Most college grads believe that getting a job on Wall Street is out of the question unless they’re attending an Ivy League school. But, this is an industry that’s not that elusive. If you love money, and you’ve always loved the financial industry, here’s how to get work in this famous financial area.
Have an Analytical Mind
It takes an analytical mind to decipher some of the secrets of finance. You need to be able to think about how to turn a profit on a business you don’t own, but you also need to know how to mitigate the risk of loss on your investments.
Learn how to read financial statements, and how to gauge the health of a company based on them. Fortunately, this kind of information is very public (both the “how to” and the actual financial statements), so it’s mostly gumption (or lack of it) that stands in your way.
Break Into Sales
Sales is a great way to get to know a product or service – especially in finance. In sell-side firms, investment bankers are profitable when they build and maintain relationships which become revenues for the firm.
You can get into the investment banking side by taking on an intern position, becoming a sales assistant, or an entry-level analyst. It might not be the most attractive job in the world, but it’s a starting place. The hours can be long, but not so bad that it will kill you. And there is an intense focus on customer service since you’re interacting with other people a lot.
There’s a lot of travel involved with most firms too and, while an analytical mind is important, this is more of a people-person job. If you have good interpersonal communication skills, you will succeed here.
Set Your Sites On Operations
If you enter into the operations side of things, you’re getting into client management, marketing, risk management, and legal as well as back office functions. You will also need strong interpersonal communication skills and an understanding of financial markets. These jobs tend to be fast-paced and demanding. The pay is sometimes low starting out, but the growth potential is almost unlimited.
Be a Computer Whiz
If you want to get a job with large investment banks, one way in is by becoming a computer whiz. As banks do more and more of their operations online and through complex computer programs, they need people who can build and maintain their technology.
This sector is booming with plenty of room for growth.
Search Job Boards
Job boards are a great way to find Wall Street jobs, believe it or not. In fact, there are plenty of courses out there that will teach you how to break into Wall Street this way. For example, you can learn how to get a job at Goldman Sachs with WallStreetTeach.com.
You can also do a Google search and come up with some pretty surprising results. Some companies advertise on specialized financial services job boards.
Be Good With Money
It helps if you’re good with money, regardless of what job you apply for. If you’re not, guess what? It’s hard to break into finance. Almost every firm you work for is going to require you do a background check too.
So, if you’ve ever been convicted of financial fraud or have bankruptcies on your credit, you’re facing an uphill battle. But, assuming that none of that is a problem for you, you can bolster your resume by taking accounting, math, and finance courses.
You should also consider picking up a job whose primary responsibility is handling and managing money – whether that’s for a small company or a large one. The experience is what you’re (and firms are) looking for.
Get To Know The Business of Insurance
Insurance lies as the heart of the financial world because these companies protect nearly every major business in the world. Companies like Geico, for example, provide property and casualty insurance for individuals and businesses.
But, there are also life insurance companies that manage pension and life insurance plans for banks, corporations, and individuals. They are responsible for securing and protecting retirement assets.Non-bank financial companies are prime suspects when it comes to investment management. They employ some of the best money and risk managers and in the world. Get to know them and you will have a foot in the door with almost any investment bank you want.
A former investment banker and investor, Geoff Blades is an advisor to senior Wall Street executives, CEOs, and CFOs on corporate and strategic matters as well as topics of personal and professional development. Geoff enjoys sharing his research and insights online. Originally from Australia, today Geoff is based in New York.