Before you begin a new career, it is common to wonder where that path can take you. Generally, once you have five years of experience in the investment banking field, you’ve put in the time necessary to move beyond entry-level duties. Whether you focus on sales, trades, or mergers and acquisitions (M&As), you should have the skills and experience required to take a significant step forward along your career path.
If you are wondering what you should see once you gain that level of experience working in the banking industry, here are some common rewards for your efforts.
Most people enter the investment banking world as an Analyst. This entails a lot of research and a limited amount of glory. The job duties often focus on administrative tasks, presentations, and performing analysis on various key business areas like financial statement modeling, credit analysis, and valuation.
Even though the work can be grueling, it is important to remember that almost everyone working in the field started here. And, within the first five years of working in the industry, you will likely see a promotion or two.
The career path for those focused on investment banking is fairly consistent from one institution to the next. After being an Analyst, you may get the opportunity to become an Associate. Most working in the banking field start as an Analyst for the first three years. Those who perform well normally get the chance to take a step up the career ladder to Associate.
After that comes VP, Director, and Managing Director. As you gain experience in the field, you should have a chance to keep moving up the chain. Some banks add extra divisions like Senior VP or Executive Director, but the premise is generally the same. The path to success is often clear, which can’t be said for all industries or fields.
Often, if you see a promotion, you’ll also receive a salary increase. However, raises might also be offered even without a change in job title. Many professionals working in the banking field earn a base salary plus commission. As you gain experience, you might receive raises in either area.
Base salary increases are fixed and are often calculated based on annual salary. Commissions are normally based on a percentage of a particular metric, such as sales numbers, trade values, or contract values. That means that raises will give you the opportunity to earn a higher percentage of those metrics once it is awarded.
Some people favor base pay raises as they are consistent and reliable. However, increases in commission may lead to more earnings potential depending on your performance.
Working in investment banking provides numerous transferable skills that can help you continue a career in other banking segments as well as entirely different fields. While some analysts and associates successfully transition in hedge funds, others decide to make a move into private equity or do advisory work for one of the Big Four public accounting firms: Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu, Ernst & Young, KPMG, and PricewaterhouseCoopers.
Making a move into corporate finance is also feasible, as many of the skills involved are similar. However, it does require a change in perspective since the goal is to improve internal workings rather than external goals.
A new trend for wall street talents is also to go work for a tech startup, where working conditions are usually more flexible than investment banking, but still with an attractive salary.
As you can see, five years of experience in investment banking provides numerous opportunities to move forward in your career. The skills earned while working as an Analyst or Associate can form the foundation of a highly profitable career. Whether you choose to stay in the field or make a change, you’ll have knowledge that you can take with you anywhere.