HOME Investment Banking Investment Banking
Investment Banking

Sometimes, it’s easy to forget that this site started off all the way back in 2007 being 100% about investment banking.

But the article count doesn’t lie: a large plurality of articles and coverage on M&I is still related to good ol’ investment banking, despite financial crises, economic downturns, and the vilification of bankers now deeply embedded in mainstream culture.

Since there are hundreds of articles on investment banking, we’ve broken it down by the 3 major categories – recruiting, on the job, and groups and regions – and then divided each one of those into sub-categories (and sometimes, sub-categories within sub-categories).

Sort by:
  • Date
  • Date
  • Title

Investment Banking Interview Questions and Answers: The Definitive Guide

If you ever Google “investment banking interview questions and answers”, you could easily find yourself depressed. There are endless books, articles and message board threads where people complain about unfair interviews, and horror stories about “bad cop” interviewers. At first glance, it might seem like the interview preparation process is next to impossible. But I’d […]
Click here to read the article

The Definitive Guide to Corporate Banking

When you hear the words “corporate banking,” you might immediately think of loans. Or, you might be confused about what “corporate banking” means and how it’s different from commercial banking and investment banking. In either case, your thinking would be justified. The corporate banking division at a bank does advise on loan issuances, but the […]
Click here to read the article

The Definitive Guide to Leveraged Finance (LevFin)

The Leveraged Finance or “LevFin” group is not a big deal; they just happen to close big deals. And as a result, the Internet seems to be in love with this team. It’s not just because of those big deals, though; there’s also the perception that Leveraged Finance is one of the best groups for […]
Click here to read the article

How to Overcome a Low GPA in Investment Banking Interviews

What’s the single most difficult weakness to overcome in an interview? You might think of a long list: Lack of work experience, lack of finance knowledge, a non-target school, or the inability to work 80+ hours per week consistently. But I’d say the most challenging one is a low GPA. For any other weakness, you […]
Click here to read the article

Debt Capital Markets (DCM): The Definitive Guide

If someone tells you, “I work in Debt Capital Markets (DCM)”, you might immediately think: Bond. Investment-grade bond. Or, you might not think of anything at all, since there’s much less information about the debt markets than there is about the equity markets. Everyone can recall famous IPOs of technology companies, but hardly anyone outside […]
Click here to read the article

Investment Banking: Vancouver Edition

If you work in finance in Canada, do you have to be in Toronto? It’s like asking whether you need to be in New York in the U.S.: No, but you’ll probably have to go there at some point, especially if you want to reach the top ranks. But there are advantages to regional offices. […]
Click here to read the article

Equity Capital Markets (ECM): The Definitive Guide

If you hear the words “Equity Capital Markets (ECM)”, you might immediately think of initial public offerings (IPOs) and companies raising billions of dollars in huge stock-market debuts. But there’s a lot more to the group than breaking records and making headlines in the process. Like other capital markets teams at banks, ECM groups can […]
Click here to read the article

Investment Banker Salary Report: Base Salaries, Bonuses, Stubs, and More

Let’s face it. Many people are attracted to investment banking for the money.  That’s why investment banker salary reports like this are one of the most popular topics on this site. From 2008 through 2016, I wrote a pair of articles all about latest investment banking compensation trends each year in order to answer the […]
Click here to read the article

How to Prepare for Investment Banking Summer Internship Recruiting

This revised and updated article is mostly a reality check. If you’re wondering why I’m publishing an article about “summer internship recruiting” in February, then you haven’t been paying attention to recruiting. In the U.S., summer internship recruiting at many banks now begins and ends over a year in advance of internships. Some large banks […]
Click here to read the article

Investment Banking in Latin America: Never-Ending Internships or Never-Ending Bonuses?

Should you go straight to the source? In other words, if you cover emerging markets such as Latin America or Africa, is it better to be based in those regions, or to work in the nearest financial center, such as New York or London? You might think it pays to be local, but that’s not […]
Click here to read the article

How to Move from Accounting to Investment Banking and Leave the Audits Behind Forever

Tired of audits? Want to earn more and get more exciting work? Looking forward to spending your time on changing font colors in Excel? Congratulations! You’re well on your way to transitioning from accounting to investment banking. Moving into banking from an accounting background is easier than moving in from engineering, but it’s about the […]
Click here to read the article

Energy Investment Banking in Houston: Pathway into Private Equity, or Another Reason to Move to New York?

Just how different are the regional offices and headquarters of a large bank? In some cases, not very. But in others, they’re more like different planets. Houston falls somewhere in between these two extremes. There are similarities to New York, especially if you’re in the natural resources group, but the recruiting process, pool of candidates, […]
Click here to read the article

How to Decide on Investment Banking Summer Internship Offers: Who Has a 97.5% Full-Time Offer Conversion Rate?

Yes, it’s that time of year again: You need to make a decision about summer internships. Since recruiting is now hyper-accelerated, the decision-making process is also hyper-accelerated. If you’re fortunate enough to receive multiple offers from banks, you’re in a very good position. But instead of enjoying the moment, you’ll be tempted to go down […]
Click here to read the article

How to Break into Investment Banking as an Engineer – If You Enjoy the Punishment

I thought that engineers would stop wanting to move into finance. After all, companies like Google and Facebook now offer higher pay, better hours, and more interesting work than banks. And students at top universities and business schools are increasingly interested in technology rather than finance. But despite all that, some engineers still want to get […]
Click here to read the article

Investment Banking Case Studies: What to Expect, and How Not to Choke

If you’ve ever interviewed in Europe, you might have lingering nightmares about case studies in interviews and at assessment centers. But the contagion is spreading! Over the years, more students and professionals at all levels – in all regions – have been receiving case studies and modeling tests as part of the interview process. If […]
Click here to read the article

Investment Banking “Fit” Questions: How to Use the Rule of 3 for Quick and Efficient Prep

Does the brute force method work? In other words, if you’re preparing for a test, should you memorize the answers to all the possible questions that might come up? That strategy can work. And if you’ve read about investment banking interviews, many people recommend this strategy for interview preparation as well. They present hundreds or […]
Click here to read the article

Equity Value and Enterprise Value: The First, Last, and Only Guide You’ll Need to Master These Concepts

Is there a topic that everyone is wrong about? You might think of many examples if you limit yourself to politics and religion, but “mass wrongness” also extends into technical questions in investment banking interviews. Some sources have spotty coverage of accounting, valuation, and M&A analysis, but no one is completely wrong about those topics. […]
Click here to read the article

How to Tell Your “Story” in Investment Banking Interviews

If you have 2 hours before your interview, and you haven’t done any preparation, what should you do first? And if you have 3 weeks, 3 months, or 6 months to prepare, what should you do first? My answer would be the same in all those scenarios: Perfect your Story. Your “Story” is your response […]
Click here to read the article

Investment Banking in India

Does it ever make sense to accept a back-office role over a front-office one? In 99% of cases, no. But one market where candidates often think otherwise is India. Banks there try to ‘sell’ you on back and middle-office roles by offering higher base salaries and claiming that these roles lead to solid exit opportunities. But […]
Click here to read the article

Investment Banking Hours: Will “Protected Weekends” Save You, or Will You Still Toil Away for 80-100 Hours per Week?

Complain to anyone outside the finance industry about investment banking hours, and they’ll respond with the same few questions each time: Why have you destroyed the economy multiple times? Why are you stealing money from poor people? Why are you not in jail? Oh, and now that you mention it… why do you work so […]
Click here to read the article

Holla Back, Office: Should You Avoid the Back Office at All Costs?

A decade ago, I wrote an article strongly advising you against working in “the back office” at a bank. It became one of the most popular and controversial articles on this site. In the comments, people on both sides of the debate weighed in: Camp #1: I agree! The back office is terrible; I’ve been […]
Click here to read the article

What to Expect at a Startup-Focused Investment Bank in India

If you want to work with tech startups in the finance industry, you might assume that you have to be in venture capital. After all, technology investment banking groups work with larger, more established companies… right? That might be true in developed markets, but in some emerging markets, such as India, investment banks dedicated to […]
Click here to read the article

Investment Banking in Brazil: Finally

This one is the interview that I could never quite lock down – until now. We’ve managed to cover almost every emerging and frontier market, but my attempts at featuring Brazil kept falling through. But when I sent out an announcement asking for interviews last year, I received over 200 responses, with quite a few […]
Click here to read the article

Boutique Investment Banks vs. Middle-Market vs. Bulge-Bracket Banks: Got Rankings?

If there’s one thing I love, it’s ranking everything imaginable. From schools restaurants to investment banks, what’s the point of life unless you’re ranking everything and constantly comparing yourself to others? Just kidding – it’s a massive waste of time. Despite that, it is helpful to know about the different types of banks, especially since […]
Click here to read the article

Why You’re Not Getting IB Summer Internship Offers – and What to Do About It

What’s the difference between a pattern and a coincidence? I’m not sure, but I’d say that something that happens dozens of times in a few weeks goes from “coincidence” to “pattern.” One pattern I’ve been thinking about is summer internship recruiting. Since recruiting now starts and finishes ridiculously early, we’ve been getting a lot of […]
Click here to read the article

Accelerated Investment Banking Recruiting in London: The Best Way to Move to Another Bank?

