many sources online that give you detailed information on various skills that you need to possess at various positions and different departments within an investment bank.
There is also no information on how to prepare for an investment banking job interview.
I think, this is the most sought after information by finance aspirants, but still there is nothing available on this on Wikipedia.
7. How to learn financial modeling
Financial modeling is an inseparable part of any investment banker, and if you do not know how to do financial modeling, you cannot build a career in investment banking.
Wikipedia does not have any information on how you could easily learn financial modeling, what are the various options you have to learn financial modeling and how you could build on your existing financial modeling skills using advanced tools like Excel and VBA macros.
Now I’ve Got a Question For You…
How do you plan on using Wikipedia now?
I’m sure you can see the potential it has to improve your search.
It’s just a matter of applying the technique in your search plan.
So I’d love to hear what you have to say.
Leave a comment below to let me know what you think.
Image credit: mastersofmedia dot hum dot uva dot nl