Understanding Investment Banking

Investment banking represents one of the most challenging career choices in the current marketplace. The level of remuneration is typically very high, but the expectations of banks with regards to their employees are equally high. In short, only exceptional candidates will even be considered for any given post. As Wise points out, "investment banking is the typical training ground of the elite. While many want to enter, few are given the opportunity". It is not uncommon for any single position to receive hundreds of applicants and as a result the level of competition between candidates is fierce. The reason why investment banking is considered to be such a prestigious career choice is because investment banks play a critical role in the business world, facilitating important acquisitions and transactions in the marketplace. As Sumichrast shows, "investment bankers are usually hired by companies to conduct capital market transactions, mergers and acquisitions consulting, and other corporate financial services". It is clear, therefore, that a career in investment banking is highly competitive and that the industry of investment banking is involved in conducting a broad range of financial services.

Skills and experience

As has been shown above, investment banking involves the management of broad set of financial services. As a result, the skill-set required for such a position must be expansive. Investment bankers must be able to work effectively under pressure and be able to consistently meet tight deadlines. Investment bankers must also possess exceptional analytical skills in order to be able to make decisions based upon the information available to them at any given time. The nature of investment banking is also such that they must be able to strike a balance between displaying leadership and teamwork. Investment bankers typically operate in small groups where teamwork is essential, but each individual must also be able to display clear leadership qualities. In terms of experience, Investment bankers are expected to be able to show exceptional educational attainment. Typically, a degree from Oxbridge will be considered as the minimum educational requirement. However, this does not suffice on its own and aspiring graduates will have to have shown their desire to work in investment banking by completing an internship during their studies. As the publication Wetfeet stresses, "doing an internship in investment banking is essential to breaking into the field in today's business environment". It is clear, therefore, that investment bankers require exceptional educational attainment as well relevant work experience in order to be able to qualify for a position.

Strengths and Weaknesses

Throughout my educational career I have produced work of the very highest standard. I have shown an ability to work to tight deadlines and have been able to produce work of high quality in a pressurised environment. I also feel that I have frequently displayed important leadership qualities in my extra-curricular activities. If I can identify one failing I would say that I am maybe too eager at times to lead from the front and therefore I could improve at working as part of a team. However, I am aware of this weakness and am currently improving greatly at expressing my observations in a positive manner in team environment. I have also acquired a good level of experience by completing a summer internship. This has shown me the importance of working quickly and efficiently in a pressurised workplace and this experience has helped to prepare for any role in investment banking. I therefore believe that I possess all of the necessary levels of skills and experience to be able to confidently begin my career in investment banking.

Types of employers and finding job positions

There are a wide range of different investment banks in the marketplace, each with their own particular corporate cultures. However, all banks are composed of exceptional individuals possessing a wide range of skills and experience. Vacancies can usually be found by recourse to company websites where any relevant full-time positions or internship opportunities are typically displayed.


1. Sumichrast, M., 2004. Opportunities in financial careers. London; McGraw-Hill Professional Publishing
2. Wetfeet, 2008. Careers in Investment Banking 2008. London: Wetfeet Publishing
3. Wise, J., 2006. Investment Banking Insider's Guide. London: Lulu Press