Is it possible to do a summer internship at one bank, but then move to another one for a full-time role? It’s not easy. But one of the best ways to do it is with accelerated recruiting, which has become more popular everywhere – including the London market. You could use this accelerated recruiting process […]
Click here to read the article

What If You Don’t Get a Return Offer From Your Investment Banking Summer Internship?

So it wasn’t exactly a great year for return offers from summer internships. At some banks, the conversion rate was under 50%. At others, the rate was a little higher, but it was still far below the 80-90% you might see in “good years.” So if you didn’t get a return offer, are you screwed? Sort […]
Click here to read the article

Why Did a Bank Just Rescind Your Job Offer, and What Can You Do About It?

It’s four days before you start your new full-time gig, and you just received a short email from HR: “After further consideration, we have decided not to proceed with an offer of employment at Goldman Stanley, LLC. We regret any inconvenience this may have caused you.” What?!! Yes, that’s right: your offer was just rescinded. You […]
Click here to read the article

How to Prepare for Your Investment Banking Summer Internship in Less Than 8 Hours

Do you enjoy procrastinating? I do. My favorite method is binging on TV shows, followed closely by mobile games (Clash Royale!). Sometimes, waiting until the last minute helps you by adding time pressure. But other times, it hurts you because you can’t physically complete your tasks. With summer internships, it’s a bit of both. If […]
Click here to read the article

How to Break into Investment Banking as a Former Entrepreneur

Wait, WHAT?!!! Yes, I know what you’re thinking: you could see how liberal arts majors, accountants, consultants, engineers, and male escorts might want to get into finance… …but why would you ever want to go from running your own company to creating pitch books in a dungeon for 80 hours per week? At first glance, […]
Click here to read the article

Investment Banking in Sub-Saharan Africa: The Promise of Emerging Markets Realized?

Have emerging markets lived up to the hype? Back in 2005 or 2010, the answer seemed to be “Of course! They are growing quickly,” or “Well, they made it through the financial crisis in one piece.” But what a difference a few years can make. These days, the question is more like: “Can emerging markets […]
Click here to read the article

Why Most M&A Deals Fail: Love and Marriage?

What’s the dumbest answer you’ve ever heard in an interview? I can think of 10-15 examples that might contend for first place. But if you asked me for the most ironic answer, it would be the average response to the “Why investment banking?” question. The most common line from career changers – consultants, lawyers, and […]
Click here to read the article

Business & Professional Services Investment Banking: Can You Outsource Yourself?

Back when offshore outsourcing was first making waves, many people started asking the same question: “So, when will they outsource investment banking analysts and associates? How hard could it be to hire someone else to make pitch books?” Many banks outsourced portions of the role (see: “Knowledge Process Outsourcing” roles in India as one example), […]
Click here to read the article

How to Learn an Industry So You Can Discuss It Like a Pro in Interviews

“Tell me about the pharmaceutical market.” “What do you know about the oil & gas industry?” “Which companies in the tech industry are exciting?” They’re some of the most common questions in any finance interview. You can find reasonable guidelines for how to discuss an industry, but hardly anyone explains how to learn an industry […]
Click here to read the article

Will Crowdfunding and Marketing Automation Disrupt the Traditional Investment Banking Business Model?

Will investment bankers still exist in 50 years? Ask a Bernie Sanders supporter, and his likely answer would be: “No! They’re all useless. I’ll kill them all myself and then burn Wall Street to the ground!” Back in the real world, though, bankers exist because of fundamental business needs: companies want to raise capital and […]
Click here to read the article

How to Move from Capital Markets to M&A at an Investment Bank

Can you ever be fully satisfied? If you’re reading this site, the answer is probably “no.” You go through a ridiculous amount of effort to get into investment banking, private equity, or even (gasp) management consulting, but then… You want to move to a more prestigious firm… You want to work in a team with […]
Click here to read the article

What’s in a Confidential Information Memorandum (CIM)?

Do you need strong writing skills to succeed in finance? Not necessarily, but they certainly help. But you definitely need strong reading comprehension skills, or you’ll miss crucial information and make the wrong decisions as a result. Both of these skills intersect in the confidential information memorandum (CIM) that investment banks prepare for clients – […]
Click here to read the article

Exit Opportunities as a Post-MBA Investment Banking Associate: Impossible is Nothing?

“Impossible is nothing.” But it might be something when it comes to exit opportunities as an Associate in investment banking. Look at online discussions of this topic, and you’ll see words like “black hole” and “bottomless void” used to describe your options. In reality, though, things are not even close to this abysmal. There is […]
Click here to read the article

Investment Banking in Ireland: The Best Way to Advise on Pharmaceutical M&A Mega Deals?

Do you believe the league tables? In other words, if one country or industry has a lot of deal activity, does that mean there are substantial M&A deals there? You might say, “Yes,” or, perhaps, “They’re not perfect, but the league tables are roughly correct.” But there are always exceptions. One big example is Ireland, where […]
Click here to read the article

How to Switch Banks and Upgrade Your Full-Time Offer with Investment Banking Accelerated Interviews

So you made it through summer internship recruiting… You submitted your resume 131 times…. You interviewed at 21 different banks… And in the end, you got an internship offer. It wasn’t exactly the bank you wanted to work at, but you outperformed many other students. And now you’ve started your internship, you’ve been there a […]
Click here to read the article

Investment Banking in Australia: Perth vs. Sydney and Melbourne

Ever wish you had a “do-over?” Extra lives in a video game when you die for the final time? So do I. Especially when it comes to articles on this site written very early on that weren’t quite as thorough as more recent content. But unlike a character in a game, I have unlimited “do-overs” since I […]
Click here to read the article

The Top 4 Mistakes Students Make with Networking Emails – and How to Fix Them and Double Your Response Rate

What’s the biggest difference between an MBA and an undergrad? “Work experience” or “age” might immediately come to mind. Or, perhaps, “level of polish” or “presentation skills.” And if you’re more cynical, “amount of student debt” might also be up there. But how can you distinguish an MBA from an undergraduate at a glance? There’s […]
Click here to read the article

Defenders vs. Pillagers: How to Pick the Right Senior Bankers to Work With

What really determines your success on the job? Is it your technical skills? Your communication abilities? Or your attention to detail? All of those play a role, but if you ask anyone who has worked full-time for a few years, they’ll give you a much different response: Your team. Your senior team members could make […]
Click here to read the article

Latin America M&A and Restructuring: Family-Owned Businesses Meet Sovereign Defaults?

If you want to work in finance and never get bored, there’s a simple solution: go to Latin America. Or at the very least, work in a US-based coverage team for Latin America. You’ll get to deal with stubborn business owners with delusions of grandeur, unreliable information, and even the occasional sovereign default. On the other […]
Click here to read the article

Investment Banking in Calgary: Advise on Multi-Billion Dollar Energy Deals and Still Get the Weekends Off?

If you want to work on energy deals, Canada is a good place to start. And within Canada, most of the action is in Calgary – from both the Big 5 Canadian banks and the bulge bracket banks. Sure, energy deals do take place in other locations, but it’s hard to beat Calgary for the […]
Click here to read the article

The Investment Banking Deal Sheet: How to Win Job Offers with a Small Note Card

Is there an accessory that actually helps you win job offers? Could it be a smartphone, a tablet, or a robot in disguise? Or maybe a good pair of socks? Nope. This accessory does exist, but it’s just a normal piece of paper. It’s called a “deal sheet,” and it’s one of the most underutilized strategies for presenting yourself like […]
Click here to read the article

Investment Banking in France: The Best Way to Combine Wine Tasting and M&A Advisory?

If you could drink wine while working on a pitch book, would you actually want to work on the pitch book? Maybe, maybe not… but to answer that question, you’d have to work in France and advise on a few vineyard M&A deals. There’s a lot more to the industry than that, but it is […]
Click here to read the article

Investment Banking in Hong Kong vs. London: Got Tax Savings?

So, should you work in Asia? Or is it better to work in a major financial center in a developed country? The debate rages among university students, MBA students, and anonymous people online, so there’s only one way to settle this question: ask someone who’s had experience doing both. Our reader today worked across the […]
Click here to read the article

How to Write More Effective Networking Emails That Will Double Your Response Rate in 15 Minutes or Less

What’s your greatest weakness? I’m not talking about the BS answer you give in an interview (‘I work too hard!’). I mean your actual greatest weakness. You might be thinking of weaknesses like “Well, I’m sort of disorganized… and sometimes I lose motivation … and sometimes I’m not good at delegating tasks.” All of those […]
Click here to read the article

Investment Banking in Germany: Save More and Get Better Work Experience Than in London… Without Any Crazy Co-Workers?

If you go into investment banking, do you have to deal with crazy people? If you’ve watched any finance-related movies or TV shows, the answer seems to be “probably.” And if you’ve read stories online, in the comments section of this site, or on forums, the answer seems to be “always.” But that’s not true […]
Click here to read the article

From Law to Investment Banking: Even Better Than Starring in “Suits”?

If real life imitated TV perfectly, law would be an intellectually stimulating and exciting career path for everyone. You work with high-profile clients, try intense cases, make massive M&A deals happen, and empower the barbarians at the gate. Except… that doesn’t quite hold up in real life. The average corporate law job turns into a game of “How many documents […]
Click here to read the article

How to Succeed On the Job in Investment Banking: Are You a STARR or a TWAT?

