A career in investment banking can extremely rewarding. Including salary and bonus, the average compensation for first-year analysts in 2022 averages $142,000.
But landing a job in investment banking isn’t easy and it requires more than just solid grades—especially if you hope to work for a top firm. Ken Adams, the founder of 10X EBITDA, a career coaching firm, recently shared some insider tips with Stacy Blackman Consulting on what the recruiting process is like and how prospective candidates can put their best foot forward.
RECRUITING STARTS IN SEMESTER ONE
The recruiting process for investment banking, private equity, and hedge funds starts the first semester of your MBA program.
“The investment banks need to hire a big Summer Associate class every year, and so they usually follow the business schools’ rules and policies,” according to Adams. “They host various networking programs and informal networking sessions with MBA candidates throughout the first semester. Interviews begin towards the end of the winter break and at the beginning of the second semester.”
Among some of the top firms for candidates include Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, and J.P. Morgan due to the quality of deals the banks handle.
“They also have ‘global pay,’ meaning that bankers in other countries get paid the same as bankers in the home country (i.e., US / UK),” according to Adams. “Which other banks are coveted varies by geography.”
BUILDING AN MBA STRATEGY
If you’re an MBA applicant with goals of working in investment banking, you’ll want to consider applying to top business schools, such as Wharton, NYU Stern, and Columbia Business School.
“Top business schools expect holistic interests and achievements,” according to Stacy Blackman, founder of Stacy Blackman Consulting. “Highlighting personal qualities and triumphs is essential to your MBA application strategy.”
Hard factors, such as test scores and grades, are often less important to admissions officers at top business schools. Rather, Blackman says, getting admitted relies more heavily on how interesting an applicant is.
“Successful finance applicants talked about activities they engaged with outside the classroom as an undergrad or work today,” Blackman says. “For example, debate leadership, athletic activity and a remarkable thesis were undergraduate experiences that led to admits to GSB and HBS. Emphasizing earlier life interests that show character and values can differentiate finance candidates vying for top MBA programs.”
Next Page: GMAT vs .GRE
More and more students are opting for the Graduate Record Exam over the Graduate Management Admission Test, though some top schools have seen their proportion of GRE test score submitters drop.
Over 1,200 MBA programs globally now accept the GRE in lieu of the GMAT for admissions. While both the GRE and the GMAT are accepted in MBA admissions, the two exams actually differ quite a bit from one another.
US News recently spoke with experts about what makes each exam unique and what applicants should consider when deciding on which an exam to take.
GMAT EMPHASIZES MATH SKILLS
If you’re more comfortable with math, you’ll want to consider taking the GMAT over the GRE, as the GMAT includes more quantitative questions.
“As a result, students with stronger math skills may want to take the GMAT in order to demonstrate those skills,” Dan Edmonds, a test-prep tutor with IvyWise, tells US News. “Further, if you plan to apply to a program that values math skills, that program may look more favorably on the GMAT than the GRE.”
On the flip side, the GRE caters more towards those with strong literary skills.
“The GRE verbal section is generally more difficult than the GMAT verbal section; that difficulty is in large part driven by the extent to which the GRE tests tough vocabulary,” Edmonds tells US News.
“One essential difference between the tests is that the GRE requires you to do the arguing, whereas in the GMAT you analyze what has been argued,” Stacy Blackman, founder of Stacy Blackman Consulting, says. “The style expected from GRE test readers is more abstract and draws from various sources and disciplines for examples or references, whereas the GMAT is more concrete and analytical. This supports the suitability of the GRE for the more academically-minded student.”
GRE: SAVE AND RETURN OPTION
One of the biggest benefits of the GRE is the option for test-takers to save and return to challenging questions during each section—which can help reduce test anxiety and stress. Experts say the save and return option on the GRE is a small, but noticeable difference between the two exam experiences.
“In practice, the time constraints are so tight on both exams that you don’t really have time to come back anyway, but just knowing that you could makes a big difference for some people,” Stacey Koprince, content and curriculum lead with Manhattan Prep, tells US News. “It allows them to let go more easily, where, on the GMAT, they might get completely stuck and really mess up their timing, and therefore, their score.”
Next Page: Kenan-Flagler Lands $11 Million For Sustainability
Kenan-Flagler flags representing the countries where students hail from
The UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School has received a multi-million-dollar donation to support the construction of its first new building in 20 years.
The $11 million donation comes from the estate of the late Charles Ackerman, an Atlanta real estate investor who earned a bachelor’s degree from the university in 1955, Triangle Business Journal reports. The estate gift will support a new building for the school’s Center for Sustainable Enterprise, which focuses on social environmental sustainability in business. Additionally, the gift will also help support MBA fellowships, expanded offerings in the undergraduate business program, and increased research capacity by supporting Ph.D. students as Sustainability Fellows. It will also fund the center’s operations and additional staff members.
“For over 20 years, our center has empowered students, faculty and business leaders to identify, create and deliver innovative, profitable business solutions while improving social equity and environmental integrity,” Doug Shackelford, dean of UNC Kenan-Flagler, says in a press release. “This is a rare and transformational gift that will have tremendous impact on our students’ lives and the organizations where they work.”
DEDICATED TO SUSTAINABILITY
UNC Kenan-Flagler is well-established as a pioneer B-school in sustainability education. According to Tracy Triggs-Matthews, associate director of the center, the business school was among one of the first to offer a comprehensive curriculum in sustainability in 1999.
“When Mr. Ackerman visited the School in 2011 we shared the full scope of our work – from teaching to extracurricular programs to research to stakeholder outreach – and how our graduates leave UNC Kenan-Flagler prepared to implement what they have learned to change the world and how our research can have an impact on the practice of business,” Triggs-Matthews says.
Sustainability, according to Olga Hawn, associate professor of strategy and entrepreneurship and the center’s faculty director, remains a strategic pillar of UNC Kenan-Flagler, and the B-school intends on remaining committed to addressing critical sustainability challenges.
Understanding the drivers of sustainability strategy and the different ways it is implemented are imperatives for organizations around the world,” Hawn says. “Through our research and education, we connect theory and practice and build understanding and awareness for all stakeholders.”
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