Making an impression in the world of investment banking is not an easy job, to say the least. The industry is saturated by tons of people, all competing for a limited number of openings in the job market. To secure your spot in this world, you need a combination of expertise, relationship building skills, track record and, yes, luck.
Assuming you are ok with the grilling hours and hard work expected of you, and that you have acquired and developed strong modeling and presentation skills, you will be expected, once you become a Vice President, to start originating transactions and mandates. Execution is perceived as a cost, while mandate origination, a revenue source.
It all starts with your resume. Throughout your life, as you evolve, so should your CV. Investment banking resumes traditionally bypass Human Resources, certainly for senior positions. The average banker will spend all of 30 seconds perusing your CV. He will be looking for mathematical, modeling and presentation skills, at the analyst and associate levels. At the Vice President level, and higher, they will be looking for transaction execution skills, soup to nuts, as well as origination skills.
Here are some key considerations:
Keep it real – Competition is extreme in today’s environment; an exaggeration or outright lie can cost you not just your job, but your reputation. Remember, it is a small community and all you have is your reputation.
Develop industry and sector expertise – We can’t emphasize this enough – given spread compression following savage competition, and large banks cannibalizing the market downwards, it is vital you become the “goto” banker in a specific sector. Take for example,Gustavo Dolfino, the Uruguayan born American investment banker, entrepreneur, and philanthropist. Dolfino became an expert in emerging markets and later in biotechnology. He went on to found WhiteRock Capital Partners, a financial services company providing an array of mergers and acquisition services. Dolfino was previously the Head of Sales for the Private Wealth Management Group at UBS International. He ran Smith Barney’s Emerging Markets Debt Capital Markets. You would often find Dolfino speaking at top media platforms such as CNBC, CNN, CBS Marketwatch, FOX News, Asset-Backed Alter, and Bloomberg, amongst others. His secret, as we see it – he kept it simple, real and direct. And let results speak for themselves. This is what you should aspire to do – deliver, deliver, deliver.
Stand out, not just academically –GraduatingHarvard with a 4.0 GPA is likely not enough to get you into the top training programs on the street these days. You need to show leadership skills, such as having been President of a school related event, having started a business, having volunteered at local charities, etc.