Read the newspapers and you will probably find in the business section mentions of investment bankers that are earning millions of dollars a year. It is true there are a top few who earn those very high rewards, and the lure of a very good and possibly amazing income can be very strong for those just out of college and choosing a career. However because of its high attraction it is also very difficult to get into, employers are very selective and it can be quite a cut throat experience. But there are may be things you are not aware of, like its daily demands or what would help you keep the job once you get it. Here are three secret facts about being an investment banker that you may not know.
You may have a nice income but there is no job stability in this profession. In times past our elder relatives would have expected to get a job with a company and then stay there for the rest of their working lives, leaving with a pension to support them in their retirement. Things are a lot different today for graduates, it is very unlikely you will work for only one company, even if you might not have plans to leave, companies now hire and fire a lot more frequently depending on how their finances are doing and how employees are performing.
The time of year that sees the most layoffs in investment banking is Spring, just before annual bonuses would have been paid. It is possible in this career to be a top employee one year, and be a bottom one the next with the chance of being laid off. This can also happen if the company decides to change the focus to a different industry market. When that happens, everyone in the department who are no longer supported can potentially lose their jobs, even higher achieving ones.
While many investment bankers choose to specialize their knowledge for example in mergers and acquisitions or trading, in fact broad market knowledge is going to be of more value on the job market in the long run than specialization. Therefore it would be a good idea to use job changes or promotions as a way to extend and broaden your knowledge as this will get you better compensation. Consider spending your first five years in investment banking moving in different areas to improve your knowledge and experience.
While national knowledge is important, it would certainly boost your attractiveness if you were to gain international experience too. After all, it’s impossible to find a company that does not have some international interactions, possible factories in a different country, distribution points around the world, headquarters in another country, a worldwide market. Profit and loss can occur when a country’s currency fluctuates, when there is social unrest, war or natural disasters. If you have lived or worked or have an in depth knowledge of other countries this gives you an advantage and some companies will pay more for it. It would be a very good idea to work overseas sometimes at that start of your career for a year or two, as this will earn you a lot more money down the road.
With competition for investment banker jobs being so fierce, use these three facts to give you an advantage and help shape your career so that you can reach your full potential.