If you’ve already tried applying for an Investment Banking job, then you will know first hand that breaking in is a battle. Investment Banking Analysts earn substantially more than other professionals except sportsman, rock stars and celebrities. 

Presumably if you’re reading this blog, then you’re among the many bright young candidates looking to get your foot in the door. If you aspire to make a career in Investment Banking, you’ve come to the right place. Before moving ahead, let’s fill you in on who we are. 

Part of School of Jobs, SIB – School of Investment Banking is a pioneer in the provision of practical and career oriented training in the fields of Investment Banking, Private Equity & Equity Research. What sets us apart is the fact that in addition to providing cutting edge training, we leverage our  contacts with recruiters to secure world class placement opportunities for candidates who invest in our full time immersive programs. Due to our placement efforts, SIB alumni are today pursuing their career ambitions with the likes of JP Morgan, Goldman Sachs, Citi, Deutsche Bank, Bank of America, HSBC, Nomura, PJT Partners, Canaccord Genuity, PwC, Ernst & Young and many more across New York, London, Johannesburg, Dubai, Mumbai, Delhi, Singapore, Hong Kong & Sydney.

We have a ring side view into what recruiters are looking for and what it takes to break in. Our goal in this blog is to make you aware of the key skills needed to break in. To be more specific, there are different types of skills needed and our goal here is to focus on the softer aspects. There is another blog Key Skills Needed for an Investment Banking Job – Part 1that addresses the main technical skills needed for a career in Investment Banking. 

The Correct Mindset

You would’ve heard plenty of epic stories of how difficult it is to crack Investment Banking interviews. It sure is.

As per common perception, this difficulty is attributed only to highly technical questions. As is often overlooked or ignored, this difficulty also stems from not having the correct mindset, expectations and a lack of awareness of the softer aspects such as:

  • Top notch communication skills
  • Self starter, motivated, driven
  • Attention to detail
  • Hard work
  • Ability to handle high pressure
  • Analytical skills

So whatever your academic or professional qualifications, keep in mind that there is a long queue of aspirants who are as bright and hungry as you are. They too are waiting for their day in the sun, for that one opportunity that could get their foot in the door. Therefore, think carefully about:

  • What skills are you bringing to the table?
  • What are you really offering a potential recruiter?

Are You Smart Enough? Every Investment Banking firm wants to hire an Analyst or Associate who is smart. That goes without saying. You would have heard so many peeps tell you that. But what is smart?

  • Is it defined by academics?
  • Is it defined by professional appearances?

Well, both academics and professional appearances matter to some extent but that is not what we’re eluding to.

Break through barriers: In the context of Investment Banking and mainstream finance, smart is the ability to get things done. As an Analyst or Associate, it is common to hit a brick wall while preparing pitch books, doing company valuation either by spreading comps or DCF, making financial models, preparing teasers and info memorandums.

It happens often enough. Your team is counting on you to find solutions and deliver results come what may.

Keep in mind that you are a very important cog in the wheel. Just as you have deadlines, senior team members have their own deadlines. If you’re late or miss, they miss as well and what follows is a chain reaction of missed deadlines.

In short, your MD will not be best pleased. Your job could be on the line as well.

Self starter, motivated, driven: Senior colleagues work very hard in their own way. Waking up at 4 am to catch a flight a couple of times a week may be exciting at first, but the thrill wears out rather quickly. Senior bankers are frequently out of the office trying to win business, which means that they may not be able to give you guidance either in time or in enough detail.

It is crucial that you are a self starter, have the motivation, drive and maturity to get things done even when there is a lack of guidance. Waiting to be spoon fed is just not going to cut it, simple.

Questions: “If you don’t understand something, ask a question. There is no such thing as a stupid question”. Sound familiar :)?

Be careful with this in Investment Banking. Ask a question only if it is an intelligent one. And when you do, make sure you get it the first time, so there is no need to repeat instructions.

With this, we hope you have perspective on who or what is smart. As they say, you have to be “smart” to get in!If you are looking for a high impact and costs effective way to up-skill, our Mid Cap Bundle covers seven carefully crafted courses that form a key part of an Analyst’s knowledge base. If you want more i.e a platform that not only up-skills, but also delivers placements across the world with a solid track record, check out our Immersive which is available in India and Internationally.