The profession of an investment banker is attractive due to the high level of initial compensation, significant career opportunities, and useful acquaintances. Nevertheless, this profession is also associated with a huge workload that affects work-life balance.
A considerable level of interest in this profession among junior specialists requires more careful consideration of its specific aspects and traits required to achieve success in this sector. This report summarized information about the profession of the investment banker and provided crucial insights for candidates who would like to succeed in the market.
Typical duties and responsibilities: Financial analysis of the client’s organizational performance, the definition of investment strategies and opportunities for the attraction of funds for the development of business, and provision of the recommendations for the optimization of financial management processes in the client’s organization.
Salary range: For the starting position of an analyst, the expected compensation level is $130-$200 thousand per year.
Types of companies hiring for this position: Four main market niches currently exist in the investment banking sector. They are represented by corporations, banks, public accounting segments, and institutions. The comparison of these niches demonstrated the competitive advantages of the banks’ niche for the junior specialist.
Required training & qualifications: High analytical skills, interpersonal communication skills, resilience, adaptability and flexibility, innovative thinking, developed IT skills, international outlook.
Availability of the position: The position of an investment banker is available in a high number of international banking organizations. The initial position of the Investment Analyst is characterized by a high level of labor demand in the market. From 2020 to 2021, the level of demand for specialists in this segment increased significantly. Nevertheless, in the long run, the automation of regular tasks can reduce the demand for low-skilled specialists.
Reasons for the author’s selection of this position: Opportunities for professional development and acquisition of new knowledge, high compensation expectations and corporate benefits, achievement of personal ambitions, useful acquaintances, and professional network.
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The development of modern business depends on the sufficient provision of resources in the form of investments. The study of the historical statistics for business investment trends demonstrated that business investments formed a significant share of the global economy by contributing to its development and growth. Figure 1 provides the statistical data about the dynamics of business investment volume in the US.
The development of the investment activity also plays a major role in the growth of the US national economy (Figure 2). The successful use of investments and increased level of investment activity depend on the availability of highly qualified and skilled counselors capable of supporting clients on the issue of funds distribution. The investment banker plays this role.
The profession of an investment banker is attractive to young specialists due to the high wages level and significant opportunities for professional development and self-actualization. The attractiveness of the profession also determines a considerable level of the existing competition among candidates and the need for the careful planning of professional development.
As of 2021, the total number of people employed in the Investment Banking and Securities Dealing industry equaled 106,029 employees (IBIS World, 2021). Under these conditions, the new specialist should have a clear image of the professional requirements imposed on them in the workplace and develop a reliable long-term strategy of professional growth to succeed in the chosen career.
The main problem of this report was to determine the optimal mix of professional qualifications for the investment banker and to deliver a strategy for their development in the future.
The analysis of the main qualifications required to succeed as an investment banker determined the relevance of the following characteristics, “excellent number-crunching abilities, strong verbal and written communication skills, and the capacity to work long and grueling hours” (Kagan, 2020). For each of these directions, specific professional development solutions should be proposed. It is also important to determine the scope of preparation required at different stages of career growth for an investment banker.
The profession in the investment banking sector is very promising and attractive. A professional investment banker can find applications for their skills in a variety of industries and market niches. This report strived to consider the variety of opportunities for the implementation of different investment bankers’ skills in the current and forecasted market environment. The objective of the author was to determine the optimal direction for a future professional career considering the advantages and limitations of alternatives.
The choice of the specific investment banking segment is also important from the perspective of business or public organizations that the future specialist would like to join. Different organizations offer a variety of opportunities for the career development and self-actualization of a young specialist. It is sound to determine the career growth model that would allow the author to form a strong CV and reach the highest positions in the profession. Among the potential companies for initial employment, this report analyzed the advantages of the Goldman Sachs Group, Inc.
This report considered different aspects of the investment banker’s career path in modern banking institutions. The question about the professional development of investment bankers in the banking segment of the market was addressed. The author of the report analyzed the wage expectations of a junior specialist and compared companies that offered employment opportunities for young investment bankers, the perspectives of the profession, and the potential requirements for competencies of employees.
