The term "financial services" encompasses many different types of finance related firms and businesses. Financial services careers can involve working on the quantitative side of a firm or organization, working to develop and maintain a client base, serving as a consultant to help organizations analyze and solve their problems, or helping a customer manage a bank account. More generally, financial services often involve the processes behind managing and motivating people to work toward common, productive financial goals. Skills often recognized and utilized in financial services careers include quantitative and analytical skills; teamwork and leadership skills; combined with persistence, initiative, and hard work.

What is investment banking?

Investment banking is the business of raising capital for companies and advising them on financing and merger alternatives. Investment banks sell securities (debt and equity) to investors to raise this cash. Once issued, the securities trade in financial markets.

Corporate Finance – private side

  • Mergers and acquisitions (M&A) advisory: Bankers assist in negotiating and structuring mergers between companies. They help to finalize purchase price, structure the deal, and ensure smooth transaction.
  • Underwriting function: Bankers raise capital for a company by selling either stocks or debt to investors. Banks incur a large amount of risk in the transaction.

Corporate finance is often divided into industry-specific coverage groups. This allows groups to focus on developing the knowledge and relationships within the industry.

Capital Markets – private side

Professionals in this division are responsible for understanding recent transactions in the financial markets, and using this information to structure new transactions. They serve as advisors or leaders in executing deals.

Sales – public side

Salespeople develop relationships with individual or institutional investors and sell stocks or stock advices. As securities trade in the market, the salespeople represent their clients and execute purchases or sales on their behalf.

Trading – public side

Traders facilitate the buying and selling of stocks, bonds, and other securities. The two distinct roles a trader has include:

  • Providing liquidity: Traders provide clients with the ability to buy or sell a security on demand. They make money by selling securities at a slightly higher price than what they pay for them.
  • Proprietary trading: Traders may take trading positions on behalf of the firm, using the firm’s capital. Typically the same trader makes a market and engages in the trading for a security.

Research – public side

Research analysts follow stocks and bonds, and forecast companies’ future earnings to make write reports and make recommendations to outside investors. They typically focus and become experts on one industry and cover the companies within that group. The published research will be used by salespeople to convince clients to buy or sell securities through their firm. Researchers use only public information to construct financial models and recommendations.


Syndicate facilitates the placing of securities in a public offering. It determines the allocation of bonds and loans in debt deal.

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Sample Employers

Sample Employers in NYC

Sample Job Titles

For investment banks, the entry-level position is as an analyst. Analysts work in teams to help advise clients on potential financial transactions. Analysts spend much of their time researching and preparing for reports and presentations. Once a deal is set, analysts help execute the transaction.

Analysts often work 70+ hours a week in their positions, and most analyst positions are on a two-year contract.  

Job Listing Sites

  • Careers in Business: career exploration site providing general overview of industry sectors
  • Glass Door: peer-to-peer information about the interview process and offer negotiations
  • Investopedia: informational and educational tools about investing and the stock market
  • Mergers and Acquisitions: site of information and insight into investment banking industry
  • Seeking Alpha: stock market analysis from market experts including quarterly earnings for over 1,500 public companies

Professional Associations


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