Sunday, December 12, 2010

Investment Banking Interviews: Do you have a chance?

Investment banking inteview - are you preparedSo you didn’t graduate from Harvard, you have no family connections on Wall Street, and you have no relevant work experience whatsoever… but you still want to work in Investment Banking? Do you have an ice sickles chance in hell of landing a job? Surprisingly enough, it turns out you actually still might have a shot.

Recently I spoke with a few guys at a new start up that focuses on providing kids the tools they need to break into Investment Banking.

The website’s called and they essentially pick up where most schools leave off when it comes to preparing students for a career on Wall Street.

And for good reason, most schools (aside from a select few) fail to provide students with the knowledge and tools needed to land a job in Investment Banking. Whether it be what questions to expect in an interview or how to run a complex merger model, most schools are out of touch when it comes to getting their kids ready to compete in one of the most competitive and difficult job fields in the world.

The guys that started the website originally came out of state school, had no connections with anyone on Wall Street, and still managed to land jobs at one of the top investment banks on Wall Street. They learned the process and after witnessing first hand, the disconnect between what most colleges teach their students and what is actually needed to make it through the iBanking recruitment process, decided to put together a website that gives students what they need to break into the industry.

If you’re still trying to get into the industry I definitely recommend checking out the website and shooting them an e-mail. They’re nice guys and usually pretty quick to respond.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Investment Banking Career Advice: Where to Get It?

The other day a younger investment banking hopeful sent me a website,, and asked me if I had ever heard of it. Honestly, I have been receiving numerous questions from people looking for career advice. Though I may know some answers, I could not afford to reply to everything since I'm just too busy or too lazy to respond (Hey, you're not paying me to do that job!). Besides, if you want the best advice, you should get it from professionals who knows ALL the ins and outs of the business. Well, finally, there is this website that I can recommend for some sound advice regarding your investment banking career questions.

From what I could learn through the website, the company offers connections to investment banking executives for career advice, job search help, interview prep, etc. Seemed interesting, but I wanted to find out more, so I reached out to the guy who runs the site to find out more. It turns out that the site’s founder, Chris Carey, is a young guy who used to work as an investment banking analyst, and he was able to put me in touch with a recent customer of his company.

He connected me to Matt, a 25-year old former hedge fund analyst that is hoping to snag an M&A or Equity Research position at a bulge-bracket investment bank in New York. You can read what Matt wrote me about Blue Chip Career below:

Investment Banking Monkey: Why did you decide to try Blue Chip Career?

After a few false starts on Wall Street due to the recession and bad luck, I found myself with an incoherent resume and having not gotten the bulge-bracket experience I have long sought. In searching for investment banking career counselors, I came across Blue Chip Career. Because Chris runs a third-party service, Blue Chip Career can tailor your consultations according to your needs and objectives. You aren’t talking to a solo practitioner who might claim their expertise is well-rounded when it is not. With Blue Chip Career, Chris has brought together a group of advisors with experience in every corner of Wall Street.

Which advisors did you speak with?

I met with three advisors, Patrice Green, Ozgur Demirial, and Pierre (PJ). I chose these advisors, because they had backgrounds at both bulge bracket investment banks and hedge funds.

What was the consultation experience like with these advisors?

I saw PJ first, and we met at a Starbucks. Because he is launching a hedge fund and will be looking to hire, PJ has the perspective of a potential employer. For example, when I mentioned that I am planning to get an MBA in a few years, he immediately cut me off and said he would be more likely to hire me if I have a CFA, and that is a sign of things to come on Wall Street. His straightforwardness and experience in both Equity Research and Investment Banking combine for a well-rounded perspective. Additionally, he was quick to point out a few kinks and inconsistencies in my resume.

I met Ozgur a week later. As a CFA who has worked in both Investment Banking and Hedge Funds, he has a different perspective from many on Wall Street who say that the CFA does not provide many marketable skills within the investment banking sector. As he is now working in Asset Management/Hedge Funds, that constituted the bulk of our conversation. He immediately jumped on my resume as soon as I handed it to him, pointing out a few things that could be revised.

My last meeting was with Patrice. She had worked under a few of the most powerful people in Wall Street history, so as we discussed the history of Wall Street since the 1980’s she gave me a very interesting perspective on the evolution of the investment banking business. As she runs a fund, she was very up to date with the employment market and what bulge bracket firms are really looking for. She also reminded me that getting a job involves a great amount of politics, as does advancing within a firm once you are working there. As PJ and Ozgur did, she gave me a number of pointers on my resume.

Would you recommend this service to a friend? If so, why?

Absolutely. It can be scheduled at your convenience, a very customer-is-right feature. It is geared toward people my age whose career path may have been thrown off by the recession, and the advice is from people who have years of high-level experience on Wall Street.

I was definitely hesitant at first to pay for career advice, but I’m glad that I decided to schedule my consultations, as they were a great help and value to my career. In fact, I plan on using Blue Chip Career again as my career progresses.

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

How to Survive an Investment Banking Interview

If you are applying for a job in investment banking, the interview process plays a huge part in decision whether you will be hired or not. Before going into one, it is best to be prepared.  Not only that you need to know your financial banana, but the truth is that every company is different from each other so it is difficult to make generalizations on what to expect in the interview. However it is best to be ready for it to become easier for you. The number of people who will interview you varies by bank. It could be the manager, associate or even the VP. Don’t plan anything for the day because it could last for hours. Surviving an Investment Banking Interview

Sunday, January 24, 2010

How much does an Average Investment Banker Earn

If you plan to become a part of investment banking workforce, the most common question to ask is the average earning of a worker in this field. Though there are a lot of negative things about the job such as no time for family and friends or being at the mercy of your client, this is a high paying job. Of course before becoming one, you would need to acquire good education, stellar grades and good internships. On the average, they earn 2% commission from their sales. Example if they convince a person to put in $2,000,000 of investment, they can get $40,000. Of course there are some that sell for billions. They often charge their expenses like food, travel, hotels and transportation to the client.
How does an investment banker earn

Extending Your Investment Banking Network

If you have graduated from a reputable university, going to investment banking will be easier for you. Getting a banking interview is not hard. However there are some that might have a hard time because the process is not simple. You need to be active so that there is no need for recruiters to schedule you. Build a network that you can rely on in the future. It is good to start to have friends and acquaintances that can schedule you for interview. Use your former classmates because there are few of them that might actually be in the financial industry.
Investment Banking Network

Monday, January 11, 2010

Has American Express Lost Their Mind?

The stock price of American Express is now about three times higher than it was a year ago. Now that they’re flush with cash again, does it mean they’re going to make the same mistakes that got them in trouble in the first place?

Has American Express Lost Their Mind

February 2009:
American Express was so anxious about the credit crunch, they actually started paying many of their cardholders up to $300 to pay off their balances and cancel their credit cards. They did this for the American Express Blue Cash, Blue Sky, and regular Blue cards.

January 2010:
After paying these cardmembers up to $300 to cancel their accounts, apparently they want them back! Right now they are actively marketing the American Express Blue Cash and American Express Blue Sky cards… the same ones they paid people to get rid of a year ago!

Is this a smart business move or does American Express just have an extremely short memory?