The Cycle of Winning an Investment Banking Offer
After going through internship and full-time recruitment successfully, I created the cycle below. Combined, there are 45 posts, 10 templates, 300+ flashcards and over 20,000 words that form the recruitment cycle. The learnable process is broken down below to provide the necessary information, techniques, and tools to help make your dreams a reality.
Why are you sharing this information?
Mission: To help any undergraduate, regardless of background or connections, land an investment banking job.
How is Capitalist Concept’s advice different?
It is no secret, there are several other blogs talking about investment banking. I used them to help me succeed and highly recommend you refer to them for more information. However, this program has three main differentiators:
- Simple – The cycle is conveniently organized and explained. Not every subject will be covered (e.g., exits, geography, etc.). The posts provide articulate and necessary information which can be read, understood, and used to the students advantage in a matter of hours. Additionally, the material remains comprehensive enough to serve as a reference for your future questions and concerns. This means the language is purposeful so you may have to read it again to grasp the details.
- Personal – Each post contains detailed examples and scenarios whenever possible to better explain the topic. I have experienced recruitment firsthand and am happy to share helpful stories. Moreover, supplementary links to credible sources are included for further information if you need it.
- Free - Every single IB blog I’ve seen attempts to sell their readers something (e.g., resume editing, interview guides, or modeling courses). Consequently, many of them have to write filler posts to attract visitors and withhold information for customers. I have a job that pays me well. Frankly, charging a price would contradict the mission so I provide all of the resources free of charge.
What is the investment banking cycle?
There are four basic stages that you repeat to form the cycle. Each stage has a series of posts focusing on what it is really like to break into and work in the industry. The information is meant to give you the tools necessary to accomplish the actions.
1) Finding your Interest: Figure out if and why you are actually interested in working in banking. Since breaking into banking isn’t for the faint of heart, make sure you understand a little about the industry before allocating your time and effort.
- If you’re finishing up your senior year of high school or starting your freshman year, chances are you still don’t know where to start. Check out the previous hyperlinks to check out general advice.
- Want to work in investment banking? Get an introduction into the day-to-day life of a banker, the skills needed, and what bankers look for in candidates.
- People often get confused between hedge funds, private equity firms, commercial banks, and investment banks. Learn more about the organization of the finance industry and check out 9 examples of investment banking work.
- There have been several books, movies, and TV shows. I know you have plenty of free time in college. Take some time to enjoy some banking related entertainment. Honestly, the book list is a great place to start; and is a very efficient source for in depth information.
Action: Start reading the newspaper consistently. This will help you pick up the terminology, and judge if you are actually interested in the subject. Additionally, it’s time to build your resume and cover letter. Clubs other organizations will be asking for these, and they are the foundation to your investment banking application.
2) Preparing for Interviews: Compared to your peers, banking interviews will be difficult and competitive. Of course, this means that you’ll learn how to communicate effectively and have the opportunity to learn more about your prospective field.
- Take a look at the Capitalist Concept Interview Guide with comprehensive answers to common behavioral and technical questions.
- As you formulate your own answers, practice proper interview etiquette. This will give you a solid foundation for real interviews and networking.
Action: After you read through the interview guide and know how to answer the common questions, practice your interviews through several mock interviews. Take a look at these flashcards to help with your preparation.
3) Expanding your Network: Networking is the most important stage in this cycle. Apply the Pareto principle: focus 20% on interview preparation and 80% networking. Often people consider being a perfectionist as a weakness disguised as a strength. This is not only a poor answer in an interview, but an actual weakness. If you wait until all of your interview answers are perfect, you will never break into banking. Start networking today.
- Normally, it takes time to build a network so the earlier you start, the bigger your advantage come recruitment season. Researching the bank and people is also an important step in increasing your success rate.
- You have to include weekend trips and informational interviews in your networking strategy.
- Short on time or need more banking contacts? The solution is cold calling and cold emailing.
- Honestly, there is little forgiveness for people who want to creatively differentiate themselves in banking. At the end of the day, networking is simply a numbers game. Nevertheless, if you start early there are a few ways to differentiate how you network.
- Perceptions and impressions are important when networking. Take some time to organize your social networks and wardrobe.
Action: The goal is adding as many bankers your network as possible by learning about the trade and build some relationships. Frankly, this entire stage is about action. Start by creating a list of contacts. Then formulate your personal short-term (3 to 6 month) networking strategy with specific goals, tasks, and deadlines. After that, all you have left to do is execute.
4) Accepting the Offer: Figuring out where you are going to start your career is dependent on your options.
- Thinking about choosing, rejecting, or reneging on an offer? Make a well informed decision.
- Accepted an offer? Here is how you can prepare for the job.
- No investment banking offers? Don’t panic. We have a plan for you as well.
Action: Accept your offer, and then thank all of your contacts. Obviously, the next step is celebrating. Congratulations! Then prepare to start your career.
Will this process will work for me?
Probably. I would suggest reading all of the material in each section first. Then you’ll have a strong foundation and understand how to frame your personal strategy for the actions.
There maybe several times throughout this cycle when you are feeling discouraged or find objections. Don’t give up. I have dedicated an entire post addressing this topic.
What do you expect to result from this cycle?
My hope is that after students read this information, they can focus more on the application of the principles. I believe the result will be improved quality and diversity in analyst classes.
If you like the information or simply know someone else who’ll benefit from this information, spread the love through re-blogs, shares, and comments. Best of luck!
Please Note: I’m currently working on finishing all the articles. By focusing more on cranking it out and less on quality, I can get my thoughts and information out quicker. Eventually, when this note is deleted, I will have gone back and finished editing, improving, and adding to each of the posts on this list.
Right now, feel free to send me suggestions on how I can improve the list, posts, or if you have any commentary. Cheers!