How An MBA Can Lead To Investment Banking
If you’re interested in becoming an investment banker, you may want to apply for an MBA.
Experts say the MBA can act as a gateway to prestigious investment banking firms, such as JPMorgan Chase & Co.
Ilana Kowarski, a reporter at US News, recently spoke to experts on how an MBA can help place students in investment banking positions.
WHAT DO INVESTMENT BANKERS DO?
Investment bankers essentially sell money to companies.
“Issuing stocks or bonds requires finding someone to buy them, and most companies aren’t good at selling stocks and bonds, so they hire investment bankers as middlemen to help them find people looking to invest money,” Matt Levine, a financial writer for Dealbreaker, says in an NPR article.
Part of the allure of investment banking is the high pay potential.
According to US News, entry-level compensation in investment banking can often top $120,000 per year with base salary and bonuses combined. Go higher up the chain, in positions such as managing director, and you can often earn more than $1 million a year.
HOW THE MBA FITS IN
Experts say an MBA from a prestigious university can be attractive to investment banks. Prestige is especially critical when it comes to investment banking.
“The problem is, you may get just as good an education from not-a-top-20 school, but it’s very difficult to get the entree in or to get into the hiring process unless you have that on your resume,” James Cassel, chairman and co-founder of the Cassel Salpeter & Co. investment banking firm in Miami, tells US News.
Part of why prestige matters is because a number of investment banks have established relationships with the top b-schools and recruit exclusively from those schools.
Pascal Michels, formerly the head of financial services in the career services office at IESE in Barcelona, Spain, tells TopMBA that recruiters at banks often have a target list of schools they recruit from and if you don’t go to one of those schools, your chances of securing a position at the firm are slim.
Experts say MBAs interested in investment banking should choose an MBA program that offers a strong finance curriculum with a variety of other disciplines. Cassel says MBAs should “know more than how to crunch numbers,” and take courses in marketing, human resources, and technology.
However, demonstrating technical and quantitative skills is a must.
Experts say students interested in investment banking should get a head start on building financial skills.
“Anything you can do to acquaint yourself with the valuation work that is done in investment banking is going to save you time once you are on campus,” Michels tells TopMBA.