There is no doubt investment banking is a fairly full-on job! That, coupled with the fact that more and more younger workers will see their career transition several times on the long journey towards retirement, means it’s worth thinking about how working in investment banking could set you up for future opportunities, both inside and outside the banking world.
This is not a career in advanced gardening (which could be up your alley) but instead, the ‘hedge’ in a hedge fund is about hedging your bets. Hedge funds are made up of investments from a range of individuals or companies who are specially accredited, it’s definitely like an exclusive club where you have to have your name on the list. As a hedge fund manager, you’re responsible for making decisions about where and how to invest the fund. Hedge fund management can be extremely lucrative but it’s also fairly high stakes, so if you’re leaving investment banking for a cruisier life, this might not be the job for you.
Want to be part of the next big Uber or SpaceX, then the world of venture capital might be the next step for you. Venture capitalists are about providing financing and investment for startups that have long-term growth potential. Extra bonus, you might get to work with unicorns (startups that reach a value of over $1 billion) and angels (investors who can throw in the big bucks).
If making an IPO is like a debut on Broadway, then private equity is all about dancing in the dark. Private equity is generally about making investments in private companies or buying out public companies and returning them to private status, rather than what happens on the stock market, which is public. Working in private equity, you’ll be finding and executing those deals on behalf of clients or your business.
The skills you’ll develop working in investment banking will set you up to also make the transition into commercial or retail banking. Making this jump might be the perfect way to move up a few rungs on the career ladder or just enjoy working less intense hours.
In some ways working in a bank is a bit like being a small fish in a big pond, with almost everyone working trained in finance. However, by making the switch to corporate finance within a business, you can be a big fish in a smaller pond, as part of a tighter, more specialised finance team. Working in corporate finance will give you the chance to work for a company you’re really passionate about, or specialise your knowledge towards a particular industry.
If what you love most about investment banking is working with clients, solving problems and providing advice, then management consulting might be the next best step for you. Often, consulting firms will have a flatter structure, allowing you greater opportunities to work with partners and clients directly. Like a switch to corporate finance, within consulting you’ll have the chance to specialise in a particular industry, like education, fashion or technology. Keep in mind that you can also expect some big hours, pressure and travel when working in consulting.
An emerging option is to make the leap from investment banking into a business development role within a fintech firm. Fintech is all about using new technology to disrupt the traditional finance systems. If you’re passionate about technology and innovation, then a move into the rapidly growing fintech space could be the best jump after investment banking.
Talking about ‘exit opportunities’ is all the rage in the world of investment banking, both offline and online. While it is completely legit to consider your next steps and know how the job you’re doing right now could set you up for the future, career prospects after investment banking shouldn’t be the only reason you enter the field. As you can tell from what we’ve written above, many of the common steps after investment banking features the same skills and day-to-day experiences of investment banking, but in a different context or from another angle. Be excited about the opportunities that can come after investment banking, but make sure you’re passionate about the field too!