This is another mid-week episode of Finance Career Launch where we discuss a particular skill, habit or mindset that will help you own your career in finance. Today we’ll cover a listener question about breaking into investment banking from another department. Note: I will address this specific move, but a lot of what I’ll say can apply to changing departments in many contexts.
I am new to the finance industry, working in the brokerage department of a large firm. I currently do operations but have an interest in the fixed income sales side within the investment bank. What advice do you have for making this transition? I have my 7 and 24 licenses but was wondering if this would be enough to get my foot in the door or is an MBA a necessity? Any advice on what steps to take to get my foot in the door would be greatly appreciated.
This transition is possible (I’ve seen it done) but it’s difficult. I also want to be transparent and let you know that I have seen people do this within middle market investment banks. I would like to believe it can happen at bulge bracket firms, but I would imagine it gets increasingly difficult with larger and less entrepreneurial organizations, or within those with seemingly rigid methods, rules or traditions. Breaking into investment banking where there are more institutionalized processes is much more difficult. In these cases it may make sense to pursue an MBA first.
In this episode we cover:
- Whether Series 7 or 24 licenses are enough to get your foot in the door
- Why the size and culture of an organization will largely determine your success at breaking into investment banking from another department
- How to build relationships over time with people in your desired profession
- Asking enough questions, but not bringing the royal inquisition
- Making an honest assessment of your skills, training, grades, background and anything else that is important to your desired role
- What two things you will have to convince people of for this strategy to work
- How an MBA can make this transition easier in many cases
Music by Elijah from NOMADS