Investment Banking Career Information

With the global economic downturn, there are now not many opportunities for an investment banking career. However, the scenario is not as gloomy as many industry pundits would have you believe. A career in investment banking is still a very viable one, especially if you know the ropes and have your fundamentals correct.

Investment Banking Job

Investment banks help governments and corporations trade in securities and bonds. They also manage assets and provide financial advice. Of these, the top four investment banks are Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley-Dean Witter, Merrill Lynch and Salomon-Smith-Barney. Apart from these there are regional mid-sized investment banks and smaller boutique banks that offer specialized services or deal only with one or two industry verticals. You can choose to work in any of these investment banks either after finishing your graduation and joining as an analyst, or after your MBA, when you get to join as an associate. Either way, you have to work hard and prove your credentials to advance further in this industry.

Investment Banking Salary

Salaries of investment bankers vary from firm to firm. Some large companies get away with paying less, because working with them and learning their systems helps in your career. Sometimes it makes sense to settle for a lower salary and work with one of the bigger companies in the field. Or you might want to join a small firm and specialize in an industry vertical. In recent times, salaries have been cut by about 40 per cent.

Most investment bankers can hope for at least a 10 to 15 per cent bonus package, with top bankers commanding huge bonuses. Salaries are also paid in the form of shares with a lock in period. If you are happy with the prospects of a company you are planning to join, go ahead and accept the shares instead of salary offer.

An analyst would expect to get paid up to a maximum of $70,000 including bonus, whereas an associate can expect to get paid up to $150,000 including bonus. These are just rough estimates and will help you to negotiate your pay better.

Keep in mind that top investment bankers offer a lower pay than smaller ones. Your individual merit and educational background will be reflected in your pay packet. Another factor affecting investment banking salaries is the location. Jobs in regional centers offer a lower pay packet than one in New York, for example. This is something else you need to keep in mind while negotiating your pay packet.

Skills for an Investment Banking Career

To become a successful investment banker you need both strong analytical skills and exceptional interpersonal skills. You need to be prepared to put in hard work that will be valued and paid for. It is best to join as an analyst in the investment banking set up. It is a tough call to get a job in this sector, and if you have decided to apply here, you need to do the background research and apply for positions in the firms of your choice. Generic resumes will not do. To be called for an interview, tailor your resume to meet each firm's specific needs. You need to come up with compelling reasons for them to want to hire you.

Conclusion

It should be possible for a qualified person to break into the rarefied world of investment bankers. Apart from hard work and perseverance, you need to have great interpersonal skills as well. The ability to communicate properly with a wide variety of people will be greatly appreciated in this field.