The results of the study should inform the readers about the perspectives of the professional growth in the career of an investment banker. Together with the discussion of benefits and risks, the author summarized the requirements for the skills and knowledge in this profession. The findings of the study demonstrated the irrelevance of the traditional model of an investment banker’s competencies and the need for the new approach development.
The report was organized in the appropriate format to address the main aspects of the investment banker’s profession study: the main niches in the market, wage expectations, available companies for employment, profession’s perspectives, key competencies’ requirements, and influence of recent changes on the profession. The report also has appendixes, including a works cited page with information about literature sources utilized.
The Main Niches in the Investment Banking Profession
The development of a career in the investment banking sector will require the young specialist to select the specific niche he/she would like to apply the proper skills and competencies in. The Corporate Finance Institute (CFI) developed the infographic summarizing the main directions and niches for the career paths of an investment banker (Figure 3). Altogether, the current practice determines four key directions for the professional development of the investment banker at banking organizations, institutions, corporations, and the public accounting sphere. The advantages and limitations of each direction should be considered in detail.
The first interesting sphere of investment banker’s career development is in banks. It is the most traditional career path. Working for a trusted and respected banking institution with the global landscape of operations can be considered an optimal career beginning for a young investment banker.
Operations in the bank require the application of all professional knowledge and skills gained by the investment banker. It will be possible to receive initial training and useful acquaintances required for the future career growth of the candidate. The advantage of the banking institution as an initial employment opportunity is the fact that it allows the candidate to form a strong basis and thus be productive in other niches.
The segment of corporate services includes tasks related to the definition of opportunities for corporate development, investor relations management, and treasury, as well as financial planning and analysis (FP&A) activities. As compared to the banking sector, the functions of the investment banker will be associated with the satisfaction of a single company’s needs, seeking long-term growth, and financial sustainability opportunities.
The character of functions and required competencies can vary depending on the specific industry of the company’s operations. As compared to the banking sector, the investment banker will be required to obtain industry-specific knowledge. The corporate sector can be useful for candidates seeking future professional growth in a certain industry or market.
The public accounting segment of the investment banker’s profession relates to the delivery of financial accounting services to a variety of customers. The main difference between public and private accounting segments is that the private accounting specialist works for a single company, while the public accountant can deliver services to a variety of different businesses (Indeed, 2021). Private accounting service is similar to the corporate segment in many ways. In turn, public accounting serves as an alternative with higher autonomy and freedom in the selection of contractors.
Finally, the institutions’ segment of the investment banker profession supposes that the cooperation with the public services sector, research-oriented work that could be of high interest for candidates with lower interest in the professional growth in the corporate sector. This sector could provide alternative career paths and useful acquaintances as compared to banks and corporations. Working with individual customers as an alternative to business clients can have its advantages and limitations, including higher autonomy and potentially lower compensation rates.
The comparison of the available niches and benefits/limitations of alternative solutions led the author to the choice in favor of the banking sector as a preferred niche for initial employment. The early engagement in the operations of the respected banking institution could contribute to the complex development of the author’s competencies and skills.
Another advantage that is highly valued by the author includes the provision of diversified useful acquaintances networks. Independent public accounting practice could be a more complex task for a new player with no community recognition. Following the acquisition of professional experience in a large investment bank, it will be easier to gain success in the career.
Wage Expectations of the Young Professional
The second important question that was assessed in the context of the report included the definition of the wage expectations for the candidate entering the profession of an investment banker. One of the important elements of career self-actualization is the wage level. A young specialist should determine what expectations they can achieve in this specific career path. To develop the list of wage expectations, the author used the scheme of the professional hierarchy in the investment banking sphere.
The research by the Corporate Finance Institute delivered the general scheme of employees’ hierarchy in the investment banker’s career path. Each new player should be ready to pass this way to reach the heights of the profession and compensation. Figure 4 summarized information about the key steps in the career path and the associated functions of a professional. The following steps were determined for the career of an investment banker: analyst, associate, vice president, director, managing director.
An analyst is the starting position for the graduate. This position presupposes undertaking the bulk of all work in the company, supporting the performance of other specialists. Climbing the career ladder, each new step assumes the management of specialists in lower levels of the hierarchy, higher engagement with the end client, and winning contracts for the company. While an analyst and an associate are mainly responsible for the operations of the business, higher levels of hierarchy work with the external environment thus winning the competition for clients and creating the basis for the performance of analysts and associates based on earned contracts.
