Interviewing for an investment banking job is a unique and nerve-wracking experience, especially if it is your first interview. In addition to the general advice, such as being on time and dressing right for the part, the investment banking job interview is often more about being prepared, presenting yourself, and being resilient.

If you’re about to enter the interview and need a quick summary of best guidelines, here’s what you should do to stand out in an Investment Banking interview:


During the interview process, many candidates forget to smile because they are nervous. According to Mark Hatz, an interview panellist from Goldman Sachs, smiling is one thing that the interviewer wants to see. Have a genuine smile and enjoy the moment.

Have the right attitude

The majority of the assessment is to judge your attitude. Being a junior analyst, you would spend a considerable amount of time in the office. Associates, in the recruiting team, will essentially look for resilient candidates, who have good personalities, are willing to work hard and are fun to be around for 12 hours a day. Unlike what movies show, recruiters do not look for overconfident people with only intelligence, especially if you cannot work in a team. Having said that, you mustn’t present a fake personality, just to fit in.

Be respectful and demonstrate humility

Even if you have great technical knowledge and are comfortable with questions around it, you must show humility throughout the interview. Never try to show that you know more than the interviewers. Investment banking is a very hierarchical industry, so don’t let your excitement make your interviewer feel uncomfortable. Not coming out as overconfident or arrogant will help you exhibit that you would gel well with the organisation’s culture and the teams. 

You can showcase this by waiting for the interviewer to finish their question before answering and keeping your answers clear and brief. Always summarise and let the interviewer ask for the details they need. 

Present your story

The interview is essentially a sales pitch where you are presenting yourself. Make the best use of the opportunity by organising a short narrative that covers your motivation to work in the industry, the reason to select that particular institution, and most importantly, why you’d be a good fit for it. 

Show that you are open to learning

Even after studying, preparing, and taking the best courses, you lack the practical experience required for the industry. With your first job, ample hands-on learning is involved. Throughout the process, you must demonstrate your readiness for the challenge and willingness to learn.

Lastly, stay confident

You can be confident about what you are saying without tipping over into arrogance. Successful candidates are those who are honest about their opinions regardless of what the interviewers think. If you do this in the right way, you will stand apart from the crowd and would come across as mature and genuine. Remember that your interviewers share the same talent and passion as you with far greater experience.

Finally, as a junior analyst candidate, you do not need to know everything about the job. Once you begin interviewing with several banks, it gets easier and you will realise that investment banking interviews follow a pattern. Similar questions come up in most interviews. Your preparation of the technical questions as well as general brainteasers would be the key.

Moreover, as an additional step, you can reach out to people working at your target bank beforehand to seek advice. You could also leverage your school’s alumni network or Linkedin for the same.

The investment banking profession is highly sought after and one of the most difficult to break into. Investment bankers’ experiences have always attracted people’s interest and inspired them to join the industry. A great deal of assumptions, however, are also made about the industry such as the working lives of professionals, the industry structure, and the employment profile. 

Let us share the experiences of investment bankers from their own journeys to help you gain clarity. 

Please note that this article is a summation of views from investment bankers across various platforms. We have also made changes in the sentence structures and some of the terminologies used, however the basic views/advice remains intact. We don’t claim ownership of these views. 

What is investment banking and what does an investment banker do?

Investment banking very simply put is helping companies raise money or manage their money or advise them on mergers and acquisitions (M&A) and corporate transactions. 

What does a workday look like for an investment banker?

“As I was on the financing side, I did come in earlier at around 7:15 – 7:30 all the way to around 11 pm. So typically I would get up around  6:30 and by 7:15, I did aim to be at the office. During my short commute, I would catch up on my emails and then start to do some research as I reached office, since I had a presentation every morning at  8:30.  

The presentations are alternated between interns and are essentially market updates. We got to debrief the team, which goes on for 20-30 minutes, on things that had happened  the night before or what to expect during the day so it would take me about an hour to actually find the relevant news and typically I would do it on Bloomberg terminal. After that I would try to grab a coffee and basically just get myself ready for the day. Between 9 and 11 I would usually be on my desk and actually get started with my work. Followed by this, the entire day is spent between, PowerPoint, Excel, team meetings, and client meetings. Post dinner, the team makes final edits and calls it a day. I’d say that an investment banker works around 15 to 16 hours everyday, as a junior analyst.”

