Sunday, December 30, 2012

Principles for Excelling in Investment Banking

Relationships are Everything. Banking products, like equity, debt and advice, are essentially commodities. What separates one bank from another is the relationships its bankers have built with their clients. Investment banking is a relationship business, where credibility and golf ties make all the difference. At every level, the most respected bankers will be those that have established credibility with their clients.

Don't Lose the Forest for the Trees. Relationships are qualitative. Numbers, though, are the foundation of the advice and recommendations that investment banks provide their clients. Associates and analysts frequently get so carried away with simply finding & collating digits that they forget to check for obvious errors. Computational accuracy is critical to establishing a good reputation as a junior banker.

Deals Count. Getting deals done puts experience on your resume and in your bank's pitchbooks. It also familiarizes you with the processes banks go through to get their product offering to market. Your banking career will be best served by staying close to the deals, and that means aligning yourself with groups and individuals who seem to be deal centers.

Commitment is Critical. Banking is cyclical, and even on specific deals there are bound to be highs and lows. Bankers sometimes get yelled at by clients or snubbed publicly; and junior bankers sometimes find themselves in over their heads with huge deadlines looming. Banks go through bad bonus years. To a greater degree than with other professions, a certain amount of your banking success is dependent on your ability to stick with it through the bad times.

Transition with Care. Moving to another investment bank is an institutionalized practice, with many senior bankers having worked at two to three banks, and sometimes more. There are three good reasons to move: (1) more money, particularly with a guarantee, (2) more reputable bank, or (3) a better fit in terms of industry focus or geographies covered. While these are all good reasons, bankers should take care not to switch too often as frequent moves between banks is not well regarded in the industry.

Investment banking is a challenging career that's well suited for confident, well-prepared people at the top of their game. With these tips, you will be prepared to stay ahead of the pack and deliver enduring value to your employer while earning an excellent living yourself.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

How To Build An Investment Banking Career

How to build a banking investment career, including education, training and how to find a job.

Investment banking is deservedly one of the most respected career paths available today. The profession involves challenging work at every level, attracts the highest caliber of employees, and pays top dollar. As a result, the screening system to get a foot in the door is rigorous, and once you've successfully secured an investment banking job, you will find yourself in fierce competition with your colleagues for top bonuses.

Entry Points for Investment Banking Careers

There are three traditional entry points for investment banking careers: as an analyst, as a post-MBA associate, and in one's later career. Let's examine each one.

Every investment bank recruits a large class of analysts each year from the top undergraduate institutions. The analyst position offers an unparalleled degree of challenge and responsibility for young professionals, but the experience typically demands more than eighty hours a week for two years straight. Virtually all analysts are hired directly out of four-year undergraduate institutions. All possess stellar grades, a poised interview presence, and a very timely approach to interviewing and resume preparation - analyst interviewing typically occurs in September and October of senior year.

Investment banks also recruit large classes of associates from top MBA programs. Although a few analysts go on to become associates, the associate position is usually seen as the beginning of the investment banking career path - from associate to vice president to managing director and beyond. Associates assume responsibility for all aspects of investment banking marketing materials (pitchbooks), and deal execution. Virtually all associates are hired from summer associate positions at the same bank - meaning interviews in the first year of business school are very likely to determine job choices later on.

Finally, there are those who join investment banking later in their careers. This is the most cyclical of all investment banking intakes. Some years banks are desperate for people, and other years there are hiring freezes and it is impossible to enter the industry. When opportunity strikes, it pays to be prepared. This means having a resume with significant experience at either a smaller boutique investment bank, or a major commercial bank or asset manager. Furthermore, it means keeping in touch with contacts in the industry so you will know when banks are soliciting resumes.

Once you're in the door, it's time to build your successful interview into a successful career.
Article source:

Inside Investment Banking (IIB)

If you are eager to apply for investment banking roles, visit the IIB website. It is authored by five young investment bankers who all succeeded to break into investment banking without a degree from Harvard and without an internship from Goldman. They’ve created the IIB website to share their experiences and help others to do the same. Click here to visit Inside Investment Banking

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Ideal Candidate For Investment Banking

One of the most common questions my readers ask is - what makes me an ideal candidate for investment banking? It is obvious that those who don’t have a degree from Harvard or without any intern experience from Goldman may think that they are in a less competitive position.  In fact, it is not.  Some very successful bankers don’t even study finance at college.   And on this planet, there isn’t a degree to train students to become a president.  What make things happen is ‘YOU’.   

I’ve recently clipped this article which should help you gain a better understanding of the business and find out whether you can be an ideal investment banking candidate.  Find out what employers look for and see if you have those qualities.  The article is quite long, here is an extraction. 

