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I wish to learn more about investment banking as a career.

Veteran

James Lovejoy Prattville, AL

I have long been interested in investment banking and wish to learn more about it as I transition within the next year. I am working towards gaining acceptance at a top mba and hopefully land a pre-mba Investment Banking internship. Any and all information and help is appreciated

11 December 2019 3 replies Mentoring

Answers

Advisor

Megan Heaning New York, NY

Hi James,

Thanks for your question and for your service! I'd recommend checking out the "Community" tab on ACP AdvisorNet. You can search by industry (finance) and then look at all the advisors who have marked that as their experience. From there you can message people directly to connect. It's a great way to build your network and learn more about the industry.

Hope this helps!
Megan

13 December 2019 Helpful answer

Advisor

James Watters Norman, OK

Sergeant Lovejoy - There is much information about investment banking on line. For example,

How To Become An Investment Banker (Without ANY Experience)
By Todd Massedge

The 5 Hiring Factors You Need To Understand To Learn How To Become An Investment Banker

Note: These are ranked from most important to least important

#1 – Your Connections
This might seem ridiculous, but it’s entirely true.

If you have an ‘in’ or a connection in a firm that is pretty high up, your chances of landing the job or internship will increase dramatically.

That’s why the most important thing you can do to become an investment banker is network, network, and network some more.

A popular blog agrees:

“It’s never too early to start networking with peers, older students who are on track to join the financial services industry, faculty and professionals currently working at an investment bank. You need to build network during your college career to get internships and eventually a full-time job, then you have to build a whole new network once you’re in the industry.”
But theres a caveat here:

It’s much more effective to networking with higher up managing directors or VPs that can actually influence the hiring decision versus an analyst or associate who has no pull.

Simply put, the old guy will help get your resume through the door, not the young guy.

Going back to that blog:

“One big thing I noticed, and I didn’t think it made any sense, you can have a high G.P.A., the best internships, the best work and activity experience while at university, but if you don’t have someone to put your resume through, it doesn’t matter. Applying through a bank’s careers portal isn’t effective. HR directors at the big banks don’t look at them – they don’t have the time or inclination to look at random resumes that come through their website, so networking is key.”

#2 – Your School

Let’s be real: The Ivy league students are exponentially favored to get into investment banking.

The reasons are obvious, and more importantly, most big investment banks only recruit at the best schools.

So if you’re coming from a non-target, you’re going to have to work a lot harder, and network a lot harder.

If you’re not from an Ivy, you’re going to want to read the next few factors.

#3 – Your Experience (And How Early You Started)

What’s the #1 thing investment banks look for on your resume?

Experience.

You can have a perfect GPA but if you have no clue how to do the job (business analysis, financial modeling, even valuation) you’ll never get the job.

You should try and have some sort of internship each of your summers during school. Ideally, you’d want to have something pretty investment banking related under your belt going into your junior year.

We give students this type of experience through our hands-on analyst program so they can stand out as they’re going through the application process.

We’ll get into some more examples below.

#4 – Your Resume

I’ve met some really smart student who have these great experiences, internships, etc.

Then I look at their resume and shake my head.

If you don’t have your resume structured properly to convey the right information, you’ll never get an interview in the first place.

The trick? The spin and bankify technique.

You need to exaggerate a little and make your resume seem as analytical and banking based as possible.

Here is a great example I saw recently via BIWS:

Software Development Intern, Cell Phone Company

* Developed cell phone applications for collecting demographic and user/revenue data in team of 3 and investigated new web technologies. Presented findings to CEO.
Boring right?

That just tells an employer you did absolutely nothing finance based over summer.

Now let’s use the “spin and bankify technique”:

Technology Consultant, Cell Phone Company

* Recommended development budget of $100,000 to CEO based on analysis of ROI on similar projects in the past.
* Worked in team of 3 to design applications for analyzing demographic data; optimized revenue per user for mobile software and made recommendations that led to 20% higher RPU.

