Investment banking is a competitive sector, but graduate opportunities are increasing.
High Fliers predict there will be 1,920 graduate vacancies in investment banking in 2016.
The most generous salaries in 2016 are those on offer from the investment banks. efinancial careers reported that in the first few years of your career, you could expect your salary to rise from £45,000 to £80,000.
The following websites give advice about careers in banking and finance:
- Banking and Investments (Inside Careers)
- Investment banking (The Gateway)
- Investment banking and investment (TARGETjobs)
- City & Finance (TARGETjobs)
Prospects offer an overview of the UK finance sector.
Videos and case studies
Careerplayer offers careers videos on a range of sectors including banking and investment.
Sources of banking and investment news include the Financial Times. See also the FT Adviser and other FT publications. These include Financial Adviser, Investment Adviser, Money Management and Special Reports.
They represent people working in the sector, providing training and networking opportunities. They often provide careers support for students and graduates and development for people already in the sector.
Follow these associations on LinkedIn or visit their websites for news, contacts, work experience and vacancies.
The main professional associations for this sector include:
- Association for Financial Markets in Europe (AFME)
- FIA - trade organisation for futures, options and cleared swaps
- CFA Society of the UK - professional body for chartered financial analysts
- Chartered Institute for Securities and Investment
- Association of Investment Companies
- Investment Management Association
Prudential Regulation Authority supervises UK banks, building societies, credit unions, insurers and investment firms. Financial Conduct Authority regulates the financial services industry in the UK, including financial advisers.
Making contacts is key for success in this sector, as explained in How to network your way to an investment banking job (TARGETjobs).
You can gain insight into roles and arrange work experience through networking and speculative applications.
You could start with:
- Graduate Connections – graduates happy to give you advice about the kind of work they do
- Newcastle alumni on LinkedIn – find out what they did after graduation and contact them for advice and inspiration
Recruitment fairs, open days, talks and other events give valuable insight and opportunity to make useful contacts.
- Inside Careers – lists employer events, open days and skills sessions
- Women in investment banking (TARGETjobs)
- Getting Investment Banking – for students with disabilities and long term health conditions
- Cityview - an event for women interested in banking internships
More help finding and researching employers is available on the Finding Jobs tab.
You may also be interested in the following sectors:
- Accountancy and Tax
- Management Consultancy
- Economics and Statistics
- Actuarial, Insurance and Pensions
Or see our sector-specific pages for more options.
The following job profiles include descriptions of typical duties, entry requirements and case studies.
Corporate investment banker
Investment fund manager
Operational investment banker
Skills employers look for
- an understanding of and interest in financial markets and the banking industry
- strong numerical and analytical skills
- excellent relationship building and communication skills
- confidence in making decisions and having significant responsibility
- the ability to cope with pressure and high levels of stress
Finding a job in banking and investment is extremely competitive.
The majority of successful applicants to investment banking graduate schemes have completed a relevant internship. They often do this with the same company.
Most large financial firms advertise summer internships early in the first semester. They are usually aimed at undergraduate students in and above their second year of study.
Applications open early around August, with closing dates usually between October and January. Investment banking internships open as early as July and close between October and November.
Smaller employers in insurance, investment or financial advisory firms may not always advertise work experience. You may need to contact them with a speculative approach.
Several recruiters are now offering ‘insight days’ to first year undergraduates. These tend to be for one to five days during Easter and/or Christmas holidays. They are a good way to find out more about a company and get the edge for internship applications.
TARGETjobs offers further advice on internships in banking and investment.
- Careers Service: Vacancies Online - search for internships and placements
- Inside Careers - find internships in accountancy, tax and banking
- TARGETjobs - search for internships
- RateMyPlacement - search for work experience in accountancy, banking and finance.
- Prospects: Work Experience
- SEO London: Investment banking, hedge fund and asset management – help students secure insight weeks and summer internships with graduate employers. Support is available to students from ethnic minority backgrounds and disadvantaged socioeconomic backgrounds.
See Internships, placements and shadowing for additional sources of vacancies.
- E4S: Insight Days - list of insight days, including accountancy and banking firms.
- Rate my Placement: insight schemes
- SEO London offer insight programmes in banking with partner companies.
In the North East
Santander Work Shadowing Scheme
This is a two-week unpaid work shadowing programme for Newcastle University students. It is based within the Santander branch on campus.
Placements are available to start all year round, including vacations. Places on the programme are limited.
To apply, email your CV and covering letter, explaining why you are interested in the scheme. Tell them about your availability between 10am and 6pm, Monday to Friday (and any weeks you will be unavailable).
Applications should go to Robert Davidson, Santander Universities at Newcastle University.
North East Graduate Directory
The North East Graduate Directory has details of companies you can contact for work experience, eg Newcastle Building Society.
Speculative applications are when you contact employers directly, ie not in response to an advertised vacancy.
Most large financial companies and institutions such as banks will advertise opportunities on thier own website.
Smaller or independent organisations, such as investment/asset management firms may not have formal internship schemes. They could be approached on a more direct basis. Always check for a careers section on employer websites and follow their instructions.
It is helpful to:
- search for companies using the employer directories under the Finding Jobs tab
- research employers, using company profiles, lists of business directories and databases
- use social media to find and connect with employers, particularly through LinkedIn
Other ways to gain experience
You can also gain experience by:
- looking out for employer events - see About for details
- entering competitions, which are useful for developing skills and connecting with employers.
- becoming active in student societies, eg acting as treasurer
- thinking about part-time work. Finding a part-time job in finance or banking is less likely; however, working in other sectors can help you to develop relevant skills.
Competition is strong, especially for entry-level positions. Use these resources to find advertised vacancies and also research employers for speculative applications.
Careers Service: Vacancies Online - graduate vacancies in the North East, UK and overseas. Log in to sign up for personalised email alerts.
Occupational profiles (Prospects) link to employers and vacancy sources for specific jobs.
If you want to work for a smaller investment bank or investment firm, being on LinkedIn can help. Recruitment agencies sometimes use LinkedIn to search for graduates interested in working in this sector.
Specialist recruitment agencies
There are many recruitment agencies specialising in city-based roles. They are often looking for candidates with at least three to six months' experience. Examples include:
Agency Central: Graduate Recruitment Agencies Directory lists specialist recruitment agencies by sector. For more resources, see recruitment agencies.
- BBA British Bankers' Association – lists member banks operating in the UK
- AFME list full members and associate members operating in the financial industry
- London Stock Exchange – member firm directory
- Association of Investment Companies – search for an investment company by name, location or industry
- PIMFA – includes a members' directory, useful for research and speculative applications
- eFinancialCareers has a list of the 20 best-paying hedge funds in the UK
- FIA member list
Advice on applying for jobs in this sector
Use the following resources for advice on:
- Advice on applying for banking and investment – TARGETjobs
- tips for getting into investment banking - University of Manchester Careers Service
- interview preparation – University of Kent Careers Advisory Service
- answering real life interview questions – examples from FinancialCareers
- succeeding in your investment banking assessment centre
- how assessment centres are structured
- answering banks' 'impossible' interview questions - eFinancialcareers lists questions that test your problem-solving ability
The following links will also give you some great tips and help:
Taking part in competitions is a fantastic way to enhance your CV.
It can raise your profile with employers and help you gain valuable skills while having fun. You could also win a cash prize, an internship or even a chance to travel abroad.
There are lots of national and international competitions open to students.
eFinancialCareers list seven competitions that will help get you a job in banking and finance. Deadlines are throughout the year, so check each competition they list for up-to-date information.
See Awards & Competitions for details of other external competitions