What’s the difference between Advisory and Financing with an Investment bank?

According to a banker, “In advisory there are things like mergers and acquisitions (M&A), Defence against forced Acquisition, and Restructuring while financing has more to do with Structure Finance, Leverage Finance, Equity Offerings and other such similar offerings. Financing is linked to the financial markets and therefore, their work schedule is tied with that. They do get to come earlier and maybe finish a little earlier than those in advisory, but that said if I had to pick one probably, advisory works a slight bit more.”

What was it like to work in a big Investment bank?

“I started my career in 2010 with Morgan Stanley. I can say I worked for an absolutely fantastic firm as blue chip as it gets. I think I cannot replace that experience with anything else, at Morgan stanley. I can tell you that Morgan Stanley also provides the right culture, it’s the place with a professional team is there, and they really will nurture you to be a better professional.  I couldn’t have started my career at a better place than Morgan Stanley.”

How does the hierarchy look at an investment bank?

“Just to give you a bit of background, basically within the investment banking division there’s different hierarchies and obviously the summer analyst is at the very bottom. In my division, after an analyst you have what’s called an associate then a vice president and lastly a managing directo,r and then there are partners and other senior bankers. However, we didn’t really see them so MD was usually the person, the highest ranking person, that we interacted with.”

Some Tips from Investment Bankers: 

Get your Fundamentals right! 

“For investment banking and corporate finance, fundamentals and advanced corporate finance fundamentals are extremely important. Do all of it – cost of capital, beta calculation, selection of beta,  ll of that you need to know, and the fundamentals of it. Those things are  frankly required to start with and then the sales part kicking in and managing your team comes in also.”


“There are two parts to it – first getting noticed to build your network and then using your network in the future. To get noticed, you have to stand out of the crowd, have some skills which make you unique apart from work. You can’t talk about deals in public, hence, you need to be able to discuss other matters and talk swiftly. If you are able to connect, have a good conversation which makes you memorable, then you have made an impact on your connection. This can of course help you later on with your career.  

As a recent graduate, investment banking offers great opportunities to gain business knowledge and skills that can be applied to other professional fields. At a very early stage, you could have the opportunity to work with some of the brightest entrepreneurs and industrialists around the world. To succeed in this field, you need to stand out and have very strong fundamentals.”

Summing it up 

Investment banking is a demanding profession with high rewards. You must remember that while it is highly useful to get advice from seasoned professionals, every individual’s experience is different, and you should be ready to embark on your own journey. Networking and having a strong foundation will certainly help you along this path, however, you must also work on your time management and resilience skills. 

An Investment banker spends countless hours on Microsoft office, be it for a presentation on PowerPoint, preparing a financial model on Excel or editing a proposal on Word doc. Efficiency is key, and you want to use tools that optimise your efforts with the least amount of time taken. In this article we have broken down a few major areas which can help you level up at Microsoft office.

Power Point (PPT)

1. Optimising QAT

While making a presentation, 40% of your time, on average, is spent on formatting. Creating one simple mind map requires aligning multiple lines, text boxes, charts, tables and pictures, which is why updating a presentation can take you all night to finish. You can ease this process by setting up a Quick Access Toolbar (QAT), a customszable band of commands that sits along with the ribbon, with all your chosen formatting options. The best part is, you only have to spend a couple of minutes in the beginning to set this up, and then you can use it for all of your presentations.

2. Using Shortcuts 

Using PowerPoint shortcuts is the fastest way to increase productivity. Though useful, the few popular keyboard shortcuts such as:  Ctrl + S, Ctrl + Z, and Ctrl + Y, used for saving, undoing, and pasting don’t scratch the surface of what’s possible. You may want to try one of these shortcuts to improve your PowerPoint game at an investment bank.

The ribbon bar shortcut: 

You can activate this function by pressing the ‘Alt’ key on your keyboard, enabling an alphabetical numbering system that can be used to get at any command that exists in the PowerPoint Ribbon.

For instance, once activated, by hitting the H key, you will be directed to the Home tab, with all of 

3. Mastering alignment

Alignments could be a nightmare when it comes to presentation with multiple charts, tables and graphs. Fortunately, to overcome this you can use the alignment tool. 

