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Aspiring investment bankers ??

espionage (human being...) (769 Points)

29 May 2011  

Hello friends,
who all here aiming for bulge bracket invesment banks , top private equity firms, hedge funds, after their CA..

we can all keep in touch....share our problems, queries, sugeestions and everything else..:-)

we could also use some suggestions by the senior members here ..

ps - any one of u doing any other course besides CA to get in these instituions ...like cs, cfa, mba, frm or any other..


 48 Replies

espionage (human being...) (769 Points)
Replied 29 May 2011

no one...... does everyone wants to go in the traditional sectors and earn peanuts....

well im quite surprised here...


Sumit (PR) (336 Points)
Replied 29 May 2011

hey dude..i wanna go in that sector as it is more interesting and audit sometimes gets monotonous n i have interest in derivatives and stock market...am still givin my exam ... but i dunno how to approach for that field after passing...

espionage (human being...) (769 Points)
Replied 30 May 2011

at last i have a guy who thinks like me... ya man audit is bakwas.. have to do it just beacuse of the i need the expierence .... else first pref is invesment banking/ pe firms.... just keep sharing uer queries and doubts .. ill be more than happy to help...


Sumit (PR) (336 Points)
Replied 30 May 2011

Tru e man.... it just sometimes gets boring tickk tickk .... forensic or risk and fraud might also be interesting, but i don have their experience and difficult to say how a big 4 might take me for that.. this post i found very informative and with regard to CA's position in IB /forum/career-in-investment-banking-54812.asp

espionage (human being...) (769 Points)
Replied 30 May 2011

yes u r rite man.. CA's are very much employed into top investment banks....

just focus on the ultimate aim where u want to be.. also some other degree like the cfa, frm may help u brigthen ur path to the golden world of invesment banks...


Sumit (PR) (336 Points)
Replied 30 May 2011

but as that article which i posted suggests..it might not lend you in top tier...only till associate or analyst position n that too after years of experience....

Sumit (PR) (336 Points)
Replied 30 May 2011



Clearing CA will very much improve your chances of getting in to Investment Banking but you cannot actually work on decision making roles or running any of the business units mentioned above. IB needs very strong relative experience. CA does'nt completely cover the IB financial products. Having knowledge of Derivatives, equities, commodities, SEBI rules etc are different but the actual work of handling the products and managing the product specialists like brokers, Traders, Product distributors, Investors, Clients etc definitely needs exprience. The Job of being a intermediary and creating investments ( Issuing of securities / Raising funds ) for clients and sourcing of Investors ( Consumers of products) with brokers, traders etc is huge task and will need top level of networking and communications. Moreover Industrial knowledge of different fields like manufacturing, IT/ Banking/ Economy are thouroughly required. All the analyst and associate positions are no actual Investment Banking works and are just supporting work.  No use in doing that. I would suggest you to currently join as a senior equity analyst - specialist position pertaining to certain sectors like telecom, Banking, Infrastructure, IT etc in a Indian Fund house company. ( strictly it should be only an Indian company like Mutual Funds, Venture capital, Private equity, Portfolio Management services (PMS) etc).  No outsourcing work, even if they offer position of Asst mamager/Manager. Build good amount of experience and do CFA (US) along with it or prepare for CAT/ GMAT and do a MBA from reputed B-school only after 3-4 or may be 5 years of experience. Remember all the MBA's from reputed Bshools who are offered very good package in IB had "previous years" of experience in IB or Funds management. No one will give IB actual role to fresher as it involves very high responsible job both Financially and legally. It's hard to say that fresh CA's will not be entertained to real IB jobs but to a supportive respectable job. No second opinion on the fact that IB is fast growing Industry in India and will be for many decades to come as India is a growing economy but do understand that the real IB job needs experience along with Knowledge. Time being you can also consider PG Diploma in Investment Banking from ICFAI. It has very Knowledgeable contents in the curriculam and you can build up your knowledge to good extent with it but nothing comes close to what I had mentioned earlier. Kindly give more importance and respect to experience for this field because it is a very high pressue job and your activities will always be in the news circle quite frequently.

espionage (human being...) (769 Points)
Replied 30 May 2011

dont go with some silly article.... just complete ur CA,, go for the cfa.. side by side give the gmat and score upwards of  720 (Killa !!),, get into isb, or iim pgpx.. or even abroad.... and then see urself rise and shine..

else if u want a easy life .. just keep doing boring audit and tax work (All back office..duh..)


