Friday, April 20, 2007

Investment Banking Career - Are You Wanted by Investment Banks?

Do You Possess the Qualifications Needed for an Investment Banking Career?

Ellen Miller, managing director and head of European graduate recruitment and development at Lehman Brothers in London, told Financial Times (September 11, 2006) that the demand for MSc graduates in banking has rocketed over the past two years and there is a growing interest in students for long internships.

In my experience, candidates with a master’s degree are licensed to success. Investment banks want the best out of the best. Therefore, if your MSc or MBA is from HEC or MIT, you have a competitive advantage.

However, man is not created equal. Not everyone has a chance to get educated from famous institutes. If you are dedicated to an investment banking career, make yourself a CFA. If you have an MSc and a CFA, you are going to blow away a lot of competitions. Try to complete all the exams within the first five years after graduation. It’s going to be a lot of hard work, but it will certainly accelerate your promotion speed.

The twin star qualifications mostly wanted by investment banks are MBA/MSc + CFA. As a matter of fact, a high percentage of my clients/candidates who are now department heads or regional heads or even global heads in the bulge brackets, do have a similar educational background.

On the contrary, I must emphasis that qualifications are only the keys to open the door to the world of investment banking. Your future depends on how well you do in your job. Remember performance bonus contributes a great majority of your total income package.

What if I don’t have a finance-related degree nor I am not a CFA, can I be an investment banker? Yes. Industry specialists are wanted by investment banks. If you do well in a certain industry, you can start your banking career as an equity analyst. One of my clients, the former Asia head of equities at a US bulge bracket, didn’t have a degree related to finance or banking. He started his career as a police fighting against commercial crimes.

There are other qualifications needed if you want to pursue an investment banking career. Go sit for some NASD Exams (series 6 or 7), if you want to become a trader. Click the above link to see more information on CFA and NASD Exams.

Test of Your Investment Knowledge
Question: What is scripophily?

A: A substitute for currency that is not legal tender
B: The study and collection of antique stocks, bonds and other securities
C: A legal document stating the price of a newly issued security
D: A graph of all possible combinations of inputs that result in a given level of output

Click here for an answer

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Investment Banking Career

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