To access the Alignment Tool:

  • Select an object on your slide
  • Open the Arrange dropdown, in the home tab
  • Open the Align options
  • Choose your Alignment direction

Moreover, you can also add the Alignment Tool to QAT,  simply by:

  • Navigate to the Home Tab
  • Open the Arrange dropdown
  • Right-click the Alignment Tool
  • Select Add to Quick Access Toolbar

4. Working with Tables

Tables can either be your best friend for presenting financial data or could be your worst formatting enemy. Moreover, you lose your Excel formatting when you paste tables in PowerPoint as tables behave differently than other objects. 

In order to maintain uniformity across presentations, you can make a particular format of table as your default. Investment banks, such as JP Morgan, also have their own table formats which are standard across all company presentations. 

To make a format, as your default:

  • Navigate to the Table Design tab
  • Right-click your Table Style
  • Select Set as Default

Now any new table you create or copy and paste in from Excel will start with the default table style you have selected. Moreover, the default table style you set is only applicable to your current presentation. None of the tables in other presentations are affected, and none of your other default table styles are affected.

Manually distributing rows or columns is another area where you can lose a lot of your time. This can be solved by the distribution commands in the Table Layout tab.

You can choose to select your table and distribute all your rows and columns at once or click and select the specific rows or columns you want to distribute.

To learn more about how to develop your PowerPoint skills for investment banking, try: FMI Microsoft office-PowerPoint Course

Microsoft Excel 

Excel is of paramount importance for aspiring junior analysts and associates. As an investment banker you would spend tons of time on Excel, especially while creating financial models. 

Start with Cell Formatting 

To make the model easy to comprehend for your peers, clients or any outsider you must follow a format for your cells. Some of the common formats used in the industry are: 

  • Input Cells = Blue
  • Formula Cells/Links to Other Cells = Black
  • Links to Other Tabs/Worksheets = Green
  • Links to Other Workbooks = Purple
  • Needs to be Updated/Corrected = Red
  • Assumptions need to be Firmed Up = Pink Shading

The first three are industry standard, however the bottom three vary across institutions. To understand the importance of this format, consider a hypothetical valuation model of a company. Going forward with an assumption of 5% growth in sales, you mark the cell blue – so when you change the growth rate changes from 5% to 8%, whatever line items are influenced by change in revenue are changed.

Check for Links from External Workbooks

Following the above example, using Alt + E + K will show you the links that are dependent on cells in other workbooks. One of the primary reasons why these links exist is because the cell must be copied from another model and may not have successfully linked everything back to your current model. This will help you when you are making changes or are formatting existing model.

Six Basic Excel Formulas For Your Workflow

1. The SUM function is the first must-know formula in Excel. It aggregates values, from a selected range, from a selection of columns and rows. 


=SUM(B2:G2) – sums up the values of  the selected row. 

=SUM(A2:A8) – A simple selection that sums the values of a column.

2. The AVERAGE function is used to calculate simple averages of data, also known as mean. 

Example: =AVERAGE(A1:A10) – mean of the value from A1 to A10. A easier way to understand this is to look at as a summation of values and dividing it by the number of elements. (SUM(A1: A10)/9)

3. The COUNT function counts all numerical values in a given range. 

Example: COUNT(A:A) – Counts all values that are numerical in A column. COUNT(A1:C1) – Now it can count rows.

4. The IF function is often used when you want to sort your data according to a given logic. For example, you want to sort companies that have grown their revenue by more than 20% in the last one year. 

=IF(logical_test, [value_if_true], [value_if_false])

5. The TRIM function makes sure that empty spaces are eliminated, so that functions do not return errors due to unruly spaces. However, TRIM can only operate on a single cell. 

Example: TRIM(A4) – Removes empty spaces in the value in cell A4.

6. The MAX and MIN functions will help you find the maximum number and the minimum number in a data set.

Example: =MIN(B2:C11) – Finds the minimum number between column B from B2 and column C from C2 to row 11 in both column B and C. 

Similarly,  =MAX(B2:C11) finds the maximum number between column B from B2 and column C from C2 to row 11 in both column B and C.