Sumit (PR) (336 Points)
Replied 30 May 2011

CFA is damn tough yaar .. more than CA final ...and moreover i wanna do job js aftr cmpletng CA... what about the IIM calcutta - GMPAP (general management prog. for accounting profesionals)  is it good?

espionage (human being...) (769 Points)
Replied 31 May 2011

bhai everything is life is tough..nothing is easy in life.. but iwould say that go for cfa coz most of the syllabus is coverd in SFM paper...so it wont be that much tough...all the best :-)..


espionage (human being...) (769 Points)
Replied 05 June 2011

dont ever go for the iimc for the gmpap..if u want ot go to iim c them aim for its flgship pgp programme.. ca+pgp form iimc.. ull be the king...

also ive noticed on more thing.. that every indian woking in top investment banks or pe firms is either an CA or MBA from iim /isb only.... rest follow behind....

so just complete ur ca then go for mba .... and rule.


Abhishek Jain (CA) (32 Points)
Replied 05 June 2011

dude..even m intrstd in IB...i jus wan 2 knw do dey take fresh ca 4 d role as invstmnt banker..

n also r these NCFM certificates worth if 1 wants 2 get in dis field?

espionage (human being...) (769 Points)
Replied 05 June 2011

broda if u want the real deal then only and only go for international CFA.... ncfm certificates are worthless execpt the derivatives one....

keep in touch with this thread


espionage (human being...) (769 Points)
Replied 05 June 2011


I was so sure I wanted to be a pilot. Nothing was going to change my mind.

My family disapproved. Totally. My grandfather, a fabulously rich octogenarian, was a chartered accountant. He ran his own firm along with my dad, and wanted the next generation to continue in his footsteps. He frowned incessantly whenever I mentioned my childhood dream.

Then my older brother, whom I idolised (then, not now), became a CA. That did it. I followed suit.

Partly, because I wanted to follow my brother's footsteps. Partly, because I was afraid I would be cut off from the family inheritance.

I also figured I would be more ambitious if I worked hard enough at buying my own private aircraft instead of flying someone else's.

A few months into the job, I was miserable. I realised being a CA was the last thing I wanted to do. That's when I saw Wall StreetA wild film on an ambitious young trader in the eighties in New York.

Boy, I loved that movie. 'Greed is good' is what Michael Douglasinculcated in me. I saw the sw*nk apartment Charlie Sheen lived in with his perfect woman and I thought, that's the life I want.

Forget the family inheritance, I decided. I don't need it.

I got in touch with a family friend and asked him to help me get a job as an investment banker. After a dozen interviews, where I had close encounters with the inflated egos of other investment bankers, I managed to get myself a job.

I think my success at landing the job lay solely in my ability to look most interested as the guys interviewing me spoke blatantly about their lives and the deals they clinched. 

My new life had begun.

  • Investment banking: The hot new MBA destination

The good, the bad and the ugly

I soon discovered that I did not land myself a job but a 24/7 personality referred to as the investment banker. I was like a doctor on call.

My day would typically start by waking up early morning to chat with a client in Hong Kong. And I ended the day staying up really late to chat with the one from US.

In between, my life was interspersed with mundane tasks of presentations and photocopying, with miniscule doses of financial engineering and power games.

Let me explain.

Investment bankers are experts at calculating what a business is worth.

To arrive at this figure, they use something known as the Discounted Cash Flow method. For the uninitiated, this is a  valuation method used to estimate the attractiveness of an investment opportunity. It is such a sensitive tool that, by just changing a variable or assumption, you would be able to get a completely different figure. You could value a company at Rs. 100 crore or Rs. 1,000 crore.

It actually was up to me! 

This made me feel supremely important, despite the fact that I had to pore over coma-inducing spread sheets.

And, of course, when you discuss mergers and acquisitions,you only meet with the big brass. Getting a handshake from these guys and having them listen to my every word and detailed analysis would set my adrenaline soaring.

Our job also entailed raising capital (money) for companies. This was not much fun. I had to dress up a company and then present it to private equity investors or venture capitalists and even the public, if we were floating Initial Public Offerings.

Basically, we had to sell a company, whether we truly believed in it or not. Often, I found myself pushing deals with clients that I knew would not work. I became a salesman to the core. 

Investment bankers also excel in paperwork. Whether it was a prospectus for an IPO or whatever deal, we had to ensure that the figures were accurate and the language legally perfect. We had to scrutinise every word and then make hundreds of photocopies (alright, I am exaggerating, but only slightly).

