Investment Banking

(84 Posts)
Trendler Thu 07-Mar-19 19:50:13

DS is interested in a career in investment banking. Wants to apply to uni to do Economics (LSE, UCL and Leeds uni are all on his list). He is studying History, Ecomnomics and Maths at A Level & Further Maths AS.

Any general advice that anyone has plus also about work experience in Year 12 would be helpful. There don't seem to be many opportunities at his age for w/e in Investment Banks but he has been offered a week in the summer in a retail bank.

OP’s posts: |
BubblesBuddy Fri 08-Mar-19 07:43:54

My DDs friend who is an investment banker did PPE at Oxford. Could he look to do that or Economics at Oxbridge? LSE would also be excellent. It’s very competitive and they have their pick of the best. I’m not sure what work experience DDs friend did but his school had first class connections. Internships at university are also a way forward.

nometal Fri 08-Mar-19 07:45:10

If it helps, a fair proportion of the students I teach end up in investment banking with no prior experience at all, nor a degree directly related to banking (engineering).

FindPrimeLorca Fri 08-Mar-19 07:47:45

Placemarking for ideas.

brookshelley Fri 08-Mar-19 07:49:03

When I worked in that area the top universities represented in investment banking graduate schemes came from

- Oxford
- Cambridge
- Imperial
- Warwick
- Durham
- Bristol

People hired into more mathematical areas (e.g. trading, structuring) tended to have studied engineering, mathematics, economics. In most other areas coming from the "right uni" mattered more than the subject studied.

Needmoresleep Fri 08-Mar-19 08:21:46

Top economics courses are very competitive. He needs to consider carefully what he really wants to study and where his strengths lie.

Cambridge, LSE, UCL and Warwick are very mathematical, or perhaps more accurately statistical, so can be difficult for those who don't really love manipulating numbers. They are also really oversubscribed, so advice DS got was to apply to all four and be happy with a single offer, or treat it as a two year process and reapply. (He got three rejections but an offer from LSE. One of his peers got four rejections but Cambridge, not LSE, on reapplication.)

However you don't have to be able to crunch numbers to get into banking so it is worth looking at other degrees, for example Finance, or PPE at LSE, or management courses at UCL. And Bath, which offers some good placement years. Better he studies something he enjoys.

LSE has a good careers office and a lot go into banking. Being in London makes it easier, as there are network breakfast type events, where an economist from a bank will give a talk. And if you don't get a summer internship there is plenty of scope to sign up with a City temp agency to get some exposure to the working culture. That said, a quick look through Linked-In shows that plenty get to the City through less traditional routes, for example via back office operations in places like Bournemouth or Halifax, or with unrelated degrees.

The reverse happened with DS. About a term in, and with lots of exposure to would-be bankers, he decided it was not for him.

Needmoresleep Fri 08-Mar-19 08:39:41

brookshelley - your list looks about right, except UCL should be there. There is not a huge difference between the LSE and the UCL course and at masters level, it is not uncommon to go that half mile down the road for a change of scenery. I would also argue for Bath depending on what placement opportunities go with the degree.

Also for the more mathsy sort of jobs, Masters degrees are common. (And expensive.) If you don't land a place at the four listed in my post, and you do well at a good RG, it is worth considering LSE, UCL, Cambridge or Oxford for masters.

Public sector jobs like the Treasury, Government Economic Service or BoE, tend to be much more institution blind, so DS came across people from Westminster University and Oxford Brooks either at final interview or on a summer internship. Whilst he got weeded out at the first of five stages for what was always his dream job, despite studying for a highly relevant Masters, when only a few years before his academic background would have almost certainly guaranteed him an interview. The recruitment landscape has changed a lot.

Again there is a difference between who is actually working in the City, as opposed to who gets on graduate training schemes. Southampton Solent or similar can still be the basis of a good career, as long as are willing to start at the bottom and seize opportunities as they come up.


OKBobble Fri 08-Mar-19 08:51:38

The Super 6 for Investment Banking are
Cambridge, Oxford, UCL, LSE, Warwick and St Andrews.

Have a look at JP Morgab website. They do have opportunities for 6th Formers but the applications for this summer were taken last Autumn. If you look you can see what is available and if you check on The Student Room you can get a rough idea of when the applications window is open based on previous years.

Again as there is so little IB work experience at this age group consider the Big 4 Accountants for w/e. Again most of these are January applications for summer w/e. It might be looking at next tier down such as BDO or Grant Thornton.

OKBobble Fri 08-Mar-19 08:54:07


nometal Fri 08-Mar-19 09:54:01

You might want to consider an integrated master's degree if you want to keep costs down.

