Career in Investment Banking

A Career in Investment Banking: Challenges and its Worth


‘When the going gets tough, the tough gets going,’ is one of the most popular witticisms in American English.

This witticism motivates the people having hard times. In the case of the Investment banking industry, the going may turn tough every day. Because it is a challenging role for everyone -top-down positions as they face the level of challenges differently.

Let’s walk through into an investment banking professional’s life. Let’s understand how a career in investment banking is challenging and the challenges are worth it. The challenges are indeed worthful for learning and progress in the career graph.

Investment banking

A career in investment banking is one of the hardest, yet the most coveted job at Wall Streets. An average day in the life of an investment banker is long and stressful stretching from 10.00 AM to 2:00 AM. However, those who manage to survive these initial periods of career often get rewarded with top finance careers.

Investment bankers are generally hired by companies dealing in mergers and acquisitions or raise money for major expansions. The professionals serve as the connecting link between the investors and the company. this year, deals in transportation, telecom, pharma, and ports have taken the blue-ribbon honors as per reports.

The reality of investment banking

As mentioned earlier, you will have a lot of work, say 80+ hour weeks, late nights, and a few weekends. Sarah Butcher, global editor of the banking careers site e-Financial Careers says that only the brave will survive in the industry. At least, 50% or more of the Analyst class tend to drop out by the time they reach the Associate level.

Still, we find no shortage of recruits in the industry. It is reported that Goldman Sachs had 100,000 applicants for 500 places on the trainee program last year. The number of candidates who want to break a career in the investment banking industry is higher than ever.

Though some may be looking for a change within five years of stepping into the industry. Typically, the career life of bankers at different position levels goes this way.

  • Analysts may have to be up all night (leading to 100 hours per week) and get their tasks done when working on the big deals or during the beginning stages of a big deal.
  • Associates may have working hours of 80-90 hours and work either of the days on weekends. They may get busy from 9 AM to 11 PM on an average during the weekdays.
  • Vice president may have relaxed work hours. When they are bound to work on weekends or late nights, they have the provision to do it from home.
  • Managing directors can report at 7 AM and leave by 6 PM. However, they may have a lot of traveling every week for marketing and pitching.

A few of the challenges include –

  • Long working hours with unpredictable nature of working including pitchbooks, financial models, deal memorandum, or review of pitchbook late evening, and urgency of work.
  • As investment bankers deal with a hefty amount, it leads to stress. The conditions may wound up with eating disorders, alcoholism, insomnia, and other health issues.
  • A newcomer is expected to learn the job quickly and perform to meet the high standard. They have to pay close attention to details with no room for mistakes.
  • Many times, you may be forced to do undesirable work like photocopying, booking meeting rooms, or copy-paste work.

Though the challenges seem to be high, it is predictable for a job profile. Candidates who are truly interested in the job will walk miles to create smiles on their career path. To help them with trends and updates in the field, there are several competent investment banking certifications, which they can pursue while earning.

All jobs are demanding. It’s up to one’s interest, dedication, and learnings that keep the wheel going.

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