Communication Is Key

Investment bankers need to be effective team players with excellent communication skills in order to avoid disconnects and wasted effort. Investment banks communicate with external parties such as clients, accountants, consultants and lawyers. Furthermore, many client representatives tend to be extremely scrutinizing, well-respected and often short-tempered, and you'll need to know how to deal with them…… 

Not Your Average Nine to Five

Due to the long hours involved, work stamina is required. When deadlines approach for deals, consecutive all nighters are a frequent occurrence.  

The late-night hours, client demands and finite number-crunching lead to relatively high attrition and burn-out rates. In many circumstances, analysts will stockpile several bonuses and move on to another career after a few years. The intellectual stimulation and challenging rigors of high-level corporate finance and executive level analyses, however, do provide a context where those who seek to exert themselves can find comfort and satisfaction in a prestigious and lucrative career. The classes of top business schools are dotted with former investment bankers wanting to go back to school to earn master's degrees. The low- to mid-six-figure compensation packages piled up over the years provide ample cash supplies for graduate school. Alternatively, there is an opposing and convincing view that experience counts for more when compared to a graduate degree. 

Rising To The Top

It is common for a rising star to specialize in a particular industry, whether it is in real estate, health care, energy, retail, transportation or infrastructure. As an investment banker progresses throughout his or her career and becomes involved in a multitude of projects, he or she becomes able to quickly apply industry norms, ratios, trends, forecasts and typical performance benchmarks. 

During the first few years, the analyst/associate conducts financial and operational grunt work. An associate's progression to a principal or director role, however, requires a higher level of responsibility in business development, and the ability to generate revenue for the department or firm. Assuming a supervisory role for a project, and becoming the primary contact for clients, along with training and recruiting, are appropriate adjuncts to business development and revenue generation. 

Differentiating Yourself From The Crowd

Investment banks seek high academic achievement, involvement in campus leadership positions, stellar communication skills and internships at well-regarded companies and nonprofit organizations. The applicant needs to be able to convey raw mental and emotional horsepower, a solid sense of direction in terms of goals and objectives and credible step-by-step supporting actions that have been taken to arrive at those objectives.  

Students and young professionals who possess broader or non-business academic curricula, or who worked at nonprofits, traveled overseas, volunteered and who display a burning curiosity and desire to explore this field, should resolve to apply and reapply for investment banking roles. There is a minimum requirement for a basic understanding of finance for your chances to be enhanced. But as long as the applicant conveys authenticity in his or her endeavors and possesses the passion and determination to explore investment banking as a career, an opportunity will often open up. Do not underestimate people's respect and admiration for someone who follows his or her conscience and dreams. Remind yourself that many of the world's most successful business leaders did not study finance or accounting - if they even received a college diploma at all.  

The Bottom Line

Applicants with a true passion for finance, market and organizational analysis should apply and reapply for investment banking roles, conduct self-study on finance, business, management and leadership. They should also secure impressive standardized test scores, differentiate themselves by volunteering or leading groups, and network with current or former investment bankers. If you're an energetic professional with strong valuation skills and the ability to interact with others, this challenging and rewarding job may be just what you're looking for.  Source:  Investopedia
Inside Investment Banking (IIB)
If you are eager to apply for investment banking roles, visit the IIB website.  It is authored by five young investment bankers who all succeeded to break into investment banking without a degree from Harvard and without an internship from Goldman.  They’ve created the IIB website to share their experiences and help others to do the same. Click here to visit Inside Investment Banking

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Job Interview - Questions to Ask and Avoid

No job interview is easy, especially investment banking interviews.  You need to be smart in answering as well as asking questions.  Knowing what questions to ask and avoid is one of your keys to success.  Although asking intelligent questions won’t guarantee an offer, but asking bad or inappropriate questions will definitely kill.  I’ve recently read an article from Jimmy Sweeny which contains valuable tips about what to ask and avoid over a job interview.  Here's the article.

Questions to ASK and AVOID during your next job interview…

The phone call you've waited for has finally come! You've been invited in for a job interview. Now your nerves are on edge. You know what to wear but you may not know what questions to ask or avoid, or if you'll even have an opportunity to speak up other than to answer questions fired at you.

Don't worry. There will be time for you to voice your concerns and inquiries. The important thing is to know what questions to ask and which ones to set aside—for now. Keep in mind that interviewers want to speak with job seekers who are sharp, confident, and professional. This is no time to be passive and overly polite, though courtesy is always appropriate. Remember, you're vying for the job you want. Take an active role in asking questions by being prepared ahead of time.  

