Bank of America Merrill Lynch is the first major investment bank to unveil its latest UK analyst class, giving the freshly-minted graduates their formal approval by the Financial Conduct Authority this month. Based on the class of 2014, what do you need to secure a full-time graduate role in investment banking currently?
1. You will have interned at Bank of America, but this should be but one facet of your experience
The importance of internships for securing a full-time offer cannot be emphasised enough. The vast majority of new analysts interned at the Bank of America Merrill Lynch divisions they ended up in. Some, like Arthur Marinho, completed two internships at the bank – one in FICC structuring and one in the global loans and special situations group.
However, this is not enough – banks want to see commitment from an early stage during your university years and most new recruits have everything from spring insight weeks to multiple summer internships on their CVs.
2. You will most likely have attended one of five universities
Assuming you’re studying in the UK, Bank of America appears to favour graduates from Oxford, Cambridge, Imperial College London, London School of Economics and Warwick. Popular subjects, predictably, were finance, engineering and economics.
3. You will have represented Bank of America at university
Jeremy Amar, who has just joined Bank of America’s asset backed securities sales team and Louis Ash, who has joined its debt capital markets team, were both campus ambassadors for the bank at their respective universities.
4. Your extra-curricular activities must demonstrate both worthiness and a client focus
OK, there’s no shortage of people with experience at their investment or finance societies at university – the classic method of developing links with investment banks on campus – but others have demonstrated more leftfield methods of connecting with banks. Jonathan Tham sold advertising on the Warwick student newspaper, The Boar, and snared JPMorgan and Barclays as clients. Other new recruits have worked for charities or participated in Model United Nations.
As far as sports go, football appears to be absent from graduate CVs. Acceptable sporting activities include sailing, rugby and, um, canoe polo.
5. You must demonstrate financial services knowledge wherever possible
Przemyslaw Konrad Pryszcz, an investment banking analyst, has no shortage of internship experience and a Masters in Quantitative Finance certainly helped set him apart from the competition. However, he has also been working on various business publications over the past four years and authored a paper called ‘Heterogeneity of Inflation in the Eurozone – Causes and Implications’. This is what is known as demonstrating commitment and enthusiasm for financial services.
6. You must fill in gaps in your knowledge before starting
Branislav Barjaktarevic has internships at both Bank of America and SocGen under his belt, but has also taken it upon himself to build his practical on the job knowledge. He spent nearly five years as part of the Serbian National Sailing Team, so to make up for his lack of top-notch university education he has certifications in both M&A analysis and financial valuation training from 7City learning.