The distribution of functions and responsibilities in the investment banking division also determines the composition of wage compensation levels for experts at different levels. The summary of the expected compensation levels for specialists of different ranks is presented in Figure 5. Experts of the Corporate Finance Institute formed this assessment based on the information from the industry (CFI, 2021c). It is important to consider the main ideas behind this model of compensation distribution.
The compensation assignment system in the investment banker’s profession is characterized by specific conditions that might not be found in other spheres. The wage expectations of the investment banker include the base salary and bonuses, which usually equate to 50% of the final remuneration value (CFI, 2021c). The position of the experts highlighted the fact that the average hourly wage of an investment banker is $25 – $35 per hour, which is not a considerably higher compensation level as compared to other niches (CFI, 2021c).
A higher final remuneration value is explained by a significantly high workload for specialists; it can equal up to 100 hours per week (CFI, 2021c). According to such a vision of the situation, the high level of compensation is associated with the high workload and work pressure for candidates. An important question in this context is whether a young specialist will gain sufficient motivation and a level of resilience to operate in a highly competitive and stressful environment.
Another important consideration in the assessment of the wage expectations for the investment banker is the composition of the final wage based on the division of the basic salary and bonuses. The high share of bonuses in the structure of salary means that the employer is likely to utilize high power in the definition of the final compensation level for an employee.
The basic salary might be fixed in the employment contract, while the system of bonuses can be arranged in a highly unclear and non-transparent format thus leaving space for the employer’s manipulations. In certain companies, employees can expect higher bonuses to support their motivation and spirit, while other companies might violate the interests of analysts for operating benefits.
A good example of a bonuses system application for the benefit of employees is the Credit Suisse Bank, which delivers a $20,000 lifestyle bonus to motivate its employees to achieve higher performance quality (Clarke, 2021). A beginning specialist should consider this factor in employment decision-making.
The analysis of the bonus system for the investment bankers demonstrated the presence of other alternative opportunities for an increase of the final employee benefits. The following mechanisms can be used by investment banks to investment bankers: end-of-year cash bonuses, stock-based/ deferred bonuses, signing bonuses, and special benefits (DeChesare, 2021). The conditions of the COVID-19 pandemic affected the compensation system for investment bankers, as well.
Following changes can be considered the most significant: the rising variability in compensation levels among companies, a low increase in the salary level for analysts and associates, and improved speed of analysts’ promotion (DeChesare, 2021). According to the findings, while the beginning analyst can face difficult conditions from the perspective of compensation, promotion opportunities can become a benefit worth fighting for.
Altogether, the level of compensation is an important question for the beginner in the position of an investment banker. The graduate should objectively and carefully assess the expectations of an employer and offer compensation options. The structure of the proposed salary should be considered in order to determine the sources of under-payment risks for a candidate. From the long-term perspective, success in the investment banker’s career can provide an employee with significant compensation benefits.
Companies that Offer Best Opportunities for Growth
The following question of the report supposed the definition of the optimal company, in which the author could start a career as an investment banker. An earlier analysis of the investment banker’s niches determined the advantages of employment in the banking sector. To determine the benefits of employment in specific banking institutions, the author relied on the Vault’s Banking Survey performed in 2020.
This report aimed to form the objective list of banking institutions that could be considered optimal workplaces for investment bankers. The methodology of the study involved engagement of 3’100 banking professionals, asking each respondent to rank his/her current employment company and previous employment options in points from 1 to 10, considering general prestige and experience of working in the specific company (Firsthand, 2021). The results of the survey are summarized in Figure 6.
The findings of the analysis demonstrated the best positions of the Goldman Sachs Group, Inc. The organization obtained a total score of 8’984 points, compared to Morgan Stanley in the second position with 8’410 points (Firsthand, 2021). It is important to consider the factors that led to the high assessment of the organization among the respondents.
