Before we actually get into this list of actions that an Engineer must take to become an Investment Banker, there is a crucial question that you should answer:
“Why do I want to become an Investment Banker?”
If your answer is “Lots of money” “Sounds really great!”, thanks to the way Investment Bankers are portrayed in movies?
Sorry, but your motives are a bit skewed. Because, the road ahead as an Investment Banker is not a bed of roses.
For starters, you are looking at a 90-100 hour per week, always on, never off. Add to it, tremendous stress, and job losses at the first sign of a downturn.
On the brighter side, you have a high paying job, opportunity to interact and work with some of the brightest minds and companies on the globe, a high learning curve and the financial freedom of retiring early or starting a venture of your own.
So, are you sure about this? If the answer is “YES, this is what I wanted to do all my life!”, scroll ahead.
1. A Strong Foundation:
As an Engineer, you FIRST need to start with a strong foundation in the basics of Banking and Finance. This is a must have. The best way to get this, is take a good course – preferably online – which gives you a great overview of the fundamentals. You can explore FLIP’s Banking and Finance Fundamentals course, here. The certification won’t hurt on your CV, either!
2. Finance Degree OR Experience:
An MBA in Finance is considered the first step for anyone aspiring a career in Investment Banking. Remember: the application to openings ratio for freshers, is something like 5000: 1. So, ONLY a premier name works here. A T2 MBA isn’t worth it.
Else, get relevant work experience. Global I Banks outsource their research and analysis to KPOs, that are either their own subsidiaries or complete third parties.
For instance, banks like Deutsche, J P Morgan and Barclays have their own KPO units based in India. Independent KPOs are Copal Amba, E-Valueserve, etc.
These KPOs hire engineers every year as analysts – a couple of years of experience in such roles can help get into an I-Bank. If you opt for an MBA after this, even better.
3. Relevant Internships & Projects:
Now that you’re working in a KPO or doing your MBA, Internships/Projects will equip you with tremendous learning and value to your profile.
You’ve GOT to get at least one strong, I-Banking focused certification on your CV. Again, this will add CV points and boost your interview chances. The popular ones are: a CFA (be prepared for about Rs. 3 lakh for all 3 levels, though) and FLIP (https://www.learnwithflip.com/programs/investment-banking). Breaking into Wall Street (https://breakingintowallstreet.com/biws/homepage/) is also an option.
Having a clear background of the Investment Banking industry, is crucial. It WON’T happen overnight. So, start your research right away.
This would help you in multiple things:
- A great interview prep – you’ll know key people, roles, major deals, industry trends – which will help you ace the interviews.
- To have resumes and cover notes tailored to each role/company.
- Networking with individuals currently working in these firms
6. A Winning Resume:
You’ve got the ammunition now. A well-structured CV is now the key to that dream subject line – ’Your CV has been shortlisted for Personal Interview’ landing up in your inbox
A few pointers you need to keep in mind, for that Winning Resume:
- Throw the Technology & Engineering jargons out of the window. Your recruiter is not looking for terms like C++, Python and AUTOCAD on your resume.
- Focus on your tech project’s impact on business and your role in it.
- Highlight the 3-4 key experiences you have gained through internships and full-time roles in Investment Banking – and those I- Banking certifications.
- Include a CUSTOMISED cover note, where feasible – why I-Banking, your experience/projects, certifications and resume highlights (ranks, achievements) NOT more than 10 lines, please.
7. Prepare for The Obvious Questions:
Being an Engineer taking a plunge into the Finance world, you might hate to know this, but you are an OUTSIDER. So, brace yourselves for questions like:
- Why the shift?
- Is it the money that’s luring you to a Finance Job?
- Why did you invest four years in Engineering if all you ever wanted to be is an Investment Banker?
8. A Newspaper a Day & a Newsletter a Week:
Needless to say, a Financial Newspaper should be the first thing you must reach out to every morning.
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