“That new analyst we just hired will definitely be a STARR.” “But that one from last year is turning out to be a TWAT so far.” I looked at my 2 banker friends in confusion. “Um… what are you talking about? I’m assuming those are acronyms?” They looked at me like I was crazy. I […]
Click here to read the article

Internet and New Media Investment Banking: Something Old Meets Something New

If you tweet, they will retweet. And if the big banks and the old school sectors are no longer “hot,” bankers will start up dozens of smaller boutiques… …All focused on one of the hottest sectors around: internet and new media. Sure, we’ve covered the TMT sector before, but this sub-sector deserves special treatment because […]
Click here to read the article

How to Write the Equity Sales Team Memo: The Best Part of Working in ECM?

If you work in an equity capital markets team, one thing’s for certain: you will know how to raise capital like nobody else can. Writing memos, one might say, will be the ace up your sleeve. The good news is that these “equity sales team memos” are shorter than many of the documents you write […]
Click here to read the article

How to Network at Events and Information Sessions When You’re Not Feeling Sociable

Silence. Awkwardness. A loss for words. You just went to an exciting event at a great venue – The Rainbow Room at Rockefeller Center – and you were certain you’d do incredibly well networking there. You even wore your best set of clothes. But as soon as you arrived, you felt uncomfortable and you had no […]
Click here to read the article

How to Move from the Buy-Side TO Investment Banking – Without Bribing the Chairman or Having a Well-Connected Family

Wait, what? Why would you ever want to do this? Isn’t it the equivalent of dating a supermodel, and then breaking up with her and eloping with your pudgy, pimple-faced neighbor? Not quite. There are plenty of reasons why you’d want to move from a private equity, hedge fund, or other buy-side role back TO investment […]
Click here to read the article

“Great Communication Skills”: Talk Your Way Into Top Bonuses?

How do you win first place? Do you need natural talent? A rigorous training schedule? Does it come down to your drive? Ask any investment banking or corporate strategy professional what it takes to succeed on the job (read: what it takes to earn top tier bonus), and you’ll hear a few themes over and over […]
Click here to read the article

Space & Satellite Investment Banking: The Best Way to Meet Elon Musk and Get a Free Shuttle to Jupiter?

Space. The final frontier. These are the voyages of the… OK, OK, never mind, back to your cubicle now. You’ll never make it into outer space if you go into a standard investment banking role, but you might come close if you join the space & satellite advisory group. Even if you don’t win free tickets […]
Click here to read the article

The Restructuring Zone: Banker Meets Lawyer and Gets Married in a Shotgun Wedding?

A broken business model, a discarded piece of manufacturing equipment that still has 80% of its useful life, and a determined reader, pursuing expertise in restructuring. This is not just another industry or product group article. This is: The Restructuring Zone. Normally, restructuring investment banking is known as a standalone group – but every now and […]
Click here to read the article

Food and Beverage Investment Banking: The Best Way to Have Your Cake and Eat It, Too?

There’s one product that fuels investment banking analysts and associates above all else: Red Bull. And, to a lesser extent, takeout ordered from GrubHub Seamless / America To Go. So what could be better than advising the companies that help you survive your job on a daily basis? Nothing, really, which is what makes the […]
Click here to read the article

Investment Banking in Mexico: Win Bulge Bracket Offers Without an MBA or Previous Finance Experience?

The finance industry in developed markets hasn’t exactly made a strong “recovery” post-financial crisis (if you want to be bold and label it a “recovery”). Sure, hiring is up and more deals are getting done… but most teams have not expanded quickly in major markets like the US and UK. But banks have been growing […]
Click here to read the article

Infrastructure Investment Banking: How to Buy and Sell Airports, Stadiums, and More

From our coverage of public finance (Part One, Part Two), or “municipal securities” as it’s called at some firms, you learned all about issuing bonds and responding to requests for proposals (RFPs). And if DCM and the capital markets are for you, public finance is a great place to be. But if you’re more into […]
Click here to read the article

If a Chief Financial Officer (CFO) and Managing Director (MD) Fight to the Death, Who Comes Out Alive?

Nicolas was a Financial Analyst at General Electric where he explored the world of Corporate Finance. He is now a CFO and Partner Wild is the Game. The deathmatch. It’s fun to play in first-person shooters, but it’s even more fun in real life. And it’s most interesting when you put 2 high-level executives in […]
Click here to read the article

Investment Banking Spring Weeks: The Single Best Way to Break Into the Finance Industry in the UK?

One of the scariest emails I receive starts like this: “I’m a middle school / elementary school student, and I really want to do investment banking….” First off, no, you do NOT want to do investment banking if you’re 10 years old, sorry. You haven’t even hit puberty yet, so how could you possibly be […]
Click here to read the article

What Do You Do When You Interview at an Investment Bank and Never Hear Back?

“It was great meeting you – we’ll get back to you in a few days!” The VP shakes your hand, and you turn around and leave the room. You walk out of the interview on top of the world. After studying technical questions for 143 hours and reciting your story so many times that you […]
Click here to read the article

Construction & Engineering Investment Banking: The Best Way to Build a Strong Finance Foundation?

So far in the industrials space, we’ve covered quite a bit about capital goods (ex: aerospace & defense) and transportation (ground transport and maritime transport). But before you begin transporting goods or producing aircraft, you need to build the factory, freeway, or entire city in the first place. And that’s where the construction, technical services, and […]
Click here to read the article

Investment Banking and Private Equity in Mainland China: Land of the Surefire 100% IRR?

We’ve covered a surprising amount on finance in mainland China over the years, from foreigners getting into the industry against all odds to foreigners getting forced out of the industry, to undergraduates randomly getting month-long internships… But one common scenario is missing: what it’s like to grow up in China, work at a local Chinese […]
Click here to read the article

Can You Tell Me About a Recent Deal?

Judging by our email and comment volume over the past few months, there’s one interview question that causes more confusion than everything else combined… Can you tell me about a recent deal?” It seems like a very simple question: after all, you just read up on a deal online and then summarize what you find, […]
Click here to read the article

How to Break Into Investment Banking as a Big 4 Accountant in South Africa

If there’s one profession that bankers don’t respect, it’s the poor accountant. Sure, consultants also get a lot of hate … but hey, at least top management consulting firms recruit at the same universities and MBA programs that bankers flock to. For some reason, though, accountants always seem to attract skepticism and scorn from financiers. […]
Click here to read the article

The Definitive Agreement: Time for Bankers to Cross-Dress as Lawyers?

Lawyers get a lot of hate from bankers and financiers, but one fact often gets ignored amidst all that hate: in many cases, you’ll be pretending to be a lawyer no matter what your actual title is. One of those cases happens when an M&A deal is about to close, and both sides start circulating […]
Click here to read the article

How to Break Into Investment Banking and Private Equity in Singapore

Most of the time it is really, really, really hard to break into emerging markets if you’re a foreigner with no experience in the country and no language skills. But there are a few exceptions, such as Mexico, India (sometimes), and yes: Singapore. Singapore itself is not an “emerging market,” but when you work there […]
Click here to read the article

Chemicals Investment Banking 101: Walter White Meets Gordon Gekko?

If you want to make more money than you know what to do with, nothing beats becoming a drug dealer and using your knowledge of chemistry to build a crystal meth empire. Sure, you might have to kill a few dozen people on your way to the top, dodge multiple assassins, and take out some […]
Click here to read the article

From Private Equity Internship to Bulge Bracket Investment Banking: How to Cold Email Like a Pro and Win the Offer

You would think that after 5+ years of covering networking tactics across hundreds of articles, videos, and even a full-fledged course on networking, there would be nothing left to say about it. But you’d be wrong. I was skeptical when our interviewee today contacted me and offered to share the story of how he went […]
Click here to read the article

Do Banks Create a Toxic Workplace Culture That Puts the Lives of Their Employees at Risk?

Sometimes, my timing for publishing articles on this site is horrible. A few days ago, for example, I published our 2013 bonus recap and made a few comments about BoAML paying higher bonuses than other places… having just gotten off a 12-hour flight and not realizing the other big news involving that firm. Assuming you’re […]
Click here to read the article

Power & Utilities Investment Banking: The Most Electrifying Group Ever?

So far in this series on natural resources groups, we’ve covered metals and mining, alternative energy/clean technology, and oil and gas… which means there’s only one group left to tackle: power & utilities. When you hear “utilities,” you might think “boring, predictable dividend stocks [that fall in the value category of a zephyr chart]” – […]
Click here to read the article

What to Do When Your Summer Internship Sucks and You Can’t Make It Better or Leave Early

“Hi Brian, Hope you’re doing well. I am halfway through my internship and, frankly, I am not enjoying it. Our firm is only working with its portfolio companies and I’m mostly doing market research and thinking about partnerships, looking at competitors, etc. I’m doing no valuation or technical work, no financial statement analysis, not even […]
Click here to read the article

Oil & Gas Investment Banking: More Money Than Big Oil and Big Banking Combined?

