by Girl Banker
Listen to the iTunes podcast instead.
If you haven't reached the penultimate year of university, you don't really need the information below. Get a copy of To Become an Investment Banker and follow the path that has been outlined in there.
If you have graduated, are near graduation or indeed, well into another career, you might need to search more aggressively to get your foot in the door.
1. Decide which investment banks to target
If you don't know which banks you want to focus on, have a look at the top 50 banks. GirlBanker.com/Banks has a lot of links that take you directly to the recruitment pages of the top 50 investment banks. The biggest banks provide a lot of information so any basic queries you might have will be answered on their website.
Lots of people voluntarily put their resumes/CVs onto LinkedIn. Before LinkedIn was publicly listed in 2011, you could get all manner of information; but because they now need to make money for their shareholders, some information is withheld from basic account users. They only show enough to entice you to upgrade to fee-paying status.
If you have some generic questions about jobs at the company search for:
"Investment Bank" + "Human Resources"
"Investment Bank" + "Human Capital Management"
"Investment Bank" + "Recruitment"
Terms like investment banking division (IBD), or capital markets will not get you very far. Any big bank will have a huge IBD or capital markets department so you need to be a lot more specific than this. You should have a pretty clear idea of what teams you are interested in.
Examples of good searches for team members:
"Investment Bank" + "FX Sales"
"Investment Bank" + "Derivative Sales"
"Investment Bank" + "Credit Trading"
"Investment Bank" + "TMT"
"Investment Bank" + "Leveraged Finance"
"Investment Bank" + "Healthcare"
Normally, this only yields a name but not an email address.
That said, read through the person's details and you might find their email included in their job summary. This is especially true for people that are actively trying to fill a role at the firm.
What information can you get on LinkedIn?
What do you do if the name is partly hidden?
If you are completely unconnected to the industry you might find LinkedIn a little useless. Here are two workarounds:
a) Over time, as you attend networking events make sure you add people you meet to your LinkedIn profile. I only joined LinkedIn in 2011 for the sole reason of building up a network and data access. I actively added people I know to my network and that allows me to see more information.
b) Take whatever information you find to Google.
You can repeat the above searches on Google. In addition,
a) Search for phone numbers: you're unlikely to get a direct number so just look for a reception number;
b) Search for emails: it's easy if the person has a basic name. Most investment bank emails follow the format email@example.com. Some investment banks have abbreviated emails i.e. @gs.com not @goldmansachs.com. Google what you think the email might be then email your contact. If the email you deduce is correct, it won't bounce back.
c) Search the web for any information available on the person: to get a better picture of who the person is. It gives you more to talk about when you call/write.
What do you do once you have a name, department and some basic details?
4. Call or write
You can call via reception. Seriously, if you call the reception at most banks and ask to be connected to "So and So" they will put you straight through!
I would say email is better than a physical letter in this case. Most people in an investment bank are extremely busy. Helping someone get a job doesn't yield anything for them (usually); any mail received will quickly be forgotten about and it will not be actioned.
A letter followed by an email or a phone call might be more memorable. If you have a very creative idea in terms of how to wow them with a physical letter - do it!
I created my investment banking blog in 2012 as soon as I resigned from i-banking & published my book, To Become An Investment Banker.
Initially published at girlbanker.com, all posts have now been subsumed into my personal website under katsonga.com/GirlBanker.
These blog posts make it as straight-forward for you as possible to get into a top tier investment bank.
I have 7 years of front office i-banking experience from Goldman Sachs and HSBC, in both classic IBD (corporate finance) and Derivatives (DCM / FICC).
I'm also a CFA survivor having passed all three levels on the first attempt within 18 months - the shortest time possible.