The advantages of the Goldman Sachs Group, Inc. are highlighted in the results of the Vault’s Banking Survey 2020. The respondents of the study determined the advantages of the organization for beginning specialists and experienced candidates, equally. From the perspective of beginners, Goldman Sachs provided “phenomenal training, hands-on experience, and the opportunity to rotate across many groups and desks” (Firsthand, 2021). Training and mentoring opportunities in the organization were assessed in the best conditions in the market.
The following factor that should be considered for the aims of companies’ comparison includes the shares of total revenues delivered by a specific company for its employees’ compensation. While the comparison of the absolute values of compared employee’ benefits can be a straightforward approach, it gives a limited understanding of the compensation strategy of the company.
Comparison of values of revenue share delivered for workers’ compensation can demonstrate whether the specific organization is more or less interested in the protection of employees’ interests. As for an employee, a beginner should be interested in employment with a company that offers a better offer to its employees. Figure 7 summarized the statistics of the U.S. announced deals for the leading investment banks.
The comparison of statistics for deals for the leading international investment banks demonstrated the strong global positions of Goldman Sachs. The organization took the second position in the list of global companies, which demonstrated high opportunities for growth organization in the future. Compared to the majority of other players in the industry, Goldman Sachs has a considerably more effective competitive strategy, which raises the level of the company’s attractiveness for potential employees.
The comparison of the leading companies available for the investment bankers to employ demonstrated the advantages and attractiveness of the Goldman Sachs Group, Inc. The author of the report will mainly focus on the study of opportunities for future employment in this company. To gain more knowledge about the specifics of processes at Goldman Sachs, it is important to consider the format of investment bankers’ work organization in the company.
Currently, the investment banking division of the company is arranged based on two key characteristics: the target industry and the sphere of operation. From the perspective of the target industry, the following segments are presented in the Investment Banking Division of Goldman Sachs: “Consumer Retail Group, Financial Institutions Group, Financial and Strategic Investors Group, Healthcare, Industrials, Public Sector & Infrastructure, Natural Resources, Real Estate, and Technology, Media and Telecom, as well as by region, country and company size as part of the Cross Markets Group” (Goldman Sachs, 2021 b).
In case if the candidate aims to enter the segment of Classic Investment Banking, it is crucial to gain additional knowledge and competencies in either of these niches. Together with Classic Investment Banking, other segments are present in the Investment Banking Division of the company. Following segments is the key to investment bankers’ performance for the Goldman Sachs Group: The Mergers & Acquisition Group, the Financing Group, and Transaction Banking, as well as Operations and Engineering (Goldman Sachs, 2021 b).
Each of these segments is characterized by interesting tasks. The advantage of the organization is that it allows the beginning investment bankers to practice high flexibility in a change of employment options. Candidates can gain useful experience of working in either of the segments, selecting the optimal solution for themselves.
The final argument in favor of Goldman Sachs as an organization preferred for future employment is the number of benefits it offers to current employees. Considering the high level of regular workload for employees, it is optimal to receive appropriate benefits that could compensate for the health and social needs of the employees. Together with a high compensation level, the management of Goldman Sachs delivered a diversified system of benefits to its employees.
The following types of benefits are mentioned: healthcare and medical insurance; holiday and vacation policy; retirement planning (Goldman Sachs, 2021 a). Specific wellness programs are also applied in the organization, including the following: health services; fitness; childcare/ family care benefits; leave of absence (Goldman Sachs, 2021 a). The organization also implements the policy of flexible working hours for employees to meet their regular needs without harm to work processes. Altogether, the delivered benefits make Goldman Sachs an interesting solution for the employment of the author.
Questions about the Company
The selection of Goldman Sachs as a company for future employment of the author allowed determining the need for a more careful analysis of the current environment and conditions in the organization. For this aim, the author decided to develop a list of questions that could be asked to current employees and management of Goldman Sachs to define the strategy for optimal career development while in the company.
The list of questions had to address information about the working conditions in the organization and requirements to the candidate that could fit the expectations of the management. Altogether, the following list of questions was determined:
- -Do you consider your overall experience of working at Goldman Sachs satisfactory?
- -What aspect of work experience do you consider the most beneficial and attractive?
- -What aspect of working experience do you consider the most harmful and undesired?
