The field of investment banking is among the most competitive places to find employment. Bankers represent some of the most highly educated professionals who drive some of the largest deals that occur in the debt and equity capital markets. A students who is looking to break into banking will most likely need to fulfill an internship program before attempting to launch a career. Investment banking internships exist in some of the largest firms, known as bulge brackets, and also in some smaller, independent financial institutions. Skills needed for investment banking are also present in some forms of money management, and subsequently, appropriate internships can unfold in asset management too.
Investment banking internships in large financial institutions present a great number of possibilities. Large banks have the strength of a solid balance sheet from which to finance deals, although the industry has had its ups and downs. These firms are similar to well-oiled machines with internship programs because the management teams realize they are training the next generation of banking talent. During investment banking internships at bulge bracket firms, students may be part of large teams of industry professionals from whom they can learn the ropes of banking in the capital markets.
Banks tend to create divisions and groups to organize the breadth of deals that generate business at a firm. An intern could be part of one of any of these teams, theoretically. Investment banking internships could focus on mergers and acquisitions (M&A), and that can be drilled down further by industry, such as technology or retail M&A. An intern could be assigned to deals that occur in the equity markets, such as initial public offerings (IPOs), or the debt markets where government and corporate bonds are issued.
Certain investment banking internships specialize in specific areas such as advisory work through M&A deals. Boutique investment banks are typically smaller than the bulge brackets and usually focus on fewer services. A student who is interested in working in a more intimate setting where it may be possible to participate more on deals may consider a stint with a boutique advisory firm.
Most investment banks and some boutique firms have asset management divisions. Students who are interested in running mutual funds or hedge funds on behalf of clients might consider internships in this segment of financial services. It is not unusual for there to be crossover in a financial professional's career between money management and traditional investment banking services.