Microsoft Word

As an IB professional you would be drawn to Microsoft Excel. However, the formatting of narrative paragraphs and tabular information on Excel can be frustrating. On top of tha, the varied methods used to classify accounts and the significant use of formulas over multiple spreadsheets can quickly lead to a complicated mess. Therefore, it’s important to know how to use Microsoft Excel and Microsoft Word together. Formatting, adding new notes or a table of contents page, managing references, note numbering, page numbering & page breaks, keeping a record of all links are just some of the elementary yet vital tasks that an investment banker must do on Word while working on financial reports and presentations. 

Having learned about the many advantages of using Microsoft Office as an aspiring investment banker or professional, you are ready to start your journey towards becoming a proficient user. If you’re looking to start right from the basics and slowly advance to intermediate and expert levels, we recommend this FMI course: How to Learn Excel for Investment Banking and  FMI Microsoft office-PowerPoint Course. Starting from the bottom up, you’ll learn how to track your changes, apply formulas, move on to building financial models, reports, while also learning the principals of designing slides, working on templates, etc. 

In an era of wealth preservation, product innovation, and creation of alternative asset classes, asset management (AMC) is emerging as a promising career path. The global asset management industry is estimated to grow and reach a value of over a trillion dollars, $1,113 billion, by 2028, growing at a CAGR of over 23% for 6 straight years

Asset management firms act as a custodian to their client’s capital, ensuring productive use of those assets in relation to the risk involved. For instance, a financial AMC would direct its clients’ capital to asset classes such as: equity, fixed income securities, real estate, and private equity. The allocation and selection of these assets would depend on the financial objective of the client and their willingness to take risk. A family office of a high net worth individual would be more likely to invest in private equity than a sovereign fund or pension fund.

As evident, the asset management industry offers a variety of career opportunities. Let’s explore the top five career paths under this category and how to get into those roles. 

1. Market Research Analyst

A market research analyst is responsible for helping the fund manager make investment decisions by providing them with the required market research for a particular industry or company. Analysts prepare research reports which include business profiles, information on industry structure, financial analysis, peer analysis, and future business outlook among other information. 

The asset management division of large investment banks like JP Morgan, Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley etc. often have openings for research analysts and offer over $90,000 for entry level positions on average. In order to secure a job as a market research analyst, one should have a Bachelor’s Degree or an MBA from a reputed tier 1 university. Courses such as CFP or CPA provide an edge to the applicant. 

2. Credit Analyst

Credit Analysts are responsible for assessing the credit quality of investments in debt securities such as bonds. A credit analyst should be competent enough to interpret the underlying company’s financial health including the liquidity and financial stability of the issuer and create a credit report for the fund managers to aid their decision-making.

Considering the size of the money market, credit analysts are more likely to get a job than any other career paths. However, one must have at least 5-7 years of experience in the financial markets before aspiring to be a credit analyst. In terms of education, the requirement is similar to that of a market research analyst – an MBA from tier 1 university. However, additional courses such as CPA and CBCA carry more weight. A credit analyst could earn as much as $130,000 per year at the entry level. 

3. PE Specialist 

A private equity specialist manages the PE Fund of an AMC on behalf of HNI investors and family offices. They are responsible for generating relatively higher returns by investing in non-listed private companies with high growth potential.

PE investing is a highly profitable and niche segment in the asset management industry and offers attractive pay. The median annual salary for a private equity professional could vary between $300,000 to $500,000 including the variable pay, depending on the annual returns generated by the fund. Similar to the role of a credit analyst, PE investing demands experience in the financial markets. This could be in the form of investment banking, as a financial analyst or even from management consultancy. 

4. Equity/Debt Dealers

Equity/debt dealers trade in market securities such as equity, junk bonds, certificates of deposits, commercial paper, treasury bills, G-secs, and corporate bonds under the guidance of the fund managers or senior traders.  

One could rise up to the position of equity or debt dealer by starting as a junior analyst since the role requires deep knowledge of equity and debt markets. An MBA could help an individual secure a job as a junior analyst and later rise up the corporate ladder. The median salary for the role ranges anywhere between $75,000 to $100,000 per annum. 

