Big bucks and long hours are the hallmarks of the investment banking industry. After all, keeping on top of the world's financial markets can be an almost 24/7 job, especially in a down economy. But the financial rewards-not to mention being a part of some of the big-name business deals that you see in headlines-can make the grueling hours an adrenaline-based rush.
Investment banking isn't one specific service or function. It is an umbrella term for a range of activities: underwriting, selling, and trading securities (stocks and bonds); providing financial advisory services, such as mergers and acquisition advice; and managing assets. Investment banks offer these services to companies, governments, non-profit institutions, and individuals.
The action and players in investment banking are still centered around Wall Street and midtown Manhattan in New York City along with a few other money centers around the world, such as San Francisco, London, and Tokyo, but the list of players is getting smaller as the industry consolidates and firms fall to today's struggling economy. Today, leading banks include Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, Citigroup, Credit Suisse, and JPMorgan Chase. These and other firms are regular visitors to campus career centers-though recruitment has slowed (and layoffs have increased) considerably because of the recession that began in 2008.
What You'll Do
The intensely competitive, action-oriented, profit-hungry world of investment banking can seem like a larger-than-life place where deals are done and fortunes are made. In fact, it's a great place to learn the ins and outs of corporate finance and pick up analytical skills that will remain useful throughout your business career. But investment banking has a very steep learning curve, and chances are you'll start off in a job where the duties are more Working Girl than Wall Street.
Wall Street is filled with high-energy, hardworking young hotshots. Some are...