Tips For Taking The Leap From Law School To Investment Banking

It is estimated that the average person changes careers between five and seven times in their lifetime – a statistic that is indicative of the fact that at the age of 18, when most people are called upon to make a decision, they are completely unaware of their life’s purpose. If you have just completed a legal degree and you wish to commence a degree in investment banking, you may be surprised to know that you are far from being the only one. In fact, there is a strong link between legal and financial studies, with many students opting to complete a degree in commerce or economics while they are doing law. If you have completed a degree in law, or you are in your first or second year and you feel you would like to branch out into investment banking at some point in your life, what steps will you need to take?

 Expand Your Range Of Study

Most top law schools are difficult to get into and require preparation. You may have had to study for your LSAT more than once to improve your score, or taken specific preparatory courses to get into your chosen law school. However, once you do make the grade, it is important not to rest on your laurels. At your chosen college, discover if you can combine your degree with another one in commerce or economics. A quick glance at the world’s big banking movers and shakers reveals that many completed combined degrees so as to kick start their careers in high-level banking. Just one example is Jason Valmadre, an Australian law and commerce graduate whose first job was in Bankers Trust. In just two years, his combined skills led him to be offered a job as Global Head of Syndicate of ABN Amro Bank, and he has been holding impressive jobs in finance since.

 Highlighting Key Skills Common To Both Professions

If you don’t have a background in finance, then attracting the attention of high-level banks will involve convincing employers that you have similar skills. Skills required by both professions include drive and the ability to work under pressure, meet deadlines many would deem unreasonable, and deal with potentially difficult clients. These skills should be highlighted in your resumé to capture the attention of headhunters and HR execs.

 Adding Finance-Related Entries To Your Resumé

If you have completed work at a legal firm, your resumé should highlight the skills that are most related to finance rather than law. You should have dealt with at least a few clients dealing in capital markets and M&A, and you should be able to point to specific ways that you helped them out – for instance, by showing how you helped them obtain a better price or terms. You should also be able to answer basic questions about investment, such as how to calculate beta for a company, how to calculate unlevered free cash flows for DCF analysis, or how to calculate the cost of equity.

 If you are in the middle of law school or you have just graduated and you are more interested in working in investment than in law, then start honing your financial knowledge as soon as possible. You can do this by completing a second degree simultaneously or after your law degree, or by completing well reputed diploma courses on investment. You will also need to market yourself by framing your resumé in a way that emphasizes the similarities between the skills you already possess and those that are required in the world of investment.


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