- -Did you manage to adapt to the high workload while working at Goldman Sachs? If yes, please share your solution with other beginning specialists.
- -Please share your history of career growth at Goldman Sachs. Have you reached career goals successfully in the past?
- -Which factors helped you to succeed in your career, and which ones created additional barriers?
- -Please estimate the quality of leadership and managerial support that you experienced while working at Goldman Sachs.
- -Do you consider the work experience at Goldman Sachs interesting and contributing to your professional development? What was the best part of work from the perspective of development?
- -What professional characteristics helped you to succeed at Goldman Sachs? What gaps in qualifications and knowledge did you have to fill in during work in the company?
- -What would you consider an optimal combination of skills and competencies for the graduate aiming to enter Goldman Sachs?
- -What recommendations can you give concerning the professional development of a promising candidate for Goldman Sachs?
Perspectives of the Profession
The previous sections of the report demonstrated the potential benefits of the investment banker’s profession and determined the organization that could be optimal from the perspective of beginning a career. The following question for analysis included the definition of the profession’s long-term perspectives. If the author aims to connect professional life with the investment banker’s career, it is critical to mitigate the risk of the rapid reduction of demand for this profession in the labor market.
The recent publications share optimistic expectations about the prospects of the global investment banking market. The “Investment Banking Global Market Report 2021: COVID-19 Impact and Recovery to 2030” publications argued that from 2021 to 2025, the value of the global investment banking market is expected to change from $111,45 billion to $137,97 billion (Research & Markets, 2021). The leading companies that are likely to operate in the global market in the next decade include the following: “Barclays, JP Morgan, Goldman Sachs, Bank of America Meril Lynch, and Morgan Stanley” (Research and Markets, 2021).
The opportunities for the long-term growth of the investment banking sector are proven by the statistics of the rising labor demand among global leaders in 2021 (Surane et al, 2021). Currently, the market is experiencing a major rise. However, it is difficult to predict long-term outcomes for employees.
The major sources of challenges for the investment banking sector consider the digitalization and automation of the operating processes in the industry. Increased market sophistication, development of innovative technology, and strict governmental regulations require organizations to seek means of operating costs optimization. In this regard, the automation of regular processes is considered a viable option (Deloitte, 2020). By 2030, the investment banks will become more digitized and automated in operations thus causing reduced demand for regular labor.
This process was initiated at Goldman Sachs, which aimed to reduce the share of human labor in the future (CBInsights, 2020). The development of substitutive forms of investment banking services delivery will require banks to adapt, and the lack of capabilities for flexible adaptation can cost the employee’s career. It is important to highlight the fact that while the long-term perspectives of the investment banking sector can be high, the expectations for the employees will also rise, leading to increased competition and the risk of failure in the employment search.
Summary of the performed analysis demonstrated that the investment banking sector will keep strong positions in the global economy during the next decade. Rapid technological transformation and the development of new services for clients would require employees to implement new sets of skills.
Two major archetypes of workers in the future investment banking sector can include the following: flow players and client capturers (Deloitte, 2020). Each of these employee types will require specific competencies and skills to succeed. The young graduates should make informed and conscious decisions about their capability and readiness to fill the emerging position in the ever-transforming investment banking business.
Key Competencies Required for Success
The findings of the analysis led to the definition of significant opportunities for successful career development in the investment banking sector. Nevertheless, the achievement of the most ambitious objectives in this field would require a serious attitude to the development of the appropriate competencies and acquisition of knowledge. It is important to present a variety of views on skills required for an investment banker.
The complex vision of skills and competencies required for the investment banker was provided in the publication of Warwick (2021). This report summarized the traditional approach to the definition of skills and knowledge required by an investment banker. Following skills and competencies were highlighted: client relationship skills, analysis and synthesis of the high volume of data, effective problem-solving skills, detail orientation, orientation on development of recommendations, ability to ask effective questions, understanding of accounting and financial data, resilience, effective and rapid adaptation to the changing environment, effective IT skills, negotiation and influencing skills, knowledge of several languages (Warwick, 2021, p.3).
