If you are a talented student studying for a degree in a subject such as finance or accounting it is likely that you are already seriously considered a career in investment banking. Investment banking jobs have gained a reputation for offering some of the highest salary packages a new graduate can hope to earn. A couple of years ago a graduate taken on by a leading American investment bank could be making as much as $ 150,000 dollars a year including expected bonuses, and this high wage was attainable within the first year or two in successful investment banking careers.
Over the last year the recession has also affected the living standards of investment bankers with salaries cut by as much as 40% and bonuses all but eliminated. Nevertheless everything has not turned gloomy for students who are seeking investment banking jobs. Aspiring bankers seem to have confidence that current difficulties are like the proverbial passing cloud and in a short while salaries and bonuses are going to return or even exceed the levels they reached a few years ago. Interest in investment banking degree courses remains high and intern positions are keenly sought after.
The investment banking jobs hierarchy
Investment banking is a hierarchical profession with salaries climbing from approximately $ 60,000 per year for a new entrant to millions of dollars a year for an experienced departmental manager. Such substantial wages are unlikely to be attained by those who aim to work a regular nine to six working days but come at the cost of ninety or a hundred hour weeks. The employees who make it to the top of the pyramid are expected to demonstrate their commitment to the bank by working hours significantly longer than in other economic sectors. While investment banking careers can make possible high living standard executive lifestyles, they do not leave the employee so much time to enjoy their immaculately furnished penthouse or any of the other symbols associated with these earning levels.
Many entrants to investment banking begin through internships which may be sponsored directly by a bank or organized through a university offering an investment banking degree. Another route into investment banking careers involves becoming a junior assistant or investment analyst position. At the most junior levels the new employee is occupied learning the basics of the business including understanding the bank’s structure and networking within the bank. They also provide useful assistance to senior analysts and managers through organizing meetings, preparing documents and other internal support tasks. Although usually their contact with clients is going to be minimal they might have an opportunity to be present at some meetings in an observer role.
Assuming that they put in the required hours and demonstrate skills and devotion to their job, new employees become regular investment analysts with responsibilities for research and analysis of investment opportunities and dealing directly with clients. The possession of a good master’s degree from a recognized university allows other new recruits to enter the bank at the higher level of investment banker associate. The associates enjoy a higher starting salary than junior analysts although they are not normally given responsibility for their own clients. Associates occupy a secondary position to the senior manager from whom they are supposed to learn those vital client investment valuation and communications skills. In the United States a couple of years ago an investment banking associate might expect a starting salary of $ 100,000 – considerably more than they might hope to receive starting off in many other professional positions.
Regardless of the route they follow into the business, junior bankers usually hope that their careers will take them to a senior management position with all its associated prestige and millions of dollars in annual salary in recognition for their contribution to the bank’s success.
Learn more about investment banking careers and global investment banking here.