Your Go-To-Guide For Making A Successful Career Shift To Investment Banking

In conversation with an Engineer turned Banker on his Career Switch

Feb 7, 2017 · 6 min read

Making career shifts can be tedious, and it involves a lot of risk. However, it is also true that one can never know the outcome of an action unless he tries it. Making the right career decisions at the right time is important, but it is equally important not to settle for something that doesn’t make one happy.

What should one do on realizing the fact that the career route he has chosen for himself doesn’t make him happy or help him grow? Should he continue with the same, or should he take a calculated risk by changing his career path? Is it even advisable to make career shifts? How will the decisions affect his professional life and journey? What if the shift doesn’t turn out to be successful?

While all these questions on the fear of making career shifts are logical and natural, 92% experts on TapChief believe that besides hard-work, patience and persistence, proper mentorship and career guidance can help anyone make a successful shift in the career.

To prove the same,

We have an expert on TapChief, who not only made a successful career shift from being an Engineer to an Investment Banker, but has also helped others with the tips of changing career paths successfully.

If you want to know about an Investment Banker’s work and life, or how to get into the Investment Banking industry from some different sector, read on.

In conversation with an Engineer turned Investment Banker:

From being an Engineer to an IB Analyst, why did you make a career shift?

Like most other kids my age, engineering was a path chosen for me, rather than a predetermined step.

“While I always felt inclined to pursue a field of study with a significant quantitative edge combined with a qualitative aspect, engineering never really sparked a strong sense of interest or passion in me.”

A lot of what I studied had a sense of the abstract, missing a form of real world applicability I associated with things I found interesting, largely due to a lack of perceived practical applicability. This is, in no way, a mark against engineering; just that it wasn’t for me.

I was always fascinated with the financial markets, in part due to being introduced to them from an early stage. I was always intrigued in the way different elements and forces come together in the markets, and how understanding their interactions was key to understanding their significant influence. That really appealed to me and what got me seriously considering a career in the field.

Once you had decided to go for finance, how did you start to be well-versed with the subject?

The world of finance is quite vast and intricately connected.

“One can opt to pursue core economics and a career in policy research and administration,one can opt for a career in consulting focusing specifically on banking and financial services or one can move into investment banking, the options are plentiful.”

I was quite confused as to what career option, in finance, would suit me the best. On speaking to a number of people across different roles, including family members, I chose Investment Banking as the first step, and started building a significant repository of knowledge.

In order to do that,

  1. I started reading books on economics as much as I could.
  2. I spoke to my seniors, family, friends in the same sector, and learnt to develop an opinion and thought process with respect to what I read.

What were the next steps you took to make Investment Banking your career?

Reading a single book like a textbook isn’t sufficient to help secure a good start in the finance industry. Doing other small things consistently can make a lot of difference. For the same, I started

-Reading ET: I started off with reading The Economics Times. Initially, I wouldn’t understand 80% of it but gradually, I started to get a hold of it. Patience is always the key.

Pro Tip 1: I would do things like marking statements I wouldn’t understand, google them to learn more, try and link related articles based on similar concepts.

Pro Tip 2: I started draw flow charts to develop an accurate broad understanding. That helped a lot with keeping up with market-related news as well as honing my concepts.

-Online Courses:

Pro Tip 3: I did certification courses on corporate accounts and financial accounting

-Macroeconomics Clarity: The concepts of economics at a macro level help know the field better. The practicality helps one connect a bunch of isolated, seemingly disparate events or elements for a better overall view.

-Relevant Internships: Internships are always the most important resource when it comes to learning about the industry. A lot of what I know, learned and use, even today, was picked up during internships.

-Electives in College:

Pro Tip 4: I took as many finance-related elective courses as I could, to utilize my time in college as well.

Pro Tip 5: Cleared 2 levels of CFA (Chartered Financial Analyst) during the last year of my college.

Get in touch with the experts to help you with the job preparation here.

Internships And Placement:

How did you apply for the internships?

I did two relevant internships during my college time:

  1. Reliance Capital in Proprietary Trading
  2. Ambit Capital in the Equity Research

For the internships, I followed the following steps:

  • Step 1: I applied to both of them by attaching and mailing my resume to the careers sections of these companies.
  • Step 2: I, then, connected with the people working in these companies via LinkedIn.
  • Step 3: That is how they passed my resume to the HR, and I got selected through telephonic interviews.

How did you land up at your first job as an Investment Banker?

I got placed at JP Morgan for the role of an IB Analyst. It was an on-campus placement.

One had to undergo a total of 3 rounds to secure the job:

  • Written Round: The online round consisted questions based on logical reasoning, financial concepts and the financial market awareness.
  • Workshops: Through the workshops, they wanted to check the ability of the shortlisted students to pick up the concepts being taught to them. Students were categorized into groups, were asked to work on a case study and the engaged and the well-informed students got selected for the personal interviews.
  • Personal Interviews: The interviews took place with
  1. The technical team who focused on asking questions about the financial markets and the projects mentioned in the resume
  2. The Executive Director or the highest authority who came to recruit the students
  3. The HR who evaluated fit and personality

What are the key pointers one should keep in mind to make the resume stand out?

One must:

  • Know his/her resume inside out
  • Be able to explain the points mentioned in the resume clearly
  • Have relevant projects mentioned
  • Avoid putting fancy words/projects which you have no idea/are clueless about in reality for the sake of making the resume flashy

Any career advice for the Investment Banking aspirants?

I’d like them to

  • Be clear on the career path they are choosing for themselves. A person spends about 70% of his life working, and he wouldn’t like it to be something he won’t be passionate about.
  • Get career clarity by speaking to someone knowledgeable, who can act as a mentor or coach for them.
  • Research and plan. And, research doesn’t imply a couple of days’ worth of Googling. It’s a continuous process. It’s about finding the passion and working towards it.

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