If your dream is to be an investment banker, you should be prepared to work very hard, but you will be well compensated. A successful career in the extremely lucrative and competitive world of investment banking is all about maximizing your opportunities. You can have a rewarding career and make a great deal of money, but you need to take the right steps to prepare.
Choose the Right Major
The first thing you’ll need to do is get a bachelor’s degree. Among the best degrees for success in investment banking are business, accounting, finance or economics.
This doesn’t mean that you will be shut out of the profession if you have a different major, but one that better prepares you for the financial world will make you a more attractive candidate for employers. You may want to consider taking a couple of classes that teach communication in speaking and writing since this will also be an important component of what you do.
Choose the Right School
There is no one school that you need to go to in order to succeed, but as is the case with your major, some schools will better position you than others. Investment banks recruit from many different places, but in particular, they recruit from the Ivy League.
You should try to get into the best school possible. However, if a state school is more in your reach, don’t despair. You may just need to work harder to enhance your resume. For the most part, you shouldn’t let cost deter you if you’re going into this field since you are likely to make a substantial salary after graduation.
You can take out loans to pay for your college education in addition to any scholarships or grants you are eligible for. This may include private student loans. Unlike federal student loans, they are not need-based.
Internships and Networking
A good internship and strong networking skills can make up for not attending a top-tier university. An internship is an excellent way to get experience and get to know people.
Networking will be critical to your success in investment banking throughout your career since persuading and selling to people is at the core of what you do. While you are still a student, join as many relevant organizations as you can and take any opportunities to attend conferences. Your school may be able to connect you to an alumni network.
Consider Further Education
Once you have finished your bachelor’s degree, you’ll probably be heading into your first job, but keep a return to school within a few years in the back of your mind.
You might want to consider getting an MBA. Alternately, you may want to consider becoming a certified financial analyst. Both of these are big investments of time and money, but they generally require some work experience as well, and this will give you the opportunity to decide whether one of these or a different educational path is right for you. Pay attention to what types of degrees or certifications the people whose careers you want to emulate have.