Investment banking work is commonly categorized into three areas: research, trading, and sales. On the research side are equity analysts and bond analysts, for example. As the name implies, these folks concentrate on researching particular financial instruments. The trading side has to do with "market making" (e.g., making a market in bonds issued by various companies – a bond trader) or engaging in "proprietary trading" (i.e., speculative trading with the goal of making money for your firm). The sales side involves selling services (e.g., merger & acquisition advice) or new created financial instruments (e.g., new stock or bond issue).
The competition for investment banking jobs is very fierce and the hours are long, particularly for entry level employees at large firms – 70 hour weeks. Expected hours at some smaller (boutique) firms are lower. On the up side, the pay is generally very, very good.
The hiring process starts early, with resume submission in September. Larger investment banking firms are primarily located in cities like New York (Wall Street firms) and London, but some do have a presence in Charlotte and Atlanta. There are a number of boutique firms in Charlotte and Raleigh.
Work toward earning the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) designation would give you a leg up. Entry-level employees tend to use Excel and PowerPoint extensively. Developing programming knowledge (e.g., Python) for data analysis can be helpful.
Suggested Elective Courses
- Financial Decision Making and Statement Analysis – FIN4660
- International Business Finance – FIN4750
- Intermediate Accounting I – ACC3100
- Intermediate Accounting II – ACC3110
- Cost Accounting – ACC3200
- Derivatives – FIN4770
- Investment Management I & II – FIN4620, FIN4622
- FinTech/InsureTech – FIN 4850
Additional Courses of Interest (not as critical as above)
- International Business Transactions – FIN3350
- Commercial Bank Management – FIN4610