Tips to Becoming an Investment Banker

To become a successful investment bankers like John Studzinski, you must take certain steps to ensure you receive the education and firsthand experience that will give you the necessary knowledge needed to succeed in the field. The following tips can help set you on the right path to achieving your career goals in the fast-paced financial industry.

While Attending College

Since colleges don’t offer an investment banking major, you will need to choose a major that is related to the investment banking industry. Economics, finance, accounting and business are all acceptable majors for students wanting to become an investment banker.

Take the time to really learn and understand how to create spreadsheets and brush up on your presentation skills. Investment banking is all about numbers and if you want to truly be successful in the field, you must be well versed with spreadsheets and how to present them. Furthermore, learn the ins and outs of Powerpoint and Microsoft Excel. These two mainstream programs are what most investment bankers use on a daily basis.

During your summer break, intern at an investment banking firm. Not only will this give you hands on experience and a real world look at the career, it also increases your chance of obtaining a job in the field right after college. While you may dream of completing your internship at a big investment banking firm, don’t overlook the smaller firms. You get the same benefits no matter what the size, and it may be easier obtaining an internship at a smaller firm. If you cannot intern at an investment bank, consider completing your summer internship at a traditional bank. While this isn’t ideal, it’s better than nothing and can still give you a leg up after you graduate from college.

Network yourself both online and off by joining the investment banking club — if your college has one — and becoming active on social media sites. Linkedin, for example, has various investment banking groups that you can join. This can help connect you with potential employers. When attending meetings or interviews dress in a formal and classy manner. A well-pressed tradition suit works well.

While in Graduate School

If you’re in a MBA (Master of Business Administration) program in school, trying to obtain an job after you graduate is typically easier. Larger banking firms often go to the universities to try to recruit future employees in MBA programs. However, you cannot simply set back hoping things will fall into place. You must still network during the bank’s recruitment visit. Make sure to have professional business cards that you can hand out and follow up with any banks you connected with.

Since smaller banks may forgo college recruitment as a way to find employees, you should seek them out on social media sites. Keep in mind that investment banking has a sales element to the career. So you are essentially selling yourself when contacting banks looking for employment.

If you’re attending graduate school but are not in a MBA program, you can still become an investment banker. Simply use your business smarts to sell yourself to banking firms. Banking firms want employees who can go above and beyond their expectations. So show them your skills. You can also contact the people in the career center at your business school. They can be used as a resource to help you get your foot in the door.

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