According to the provided classification of skills, the promising candidates were mainly expected to deliver sufficient analytical and soft skills, capable of building productive cooperation with colleagues and clients. According to the traditional vision of the investment banker’s career, the role of IT skills and language learning was considered less important as compared to the basic analytical and soft skills.
Another publication by GradAustralia (2021) paid attention to another list of competencies useful for the promising investment banker. The following competencies were highlighted: innovation, communication, international outlook, leadership experience (GradAustralia, 2021). Both sources paid specific attention to the need for a high resilience level among investment bankers. The need to operate in a highly stressful and competitive environment determines the high relevance of this type of skill for the candidate.
Nevertheless, the importance of the international outlook, leadership experience, and capability of innovative thinking should also be considered. A higher level of success in the career of an investment banker can be achieved in international investment banking groups such as Goldman Sachs. Such organizations provide candidates with the optimal combination of workplace opportunities and international acquaintances for future development. Nevertheless, success in a global corporation depends on the capability of the candidate to obtain a sufficient level of international vision.
A candidate should possess basic knowledge in the fields of political and economic geography, understand the specifics of natural resources, and distribution of economic industries across the planet, and be capable of focusing on the international relations sphere. All these skills are required by employees that want to offer the best investment solution for their client and manager.
The final aspect of the required skills of an investment banker that should get due attention includes the capability of innovations and IT skills. The earlier presented Deloitte (2020) report highlighted the rising significance of digital innovations for the investment banking sector. In this context, the potential employee should be able to deliver skills and competencies to operate in the ever-changing and innovative environment successfully. The need to regularly overview and change the existing operational practices in the workplace should not be considered as a source of stress for the employee.
Another important implication of the Deloitte (2020) report included the definition of the major roles in the future career of investment bankers: a flow player and a client capturer. Flow players are responsible for the background support of client capturers by delivering the required analysis and expertise in the field of investment banking. Success in this role will require the development of technological skills and competencies. As for the client capturer role, the candidate should be able to find optimal clients and maximize the value generated for the company on the customer’s side.
From the perspective of IT skills, one of the main directions aimed at this development is associated with the acquisition of skills of data analysts. Deloitte (2021) argued that the investment banking sector currently operated under conditions of the rapid increase in the inflow of raw data, This situation creates the problem of big data management. A promising candidate should be able to manipulate data flows to generate valuable information and knowledge from a variety of data resources. Early acquisition of this type of skills and knowledge can significantly increase the value of a candidate for the company.
Altogether, the analysis of the required skills and competencies determined the radical shifts in the job description of the position of an investment banker. Together with the traditional skills that have always been valuable, a candidate requires new competencies and knowledge to achieve success. A graduate should develop a detailed plan aimed at acquiring appropriate skills and competencies for long-term success in the highly competitive environment of the investment banking profession.
Impacts of the COVID-19 and other Megatrends on the Profession
The final question that should be addressed for analysis of the investment banker profession is related to the role of the COVID-19 pandemic for the change of profession. The COVID-19 pandemic is a global trend with the long-term perspective of preservation. Therefore, young specialists should critically assess the influence of this trend on their careers. Mainly, conditions of the pandemic forced investment bankers to shift to the remote work format. As a result, the efficiency of personal acquaintances was reduced and the quality of reactions to the environmental changes were affected (French et al, 2020).
While the investment banker needs to stay in touch with the environment and stakeholders they work with, the pandemic had a major negative effect on specialists working in this sphere. The relevance of the COVID-19’ negative impacts for the investment banking sector was demonstrated by the recent study performed by the PwC – COVID-19 CFO Pulse Survey.
This study considered leaders in the U.S. business sector, including the investment banking industry (PWC, 2021). The summary of the study findings is present in Figure 8. The reduction of the employees’ productivity was one of the main challenges impacting the sector of investment banking. It is important to analyze what was the character of the effect of the pandemic on the performance of investment bankers.
The experts of the PWC (2021) highlighted the importance of on-location activity for investment bankers, including the capability of performing robust communications in real-time. The need to work in the remote format led to the loss of self-organization capability in some employees and a high share of the staff did not have appropriate conditions for remote work. The investment banks faced the need to change the performance expectations and adapt to challenges faced by employees (PWC, 2021). The summary of these findings shows that future investment bankers should be capable of adapting to the changing working conditions productively, as well as reducing the challenges and losses for an employer.