If there’s one coverage group that’s even more desirable than metals and mining, it just might be oil & gas investment banking. Not only do you see some of the biggest deals with the world’s largest companies, but you also learn new accounting techniques, valuation methodologies, and maybe even something about petroleum engineering. Everything within […]
Click here to read the article

The Industrials Group (Part Three): Maritime Shipping Investment Banking

Last time around, we looked at how you transport capital goods and products on the ground via trucking, railroads, and everything in between. But sometimes oceans, or at least very large lakes and rivers, separate your cargo from its final destination. Barring the ability to walk on water, you’ll have to use maritime shipping to […]
Click here to read the article

Transportation & Logistics Investment Banking: The Industrials Group, Part 2

When you hear “industrials,” your first thought might be manufacturing and mechanical equipment. And then there’s aerospace & defense, which is really just another type of… very large mechanical equipment. But after you get done manufacturing all this heavy-duty equipment, you still need to transport it to its final destination – and this is where […]
Click here to read the article

Sports Investment Banking: The Best Way to Advise Manchester United *and* the Golden State Warriors?

One of the benefits of working in a media & telecom group in banking is that you also get to work with sports teams and leagues: after all, what media baron would pass on the chance to own a few of their own sports franchises? So you’ll see lots of sports teams and leagues owned […]
Click here to read the article

How to Answer the “Why Our Bank?” Question in Investment Banking Interviews, Assessment Centers, and More

You’ve just finished investment banking application #57 for this year’s recruiting season. It’s 3:14 AM, your eyes are glazing over, and you really wish this last bank would just ask for your resume/CV and cover letter and stop there… But they don’t. They have a list of questions for you to answer, somehow believing that […]
Click here to read the article

Finance in the Middle East: The Infographic

Another month, and another… infographic, it seems. This time around, it’s on everyone’s favorite topic: tax evasion. By “tax evasion,” of course, I mean “working in the finance industry in the Middle East.” We’ve done quite a few interviews with readers who work in Middle Eastern countries and who have recruited successfully in the region, so this […]
Click here to read the article

Media & Telecom Investment Banking: The Best Way to Advise Companies In Pursuit of World Domination?

Elliot Carver, the CEO of the fictitious Carver Media Group and the nemesis in the movie Tomorrow Never Dies, once said, “Welcome to the new world order, Mr. Bond. Churchill had his armies; Caesar had his legions; I have my divisions.” And it’s easy to see why he was right: media and telecom is quite […]
Click here to read the article

From Liberal Arts to Finance: Shakespeare with Swag, or Mission: Impossible?

“I’m writing in because I’d like to share with you my story of how I broke in against all odds. I’m a liberal arts major at a non-target university, and I decided at the end of my 2nd year that I wanted to get into investment banking. I won an internship at a local boutique […]
Click here to read the article

Private vs. Public M&A Deals: Got Divested Assets and a Stepped-Up Tax Basis?

When you start working in investment banking, you need to make a difficult decision that almost everyone overlooks… No, not what types of toys you should buy with your signing bonus. I’m talking about the types of companies you work with – not just the industries they’re in, or whether you work in an industry […]
Click here to read the article

From Physics Major with Low A-Levels and No Finance Experience in the UK to Investment Banking… in India

When I first started doing interviews about 3 years ago, one question in the comments of an early interview really surprised me… “Long time reader, first time poster, big fan of the site. Question – how do we know that these stories / case studies are true?” I see where he was coming from… many […]
Click here to read the article

Clean Tech Investment Banking: Work in Finance Without Corrupting Your Soul?

Are you a sellout for reading this blog? Bankers don’t have a great reputation, unless it’s a reputation for models, deals, pitch books, and the occasional memory of blowing their bonuses on one night at a fancy Manhattan night club. But bankers in the clean technology sector are of a different breed – you might […]
Click here to read the article

From the NFL to a Billion-Dollar Portfolio: Can You Throw a Football Far Enough to Become a Managing Director?

It’s no secret that I’m borderline obsessed with football. If you’re across the pond, below the Equator, or “down-under,” I’m not talking about the sport where you dribble around on the pitch; I’m referring to American football. Don’t get me wrong, I try to stay current on the news in La Liga and the Barclays […]
Click here to read the article

Metals & Mining Investment Banking: Got Divested Gold Mines?

Any solid group should have two things: big deals and lots of them. A colleague of mine once put it more colorfully: “I’m not a big deal. I just close them.” Most bankers would agree that they got into the field to affect great change in a sector through strategic decisions (e.g. mergers and acquisitions) […]
Click here to read the article

How to Network When Everyone You Know Has Been Fired: 7 Strategies to Embrace

Five years ago, I could easily name over 20 people on Wall Street I could call up and ask a favor from. Two years later, only two people from that original group remained in finance. You might think that since I started my own investment firm anyway, it didn’t matter – after all, you don’t […]
Click here to read the article

Technology Investment Banking: Bubbles, Failed IPOs, and Unprofitable Billion-Dollar Companies?

If you want to lose a lot of money very quickly, few sectors can beat technology during a bubble. Not only can you potentially lose your life savings on spectacular failed IPOs, but you might even get lucky and invest in a company with no revenue and no profit that somehow still gets acquired for $1 […]
Click here to read the article

The Office Politics Game: How to Climb the Ladder Without Being Assassinated On Your Way to the Top

You’ve seen it all before: the bright-eyed and bushy-tailed Soon-To-Be “The Star” joins the office with every intention of making you look bad – while being obscenely chipper. But then a senior banker piles the workload onto our brave young Analyst and he withdraws from everyone one else and pretty soon, he’s just a pitted […]
Click here to read the article

Investment Banking from Russia: With Love?

When I was traveling in Europe a few years ago, everyone thought I was either French or Russian. And, of course, I knew neither language so whenever someone attempted to speak to me I stared at them blankly and used hand gestures to explain my ignorance. I have the same reaction when readers ask about […]
Click here to read the article

Got Crystal Meth? The Breaking Bad Guide to Success in the World of Finance

If you want to break in and move up the ladder in finance, two of the most important skills will be killing people and selling crystal meth. Dissolving your enemies’ corpses with hydrofluoric acid might be a close #3. And the best place to learn all these skills is not from interview guides or training programs, but from […]
Click here to read the article

Investment Banking, Hong Kong Edition: The Best Place to Bank If You Know Mandarin?

If you take a second to look at the demographics for this site (see: right image), it’s no wonder that there’s so much interest in Hong Kong. We’ve featured a few interviews with readers who worked in other areas of finance there, but nothing specifically on investment banking – until today. Continuing our recent trend […]
Click here to read the article

The Financial Sponsors Group: Masters of the Financial Universe, or Humble Servants of PE Firms and Hedge Funds?

While much of the terminology used in finance contradicts itself, there’s a special amount of confusion over four groups in particular: Leveraged Finance, Debt Capital Markets, Financial Institutions, and Financial Sponsors. They all have “Finance” or “Capital” in their titles somewhere, and we’ve covered 3 out of 4 of them before… So today we’re going […]
Click here to read the article

Busting the Front Office Analyst Myth: Three Unexpected Truths You Need to Move from Admin to Analyst

All finance-minded students and professionals are bred to eat, sleep, and think that the “front office” is the only place to be for their first position. But I’m here to set the record straight – there is no such thing as a “front office analyst.” It’s an oxymoron. Especially when you’re just starting out (like […]
Click here to read the article

The Initial Public Offering (IPO) Process

Photo by Supiter5 A long time ago, initial public offerings (aka IPOs) were the end game for many technology start-ups: you could go public, get acquired, or die a spectacular death. Or just muddle along and die a slower, more painful death. And then one company came along and changed all that. While everyone has been […]
Click here to read the article

Public Finance, Part 2: A Day in the Life, Deals and Modeling, Exit Opportunities and More

Still confused after reading Part 1 of this series on public finance? Don’t worry: you are not alone. When I was speaking with our interviewee the first time around, I got the big picture idea of just how different corporate finance and public finance are… But I also wanted more details of what you do […]
Click here to read the article

Healthcare Investment Banking: The Best Place to Check In When Other Bankers are on Their Career Death Beds?

Tony Soprano once said to his shrink after a particularly grueling session: “I came here today to tell you, in all seriousness, that I’m done.” And maybe in this crazy economy you’re also done: you’re going to leave your current finance job to pursue sanity and stability. So you’d better be thinking about healthcare investment […]
Click here to read the article

Bridges, Broadband, and Bankrupt State Governments: How to Break Into Public Finance

“Public finance? What is public finance?” I was staring at a reader email from back when I started M&I, and I had no clue what he was asking about. “Finance” was investment banking, private equity, and hedge funds… and maybe a few other areas like equity research and trading, right? Who would want to advise […]
Click here to read the article

Trust No One, and Keep Your Dragon Close: The Game of Thrones Guide to Climbing the Corporate Ladder

About a year ago, I had just finished a long stretch of 80-90 hour workweeks. No, I hadn’t lost my wits and found myself back in investment banking. I had just finished up creating and releasing a new modeling course… …and I was ready to celebrate. A friend was having a birthday event at the […]
Click here to read the article

Real Estate Investment Banking 101: Location, Location, Location

You’ve heard those words plenty of times when it comes to real estate – whether you’re just casually interested or you fully intend to become the next real estate guru. And if you overlook the occasional housing crisis or three, you can see why the real estate market is so essential to all sorts of […]
Click here to read the article

How to Advise on a Mega M&A Deal in Latin America and Survive in One Piece: A Story from the Inside

You might say that working on deals in emerging markets is a little bit… different. Not only do you value and analyze companies differently, but you have to deal with all sorts of other fun: Possible government coups, hostile takeovers (from the government), and general instability. Complicated ownership structures that make the plot of Inception […]
Click here to read the article

Financial Institutions Groups (FIG) 101: Got Book Value?

