Investment Banking in India: How to Break In Even If You’ve Been Out of School for 5+ Years and You Don’t Have a Finance Background

389 Comments | Investment Banking - Asia and Oceania, Investment Banking - Career Transitions

30 Flares 30 Flares ×

investment_banking_indiaI get a lot of questions about this one, but everyone behind M&I is relatively clueless when it comes to India.

Luckily, that’s not the case with our readers – many of whom work in the region or are planning to in the near future.

This interview comes to you from a reader who landed a boutique investment banking Associate position in India, coming from a non-finance background (engineering).

Read on to learn all about investment banking in India, how it’s different from North America and Europe, and how you can break in.


Q: Can you tell us about your background?

I was an Electrical Engineering major from one of India’s top engineering schools, and I worked at a top IT company here for 5 years, after being recruited on-campus.

I was on assignment in the UK for 2 years, and also had entrepreneurial experience co-founding a software firm.

Things did not work out and I chose to close it down a few months before starting my job search.

Q: Ok, so you started the job search after you had already been out of school for many years and after you had experience working full-time and starting your own company.

What were the key challenges you faced in breaking into investment banking?

The two main ones:

  1. I didn’t have a finance degree, so most larger investment banks refused to even look at me.
  2. Many firms were reluctant to hire me due to my age.

Since investment banking is a relatively new field in India, the consensus here is that only Chartered Accountants (CAs) or finance MBAs can handle the job. I had to convince firms that even someone without those credentials could do it.

Also, many firms in India pick mostly post-graduates and offer them Associate roles – relatively few banks here actually have formal Analyst roles.

Q: Ok, so you faced quite a few challenges. What about the recruiting process in India? How is that different from other regions like Europe, North America, and East Asia?

I don’t have firsthand experience of applying to those regions, but here are some key points to be aware of in India:

First, there are far fewer front-office investment banking jobs – only around 2,000 to 3,000 total – despite the size of the economy.

That means that bulge brackets are even more selective, and that they only pick students with MBAs from top schools in the US, Europe, or from the top Indian Institutes of Management (IIM). Sometimes CAs with a few years of banking experience are also picked for front-office roles.

Next, the majority of investment banking jobs in India are in knowledge process outsourcing firms (KPOs) – “Captive KPOs” (part of bulge bracket banks) and “3rd Party KPOs” that serve many clients.

It’s easy to get lured into working for these KPOs, but I strongly advise against it because you’ll get pigeonholed into making pitch books and doing valuations all day.

They try to spin it in a positive light by sending you abroad for 2 months, but it’s not real front-office work – the exit opportunities are limited, so I would avoid this if at all possible.

Since the majority of investment banking jobs are at KPOs, the actual front-office teams at real banks here are small – maybe 30-40 people for bulge bracket banks and 5-15 for boutiques.

The interviews are similar to Europe / the US – you start with a phone interview first, then meet the Associate, VP, and so on.

Overall they’re more “by the book” and more technical – some firms also ask you to create models and complete case studies.

Most undergraduates are recruited from top engineering schools like IIT – unlike the West, the best Indian students go to engineering or medical schools, so that’s where banks recruit.

Breaking Into Investment Banking

Q: So you already had the odds stacked against you, and you were in an extremely competitive market with a lot of engineers trying to make the switch into finance.

How did you set yourself apart from everyone else?

I knew that my resume was strong, since I had worked at a top IT company and also had experience starting my own – the only problem was that I lacked an MBA.

I used 3 strategies to set myself apart:

  1. I had been an active stock investor since college and had managed funds for several other people. I had decent returns over the years, and attached my portfolio performance over the past 5 years to my resume.
  2. I completed a short financial modeling course and leveraged that to get contacts in the field.
  3. I relied heavily on networking and cold-calling since on-campus recruiting wasn’t an option.

I thought about studying for the CFA as well, but then I saw your comments about it and decided not to!

Q: Maybe you can walk us through your networking process. I get a lot of questions on how to find names and contact information in the first place – how did you do this when you had already been out of school for years?

There were not many alumni from my college in investment banking, since the field is relatively new here.

I got some contacts through the financial modeling training program I went through, and I also used LinkedIn, Facebook, and plain Google searches to find people.

I cold-called over 200 firms to receive my first interview.

Q: Wow. So of those methods, which were most effective in getting you interviews?

I attended a lot of meetups in Mumbai that I found on social networks, but most folks didn’t respond positively because of my non-traditional background.

For me, cold-calling was the most effective networking strategy.

I was humiliated at first as I received rejection after rejection, but then I got used to it and kept at it since I knew from your other articles that cold-calling definitely worked.

I focused on boutiques, and after hundreds of calls and weeks of effort, I was invited to my first interview – and won an offer after 8 grueling rounds of interviews.

Q: I get a lot of questions on the usefulness of financial modeling courses. How much did yours help you?