Another study by the EY (2020) highlighted the role of digital transformation in the investment banking sector during the pandemic. Under conditions of social isolation, the investment banks had to deliver client-centered digital services aimed to address the challenges of the clients despite the restrictions. Companies that failed to manage this challenge lost their competitive advantage. In the future, investment bankers should guarantee a quick adaptation to the changing market conditions and the chance to propose innovative solutions.
These conclusions correlate with the findings of the previous section of the report thus demonstrating the relevance of specific competencies development in graduates. Altogether, the COVID-19 pandemic is a serious challenge for the investment banking sector. It caused serious stress to investment bankers and forced them to adapt to the changing environment.
This condition determines new requirements for the graduates entering the investment banking business. In the long-term perspective, flexibility, adaptability, and resilience will be considered the main professional qualities of successful and effective investment bankers.
People from the Industry
To succeed in the sphere of professional career development, the author of the report aimed to collect useful insights and develop useful acquaintances with specialists currently working in the field of interest. Due to the high interest of an author in the employment opportunities delivered by Goldman Sachs, it was crucial to develop useful acquaintances with representatives of the company. To develop knowledge about the investment bankers’ work at Goldman Sachs, the author contacted two Investment Bankers currently working in the organization. Their contacts were found on the LinkedIn social network.
The first candidate selected for further study and communication was Layla Iam. She graduated from the American University in Dubai and had internship experience at the National Bank of Dubai and the Deutsche Bank. Since January 2012, she had been working as an Investment Banker at Goldman Sachs. Almost 10 years of work experience in the target organization made her a perfect candidate for communication and source of knowledge about the working environment in the company. Currently, Layla Iam works in the United Kingdom. This peculiarity could also contribute to the understanding of Goldman Sachs’ performance specifics in different countries.
The second candidate selected for the report was Allan C. He works at the Goldman Sachs headquarters in the New York City Metropolitan Area. His professional career included one year of work as a Financial Analyst at the Lehman Brothers Bank, almost three years of work at Goodwill Industries International as a Senior Financial Director, and 13 years of work at Goldman Sachs. The advantage of this candidate for communication was that he passed a career from Investment Analyst to Investment Banker inside Goldman Sachs. Communication with this specialist could support the author in the definition of key characteristics and challenges common for the career of the Investment Banker at Goldman Sachs.
The current working status of both candidates at Goldman Sachs will allow the author of the report to gain a full vision of the internal processes in the organization from them. The communication with the selected professionals can include the organization of interviews using questions that were earlier mentioned in the report. Altogether, acquaintances with these professionals should be useful for the future career of the author.
Summary, Conclusion, and Recommendations
Summary of Problems and Procedures
The development of a career in terms of investment banking requires specialists to obtain sufficient skills and knowledge. It correlates with the current expectations of the market. Despite the prevalence of ideas about the relevance of traditional skills and qualities for the success of an investment banker, the current study demonstrated that future professionals should also develop additional qualities and competencies that had never been targeted in the past.
Successful performance in the investment banking sector requires an adequate selection of the career’s starting point. This condition means that the graduate should be able to select a company that will form a reliable background for their strategy for future career growth. This report summarized the advantages of the Goldman Sachs Group as an optimal place for a graduator.
Summary of Findings
The findings of the study included the definition of general characteristics of the investment banking sector and advantages for a future specialist in this sector. The comparison of different niches in the investment banking sector allowed developing the optimal character of solution with the focus on the banking industry. It provided the best opportunities for early professional development and accumulation of required skills, as well as useful acquaintances.
The analysis of the wage expectations demonstrated that the situation in the investment banking sector was highly contradictory. On the one hand, the market pays high compensation for beginners. On the other hand, it provides high workload and emotional pressure conditions in the workplace. The structure of compensation is divided into the basic salary and bonuses, which should become a source of concern and attention for a specialist.
The perspectives of the investment banker’s profession were estimated as highly optimistic. Nevertheless, the future changes in the market, including digitalization and customer-centered services development, will require the provision of different combinations of qualities from candidates. Future employees should be able to predict shifts in the labor demand character and be capable of delivering appropriate solutions on their side.