5. NAV Fund Accountant 

With the rising popularity of passive investing, NAV has never been more important. NAV stands for Net Asset Value and is used to evaluate the performance of passive investing tools such as index funds and mutual funds. NAV fund accountant is responsible for calculation of the NAV, by recording all the flows (investments and redumptions) and the growth in assets. It requires a dual competency in accounting and finance.

The job profile is very operative as NAV is calculated on a daily basis and could pay over $110,000 per annum. Unlike the other career paths mentioned above, you can also enter the role with an engineering background, given its strong focus on mathematics. Additional courses such as CPA and Financial accounting are also very useful. 


One can explore a career in asset management to gain the relevant understanding of equity and debt markets while also getting a handsome salary. Most of these job roles require an MBA as an educational background with a strong focus on finance and mathematics. Having experience in the financial markets or acquiring knowledge through specialised courses makes it easier to get into the industry. 

Moreover, given the popularity of financial assets, the entire asset management industry is often confused with just this one segment. However, there is much more to the industry that aspirants must understand before making a career choice. Some of these segments include enterprise asset management, infrastructure asset management, public asset management, etc. 

In most investment banking applications, cover letters accompany the resume. Applicants are typically screened on the basis of their resume, school, GPA and relevant keywords as the first stage of filtering. If you went to a tier 1 university and have a strong GPA, then your cover letter may be given precedence and read in more detail. A well-crafted cover letter is particularly important for those in the field of investment banking. So, to help you get through this process, we have created a guide on writing an IB cover letter.

Why you should write a cover letter

Cover letters are generally a necessary document required in the application process. As a fresher, it is always a good idea to write a cover letter even if it is optional. This is a great and substantial tool to show how you stand out, a specific value-add, and why you are interested in the job.

There are four main components to a standard investment banking cover letter:

  1. Introduction
  2. Experience
  3. Fit
  4. Conclusion

Step 1: Introduction

The introduction paragraph is meant to grab the reader’s attention. While writing a concise investment banking cover letter, feel free to showcase your skills and achievements right away. The recruiter is specifically looking for:

  • who you are and 
  • why they should take your application into consideration over thousands of other applicants

You should start with the name of your school, your major, and GPA, and then explain what motivated you to apply for this position. These could be very simple instances such as watching a news interview, or reading a magazine article or meeting someone at the bank, etc. The story behind why you applied for the role is key. Further, make sure to include an example which shows that you have made an honest effort towards your dream career.

Step 2: Experience

Next, go on to describe the relevant experience that you have in the field, which makes you a perfect candidate for the investment bank to hire.

Since you are a recent graduate or are about to graduate, it is unlikely that you would have formal work experience in the industry. However, this shouldn’t stop you from including the relevant internships, experience in university clubs or other associations, certifications, courses in Investment Banking or any activities that show your passion for finance. You should try to connect your experience with skills that are required in investment banking such as business analysis, data modelling, and valuation.

Step 3: Fit

Culture is extremely important in any business, and more so in prestigious institutions like Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan Chase. Describing why you would be a good fit for the institution is vital. To do so, you first have to understand the bank’s culture, which includes their core values, mission and vision statements, ethos etc. From reading your cover letter, the recruiter should feel confident that you will be able to assimilate in the institution. This requires research on the bank’s website as well as connecting with current employees to learn the bank’s primary values.

You can also interact with the ex-employees of the bank to get a more holistic view on a bank’s culture. Once you know what it’s like, you can make an honest assessment of how close a fit you actually are. In any case, you should use the insights you are able to collect about the company’s culture to your and the institution’s advantage. For instance, at a firm like Goldman Sachs which provides great customer service to very high networth individuals, you can highlight how you may contribute to that and how the bank could benefit from it. 

Step 4: Conclusion

Towards the end, converge all the points together by mentioning how interested you are to work at the bank, why you’re well-suited, and point out that you’ve attached your resume along with the CV. You can mention that you are looking forward to the opportunity to discuss your candidature. The conclusion section always ties up everything you said in the first two sections and no real new information should be presented there.

Investment banking is a dynamic and competitive industry that requires specialised knowledge and experience. Career opportunities in investment banking are always available although they’re cyclical in nature, i.e, abundant in boom years and scarce in economic downturns. 

When it comes to working toward your dream career, your resume is the first stage of job application. To maximise your chances of selection, you may want to learn about these tips for constructing an effective investment banking resume. 