And, if it was merger or acquisition that we were working on, the paperwork assumed such gigantic proportions that a room had to be hired -- called the data room -- whose sole purpose was to store the photocopies. 

There were periods when I managed to catch just four hours of sleep daily.

Whoever said that investment banking is not about money but about the game of acquiring it (a popular saying among investment bankers) was lying through his teeth.

It's all about the money, honey

What I loved about the job was the money.

The salaries and bonuses were obscenely luring. (A fresh MBA, with absolutely no job experience, could earn between Rs. 3,00,000-Rs 6,00,000 per annum (the latter if you are from a top-notch business school like the IIMs).)

The salaries gave purpose to my life and the bonuses (which could go up to three to five times the annual salary) made up for the crap I had to put up with. And, yes, believe me, there was lots of crap.

Let me tell you something about the bonuses.

Like I mentioned earlier, it can be breathtakingly inflated figure. To get it, you have to do two things.

The first: Work like a dog to contribute to the profits.

If you are passionate about teamwork, investment banking is certainly not the place for you. It is more of a dog-eat-dog culture. You are on your own. Since you are paid according to the deals you cut, it works out to be a very individualistic environment with everyone jockeying for a large slice of the bonus cake.

The second: Suck up to your boss.

That's right. Be a sycophant, even if he is insufferable.

Smile at him.

Say the right things.

Nod when he makes a good point.

Don't disagree too much when he does not.

Grovel at his feet.

Your bonus is not going to be calculated according to some predetermined formula. It is solely dependent on your boss' whims and fancies.

I'm sorry, but...

After my first year, I looked forward to the bonus with glee. I was the 'hot new kid' on the block, responsible for getting in 80% of all new business in the past year.

One morning, my boss calls me and tells me he is quitting. A new guy would be taking his place. Come bonus time, the 'new guy' calls me in for a chat.

"I believe you have done really well in the past year," he starts.

I liked that beginning.

"Unfortunately, since I have just joined, it would not be fair for me to judge your performance or those of your colleagues." Warning bells began clanging in my head. "So I am afraid, all bonuses are going to be equal this year."

I headed to the nearest pub to drown my sorrows.

The following year, I was totally demotivated (can you blame me?). Subsequently, I did not get in that much of business.
Come bonus time, 
he pompously tells me that he cannot give me a huge bonus since I did not work as well as was reported earlier.

Hit the pub again.

The travelling sucks. Big time!

A friend once told me the easiest way to spot an investment banker in the lobby of a five-star hotel is to look for those who look sleepless and harried.

If you ever meet an investment banker who says that he/ she loves the travelling, feel free to punch him/ her in the face. Hard!

The first time you travel, it is nice. The second time too. Maybe even the third. The fourth time it is tolerable. After that, it's a drag.

You not only have to constantly travel all around the country, you even have to travel abroad.

If that sounds cool, consider yourself walking around like a zombie at some airport, looking at the ticket to figure out where you are even as your biological clock frantically tries to adjust to crossing three time zones in two days.

Has anyone seen my social life?

The travelling and the ridiculous working hours ensured that my social life was a memory of the past. It dropped in inverse proportion to my salary.

Moreover, there was no one interesting in office to hang around with. In fact, the first thing that hit me when I walked into the office on my very first day was the negligible amount of women. Where were the women? Did they not want to be investment bankers?

The office was full of men: all types, the young, the balding, the paunchy relics.

So, when my trader friend invited me to his sister's birthday bash, I jumped at it.

Finally, I cornered a nice girl. "Hi, My name's Rohan. I'm an investment banker."

"How nice," was her retort.

That's it? How nice?

Obviously, she had no idea who (or what) an investment banker is.

Later, I was later told this was one of the worst pick-up lines in the world. After a fairly disastrous attempt at polite conversation, I was kind of relieved my friend sauntered over to join us. 

"I'm a stock trader," was all he had to say to get the glint in her eyes.

"Wow! That's so cool! Your job must be so exciting!"

Hell! Why did I take this job?

Does that mean I quit?

Right now, I am on a sabbatical in Spain.

Will I go back?

I think so (have not figured out what else to do). After all, the paycheck gives me purpose and the bonus makes up for the crap.

And, hey, on my own I can't afford to fly business class, live in executive suites in five-star hotels, holiday abroad every year and eat in the sw*nkiest and most expensive restaurants in town.

That, along with the money, is the prime motivator as to why I am an investment banker.

Rohan Siddhu ( i Guess...Its the Name of the original composer)





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