It helped in 2 ways:

  1. I had no formal finance background, so I needed it to crack the interviews and pass any modeling tests they might have given me.
  2. Perhaps more importantly, I made some of my networking contacts through this course.

Even now after I’ve started, it has proven helpful because many boutique firms do not have formal training programs for Analysts – so it gave me a head start on everyone else.

Culture, Models, and Bottles

Q: How do salaries and bonuses in India compare to what you would earn in North America / Europe?

Is everything based on local rates, or are you paid the equivalent Dollar / Euro salary?

In absolute terms, salaries are less than what you would get in New York or London, for example.

But the cost of living in India is also much lower – so if you take this into account, the actual quality of life you could get with your salary is comparable.

Here’s the pay scale for base salaries:

  1. Front-Office Bulge Bracket Banks – Pay the most, often higher than New York/London in PPP (Purchasing Power Parity) terms due to the lack of qualified candidates.
  2. “Captive” KPOs – Also pay a lot, but the work sucks.
  3. Boutiques– They start out lower than the “captive” KPOs, but salaries scale up higher after a few years.
  4. 3rd Party KPOs – Pay is the lowest and the work also sucks.

Exit opportunities from the first 3 here range from “decent” (KPOs) to “great” (boutiques / bulge brackets).

You should avoid the 3rd party KPOs – but also keep in mind that “captive” KPOs are a dying breed since many firms have sold their divisions.

Bonuses have been excellent at bulge bracket and middle-market firms here – if the economy is great and deal activity is on the rise, bonuses can be as much as 100-250% of base salary.

Boutique bonuses average 30-75% of base salary, while “captive” KPOs are 30-50%, and 3rd party KPOs are even less.

Q: How is the culture at Indian financial services firms different from what you see elsewhere in the world?

Indian firms tend to be more conservative, and the financial markets here are not as well-developed – the bond market is negligible and derivatives trading does not involve the complexity found in North America / Europe.

Also, business here is based on relationships and proximity to important government officials – it’s less “professional” than the West.

About Your Future

Q: You defied the odds and broke into investment banking after you were already out of school for years, in an incredibly competitive market.

How will you leverage this experience in the future?

I want to work at a top private equity firm one day – but during my job search I found out that a top MBA is becoming indispensable for IB/PE jobs due to the branding and the network you gain in the process.

People also tend to listen to you more readily if you have an MBA from a top business school.

So I’ll be pursuing an MBA in a year or two – but since I’ve already broken into investment banking, I’ll pursue a 1-year MBA rather than a 2-year program.

Further Reading on India:

About the Author

is the Founder of Mergers & Inquisitions and Breaking Into Wall Street. In his spare time, he enjoys learning obscure Excel functions, editing resumes, obsessing over TV shows, and traveling so much that he's forced to add additional pages to his passport on a regular basis.

Break Into Investment Banking

Free Access to Exclusive Content for Members Only!

Loading the player...

Sign up for The Banker Blueprint today and enjoy:

  • Free Report: 57-page guide with the action plan you need to break into investment banking - how to tell your story, network, craft a winning resume, and dominate your interviews,
  • Exclusive emailed bonus material,
  • Free Banker Blueprint newsletter with more in-depth advice,
  • Unlimited access to all articles, videos, and advice - and free updates whenever new content is added to the site,


We respect your email privacy

Read below or add a comment...

389 Comments to “Investment Banking in India: How to Break In Even If You’ve Been Out of School for 5+ Years and You Don’t Have a Finance Background”


  1. Anand says

    I have MBA(non-finance) degree and post qualification experience of 3 years in retail banking operations.I left my job in 2010 due to family reasons.I am pursuing certificate courses in equity,currency and interest rate derivatives.I am not getting job due to gap of 18 months in my career.What should I do to get into job once again.

    • says

      Hmm, maybe go back to something closer to retail banking operations first, since it will be easier to move there, and then keep taking the certification courses in your free time and use them to move into a more finance-related field.

  2. Martin says

    Thanks so much for all the advice you put up here I have just been told that I will be made an offer at a mid market for their Mumbai office and coming from a physics degree I found all the info about Finance really useful. I am actually English myself and the firm is based in the UK primarily. What kind of salary is normally expected for Ex-pat contracts? Is it likely to be more or less then typical grad/entry level money. Also if your in London before I jet off in July I would love to buy you a drink.

    • M&I - Nicole says

      I’m not familiar w salary levels at Mumbai; I think readers may be able to offer you better suggestions!

  3. rohan says

    Well i cant help but notice some bitterness in the interviewees thoughts.

    First of all not all the brightest minds of india go into engineering.I am studying to be a CA and there are many supremely bright students in this field too.Infact i can say that 80-85 % of engineering students are duds and go into engg because their friends/relatives are there.