If you want to be a bit different from all the other bankers out there, financial institutions coverage just might be for you: Valuation is completely different. You need to understand the finer points of accounting and spot small details. No one else outside of FIG understands what’s going on. And hey, you might even […]
Click here to read the article

Got Resolutions? (That You Can Actually Keep?)

Well, it’s that time of year again. The time of year where New Year’s Eve indiscretions are now just obscure memories for reflection, as hopeful New Year’s resolutions are being scribbled down on napkins and Post-It notes. But too often those promising resolutions suffer a fate similar to that age-old agreement between male and female […]
Click here to read the article

Emerging Power or Emerging Bubble? What You Do in the Latin America Coverage Group at an Investment Bank

Investors like growth. And now that they aren’t getting it in developed economies, whether they’re looking at industrials, consumer retail, or other sectors, they’re turning their attention south and east – to the BRIC countries and other emerging markets. We’ve been through what to expect in China and India multiple times, but Brazil hasn’t received […]
Click here to read the article

Apparel, Appliances, and Advisory: What You Do in the Consumer Retail Group at an Investment Bank

  Whenever the economy sinks and consumer confidence falls, pundits come out of the forest and start talking about consumer spending and just how much the damage will be. You might think that only matters if you happen to own your own jewelry, appliance, or sporting goods store – or you’re looking for discounts at […]
Click here to read the article

Structured Finance: Debt Raising Made Easy, or Financial Weapon of Mass Destruction?

Last time around, there was some controversy over whether or not Structured Finance was evil. “Evil,” of course, meaning that it caused the financial crisis. This time around, our interviewee addresses that question and responds to even more of my passive-aggressive interviewing techniques – plus a whole lot more. Here’s what you’ll learn in part […]
Click here to read the article

Structured Finance 101: What It Is and How You Break In

I’ve gotten requests to cover dozens of different topics – some of which are easy to find information on, and others that require Jack Bauer-style interrogation techniques to find clues. In the latter category is Structured Finance – look around online and you’ll find dozens of different definitions and contradictory descriptions of what it is […]
Click here to read the article

To Leave, or Not to Leave: Is That the Question?

Whether ‘tis nobler in the mind to suffer the countless work hours for models and bottles, Or to take back weekends against an office of czars, And by opposing be without work?  To beg: to borrow? Well, I wouldn’t quite go that far: Hamlet wasn’t exactly talking about ­­­freeing oneself from the world of finance, […]
Click here to read the article

Reckoning with Recruiters: How to Outsmart the Sharks and Land Job Offers Without Being Eaten Alive

It’s exam day in my final year of university and I’m sitting in Starbucks, cursing my idle ways and hurriedly inhaling whatever a brain on Red Bull can manage in 40 minutes. Across from me I recognize an acquaintance – Stephen – immersed in conversation with someone across from him. I look down at my […]
Click here to read the article

EMEA Recruitment, Part 2: How to Dominate Your Assessment Centers and Land Investment Banking Offers

“It’s not about the money. It’s about the game between people.” -Gordon Gekko, Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps The assessment center is the final sprint of the recruiting process – but it’s also a marathon in and of itself. It’s the longest, most intense, and most tiring part of everything you do before receiving an […]
Click here to read the article

How to Navigate the EMEA Recruitment Maze and Land Investment Banking Offers in Europe and Beyond – Part 1

“You don’t have to be great to start, but you have to start to be great.” -Zig Ziglar I was in my junior year at university when I started thinking about jobs after graduation – and suddenly realized that I didn’t know much about the recruiting process or how to actually win the attention of […]
Click here to read the article

“Unattractive, Poorly Dressed Applicants Need Not Apply”: Got Cultural Fit?

I’ve chatted with enough Managing Directors, Vice-Presidents, and Human Resources personnel to know what someone means when they utter the term “culture fit.” It’s just a way of telling a prospective employee that their “out of the box” thinking and unique, identifiable qualities need to be confined within that firm’s invisible “culture fence.” You may […]
Click here to read the article

How to Network Your Way Into Finance as a Female – Without Getting Hit On or Getting In Your Own Way

There shouldn’t have to be a separate article on networking for women. Women who want to work in finance need to develop their stories, cold call, and be diligent in following up – just like men who want to break in. But women still encounter gender-related obstacles on their path to breaking into finance – […]
Click here to read the article

Why You Won’t Close a Single Deal in Your First Year of Banking – and What to Do About It

Everyone wants deals. And if you just started working in investment banking – or you’re going to soon – you’ve already done extensive research on how many deals your group does and the probability that you will get into Blackstone based on your expected deal experience. You need deal experience for buy-side interviews, for your […]
Click here to read the article

The Buy-Side vs. The Sell-Side: The Worst Way to Categorize Finance Firms?

“Yo, you’ll make bank when you move to the buy-side! Screw this stupid investment banking job.” “Yeah, I heard everyone at hedge funds makes at least $1 million and gets a castle as their signing bonus.” “So when’s your interview?” Ah, yes: that classic debate about the buy-side vs. the sell-side. Although the conversation above […]
Click here to read the article

From Big 4 Restructuring to Investment Banking: How to Make the Leap

“Help! I hate my accounting job and want to move into banking, what do I do?” “What group should I transfer to if I want to get into finance?” “My Big 4 salary doesn’t give me enough cash for bottles!” If you’re at a Big 4 firm right now, you’ve had one of the thoughts […]
Click here to read the article

Money, Hours, Models, Bottles: Investment Banking in New York, California, and Everywhere In Between

“Are you guys even in the office past 8 PM? Whenever I call no one’s there.” “New York is hella lame, people are so much better out here.” “If you say ‘hella’ again I’m going to make you pay for the bottles next time – and maybe the models too.” “Fine, I’ll do some research […]
Click here to read the article

From London to the Middle East: How to Break Into Investment Banking in Dubai

While you’ve learned all about working in Dubai and other parts of the Middle East from previous interviews, we haven’t focused on recruiting much – until now. The interviewee you’re about to hear from went from spotty A-Level performance and low first-year university grades to multiple bulge bracket offers. And if you think that’s impressive, […]
Click here to read the article

So, What Should You Do at Investment Banking Summer Training Besides Getting Wasted Each Night?

You’ve just been through a warzone to get your offer: 53 interviews, 3 weekend trips to New York, and so much time spent staring at Excel that you’ve developed a monitor tan. But things worked out, you accepted your offer, and you’re about to start work in 2 weeks. You just need to make it […]
Click here to read the article

Investment Banking Recruiting in Europe: London vs. Frankfurt vs. Milan

While you’ve learned all about recruiting in Europe before in places like the UK, Germany, and Italy, we’ve never done a direct comparison of what to expect in each region. Will you really have to go through assessment centers and similar interviews in each place? Are they only looking for locals or can you break […]
Click here to read the article

From Analyst Monkey to King of the Jungle MD: The Investment Banking Hierarchy

“This is not a fraternity house,” my staffer explained as he hauled me into a small conference room. “Some of the MDs have complained about how messy your desk is, so clean it up.” Genuinely curious, I replied, “Were you referring to the empty Red Bull cans or to all the papers too?” Not a […]
Click here to read the article

How to Break Into Asset Management in Germany – from a Part-Time, Non-Target, Distance Learning MBA Program

So, what about those part-time MBA programs? Do banks and finance firms take them seriously, even if they’re online? What about continental Europe recruiting vs. the UK? Today you’ll learn about those and other topics from a reader who recently broke into the finance industry in Germany. This reader also did an internship at a […]
Click here to read the article

The Complete Guide to Cold Calling Your Way Into Investment Banking

Internship recruiting is over. And you made a valiant effort, securing 10 interviews with everyone from boutiques to bulge bracket banks – but you didn’t land the offer. And now you only have a few months before your non-existent summer internship begins. With recruiting finished, your last, best chance of breaking in is to cold […]
Click here to read the article

Bottles and Bottles? How You Really Win Clients and Land Mega-Deals as an Investment Banker

Why does the mainstream media hate Wall Street so much? You can think of dozens of reasons, but one of the biggest is that they don’t understand what bankers really do to earn their fees. They see news of million-dollar bonuses and assume that financiers earn those bonuses by sitting around and playing Monopoly. But […]
Click here to read the article

Industry Groups vs. Product Groups: Got Exit Opps?

“Yo, M&A is the best, right?” “Why would you ever take an industry group over M&A or Leveraged Finance? Don’t you want to buy entire countries when you move into PE?” “If you’re not modeling you’ll get bottom-tier bonus!” Ah, yes: the industry group vs. product group debate. Just like the debate over cardio vs. […]
Click here to read the article

Investment Banking Recruiting in the UK: All About Competency Questions, Assessment Centers and More

While we’ve had some good stories from readers in London recently, there hasn’t been a solid overview of recruiting in the UK – until now. It would be easy to dismiss this and say, “Banking recruiting and interviews are the same everywhere!” – but that’s just not true. There are huge differences in Europe and […]
Click here to read the article

Investment Banking Fairness Opinions: Profitable and Prestigious, or Glamorless Gruntwork?