The First Step 

Starting with the correct composition of your resume sections is the first step in building a constructive investment banking resume. Since you are planning to enter the industry, it is important that your education background should be the focus of your resume. Following is the list of sections vital for drafting a job-winning IB resume:

1. Personal Information
2. Summary/Objective 
3. Education
4. Key Skills
5. Work experience (if any)
6. Certifications (if any)
7. Awards & Recognition (optional)
8. Additional Information (optional)

It is important to note that the resume format discussed above is a standard and widely used arrangement. You can adjust the format based on your own research. 

Moreover, an applicant must recognise that there is a difference between a resume for an investment banking position and an accounting position. While an investment banking candidate may have some accounting courses in his/her degree which certainly adds value, highlighting a background in financial heavy courses such as financial analysis, M&A, valuation, IPO valuation, etc, is much more significant. 



To establish yourself as a worthy candidate, you must demonstrate a relevant educational background. In addition to mentioning the university where you studied and your degree(s), it’s important to mention any special designations or noteworthy academic achievements that you have pocketed during your education. Additionally, it is also worth mentioning any specialised courses that you completed pertaining to investment banking. For example, a bridge course in algorithmic trading, or statistical analysis, business law, and valuation of distressed assets can be highly useful to demonstrate in your resume. 


It is important to focus on the skills that are most relevant to IB as well other skills that might set you apart. The skills section also acts as a great place to add in the important keywords, which helps your resume to get past the ATS systems. 

If you can’t pen down enough hard skills (career specific), you can also list soft (personal) skills. This could include skills such as communication, presentation, team building, coordination and so on. However, it is necessary to note that many of these skills will be part of your investment banking skill set, such as being adept at presentations generally suggests that you are good with communication as well. So, you must exclude any such skills to avoid overlaps. 

Work experience

Internships play a significant role in your selection for a job. When writing about your work experiences, such as summer internships, it is crucial to demonstrate how that brief period of working has made you more aware about the role that you are applying for and the inner working of the industry as a whole. You must also use this opportunity to showcase your willingness to give time and effort to the chosen job role. Further, It is always beneficial to have done an internship in the bank in which you wish to work for. 

Additional Sections

Apart from the above mentioned sections, there are additional sections that you can add to your resume such as: certifications, awards and recognitions, volunteering, etc. These sections alone are not enough to get you an investment banking job, however, they can surely help you stand out from other candidates. Specific interests such as music, research, community service coupled with a financial background can also help you get a job in specific departments. For example, an investment analyst who works in the entertainment industry. 


An ideal resume sums up your skills and experiences to a hiring manager and can be structured in a few basic sections. The contact Information sections make it easier for people to contact you. A resume objective talks about your career goals and why you will be a good fit in the organisation. Adding relevant keywords in the skills section is to increase your chances of bypassing the ATS system. Lastly, your education and work experience sections throw light on the certifications and degrees that you have earned and the institutions that you have worked for.

You will often hear the same advice when asking an investment banker what it takes to succeed in the industry: being skilled at valuation, knowledge of Excel, technical skills, ability to work in teams, critical thinking, and time management. However, the one essential skill which is not always given credit is communication

One of the crucial aspects of investment banking is the ability to cater to clients, superiors and corporates. Presenting an idea requires comprehensive communication and presentation skills, which may include spreadsheets, documents, and slideshows. In spite of that, you will hardly ever find someone explaining precisely how to “communicate effectively” when you’re in the finance industry. Let’s help you achieve that:

1. In-depth knowledge of the product or the deal

In order to communicate effectively, one must understand what the product or the deal is. This does not mean that you should have an expertise in all areas, however, a basic understanding of the structure, terms involved, and how the deal is executed is essential. This not only helps the investment banker communicate all the benefits of the particular service, such as raising funds through IPO or merging with another company but also allows the IB professional to provide solutions for the potential problems or dilemmas that the client might be confronted with. 

2. Working across timezones 

It is often said that investment banking is a 24/5 job, as professionals are required to interact with stakeholders across the globe, including peers from the same organisation but different geography. Therefore, in order to ensure effective communication, an IB professional must be flexible to work in different timezones. This is especially true for large global investment banks such as Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan Chase. For instance, the head of M&A for the Asia Pacific region of a particular global bank must work with his/her counterparts from different parts of Asia. This also require a slight understanding of the cultural norms and jargon.

