How Do I Become an Investment Banking Trainee?

K. Kinsella

Investment bankers are responsible for finding investors who are willing to inject capital into new and existing businesses. Someone wishing to become an investment banking trainee must complete high school, and many employers also require trainees to have graduated from college. Securities laws in many nations mean that trainees also have to successfully complete a number of securities licensing courses.

Because investment bankers often interact with overseas clients, it's helpful if a trainee can speak a second language.
Because investment bankers often interact with overseas clients, it's helpful if a trainee can speak a second language.

When a privately held company is floated on the stock market, investment bankers are responsible for finding investors to buy shares in the entity during its initial public offering (IPO). These individuals are responsible both for marketing and pricing the shares in such firms. Someone wishing to become an investment banking trainee must have the ability to analyze financial reports and data and make determinations as to the market value of a particular company. Consequently, investment banks normally require trainees to have graduated from college with a degree in economics of finance. Major financial firms compete to recruit trainees on college campuses and the largest firms often target individuals who have also completed a postgraduate degree in finance or a related subject.

Aside from having undergone some financial training, anyone wishing to become an investment banking trainee must also have prior sales experience since these individuals are responsible for aggressively marketing securities. Many companies prefer to hire trainees who have previously worked in banks or insurance firms since these individuals have related industry experience. Some firms also accept applications from applicants who have extensive experience in corporate sales even if that experience relates to the marketing of non-financial products or services.

Securities are heavily regulated in most countries which means that only licensed bankers can discuss securities or conduct trades. Typically, bankers must pass a series of examinations before they are legally able to engage in all types of securities trades. Someone wishing to become an investment banking trainee must attend a training course and pass at least the most basic licensing exam before applying to work for an investment bank. Many firms require trainees to have successfully obtained a number of different securities licenses before beginning work while other firms provide on-the-job training for individuals who obtain their licenses over the course of time.

Investment bankers often market securities to overseas clients in which case a trainee may have to possess second language skills. Due to the complex nature of financial transactions, most firms require such trainees to have completed a college degree in a second language. Additionally, trainees who work domestically as well as those the work overseas have to travel extensively to meet with prospective clients. Therefore, most firms require trainee applicants to have valid drivers licenses and to have the freedom and flexibility to travel with minimal advance notice.

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