Thursday, April 26, 2007

Investment Banking Career – Entry Level Jobs I

What Kind of Entry Level Investment Banking Jobs is available?


There are well-paid, well-respected research positions available in investment banking. Therefore a great place to begin your investment banking career is working as an analyst. Successful analysts work hard, understand spreadsheets, and have fine analytical skills. Analysts can be promoted to associates who do similar work, but more of it.

As an entry level analyst in investment banking, you will often write reports, do research, and handle trades, run spreadsheets, and code programs. You need to be fast, accurate and complete. Mundane research tasks would include digging up information and editing/formatting reports. Some graduates find this job boring and give up in the first year. Those who survive and gain experience will have the chance to work with clients.

Required Skill Sets
Newly-hired analysts are often recent graduates with degrees in accounting, finance, or economics. Analysts need to understand and be able to interpret accounting data. In the long run, you would need to be a CFA for further advance in your investment banking career.
* Quantitative and analytical skills
* Marketing and communication skills
* Motivation and tenacity
* Decision making and problem solving skills
* Interpersonal skills

Is Investment Banking an Easy Boat to Catch?

No. It is difficult to start. Entry level employees should expect long but stimulating work days in which the mood can regularly shift depending on the situation. You would expect to work about 80 hours a week, often including weekends.

What Money to Make?
In 2006, MBA graduates with less than one year’s experience make around $230,000 p.a. (salary + bonus)

Career Advancement
Analyst positions are typically designed as 2-3 year positions. Most analysts then either leave the field or go on to graduate school; many enter MBA programs. Some are hired by private equity firms, who value their analytical training and experience. Some are promoted from within to Associate.

One of my outstanding candidates who is now the head of equities of a European investment bank, started as a generalist analyst. He quickly moved on to be a sector analyst in a year’s time and follow up on several specific industries. In four years, he made himself a head of equities research leading a team of six analysts. Depending on your performance, the position and money you earn are going to skyrocket.

Test of Your Investment Knowledge
Which of the following is NOT a component of the Dow Jones Industrial?
A: McDonald’s
B: Walt Disney
C: Pepsi Cola
D: Procter & Gamble

Recommend career tool: Amazing Cover Letters

Investment banking career


Thirst for Knowledge said...

Hi Miss D'Souza

Your blog is very precise and helpful. I understand you do not accept personal basis emails. So I am posting my question here.

I am a Software Engineering bachelor's graduate and I have been working for 5 yrs now from Development to Program Management. I have been looking to get a break in Investment Banking and I am willing to start at any point to work my way up. All I need is some advice as to where to start, how to start, what to do.

Do you have any suggestions for me?

Thanks much

Anna Maria D'Souza said...

Senior bankers usually require a significant track record of successful IB experience, so my recommendation, if you're interested in moving into the IB sector, would be to apply for interesting roles which you see advertised and network heavily, which I'm sure you're already doing.

Comparing with fresh gruduates, your road to IB could a little indirect but it is still possible. IBs do need specialists of different industries. Your experience in engineering is an asset. Introduce yourself as a technology analyst or IT specialist. Write to the head of research is a good way to start with.

al said...

I am a recent Finance graduate from the University of Illinois, Urbana, starting the job search process. I am interested in a stock market-related job and have been looking at analyst positions. Seems like most of the big companies do their hiring only at career fairs, I am not even seeing many entry level positions on their websites. What avenues do you suggest I pursue? How do I go about finding boutique hedge find companies in Chicago that may be hiring?

al said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anna Maria D'Souza said...

Hi Al

I am sure U of Illinois is on the recruitment network of most bulge bracket IBs. If you are based in Chicago, you should contact Citadel for hedge fund jobs. You can find their website among the career sites I list on the right hand margin of this blog.

Thirst for Knowledge said...

Hi Miss D'Souza

Thanks for your advice. Right now I am planning for my PMP certification, I hope that will help me get started into IB.

Best Regards

rmckenz1 said...

Hi Miss D'Souza,

I finished my undergrad work in Finance/international business in '06 and have held various positions since then. The most relevant work experience has been working as a financial analyst for the past 4 months at a technology company (80% administrative/20% quantitative analysis).

It has taken me the two years since graduation to realize that my passion lies in investment banking and I am ready to pursuit it vigorously, but my resume is weak.

Would you recommend holding onto my current position for a longer period of time (2 years) or moving onto more relevant work? I will also need to get my MBA to be marketable in the industry and need to figure out the best time to pursuit that as well.

What would you suggest as the best things I should be doing right now to position myself for an opportunity in I-banking?


Anna Maria D'Souza said...


I strongly believe you should stay with your current employer before moving on to a more core IB job. Tell your employer and prove to him that you are more interested and capable on the QA side than the admin side. Try to switch that proportion and aim at a 100% QA job.

Many young job seekers tend to jump ship too frequently which I certainly don't encourge. Try to build your passion around your current job and hope you can build a strong resume from now on.

An MBA won't make you more marketable. An overall good balance in education and experience would be more attractive to employers.

rmckenz1 said...

Miss D'Souza-

Thank you so much for the sound advice. I appreciate your point of view and I am going to work hard at excelling in my current position over the next 2 years.

I have a meeting with a career counselor at my alma mater next week to start working on a strategy to achieve my goal of breaking into the I-banking industry.

Some of the steps I am already taking are enrolling in courses at a local college to build an alternative transcript and rectify a few poor grades in my undergrad work. I am also going to take some Spanish classes to achieve fluency, I already speak a great deal and I know how valuable a second language is when considering a career in a global industry. Finally, I am going to start tutoring young students at the city library to fulfill some extracurricular activity.

I am looking forward to my journey to I-banking and I hope to make my correspondence with you through this blog a large part of it. You are so knowledgeable and I appreciate your mission to help young people build there careers in the I-banking world.

I have certainly squandered some opportunity, but now that I am focused I feel more ready to pursue my passion than ever.

I just need help!!

Thanks for the wise words,

Isacson said...

Dear Miss D'Souza,

I'm a Corporate Finance MSc graduate. I'm eager to get a job within investment management. You mentioned a CFA certificate. Would you suggest a graduate to pursuit it or is it for professionals only? Any other ideas to improve the resume?

Best regards,

Anna Maria D'Souza said...

Hi David
CFA is not a must for entry level roles. However down the road in your IB career, it will be an asset. Have you got any intern experience? That will make your resume look more attractive.


Isacson said...

I have plenty of applications out and am still waiting for respond from the most of them and looking for new openings. I would definitely be open to work for free at an IB anywhere if I only got my living expenses covered. If you or anyone else reading this post knows an opening/contact I could use I would be very grateful.

Best regards
David Isacson