The typical investment banking career path, in fact, is never typical at all. There are innumerable different stages you can pass through, and almost all of them lead to a different end point. If you start as an intern somewhere, you never know where you’ll end up – you could find yourself, decades later, as the CEO of an investment banking firm, or you could just as easily find yourself teaching at a business school.
That’s why it’s so important to have a strong, informed view of the many different career paths you may take in the near future. If you know where these paths lead – and what you want to do in the coming years – then making decisions and advancing from one job to another will be much easier than it would otherwise. In other words, these career paths are much more than just miscellaneous information – they’re essential knowledge in your quest to reach the top of your industry.
From analyst to a private equity firm
Reaching a private equity firm from humble beginnings as an intern is something that many professionals try to do. While it’s certainly possible to graduate from intern to analyst, from analyst to a private equity or venture capital firm, this is a very competitive path. Once on this trajectory, though, you have plenty of options, working your way up from associate, to senior associate, to the executive branch and beyond. Or, as an interesting lateral move, you could move your way into a leadership role at one of their portfolio companies
As an analyst looking to break into private equity, you’re in luck. According to Mergers and Inquisitions, talent agencies often turn to those currently working as analysts first when it comes to headhunting for PE. Bulge bracket workers who show a keen interest in PE can expect the highest recruitment activity in late winter.
Keep in mind that if you’re currently at a bulge bracket, you’ve got a leg up on those who aren’t. If you’re working at a middle-market bank, it’s much harder to move into PE unless you’ve got an extensive network to rely on.
From analyst to hedge fund
As our infographic illustrates, one move you can make after working as an analyst is into the private equity industry. However, you can also spin off in another direction – into hedge funds.
If your ultimate goal is to become a hedge fund manager, it helps to have a background in investment banking, but you can’t rely solely on this experience. According to Life on the Buyside, there are a few skills analysts can master that will improve their chances of getting a hedge fund gig. These include:
- Strong understanding of financial modeling and financial statements
- Deal experience that shows they know the ins and outs of when and why to buy or sell
- Prove you’re willing to work long hours
Staying in the investment banking sector
Or, once you’ve put in your work as an analyst, you may want to stay in the investment banking sector. Then your career path will be a straight shot: From analyst to associate positions and then – hopefully – you move onto vice president positions and the executive branch.
However, most of that information probably won’t be new to you – if you’re already working at one of these firms as an intern or analyst, then you should be well acquainted with the many job positions and career paths that are open. But if you’re working at such a firm already, it’s always important to supplement experience with external information and research to make sure you make the right career decisions.
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