    Secondly if you dont have an MBA and have years of expereince in IT , very few to none will hire you(on this planet) and its only logical.Also take the age factor into context.Even on wall street Inv Banks prefer analyst’s to be around the age range of 22-26.I read on a european pvt equity firms site that they would prefer their candidate not to be older than 26

  4. SM says

    It is amazing to see how many people want to get into IB. Below are my views relevant for front office IB

    Guys get your facts straight.


    Less than 20% of IB firms in India have analyst programs. Some firms that do have will only look at people for top 10 engineering colleges in India and top 5 commerce colleges. If you are not from them probability -> 0 … If you are then also it is not a cakewalk…

    CAs… Some of the Indian banks may look at you. Identify and approach them. Networking will surely help.

    You need to be from IIMs/ISB/JBIMS/SP Jain. PERIOD!

    Network as much as you can … Trust me it works … Call 100 people … 20 will meet you. 10 will have a proper interview… And may be 1-2 will give you an offer…

    Do you know how much an IB pays in India? If you are a rockstar banker then you will make about ~$10MM in your entire career. (Less than 100 people have reached there in India so far)

    Trust me with the kind of hours that you need to put in, it is better to do something of your own or in fact anything of your own. If you are smart enough to reach that $10MM figure in IB then you will make much more than that bby doing anything of your own…

    • says

      Thanks for adding that, but in all fairness, starting a business on your own is no guarantee of making money (nor is getting into finance). But yes, a better case could be made for doing something on your own these days (hence why you don’t see me jumping back into the industry).

      • SM says

        Agree that there is no guarantee of success. But but if you know India, you will understand that a lot more money can be made by doing small things like a simple dealership of a commodity in a single district.

        Skills required to be successful in IB are immense and if you have that than you can utilize them for making more money elsewhere. That was the simple message that I intended to convey.

  5. Atul says

    Currently I am working with a Commercial Bank in India in a lending role for a year now. Previously I have worked in Budgets for a Telecom infra co. for 2 years and Pricing Analysis in Honeywell for an year. I have MBA in finance and have cleared CFA level 2. My GPA scores are not very high.
    Please suggest what would be my target role in Finance. Thanks!

    • says

      I would aim for FIG-related roles, i.e. anything at a bank or other investment firm where you work with financial institutions due to your background there. And consider more than just IB as it’s very difficult to get in with lower grades.

      • Atul says

        How would an experience as a trader in dealing room of the commercial Bank I work with help for a role in an investment bank or would it be better to take a role in say JPMC operations in Asset mgmt. to advance towards a front office role in IB?

  6. Anil says

    I have recently finished my undergraduate program and I am a finance major. I also completed full time investment banking course of 6 weeks. As I went through the article it seems like only MBAs and CAs can break into I-Banking. Aren’t there any firms in India which consider undergrads for i-banking??

    • M&I - Nicole says

      I am not 100% sure, but I believe very few IB firms in India have analyst programs for undergrads, and those that do so are interested in candidates from top engineering colleges and commerce colleges (If you graduating from such schools, you may have a bigger chance). You may also want to approach local financial institutions in India to maximize your chances.

  7. Amar says

    I am a Chartered Accountant working in Sydney, Australia. I am currently working in the Corporate Finance Department in PwC Sydney. Can you tell me if an IB would be interested in a front office desk for someone of my background?

  8. Alok says

    I have very recently completed my degree from a semi reputed college in Bangalore . I have also done a 3 month internship in deutsche bank . And although I have been offerd a position there I will mostly pass up the opportunity as it is more of a back office job . I aspire to break into a front office job in any of the top investment bank and would love to hear your advice on what I need to do to achieve it and what chances do I have. Thank you !

  9. abhishek says

    i just passed out 12th std
    i wanted to know that what are the requirements for becoming an investment banker
    what should i do ?
    which course should i do now?

  10. neeraj dhanwani says

    I am.a. B.Com. fresher…Recently I got interviewed with Deusteche Bank for the profile Investment Banking operations and job location is pune..I want to know whether it is a KPO?? I wish to pursue my MBA in finance 1-2 years down the line..Will this work experience be helpful to me when I search for a job post my MBA?

    • M&I - Nicole says

      I am not 100% sure; probably. While you’ll be competing with candidates who have had experience in IB (front office) post MBA, this experience can still be somewhat useful.

  11. Ira says

    I’m a final year student doing from Delhi University. I’m also pursuing company secretary course. I have cleared till executive level and I now wish to enter into Investment Banking course. Is it done from Mumbai only? What is the admission procedure and when will the forms be available on sebi website. Please give me a link where in I can get all my doubts clear. Thank you.