“Morgan Stanley is acting as financial advisor to the buyer and Credit Suisse is acting as financial advisor to the seller, with the fairness opinion provided by Houlihan Lokey.” So we’ve been over this “financial advisor to the buyer and seller” stuff before, but what about that fairness opinion bit? You always see sentences like […]
Click here to read the article

Investment Banking Tough Interview Questions: How To Answer the “Greatest Weakness” Question

“Katie Couric: What one personal flaw do you think might hinder your ability to be president? Barack Obama: I don’t think there’s… a flaw that would hinder my ability to function as president. I think that all of us have things we need to improve. You know, I said during the primary that my management […]
Click here to read the article

How to Break Into Finance in London Coming from an Unknown School in Eastern Europe

When this interview series started awhile back, I expected most submissions to come from Europe since the UK is the second biggest country in terms of readership. But that didn’t happen – instead, we covered the Middle East (which is awesome) and parts of Asia instead. This time around, though, we move back toward Europe […]
Click here to read the article

The 4-Hour Investment Banking Body: How to Keep Off the First Year 15 and Get In Shape While Sitting In a Cubicle Staring at Excel All Day

It’s midway through your first year as a banker. You just got back from the holiday party, and after taking a day off to recover from your hangover, you’re ready to rock and roll. You pull out your favorite pair of slacks from the closet, fumbling to put them on… …and as you do so, […]
Click here to read the article

How to Dominate Your Industry-Specific Interviews: Real Estate, Energy, FIG, and More

You’ve applied to over 100 banks, networked with 230 bankers, and have been pounding the pavement since August. And now you’ve lined up 10 first round interviews, most of which are for the M&A and generalist pools. But then you notice that you’re also set to interview with a mysterious FIG (Financial Institutions Group) banker, […]
Click here to read the article

Investment Banking: Pakistan Edition

OK, I’ll admit it upfront: while this site has featured lots of interviews from readers in “hot” emerging markets such as China and India, I haven’t gotten too many requests for Pakistan. But this is such a good interview and has such specific information that I wanted to publish it anyway. Plus, the interviewee has […]
Click here to read the article

How to Network Like a Ninja in London and Break Into Finance with Low Grades and a Non-Target School on Your CV

“You’ve written so much about networking, but it doesn’t work outside the US. No one in my country responds to cold calls or emails – what do I do?” It’s one of the most common objections I get to the networking advice on M&I. There are dozens of interviews disproving the old complaint that everything […]
Click here to read the article

How to Break Into Finance as a Consultant

I’m not gonna lie: I haven’t treated consultants very well before – and even though that infamous Leveraged Sellout video is ancient history by now, it still pops into my head whenever I get questions from consultants. But despite that, I still do get lots of questions from consultants on how to move into the […]
Click here to read the article

Investment Banking: Canada Edition

Canada and the US… pretty much the same, right? How different could recruiting and the finance industry really be? As it turns out, “a lot.” In this interview with a reader who currently works in investment banking in Canada, you’ll learn: Networking ninja tactics – who knew the library could be so helpful? How recruiting […]
Click here to read the article

The Don Draper Guide to Investment Banking

A few years ago some banker friends and I were thinking about creating a TV show. Entourage meets The Office: all the glamor of movie stars and the celebrity lifestyle, but in cubicles rather than Hollywood. But the outside world has never hated Wall Street more, and post-financial crisis there’s no way a drama like […]
Click here to read the article

Why You Didn’t Land an Offer in Your Final Round Interviews at Morgan Stanley

“Help! I went to my final round interviews but the interviewer didn’t like me from the start and kept harassing me with irrelevant questions. I asked for feedback afterward and they said, “Improve your technical skills.” How can I do that? They didn’t even ask me any technical questions.” Final rounds are over. Banks are […]
Click here to read the article

Weekend Trips: The Best Way to Break Into Investment Banking?

And no, I’m not referring to weekend ski trips, a 3-day gambling spree in Monaco, or your feeble attempt to ask your MD for a vacation 2 months after you started. These are the weekend trips where you travel to financial centers, meet dozens of bankers in a short period of time, and apply the […]
Click here to read the article

Investment Banking: South Africa Edition

While everyone knows about emerging markets like China, India, and the Middle East, there’s not as much awareness of South Africa. But it would be a mistake to ignore it, because it’s an interesting market in its own right – and it’s quite a bit different from anywhere else in the world. So let’s get […]
Click here to read the article

From Analyst to Associate and Beyond: How to Get Promoted In Investment Banking

So, what happens if you’ve lost your mind and suddenly don’t want to move into PE, go to a hedge fund, or become a venture capitalist? You continue on in banking, and move from Analyst to Associate – and beyond. If you’re in the US, you might be wondering why you’d ever want to do […]
Click here to read the article

Planes, Trains and Capital Equipment: What You Do In the Industrials Group at an Investment Bank

One question I’ve gotten a lot over the years is what different groups at a bank do. Yes, everyone knows that M&A is supposedly more technical than other areas, but what about other industry and product groups? Some of that has been answered with coverage of ECM and related groups – and today we’re going […]
Click here to read the article

How to Use Investment Banking Informational Interviews to Break In

I’ve referenced informational interviews many times, but have never given a step-by-step tutorial – or even said what exactly an informational interview is. So let’s change that. There’s more detail within Breaking Into Wall Street, but I wanted to put this guide out there to answer the most common questions on informational interviews – and […]
Click here to read the article

The Investment Banking Cover Letter Template You’ve Been Waiting For

A long time ago I said that we would never post a cover letter template here: “I was tempted to post a Word template, but I don’t want 5,000 daily visitors to copy it and to start using the same exact cover letter.” But hey, we already have resume templates that everyone is using, so […]
Click here to read the article

What Should You Pick For Your Major?

NOTE: Please click here to get the updated version of this article – our views on the ideal major for IB roles have changed. So, which major has the highest chance of getting you into investment banking? You might think that only undergraduates have to think about that one, but it comes up even when you’re […]
Click here to read the article

What’s In Investment Banking Pitch Books?

If you’ve been reading this site awhile, you’ve seen a number of references to pitch books – whether they’re in day-in-the-life accounts, explanations of what bankers actually do, or even horror stories from other sources. But there hasn’t been much detail on what goes into pitch books, why you spend so much time on them, […]
Click here to read the article

What You Do In Equity Capital Markets, Part 2: The Equity Syndicate

We continue our discussion of different groups in investment banking today by learning all about a group you might not have even heard of before: the equity syndicate. While it’s more niche than some of the others we’ve looked at (M&A, ECM…), that also makes it interesting and worth discussing. To make things even more […]
Click here to read the article

It’s Not Rocket Science: Why You Should Stop Learning Partial Differential Equations If You Want to Break Into Investment Banking

“Hi, I was wondering which class I should take to break into investment banking: Advanced Partial Differential Equations or Quantum Field Theory. Do you think it will ruin my future if I only learn up through Multivariable Calculus?” No, I don’t make this stuff up: I get emails like this all the time. Sometimes they’re […]
Click here to read the article

Stuff Investment Bankers Like, Round 3

It’s been awhile, so let’s jump right back into it. Parts 1 and 2 are here – essential reading if you ever plan to go to Buenos Aires or hit “Reply All” in your email client. 15) Unsolicited Advice Working in investment banking, you will age more rapidly than the average person. That’s just what […]
Click here to read the article

How to Dominate Your Investment Banking Sell Day

After setting up 114 informational interviews during recruiting season, you made it through alive and got 3 bulge bracket investment banking offers. You picked your top choice, and now you’ve spent the last 5 months in Buenos Aires partying. But then one day you get a letter from your bank: your sell day is coming […]
Click here to read the article

Investment Banking in Saudi Arabia: The Hottest and Most Overlooked Emerging Market in the World?

What do you think of when you hear “emerging market”? China… India… Russia… Brazil… And then maybe Dubai, Eastern Europe, Southeast Asia, and a couple others. But Saudi Arabia is probably not at the top of your list. That could be a big mistake, as we’ll find out in this wide-ranging interview with a reader […]
Click here to read the article

Can You Renege On Your Investment Banking Job Offer Without Being Blacklisted for Life?

Interview season is finished. You got 30 first round interviews, made it to 5 Superdays, and came away with an offer at a middle-market bank – which you quickly accepted. But 5 minutes ago, you just received a call from your recruiter at a bulge-bracket bank: “another spot opened up” and they’re extending a summer internship […]
Click here to read the article

How to Quit Your Investment Banking Job Without Getting Executed

Midway through every year, a whisper starts growing at investment banks everywhere. “This sucks. I’m gonna quit.” Sometimes it’s so bad that you just want out immediately. Other times, you plan to wait and stealthily make an exit as soon as your bonus hits your bank account. So here’s how you can break out of […]
Click here to read the article

You Didn’t Get Any Investment Banking Summer Internship Offers. Now What Do You Do?

