A high financial career like investment banking necessitates strong analytical, quantitative, and critical thinking abilities. To succeed in this industry, many investment bankers rely on their financial knowledge and expertise.
Starting with a top-notch education, there are several crucial measures to take in order to prepare for a career as an investment banker.
The main technical skills to master are valuation, financial modeling, accounting, and Excel.
At CFI, we are a leading global provider of all the above technical skills and encourage you to enroll in our online courses for investment banking to help you be fully prepared for how to get a job in investment banking.
The first step on your path to an investment banking career is to get an interview. Investment banking is extremely competitive with way more applicants than available positions each year.
You will often be up against students from Ivy League universities, with a high GPAs and multiple internships under their belts.
Networking is a great way to increase your chances of getting an interview. If you are at a target school (a school that investment banks recruit directly from),
then you don’t have to worry as much about networking as if you’re from a non-target school. Below are four easy approaches:
1. An easy way to start networking is to talk to your career center and ask to be introduced to any alumni working at investment banks that you want to target.
2. Another approach is to use LinkedIn and find any connections who can introduce you to bankers you want to network with. Be sure to frame the request around learning more about the industry, rather than about getting a job or an interview.
3. A third approach is to join a local CFA® society in your city and network with local professionals who may know investment bankers and can introduce you to them.
4. Attend the National Investment Banking Competition (NIBC) where hundreds of schools from around the world compete in a live investment banking case competition.
The investment banking interview process is highly structured. The banks move quickly to screen resumes, conduct first-round interviews, conduct on-site interviews at their offices, and extend job offers.
The first round interview will either be on the phone or on campus (if you’re at a target school). There are three types of questions you will be asked: problem-solving, technical, and behavioral.
The first round interview will have all three types of questions, however, there will be more focus on the technical ones. The objective of the first round is to quickly screen candidates between those that live up to their resume and those that don’t.
The final round (often called “Super Day”) will be held on-site, with everyone being flown into the office from their respective school or hometown. The final round will typically include interviews with several different people, ranging in seniority.
Generally speaking, the more junior the person interviewing you, the more technical their questions will be, and the more senior the person, the more behavioral their questions will be.
It’s important to dress right for the interview, which typically means wear a suit that’s black/blue/gray and nothing too bold.
As mentioned above, there are three types of interview questions: problem-solving, technical, and behavioral.
Here are some steps and strategies you can use to answer interview questions you don't know with professionalism and confidence:
1. Take your time When encountering a question you're unsure how to answer, take a few seconds to understand what information the interviewer may want you to provide.
Reflect on the question and process the logical steps of your response before speaking aloud. Allowing yourself time to sit with the question and think about your answer may allow you to develop an effective response.
2. Think Aloud Remember that half the time, hiring managers are asking tricky questions not to hear you spurt out the right answer immediately, but to get a better sense of how you think through problems.
So, after you’ve taken a minute to gather your thoughts, try explaining succinctly where your thoughts have been and go forward from there.
3. Redirect If you’re asked a question that you really can’t work through, own up and try redirecting to an area you are familiar with.
You may not be able to speak to a certain skill directly, but if you’re able to connect it to similar skills, you’re much better off than just saying you don’t have the skill they’re looking for.
The hiring procedure in investment banking is extremely formulaic. The secret is to comprehend the procedure and check every box without making any crucial errors.
This involves keeping your resume to one page, maintaining a respectable GPA, acquiring relevant work experience, and showcasing your ability to politely respond to both technical and behavioral inquiries.
You may prepare well by using the steps in our advice on how to get a job in investment banking. There are ultimately no true short cuts; you still need to put in the effort to be well-prepared.