All the myths and truths about investment banking

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Are you wondering what real investment banking applications and careers are like?

Are you only able to find official answers at job application networking event and company’s website?

When we browse blogs and news articles, they often do not seem to be original insiders’ views.

What are the insiders saying about applying jobs to a bank, what their lives are actually like as an investment banker?

Here’s top 10 Myths and Truth about Investment Banking application and life

1. I earn so much money; I can retire at 30 with a model, yacht and a Knightsbridge penthouse

Not true at all unfortunately buddy… Investment banking pay has been adjusted several times over the past years. The base compensation has increased, however the total compensation might not be higher compared to the 80’s, 90’s or even 10 years ago.

2. I have to be a mathematical genius to apply? History, arts, marketing major students should not even try to apply…

HR and banks indeed hire candidates from all majors. There is nevertheless a higher ratio of recruiting candidates with relevant majors, simply because they have shown their interest and passion towards finance jobs through courses and activities taken, and they tend to answer the technical questions better

3. There is so much jargon in finance; it is a foreign language that we don’t use in daily life?

Yes, there are a lot of finance terms and jargon. You will need to know some of the terms even before you start your internship. For example, during an interview, the interviewer will not explain the finance terms in his question, which is part of the tests on you

4. The finance world is like an old boys’ club with Oxbridge graduates?

Banks used to hire only from the top 2 to 3 target schools. However, the recent trend of recruiting we have noticed is to focus on the candidate herself/himself, not the school. And banks have expanded the target schools list to sometimes beyond top 10, top 20

5. The gender diversity in a bank is “diversified” by middle office and back office female professionals? Front office finance arena is still completely male dominated?

Increasing diversity is one of the key efforts all banks are making, and we have seen improvements on male-female bankers ratio over the past years. However, male bankers still have a slight higher ratio compared to female bankers, especially in M&A and trading, with sales department more balanced

6. The banking hours are not long, but HORRIFICALLY long?

Hmmm… Banking hours might be better if we compare to 20 years ago. However, it is still long in M&A department – you can expect to work roughly 80 +/- (xxx) hours a week. (You will fill in your own number for the xxx in the bracket. Sales and Trading hours coincide with market hours

7. Stress level is constantly high in banking?

You work under huge stress in any front office in investment banking. In M&A, the stress comes from large deal closing date or assignment deadlines, and an error-free work attitude. In Sales & Trading, stress correlates directly to the market, and sometimes the stress counts to every second

8. Can I make friends in banking? REAL friends?

It is a personal choice whether to make friends with colleagues, just like in any other industry. Investment banking is a very competitive environment, however, it attracts people with similar ambition, calibre, and sometimes even personality. You can certainly make real friends. You spend  your day and night and sometimes weekend with your colleagues after all

9. People join banking for CV booster only. You just get burnt out, and leave. It’s not a long-term career?

We have seen people leaving within days after staring a summer internship, we have also seen people doing this job for 40 years. And a lot of the young graduates getting into banking thinking of trying for 2 years, which is quite common we see nowadays. Either way you choose, the learning curve and opportunities following your banking job might not be something other jobs can offer

10. They have a bias against candidates requiring visa sponsorship?

All the large investment banks will help you with your work visa. Banks care about talents – that’s the biggest assets they have. Visa is not something that will harm your chance in general. Boutique investment banks will also apply visa so long as they have the licence from the Home Office

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