  12. Sudarshan says

    I am an Engineer (completed from regular Indian college) currently 26 years old, working as software developer here in Mumbai. I want to get into IB, I am planning to get into MBA school by the next year, and would target INSEAD, LBS, Cornell for instance (since they have 1 year MBA program). I am also thinking about getting head start with CFA alongside, I think by the time I get into MBA school I can clear first 2 levels (in worst case at least level-1), this will also provide a solid finance fonudation for me since I am complete fresher to this field (academically). What would you say about this kind of risky planning ?? is it worth trying ?? considering age factor that I would be around 29 (or 30 in worst case scenario) by the time I comeplte MBA. I really want to get into IB, I have decnet amount of personal trading experience and quite familiar with market. What you think getting MBA from one those top schools would help me to get into IB ?

  13. Ravi kiran says

    Hi M&I,

    Very interesting read. I have more or less a similar profile. Have been working with a technology firm as a developer for the last 2 years. I would like to change my career track to finance. I Graduated from one of the Top 5 Engineering colleges in Civil Engineering but with mediocre grades. Just to explore my interests I have given CFA and am planning to take the Level 2 next june. Please advise me on how to get an intern / job in I banking boutiques. I am more worried about not learning than not earning as my career progresses.

  14. Jerry says

    I have landed in one of the top 3 iims in the country. I had a cgpa of 7.11/10 in engg. I have work exp. of 6 months with Deloitte in consulting. Have done exceedingly well in these 3 months at the iim. But, otherwise, I have an mediocre resume. Where do I stand a chance in making it to the interview rounds: MS, UBS, JPMorgan, GSachs, Barclays, Standard Chartered, Credit Suisse, Bank of America, RBS, HSBC, Citi? (For IB roles only)

    • M&I - Nicole says

      I’d say less than 50/50 since you’ll be competing against candidates who have had relevant finance work and club experience and a solid GPA

  15. Atharva says

    I want to enter the world of Investment Banking. I am doing CA, CS and plain vanilla BCom. Recently a CA CS friend of mind broke into Morgan Stanley UK operations. Do you think that i can enter it ?

  16. Gaurav says

    I am a MBA(Fin) + CFA (all 3 level cleared) + 3+ years of workex as a business analyst in software division of major Investment banks. Could you please suggest me leads to get into a front office IB role.

  17. Vivek says

    I have done MBA Finance (9.5 GPA on scale of 10;topper) from average B-School (not top-tier) and cleared CFA Level 2 and possess 3 years of experience in 3rd party kpo equity research. Found the work monotonous and less growth opportunities compared to the number of complex models supposed to be built in tight deadlines. Hence, left the job. Looking for new options. Not interested in working in 3rd party kpo. Could you please suggest some options other than 3rd party kpo which could fit my background?

  18. vineet singh says

    I am a CA final student who wants to get into investment banking after doing financial modelling it feasible.

  19. Arun Joseph says

    Hi M&I,
    I am doing B.Com (finance and taxation) at “not-so famous” college. And a friend of mine suggested me to study Global Financial Markets professional program (GFMP) offered by BSE institute (Mumbai) after knowing my great interest in IB/PE and then to pursue an MBA from a top B school.
    I was wondering whether or not GFMP will prove to be a good step to climb up the ladder, or Simply an MBA will do. If not, Please suggest me an alternative to become an IB.

    P.S. I am good at studies and have an attitude to learn anything to become an IB.

  20. K C says

    I am 31 yrs. Old from India and very keen to enter Investment Banking. I was 17 when I took up a job as a Graphic Designer in 1999 as I liked to do creative stuff then when I was younger and served till 2008, which I last resigned as a Sr. Graphic Designer in a Top Engineering Conglomerate (were I was in Uk as well) which is a Multinational, prior to that in a CMM Level5 IT firm a multinational again, and other ad agency before.

    In 2009, I incorporated a consulting company to endeavor my entrepreneurial venture and went into media services, real estate consulting (broking), Construction & Infrastructure. I was basically a match maker doing mostly mediation work till date.
    Parallel to all my doings mentioned above, I’m an active trader since 2002, trading Indian equity, derivatives, commodities and currencies, mostly equity & EQ derivatives. In the process I learnt Technical Analysis, Derivatives analysis and a little bit of fundamental analysis. I’m not ashamed to share that I lost all my fortune (in 8 digits in Indian Rupee value) and went bankrupt trading the markets in 2007-08 as I was over leveraged (yes im a victim of the Sub Prime crash) and gradually learnt to trade and invest better. The passion for markets is still intact, to the extent that I want to do this for the rest of my life the right way. Not that I have great track record for now with returns. But I can show with my traded transaction showcasing the dates.

    “My ultimate goal is to start a PE, Hedge Funds, asset mgmt firm of my own. Holding stakes in a portfolio of companies. In short I want to institutionalize my investments and trades and parallel raise funds in the process. “
    This being my only goal, I felt that taking a job in an Investment Bank will be my gateway to gain adequate knowledge and experience to excel.

