How Careers In Investment Banking Are Progressed

Careers in investment banking are not easy to obtain, as they require a lengthy study at university and the passing of entry examinations. Even if you are able to pass through these hoops, there are so many people trying to break into investment banking that you will have serious competition in obtaining your first paid position. If you do end up with paid work, it is more than likely that you will have to work at the lowest level for several years before you can advance to anything higher.


A typical investment banker career is spent partially on both sides of the fence, that is, the banker spends part of their career on the selling side and the part on the buying side. The selling side is the unit which places stock issues in the market, usually on behalf of large corporations but sometimes on behalf of the government. This is the most important role of an investment bank in Western society, and the success or otherwise of this operation will largely determine profit levels and sustainability. The profit to be made on a successful stock launch is exceptional, and there is usually an opportunity to benefit further at a later date.

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The other aspect of an investment banking career, and one which you will almost certainly experience at some stage, is the buying side. This does not mean that the bank actually buys anything for itself, just that it acts as a broker in placing investment orders into the market for institutional investors and for private individuals. There are limits as to who can use this service, created by the minimum order levels. These are necessary to prevent valuable time being wasted on transactions where there is not enough commission for the broker.

Most careers in investment banking start when the graduate leaves college and goes into an entry level job. This will typically be as a market analyst, which is the lowest level of investment banker. The work is long and hard, and the analyst is basically the grunt worker supplying those higher up with what they need. This will usually continue for several years, although it could be cut short by a promotion to associate if the company believes that you are exceptional and have the potential to work at a higher level. The analyst will typically be moved to the buying arm after several years.

A handful of graduates, at the very start of their investment banker career, will be given the opportunity to go straight into a job as an associate. This usually only happens with graduates who are completing a high level MBA course, and it happens because the company is prepared to the a risk to get the signature of a potentially excellent worker before anyone else does the same. If you are lucky enough to be in this position, you can bypass the lowest level altogether. The downside to this method of entry is that associates are expected to be loyal to the position, and so never get to experience the buying side of the business.

One fact is certain, and that is that all careers in investment banking start with success in college. Finding the right course for your own temperament and skills is the key to making this career work for you. It is possible to recover a career which gets off to a poor start, because as long as you can get a job somewhere you will still be starting off at the same level as everyone else. The right college degree, though, is like rocket fuel to careers in investment banking.




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