Investment banking is featured on our list of nine careers that pay well for recent and future graduates. We’ve described investment bankers as “financial experts who manage other people’s money”—and make a lot of their own, bringing home a median salary of $112,000. But have no fear—the field of investment banking extends to several specialized career options.
At the entry level in trade support, you would work with equities, bonds, currencies and large banks—just to name a few aspects of the job. Trading—according to Careers in Investment Banking—provides some of the most successful jobs in the field.
Investment Banking Analyst
Based on job listings targeted to investment analysts, a candidate would have to assume the job duties of preparing documentation for new accounts and investments, manage account activity and prepare reports of money coming and going from accounts. It’s another one of the first steps up the ladder.
Investment Banking Associate
Wall Street Prep’s list of investment banking career paths indicates that associates are a step up from analysts—and are often recent graduates of MBA programs. Associates often serve as liaisons between junior and senior bankers—and are waiting for promotions to executive positions. In other words, if you’re promoted to Associate, it’s a good sign.
For those who are not overwhelmed by big companies and industrial undertakings, project finance is the option for you. According to Careers in Investment Banking, those who work in project finance would be alongside the likes of Credit Suisse and Deutsche Bank—and would witness financing of projects such as infrastructure-related items and oil rigging.
Mergers & Acquisitions
Thousands of jobs are available for those who are interested in the well-known finance career choice of merges and acquisitions. According to its Investopedia.com definition, mergers and acquisitions gives a label to “the key principle behind buying one company is to create shareholder value over and above the sum of two companies. Two companies together are more valuable than two separate companies.”
Similar to project finance, but not nearly as industrial. Careers in Investment Banking indicates that corporate finance positions require working with big banks on “raising capital needed for new projects and ongoing operations,” as well as working on client teams and attending road shows where investors are present—all at the entry level.
If you’re working with venture capital—you’re helping the new startups, says Investopedia’s list. Venture capital is a good choice for you if you’re interested in newer companies—but are not held back by the notion that a company could go under just as quickly as it is established.
According to Investopedia’s list of investment banking careers, underwriters “assist corporations and governments in raising capital.” It sounds an awful lot like the aforementioned corporate finance option—but it includes the government component. The principle of underwriting is ultimately different—the raising of capital is necessary to show outside investors that the corporation or government is worth taking a risk over. The term is often mentioned in the same breath with insurance—which, of course, also relates to risk.
If you’ve ever heard of the S&P 500, you already know more about ratings analysts than you think you do—they’re the folks who determine if particular companies are fit for investments based on their findings. While the starting salary is not great, says Careers in Finance, a ratings analyst is cited as a great industry starting point. You wouldn’t be working in a bank—but you’d be working with banks on a regular basis.
Ah, IT, the old millennial stereotype standby—but yes, here it is, now appearing in the field of investment banking. Careers in Finance says “a firm with good trading software, pricing software or back office software can gain a strong competitive advantage.” And your investment banking degree won’t go to waste—you’ll have to understand how the software works in order to teach others how to use it.
The field of investment banking is competitive and difficult to break into—according to all of the Internet resources cited here. Once you’re armed with your degree, it’s important to keep your options open—and not too grow impatient for a promotion once you’ve landed an entry-level position. With your foot in the door in an analyst role or associate role, your experience and your degree—coupled with hard work—will take you to the next level in this field where there are multitudes of executive opportunities available.