There are approximately 3,000 companies in the U.S. investment banking industry. Major banks include Goldman Sachs, Deutsche Bank, Citigroup, Credit Suisse, Barclays, and UBS. Opportunities are found throughout the United States, but many investment banks are headquartered in New York City. Many large U.S.-headquartered companies have offices worldwide. For example, the investment banking advisory firm Greenhill & Co. has U.S. offices in New York, Chicago, Dallas, Houston, and San Francisco, and foreign offices in Frankfurt, Hong Kong, London, Madrid, Melbourne, São Paulo, Singapore, Stockholm, Sydney, Tel Aviv, Tokyo, and Toronto.
Investment bankers start their careers at the bottom rung in corporate finance as analysts. Analysts are the “grunts” of corporate finance, doing the financial modeling and basic entry-level duties associated with any corporate finance deal. Long work weeks of 80 hours or more are typical. Some analysts eventually are promoted to the position of associate, who manages the work of associates and has more intensive client interaction.
Many investment bankers enter the field after participating in at least one internship or a summer analyst program while in college (ideally in the division where they would like to work full-time). Most of the large investment banks offer such programs. Morgan Stanley, for example, offers an intensive 10-week program that introduces participants to the company’s businesses, followed by four days of formal classroom training about its Investment Banking Division. According to its Web site, participants learn how to “analyze financial and operating information relating to corporations and industries, create statistical exhibits that analyze comparative financial performance, build models to depict projected financial results and to value companies, develop marketing memoranda, and participate actively in the execution of financing and/or merger and acquisition transactions.” Visit https://www.morganstanley.com/people-opportunities/students-graduates/programs for more information. Other programs are offered by:
- Bank of America Merrill Lynch: https://campus.bankofamerica.com/careers/global-investment-banking-summer-associate-program.html
- JPMorgan Chase & Co.: https://careers.jpmorgan.com/US/en/students/programs/investment-banking-summer-associate
- Deloitte: https://www2.deloitte.com/xa/en/pages/careers/articles/deloitte-corporate-finance-llc-associate-program.html
- Credit Suisse: https://www.credit-suisse.com/careers/en/career-opportunities/students-and-graduates/internship-opportunities.html
The National Investment Banking Association (NIBA) offers a Conference Internship Program that aims to assist college students nearing graduation in their efforts to land a job in the financial services industry. Interns provide support services at the association’s four quarterly conferences and are introduced to and receive the opportunity to network with the principals and management of NIBA member firms, associate member firms, and the CEO’s of major emerging growth companies. Visit https://nibanet.org/about/internship for more information.
Some investment bankers enter the field after working for accounting, law, or strategy consulting firms that provide services to investment banks.
Investment bankers who are looking to transition to other employers in the industry use the services of recruiters, network with colleagues and former classmates regarding potential job openings, become active on social networking sites such as LinkedIn, and contact firms directly about available opportunities.
After three years, a skilled vice president can advance to the position of director. Some vice presidents stay in the same position as long as they’re at their firm because of performance issues and because investment banks are decreasing the number of high-paid workers at the top of the managerial pyramid. Depending on the company and the skill set of the director, it can take anywhere from two to 15 years to be promoted to the top of the heap—managing director.
Many investment banking professionals leave the industry to start a company or work at a private equity, hedge fund, or venture capital firm. Some move on to work for financial consulting firms such as McKinsey & Company, PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP, EY, Deloitte Consulting LLP, KPMG LLP, Bain & Company, The Boston Consulting Group, Accenture, Oliver Wyman, and Booz Allen Hamilton. Others become college professors.
Tips for Entry
Visit the following Web sites for job listings:
Check out the following resources to learn more about investment banking:
- Street of Walls: http://www.streetofwalls.com
- New York Times-DealBook: https://www.nytimes.com/section/business/dealbook
- Wall Street Journal-Deal Journal: https://blogs.wsj.com/deals
Be willing to relocate to New York City. It may open more job opportunities.