Why is this better?
The Title – “Technology Consultant” sounds more related to finance than “Software Development Intern,” which sounds more like a shorts-and-t-shirt job.

Recommendations and Analysis – You recommended specific numbers here and analyzed the financial returns of previous projects – just like what you do in real finance.

Results – At the end you have a tangible, monetary result: a 20% higher revenue-per-user number.

This example is a bit of a stretch because you might not have done everything I’ve listed above – maybe you didn’t achieve specific results, or maybe you didn’t make a budget recommendation.

That’s fine – just try to spin your title and emphasize any recommendations and analysis you did complete.

#5 – Everything Else

Here I’m talking about things like worrying about cover letter templates for investment banking, career fairs, etc.

People barely read cover letters in investment banking and I doubt big investment banks go to your school to recruit.

Focus on everything else above and if you did in right, you’ll at least be able to get an interview.

Here’s a second reference -

MY GUIDE TO SUCCESS: BECOMING AN INVESTMENT BANKER
Submitted from a Street of Walls Contributor:

One of my big problems in targeting an investment banking job out of college was that I wasn’t a business major, or so I thought. At first, I ruled out the possibility of going to Wall Street having studied history, thinking that there was no way I could compete with the economics and finance majors; they were light years ahead of me. But still, my curiosity got the best of me and, honestly, I was driven by the money, so I started doing my homework. I found several sites that talked about how to “break into Wall Street,” but nobody could help me understand the process. Whom do I send my resume too? When is recruiting season? What if I already missed the recruiting season – was there another way to get in? I bought a guide from Street of Walls, and it gave me the direction I needed to get started. With the road map in place, I knew I had a lot of studying to do in order to be able to “talk the talk,” so I hit the books. I studied the SOW guides for about 4 weeks, until I felt comfortable with the frameworks, and then I started sending out my resumes. I sent out over 300 resumes and didn’t get much of a response. That is what the guide told me to expect, so I knew I had to keep stepping up my game.

I went to a school that had limited on-campus events, but I made sure to find out when the banks were coming and whether I was invited or not, I was determined to go to the events. The first event I heard about was a mixer with UBS, which one of my friends told me about. It was a simple meet and greet. I faked my way in (was not very difficult – just told them there must be a mistake and that I received the email invitation my friend told me about), and started talking to people. It became very clear very fast that this was not an elite group of PhD’s, but they were just people like anyone else. They had the job I desired, so of course I looked up to them, but this gave me confidence and belief that these people weren’t better than I was at all.

My goal of the mixer was to spend most of my time targeting one person that really “got me.” Most people took a different approach and fanned out and talked to as many people as possible, but I just wanted to make 1 connection, and I did. I met a first-year associate named Andrew, and for whatever reason, he took a liking to me. After the mixer, he sent me an email that was brutally honest and difficult to hear. He told me I need to upgrade my wardrobe. He explained I needed to wear a white button down and not an off white button down, and the stripes on my tie should be diagonal and not horizontal. As ridiculous as that sounds, he was right. It was pretty embarrassing to learn I was the idiot wearing the off white shirt, but the student/mentor relationship that came out of our discussions really paid off.

Andrew got me an interview, so I immediately went back to my SOW guide and made sure I was prepared. I studied the behavioral questions, practiced technical questions, and went over as many brain teasers as I could. I felt confident going into the interview, and rightfully so because I was prepared. I nailed all of the questions, which made me a standout candidate because I wasn’t a business major, yet I could still compete with the business students. I actually played up my knowledge in history and wove several Abraham Lincoln quotes into my answers.

In the end, I turned my weakness into a strength, got the offer and I am now happily working my dream job as an investment banking analyst.re’s a second suggestion-

Good luck

Advisor

Kevin Harris Franklin, TN

The following link gives a listing of different networking organizations in financial services:
https://www.iii.org/services/directory/company-categories/financial-services-industry-organizations
I suggest you review this and look for organizations specific to the role you think you want to play - contact them and ask about local chapter meetings.
Good luck!

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