5 Opportune Moments to Get into Investment Banking

Investment Banks are amongst the hardest employers to get a job with, partly due to the fact that investment bankers make pretty much more money than anybody else, and therefore the volume and quality of applications are extremely high. But there’s no reason you can’t apply and be successful. Here’s 5 moments where you might think about making your application in order to give yourself the best shot.

1) During Your BA/BSc

There are a variety of positions into which banks hire undergraduates, mostly within their Analysis departments. As you’d expect, these jobs are extremely competitive. What will give you an edge, however, is the internship programs that you’ve been on, and especially if you’ve been on one at the bank to which you’re applying. So, in your second (or third on a four-year course), get applying to the internships at the banks you like the look of – that’s what might be the difference between winning and losing!

2) During a Masters

With a Masters in a related degree, you’re more likely to be offered a role in risk or trading, alongside the analysis roles but the same principle applies – it’s probably best to have an internship in the bag. If you can bag one before your Masters starts, you’re laughing, so remember to apply for them in the last year of your undergraduate degree to give yourself the best chance of securing that dream job.

3) The Intern Cycle

The old adage of if you don’t get the internship, it might not be the career for you, is long gone. These days, many of the highest achieving students have interned at numerous different banks to get the best experience and feel for the industry, as well as displaying their passion for what they want to do. Another possible way to get a job offer is to work internships (off-cycle) after graduating and impress so much that they offer you a full-time position once that comes to an end.

4) After the Big Qualifications

If there’s no room at the inn on any of the graduate analyst programs or you just think you have the skills to get further qualifications, there’s a range of options available. Doing an MBA at a top University is a good start, and a 2-year program allows you to intern again during the summer you have in the middle. You’ll be applying to associate programs rather than analyst ones so your game will need to be stepped up, but many banks hire from business schools so you’re in good hands. Alternatively, you could do an accounting qualification (like an ACA) and then apply for the equity research department of a bank, or even a PhD in a related subject which would demonstrate the depth and breadth of your knowledge. Banks always want people with brains, so qualifications are a good idea if you’re struggling to get your voice heard.

5) Wait! The Big Switch

The riskiest of all the strategies, because it relies on a healthy slice of luck and a long time in the planning, but people do make the change from other areas of work to investment banking later on in their careers. Making a move is common from areas such as consulting and law, so this is by no means an easy way in – you have to work your way up through professions which are equally tricky to rise through the ranks in, but it is possible, so keep  your options open when you’re applying for jobs and one day, the investment banks might come crawling to you!