How you can get a front-facing role in a top investment bank without any experience
Keywords: top investment bank, financial institution.
Traditionally, job roles are divided into three categories, front desk, middle desk and back desk jobs. Front desk jobs are the face of the company, responsible for generating revenue. Job roles such as sales, trading, and product departments are part of this group. Middle desk positions are responsible for strategy making and ensuring that the company stays solvent, for financial institutions. Risk management and treasury roles generally fall under middle desk roles. Back office positions are job roles which provide support to these activities, positions such as accounting, compliance, and technology support come under back desk jobs.
With changing organisational structures, technology incorporation and adoption of multi-disciplinary employee backgrounds, the line dividing front, middle and back-end positions are becoming blurry. As a result, these roles are changing with different financial institutions, geographies, and job responsibilities. This article will explore how you can get a front desk role in a top investment bank as a fresh face in the industry.
Front Desk Jobs in Finance
Before we dive into how to get a front desk job in a top investment bank, it is important to understand what is a front desk job in finance. In the financial services industry, unlike other businesses where the job role is limited to sales representatives or receptionists, front-desk employees generate revenue for the company by providing services directly to clients, such as wealth management or consultancy.
Similarly, in investment banking, there are two main branches within the front desk roles, investment banking, and markets. As an investment banker, you would be required to make presentations and work with clients on M&A and capital-raising deals. You would also spend significant time networking to acquire new clients for the financial institution. Graduates or employees working in market-related roles, on the other hand, would perform sales, which involves selling investment products to the bank’s target customers, or trading and research activity.
How to get a front desk role in a top investment bank
The process of getting a front desk role is very similar to getting any other job role in investment banking. It requires you to prepare and apply for your desired position, and develop the required skills. Moreover, since front desk roles involve dealing with large institutions directly, with millions of dollars and the bank’s goodwill at stake, the position places a great deal of responsibility on you. Therefore, you might spend your initial years working in a team before you could get a full-fledged front desk role.
To improve your chances of getting a job you can refer to the following guidelines:
- Get the right qualification
A relevant educational background helps you establish yourself as a worthy candidate for the role. Along with your degree courses, you can also commit to specialised courses relevant to front-desk investment banking roles. Bridge courses such as algorithmic trading, statistical analysis, and valuation of distressed assets are highly useful certifications to mention in your resume.
- Develop the right skill set
When going through a resume, recruiters look for skills pertaining to investment banking, or a trait that differentiates you. You must focus on both, the hard skills (career-specific), and the soft skills (personal skills) that are considered important in investment banking.
- Get Internships
Internships can help you demonstrate a deeper understanding of the job role and the working of the industry. They also show your willingness to dedicate time and effort to the chosen job role and the financial institution. Internships in business and equity investing and private equity are also considered useful.
Networking is one of the key tools that many people use to start their careers in investment banking. Making a good impression on people who can recommend you to recruiters or hire you will help you stand out and increase your chances of getting an interview.
To get a job at one of the top investment banks, it is important to first understand if you enjoy the job role and whether you possess the required skills. Most of the important skills required in investment banking can be developed over time. You can develop a better understanding of the industry by reading the FMI investment banking newsletter. Moreover, you must have a strong educational background, as a fresher, to enter the industry. An internship would be a huge differentiator and an added advantage.