3. People’s skills

A good relationship between the front and the middle office always pays off. Both these offices act as two different components which must work together in order to sell a product or close a deal. The front office is client facing and takes care of understanding the client’s requirements and gaining their confidence in the product’s offering. The middle office, on the other hand, takes care of the execution and makes sure that it delivers what is being promised to the client. In order for this arrangement to work smoothly and ensure that there is effective communication between the two departments, they must have a healthy association, which is boosted by people’s skills.

4. Choosing the right people 

Not only is it important to choose what you convey, but it is equally important to choose whom you convey the message to. Communication is most effective when you begin with the intended person or department. If you are facing problems with the trading interface, you must convey that to the tech department, instead of first going to the HR and expecting them to loop the tech department in. However, at the same time, it is vital to respect the hierarchy in the organisation, so you may want to keep your superiors informed about the whole situation, if required. 

5. Keep it Short!

The information that you communicate must be concise. You must strike a balance between giving a lot of detail, which might be redundant, and very little detail. The best way to go about this is to prepare and start with a “short version” of your explanations, and give the longer version, with all the details, if the person asks for it. 

Technical skills, such as valuation, Excel, making presentations and spreadsheets are all important but there is no substitute for effective communication. An investment banking professional or someone who is aspiring to be in the field of investment banking must understand the business and the services that the bank offers to communicate effectively. One must always ask if he/she is the right person to talk about this? Am I using the right medium to communicate with them? Am I giving too much information or is it all required? Initially, this may seem like a lot, but it becomes natural over time. Moreover, this becomes even more essential when you are working in the front office. 

1. Helps you stand out from the crowd

Breaking into investment banking as a graduate is hard. Banks such as Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan attract over 250,000 student applications every year, out of which only 2% of the applicants are selected. 

Others benefits include the possibility of a hike in your pay scale. These courses highlight one’s passion and initiative towards the field and can place you higher than your peers. Moreover, pursuing an online course allows you to interact with a diverse group of individuals with different backgrounds and helps you expand your professional network. 

2. Makes learning engaging

Depending on your academic workload, career goals, or personal preferences, you can complete your certification as quickly, or as slowly, as you choose to. While some online courses require students to attend live lectures, one can otherwise fit the course into their already busy calendars and proceed at their speed. 

An experienced IB professional shared his views on online learning, “ I started my learning journey with FMI as suggested by my friend. I wanted to refresh my knowledge as I am working in IB domain. This was a great treasure, helped me sharpen my knowledge, and I don’t have to prepare separately on my domain during interviews. I have suggested this to more freshers who wanted to change their domain to IB or the world of finance. This even helped experienced people refresh their knowledge. There are multiple modules to kickstart your learning journey.”

3. Helps advance your skills

With the increasing use of technology, across industries, business models are evolving. Algorithms, data, and forecasting are more valuable than ever before. The evolution of industry composition in stock market indices, across the globe, is a prime example of this shift. Simultaneously, with expanding financial markets the industry is getting more competitive and the need for upskilling and refreshing core concepts is vital. Online courses turn out to be the right fit for working professionals and offer significant value to them. According to a master’s student, “for those working in the IB industry, FMI offers a fantastic platform and a clear explanation of all the finance jargon.”


This is my experience working for a Custodian Bank is a wonderful experience for me. I was called for the role of Senior Financial Analyst. The Custodian was kind of new in the Philippine Market so that time they were mass hiring for talent. And from that, I got a call from HR as well if I was interested. Back then I was a bit hesitant because I kind of don’t want to leave my comfort zone, and somehow, some part of me want to take because of the promotion. 

Back then I was not even sure about the process the HR just told me that the process is Settlements, and the product is Derivatives. 

Handling Futures and Options was a wonderful experience for me because it was the first Financial Markets product I handled. State Street sent Subject Matter Experts, Vice President Todd Batson was one of them and we immediately get along coz’ he was a rock and roll fan. I gave him a guitar pick as a symbol of gratitude for teaching us the process. 