Summer internship recruiting is over. Bankers have come to your campus, conducted interviews, finished recruiting, and now they’re back to their pitch books. But you don’t have any offers. What now? No Summer Offers vs. No Full-Time Offers There are 3 main differences: Timing: You have more time to find your Plan B with full-time […]
Click here to read the article

How to Break Into Investment Banking as an Engineer With No Finance Background: Case Study

There’s no mystery why the article on How to Break Into Investment Banking as an Engineer is one of the most popular on this site, with over 100 comments: it struck a chord with many readers. You’ve studied engineering or you’ve been an engineer for awhile, and now you want to make the move into […]
Click here to read the article

Investment Banking: Dubai Edition

Dubai: the hottest emerging market in the world? The best place to work in finance? Or is it all just a mirage in the desert? The truth is somewhere in between, as you’ll find out in this interview with a current investment banking analyst who works in Dubai. We cover this reader’s background, what the […]
Click here to read the article

No Matter How Badly You Fail Your Investment Banking Interviews, You Can’t Do Worse Than This

Forget about conquering your interviews and fixing all your mistakes. Sometimes it’s fun to sit back and laugh at how badly you failed. Or at least to engage in some schadenfreude. Story #1: Holla Back, Office This one took place when I was interviewing for every single position under the sun: banking, sales & trading, […]
Click here to read the article

How to Write an Investment Banking Resume When You Have No Real Work Experience

“Ok, I’ve followed your resume templates, but I don’t have any real work experience and I’m applying to internships… what do I do? How do I compete with the guy who already has finance internships on his resume?“ This one is very common if you’re still in school and you’re going for internships or even […]
Click here to read the article

You Didn’t Get Any Full-Time Investment Banking Offers. Now What Do You Do?

“Don’t Panic.” Or not. If full-time recruiting season is over and you don’t have any offers, you should be panicking at least a little. While summer interns who don’t get return offers have a few months to fix the situation, your options are more limited. But that doesn’t mean you have no chance of getting […]
Click here to read the article

Why Do Investment Banking Associates and Analysts Secretly Want to Kill Each Other?

“Dude, this new ex-consultant Associate is such an idiot. Why do they even hire people like this?” “At least yours didn’t make you spread the same comps ten times for no reason.” “Why is that Analyst so annoying? Why does he think he knows more than us?” It’s some of the most common chatter you’ll […]
Click here to read the article

Stuff Investment Bankers Like, Round 2: Email Forwards That Destroy Careers, Blue Shirts, Headphones, The Track, Markup, The West Wing, and Closing Dinners

Ok, let’s get started with round 2. See round 1 (cocaine, Buenos Aires, and more fun) right here if you missed it before. 8. Email Forwards That Destroy Careers You’ve already seen this story, so I won’t bother repeating the details here. But while everyone else focused on the foolishness of one intern trying to […]
Click here to read the article

Lateral Hiring 101: How to Look Before You Leap, and Then How to Make the Leap

“Make mistakes of ambition and not mistakes of sloth. Develop the strength to do bold things, not the strength to suffer.” -Niccolo Machiavelli, The Prince Except with lateral hiring – where “mistakes of ambition” are sometimes just not worth it. Look Before You Leap: Should You Do It At All? This is the first question you […]
Click here to read the article

How to Network Your Way Into Investment Banking in 5 Simple Steps

Here it is – the step-by-process you’ve been waiting for: (For more free training and financial modeling videos, subscribe to our YouTube channel.) There’s too much material in this video (email readers, please click through to view) to transcribe here, so here are the highlights – and my evil scheme to incentivize you to watch […]
Click here to read the article

My Own, Personal Networking Blunders and What You Can Learn from Them

“I was sitting in a meeting with my MD the other day and I mentioned how I was “just a peon.” Then he immediately objected and said, ‘No, no, no, I don’t think of Analysts like that…’ “ So this is what they really did at JP Morgan investment banking. Most career fairs are boring […]
Click here to read the article

Why You Can’t Network Your Way Into Investment Banking – and What to Do About It

I got to thinking about this very question the other day… (For more free training and financial modeling videos, subscribe to our YouTube channel.) I looked through my inbox recently and realized something: 5% of my emails fell into the “What should I do with my life?” category. 4% were related to GPA rounding. 1% […]
Click here to read the article

Investment Banking Interview Ju-Jutsu: How to Spin Your Weaknesses Into Strengths and Answer the Tough Questions

“So, what exactly have you been doing since graduation? Did you go through recruiting last year and just not get any offers?” “Can you tell me with a straight face that you’d really prefer working here in Idaho rather than New York?” Sometimes you get questions you just can’t answer truthfully. It’s like your interviewer […]
Click here to read the article

Copy This Experienced Investment Banker Resume Template to Break In As an Associate

I kept getting questions about this one, and I figured we should finish up that series of investment banking resume templates and video tutorials – so here it is. In this lesson, you’ll learn how to craft your resume if you’re at the MBA level, if you’ve been working full-time, or if you’ve had extensive […]
Click here to read the article

How to Spin and BS Your Way to Success in Investment Banking

“It’s tough to make predictions, especially about the future.” Not sure why you want to do investment banking? Don’t know what you did in your last job besides watching YouTube? Haven’t the faintest clue what your “story” is? Then you need to learn how to spin. Lying is bad. But spinning – making yourself seem […]
Click here to read the article

Why Investment Banking?

“I looked at all the articles on your site but nothing told me WHY I want to get into this industry. Can YOU tell me why I want to be an investment banker?” It’s a question you’ll get in every interview. But it’s also a question where 90% of interviewees give terrible answers, no matter […]
Click here to read the article

How Investment Banking Analysts Get Ranked for Bonuses: Roll the Dice, Please

One question that comes up whenever banks announce bonuses is how you get ranked in the first place. Sure, we all want to be “Top Tier,” but how do you actually get there? There must be a complex “ranking” process at banks to ensure high standards for everyone…. right? Nope. It’s actually more like spinning the […]
Click here to read the article

Stuff Investment Bankers Like: Trophy Wives, Talking About Cocaine, Pls Do, Buenos Aires, Making Empty Threats, Lying, and Reminiscing

Let’s skip the witty introductions and get right into it. #1 Multiple Trophy Wives For the investment banker, trophy wives are required due to both pride and necessity. Pride: What kind of rich, successful guy only has 1 wife? Come on, even in third world countries polygamy is common place, so why can’t you get […]
Click here to read the article

Investment Banking Resume Template for University Students Who Want to Land a Banking Job

I get a lot of questions on how to structure your resume, how to write about your experience, what to focus on, and how much to write. Rather than writing a giant Q&A on all these topics, why don’t I just give you this proven investment banking resume template that you can just copy and […]
Click here to read the article

How to Win Friends and Influence People in Investment Banking by Slacking Off and Pretending to Work Hard

Ask senior bankers what quality is most important in Analysts and Associates, and 99% of them will say “A good attitude.” If you’re going to work 100 hours per week, you need to be positive about what you do every day… right? Wrong. All you have to do is give the appearance of a good […]
Click here to read the article

How to Network Like Jason Bourne, When to Throw In the Towel, Moving to Different Groups, and More Networking Ninja Tactics

Here’s the conclusion to the Networking Q&A podcast posted a few weeks ago – in this one we cover how to network internationally (like Jason Bourne, minus the multiple identities), when to give up, how to make yourself more valuable, moving between different groups, and finance and consulting-specific questions. A lot of these questions come […]
Click here to read the article

How to Turn Cold Calls Warm, Follow-Up and Avoid Awkward Alumni Conversations

Ok, Kevin and I received a ton of great questions from everyone over the past few weeks on networking. We finally had a chance to sit down and record this Q&A session the other day. One small problem: it turned out to be so long that we split it up into two parts (I know, […]
Click here to read the article

Mergers & Acquisitions Investment Banking: What You Do Every Day

One question I’ve been getting lately is, “What do you actually do in XYZ group at a bank?” And since everyone still wants to be in Mergers & Acquisitions, “M&A” is the most commonly requested group. I had assumed that if you found a site like this, you would just naturally know what you do […]
Click here to read the article

If You Can’t Get a Paid Finance Internship or Job, Should You Offer to Work for Free?

As graduation and summer internship season approach, you may be considering unpaid options more seriously if you’re still looking for an internship or job. On the surface, this seems like an easy one, supported by straightforward logic: Banks and other financial services firms are hurting due to the recession. Therefore, they don’t want to pay […]
Click here to read the article

How to Get Noticed When Networking – Without Becoming a Nuisance: 3 Real-Life Success Stories

“How can I get noticed when I’m contacting alumni?” “They just keep ignoring my emails! What should I do?” “Won’t I sound desperate if I keep emailing the same person over and over again?” Those are some of the most common questions I get. So today, I’m going to show you how 3 separate individuals […]
Click here to read the article

Investment Banking: Italy Edition

Continuing our series on finance in different regions of the world, today we go to Italy and hear from a reader who completed an MBA program there and then had an internship this past summer at a local Italian investment bank. We cover a broad set of topics, including how he decided to study in […]
Click here to read the article

Recruiting in a Down Market, Part 3: How to Go from Networking Newbie to Networking Ninja

In the last article in this series, we looked at 4 ways you can move from “check the box” recruiting to actual recruiting: casting a wide net, considering other geographies, thinking outside banking / consulting, and networking. The first 3 are straightforward, but “networking” often gives prospective financiers more trouble than a shuriken to the […]
Click here to read the article

Investment Banking: Australia Edition

NOTE: Please click here for an updated and more detailed overview of investment banking in Australia. I get a lot of questions on investment banking in different parts of the world. Since I based this site on my experience working in the US, there has been a North American bias in most of the articles […]
Click here to read the article

How to Break Out of “Harold & Kumar” Mode and Use Investment Banking Information Sessions to Break Into the Industry

“Uh, this is actually a two-part question. I’m applying for a summer internship at Brewster Keegan, and I was wondering: a) what it’s like being an investment banker and b) if you would write me a recommendation.” -Kenneth, Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle If you’ve been to any investment banking information sessions lately, […]
Click here to read the article

