Wall Street. Capital City. Margin Call. Equity. Do any of these ring a bell? Giving a peek into the world of the moolah business, these are only some of the best works talking about the intriguing world of finance. While there is more to finance than what meets the eye, where the world is big and the opportunities bigger, what remains one of the most fascinating and extremely popular career tracks for students post-MBA is: Investment Banking (more fondly known as IB).
As for any other career, there is never a guaranteed trajectory which can decide whether you make it or break it! But today, we’re going to try and uncover the mystical world of investment banking and help you understand how an MBA can be a great way to explore it.
Specifically, investment banking involves advising clients on how to raise money for different business objectives, whether and how to merge or acquire, or how to restructure the business to be more effective and efficient. What is important to note is that investment banks and investment bankers are only intermediaries between people looking to provide capital and others looking to utilize that capital. Like, when Facebook decided to go public, or when recently, Salesforce bought Tableau software, such transactions are usually orchestrated with the help of investment bankers.
Overview of the Investment Banking Role
Usually, graduates with a business degree start off as associates and undergo rigorous training and receive on ground deal experience. For further progression, you normally have to choose if you wish to specialize as a corporate banker (a.k.a. an industry expert) or a product banker (a.k.a. a subject matter expert). Eventually, after gaining hardcore IB experience, you can also pivot to different areas in finance, such as, private equity, asset management, etc.
What do you need to become an Investment Banker?
Investment banking is very high on teamwork, collaboration, critical and innovative thinking, and obviously adrenaline.
An MBA, at a minimum, is also going to offer experiences involving these skills and the opportunities to develop them further. Furthermore, an MBA can help you prepare for a career in investment banking through structured coursework on financial analysis and modeling, statistical analysis, knowledge of the financial markets, etc. To add to the list, usually the dedicated career-centers of top B-Schools provide specific industry insights, expertise, counseling, and mentors.
The most important asset which really cannot be emphasized enough if you are looking to work as an investment banker after your MBA is undoubtedly the network! Networking, networking, and then a little more networking is extremely crucial and almost necessary if you want to venture into the world of investment banking.
Business schools also have dedicated finance and investment banking associations, which conduct regular workshops, speaker conferences and mentorship programs, all of which contribute to helping you move closer to the career that you are looking for! The highlight though, of the entire experience is the opportunity at several schools to gain hands-on experience in managing investment funds, run impact investing funds and develop comprehensive pitches and investment proposals. It goes without saying that the opportunities and resources are endless and pursuing a career in investment banking comes down to how well you can exploit them.
Having said that, one cannot deny that it is also a highly competitive and fierce career. It entails endless hard work, work-hours, coffee (or whatever’s your poison) and most importantly, resilience. Investment banking is a demanding but rewarding career! A good work-life balance at the start may not be on the plate, but it is one of the most well-paid and sought after careers of all times. It is an unparalleled launchpad into the wider and huger world of finance for all the finance aficionados. Not to forget, the immense learnings, specialized knowledge and training that you would gain, which would prepare you for several other careers in future, should you choose to switch.
Top MBA programs for Investment Banking
Here are the top business schools by region from which the greatest proportion of students work in investment banking or financial fields post-MBA:
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