The comparison of the companies competing in the global sector of investment banking led to the definition of high advantages and attractiveness of the Goldman Sachs Group for a young specialist. As compared to the majority of industry players, Goldman Sachs provided an optimal combination of benefits and professional development opportunities that are highly valued by beginners. The global landscape of the company’s operations provides significant opportunities for the long-term development of employees.
The analysis of the requirements to the employees’ competencies in the investment banking segment demonstrated the balance between the traditional and new qualities required from candidates. Among the traditional qualities, companies value analytical and personal communication skills together with a high resilience level. In their turn, global companies are interested in the international vision, innovative thinking, and IT skills of candidates.
Adaptation to the changes in the qualification expectations of the global companies should become one of the main objectives for graduates and junior specialists. A significant level of competition caused by the attractive working conditions in the sector of investment banking leads to the rising importance of compliance between the ambitions of specialists and their competencies. Modern specialists cannot expect professional success without high resilience, flexibility, and adaptability to changes.
The selection of professional investment bankers working at Goldman Sachs and analysis of their career biographies demonstrated that the organization provides high opportunities for long-term career development. With the determined hierarchy of career steps to be followed, a junior specialist can easily assess the current position and perspectives for growth.
The demand for investment bankers in the labor market has been rising thus demonstrating opportunities for the development of the investment banking sector in the future. Under such conditions, the junior specialists might consider focusing on the investment banker career as optimal decisions. Nevertheless, it can be a good decision only if a candidate pays due attention to the study of recent shifts in the investment banking sector and adapts own competencies and knowledge to the changing expectations of employers.
The global sector of investment banking is interested in the employment of candidates with an international outlook, highly innovative thinking, resilience and adaptiveness, a high level of IT skills development, and inter-communication abilities. The traditional analytical thinking skills might be sufficient to apply for the investment banker position in the next several years. However, they will not guarantee long-term success in the profession.
Unfortunately, in the long term, the leading international banking organizations are likely to automate a significant share of their operations. The main factors driving such a shift will be the integration of new digital technology, changing customer expectations in terms of service delivery format, and regulatory pressure caused by pandemic-related restrictions. The format of investment bankers’ performance will change thanks to the automation of ordinary tasks and a shift to the remote format of cooperation. Altogether, future specialists should be able to adapt to these changes.
The development of a productive career in the investment banking sector requires a specialist to pay attention to the acquisition of specific skills and competencies. The focus on the traditional model of skills and qualifications development for the investment banker does not guarantee success for a contemporary employee. To form the basis for long-term career growth, a junior specialist should prioritize the interdisciplinary development of skills and knowledge.
An example of this interdisciplinary approach can be seen in developing the international vision. To find the optimal investment solution for the client of Goldman Sachs, an investment banker might require expertise in the world economy, politics, international relations, and other related fields. The presence of knowledge and analytical skills in these spheres can raise the quality of recommendations delivered by the investment banker and increase their importance to the employer.
Another aspect of professional development that is important for the modern investment banker considers a definition of new forms of communication. The traditional in-person communication format, which allowed investment bankers to develop productive relationships with clients, is not relevant anymore. This change was caused not only by the pandemic restrictions but also by the globalization of the sector and the need to cooperate with partners from different regions of the world. Under such conditions, a junior specialist should gain knowledge about the methods of relationship development with partners online.
The final aspect of recommendations for the future development of investment bankers is associated with the search for means to acquire innovative thinking skills. The modern investment banker should be capable of not only delivering financially attractive and viable solutions for the client but also guaranteeing the innovative character of such a solution. Otherwise, the risk of losing to competitors for the client could be high. In addition, the high speed of environmental changes forces investment bankers to become innovative and flexible.
To develop the appropriate skills for future practice, a junior specialist should practice regular reviews of innovation decisions offered in terms of their professional interest. Early involvement in new technology and application utilization may boost a company specialist’s competitiveness. To develop a successful career, a junior specialist should demonstrate not only the adaptiveness to new technologies but also the capability of their early integration into traditional processes. An employee should not wait for a managerial decision to integrate innovations but should find and implement innovations on their own.