Getting the Investment Banking Application Form Right

Today, it’s more important than ever to have an investment banking application that sets you apart from the crowd. The investment banking industry is becoming increasingly competitive and the selection process more stringent. The answers you provide to the questions in your investment banking application need to be effective in making you stand out in a sea of highly-qualified applicants. Below, you’ll find some basic tips on making your investment banking application shine.

1. Do Your Research
As much as possible, network with others in the industry. Show your interest in the investment banking industry by attending company presentations, seminars and networking events. Work to understand the different positions in an investment bank so you can streamline your career goals. Thoroughly research any companies you plan to apply to. Keep in mind that at some point during the application process, you will be asked to explain why you want to work for that particular company.
2. Application, CV and Cover Letter
Even if you have little or no experience in finance, you may still be able to find work. Recruiters seek well-rounded individuals who have demonstrated excellence in both academic programs and extra curricular activities like sports and hobbies. The most important qualities recruiters look for are effective time management skills and the ability to work well in a team.Your cover letter should be written to a standard format. Make sure your cover letter includes an introduction which explains why you want to work in investment banking. You should also include a paragraph about why you want to work for that specific company. Close the letter with a paragraph stating why you’re the best fit for the position. If you have any hobbies or extra-curricular activities that have provided you with useful skills, be sure to mention them in your cover letter. It’s a good idea to have a career advisor or someone you know in the industry look over your application before you send it off.

On your investment banking application form, you’ll be asked a set of questions that the recruiter will use to assess your suitability for the job. Among the questions you’ll be asked are:

  • Why do you think you would be a suitable candidate for the job?
  • Explain what the division you’re applying to does, and why you would be a good fit for that department.
  • What skills and experience do you have that would be relevant to the position? – What attracted you to the company?
  • What skills and experience do you have that would be relevant to the position?
  • Can you name any academic awards, professional qualifications or leadership experiences to support your application?
  • What are the main challenges and opportunities for the financial services industry right now?
  • Discuss a recent news article you’ve read about the company. How does the article relate to the company?

Think carefully about each answer. Wherever possible, discuss any hobbies and extra-curricular activities that pertain to the position you’re applying for. Show recruiters you have a proactive, long-term interest in your chosen area of business.

3. The Interview and Assessment

The typical interview and assessment process includes an interview and case study. This is followed by additional interview rounds with senior bankers. For your interview, be prepared to explain anything you’ve written in your applications including any gaps in your employment or education history. Be ready to demonstrate a thorough understanding of what your position entails and how you plan to excel in the role. Practice talking through your experience and CV before the day of your interview.

Case studies vary from bank to bank. You’ll either have a mix of questions to test your business skills, or a more basic financial analysis. To pass this part of the assessment, you’ll need to demonstrate intelligence and thoughtful process. This is also where recruiters will determine your ability to understand the “bigger picture”.

The most important thing to remember when completing your investment banking application is to be yourself. Confidence and preparedness go a long way in this process, as do intelligence, personality and drive. Companies want to work with interesting, well-rounded individuals. Show them you’re exactly the person they’re looking for.


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