Getting Into Investment Banking Today

By: Riyan Richter

You need to follow 3 simple steps to get into investment: get access to recruiters, get their attention with a solid resume, and then succeed in your interviews. Getting any one of these wrong will mean failure.
First, let's discuss access. "Recruiting channels" refer to banks' presentations on school campuses, talking to headhunters, or going through school alumni or other referrals from professionals you know.
Banks only target around 10-20 schools - called "target schools" - for most of their recruiting efforts, so you will have a very tough time unless you are going to an Ivy League-caliber school.
So you'll have to rely on networking via referrals, informational interviews, and cold-calling, if you're not at one of these elite institutions - making it significantly harder to break in.
Start by getting referrals from friends, setting up informational interviews with alumni, and searching on social networks like LinkedIn and Facebook. You can also start cold-calling local firms in your region.
With access granted, you'll need a great resume in order to stand out from everyone else and to start getting interviews rather than rejections.
In general, keep your resume short - 1 page or less for 90% of candidates - and focus your attention on the top 2 or 3 experiences that "sell" you rather than making a laundry list of unrelated jobs. As a student, focus on internships or clubs; as a professional, think about year jobs over the past 5-10 years.
Focus on the results you achieved, and what you did specifically - using numbers wherever you can do so. Structure what you did and make it look like you worked with specific clients or projects rather than just random day-to-day tasks.
With a solid resume in place, next you need to hone your interview skills. The most important part of any interview is your "story" - what you say when they ask you to tell them about yourself, so lock down why you want to be an investment banker and why now is the perfect time to do it for you.
Go in chronological order, and connect your experiences to explain why you need to be in investment banker more than anyone else they talk to that day - other questions are also relevant, but 90% of the interview hinges on your story.
You need to have a good grasp of technical questions on finance and accounting as well, but you can learn those by reading a book or an interview guide - spend the bulk of your time on your story.
That's all you need to know to begin breaking into investment banking - good luck!

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Riyan Richter is a Contributing Author to Mergers & Inquisitions, the web's leading resource on how to get into investment banking and investment banking in general, basing his writing on his own personal triumphs breaking into the industry.

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