A career in investment banking can extremely rewarding. Including salary and bonus, the average compensation for first-year analysts in 2022 averages $142,000.
But landing a job in investment banking isn’t easy and it requires more than just solid grades—especially if you hope to work for a top firm. Ken Adams, the founder of 10X EBITDA, a career coaching firm, recently shared some insider tips with Stacy Blackman Consulting on what the recruiting process is like and how prospective candidates can put their best foot forward.
RECRUITING STARTS IN SEMESTER ONE
The recruiting process for investment banking, private equity, and hedge funds starts the first semester of your MBA program.
“The investment banks need to hire a big Summer Associate class every year, and so they usually follow the business schools’ rules and policies,” according to Adams. “They host various networking programs and informal networking sessions with MBA candidates throughout the first semester. Interviews begin towards the end of the winter break and at the beginning of the second semester.”
Among some of the top firms for candidates include Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, and J.P. Morgan due to the quality of deals the banks handle.
“They also have ‘global pay,’ meaning that bankers in other countries get paid the same as bankers in the home country (i.e., US / UK),” according to Adams. “Which other banks are coveted varies by geography.”
BUILDING AN MBA STRATEGY
If you’re an MBA applicant with goals of working in investment banking, you’ll want to consider applying to top business schools, such as Wharton, NYU Stern, and Columbia Business School.
“Top business schools expect holistic interests and achievements,” according to Stacy Blackman, founder of Stacy Blackman Consulting. “Highlighting personal qualities and triumphs is essential to your MBA application strategy.”
Hard factors, such as test scores and grades, are often less important to admissions officers at top business schools. Rather, Blackman says, getting admitted relies more heavily on how interesting an applicant is.
“Successful finance applicants talked about activities they engaged with outside the classroom as an undergrad or work today,” Blackman says. “For example, debate leadership, athletic activity and a remarkable thesis were undergraduate experiences that led to admits to GSB and HBS. Emphasizing earlier life interests that show character and values can differentiate finance candidates vying for top MBA programs.”
Next Page: GMAT vs .GRE