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Graduate jobs in investment banking explained for graduates and students

Investment banking: graduate area of work

Graduate investment banking jobs offer high levels of responsibility and exciting opportunities, but require a lot of commitment.

Investment banking requires a big commitment, but in return it is rewarding in terms of early responsibility, financial benefits and exciting work.

An investment bank or an investment banking division is essentially a corporate adviser, acting as an interface between companies and investment markets. The aim is to be the client’s most valued adviser and, as a result of that, deliver and execute deals for them (eg mergers, acquisitions, financing or IPOs). For example, an investment banking team might advise one bank on the acquisition of another.

They would carry out financial and strategic analysis, advise on how to bid for and pay for the bank, offer judgement on the price and advise on how to communicate all of this to the public markets. Investment bankers must be good communicators who are very client-focused and able to offer valuable expertise. Investment banking can also be known as corporate finance.

Graduates wanted: the investment banker employers

Investment banking roles can be found within full-service investment banks or smaller boutique businesses that may specialise in a particular aspect such as M&A advisory. Within an investment banking division, teams focus on particular countries, industries and products (for instance, equity capital markets) Members of several different teams will work together to execute a deal.

Graduate jobs in investment banks

Graduates generally start as analysts and, with guidance from senior colleagues, will be expected to take on a lot of responsibility quickly. The work would include financial analysis, writing presentations, speaking with clients or project-managing aspects of the execution of a deal. An initial training programme is typically at least a month long and held in one of the global financial centres such as London or New York: it will introduce key skills and get new starters up to speed.

Working days of 12 hours or more are typical and you may spend time travelling – it depends what you work on. Investment banking requires a big commitment, but in return it is rewarding in terms of early responsibility, financial benefits and exciting work. Not many industries offer the chance to work on deals that fill the pages of the Financial Times or involve talking to the CEOs of large companies. Charity work is also encouraged so you can get the chance to give back too.

Investment banks' response to the economic crisis

The recent economic crisis has affected the shape of investment banking and we have had to react to the changing requirements of our clients. Greater focus on capital raising and less focus on M&A have characterised the most recent period.

Skills needed to be a graduate analyst

  • Intelligence, ambition, enthusiasm and the ability to think quickly.
  • Excellent communication skills, confidence and personal integrity – all key to developing good client skills.
  • A finance degree isn’t necessary, but you will need to have a real interest in business and the financial markets

Job descriptions related to investment banking

Thanks to Paul Miller, managing director at Goldman Sachs International, for his help with this article.

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