Consider These: 
  • What factors about this company are attractive to you?
  • What makes this firm a great place to build a career?
  • How do you see the future of this company?
  • What is the most challenging aspect of working for this organization?
  • In your opinion, what would be the biggest adjustment for someone new?
Answers to these questions can help you decide whether or not this is the place you want to work. They will also help you respond to the questions you're asked. You'll be ready to answer in a way that will show you were listening, paying attention, and taking note of management's vision and objectives for the company. 

Questions to Avoid 

Steer clear of questions that you can answer yourself by doing a bit of basic research online—such as the kind of work you'd be doing, or the level of leadership that would be expected of you or the focus of the company. Walk into the interview armed with as much information as possible and then ask only those questions that will help you decide whether to accept or decline the job offer if it is presented. 

Also avoid asking questions related to salary, benefits, vacation, sick days and so on. At this point you have not yet been offered the position. You are being 'screened.'

There will come a time and place to discuss pay and benefits, but the interview is not that place.

Use What You Learn

The most important thing you can do during an interview is to show yourself as someone the hiring manager wants. Focus on displaying your skills and experience and how you can fit the profile of the person the interviewer is looking for. This gives you leverage for negotiating salary and benefits when the job offer comes through.

Be aware of the impression you'd make if you ask questions that have nothing to do with the job opportunity. An interview is not a social visit or a time to talk about sports and hobbies. It's a business meeting that has one purpose: to determine if you are the right person to fill the opening. If the interviewer asks a few questions about your interests, it's fine to answer them honestly. He or she wants to get to know you—but avoid getting off-track with long-winded responses that take the focus off the job.

Common sense is your best ally. Be yourself. Do your homework. Show up neatly dressed. Arrive on time. Know the right questions to ask, and the ones to avoid. And bring enthusiasm, a smile, and a firm handshake.

© Written By Jimmy Sweeney
President of CareerJimmy and Author of the new, Amazing Cover Letter Creator and Secret Career Document

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Investment Banking Salaries, Jobs, Interviews…Through A Glass Door

Want to look into investment banking through a glass door? Here is an interesting website I want to share with you -

What’s interesting is that you can search by jobs, company and reviews, salaries and interviews.  For example, if you are going to interview at Morgan Stanley, then go look up Morgan Stanley and you can view salary by position and location, and the interview notes from other candidates. It’s a good source of reference as all information is input by actual employees and employers. I’m sure you’d love surfing this website.

One disadvantage is that they only provide limited free information. So after a few clicks, you’ll be prompted to create an account. But don’t worry as it’s free to become a member. If you don’t want to take time to register, leave the website and re-enter, then you’ll get anther few free clicks. With the loads of information to get to know about investment banking, it’s really worth it to become a member of the website.

Investment Banking Salaries

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

The One Big Interviewing Mistake That's on the Rise

In searching for senior bankers, I seldom use social media websites.  However I’ve been receiving a great number of LinkedIn invitations and therefore decided to give it a try. Though it is not a perfect source to look for senior investment banker candidates, but I find some of their articles interesting, such as this one.  

The One Big Interviewing Mistake That's on the Rise
By Jessica Liebman, Managing Editor of Business Insider

This headline indicates more and more people are making the same mistake - forgetting to follow up later that day or the next day with a quick email.

I’m not sure if you can read the article in case you are not a LinkedIn member yet, I’ve therefore clipped some of the highlights here:

If I DON'T get a Thank You Email, here's what happens: 
Ÿ           I assume you don't want the job
Ÿ           I think you're disorganized and forgot about following up
Ÿ           There is a much higher shot I'll forget about you

Jessica even suggests a sample of a good thank you email. See below.

Headline: Thank You – Business Insider Interview

Hi Jessica
I wanted to thank you for meeting with me yesterday. Learning more about the position and seeing the newsroom in action solidified my interest in Business Insider. I think it's a place where I could really hit the ground running, build up excellent clips on the market and ultimately transition to a full reporter. If you have any other questions for me, or need me to complete editing/writing tests, please don't hesitate to reach out. Thank you again and I'm hopeful that soon I'll be on the Business Insider team.

Think about it in the employer’s perspective. It’s true. Unless you don’t like the job, do remember to write a good thank you email.  A short and sweet one of course.

Follow up work is required in almost any kind of job. Do take the effort to demonstrate to your employer that you are good at it. In fact, it won’t take too much effort in writing a thank you note, will it? Although Jessica’s thank you letter is reporter focused, it is a really good sample. Can you turn it into one for a banking role which you’ve recently interviewed?

Additional help from Jimmy Sweeney’s Amazing Cover Letter Creator

Investment Banking Cover Letter

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Buy an Investment Banker Bag

Just read this short but interesting article from Street of Walls and would like to share with you.