Needmoresleep Fri 08-Mar-19 10:09:09

Yes, but not often available on top ranked economics/finance courses. And, depending on what you want to achieve, you might be using a Masters to 'upgrade' your first degree.

Phphion Fri 08-Mar-19 10:10:26

Nearly all the big investment banks and other PS firms have internships, work experience and introduction-to-the-financial-sector-type programmes. Similarly, many of the universities mentioned in this thread have partnerships with firms like Deutsche Bank, Credit Suisse, JP Morgan, EY, etc., to run programmes for students from GCSE onwards to introduce them to work in the financial sector.

However, they tend to be quite locally-focussed, e.g. for students in state schools in London, and/or designed specifically for under-represented groups, so it depends where you are and whether your DS would meet the criteria. There are some more general ones, but they tend to be extremely competitive to get on. He should be aware that the application deadlines are usually very early. Some of our programmes had a deadline of September last year for spring and summer placements this year.

In terms of universities, the big ones have already been mentioned. There is an advantage in attending one of these universities if you can, simply because the investment banks, etc., put a great deal of work into maintaining a presence on campus and provide a lot of opportunities for students while they are studying with the aim of recruiting them when they graduate.

Parsley1234 Fri 08-Mar-19 10:16:52

Place marking

nometal Fri 08-Mar-19 10:30:56

I must admit that my suggestion to look at integrated master's was from an engineering perspective. Although, perhaps not what the OP is looking for.

MariaNovella Fri 08-Mar-19 10:35:17

Any type of work experience in a number crunching finance and/or strategy environment would be great at this stage, OP. One of our DC, who is 14, is about to do a week’s work experience in a Private Debt fund. A strategy consulting firm or Private Equity fund would be great for your DS.

MariaNovella Fri 08-Mar-19 10:36:05

How about a summer school for your DS?

goodbyestranger Fri 08-Mar-19 11:06:51

OP Y12 work experience isn't going to make a jot of difference in the IB context. Also, don't touch anything got through contacts with a bargepole - it's always obvious to the HR people and is counter productive.

MariaNovella Fri 08-Mar-19 11:12:16

You are not correct, goodbyestranger. IB Spring Weeks in the first year of university largely go to students who did IB Insight Days in Y12 or Y13, and Insight Days go to students who can demonstrate motivation through previous relevant experience.

HR don’t care how pre-university work experience was obtained. At the end of the day, DC need to acquire very specific skills if they want to work in IB/finance/strategy. The build up to getting a really meaty internship is via all the experience you can possibly get.

Doubleorquits Fri 08-Mar-19 11:18:17

Having worked in this industry, the uni you've gone to seems to be a massive factor in recruitment of traders. Not sure why to be honest (not a trader).

goodbyestranger Fri 08-Mar-19 11:19:37

And you know how things work how exactly Maria? Amazing that all my DCs' friends in IB (there are lots, in the big names too, not diddly firms) and one of my own who applied, got an offer, signed the contract then decided to take up a Magic Circle offer instead, didn't do what you're suggesting needs to be done. They're a clever bunch though, with the right set of skills. At the end of the day that's what matters. It looks a bit craven to set out in Y12 on a quest (let alone aged 14!!!!). Op, he can relax.

MariaNovella Fri 08-Mar-19 11:24:42

We’ve got one DC working in M&A and another in Private Debt and, of course, swathes of their fellow students from school and university are in Finance. They do talk extremely openly about the pathways to getting where they are currently and their future pathways too. You don’t appear to have any DC in Finance so you won’t have the same sort of intense ongoing conversations about getting on in the industry.

MariaNovella Fri 08-Mar-19 11:29:38

My DH also works in Finance, with all the Private Equity and Private Debt funds. And I work with some senior partners in strategy and private equity firms. Plus half our friends work in Finance...

goodbyestranger Fri 08-Mar-19 11:34:18

As I say, one DC has just declined an offer and bags of all my DCs' friends are in the job at the Goldman. JP Morgan type places. I was also what used to be called a merchant banker, before all the mergers and acquisitions - me! Myself! Not even my DH! smile

MariaNovella Fri 08-Mar-19 11:37:45

And I was a strategy consultant.

goodbyestranger Fri 08-Mar-19 11:38:25

Anyhow, not going to argue. I prefer the route which requires the least effort myself but I'm sure there's nothing wrong in maxing out on W/E provided it's not overtly nepotistic (or if it is, use the experience and don't list it on your CV). All I'm saying is that early W/E is neither necessary nor sufficient.

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