Why investment banking: 10 reasons to apply today
Why investment banking: 10 reasons to apply today
I am sure you’ve already heard horror stories about life in investment banking. 100 hour work weeks, no weekends, no social life. If you follow the news you probably know that this crazy lifestyle even killed a few interns not so long ago. An obvious question is: what kind of an idiot would apply to investment banking under these conditions?
The answer may surprise. A little over a million in one year. London banks get around 200,000 applications alone. Crazy? Not so much. Even with all the drawbacks – there are a few very good reasons why investment banking remains one of the most sought-after careers.
Reason #1: It is prestigious.
Even after financial crisis, tons of bad press and publicity, a few dead interns and billions of money lost through negligence – investment banking is (and probably forever will be) one of the most prestigious professions out there. It is a synonym for money, power and expensive suits. No wonder every finance graduate feels it’s his holy duty to at least try and break into IB. Investment banking label is timeless.
Reason #2: It pays well (at least in the longer term).
Investment banking career is one of the proven ways to get rich before 30. You earn more than the rest of the humans and you don’t have much time to spend your salary. Contrary to entrepreneurship track the payoff is rather stable, and you can always count on a yearly bonus. Various perks sweeten the deal too – cabs in the evening and weekends, free meals, blackberry – and at some point flights abroad with all the relevant expense reimbursements. The math is simple. At entry level pay-per-hour is not that impressive, and expenses are considerable too. But if you enter investment banking at 24 by 30 you have all chances to earn 500k per year. Which, I guess, is not too bad.
Reason #3: You will work for with awesome companies.
Amazing projects for global firms will be pretty much your everyday activity. You might get a chance to sell Heinz or plan IPO of Facebook. You will get behind the scenes of amazing companies – and meet people who work there along the way.
Reason #4: You will grow professionally in no time.
Not because you are so smart – but because you won’t have a chance not to. Investment banking a super fast paced environment, and no one has the luxury to wait until you can rehearse your understanding of the retail industry. You will have to learn to scan tons of information, prioritise, remember the most useful information – and move on to the next project. In the beginning it might be overwhelming, but you will get used to the new pace and learn things 10 times faster than other people. Almost like a Superman. And if you decide to stay in investment banking – you will have a shot at a very impressive career.
Reason #5: You’ll have the best teachers in the world.
You will work alongside the most amazing people. Some of them will be gerks, some of them will be assholes, but all of them will be incredibly smart, and some even inspiring. In no time you will be navigating through excel without using your mouse, discussing strategic moves of major oil conglomerates and handling disastrous situations (holy sh”t, our client just went bankrupt) with a poker face. On top of that you will have access to best-in-class training and development programs. Case in point: at JP Morgan you will be required to join a 3-week course in Manhattan (all expense covered) where you can meet high-profile bankers from all over the world and listen to lectures by Damodaran. Quite cool.
Reason #6: You will have a chance to build incredible professional network.
You will be exposed to the smartest, most powerful and coolest people all round the world. Your colleagues will move to becoming associates in private equity funds or heads of strategy at huge industry firms. At some point you will meet CFOs and casually call them by their first name. By the time you decide to switch your career your Linkedin will be bloated with 5000+ high-profile connections.
Reason #7: You will have amazing friends.
Maybe not amazing friends. More like your only friends. Because you won’t really have time for any other acquaintances. Your colleagues will be the family. Someone to have a beer with at 12am on Friday evening before returning to work. No one else in the whole world will understand why the hell you picked IB job. After all, the bonding experience of 100+ hours per week is unbeatable. You will love them.
Reason #8: You will be paid to boss people around.
My favourite part. Maybe not so much in the first year – but you will get your legit chance to be a cocky asshole, and you’ll probably enjoy it. You will tell the largest and most prestigious companies in the world what do, which units to sell, how to raise money and whom to partner up with. And that will feel pretty awesome.
Reason #9: You’ll never get bored.
Regardless of whether you’ll hate investment banking lifestyle a part of you will always love the job. Simply because it’s really damn interesting. Imagine preparing a deck on IPO of Philips lightning branch in the morning, taking calls on Coca-Cola restructuring in the afternoon and building financial model to sell a few General Electric divisions somewhere in between. Of course this is a bit of over-exaggeration (disclaimer: it will ever happen at once). But you get the idea. The the change of pace will be so enormous you will never have a chance to get bored. Sometimes you will get a few long tedious projects – but even then boredom won’t really bother you.
Reason #10: You will experience the ultimate feeling of happiness and freedom once you quit.
This is the best one. Investment banking is cool, and prestigious, and well-paid – but 90% of people get into the field just to get out a few years later. Once you spend 2-3 years in investment banking you will feel like miss universe walking among ordinary humans. Out of nowhere you will get a dozen Linkedin messages per week offering you positions in private equity, industry firms or upcoming startups. Your few years of experience will count as 5 outside of investment banking. Your knowledge of industry and competitive landscape will be priceless. You will get an opportunity to walk away – a little bit richer, much more experienced and probably – quite happy.
If you decide to apply – start by checking if you are eligible. Read up on skills needed for the job – and everyday activities and tasks. Thoroughly check investment banking application guide. And download our investment banking resume template – or just use our help in writing a perfect CV and cover letter.