First made popular by E.F. Hutton, “banker bags” have been the hottest thing on Wall Street since the first Credit Default Swap. These duffel bags are the city’s new status symbol.

The bags have become a right of passage for most on Wall Street – a way to wear all the blood and tears spilled over countless pitchbooks. If these quotes from The New York Sun don’t get you to buy a bag then I don’t know what will:
  • “It’s a junior banker status symbol,” one 26-year-old banker at Lehman Brothers said of the 18-inch long bags
  • “It means he has a good education and a good job,” said Stephanie Sabatino, 30, a teacher hanging out at The Joshua Tree
  • “It’s an introduction, a talking point,” one 24-year-old analyst said, while sipping a Coors Light at Ulysses
For everyone on Wall Street, you know: it’s nearly impossible to get your hands on a banker duffel bag even if you work at a bank. So Street of Walls did the next coolest thing and created our own. Outside of being the coolest bags you’ve ever seen, lot of the Street of Walls guys use their banker bags for the gym and trips.
If interested check out the Street of Walls Banker Bag to sign-up for a bag (first come, first served).

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Inside Investment Banking

Inside Investment Banking

If you want to break into investment banking but don’t have a degree from Harvard or an internship from Goldman Sachs, you should visit the website of Inside Investment Banking (IIB).

I find IIB interesting because it is created by 5 bulge bracket investment bankers whom all broke into investment banking in 2008/9 without Harvard or Goldman on their resumes. What made them successful was Preparation and Knowledge (as stated in their website). They spent 100s of hours of research so they knew more than any other candidates about writing resumes, answering banking interview questions, wining & dining bankers and basically how to game the IB recruiting system. And now you have the opportunity to get that same unfair advantage, since they’ve put together all of this knowledge in the IIB System.

Going through their website, you’ll be amazed that they’ll do almost anything to help you get a job in investment banking. Depends on your need, you can go a la carte to pick the services such as Top 50 Interview Q&As, Toughest Brainteasers, and the 6-in-1 Guide Pack is now on sale. Even more determined? You can join their membership and obtain all-round services and backup. I’ve contact them and obtained a discount of $100 if you decided to join their Premium Membership. Use discount code of ibankingresume when checking out. There is a 7-day refund guarantee.

If you decide not to buy anything, you should opt-in to access their Free 10-Part “Get into Investment Banking” Tutorial Series so that you will know more about how to land a job in investment banking than 90% of candidates.

Investment Banking Resumes - Inside Investment Banking

Monday, January 2, 2012

3 Ways to Improve Your Investment Banking Resume

Looking to land an investment banking job in the new year?  You need to polish your resume.  Here is an article from which will certainly help.

3 Ways to Improve Your Investment Banking Resume
Most resumes go through HR, and while you certainly want to make yours stand out quickly for an HR screener, distinguishing yourself quickly is even more important when you are in the investment banking hunt. That’s because it’s the bankers—not HR—who are usually reading the resumes, and bankers’ time is limited. Traditional wisdom says you have only 20-30 seconds to make an impression when HR reads your resume. You can cut that time in half for bankers!

Number 1, find a way to stand out.
A good school won’t do it, even if you went to Harvard (or better!) Let’s face it—half of the resumes in the pile are going to be from Harvard, and the other half are going to be from Princeton, Yale, Wharton, or Stanford. Instead, use your unique experience to stand out. Show how you did something special to work hard; show your ability to multi task—for example, if you started a company with multiple employees. The story gets even better if you managed a project across multiple states.

Number 2, show your knowledge of the industry.
Highlight industry knowledge and target those groups inside the bank. This has to be legitimate, however. You can’t say you worked at Blockbuster and claim to be a media expert. If you are going to claim to be a media expert, you need to have real industry knowledge—for example, you interned for a pharmaceutical company conducting research on new products in the pipeline.

Number 3, if you don’t have real work experience, highlight your relevant interests.
The key here is to make sure these interests are indeed relevant and not too fluffy. For example, you could highlight specific case studies that you worked on or talk about your investment portfolio. Using fluff here could hurt rather than help. For example, don’t say that you were treasurer of your fraternity or a cashier at Walmart so you are used to handling money. Don’t use anything that’s too much of a stretch, like working at your dad’s office, any fraternity position, any retail job or anything related to high school unless it is REALLY impressive.

And here’s something to think about. If you really don’t have any relevant work experience, start positioning yourself so that you can claim some. Advise others who know less than you. In other words, become a consultant of sorts—Amateur investing clubs, college business teams—who needs your words of wisdom?

Get yourself an internship, even an unpaid one. Call on local banks or brokerage houses. Offer to sweep the floors if you have to. In addition to having something to put on your resume, you might actually learn something!

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3 Ways to Improve Your Investment Banking Resume