While we were searching for a head of Asia equities, my boss made a very thoughtful comment which truly reflected the situation. Mr. A is the right person for that job; Mr. B is the person who wants that job. This is always an unavoidable dilemma that headhunters have to face. While searching for a best investment bank to start your career, try to make yourself the right person who wants the job. One major strategy is ‘be selective’. Don’t flood the market with your resume.
Select 10 best investment banks. One of the most popular questions during interview is ‘how many other banks have you approached or had an interview?’ Tell the interviewer how and why you’ve selected their banks. Successful investment bankers make lots of money, but please do give some other good reasons.
Few people stay with their first employer for 19 years like Anthony Leung did. However if the company you work for provides good training and opportunities for graduates, you will just stay there naturally. I’ll elaborate this further when I talk about Anthony Leung in my later posts.
Opportunities relate to size. If a bank is big enough, there are opportunities everywhere. However make sure these opportunities are what you want. Like if you fancy M&A, please target Goldman. If you fancy equities, you might want to target ML.
Graduates need training and mentoring. Try to schedule some informational interviews through your alumni network. See which bank has the highest score while you ask about training and mentoring. Also try to schedule informational interviews with some senior bankers through recruitment fairs or direct approach. If time allows, many of them were happy to share their experience with young people of how they built their career. It would be an advantage if you come from a same university. Over the internet, you can collect the bios of many senior bankers and it is easy to find out where they graduated from.
This is an important issue and sometimes a determining issue. As a headhunter, I’ve witnessed some outstanding candidates didn’t receive/accept an offer due to cultural issues. Investment bankers spend more than half of their time at work, make sure to find a place you feel happy and comfortable. During an interview, do spend a good amount of time in finding out if the work culture of the bank suits you.
How to choose an investment bank?
eFinancial Careers Australia recently published an article for students who want to start an investment banking career. Though it is Australia focused, it is quite universal in terms of strategies. I would recommend your reading it.
Recommended career tools:
Amazing Resume Creator
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Amazing Cover Letter
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Best Investment Banks