How to Build a Career in Investment Banking: A Comprehensive Guide


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The banking and finance sector is one of the most sought-after industries in India for employment. Extremely challenging, the sector offers secure high-paying jobs and other benefits too. The positions may be routine but are extremely convenient with lots of scope for growth. With rewarding salaries and promising career paths, a job in banking looks pretty tempting to take up. The past few years have seen drastic changes in the economy. With the entry of private and internationalised banking firms in India, the scope for a successful investment banking career is very achievable. There are innumerable opportunities available as well.

However attractive a banking career may seem, getting a job first requires quite a journey. From getting a minimal degree in commerce, it is essential to appear for banking exams. These may vary on what role you seek. Later, you have to have the necessary skills to be a successful employee in the field. Apart from updating yourself regularly about banking advancements, you must develop a track record and undergo frequent training to climb the ladder of positions in a banking institute.

It may seem daunting to achieve all of the points mentioned above; however, with a bit of guidance, anyone can make a successful career in the banking world. Here is all the information and advice you need to help you climb the career ladder in your banking conventions.

Choose a role:

The banking sector is vast and offers multiple positions and roles for an employee. Making a firm decision on what role you want to take up makes further choices much more accessible. It narrows down your options, and you can quickly determine what to study, what exams to appear for and later, and what positions to apply for. You can start simply by choosing a banking division. Following is a list of some banking divisions you can consider before applying for a job:

Investment Banking:

Investment banking is a division of banking that helps raise financial capital for companies or individuals. It can also provide financial consultancy services. With strong analytical skills, you must be good at communication and strategising from an economic point of view with the ability to forecast based on given information.

Retail Banking:

This division omits the business contacts and deals directly with individual customers. You can work with private and foreign branches of banks. People management skills, networking and selling skills are essential requirements.

Treasury and Assets management:

Banks have a treasury department that deals with foreign exchange, managing liquidity and interest rate risk. Candidates applying for jobs in this area need a well-rounded understanding of economics, financial troubles, and risk management. Activities involve high-risk and high-pressure work.

Tax and Accountancy:

This branch deals with the examination of financial records and noting them. It involves the preparation of tax payments and returns. A strong set of analytical and problem-solving skill set is required for this division.

Pursuing a degree

To attain a job in the banking sector, you require minimum education to qualify for a career in the first place. Any candidate above 18 can pursue a primary degree in commerce like B.Com. A bachelor’s degree in any module of banking and finance like B.Com in banking and finance or finance and risk management can land you a start-level job in banking. Of course, depending on the degree, you can get employed in different areas of banking. Further, diploma and certificate courses in Investment banking, for instance, can land you certified jobs with increasing salaries depending on your level of education. A master’s or MBA course in banking further widens your prospects of landing a higher position in the initial stages of your application.

With you can be confident that you will be hired for your desired position.


Attaining the required skills for the job:

Apart from the required education, a candidate must have a good set of hard and soft skills to ensure a successful career in the banking sector. A sharpened skill set accelerates success in any profession. Constant training and practice to improve these skills make climbing the position ladder in the banking sector accessible. Here are basic hard and soft skills required for a successful banking career:

Knowing basic technical skills:

As platforms of work slowly shift to computers and software, knowing basic technical skills and basic computer operations for banking is a must. You must be aware of the primary software used by banks to account for or review transactions. Soft skills like excel, word and PowerPoint are essential to get employed in the workplace. Further, it would help if you kept yourself aware of new technology updates that can enhance your ability to perform more functions.


A grasp on communication and language:

Even the banking sector requires employees that have well-honed communication skills. Customer service and networking become a huge part of succeeding in the field. Networking refers to connecting with coworkers, officials and others at the same work level as yours and outside of it. As you grow along your career path, building relationships through communication can help you gain new information from people and help you widen your knowledge and career prospects.

Another critical factor in banking is communication with customers to other intermediaries you interact with. You should have a well-honed vocabulary in English and be able to articulate what you need to say well. Learn banking or career-related vocabulary or terms in English to widen your reach of clients and extend your reach to even international job prospects. Fundamentals in English can be improved by keeping up to date with the latest news in the finance and banking world in English, either read or listened to.

Organisational skills in accounting and writing:

Working in the banking sector, involved in numbers, you cannot afford to make analytical mistakes. To set yourself apart from the rest, it is vital to have organisational skills. Keeping an arranged tab of excel sheets or documents for every project you work on can help you organise well and impress your subordinates. A good base in analytics is fundamental, and documenting these requires good writing skills. With continued practice of writing and analytics, you can make fantastic progress in your banking career.

Updating yourself through reading:

Keeping yourself updated about technological advancements or other systems in the banking sector is crucial. With more knowledge, you can work on these implementations and get ahead of your coworkers in undertaking tasks. You can get promoted to higher positions with new ideas about newly learnt advances. Reading the banking and finance or economic news regularly can help you create a successful career in banking.

With these steps, gaining a career in banking and growing at it to be successful is accessible. It is essential to hone continuously and practice skills to climb the hierarchal ladder in a company. All the best for your banking career!


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