    Would I have to explain my previous jobs as a Graphic Designer if asked? Which has a plus point with 9 full years of work experience, served in an IT and Multinational, corporate environment, Interacted with collage’s in Europe, US, Australia. The business from 2009 to till date can be explained and so the trading.
    With regard to my qualifications, I did not do my Higher Secondary Schooling (in India its 10th grade & 12th grade) as I took up my first job at a very early age.
    Later in 2004 I applied for a distance learning (BBA) Bachelors in Business Administration degree from Annamalai University, and finished it in 2008, now perusing a distance learning MBA in Financial Management, which I applied in 2013 from Annamalai University, and by 2014 I will be an MBA in Fin Mgmt. Post my MBA I wish to do Phd in Finance (yet to apply as I’m perusing Masters). I’m appearing for CMT Level 1, and shall appear for CFA Level 1 by 2015.

    In a crux on my qualification:
    – No High School
    – BBA Bachelors in Business Administration (through distance learning) Annamalai University
    – perusing MBA Fin Mgmt (through distance learning) from Annamalai University
    – will be doing Phd in Finance or Financial Management mostly through distance.
    – appearing for a Charted Market Technician (CMT) Level 1 in May 2014
    – appearing for CFA in 2015.

    Kindly show some light on the carrier path in IB or would you suggest me other options for the goal I have mentioned above.
    Thank you in advance

    • says

      As I wrote in my email to you, at this point you need to worry less about certifications and more about getting real work experience and networking to win interviews – you have a complicated background that will be difficult to explain, so the best solution is to simplify it, condense the design experience, and win some type of “trial” internship or full-time role for now and then leverage that into a role at larger bank afterward. I think you also need to figure out exactly what you want to do because IB is very different from working in the public markets and trading stocks and you don’t necessarily need IB to get a role where you do that.

  21. akshay says

    hello sir,
    i have completed bcom in 2013.i want to do mba(fin) from USA after 4-5 years of exp.
    1.If i do Mba from ‘non-target’ uni/school from usa , will i get job in boutique IB(atleast)?
    2.will i get job as analyst or associate considering my 5years INDIA?
    3.does recruiter consider Indian work exp. with USA MBA?
    4.does age matter to get into IB?
    5.what would you suggest before coming to usa for mba( i.e. where should i take pre-mba exp. to get into US IB, how much enough,what extra can i learn to make my resume/ stronger )
    thanks in advance

  22. Himanshu Chaudhary says

    Hello i have MBA in Marketing and also worked with CITIBANK for approx 2years in retails Sales and Distrubution i Had to leave my job because of some issues and currently i am working “LIFE INSURANCE CORPORATION OF INDIA” but i’ve always wanted to became an investment banker. Would you please advice me on how should i proceed towards my goal and what should be my next in order to enter into Investment Banking field??

  23. Nishant says


    I have two offers in hand. One is from Copal Amba (a KPO) for qualitative analyst in investment banking. Another one is of Bank PO from a govt. bank which will primarily take me into commercial banking. I just want to know which option will be more beneficial for me in the long run.

    I am an MBA Finance from a B-School which is usually ranked 45 to 55 in India.

    • M&I - Nicole says

      I am not 100% sure though the IB role may give you more exit opportunities. Readers from your region may have better insights.

    • says

      Of those, the CA is probably the most helpful… because they look for strong accounting knowledge in many markets including India and often select resumes based on that certification.

  24. yatin says

    i am an economics hons undergraduate from delhi university, i had a two year gap due to my health problem, but i will resume my second year from july 2014. I want to go for financial sector
    I got to know about the gfmp course by bse . Will that course help me promote my chances for better career in financial sector. Gfmp ( is a 2.5 yr course and in the mean time i will complete my economics degree which will compensate my two year gap year..
    I want your valuable feedback as i want to utilize my loss of two year gap in a productive manner. Looking forward your suggestion. Please reply

    • M&I - Nicole says

      I am not 100% sure since I have not heard of this course before. I’d imagine it can be somewhat helpful though I think readers may have better suggestions

  25. Vignesh says

    Hi. I am a CA Final student. Shall qualify by may 2015 positively. I am also pursuing CMA (US)..Shall get certified by around the same time next year. I have always wanted to get into Investment Banking. A fascination that I have had since I turned 17. Can you tell me if I can enter into front end IB with the qualifications listed above or do I need an MBA to top it? I also want to know if its true that most people in the IB field do KPO work..atleast in India. How do I determine if the offer is for a front end role and then take a call?
    Thanks in advance!

  26. Nipun Mohta says

    Hi. I’m a CA. I did all levels of my CA in first attempt. I did my articleship (3 years) from S.R. Batliboi & Co. LLP (EY Member Firm) in Assurance division. At the end of my articleship period, I decided to move away from audit and want to try Investment banking. I have given interviews in various places but to no avail. Can you advise me the way forward?

