Investment banks help organisations, individuals and governments to raise capital, often by investing in the financial markets or selling shares. They also provide other services to organisations, for example performing large mergers and acquisitions. Investment banking is a very popular area with graduates looking for a challenging career and high financial rewards, however combined with that there is a great deal of competition for places
- Do your homework. Understanding as much as you can about the industry can help you be seen as focused, well informed about the work, and make a better impression on applications and in interviews. A great place to start your research is the Finance careers section on our website. You can also join societies like MUTIS (Manchester University Trading and Investment Society), who a group of like-minded fellow students who organise events and training for students interested in a career in investment banking.
- Make contacts. Meet people working in investment banking to help you gain knowledge, and find out about opportunities. Check out the events listed in CareersLink for opportunities to meet and talk to these firms. For example, on 13th Oct (5-7pm) there’s Meet The Professionals: Finance and Consulting – where you can meet employers and alumni. The Big Careers Fair (Day 1, 18th Oct 2016) typically attracts a number of banks and other finance firms, for example Barclays, BNY Mellon, HSBC, Maven, and JLL.
You can apply to be matched with a mentor working in investment banking, which can be a great way to gain inside knowledge and advice. Read about the Manchester Gold mentoring scheme for more details. You can also use the LinkedIn alumni search as a great tool to find where previous Manchester graduates now work – useful for finding potential contacts in niche firms you can’t meet on campus. Get some great LinkedIn tips on our website about how to use it effectively, and how to make new contacts.
- Be clear on the area that interests you most, and why. There are what can seem a bewildering array of roles in investment banking, and employers will expect you to understand what area interests you and why. Following the tips above will help you to do this, as the guides often point out what qualities are required for each role, and the kind of person it might suit. For example, someone who is more introverted, methodical, very good at analysis and understanding detail might be more suited to working in compliance more than trading. A great guide to help you with this is the Unofficial Guide to banking.
- Academic grades are very important. Most investment banks will look for a minimum 2:1 degree and approximately 320 UCAS points. If you can demonstrate that you can achieve this, you are highly unlikely to be successful. Banks receive huge numbers of applications, and can afford to select only those that meet their very high standards. Be aware that your first year grades will also be important – if you’re applying for an internship in your second year, these will be used as evidence of the grade you could achieve in your final degree result.
- Get work experience as early as possible. Gaining investment banking related experience is very important and will really help you get your foot in the door when competing for graduate positions. If you’re in your first year, some firms offer ‘Spring Internships’ or ‘Spring Insights’ which help you gain some understanding of the industry. In your second year, you should be applying for summer internships. Check the advice on the internships section of our website.
- Get interested in finance and how it works. You don’t have to study finance to work in investment banking, but gaining some knowledge of how finance works is important. You could start with following finance and investments news on the BBC website and other media, before working up the Financial Times. Websites like Investopedia have some useful guides to help you understand the terminology used in finance and banking.
- Apply early. Investment Banks open for applications early, and some will close before the end of October. Make your applications as early as you can and allow time – they take a lot of effort and only a great application will make the grade. There’s lots of applications advice on the website to get you started.