“An options contract gives an investor the right, but not the obligation, to buy (or sell) shares at a specific price at any time, as long as the contract is in effect. By contrast, a futures contract requires a buyer to purchase shares—and a seller to sell them—on a specific future date, unless the holder’s position is closed before the expiration date.” 

Working in State Street, in my own experience, here are the things I have learned through out my stay in the company: 

📈 They give value to learning. 

Our rigorous training was not just dealing with Standard Operating Procedure documents, but they sent SMEs for us to be able to train us and accommodate our questions. It may be about the process, business, etc. 

📈 The business since its global market we are servicing, it is 24-hours. 

You may wonder if in the interview they would ask you if you were amenable to any shifts. That is because some of the counterparts are based in other regions. Before our counterparts in the bank were based in NA, and EMEA so we must adjust on a GMT basis (not a morning person back then anyway).  

📈 They are offering global mobility opportunities.  

I know colleagues that have been domiciled in different sites and became full time outside the local site. It is a good measure as well to have mobility and it is also a good diverse opportunity to have outside experience. 

I am thankful for all the opportunities State Street has given to me, also the opportunity to handle people and check their work and provide Process Improvements within our team. 

To learn more about Derivatives, look for courses at and get certified! 

Article Published by: Carlos Payumo Garcia, CLSSYB. 

In 2015 I got the opportunity for an interview in JP Morgan Chase & Co. for the Senior Team Member – Reconciliations Specialist in Cash Equities Role. I was excited that I reviewed Financial Markets products like I always do even on my free time. My final interview was with the Vice President of the Reconciliations Operating Unit, Avishek. His questions focuses on what I know about Trade Lifecycle, Settlements, and product specific like FXs. He mentioned that he was kind of reminded of the days that he was trading foreign exchange. He flipped my resume and gave me his pen to draw a candlestick and describe to him the “High Price” and the “Low Price” that is used for Technical Analysis, well so far, I can tell by his face that he was satisfied with my answers. After that rigorous interview, we shook hands and somehow didn’t get a call back from that week. I thought I was in the waiting list or so. I sent a follow-up message to the Human Resources who facilitated my interview, by God’s grace I received an offer and asking me to come back to the recruitment hub for the onboarding requirements. 

And I thought this was it! I am finally going to be part of the biggest bank in the world in terms of assets. Like on LinkedIn, “I am happy to announce that I am now part of JP Morgan Chase & Co. to handle APAC and EMEA.” 

During my first days, I was having talks with some of my teammates Avi was sharing to the team how the interview went and meeting me. They told me that they thought that I was applying for a higher role because of feedback of Avi. Kind words from my ex-boss and I’m thankful for the opportunity he gave me.  

I didn’t expect that he mentioned that I aced the interview and with my exposure that I am able to answer the product-specific questions. 

I could share with you some habits when it comes to reading about those products. 

📈 Expand your knowledge across different financial instruments. 

With the interview I went through, I haven’t really had a touch base on FX when it comes to operations. In trading perspective, yes, I had the opportunity to learn about a Broker whose owner was with the NYSE (New York Stock Exchange). That’s where I learned about Macroeconomic trends and how it affects the currency’s price. 

📈 Attend seminars or rather, webinars not just in Capital Markets but check also business webinars.  

Pre pandemic I experienced attending like 2-3 seminars on a weekend just to sharpen my knowledge. Though the challenge there was the traffic and difficulty of finding a parking spot. I somehow had to circle back like 2-3 times in that area due to the traffic regulations. However, I will somehow maximize the seminar and give my 100%. Even on webinars, that’s much easier to find. You can just use Zoom for your attendance then you can get real time updates and information. 

📈 Invest in yourself and get certifications. 

Employers and hiring managers like Avi are also looking at certifications also. It creates the impression as well that you give importance to learning. Of course aside from the fact of quality learnings to be applied, it’s also like a badge that you are a captain of the industry. Quality education that offers would go a long way in your career and posting that on LinkedIn as well. 

I really had a great time and learned so much about Reconciliations. And I also gave back to the firm by producing as well timely reports and SLAs, Process Improvements for the team. And I am grateful for the recognition and value the company gave me over the years.  

Knowledge is power only when put to use and then only when the use made of it is constructive. ~David Schwartz.

Article Published by: Carlos Payumo Garcia, CLSSYB.