Investment Banking

Investment banks help public and private organisations to raise funds in the capital markets (the market for long-term funding, eg bonds and equity). They also provide strategic advice for mergers, acquisitions and other complex financial transactions. Many investment banks have fixed income and equities divisions

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What will I do?

Your role and job title will vary
according to which section of the
investment bank you choose to work
in, whether the front, middle or back
office (see the box below). A typical
front-office entry position is that of
analyst, in which you will complete
the financial, company and market
analysis on which investment
decisions are made. As each bank has
its own terminology and structure,
investigate the opportunities
available at the banks you are
interested in before you apply.
Investment banks usually offer a
number of different graduate training
schemes, specific to their particular
divisions. You will work in a team that
generally includes between five and
ten people. Working hours between
offices vary – traders, in particular,
tend to work an earlier day. Graduate
schemes run by international banks
usually include a rotation or training
sessions at an office abroad.


Graduates don’t necessarily need a
finance-related degree but do usually
require a 2.1 or higher for front and
middle office roles. Although you
should be numerate, specific skills
can be learned once you are in the
workplace. Employers look especially
for evidence of your interpersonal
and analytical skills and a confident
manner. Many banks use formal
internships as part of their
recruitment process, so it is worth
gaining a place on one of these
during your penultimate year.

The Irish market

A large number of investment banks
are based in London and the Irish
market is quite small by comparison.
However, there are opportunities
with global players based in Ireland
and Northern Ireland.

Areas of investment

There are usually three areas
within an investment bank – the
front, middle and back, although
not all banks will use these terms.

The front : the area of the bank
that traditionally provides
banking and strategic advisory
services for clients. Research also
takes place in the front office to
produce financial product

The middle : the office involved
with risk management and
analysis of the possible pitfalls
that traders may face when
conducting their daily trades.

The back : this area is also
known as operations and
involves data-checking the
trades that have been
undertaken and making sure
that they are correct. The back
office is also home to the IT
(information technology)
divisions. In many other areas of
finance you may hear the terms
front office, usually referring to
the revenue-producing
functions, and back office,
referring to the services that
support it.

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