Why You Weren’t Selected for That Interview at JP Morgan

It’s a question I’ve been getting a lot lately. “Why didn’t I get an interview at Morgan Stanley New York?” “Why was my friend selected for JP Morgan Houston but I was not?” “Why did I get an interview at CS Hong Kong even though my resume had a typo in it?” Interview selection at […]
Click here to read the article

Investment Banking Mistakes: What Happens When Interviewers Hire the Worst Person for the Job

One of the best questions I’ve ever received came from a student following a speech at a top university many years ago: “Have you ever accepted anyone who turned out to be horrible after starting? Have the interviewers ever made a mistake?” I was surprised that the question did not relate to bonuses, the hours, […]
Click here to read the article

Networking Into Investment Banking: It’s A Marathon, Not A Sprint

“Help! I’m a senior who just started my job search and I really, really want to work in investment banking. I have no finance experience and go to a non-target school. I also only got interested a few weeks ago. Can I work at Goldman Sachs?” I’ve been getting a lot of emails similar to […]
Click here to read the article

How Summer Interns Get Full-Time Offers

“Summer means various things to various people, but one thing it means for most people in finance and all of New York is: interns. I’m told there is a similar wave of little political interns towards D.C. this time of year, but frankly, I’m not even certain they get paid.” –Sheer Suckers, The Leveraged Sellout […]
Click here to read the article

A Week in the Life of an Investment Banking Analyst: Saturday

If I wanted to, I could be cruel here and write about that one Saturday when I was summoned away from dinner and had to work into Sunday, but that’s not a typical weekend. Plus, it wouldn’t be accurate since I’m pulling all these day-in-the-life accounts from the same week in my life as an […]
Click here to read the article

A Day in the Life of a Former Investment Banker

So, what do you do when you quit the world of investment banking? I’m not talking about getting fired – I’m talking about when you voluntarily quit to do something else, ideally without a “Plan B” in place. Is life less stressful? More fun? How can you entertain yourself all day? And most importantly, what […]
Click here to read the article

A Week in the Life of an Investment Banking Analyst: Friday

Back when I wrote that Friday at 4 PM is the worst time to be an investment banker, I wasn’t joking. Mondays and Fridays tend to be the worst because of all the last-minute surprises – though in this case my “Friday surprise” arrived earlier than 4 PM. 7:30 AM – Wake up late for an […]
Click here to read the article

A Week in the Life of an Investment Banking Analyst: Thursday

I could have called this one “The Slow Day” and it would have been more accurate. This is just about the slowest day you can have in investment banking and still call yourself a banker. 9 AM – Head in. I’ve been here for awhile now so I’ve stopped caring about arriving “early.” 9:30 AM […]
Click here to read the article

A Week in the Life of an Investment Banking Analyst: Wednesday

Our series continues with an account of Wednesday of the same week in my life as an analyst. This one is the closest to a “typical day” of anything in this series. 8 AM – Join a customer due diligence call for an upcoming IPO for Client D. No way I’m in the office this […]
Click here to read the article

A Week in the Life of an Investment Banking Analyst: Tuesday

My week continues with an account of what happened on Tuesday – not quite as dreaded as Monday, but still far from the weekend. 9 AM – No fire drills today, so I get to the office at a normal time once again. The morning is fairly slow and I spend most of my time […]
Click here to read the article

A Week in the Life of an Investment Banking Analyst: Sunday & Monday

One bit of feedback I’ve received over time is that my “Day In The Life” features are among your favorites. Whether it’s my worst day or my best day, everyone’s interested in… what bankers actually do. In the spirit of the famed investment banking lifestyle, this article kicks off a series on what’s it like to be […]
Click here to read the article

Sample Farewell Email: How To Go Out In Style

“Friends and colleagues, After two very educational years, the time has come for me to leave Goldman Sachs. Beginning in August, I will be moving on to my next adventure, The Carlyle Group in New York. I have attached my updated contact information below, and look forward to keeping in touch. Warmest regards,” –Breaks In […]
Click here to read the article

Tips From A Former Summer Analyst And Soon-To-Be Full-Time Analyst

Today we have a guest post from a loyal reader who worked at a bulge bracket investment bank last summer and will be returning full-time this year. He has some additional tips for everyone about to start their investment banking jobs / internships – these are great overall so I don’t have much to add, […]
Click here to read the article

The Investment Banking Summer Intern Success Guide: Yes, You Better Get My Coffee

“Always carry shoe polish, in case said analyst’s shoes need a shine. Forget your blackberry holster – what you need is a coffee cup holder for more than four cups – this way, you’ll need only make a single trip to Starbucks each morning when you bring your team coffee.” –..and Some More Investment Banking […]
Click here to read the article

Becoming Frank Quattrone: Investment Banking Lingo 2.0

“Hahah, oh snap! That is hot. Get this though, the other day, this MD accidentally spills coffee on this analyst’s shirt. MD doesn’t really say anything, just goes on working. The analyst is moping around all day whining about his shirt. So finally, the MD drops $100 bill on the analyst’s desk and goes ‘Quit […]
Click here to read the article

Investment Banking Lingo: How To Walk, Talk And Act Like Gordon Gekko

“I have read Monkey Business, Liar’s Poker, and When Genius Failed each 3 times and consider them my collective bible. I know I have the eye for perfection and artistic vision to create truly immaculate pitch books. I am Microsoft Certified in Excel, and I know all the shortcut keys (alt-i then r, that will […]
Click here to read the article

Finance Headhunters: Friend Or Foe?

“My name is Rebecca Nicholson. I’m a recruitment consultant at Assbury Moron.” This HR chick has obviously mis-dialed and has no idea that this is not Assbury Moron, or wherever else she’s looking for. “A recruitment consultant.  A headhunter.  Are you free to speak for a few moments?” –The Kruelberg Kretin Saga – Episode VI: […]
Click here to read the article

The Conference Room: How You Get Fired In Finance

Subject: Hey, do you have a minute?Either come to my office or we can meet in a conference room. Uh oh. Unless that email is coming from the co-worker you’ve been secretly dating or (one of) the secretaries you’re having an affair with, you’re probably going to be fired in the next 5-10 minutes if […]
Click here to read the article

Lateraling To Another Investment Bank? Look Before You Leap

“I’m in the Credit Suisse Tech M&A Group currently but I heard that Goldman TMT is way better and that everyone who works there aces their private equity interviews and gets offers at KKR and Blackstone. How can I transition over to a much better group/bank?” Every week I get questions like the one above. […]
Click here to read the article

So, What Will I Do As An Investment Banking Summer Analyst (Besides Get Abused)?

At the top levels investment bankers are just miniature versions of Ari Gold. But are summer interns just miniature versions of Lloyd? Is the internship just a matter of getting abused repeatedly, fetching coffee and running around fixing printers? Or do you ever get to do anything interesting (or NOT use Excel in a given […]
Click here to read the article

The Best Day in the Life of an Investment Banking Analyst

I’ve taken some heat from those who said that my “Day In The Life Of An Investment Banking Analyst” article was an unfair portrayal of the job. It can’t always be that bad, right? There has to be some upside; you can’t always be pulling all-nighters while 5 different Associates are yelling at you for […]
Click here to read the article

Why Investment Banks Make So Much Money

It’s a question as old as Excel itself. “If investment banking is not that hard, why do you make so much money doing it?” Sure, the hours are terrible.  And as an Analyst or Associate, you’re respected just slightly more than a primate. You’re always at the mercy of the client, sacrificing your spouse, children, […]
Click here to read the article

Investment Banking Networking: How to Break In

Ah, networking into investment banking. No other topic creates so much confusion – so let’s dive right and see how you use networking to break into the industry. Definitions There are 2 main approaches to networking: Developing Relationships – Meet bankers at information sessions, during weekend trips, and get to know them over time. Cold-Calling […]
Click here to read the article

The Investment Banking Interview Selection Process

“Life all comes down to a few moments. This is one of them.” -Bud Fox, Wall Street Heading into an investment banking interview? Make sure you read this carefully, since your life will depend on it. One of my most frequently asked questions is how exactly investment bankers decide who gets an offer following a […]
Click here to read the article

How To Dominate Your Investment Banking Internship

Nye: Learn everything you can, then get the hell out of there before it’s too late. Ellen: How exactly will I know when that is? Nye: Ah. That’s for another walk.” –Damages You get an investment banking internship for 2 reasons: To learn the job and absorb everything you can. To land a full-time offer. […]
Click here to read the article

How to Break Into Finance as a Lawyer

“The first thing we do, let’s kill all the lawyers.” -William Shakespeare, Henry VI Part 2, Act IV Lawyers don’t get much respect – whether it’s from investment bankers or Shakespeare. But if you’re a lawyer and you want to break into finance – investment banking, private equity, hedge funds, and so on – there […]
Click here to read the article

A Day in the Life of an Investment Banking Analyst

Ah, the life of an investment banking analyst. “6:30 Sycophant drops by on his way out. Client meeting next Friday but wants complete turn of a pitch for first thing tomorrow morning (tomorrow morning = when he finally gets around to looking at it at some point next week). A quick calculation; there’s no way […]
Click here to read the article

What Do Investment Bankers Do?

I’ve seen many explanations of what investment bankers actually do, but they’ve all been either bad or boring. I can sum up what we do in 2 words and 1 picture: Ari Gold. Investment bankers are agents, just like Ari. We don’t create anything and we don’t buy anything; we just sell things that aren’t […]
Click here to read the article