    • M&I - Nicole says

      Perhaps apply to big 4 or other accounting firms and either move into TAS or/and go back into target business school after a few years there

  27. Soumya Mohanty says

    I’ve done my MCA and worked in IBM for 1year and then due to some issue i quit that job and did MBA(Banking and Finance) and currently working in ICICI Bank as Relationship Manager in Auto Loan Dept.
    Along with that i’ve already cleared NISM, NSDL tests.
    but i just want to go for Investment Banking and for that need your suggestion and process to follow up.

    • M&I - Nicole says

      Even though you’ve cleared your tests I think its best if you can get some relevant IB experience in India. The best way to do so is to network as well as get a target MBA in Europe or the States

  28. arindam ganguli says

    I’ve done my in 2004 from Calcutta university, MBA ( finance) in 2008 not from any reputed and working in a scheduled commercial private sector bank since 2008. I have quite well experience in credit appraisal and credit monitoring for SME, mid corporates and corporates. Meanwhile I also compleated CAIIB. At present I am a branch manager. But want to get out of this and want to work in the field of IB, PE related work. So recently I started CFA level 1 prep. I am 30 years old now. If I complete CFA at the age of 33 or 34 whether any scope will exist. or I have to start finding oppertunities from now. if I start finding for the same whether what will be the percentage of sucess.

    Thank you

  29. mumbaibanker says

    Hi, I am two years out of engineering college and I work in one of the captive KPOs mentioned above, for a bulge bracket bank in Mumbai (on the S&T side, supporting a team in London).

    They pay me very well here (better than some of the front office roles in Mumbai). The only problem is this experience is doing me no good in terms of career growth prospects – as working at this KPO seup is good for an initial breakthrough into finance from an engineering background, but no growth at this place. Also, I have tried exploring S&T jobs within Mumbai, facing Indian Markets but I am finding them very hard to come by. Also, if at an Indian bank, the pay doesn’t seem to match up.

    I see that there is decent appetite for IBD in Indian markets, at Indian or Non Indian banks. The pay seems upto the mark as well. Would it be prudent to make a switch to IBD (and in the future, PE sort of roles) and if yes, how should I go about it, as I currently am pretty much new to it. It would seem like a waste of my two years spent in S&T, and hence the question.

    Ps:- I am also looking at applying for an MBA at a school in the US a couple of years down the line. Would such a switch better or worsen my application? And how.

    To summarize – I am indifferent to working in either IB or S&T. Decision making parameters are – does my switching better my MBA app, or does it backfire and make me look confused. And how should I go about getting this switch (ie self study M&A case studies, cold call for interviews and keep at it?)

  30. Shivangi says

    i am 20 yrs old have just completed my graduation from st. Xavier’s college, Mumbai. i have majored in maths and my cgpa is 3.09. i want to become an IB. Should i do MBA(finance) from India( aiming at top 10 MBA colleges) or should i go abroad and do masters in financial mathematics (plz advise me about the universities too)?
    currently i am working in a shipping company. I am interested in doing an internship in a financial institution in Singapore for a month or two.
    Also m a trained classical dancer and good with arts related stuff.(does this help?)
    plz advise what is the best option.
    Thanks in advance.!!

  31. says

    First of all, thanks y’all for the investment banking info haven that is M&I. I have been reading it for a year and it has been immensely helpful.
    Regarding my experience, I am an Indian citizen and a graduate of University of Texas with an Econ/Poli Sci degrees. My GPA was a 3.9/4.0. I have had a couple pretty good internships and a ton of leadership experience though I had to return home because of some family issues. Now I can’t return to the States and I have had some issues leveraging my background to get far here. Currently preparing for CFA L1 and MSF apps. IMHO, India has inflated the value of degrees and it is almost impossible for people without a MBA to get analyst/associate roles. I have finished the BIWS course and answer technicals well but have been told many a time by my contacts that a lack of “CFA” or “MBA” on my resume is a detriment to my chances.
    I am really committed to MSF applications at this point since that will give me a shot at recruiting and am looking at other places in Asia such as SIngapore and Malaysia.

    Do you think I can have a shot at roles in these countries and what would the process be like with or without the MSF?

  32. Arvind keshav says

    sir, I am form Karnataka, qualification is BBA passed in JUN 2013,now i am working in some (health care ITES/BPO) from past 4 months,i joined for MBA(fin) correspondence this year,i want to became an investment banker so please help me to get IB job as analyst or associate entry level. and also i want to go for internship….suggest me to be an Investment banker…how to break into Investment banker career….i hope u ill give gud answer…..thank u…

  33. Raghava Ram Lakhotia says


    I am a CA with 2 years of experience of auditing the biggest bank in the country among other things. I Gave my first Investment Banking Interview today in one of the biggest IB banks in India and though they have not confirmed it yet but I think i blew it and in the process I may have also blown my best contact to get me into IB. The biggest problem was that I think I was unable to portray the knowledge I gained about analyzing Debt while auditing well enough hoe do I overcome that? Further are their any leads on how to get into IB in India without a source??
    Also, is their any scope for me to look into junior level firms in US or UK with my current qualifications?


