Home Investment Investment Banking Career Questions – Is It Really For You

Investment Banking Career Questions – Is It Really For You

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The finance industry is one of the largest sectors in most

developed economies and as such offers many opportunities to

build an exciting and rewarding career. One area which

attracts much attention is investment banking. It’s a high

profile part of the industry because of the types of

business that it specialises in – arranging stock market

listings, mega-bond offerings and takeovers for businesses

seeking financing and expansion. It is also one of the most

lucrative areas in finance, commanding six figure salaries

for first year. Accordingly, investment banking is a magnet

for those seeking high flying careers. This article, part

one of a three part series explores the investment banking

industry including the good, the bad and the ugly.

Part one discusses some of the advantages and attractions of

working in investment banking.

It’s in the money! Of course one of the top attractions for

many is the potential money that comes attached to jobs in

the industry. The industry demands a lot from the people

that work in it both in ability and commitment. To attract

top talent, the industry rolls out large pay packets. Bulge

bracket firms such as Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley and

Merrill Lynch can pay more than six figures for b-school

grads. On top of that, there are sign-on and year-end

bonuses that can double, triple or generate even higher

multiples of base salary. At senior levels the compensation

reaches even higher levels of the stratosphere – managing

directors can expect as much as mid-seven figures in good

years.

Another allure is the fast paced action on offer. There’s

never a dull moment as an investment banker. The work

involved in arranging share sales, bond offerings,

acquisitions and sales of entire businesses is fast paced

and complex where details and variables can change rapidly

with movements in the markets. This presents a huge

challenge for those delivering the goods and ensures that

life is almost always moving quickly.

The prestige factor can also be attractive to some. The

nature of the business often involves working with major

public and private sector organisations, particularly at the

leading investment banks. Deals can include initial public

offerings of major industry players and soon-to-be market

leaders. Depending on the industry and location,

transactions can also be industry changing events such as

privatisations of state controlled entities.

As an investment banker there is always the opportunity to

meet and interact with senior people. Not only is this an

opportunity to better understand how top people in a given

industry think and operate, it can present opportunities at

many points along the career path. On top of private sector

contacts, there may also be interaction with senior

government officials, especially in countries where the

state maintains a high level of investment an industry.

These all important connections can prove useful.

For those that are attracted to leadership and

responsibility, investment banks do not disappoint. The

rapid pace of the industry means that those progressing

through the ranks can be given significant levels of

responsibility. It is quite normal for those in their

mid-thirties to be responsible for entire business units.

Investment banking is a big plus for those that like to be

boss, although it must be noted that there are many levels

of management within the larger banks.

Finally, a career as an investment banker can offer the

opportunity for extensive travel, whether it is between

cities within the country or as is more and more common,

across international borders. As bankers progress through VP

and Managing Director levels, there is the requirement to

spend more time cultivating and developing client

relationships. Often this is done in different cities and

different global locations. It can be exciting as well as

enlightening to experience the different cultures and places

located outside of your doorstep.

And there it is some of the main attractions for signing up

as an investment banker – money, travel, action, prestige,

leadership and high level connections. Listed together these

almost sound like a cliché for the original role of James

Bond and perhaps explains why many ambitious graduates are

so interested in pursuing investment banking careers.

In part two, the flipside is discussed. Yes, there is a

downside. Find out the negatives of life as an investment

banker “Investment Banking Questions II – is it for you?”

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