    • M&I - Nicole says

      If the interview has passed it is hard to rewind what happened. I may move on to new leads. No, we don’t have interviews on that front yet. You’ll be competing against people with IB experience, who don’t need sponsorship, and are from target universities, so it can be challenging in your case

  34. dinakar says

    Hi, I am 27 year old MBA finance graduate with 2.5 years of experience- 1 year into banking operations and 1.5 year into teaching. I knew my age is a barrier to get into IB. My odds- age and staggered career. What are the chances of me getting into IB in India and how could I break into IB?

  35. abhimanyu mishra says

    HEY ! i have completed my mba in finance and also done financial modelling but still did not get chance to work in investment bank because of i am fresher and they want experience candidate

  36. Sahil says


    I am a Chartered Accountant (All India Rank 50 in CA Final, May 2013) from ICAI, India and Chartered Financial Analyst (Qualified Level 3 in June 2014) from CFA Institute, USA. I completed my graduation (B.Com) from St. Xavier’s College, Kolkata.

    I am currently working in Ernst & Young, Mumbai in Financial Services Risk Management in which I focus on credit risk management for banks. Work is more related to Basel and RBI Circulars and less of core finance.

    I am very keen to work in an investment banking profile. I had appeared for a few interviews for analyst roles at Edelwiess, Lincoln International, Nomura and JPMC last year (in 2013) but couldn’t crack any of the final rounds.

    Can you help/advise on what should be my next steps to enter I-Banking industry? Also, would be great if you could provide any leads for such role.


    • Sahil says

      Forgot to mention I did my 3 year articleship/internship for CA with Deloitte, Kolkata in Statutory Audit Department.

    • M&I - Nicole says

      I’d look back at how you interviewed and try to figure out how you can do better. If you’ve been getting interviews, I think you’re on the right track; perhaps you just need to improve the way you get your message across

  37. LkG says

    I am a management graduate (BMS) from mumbai university. I have been offered a back office role(compliances) at royal bank of scotland group. I am planning to do CFA and also trying my best to get into a top b school in india. I want to break into the Investment banking which gives me oppurtunities for global exposure. Am I on the right track?

  38. says

    Investment banking as a career option is very challenging, exciting and promising. It offers an accelerated career path for those who want to enter in the finance industry. Aspirants can also pursue a course at diploma and certification level too. This is very vast and challenging field with numerous career options. This field offers services such as advisory services, trading securities, selling and underwriting securities for companies, individual and governments.

  39. BKJ (anonymous) says

    First of all getting into an investment bank is a matter of luck too. I personally have seen people from engineering background without an MBA, CFA or any other relevant credential getting into a front end job in US. But again it was not without relevant work-ex in IBD (referring to a captive KPO which offers an opportunity to go abroad for an internship with a bulge bracket European bank). Some of them have MBAs, some of them don’t. Some of them convert, many of them do not. The point is not to waste a lot of time getting into an i-bank because most of the people want to get into it to earn a handsome salary and incredible bonuses early in their career and then graduate to a PE or look at the other awesome exit options the field has to offer. An MBA does not guarantee a job in IB. So if you are trying to get into a B-school to get there, it’ll take another couple of years from your life with no guarantee.

    Getting exposure to the contemporary market and making a start on something which really absorbs you would be the best choice. A very successful example here would be of Brian himself.

    As for me, I graduated from a premier engineering institute in India (ranked among top 10), started off with a captive KPO working for almost an year there and then move on to a support role to IBD within the biggest brand in IB (leading the M&A, DCM and ECM league tables in almost every region) after having been offered long term front end internships with mid-market i-banks in Singapore and Mumbai.

  40. rakesh says

    ok a bit about me..ill qualify as a chartered accountant(india)in may 2015(probably with an all india rank). i have also cleared cfa level career plan is to work in IB after graduating and they later get a mba or ms(finance) if desired. my long term career plan is to work in fund management.

    now of what i have heard around you need atleast 1-2 years of experience to get an entry level job in internship was from a pretty small firm and the only decent work experience i have is working experience i have is assissting in the internal audit of a listed company-a fertiliser manufacturer.

    i applied for the summer analysts program of two big investment banks but havent received a response yet(didnt expect to receive any going from the resume i sent them).

    now please give me some advice regarding the path i should take:

    1)take up whatever job i get after i qualify as a c.a.(if i get an all india rank ill probably get a good paying job too) and then get a mba or ms(fin) two years later from a good college(india or abroad)

    2)get into a summer training IB program using some sort of reference(have a good one-one of the biggest stock brokers in india)

    3)get a mba straight after completing my c.a(indian b schools dont really give a high weightage to work ex)

    4) get an internship at equity research department of one of india’s biggest brokers?

    thank u

    • M&I - Nicole says

      I think 2 and 4 are probably the best bet if you can get immediate work experience. This can really broaden your network and improve your candidacy. If you get into a target MBA in US or UK, this may help you immensely.

  41. TotallyCluelessUndergrad says

    Thanks for all the wonderful insights M&I, kudos to you guys.

    I just had an inquiry. My networking has helped me land a good contact at BofA in India, particularly willing to guide me through to get to my goal as an IB analyst. My confusion is regarding the Bank itself, my research indicated that this particular Bank in India is a Non-Bank Subsidary, is that the same thing as a KPO?

    Am I expected to treat it the same way as your interviewee suggests regarding KPO’s in India?

    Please help me out.

    • M&I - Nicole says

      I am not 100% sure. I’d suggest you to speak with the interviewer and ask him/her a lot of questions regarding your daily tasks and responsibilities. This way you’ll have a better understanding of the work itself. Readers may also have more thoughts to share on this front.

  42. K says

    Im currently doing acturial science along with my graduation in India. I want to work in the investment field. Can i break into it after doing my MBA in Finance as i am interested in MBA too? What are the other options of breaking in the investment career?

  43. K says

    What jobs does an actuary and mba holder has in the investment field? What is the entry level? How fast is the career growth?

  44. Shah says

    I will completed my finance undergraduate degree from a decent Indian college in two years but I have a passion for Sales and Trading. I know there are not much of trading opportunities in India for investment banks. So if I intend to apply for summer intern in Top IBs outside india for example Singapore, NY, Shanghai. Will I be considered a good candidate if I have a good application? I mean is there any kind of problems or complication in this situation. Please advice. (also for investment banking if not trading)

    • M&I - Nicole says

      Yes, though you may need to have a visa and speak an Asian language (i.e. Mandarin) to improve your chances. If you don’t have any trading experience, you may face quite a bit of competition. I’d suggest you to connect with people on LinkedIn, and see if you can arrange an informational trip to say Singapore. I’d probably forget about NY for now unless you have a US citizenship, and yes Shanghai unless you speak Mandarin. I may focus on Singapore to increase your chances. Just my thoughts, I may be wrong.

  45. siddhant says

    I am working as a functional consultant with an IT company in India. I have also completed my MBA in Finance and Marketing. Passed the CFA Level 1.
    I want to shift to a core IB profile where I work with Valuations and Financial Models. I was considering to undergo a financial modelling course which could provide with the skills necessary to crack the Interviews for Valuation related positions.
    But after reading the articles here, I am a little confused because the impression that I get is that there is a dearth of good opportunities when it comes to working in Bulge bracket IB firms or PE firms. The most easily and widely publicised positions are those with 3rd part KPOs. Now, in one of the articles I read that the work in these KPOs is not that great. Then, what should be the way forward for me, should I just continue to do what I am doing because there are no real good IB related opportunities out there?
    Would really appreciate your insight.
    Thanks !!

  46. Sehaj Singh Goraya says

    Hello sir!

    I am passing out in mechanical engineering in may 2015, and I got an offer letter from XL dynamics (Mortgage company)(US clients) ,Navi Mumbai for the role of an Associate analyst.
    They are offering this position which would involve ERP sytems, checking genuineness of documents, etc
    A pay scale of 3 lacks p.a along with MBA in finance for 2 years on weekends at company premises only . After those 2 years my package will jump to 5-6 lacks p.a

    My question is that ,Will I have plenty of exit opportunities after those 2 years? .
    Will I be able to easily land a job in North India? What about investment baking?

    Thank you so much for taking out the time! I am really confused!


    • M&I - Nicole says

      I am not sure re. plenty of opportunities but if you have nothing on hand, I’d take the offer. I’d leave the rest for readers to answer.

    • M&I - Nicole says

      It really depends. If you’re talking about having a background in biology yes you can check out say healthcare IB etc.

  47. Govindraj Prabhu says


    I have work experience of two years in financial marketing. Now i decided to move in to investment banking and i got an a opportunity in one of the top bpo for entry level analyst in investment banking for less than the salary of which im working right now. ; please suggest me whether should i take the offer in investment banking? how is the career growth. Im a MBA(Marketing & Finance)

    • M&I - Nicole says

      Yes I’d do so to break into the industry. Career growth depends on your efforts with the company…

  48. Shriya says

    Dear Sir,

    Have been offered a job in one if the India’s biggest banking capitve in Corporate and Investment banking as an analyst. and it feels like a KPO structure only as explained by you above. Plus the work timings are afternoon shift which may take a toll.

    i also have an opportunity to go to a broking Company in India with the analyst profile.

    What should i choose?

    • M&I - Nicole says

      I am not 100% sure but it seems like the experience at the IB may be useful if you want to learn more about IB.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *