by Brian DeChesare Comments (429)

Investment Banking in India

Investment Banking India
Does it ever make sense to accept a back-office role over a front-office one?

In 99% of cases, no.

But one market where candidates often think otherwise is India.

Banks there try to ‘sell’ you on back and middle-office roles by offering higher base salaries and claiming that these roles lead to solid exit opportunities.

But you should be skeptical.

To get the full story, I recently spoke with a reader who broke into investment banking and now works at one of the top banks in India:

Investment Banking India-Style: Out of 1.3 Billion People, How Many Want to Be Bankers?

Q: Can you walk us through your story?

A: I attended a top IIT (Indian Institute of Technology), did a few internships, including one in the back office of a bulge bracket bank, and I became interested in corporate finance like that.

But there isn’t that much on-campus recruiting for IB roles, even at the top IITs – banks mostly want candidates from the top IIMs (Indian Institutes of Management) instead.

I recruited at a few banks, consulting firms, and prop trading firms, but the on-campus process is a circus because you only have a few hours to interview with different firms – so if you assess your odds incorrectly, you could easily walk away with nothing.

I didn’t win any offers from on-campus recruiting, so I began a hardcore networking effort and contacted almost every bank in the country.

I went through 8+ interviews with some banks, but I still couldn’t win an offer.

But my LinkedIn networking finally paid off: I won interviews from a message I sent to one banker, and I went through the process and eventually won an offer at a top domestic bank.

Q: Some people say that “networking doesn’t work” or that it’s “impossible” to break into investment banking in India.

A: The first statement is false. Networking works well if you do it properly.

And if you’re not at an IIM, you pretty much have to network to get in.

It’s not “impossible” to win IB offers, but it is extremely difficult because there are few openings: The top banks in the country have only a few dozen people in their IB groups, and each group might hire only a few people each year.

Altogether, there are fewer than 2,000 front-office roles in the entire country, and that’s if you define “front office” quite broadly (i.e., not just IB, but also related roles such as Big 4 Transaction Services, equity research, S&T, etc.).

Banks recruit candidates from:

  • The Top IIMs – They want candidates who have completed a Bachelor’s degree and then studied at an IIM, and ideally one of the top two: IIM-A (Ahmedabad) and IIM-C (Calcutta). A few recruiters will also go to IIM-B (Bangalore), which “places second.”

IIM candidates join banks as Analysts and earn solid compensation.

  • The Top IITs – Banks try to get undergraduate students at the IITs to accept back-office or “knowledge process outsourcing” (KPO) roles; there aren’t many front-office opportunities at this level.
  • CAs (Chartered Accountants) – The CA program is selective and well-regarded by professionals in India. Some banks, such as BAML, have recruiting programs specifically for CAs.
  • Non-IIM/IIT Schools – If you’re in this category, you’ll have to network aggressively and target lower-tier banks that work on smaller deals.

Q: Why are there so few positions at Investment Banks in India?

And what options are there if you don’t get into IB?

A: There aren’t many front-office roles because banks focus on back-office and KPO-style work here.

India is in the top 10 economies worldwide, but there isn’t much deal activity compared with similarly-sized economies like the U.K.

If you’re an undergrad, back-office or KPO roles are the most common alternatives to front-office IB jobs.

In those roles, you’ll mostly work on the first drafts of pitch books and send them to IB Analysts in NY and London for corrections and edits.

On my campus, dozens of students won back-office operations roles at various banks.

By contrast, only a handful of students across all the IITs won front-office IB roles.

Banks like to lure students in with higher compensation; these back-office roles at international banks sometimes pay higher base salaries than front-office IB roles at domestic banks.

It’s easier to win consulting jobs if you’re at a top university here: Around 100 to 150 students per year across the IITs win and accept roles at consulting firms.

Since it’s feasible to move from consulting into private equity, many people see it as a better option than banking.

Q: What about nepotism? Does that explain the difficulty of winning these roles?

A: Not really. If you have a relative at a high level, yes, that could help you win an internship.

But full-time roles are a different story: If you go through 10 rounds of interviews and meet everyone multiple times, your C-level uncle won’t be able to overcome a “No” vote from 3 senior bankers.

And since each bank hires few Analysts, it would be obvious if someone unqualified won an offer.

But that same person would be much harder to detect in an Analyst class of 150 in New York.

Q: OK. And what about investment banking interviews in India? What should you expect?

A: There was a heavy focus on technical questions – more so than in places like London.

Many investment banks in India assume that if you can answer the technical questions effectively, you’ll be able to do the job effectively, so they sometimes pay less attention to “fit.”

They also ask about macroeconomic indicators, such as the CPI of India, the expected GDP growth rate, and the rate of inflation.

Finally, banks expect you to know about recent deals in the market and the domestic and international banks that have advised on them.

I did not receive case studies or modeling tests because I was applying with no full-time work experience.

But consulting roles require case studies, and almost all private equity funds give you modeling tests.

On the Job in India: How the Domestic Banks Won

Q: Thanks for that description.

What is the investment banking industry there like?

A: A long time ago, many of the international bulge bracket banks here had joint ventures with domestic banks.

But that changed over time, and most domestic banks ended these JVs and began operating independently (e.g., Kotak with GS and JM Financial with MS).

Deal activity is driven by ECM rather than M&A, and many IPOs are quite small by the standards of Western markets ($80-$100 million USD).

Of the top investment banks, most of the international bulge bracket banks and the “In-Between-a-Banks” have a presence here.

If there’s a large M&A deal, the companies involved sometimes hire one international bank to gain better access to worldwide relationships and capital.

Of the elite boutiques, Rothschild, Lazard, Evercore, and Moelis also operate here.

A few of the top domestic banks include Kotak and JM Financial.

Q: Are there any differences in the deal process, valuation, and analysis?

A: Not really. As with other emerging markets, sometimes you’ll use higher discount rates because of geopolitical and country-specific risks, but accounting and valuation are similar.

One trend is that companies here have been trading at higher and higher multiples – you’ll see multi-billion-dollar companies trading at 70x P / E multiples sometimes.

Those figures imply extremely high future growth, which many view with skepticism.

Q: Yeah, those numbers sound like “private tech startup multiples” to me.

How do investment banking salaries in India differ between domestic and international banks?

A: At the bulge bracket banks, you’ll make around $100K USD total as an Analyst, and maybe a bit more than that (with a 50/50 split between base salary and bonus).

That’s a discount to pay in NY and London, but $100K also goes much further in India.

Domestic banks pay more like $40K – $50K to Analysts, but there’s a wide variance among different firms.

Many people are tempted to accept KPO or back-office roles at the international banks because they often pay higher base salaries than domestic banks do, at least at the undergraduate level.

Some large banks don’t have Analyst programs for undergraduates: They only hire IIM grads for these positions.

Meanwhile, other banks have “long-term internships,” where you might work for 6+ months to prove yourself before winning a full-time offer.

(NOTE: Compensation figures as of 2017.)

Q: Thanks for explaining all that.

What are your long-term plans, and what do most Indian investment bankers do long-term?

A: Almost every banker in India wants to get into private equity, which has been booming here.

There are no real hedge funds, and mutual funds are highly regulated, so PE is the most attractive option.

But there are not that many buy-side roles, and they’re even more difficult to win than IB roles. So, in practice, many bankers continue in banking or move overseas.

Just like everyone else, I also want to get into private equity in a few years.

My plan is to work in PE for a few years, complete an MBA in the U.S., and then return home to continue in private equity.

Q: Great. We’ve covered ‘investment banking India-style!” Thanks for your time, and good luck!

A: Thank you. My pleasure!

Want More?

If you like this article, you might be interested in reading about Investment Banking In Dubai.

About the Author

Brian DeChesare is the Founder of Mergers & Inquisitions and Breaking Into Wall Street. In his spare time, he enjoys lifting weights, running, traveling, obsessively watching TV shows, and defeating Sauron.

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  1. Hello!

    A little about my background: I completed a degree in Economics in 2012, after which I worked in the back-office of a bulge-bracket firm in India for little over a year. I then left to become a lawyer and have been one ever since. I’ve worked on M&A transactions and with debt raising. I recently completed an LL.M in Finance and have been trying to pivot to front office roles – the size of the banks, the pay doesnt matter. Do you think there is hope for someone with my profile? or is it I pipe dream I must let go of?

    I look forward to hearing from you!

    1. Honestly, I don’t know how common this transition is in India. It’s a very, very, very tough market for any type of real front-office finance role, and they normally hire out of the top IITs / IIMs. If you were doing this in another market, such as the U.S. or U.K., it would be far more plausible because plenty of corporate lawyers get into IB there. Anyone else with experience on law to finance in India, feel free to comment…

  2. Hi i am working as a process analyst at a financial services company, that deals with IB firms BPO (not calls,chat) back office salary around 3 lakh per annum (INR) does this consider as IB role.

    1. I don’t think it qualifies as a true IB role, but can’t comment on the salary, as I don’t know the current rates in India.

  3. What do you think of the Asset management space in India? What are the top firms and their compensation structures?

    1. I know nothing about it, sorry.

  4. Hey Brian.
    Can you tell me if I can apply for a front office investment banking job in london or new york. I am from Indian with a bachelor’s in commerce. Will I be accepted or not??

    1. If you apply to those places without being in the region or having permission to work there, you will not win anything. To have the best chance, you need to attend university, a Master’s program, or an MBA program in one of those places and then apply from there.

  5. Hi Brian,I have been selected for an internship at the back office of a bb and I have already interned at a similar place a year ago and I want to switch career to front office.As I have seen in your post in India there are very few IB roles and the hiring is also less and also from what I have read in another post it’s difficult to get into an ib using msf without a finance background or a previous internship in front office so do u think it’s possible for me at all to move to front office I am stuck in a position as of what to do next can u suggest me something thanks.I dont know if i can get a front office intern with a tech background.I am trying to learn as much about finance as possible but do u think there are firms which give such interns to people from tech background.Thank you.

    1. One idea might be to go for startup-focused banks in India ( as it can be easier to network your way into those roles, especially if you have a tech background. Other than that, it’s tough to move directly from the back office to the front office without another degree in between such as an MSF or MBA.

      1. Atharva Sawant

        Hi Brian,

        Just a query, I’m currently a 2nd year undergrad student studying econ and finance at Uni of Exeter. I received a summer internship offer at Motilal Oswal for thier investment banking division. Will this experience be of any value when I return back and I aim on applying for full time analyst roles in the UK. I have some experience on my CV in the UK working with a small advisory firm that works with BBs.

        1. I’m not familiar with the firm, but if this is a legitimate IB internship (sometimes hard to tell in India), then yes, it will help when you apply for FT Analyst roles in the UK. They always discount experience in emerging/frontier markets, but some experience is still better than no experience. It may not add a huge amount if you already have an advisory internship, but just being able to write “investment banking” helps.

  6. Hi Brian,

    I have just completed my MMS in Finance in India.
    I’m looking forward to specializing in Valuation, M&A, and Venture Capital and Private Equity.

    Any specific courses I can do to strengthen my chances of making this my career ?

    1. Not really; please do a search for “India” to find our previous/other articles on this topic. There are some region-specific points that make it quite difficult to win IB offers there.

  7. Saurabh Mittra

    Hello Brian,

    Can you please cover the Risk Manager role (in FRM context) in BB & Boutique IB & HFs. How to break in ( MBA or FRM route), the pay scale, promotions and exit opportunities. You have covered a lot on valuations, M&A deals and Capital Markets in IB/PE articles. However, Risk Mgt. is what I want you to cover. BTW i am looking forward to make a long term career in Risk Mgt. in IB/HF.

    1. We don’t have anything on risk management, but hope to cover it in the future.

      1. Saurabh Mittra

        Okay! but please do cover in the future. Looking forward to it.


  8. Very good insight about India IB industry.

    1. Thanks for reading

  9. Aman Sachdeva

    Hi Brian,
    I want to contact you personally, to get an advice regarding my career, can I get the e-mail id or a mail from you just so I can put forward my query?


    1. Feel free to reply to one of our newsletters or email announcements… or leave a comment here

  10. Abhishek

    Very, very poorly researched article.

    In India, if you look at the volume of M&A deals, EY tops the table. And the author has completely missed banks such as O3. Yes bank and ICICI don’t even do M&A, they are into IPOs.

    1. EY is not a dedicated investment bank, and typically M&A league table rankings are done by total deal volume, not # of deals. If we ranked banks by the # of deals, middle-market firms would outrank the bulge-bracket banks in some markets.

      I’ve deleted most of the references to specific banks.

      1. Brian, While I enjoy your articles for their accuracy (I have followed this site for nearly 9-10 yrs now), I’m afraid this article has lot of inaccuracies.

        Indian Investment Banking industry is driven by ECM rather than M&A. Bulk of revenues are earned by banks on the ECM – IPOs, Follow ons and Block transactions rather than M&A advisory. Hence apart from the domestic heavyweights like Kotak, Axis, ICICI Securities and JM (” Indian Bulge bracket”), the key foreign banks include Citi, MS, BAML. JP Morgan, HSBC and Credit Suisse are also active but names like Goldman Sachs, UBS and Deutsche are more active on the cross border M&A side of it and have minimal ECM presence. In fact there was a huge controversy recently in one of the follow-ons of Yes Bank (USD 1bn raise), which was allegedly mismanaged by GS and the deal failed. So if you see the fee league tables, you would only see the above banks dominating. Boutiques like Avendus, Moelis, Rothschild also do fairly well in mid market M&A in India and so does E&Y. Barclays recently shut their ECM shop in India while GS has minimal presence.

        As far as pay is concerned, back office doesn’t pay 3x of domestic banks. Don’t know which bank your source is referring to. Undergrad hiring in Indian banks is non-existent and most of them are recruited out of B-Schools (mostly the top 4-5 IIMs). Indian banks start at ~ $30k fixed plus a 70% variable, while Foreign banks start at ~$50k fixed plus an equal variable. If you adjust for PPP, these figures would be more like ~$100k

        Banking hours are about 70-75 hrs a week in Indian banks while its the standard 90 hr week for foreign banks (smaller teams and hence more pressure). So many kids out of school prefer Indian banks sometimes for the lesser hours and better lifestyle

        P.S – I have been working in this industry for the past 10 yrs and do a lot of recruitment from schools. Currently I work with an Indian Bulge bracket.

        1. Not sure I really understand your comment… did you read the old version of this article or the revised one?

          1) I deleted references to most of the banks named in the article. I have no idea where we say that the IB industry is driven by M&A. Does the following passage in the article contain that quote or implication anywhere?

          “India is the textbook example of a market where the international bulge-bracket banks dominated at first, but have lost more and more ground over time.

          That trend began in 2006 when Kotak ended its joint venture with Goldman Sachs, and it continued in 2007 when JM Financial ended its joint venture with Morgan Stanley and bought its equity in the investment banking unit.

          Then, the financial crisis disproportionately hurt the international banks and allowed the domestic banks to expand and gain market share.

          Most of the international bulge-bracket banks and “In-Between-a-Banks” have a presence here.

          Companies here often hire at least one international bank on larger deals to gain access to superior worldwide relationships and capital.

          Of the elite boutiques, Rothschild, Lazard, Evercore, and Moelis also operate here.

          A few domestic banks include Kotak and JM Financial; I won’t mention others because these lists always tend to create controversy.”

          2) On your pay figures – um, didn’t we quote $100K for the international banks? As for $30K fixed + 70% variable at the domestic banks, that comes to $51K. The exact quote in the article is:

          “Domestic banks pay more like $40K USD to Analysts, but there’s a wide variance among different firms.”

          An average of $40K with “wide variance among different firms” to me implies that $51K might be within that variance.

          For back office roles, other sources said ones at foreign banks pay more than front-office roles at domestic banks do. If it’s not 2x-3x more, then what is your estimate?

          3) I think the article strongly implied this statement:

          “Undergrad hiring in Indian banks is non-existent and most of them are recruited out of B-Schools (mostly the top 4-5 IIMs).”

          I’m happy to accept criticism or change around these figures, but I’m just not sure how to respond considering we already fixed the major issues with specific firms.

          1. Hi Brian, Guess I read your older version of the article. Still there are a Couple of clarifications

            1. ECM was always driven by local banks and international banks didn’t dominate till 2006 as is mentioned in your article. In fact JP Morgan exited their JV with ICICI in 1998. And domestic banks didn’t start dominating Post Lehman. IPOs in India tend to be smaller (~80-100mn$ avg size) and the foreign banks just couldn’t enthuse their global sales team to take interest in a stock with such low liquidity. They also do not have a retail/High Net Worth investor network in India ( who are very active and are earmarked 50% of IPO allotment).The problem continues to this day!
            2. If back office pays 2-3x of front office of domestic banks, back offices should be paying ~100-150k$, which is more than what front office of these foreign banks pay! The fixed base of Back office salaries will probably be 20-30% higher than Indian banks, but their bonus components are negligible.

            Do contact me offline if you want to chat further on this.

          2. OK, thanks for clarifying. I’ll make a few changes based on that. I think the interviewee’s point was just that international banks used to be in a stronger position in the country, even if they didn’t “dominate.”

            I’ve changed around the pay figures.

        2. Arpit Tyagi

          Hi Brian sir,
          I am pursuing my BBA from India and and this is my last year for BBA. After that want to lead any investment banking course as i want to be an investment banker. So please help with better guidance what should i do next and from where i do my course in India or abroad?

          Thank you.

    2. Big4TSIndia

      The deals by EY aren’t just M&A deals where they’ve been appointed as the investment banker but also the ones on which they’ve been appointed diligence advisor. Please read the footnotes to the rankings.

      This is a common misconception but Big 4s group any advisory work on a deal and share that data with the ranking teams.

  11. Payal Madaan

    Which department will bring me closest to realizing IB dream? Is it Product Control (Valuations), Valuation Control or Global Research Center of JP Morgan?

    1. I’m not sure what any of those do, but if they’re all KPO-type roles, you’re better off taking any of them and then moving to a boutique bank to get in, as it’s almost impossible to transfer from one of those to a true front-office role at a large bank.

  12. Suraj Pandya

    Hello guys and Brian Sir,

    I am a recent graduate of Masters of Financial Analysis from La Trobe University in Australia. Its a bit difficult to get job here as they require a PR or citizenship and that process is very time consuming and even does not guarantee a PR and a job after that. I am considering to go back to India and apply for jobs there. So please advice me on that, and please guide me for job prospects as i don’t have any previous work experience.

    1. ??? I’m not sure what you are looking for specifically. If you don’t have a visa, then yes, you will probably have to return to India. Maybe consider a Big 4 role or something related to corporate finance at a smaller firm there.

  13. Aditya Shenoy

    I am 26 years old and am interested in a career in Investment Banking, currently I am pursuing my CA Final which I will finish in November 2016. My academic performance is above average and hope to get into a good company to learn the ropes of IB, could someone guide me through what type of questions would be asked during an interview and also the top 5 IB companies to get in to in India

  14. Avantika

    hi, i passed my MBA last year from an average Bschool that landed me a job in retail banking which was entirely different from what i had studied as a major in finance.So i left within the first 8 months of my joining.I always wanted to enter into investment banking jobs but so far i have not been able to get any response as i do not have enough experience. What should i need to do to land a job?

    1. Rather than aiming for IB directly, target roles that will get you closer… try to do something related to corporate finance at a normal company, for example. There are so few IB roles in India that it’s a crapshoot even if you’re at the top schools.

  15. Hi, i am currently working at a big4-m&a tax. Given my background i dnt think i can get into a target us or uk school. However i am confident of getting into an IIM(india)(the top b school here). Do IB’s hire a lot at IIM’s in india for front office roles??

    1. My understanding is no, because there just aren’t that many front-office IB roles in India to begin with. If you do want to go to b-school, yes, IIM is the one to attend. But I think it will be comparatively more difficult to get into IB from there than it would be from a top school in the US or UK.

      1. While looking at IB opportunities in IIMs, you should look at opportunities in both India and SE Asia. While IBD roles in HK is still lesser due to Mandarin requirements, there are tons of S&T roles offered there to IIM grads. IIMs also have a great alumni network in these cities

        As far as numbers are concerned, the IB hiring (IBD+S&T) is pretty good in IIMs, the top 4-5 IIMs would send anywhere between 80-100 people each year for summer internships in various locations – mostly to Bombay, Singapore and HK. Add another 30-40 in the final placement season, you are comfortably looking at ~100 people getting final offers in different IBs every year (front office roles). This went down drastically post Lehman, but now it’s coming back to the pre-Lehman numbers.

  16. Dear Sir,

    Have been offered a job in one if the India’s biggest banking capitve in Corporate and Investment banking as an analyst. and it feels like a KPO structure only as explained by you above. Plus the work timings are afternoon shift which may take a toll.

    i also have an opportunity to go to a broking Company in India with the analyst profile.

    What should i choose?

    1. M&I - Nicole

      I am not 100% sure but it seems like the experience at the IB may be useful if you want to learn more about IB.

  17. Govindraj Prabhu


    I have work experience of two years in financial marketing. Now i decided to move in to investment banking and i got an a opportunity in one of the top bpo for entry level analyst in investment banking for less than the salary of which im working right now. ; please suggest me whether should i take the offer in investment banking? how is the career growth. Im a MBA(Marketing & Finance)

    1. M&I - Nicole

      Yes I’d do so to break into the industry. Career growth depends on your efforts with the company…

  18. can I become investment banker after doing intermediate with biology ?

    1. M&I - Nicole

      It really depends. If you’re talking about having a background in biology yes you can check out say healthcare IB etc.

  19. Sehaj Singh Goraya

    Hello sir!

    I am passing out in mechanical engineering in may 2015, and I got an offer letter from XL dynamics (Mortgage company)(US clients) ,Navi Mumbai for the role of an Associate analyst.
    They are offering this position which would involve ERP sytems, checking genuineness of documents, etc
    A pay scale of 3 lacks p.a along with MBA in finance for 2 years on weekends at company premises only . After those 2 years my package will jump to 5-6 lacks p.a

    My question is that ,Will I have plenty of exit opportunities after those 2 years? .
    Will I be able to easily land a job in North India? What about investment baking?

    Thank you so much for taking out the time! I am really confused!


    1. M&I - Nicole

      I am not sure re. plenty of opportunities but if you have nothing on hand, I’d take the offer. I’d leave the rest for readers to answer.

  20. siddhant

    I am working as a functional consultant with an IT company in India. I have also completed my MBA in Finance and Marketing. Passed the CFA Level 1.
    I want to shift to a core IB profile where I work with Valuations and Financial Models. I was considering to undergo a financial modelling course which could provide with the skills necessary to crack the Interviews for Valuation related positions.
    But after reading the articles here, I am a little confused because the impression that I get is that there is a dearth of good opportunities when it comes to working in Bulge bracket IB firms or PE firms. The most easily and widely publicised positions are those with 3rd part KPOs. Now, in one of the articles I read that the work in these KPOs is not that great. Then, what should be the way forward for me, should I just continue to do what I am doing because there are no real good IB related opportunities out there?
    Would really appreciate your insight.
    Thanks !!

    1. M&I - Nicole should help you. I may continue with what you do, and network with bankers in the meantime and see what comes up.

  21. Sir,
    I will completed my finance undergraduate degree from a decent Indian college in two years but I have a passion for Sales and Trading. I know there are not much of trading opportunities in India for investment banks. So if I intend to apply for summer intern in Top IBs outside india for example Singapore, NY, Shanghai. Will I be considered a good candidate if I have a good application? I mean is there any kind of problems or complication in this situation. Please advice. (also for investment banking if not trading)

    1. M&I - Nicole

      Yes, though you may need to have a visa and speak an Asian language (i.e. Mandarin) to improve your chances. If you don’t have any trading experience, you may face quite a bit of competition. I’d suggest you to connect with people on LinkedIn, and see if you can arrange an informational trip to say Singapore. I’d probably forget about NY for now unless you have a US citizenship, and yes Shanghai unless you speak Mandarin. I may focus on Singapore to increase your chances. Just my thoughts, I may be wrong.

  22. What jobs does an actuary and mba holder has in the investment field? What is the entry level? How fast is the career growth?

    1. M&I - Nicole maybe interesting. I’m not 100% sure re their career growth so I’ll leave this to readers on this front.

  23. Im currently doing acturial science along with my graduation in India. I want to work in the investment field. Can i break into it after doing my MBA in Finance as i am interested in MBA too? What are the other options of breaking in the investment career?

  24. TotallyCluelessUndergrad

    Thanks for all the wonderful insights M&I, kudos to you guys.

    I just had an inquiry. My networking has helped me land a good contact at BofA in India, particularly willing to guide me through to get to my goal as an IB analyst. My confusion is regarding the Bank itself, my research indicated that this particular Bank in India is a Non-Bank Subsidary, is that the same thing as a KPO?

    Am I expected to treat it the same way as your interviewee suggests regarding KPO’s in India?

    Please help me out.

    1. M&I - Nicole

      I am not 100% sure. I’d suggest you to speak with the interviewer and ask him/her a lot of questions regarding your daily tasks and responsibilities. This way you’ll have a better understanding of the work itself. Readers may also have more thoughts to share on this front.

  25. ok a bit about me..ill qualify as a chartered accountant(india)in may 2015(probably with an all india rank). i have also cleared cfa level career plan is to work in IB after graduating and they later get a mba or ms(finance) if desired. my long term career plan is to work in fund management.

    now of what i have heard around you need atleast 1-2 years of experience to get an entry level job in internship was from a pretty small firm and the only decent work experience i have is working experience i have is assissting in the internal audit of a listed company-a fertiliser manufacturer.

    i applied for the summer analysts program of two big investment banks but havent received a response yet(didnt expect to receive any going from the resume i sent them).

    now please give me some advice regarding the path i should take:

    1)take up whatever job i get after i qualify as a c.a.(if i get an all india rank ill probably get a good paying job too) and then get a mba or ms(fin) two years later from a good college(india or abroad)

    2)get into a summer training IB program using some sort of reference(have a good one-one of the biggest stock brokers in india)

    3)get a mba straight after completing my c.a(indian b schools dont really give a high weightage to work ex)

    4) get an internship at equity research department of one of india’s biggest brokers?

    thank u

    1. M&I - Nicole

      I think 2 and 4 are probably the best bet if you can get immediate work experience. This can really broaden your network and improve your candidacy. If you get into a target MBA in US or UK, this may help you immensely.

  26. BKJ (anonymous)

    First of all getting into an investment bank is a matter of luck too. I personally have seen people from engineering background without an MBA, CFA or any other relevant credential getting into a front end job in US. But again it was not without relevant work-ex in IBD (referring to a captive KPO which offers an opportunity to go abroad for an internship with a bulge bracket European bank). Some of them have MBAs, some of them don’t. Some of them convert, many of them do not. The point is not to waste a lot of time getting into an i-bank because most of the people want to get into it to earn a handsome salary and incredible bonuses early in their career and then graduate to a PE or look at the other awesome exit options the field has to offer. An MBA does not guarantee a job in IB. So if you are trying to get into a B-school to get there, it’ll take another couple of years from your life with no guarantee.

    Getting exposure to the contemporary market and making a start on something which really absorbs you would be the best choice. A very successful example here would be of Brian himself.

    As for me, I graduated from a premier engineering institute in India (ranked among top 10), started off with a captive KPO working for almost an year there and then move on to a support role to IBD within the biggest brand in IB (leading the M&A, DCM and ECM league tables in almost every region) after having been offered long term front end internships with mid-market i-banks in Singapore and Mumbai.

    1. M&I - Nicole

      Thanks for your message. Would you like to contribute to one of our articles? Let me know.

      1. BKJ (anonymous)

        Thank you very much Nicole. Sure I would like to make contribution to your article for the readers.

        1. M&I - Nicole

          Sure, I’ll send you an email!

    2. Hi,I’m from India my query is slightly complicated probably BKJ(anonymous) help me.If possible can I get his contact?I would be more than happy & at least I fnd path & guidence.

  27. Investment banking as a career option is very challenging, exciting and promising. It offers an accelerated career path for those who want to enter in the finance industry. Aspirants can also pursue a course at diploma and certification level too. This is very vast and challenging field with numerous career options. This field offers services such as advisory services, trading securities, selling and underwriting securities for companies, individual and governments.

  28. I am a management graduate (BMS) from mumbai university. I have been offered a back office role(compliances) at royal bank of scotland group. I am planning to do CFA and also trying my best to get into a top b school in india. I want to break into the Investment banking which gives me oppurtunities for global exposure. Am I on the right track?

    1. M&I - Nicole

      Yes you are.

      1. But will this experience help me get into a top b school , and also for much time should i work here before applying for mba.

        1. M&I - Nicole

          This may help. Perhaps 1-2 years.

  29. Hi,

    I am a Chartered Accountant (All India Rank 50 in CA Final, May 2013) from ICAI, India and Chartered Financial Analyst (Qualified Level 3 in June 2014) from CFA Institute, USA. I completed my graduation (B.Com) from St. Xavier’s College, Kolkata.

    I am currently working in Ernst & Young, Mumbai in Financial Services Risk Management in which I focus on credit risk management for banks. Work is more related to Basel and RBI Circulars and less of core finance.

    I am very keen to work in an investment banking profile. I had appeared for a few interviews for analyst roles at Edelwiess, Lincoln International, Nomura and JPMC last year (in 2013) but couldn’t crack any of the final rounds.

    Can you help/advise on what should be my next steps to enter I-Banking industry? Also, would be great if you could provide any leads for such role.


    1. Forgot to mention I did my 3 year articleship/internship for CA with Deloitte, Kolkata in Statutory Audit Department.

    2. M&I - Nicole

      I’d look back at how you interviewed and try to figure out how you can do better. If you’ve been getting interviews, I think you’re on the right track; perhaps you just need to improve the way you get your message across

  30. abhimanyu mishra

    HEY ! i have completed my mba in finance and also done financial modelling but still did not get chance to work in investment bank because of i am fresher and they want experience candidate

    1. M&I - Nicole

      Yes many banks prefer someone who has experience.

      1. So what your suggestions where I go n approach to gain experience

  31. Hi, I am 27 year old MBA finance graduate with 2.5 years of experience- 1 year into banking operations and 1.5 year into teaching. I knew my age is a barrier to get into IB. My odds- age and staggered career. What are the chances of me getting into IB in India and how could I break into IB?

  32. Raghava Ram Lakhotia


    I am a CA with 2 years of experience of auditing the biggest bank in the country among other things. I Gave my first Investment Banking Interview today in one of the biggest IB banks in India and though they have not confirmed it yet but I think i blew it and in the process I may have also blown my best contact to get me into IB. The biggest problem was that I think I was unable to portray the knowledge I gained about analyzing Debt while auditing well enough hoe do I overcome that? Further are their any leads on how to get into IB in India without a source??
    Also, is their any scope for me to look into junior level firms in US or UK with my current qualifications?


    1. M&I - Nicole

      If the interview has passed it is hard to rewind what happened. I may move on to new leads. No, we don’t have interviews on that front yet. You’ll be competing against people with IB experience, who don’t need sponsorship, and are from target universities, so it can be challenging in your case

  33. Arvind keshav

    sir, I am form Karnataka, qualification is BBA passed in JUN 2013,now i am working in some (health care ITES/BPO) from past 4 months,i joined for MBA(fin) correspondence this year,i want to became an investment banker so please help me to get IB job as analyst or associate entry level. and also i want to go for internship….suggest me to be an Investment banker…how to break into Investment banker career….i hope u ill give gud answer…..thank u…

  34. First of all, thanks y’all for the investment banking info haven that is M&I. I have been reading it for a year and it has been immensely helpful.
    Regarding my experience, I am an Indian citizen and a graduate of University of Texas with an Econ/Poli Sci degrees. My GPA was a 3.9/4.0. I have had a couple pretty good internships and a ton of leadership experience though I had to return home because of some family issues. Now I can’t return to the States and I have had some issues leveraging my background to get far here. Currently preparing for CFA L1 and MSF apps. IMHO, India has inflated the value of degrees and it is almost impossible for people without a MBA to get analyst/associate roles. I have finished the BIWS course and answer technicals well but have been told many a time by my contacts that a lack of “CFA” or “MBA” on my resume is a detriment to my chances.
    I am really committed to MSF applications at this point since that will give me a shot at recruiting and am looking at other places in Asia such as SIngapore and Malaysia.

    Do you think I can have a shot at roles in these countries and what would the process be like with or without the MSF?

    1. M&I - Nicole

      Yes I think having an MSF degree from a target university like can potentially help you significantly. With the MSF, I’d go through on campus recruiting. Without the MSF, you may have to rely on cold calling and emailing

  35. Shivangi

    i am 20 yrs old have just completed my graduation from st. Xavier’s college, Mumbai. i have majored in maths and my cgpa is 3.09. i want to become an IB. Should i do MBA(finance) from India( aiming at top 10 MBA colleges) or should i go abroad and do masters in financial mathematics (plz advise me about the universities too)?
    currently i am working in a shipping company. I am interested in doing an internship in a financial institution in Singapore for a month or two.
    Also m a trained classical dancer and good with arts related stuff.(does this help?)
    plz advise what is the best option.
    Thanks in advance.!!

    1. M&I - Nicole

      I’d say Masters in Finance may help. You can take a look at LBS

      Your activities can help but not nearly as important as your network, credentials and work experience.

  36. mumbaibanker

    Hi, I am two years out of engineering college and I work in one of the captive KPOs mentioned above, for a bulge bracket bank in Mumbai (on the S&T side, supporting a team in London).

    They pay me very well here (better than some of the front office roles in Mumbai). The only problem is this experience is doing me no good in terms of career growth prospects – as working at this KPO seup is good for an initial breakthrough into finance from an engineering background, but no growth at this place. Also, I have tried exploring S&T jobs within Mumbai, facing Indian Markets but I am finding them very hard to come by. Also, if at an Indian bank, the pay doesn’t seem to match up.

    I see that there is decent appetite for IBD in Indian markets, at Indian or Non Indian banks. The pay seems upto the mark as well. Would it be prudent to make a switch to IBD (and in the future, PE sort of roles) and if yes, how should I go about it, as I currently am pretty much new to it. It would seem like a waste of my two years spent in S&T, and hence the question.

    Ps:- I am also looking at applying for an MBA at a school in the US a couple of years down the line. Would such a switch better or worsen my application? And how.

    To summarize – I am indifferent to working in either IB or S&T. Decision making parameters are – does my switching better my MBA app, or does it backfire and make me look confused. And how should I go about getting this switch (ie self study M&A case studies, cold call for interviews and keep at it?)

    1. M&I - Nicole

      Yes getting into a top MBA can help you especially if you want to move outside of India and into a front office role. In terms of getting into front office is a good resource

  37. arindam ganguli

    I’ve done my in 2004 from Calcutta university, MBA ( finance) in 2008 not from any reputed and working in a scheduled commercial private sector bank since 2008. I have quite well experience in credit appraisal and credit monitoring for SME, mid corporates and corporates. Meanwhile I also compleated CAIIB. At present I am a branch manager. But want to get out of this and want to work in the field of IB, PE related work. So recently I started CFA level 1 prep. I am 30 years old now. If I complete CFA at the age of 33 or 34 whether any scope will exist. or I have to start finding oppertunities from now. if I start finding for the same whether what will be the percentage of sucess.

    Thank you

    1. M&I - Nicole

      Yes CFA can help you for buy-side roles. I’d say 50/50 success rate.

  38. Soumya Mohanty

    I’ve done my MCA and worked in IBM for 1year and then due to some issue i quit that job and did MBA(Banking and Finance) and currently working in ICICI Bank as Relationship Manager in Auto Loan Dept.
    Along with that i’ve already cleared NISM, NSDL tests.
    but i just want to go for Investment Banking and for that need your suggestion and process to follow up.

    1. M&I - Nicole

      Even though you’ve cleared your tests I think its best if you can get some relevant IB experience in India. The best way to do so is to network as well as get a target MBA in Europe or the States

  39. Nipun Mohta

    Hi. I’m a CA. I did all levels of my CA in first attempt. I did my articleship (3 years) from S.R. Batliboi & Co. LLP (EY Member Firm) in Assurance division. At the end of my articleship period, I decided to move away from audit and want to try Investment banking. I have given interviews in various places but to no avail. Can you advise me the way forward?

    1. M&I - Nicole

      Perhaps apply to big 4 or other accounting firms and either move into TAS or/and go back into target business school after a few years there

  40. Hi. I am a CA Final student. Shall qualify by may 2015 positively. I am also pursuing CMA (US)..Shall get certified by around the same time next year. I have always wanted to get into Investment Banking. A fascination that I have had since I turned 17. Can you tell me if I can enter into front end IB with the qualifications listed above or do I need an MBA to top it? I also want to know if its true that most people in the IB field do KPO work..atleast in India. How do I determine if the offer is for a front end role and then take a call?
    Thanks in advance!

    1. M&I - Nicole

      Yes a target MBA can potentially help you in your case if you don’t have experience

  41. i am an economics hons undergraduate from delhi university, i had a two year gap due to my health problem, but i will resume my second year from july 2014. I want to go for financial sector
    I got to know about the gfmp course by bse . Will that course help me promote my chances for better career in financial sector. Gfmp ( is a 2.5 yr course and in the mean time i will complete my economics degree which will compensate my two year gap year..
    I want your valuable feedback as i want to utilize my loss of two year gap in a productive manner. Looking forward your suggestion. Please reply

    1. M&I - Nicole

      I am not 100% sure since I have not heard of this course before. I’d imagine it can be somewhat helpful though I think readers may have better suggestions

  42. How will CA CS ICWA help you. I am doing all the three

    1. Of those, the CA is probably the most helpful… because they look for strong accounting knowledge in many markets including India and often select resumes based on that certification.

  43. Hi,

    I have two offers in hand. One is from Copal Amba (a KPO) for qualitative analyst in investment banking. Another one is of Bank PO from a govt. bank which will primarily take me into commercial banking. I just want to know which option will be more beneficial for me in the long run.

    I am an MBA Finance from a B-School which is usually ranked 45 to 55 in India.

    1. M&I - Nicole

      I am not 100% sure though the IB role may give you more exit opportunities. Readers from your region may have better insights.

  44. Himanshu Chaudhary

    Hello i have MBA in Marketing and also worked with CITIBANK for approx 2years in retails Sales and Distrubution i Had to leave my job because of some issues and currently i am working “LIFE INSURANCE CORPORATION OF INDIA” but i’ve always wanted to became an investment banker. Would you please advice me on how should i proceed towards my goal and what should be my next in order to enter into Investment Banking field??

    1. M&I - Nicole

      I’d try to network with your contacts at Citi and open more doors from there.

  45. hello sir,
    i have completed bcom in 2013.i want to do mba(fin) from USA after 4-5 years of exp.
    1.If i do Mba from ‘non-target’ uni/school from usa , will i get job in boutique IB(atleast)?
    2.will i get job as analyst or associate considering my 5years INDIA?
    3.does recruiter consider Indian work exp. with USA MBA?
    4.does age matter to get into IB?
    5.what would you suggest before coming to usa for mba( i.e. where should i take pre-mba exp. to get into US IB, how much enough,what extra can i learn to make my resume/ stronger )
    thanks in advance

    1. M&I - Nicole

      1. Maybe – it depends on your interviewing skills, credentials and network
      2. Possible though challenging since you’ll be competing against people from BB
      3. Yes
      4. Yes
      5. Work experience in IB

  46. Hi,
    I am 31 yrs. Old from India and very keen to enter Investment Banking. I was 17 when I took up a job as a Graphic Designer in 1999 as I liked to do creative stuff then when I was younger and served till 2008, which I last resigned as a Sr. Graphic Designer in a Top Engineering Conglomerate (were I was in Uk as well) which is a Multinational, prior to that in a CMM Level5 IT firm a multinational again, and other ad agency before.

    In 2009, I incorporated a consulting company to endeavor my entrepreneurial venture and went into media services, real estate consulting (broking), Construction & Infrastructure. I was basically a match maker doing mostly mediation work till date.
    Parallel to all my doings mentioned above, I’m an active trader since 2002, trading Indian equity, derivatives, commodities and currencies, mostly equity & EQ derivatives. In the process I learnt Technical Analysis, Derivatives analysis and a little bit of fundamental analysis. I’m not ashamed to share that I lost all my fortune (in 8 digits in Indian Rupee value) and went bankrupt trading the markets in 2007-08 as I was over leveraged (yes im a victim of the Sub Prime crash) and gradually learnt to trade and invest better. The passion for markets is still intact, to the extent that I want to do this for the rest of my life the right way. Not that I have great track record for now with returns. But I can show with my traded transaction showcasing the dates.

    “My ultimate goal is to start a PE, Hedge Funds, asset mgmt firm of my own. Holding stakes in a portfolio of companies. In short I want to institutionalize my investments and trades and parallel raise funds in the process. “
    This being my only goal, I felt that taking a job in an Investment Bank will be my gateway to gain adequate knowledge and experience to excel.

    Would I have to explain my previous jobs as a Graphic Designer if asked? Which has a plus point with 9 full years of work experience, served in an IT and Multinational, corporate environment, Interacted with collage’s in Europe, US, Australia. The business from 2009 to till date can be explained and so the trading.
    With regard to my qualifications, I did not do my Higher Secondary Schooling (in India its 10th grade & 12th grade) as I took up my first job at a very early age.
    Later in 2004 I applied for a distance learning (BBA) Bachelors in Business Administration degree from Annamalai University, and finished it in 2008, now perusing a distance learning MBA in Financial Management, which I applied in 2013 from Annamalai University, and by 2014 I will be an MBA in Fin Mgmt. Post my MBA I wish to do Phd in Finance (yet to apply as I’m perusing Masters). I’m appearing for CMT Level 1, and shall appear for CFA Level 1 by 2015.

    In a crux on my qualification:
    – No High School
    – BBA Bachelors in Business Administration (through distance learning) Annamalai University
    – perusing MBA Fin Mgmt (through distance learning) from Annamalai University
    – will be doing Phd in Finance or Financial Management mostly through distance.
    – appearing for a Charted Market Technician (CMT) Level 1 in May 2014
    – appearing for CFA in 2015.

    Kindly show some light on the carrier path in IB or would you suggest me other options for the goal I have mentioned above.
    Thank you in advance

    1. As I wrote in my email to you, at this point you need to worry less about certifications and more about getting real work experience and networking to win interviews – you have a complicated background that will be difficult to explain, so the best solution is to simplify it, condense the design experience, and win some type of “trial” internship or full-time role for now and then leverage that into a role at larger bank afterward. I think you also need to figure out exactly what you want to do because IB is very different from working in the public markets and trading stocks and you don’t necessarily need IB to get a role where you do that.

  47. Arun Joseph

    Hi M&I,
    I am doing B.Com (finance and taxation) at “not-so famous” college. And a friend of mine suggested me to study Global Financial Markets professional program (GFMP) offered by BSE institute (Mumbai) after knowing my great interest in IB/PE and then to pursue an MBA from a top B school.
    I was wondering whether or not GFMP will prove to be a good step to climb up the ladder, or Simply an MBA will do. If not, Please suggest me an alternative to become an IB.

    P.S. I am good at studies and have an attitude to learn anything to become an IB.

    1. M&I - Nicole

      I think an MBA at a target will increase your chances more so than the GFMP though I may be wrong.

  48. vineet singh

    I am a CA final student who wants to get into investment banking after doing financial modelling it feasible.

    1. M&I - Nicole

      You may have to network a lot and perhaps getting an MBA at a target may help you

  49. I have done MBA Finance (9.5 GPA on scale of 10;topper) from average B-School (not top-tier) and cleared CFA Level 2 and possess 3 years of experience in 3rd party kpo equity research. Found the work monotonous and less growth opportunities compared to the number of complex models supposed to be built in tight deadlines. Hence, left the job. Looking for new options. Not interested in working in 3rd party kpo. Could you please suggest some options other than 3rd party kpo which could fit my background?

    1. M&I - Nicole

      I am not 100% sure though you may want to speak with some asset management firms in India.

  50. I am a MBA(Fin) + CFA (all 3 level cleared) + 3+ years of workex as a business analyst in software division of major Investment banks. Could you please suggest me leads to get into a front office IB role.

  51. I want to enter the world of Investment Banking. I am doing CA, CS and plain vanilla BCom. Recently a CA CS friend of mind broke into Morgan Stanley UK operations. Do you think that i can enter it ?

    1. M&I - Nicole

      You have a chance though you’ll be competing against people with relevant experience from target schools.

  52. I have landed in one of the top 3 iims in the country. I had a cgpa of 7.11/10 in engg. I have work exp. of 6 months with Deloitte in consulting. Have done exceedingly well in these 3 months at the iim. But, otherwise, I have an mediocre resume. Where do I stand a chance in making it to the interview rounds: MS, UBS, JPMorgan, GSachs, Barclays, Standard Chartered, Credit Suisse, Bank of America, RBS, HSBC, Citi? (For IB roles only)

    1. M&I - Nicole

      I’d say less than 50/50 since you’ll be competing against candidates who have had relevant finance work and club experience and a solid GPA

  53. Hi M&I,

    Very interesting read. I have more or less a similar profile. Have been working with a technology firm as a developer for the last 2 years. I would like to change my career track to finance. I Graduated from one of the Top 5 Engineering colleges in Civil Engineering but with mediocre grades. Just to explore my interests I have given CFA and am planning to take the Level 2 next june. Please advise me on how to get an intern / job in I banking boutiques. I am more worried about not learning than not earning as my career progresses.

  54. I am an Engineer (completed from regular Indian college) currently 26 years old, working as software developer here in Mumbai. I want to get into IB, I am planning to get into MBA school by the next year, and would target INSEAD, LBS, Cornell for instance (since they have 1 year MBA program). I am also thinking about getting head start with CFA alongside, I think by the time I get into MBA school I can clear first 2 levels (in worst case at least level-1), this will also provide a solid finance fonudation for me since I am complete fresher to this field (academically). What would you say about this kind of risky planning ?? is it worth trying ?? considering age factor that I would be around 29 (or 30 in worst case scenario) by the time I comeplte MBA. I really want to get into IB, I have decnet amount of personal trading experience and quite familiar with market. What you think getting MBA from one those top schools would help me to get into IB ?

    1. M&I - Nicole

      I don’t think your planning involves lots of risk. Yes it is worth trying. You may be a few years older than some after your MBA but you’ll still be fine. Yes getting into an MBA can help you retool yourself and increase your chances

      1. Dear Nicole, thanks a lot for your quick reply. Could you please let me know how many years I would have to work as Financial Analyst after completing MBA in order to reach Associate level ?? given that I come from complete non finance background and has no relevant experience prior to getting into MBA school.

        1. M&I - Nicole

          2-3 years under the normal track.

  55. Hey
    I’m a final year student doing from Delhi University. I’m also pursuing company secretary course. I have cleared till executive level and I now wish to enter into Investment Banking course. Is it done from Mumbai only? What is the admission procedure and when will the forms be available on sebi website. Please give me a link where in I can get all my doubts clear. Thank you.

    1. I’m not sure this site is what you’re looking for – we don’t have applications for specific banks or courses from banks. We only offer online courses.

  56. neeraj dhanwani

    I am.a. B.Com. fresher…Recently I got interviewed with Deusteche Bank for the profile Investment Banking operations and job location is pune..I want to know whether it is a KPO?? I wish to pursue my MBA in finance 1-2 years down the line..Will this work experience be helpful to me when I search for a job post my MBA?

    1. M&I - Nicole

      I am not 100% sure; probably. While you’ll be competing with candidates who have had experience in IB (front office) post MBA, this experience can still be somewhat useful.

  57. abhishek

    i just passed out 12th std
    i wanted to know that what are the requirements for becoming an investment banker
    what should i do ?
    which course should i do now?

  58. Hi,
    I have very recently completed my degree from a semi reputed college in Bangalore . I have also done a 3 month internship in deutsche bank . And although I have been offerd a position there I will mostly pass up the opportunity as it is more of a back office job . I aspire to break into a front office job in any of the top investment bank and would love to hear your advice on what I need to do to achieve it and what chances do I have. Thank you !

    1. M&I - Nicole

      I think getting into a target MBA school abroad will help you immensely

  59. Hi,
    I am a Chartered Accountant working in Sydney, Australia. I am currently working in the Corporate Finance Department in PwC Sydney. Can you tell me if an IB would be interested in a front office desk for someone of my background?

    1. M&I - Nicole

      If you have had solid deal experience, yes. Please refer to

  60. Hi
    I have recently finished my undergraduate program and I am a finance major. I also completed full time investment banking course of 6 weeks. As I went through the article it seems like only MBAs and CAs can break into I-Banking. Aren’t there any firms in India which consider undergrads for i-banking??

    1. Which college?

    2. M&I - Nicole

      I am not 100% sure, but I believe very few IB firms in India have analyst programs for undergrads, and those that do so are interested in candidates from top engineering colleges and commerce colleges (If you graduating from such schools, you may have a bigger chance). You may also want to approach local financial institutions in India to maximize your chances.

  61. Hi,
    Currently I am working with a Commercial Bank in India in a lending role for a year now. Previously I have worked in Budgets for a Telecom infra co. for 2 years and Pricing Analysis in Honeywell for an year. I have MBA in finance and have cleared CFA level 2. My GPA scores are not very high.
    Please suggest what would be my target role in Finance. Thanks!

    1. I would aim for FIG-related roles, i.e. anything at a bank or other investment firm where you work with financial institutions due to your background there. And consider more than just IB as it’s very difficult to get in with lower grades.

      1. How would an experience as a trader in dealing room of the commercial Bank I work with help for a role in an investment bank or would it be better to take a role in say JPMC operations in Asset mgmt. to advance towards a front office role in IB?

  62. It is amazing to see how many people want to get into IB. Below are my views relevant for front office IB

    Guys get your facts straight.


    Less than 20% of IB firms in India have analyst programs. Some firms that do have will only look at people for top 10 engineering colleges in India and top 5 commerce colleges. If you are not from them probability -> 0 … If you are then also it is not a cakewalk…

    CAs… Some of the Indian banks may look at you. Identify and approach them. Networking will surely help.

    You need to be from IIMs/ISB/JBIMS/SP Jain. PERIOD!

    Network as much as you can … Trust me it works … Call 100 people … 20 will meet you. 10 will have a proper interview… And may be 1-2 will give you an offer…

    Do you know how much an IB pays in India? If you are a rockstar banker then you will make about ~$10MM in your entire career. (Less than 100 people have reached there in India so far)

    Trust me with the kind of hours that you need to put in, it is better to do something of your own or in fact anything of your own. If you are smart enough to reach that $10MM figure in IB then you will make much more than that bby doing anything of your own…

    1. Thanks for adding that, but in all fairness, starting a business on your own is no guarantee of making money (nor is getting into finance). But yes, a better case could be made for doing something on your own these days (hence why you don’t see me jumping back into the industry).

      1. Agree that there is no guarantee of success. But but if you know India, you will understand that a lot more money can be made by doing small things like a simple dealership of a commodity in a single district.

        Skills required to be successful in IB are immense and if you have that than you can utilize them for making more money elsewhere. That was the simple message that I intended to convey.

        1. M&I - Nicole

          Thanks for your input.

  63. Well i cant help but notice some bitterness in the interviewees thoughts.

    First of all not all the brightest minds of india go into engineering.I am studying to be a CA and there are many supremely bright students in this field too.Infact i can say that 80-85 % of engineering students are duds and go into engg because their friends/relatives are there.

    Secondly if you dont have an MBA and have years of expereince in IT , very few to none will hire you(on this planet) and its only logical.Also take the age factor into context.Even on wall street Inv Banks prefer analyst’s to be around the age range of 22-26.I read on a european pvt equity firms site that they would prefer their candidate not to be older than 26

  64. Thanks so much for all the advice you put up here I have just been told that I will be made an offer at a mid market for their Mumbai office and coming from a physics degree I found all the info about Finance really useful. I am actually English myself and the firm is based in the UK primarily. What kind of salary is normally expected for Ex-pat contracts? Is it likely to be more or less then typical grad/entry level money. Also if your in London before I jet off in July I would love to buy you a drink.

    1. M&I - Nicole

      I’m not familiar w salary levels at Mumbai; I think readers may be able to offer you better suggestions!

  65. Hi!
    I have MBA(non-finance) degree and post qualification experience of 3 years in retail banking operations.I left my job in 2010 due to family reasons.I am pursuing certificate courses in equity,currency and interest rate derivatives.I am not getting job due to gap of 18 months in my career.What should I do to get into job once again.

    1. Hmm, maybe go back to something closer to retail banking operations first, since it will be easier to move there, and then keep taking the certification courses in your free time and use them to move into a more finance-related field.

      1. Ishan Saini

        Hi Brian!

        I am currently in the final year of a B.Tech- MBA dual degree program in India. My field of specialisation in MBA is Finance. I am interested in working for an investment bank. I also registered for your free financial modeling courses, but could not opt for a Premium due to financial reasons. What should I do to break into an investment bank, maybe a middle market or boutique one.

  66. I just read your “Investment Banking courses- a scam?” article. Since this question is in relation to India, I posted the query here.Would you know of any specific financial modelling certificate programs in India(Mumbai) which hold value? The person you have interviewed in this article said he had attended one.Is there any way you could list the name;and if it was helpful and recognized?
    Thank you.

    1. M&I - Nicole

      If the interviewee wants to disclose it, he’ll respond to your comment.

      1. Okay, thank you

  67. hello,
    I am in my final year of my graduation in BBA(Finance & Accountancy).
    Can you please advice me on how to start internship in investment banking from India?
    thank you.

    1. M&I - Nicole

      Apply to grad programs and see how it goes. Of course this depends on if the deadlines have passed already – you will have to check online

  68. hi,
    I have a technical degree (14 months of technical work ex)and currently I am working with a PSU bank. what should be my first step to switch to investment banking?? should I go for an MBA in finance or something else ?? your feedback would be valuable..

  69. hey ! I’m a high school student and I want to become an investment banker but I am not sure whether I actually have a flair for it or I like it because of the money or its prestige . Is there any way of finding out??

    1. M&I - Nicole

      Figure out what you are interested in, your key strengths and weaknesses, and what you genuinely like doing

      If you genuinely enjoy modelling work, valuing companies/buying/selling companies and negotiations, you might enjoy the work. Check out books like Barbarians At The Gate

  70. Hello, I am currently working in a boutique firm and have a total experience of about 15 months in IB.I recently got an offer from an Indian bank for an analyst in PE but on a contract basis for less than a year with not very prospective renewal policy.
    According to me I should not pursue the offer because i could be laid off earlier than the contract period after which it will be difficult to find a job.
    Can you please provide your views on the decision.
    Thank you

    1. M&I - Nicole

      I’d stay at your current firm if you are not sure and you like your current firm (at least you don’t hate it)

  71. I have MBA(non-finance) degree and post qualification experience of 3 years in retail banking operations.I left my job in 2010 due to family reasons.I am pursuing certificate courses in equity,currency and interest rate derivatives.I am not getting job due to gap of 18 months in my career.What should I do to get into job once again.

    1. M&I - Nicole

      Network a lot!

      1. Please provide a link for your networking section.

  72. Hi,

    I recently got a job in BoAML,but in the technology division as I have a bachelors in engineering .Would a years worth of work experience be of any help later in getting a job in a front office IB ,as getting a job in that field seems next to impossible at the moment?

    P.S i am thinking of doing an MBA after 3-4 years and as you have advised ,I have crossed out the CFA option.

    1. M&I - Nicole

      Not much help but you can try and network within ML and see how that goes. Transferring internally is probably easier in your case

  73. Hi,

    I need your opinion on the current investment banking environment in India. We have recently seen that most of the BB have fired people at various level and there are very few M&A and PE deals are happening in India. Where do you see the future for investment banking in India? Is it over crowded or will there be any place for new comers ?


    1. M&I - Nicole

      Readers may be able to offer you better insights into the Indian market.

  74. Brian,

    The above strategy was already in my mind and thank you for reiterating my confidence in my thought process. I’ll take this opportunity to reframe my initial question a little bit.

    If in case I am able to make it for a good second MBA in a school like say HBS, LBS or my personal targets Stern and Kellogs, what is it that I can do in the meanwhile (assuming working in the insurance c/o for 2-3 years) to make sure that my profile, resume and networking are particularly in line with getting into Investment Banking after the second MBA.


    1. M&I - Nicole

      Network a lot and get a good finance internship

  75. Hi,

    I’m a business graduate student from India. I graduated from University of California, Berkeley in 2009 (GPA 3.0/4.0) and am pursuing a post graduate degree in Management from NITIE, Mumbai (GPA 3.55/4). I currently have a job offer from Aviva Life Insurance, India, which is due to start in May.

    In the overall picture I am more interested in going into the banking sector, which unfortunately was not a very popular recruiting sector at NITIE this year.

    While I am currently planning on starting the job at hand, I plan on doing a second MBA a few years later to help myself make a vertical shift if the need be to do a Ctrl + Z on the undergraduate GPA and not-so-well-know b-School.

    I would request you to please guide me as to how useful this idea of doing a second MBA to get into IB is. Also, how could I go about building a stronger finance-centric profile along with the work-ex in the insurance sector.

    Thank you.

    1. Second MBAs are generally not a good idea unless you go to HBS or some other top school and even then you’ll get tons of questions on why you did it since it’s so uncommon and expensive.. My advice is to do well at the insurance company, network with bankers, and then leverage that experience to move into a FIG group at a bank (

  76. Do you mind if I quote a few of your posts as long as I provide credit and sources back to your webpage? My blog site is in the very same niche as yours and my users would truly benefit from a lot of the information you provide here. Please let me know if this okay with you. Thank you!

  77. Jitendra pal

    i am i my final year graduatiom b.m.s(mumbai university) there lie lot of option before whether to do m.b.a(finance) which i think should be followed by 2yr experience or do fresh c.a ultimately i want to get in I.B other courses such as c.f.a, or CIB(certified investment banker) which is offered by icfai university are other option avail before plz suggest and one i wanna ask that whether private institution in my knowledge such as SIB(school of investment bank) and corporate bridge will actually me get in as analyst in I.B plz guide me…regards

  78. Hi Brian,

    your website helped me a lot to know about breaking into IB from a non-finance background.

    I m a junior year engineering student planning to take up a career at a big bulge bracket in India. With no prior experience of finance, I plan to take up FRM L1 this summer to provide me an insight into the markets from a quantitative perspective.
    As I ve already read the “CFA” section, I know this certificate course has a very less significance. I have applied to a lot of banks/PE/boutique banks but I ve heard from none so far. I have an entrepreneurial experience of finding a youth awareness sort of a platform at college level. Since I do not come from IITs I have no options of campus recruitment to an IB for a non technical role.
    GS visits my college for internships every year for a technical profile. I ve mailed the HR too about my interest in finance.

    I have a chance of landing up an internship offer at a boutique this summer. Do you think I should stop cold calling bulge brackets since I do not have an experience and instead focus my time and energy more towards my FRM prepn? ( and be satisfied with the boutique offer anticipating it might help me land an interview with an IB more effectively at a later point of time, when, i should be actually focusing more on cold calling).

    I ll be obliged by a reply from your side.

    1. M&I - Nicole

      Yes be satisfied w the boutique offer because it will help you in the future, but don’t stop networking.

  79. hi,
    i am currently pursuing my mms(finance) from mumbai university, and i want to get into investment banking, my back ground is of bsc(chemistry), and i have 4yrs of work exp in sales,and i switched on from sales to finance, now its extremely difficult to get jobs in field of finance, m 29yrs of age, can you suggest me how and what should i do to boost up my resume so that i become capable for giving interviews in an investment banking firm.thank you

    1. M&I - Nicole

      In your case, going to a top tier (target) business school might help you.

  80. I’m doing my MBA in finance & marketing from IIPM Mumbai. I was already been placed with Icici securities as senior relationship manager. I have left the job in 45 days of joining & I don’t have any other work experience. Im trying to get a breakthrough in investment banking sector. I have given interviews in few financial institutes in Mumbai. Please guide me in how to go about in this field.

    1. You have to be very aggressive with networking, just as this interviewee was. Meet people at events, get their contact information, follow-up, cold-call banks as necessary, and do whatever it takes to get noticed and win interviews.

    2. Hritob,

      I am also currently studying in Mumbai. Don’t know how old this comment is but would love to connect to share some experiences.

      Please reply to the comment is you are interested and we can share contact details.


  81. Hi….
    I am a CA, passed out in 2011.Currently i am working in a consultancy firm but have an inclination for M&A fields. Can you please suggest the ways to break in my interest field?

  82. Hi,

    I started working for a bulge bracket firm with technology division 6 months back after graduating out of a top engineering college.

    Here are my quick questions:
    1. I believe going for quick MBA is not a good option(as you suggested in one of your articles), correct?
    2. Should I try switch to an IB role in a boutique bank with cold-calling and financial modeling courses? I am really skeptical if it would be a good decision moving out of a bulge bracket so early!
    3. I have not found any opportunities to network with any bankers yet in my current role. Should I give time to build better network at my firm before moving for MBA? I do not know if that would be possible since bankers work out of a different office.
    4. I cannot be a active stock investor and manage funds for others for gaining experience (as the interviewee here) because of firm’s compliance policies.
    5. Any other strategy you would suggest?

    I would really appreciate your advice.


    1. M&I - Nicole

      1. Depends what you want your MBA for.
      2. You could try, but whether you could do it or not depends on you
      3. I think you’ll have to really take the initiative to network w bankers if they work out of a different office
      4. I can understand
      5. Go out of your way to network. Ace your current job and get good recs. If you have time, try to pick up some interesting experience (i.e. working for a non-profit on the side, starting your own business)- this will help in your bschool app

  83. Hi,
    i had written earlier asking about insurance consultancy in relevance for IB.
    I have worked in I banking for 15 months in a pvt co. I am very keen on working in MNC.
    I dont have an offers as such for management consultancy but i would like you to enlighten on the similarities between the two profiles. Is it easy to get switch between IB and management consultancy and is the work the same?? i am at a deciding stage of my career and hence i need certain clarifications. please advice.
    thank you

  84. Akash Kedia

    Can you tell us the hierarchy wise approx salaries prevailing these days in the IB and PE sector in India ?

    1. M&I - Nicole

      Readers might give you better insights!

  85. Hardik Mehta

    I would like to know whats the best option for me. I have completed CS, LLB & MBA. i want to make it big in M & A. I want to crack the deals and work in all ways possible. I have offers from Big 4 as well as a few Invt banks. What should i do? what will give me the best arena to perform?

    1. M&I - Nicole

      If you want to work in an IB, I’d take the offers w IBs. You should choose the team you get along with the most and the work you find the most interesting

  86. Hi,

    I appeared by final paper (P4/P5) of ACCA(C.A) in UK and willing to come to back to India to work as Investment Banker. I have over 10 years experience in Accounts and finance worked with small size company in UK & India.

    I have absolutely no idea how is IB job market in India and also how to break in.

    Will be really appreciable if you can assist me.


    1. M&I - Nicole

      I’d suggest you to network with people in the industry, cold call people and see where it takes you.

  87. Please can anyone of you guys help me out. I am a from 1993 batch , pursued C,A. but could only manage it till Inter C.A.that also under the old course in 1996. Can you let me know what is the investment banking scenario in India & how could i possibly make it

    1. M&I - Nicole

      This article should address your question.

  88. Hi,
    My question wasnt answered and the next one was…so i thought theres some error.Anyway i am reposting the same:
    I love this website for the extensive database it has!!
    I am 23 yrs, working for a private investment banking company as a trainee for three months. During my CA internship also i worked at the same post in same company for about 15 months.will this experience help me get into top I banks or should i continue to gather more experience and then start approaching ??

    1. M&I - Nicole

      Your experience should help. You should network now and see how it goes.

      1. Thanks Nicole for the reply, i would like to get some guidance regarding my career…
        Firstly- What do you exactly mean by networking? i just know my colleagues in my office. so how to i network?
        Secondly- This might sound a bit out of context, but I am very keen on working for a big MNC, and i have an offer from Marshall and MacLennan India for insurance consultant job.So would insurance consultancy later on help me in IB at a later stage of life if i decide to switch back to IB? or will i have to start from scratch again?
        please advice.

        1. M&I - Nicole

          Networking = talking to as many people as you can, build genuine relationships with them, give and take (figure out what they want and see if you can match their needs), leverage on your relationships. In your situation, you might also want to cold-call/email firms –

          FIG groups in IB may be interested in your insurance consultancy experience but I don’t know if its that useful to other teams, and even for FIG, to be honest

          1. Thank you so much for the time and advice Nicole

          2. M&I - Nicole


  89. Hi, great article! However, my situation is such :

    I am an undergrad 3rd year design student from one of the top colleges in India (IIT-Guwahati). I am very much interested in breaking into the finance field, esp. I-Banking.
    So far, I’ve had no financial background. No financial interns, nor any design ones. My CGPA is also bad.
    This coming summer I am supposed to be doing an intern. Exactly a year later companies will start recruiting students from my batch.

    So, to get into IB or related fields, what am I supposed to do? Do I apply for :
    Option (A)
    A financial intern this summer and subsequently apply for a financial analyst position in an I-Bank during on-campus recruiting (is it even possible for me?), and then do an MBA?
    Option (B)
    A design intern so that it improves my chances of getting a good design placement a year later from now, and after a 1-2 yrs of work experience do an MBA?

    I guess you’d say option A is better, but I’m also considering option B since I’m absolutely clueless as to whether I could land a financial summer intern as well as a financial recruit later, with no relevant background at all. This is what I really need to be informed about!
    Also, would a job at a bulge-bracket be possible, even if its in the future? That’s my ultimate interest, and definitely not KPO’s.
    Desperately need your advice! Thanks.

    1. M&I - Nicole

      Please only post your question once on the site and refer to our response to this same question on another post

  90. Hi, great article! However, my situation is such :

    I am an undergrad 3rd year design student from one of the top colleges in India (IIT-Guwahati). I am very much interested in breaking into the finance field, esp. I-Banking.
    So far, I’ve had no financial background. No financial interns, nor any design ones. My CGPA is also bad.
    This coming summer I am supposed to be doing an intern. Exactly a year later companies will start recruiting students from my batch.

    So, to get into IB or related fields, what am I supposed to do? Apply for :
    Option (A)
    A financial intern this summer and subsequently apply for a financial analyst position in an I-Bank during on-campus recruiting (is it even possible for me?), and then do an MBA?
    Option (B)
    A design intern so that it improves my chances of getting a good design placement a year later from now, and after a 1-2 yrs of work experience do an MBA?

    I guess you’d say option A is better, but I’m also considering option B since I’m absolutely clueless as to whether I could land a financial summer intern as well as a financial recruit later, with no relevant background at all.
    Also, would a job at a bulge-bracket be possible, even if its in the future? That’s my ultimate interest, and definitely not KPO’s.

    1. M&I - Nicole

      Please only post your question once on the site.
      A. A bit late for on campus recruiting.
      B. If you are in design, why do you want to get into IB and related fields? You should be able to address this question before you apply. I think an MBA would help you in your case given your background but I’m not sure when you should do it because it depends on circumstances.

      I’d say B might be an easier route for you. Can’t say if BB is possible for you in the future given so many unknown factors.

  91. Hi,
    I love this website for the extensive database it has!!
    I am 23 yrs, working for a private investment banking company as a trainee for three months. During my CA internship also i worked at the same post in same company for about 15 months.will this experience help me get into top I banks or should i continue to gather more experience and then start approaching ??

  92. Mohsin Chikani

    I am a from the university of Mumbai graduated way back in July 1993, pursued the CA Course after that, cleared one of the groups of Inter C.A. in May 1996. Have been working abroad all then since 1996 have tried to pursue my CA further but could not make it. In all these yaers i have got good offers which pay around $30000 p.a. to spaek of but i really want to be a finace professional . How do you think can IB help me

    1. M&I - Nicole

      You should worry about getting into IB first. Once you get in, I’ll answer your question

  93. HI,
    i will graduating this year in MBA finance from a reputed B-school in mumbai.I am fresher as i didn’t have any prior work experience. i am very keen on joining an good investment banking and/or consulting firm, but i am unable to get placed through campus placements. please help me out on how should i go on this to get placed as well as what courses should i take to make my resume strong enough.

    thanks and regards !!!

  94. Hi,
    I’m an engineering graduate from BITS-Pilani in India(the top private engineering school in the country and at par with most IITs as reflected regularly in any XYZ ranking you pick)and currently working at Oracle Server Technologies in Bangalore as a Software Developer(6-months work-ex).Gave CFA Level 1 this month and expecting to pass easily.Relax, I read your pieces on CFA so won’t bother talking anymore about it :)Just outlining my profile.

    What I wanted to know was whether you’d be able to comment on the usefulness of doing a 1-yr fully-paid via scholarship liberal arts program from the point of view of –
    1)Coming across as a well-rounded individual for B-School application in future.(aiming to get into finance and PE specifically in the long-term)
    2)Networking(this one coz this program is unique in the sense that it is sponsored and fully-funded by the who’s who of Indian industry and a lot of them regularly meet the fellows selected for interaction).

    In addition to courses taught by the best in the field from all over the world,the program strongly emphasizes Experiential Learning and working on business ideas step-by-step over a 8-month period from conception to execution(there goes the entrepreneur pitch)

    The website:

    PS: I actually read a lot of stuff related to the kind of courses they teach and very much love it, so it’s not like a forced thing.I need to weigh passion against practicality,if this helps in anyway with career goals,makes it easy to convince myself to have a go at trying to get the fellowship.

    1. M&I - Nicole

      1. Not sure if the program will help this as much
      2. Yes

      1. I thought you said somewhere in one of your articles that bankers don’t give a damn about anything beyond fin work-ex but B-Schools look for diversity and “different”. I mean unless you are a top-athlete/successful entrepreneur/random quirky outstanding achiever, even B-Schools don’t give a damn or what?

        1. M&I - Nicole

          Yes, but in your situation, your fellowship can help but might not be able to increase your chances significantly

  95. Hi
    I am a science graduate working in public bank in India , profile being servicing the customers and selling financial products thereby creating revenue . I have a strong desire to work in a investment bank what should I do .
    Thanks .

    1. M&I - Nicole

      Network intensively and really understand why you want to work for an IB

  96. this website! the comments. I work at a Bulge bracket IB in London. To be precise, I am an analyst and made around £112k last year. Money is good, no?

    1. M&I - Nicole

      Can’t really comment. I’d suggest you to refer to salary surveys

  97. pooja shah

    good afternoon
    i have completed M.COM and indian CFA,and wants to make career in finance corp/pe firms in mumbai,but i am not able to get any job kindly throw light on this matter how to achieve the full procedure or anything you can.
    thanking you

    1. See the tips above. Go to networking events, start out at smaller firms, think about accounting and Big 4 and other non-bank/PE firms to get started there first and then move into one of those.

  98. Dear sir,

    I am an electronics engineer presently working in IT dept of a good bank at Singapore.I have cleared CFA level 2 and CAIA level 1 and desperate for a break into investment banking arena. What are my chances in India and pls advice


  99. Sir,
    I am an engg graduate from one of an average engg college in india with a cgpa of 6.98 out of 10. i want to make my career in investment banking, i have no contacts, also i got a job in one of the pvt sector bank in india. can u please guide me wat to do in order to achieve my goal as i am from a non-financial field

  100. Avnish Mehra

    Hello, I was going through your article and I have few queries. I have recently completed my MSc banking and finance from University of leeds , UK . But I had to come back to India due to the shortage of jobs for international students in Uk . Now, I am trying to break into Investment banking cause I just love. I have been trading in equities and other alternative investment for quite some time now. I am contacting PE directors and investment firm directors but no one has been helpful to me as they said that due to global economic slowdown has even effected their business and they are not hiring .
    I am confused that what should I do now to break into the field. I seriously need some help in this. I have even written articles and I plan to start blog writing as well
    but can you suggest what will be helpful to me.

    1. M&I - Nicole

      Keep on networking. Don’t give up.

  101. gaurav roongta


    any pointers how to switch over to IB from a consulting background?i have over 2 yrs exp. in management consulting.

  102. Hi,
    I’m an engineering student from a reputed Technical Institute in India. As an undergrad, with no formal finance education, with not-so-outstanding scores, but a passion for the IB/finance sector, what are my chances?
    I’ll graduate in May 2012. What should I do to break into IB. An immediate MBA is out of question for me.

    1. M&I - Nicole

      Chances: slim unless you network like a ninja and have a great pitch.
      Network w bankers. Apply for jobs in midtier banks.

  103. Pravesh jain

    I am a Chartered accountant and working at Corporate restructuring(M&A) vertical of KPMG India from past 9 months. I specialise in structuring the deal from tax and regulatory perspective. My profile involves inbound and outbound investment structuring, structuring the organisation holding model for overseas listing, balance sheet right sizing, etc. I have also done internship in a local Investment bank (boutique) where i was invloved in financial modeling, profiling sectors and companies, drafting information memorandum, etc. I aspire to make a career in a Private equity/Venture capital advisory but wish to make a way in it through M&A strategic advisory from any top tier IB. Could you please guide me, how should i shape my career from hereon and do you think i can make my current experience count to get into it ???

    1. M&I - Nicole

      Yes your current experience shd help. How to shape your career? Network and try to land a job in IBD. I’d also network w PE/VC principals in the meantime too.

  104. Hi!

    I’m an experienced finance professional. Have worked for 4.5 yrs in the corporate banking division of MNC banks. I took a break from work in 2009 due to family reasons. Now I am ready to get back to work and have been looking for a job since quite sometime. In the month of March 2011, I also did a training on investment banking from India office of Wall St. Training. I want to get into an investment bank. Request your guidance.


    1. M&I - Nicole

      Network w bankers and see if you can land yourself a job (just so you get your foot in the door). An MBA in a target school might help you. You can also try back/middle office roles in banks, or even work for financial service providers and then try to land a job in banking (not ideal but an option)

  105. Hi,

    I am working as a software developer In TCS with 1.8 years experience.I am trying to get into financial sector without opting for MBA.I have cleared CFA Level II Examination this june but its not helping me.I dont have any contacts into financial industry.Is there any way out?Is CFA a bad choice?

    1. Passing the CFA exams is not an automatic pass into the world of finance.

      Have you joined your local CFA society and attended their networking events? Since you mentioned you don’t have any contacts, I’m assuming that you haven’t taken advantage of this yet. You need to network.

      Also, what specifically are you looking for in a job?

      1. Hi Mike,

        I am open to any profile as of now to get into finance but the thing is I am not getting any calls from anywhere I can show my capabilities only when i get some calls.I have applied through companies website career section but all in vain.
        Is it possible to join local CFA society before level III?
        Kindly advice

        1. Yes, you can join as a candidate.

  106. I am working in the operations for one of the Bulge bracket banks in India. I always thought that operations was the best way to start off if you are from a non target. However, after reading your article about operations I am a bit paranoid. I am 22 and have been working for a year and a half now. What should my move be to get into IB? Botiques here dont took at you if you dont have an MBA/or are an engineer from IIT.

    This would be a bit early to apply for an MBA. What should my next move be?

    1. M&I - Nicole

      It really depends on your background. If operations is the “best” job you can get and have right now, make the most out of it and try to network your way into PB even though it is difficult.
      I don’t think its ever too early to apply for an MBA. if you have good work experience and good referees (and can craft good essays), why not?
      Next move? Network like a ninja. Pitch your story well. Ace your interviews.

      1. In such a case, would a masters in finance degree work? Instead of an MBA?

        1. M&I - Nicole

          I personally prefer an MBA to MF – hope article above helps

  107. I dont want to sound rude but many engineers from our country(Yea im indian) want to get into IB mainly because of the things they see on movies or the rumours they hear about pay packets.I wish they evaluated their talent and likes before they jump into this field

    Engineers from IIT are mostly recruited at I banks but if you arent from IIT you need to be exceptionally brilliant,need previous finance experience and yes the most popular factor,luck.

  108. Hi

    I am CA Anant Kapur and I have recently qualified Chartered Accountancy examination from the Institute of Chartered Accountant of India after doing my Bachelor of Commerce (Hons.) from University of Delhi. Further, I have also successfully cleared CFA Level I examination.

    Previously, I have worked for Deloitte Haskins and Sells in Audit & Assurance Division and Grant Thornton in Tax & Regulatory Services.

    Through this work experience during my articles training, I have attained deep knowledge about understanding and analyzing the Financial Statements of an entity and the processes which are carried out throughout the entity.

    I have gained skills of teamwork, client interactions and continuously meeting deadlines to provide best output to clients. I possess good analytical and developed Microsoft excel skills while working on various assignments across industries.

    Even with such a profile I am finding it really hard to enter an I-Bank. I have been cold calling a bit and forwarding/uploading resumes to various people/websites but no luck as of now.

    It would be great if you could tell me how to make my profile stronger. I read about the finance modelling course the interviewee did. It would be helpful if you could tell me the best place to do this course anywhere in India/abroad along with other useful tips.

    Thanks in advance.

    1. M&I - Nicole

      Don’t give up. Don’t think “making your profile” stronger on paper is as useful as networking. Continue to network and cold call the right contacts – people who have the ability to hire you (i.e. MDs).

      When you cold call, make sure you articulate yourself well, have a good voice and keep it brief – key is to get to meet the guy for an information session via coffee. Always ask if he/she has a minute first.

      Modelling course? You’ve found the right place!

    2. Hi.. evn i have recently qualified Chartered Accountancy examination and m facing same problem like yours.some of my seniors have told me to do audit of banking & FS industry to get there.What path have u chosen? by now u must have even got some job i guess

  109. Hello,
    I am a Medical doctor with Master’s in Hospital Administration. Exclusively since last 4 year my profile has been in Strategic business growth , Medical practice acquistion & Research analysis with various Hospital groups. I want my future in IB and am searching for a breakthrough in IB-Healthcare vertical. Was planning to study a M&A course . However I lack in networks.Guide me how to go about ?

  110. Hi Brian,

    Some of my friends are working in investment banking KPOs that support global banks like Barclays, CS, MS etc. The profile of these guys remain the same like cranking out pitch books, spreadsheet valuations analysis etc. I am sure everyehere irrespective of the region, banks will have such teams. Is it wise to break into these teams/KPOs with a hope to move up to the front end role in future? Because these teams do the analytics work & can one expect to have front end role in future through such experience?

    1. M&I - Nicole

      I can see where you are coming from. While the analytics work might help, I personally haven’t heard of anyone who tried break into banking from working in the IB KPOs like Copal Partners. Do bear in mind your hours working for KPOs can be long and pay probably not as palatable and it might take you a long time before you can break into IB. If you are genuinely interested in the work this might be a good try though I’d suggest you to network your way into banking instead.

  111. I am a finance news writer…I have my own finance blog…i have done my BBA and doing the company secretaryship program. What do you think my next step should be if i want to be in the private equity or corporate finance?

    1. You need to work at a small finance firm and/or get another degree such as a Master’s or MBA.

      1. I am 25 years old. So, that should not make any difference, right? Moreover, I aim to do my MBA in distance. Will that be a factor?

        1. M&I - Nicole

          If you want to get into PE/corp fin in your situation, you might have to go through the unconventional route since I presume you aren’t eligible to get in through the regular internship programs via university recruiting. With the above being said, you can network “like a ninja”, build relationships w senior folks in PE/corp fin and offer to help them out. No I don’t think doing an MBA in a distance helps. If you really want to do an MBA, get into a top school (targeted universities such as Wharton, HBS by banks).

          Pls refer to this link to network like a ninja –

          1. Thanks so much, you have been of real help!

  112. hi,
    I have done gradution in Science then PG(MBA) in finance having 2yrs expreince in the broking firm . Now i am looking out for career in Investment banking so what are the courses or where should i start ? what are the company ?
    Please guid me?

    1. See what the interviewee here did – CA, possibly a modeling course, lots of networking.

      1. Sorry to say M&I but CA is completely different than what has been mentioned here.

  113. Nikhil Kumar

    I am student from one of the best engineering colleges in india(IIT Madras).I finished my bachelor in april 2011 , but i had been working in an investment bank startup(finding,arranging and execution of deals in emerging markets) from 2011 and i will be continuing till January 2012 and i want to get a job in a decent investment bank.The reason i want to leave the company is dude to dry work and lack of clients for the business.
    I have a low gpa , but a strong referral from the company’s CEO who is worked at leading investment banks.
    Can you suggest me on how to proceed to get an opportunity in an investment bank.
    Any information would be useful to me.
    Thanks in advance.

    1. See everything he did above in this interview… start networking, going to events, cold-calling when necessary, maybe consider the CA designation

    2. Hii Nikhil.. what company is it? I am also from an IIT ( Roorkee, 2011) and I am looking for a job desperately in IB. I tried for the big ones but cudnt get any interview calls.. If you cud tell me the company name it l help me a lot. also I m planning to do my MFE next year so working for one year wudnt be a problem.. Hope u dont mind giving out names..

  114. I am a student of one of the best engineering colleges in India(IIT KHARAGPUR) persuing an engineering degree.I am aware of the fact that many banks come to my college campus for recruitment but they all come for Technology division like DB and Barclays capital.Should I apply for an internship in IB in the New York ,London and Singapore offices and what is the scope of being selected ,as I donot want to work in the technology division of these firms ? And also how would they conduct my interview? Are these banks recruiting undergrads from India for investment banking analyst in NY/London offices?

    1. I would not apply in those other places unless you have connections there or a good reason to move overseas. Most of the time they just hire locally anyway. Your best bet is to do some type of study abroad program or a Master’s degree in another place and then take advantage of recruiting there.

  115. Kanishka


    I have worked at a captive KPO for one and a half years. I did my undergraduate degree from a reputed college in India. I was under the impression that KPO experience might count in getting selection and later placements in top-tier Indian B schools. However, now I get to hear that BB hiring at Indian schools actually prefer fresher grads rather that KPO guys. Can someone throw some light on this…..


    1. Yes that is generally true and the interviewer above pretty much confirmed that, KPO –> real bank is a tough transition to make

      1. kanishka

        Thx for your reply Brian! Still would you be able to advise what kind of transition I can expect ? Also, is corp fin analyst in a company relevant experience for IB/PE ?

        1. Yes it’s relevant really not sure of details on the transition though as I don’t know much about the Indian market

  116. he got interview offer after applying in 200 firms.
    how come there are 200 investment banks in india.I am from india and there may be 20-30 banks

    1. I don’t know, they probably weren’t all pure banks

      1. yep. seriously how come 200 firms? no way. wrong info. needs to be corrected.. and small banks? u dont need to apply for 200 banks to get into. I hope this guy really did break into a big or reputed IB.

        1. We don’t verify every single piece of information that an interviewee provides, because doing so would be both time-consuming and impossible due to privacy issues.

          There may not indeed by 200 banks in India, but I’m sure he applied to other types of firms as well, whether KPO, non-pure-play banks, and so on.

  117. I am CA passout of 2008 batch.
    As part of industrial training have worked in Investment team of one of largest AMC (mutual fund) in India for 1 year.

    On qualifying couldn`t find suitable job during financial tsunami of 2008 for about a year.

    Since past 2 year I am into CA practice. Have been trying to get into IB , PE and other financial instituions.

    Need some guidance from person well-experience in IB / PE / financial institutions.


  118. I am doing my CA Final and working in an Investment banking firm. I would like to move to dubai after completing my CA.
    I want to know whether Factset Certification in finance modelling coupled with I banking experience in India could get me a opportunity to work in I banking in Dubai..

  119. Himanshu

    I have gone through the article and it has been very enlightening to say the least.
    Here is my story and I would appreciate if anyone could throw in opinions. I am a resident of Mumbai, a BE with 1 yr IT experience in a top firm. Thereafter did my MBA from a reputed though a non target school(biggest mistake of my life). I stumbled upon the authors disapproval of CFA but I had already appeared for my Level 3 exam.
    I have been looking for jobs for a yr now. I did not take up just about any job because I did not want to get into in a non relevant field and then go through the process of finding a way back.
    My problem:
    1. I am exhausted of contacts and cold calling hasn’t worked either. What do you think should be the way forward?
    2. I am losing my confidence and not sure of how long should I wait it out.
    Any genuine help will be highly appreciated. Thanks.

    1. At this point you should probably go for positions outside of IB/PE (i.e. wealth management or asset management) because they’ll be easier to get and don’t require top schools as much

  120. Rachit Kasera

    Hope you are doing well.I am currently working in a 3rd Party KPO. Since this article is against working there, so how do I switch to IB or boutique firms specially in India.
    thanx a lot.

    1. Probably have to network a lot, similar to what this interviewee did, and/or go to a top business school and/or become a CA.

  121. hi there..
    im 20 yr old (3rd year) , CA final(New course) , CS final(new Course), will go for CFA and MBA after my graduation…
    will it be possible to break into investment banking/private equity for me at all ??


    1. Really depends on your school, work experience, and how much networking you’ve done

  122. I am currently working as a content writer and SEO analyst for the past 5 years.

    I passed my class 12 (with Science) with 70.5 percent marks. I am in the final year of my BBA (corres. Annamalai University), and doing CS.

    What is the best way to enter into corporate finance? I would like to hear what others say in this regard.

  123. Hi,
    I am pursuing Masters in Quantitative finance from a good UK university. As you have discussed above, even i have realised that most of the jobs go to the CAs, Engineers etc.. So i am a bit apprehensive since Qf is a new subject in India ,will a masters in QF help me to get into an Investment banking in India ?

    1. It might help but as you said most jobs go to CAs and engineers – so it would probably be more helpful on the S&T side.

  124. goingzero2sixty

    Can you publish the dates of the comments and of the main post? India is changing so fast, that it is good to have dates and see if all this information is still relevant.

    With KPO fully in place, the dates would help figure out how much of bulge bracket jobs vs KPO jobs are out there and if those figures will change in future, etc.

    1. Thought about it before but most of the content here is evergreen and so dates would hurt the site (would rather just delete older content); this one on India is recent (2010) and I don’t think much has changed since then.

  125. I have completed CA(equivalent CPA) and have cleared CFA level 1 Exam in December 2010. I am keen to to pursue investment banking career. What are the prospects of getting in

    1. Depends on where you want to school, work experience…

      1. K.G.Ajith

        I have recently joined Transaction Advisory Services in one of the Big 4’s . Would like to move to IB in near future.What should i do?

  126. First of all thanks on putting up such an informative site. I have been reading all your comments and it has definitely enlightened.

    Coming to my query. I am an Bcom & ACCA with few months experience of audit role in a big 4. Currently working with a BPO set up for last 2.5 years in their Finance and Accounting sector. Through my networking i am planning to put in my application at leading IB in India. Now my worry is
    1) whether it is a right option considering i do not have much knowledge of this field even though i love bloomberg & number game
    2) In the long run I would like to get into mainstream banking in a role which combines numbers & people

    Very confused. Please advise. Thanks

    1. I would wait a year before applying.

  127. Hi M&I,

    I am a B.E and PGDM, currently working in an MNC Bank as a Wealth Manager(Since two years) into Private banking domain.
    Could you suggest me a way to enter into Investment Banking domain, considering my current profession, as i do not have any knowledge of Investment banking.

    Please reply

    1. Start networking with alumni, do some cold-calling, see what happens, if you don’t get good results consider a Master’s in Finance program or top MBA.

  128. Hey M&I,
    First off I’d like to start of by saying this is an excellent article. I myself am in somewhat of a quandry at the moment. I’ve been interested in finance and investment banking for quite a while now. Unfortunately I graduated with pretty poor grade (6.9/10) in mechanical engineering from a non target school in India. I spent nearly 4 months trying to land an entry level role somewhere in India. But because of my non finance background and poor grades that really didn’t work out. Currently i’m working in the Sultanate of oman in a large scale trading house as a managment trainee (sales) specialising in their engineering products division. I had initially planned to clear 2 levels of cfa and then maybe try again to enter the finance market gain some work experience and move on for my mba. But now after reading this article i’m highly sceptical. The author recommends against KPO’s which would be the easier section to get into and the others state that breaking in BB’s is brutally tough if you aren’t from a target school. My query here is that will the clearing 2 levels of the cfa assist me in anyway in landing an entry level position or should I go about this some other way ?? And should I start looking into the IB scene in the GCC also ? Or should I just concentrate on getting into a good B-school since I stand no chance at the moment ? Please feel free to be brutally honest :D

    1. It may help but it won’t be enough to make you on par with people from target schools there. Yes I would look into IB in the GCC region and if that doesn’t work out, think about a top business school.

  129. just curious cuz you were in Korea for a while…

    what was your job when you were in Korea??

    are you ever planning to write about ibanks in Korea?
    if you are, i would really appreciate it because i am most interested in ibanks in Korea! !

    thank you!

    1. I was a drug dealer there, but they arrested and then deported me. Banks in Korea are small and if you want to be in Asia I’d strongly recommend HK or possibly Singapore instead.

  130. Hi M&I,
    I am a final year undergrad from India’s topmost commerce college. I am aiming to be an ibanker(M&A).Since Bulge Bracket investment banks only recuit undergrads from IITs I at the best could bag a ib analyst offer from UBS Investment Bank’s captive KPO in hyderabad.I also have an offer to work in audit role from Big 4 as I am midway chartered accountant course(not full CA).

    Question is:
    ” Should I opt for position in the captive Kpo, then aim for front office role or continue with Ca and then search for a role in front office”.

    Some years down the line after getting significant work ex I am aiming to do mba from a ivy league BSchool.At that time which option made today out of the two above will fetch me better.

    Looking forward to hearing from anyone.

    Thanx a lot.

    1. Probably better to do CA –> front office as the interviewee makes it seem like KPOs are not desirable.


      If you are from the topmost commerce college then you shud have seen lot of IBs recruiting (SRCC i mean). Even otherwise get an MBA from A/C or even B. You will see the BBs falling at you feet with offers :D

      1. Yeah u r absolutely right, I m from SRCC and let me make u aware that the job scene here is not that pleasant as u think when compared to IITs from IB perspective. This is bcuz IB is not very popular in Srcc and people r more interested in doing CA,CS,CWA,CAT.Also limited BBs like DBank, Citi actually recruit atmost 2 guys who r able to show attractive internships. For guys like me who have only merit to support them(I am a topper in college) their r limited options. As far as your suggestion abt doing mba frm A,B,C is concerned, I thnk it is better to do mba from Harvard, Wharton etc particularly If a person like m is aiming for IBD(M&A) in America, EMEA region.
        As far as my position in UBS is concerned, though its a offshore profile I opted for it after analysing the work which involves analytics and supporting IBD deal teams across various regions EMEA, AMERICA, APAC.
        I think in future, while applying to ivy league BSchools I will have to lay emphasis on the kind of work I was doing not where I was working.Although NYC or London is important but I have no other option.


        1. WRATHCHILD

          Sorry for the delay.

          I agree that an MBA from abroad will help you enter IBD in EMEA, US etc. But its a question of years you wud like to wait b4 getting into IB… Again, I would discount the UBS KPO internship anyday. Much more significantly if I was applying for a US MBA…
          Take the options that you have and plan carefully. See if you can jump to front office or risk management (mid office) in 2 years.

          1. Thanx sir for your valuable advice. After going thru this forum I have decided not to go further with Kpo offer. Rather I m considering big 4 ca articleship(3 yrs training-mandatory for ca qualification). I wud like to ask-in which area should i do m training(audit or tax) particularly if i want to b ibanker(M&A).

            Thanx again!!!!

  131. Dear Brian!

    Thanks a ton! it is an excellent post with insightful comments. I was really stuck for some time and found the post very helpful. But would appreciate a quick suggestion on my situation.
    My profile:
    Did bachelor’s in Engg(India) in 2006 and worked in IT for 2 yrs. Given my success with leadership roles at national and international events, I chose to do a Masters with a French Grande Ecole(ranked 5th across world by Financial Times) in London’s campus. I formally got my degree with near distinction mark. Whilst my Masters, I did a six-month long expenses-paid internship(have high commitment and passion) in M&A advisory in Hungary. I came back to London after that to find I don’t get called by BBs in London, recruiters discourage me saying I am not from Oxbridge, and ask me for UK experience. My constraint in getting a work experience is my visa status.

    I hit this brickwall time and again. BBs do process work permit but don’t call me. Smaller firms don’t process work permit and want Oxbridge candidates(feedback given by recruiters here).

    Could you suggest me how can I work around the roadblocks? I am 27 yrs old now.
    Which options would you vote for?
    1. Change of place: like US as a student in MS(Fin) courses? This would be herculean task as I am yet to recover my investment in my current Masters.
    2. Do a course with Oxbridge?
    3. Keep being a student in London doing CFA?
    4. Enter into Audit role where in I can gain CA/ ACA/ ACCA qualification and then try for Associate roles within IB, but question arises do BBs accept outside candidates into their front office roles?

    One last question: Do I stand a good chance in India just in case I have to return back?

    Thanks in advance! I really appreciate any suggestions by anyone!

    1. Maybe do a program at LSE? CFA won’t really help at this point. I would go for LSE/Oxbridge and if that doesn’t work or you can’t do them, think about the audit roles and move into finance from there. India I’m not sure about but you should at least have a shot.

      1. Thanks Brian! That is valuable piece of advice. Also, excuse me for duplication of question on one of your other posts :)

  132. Great Site!!

    I am a Indian CA and have completed CFA L1. Worked for a hedge fund proprietary equity research for more then 1 year. Now I want to shift to equity research in BB.

    Currently have 1 job offer at hand. Pay is good. But its a “Third Party Captive KPO”, ie, it was a captive KPO of one of the big international IB, then it was taken over by a well known consulting company with exclusive service contract to the IB.

    I also have interview scheduled with backoffice (@ Bangalore) of another IB. Role is of Analyst.

    My question is:
    what are my options considering the education and experience?
    what kind of career path should i expect from both the options?
    which one is better?
    what are the exit opportunities from both?

    Thanks a lot.

    1. Not 100% sure as none of us knows a lot about India / KPOs there but you probably have a shot at the IB front office since you’ve been in equity research before… so I wouldn’t necessarily take either of those.


        Just a simple observation – Please note the number of people who seem to be interested in IB who are from a KPO background… Seen it in my B school as well. I think the key to breaking in is developing an interesting and different profile that is relevant to some extent.

        My $0.02

  133. I got an internship offer from a BB captive KPO. I’ve just completed engineering from a non-target school and I’ve had a shot at the CFA level 1 exam a few days back. What would be my prospects after this internship and maybe 1-2 years work ex out there? I wish to do an MBA after several years of work ex and was looking for real IB work ex before an MBA. Could somebody please suggest something? What’s the ideal time to exit from here if I take this up? Anything else I can do other than taking this up?


      I have seen guys with IT/KPO experience suck at getting offers from IBs. Please see if you can get into a more analytical type of job – even consulting/analytics related to Fin helps. The brand name of MS/UBS KPO may get people to look at your resume but throw it out faster. Support functions are better than that – i think firms like nomura and CS have some trader support in India.

      My $0.02

      1. Hi Wrathchild,

        Thnx for your reply. Could you elaborate more on the alternatives that you’ve mentioned. Even the BB KPO’s support the IB teams in NY/London. etc right? How are those different from the support funtions you’re talking about?

  134. Guys,

    This article is amazing as it seems to be written just for me!

    I am exactly in the same position as the writer as I am an engineer and out of school for 5+ years and without an MBA and am tryign to break into IB. I am from mumbai originally but been based in London for the last 8 years. Just like the writer I have also been using the same networking/cold-calling techniques and attending meetups in London to establish contacts and obtain informational interviews. I run my own engineering consulting business specialising in Risk Assessments/Probabilitic modelling, Monte Carlo simulations and Markov analysis for the transport sector and its this experience that I am tryign to leverage for the IB roles.

    I know my age will be an issue in India and Europe as I am early 30s but cant let that stop me. I will be in India from Dec 14 for a month.

    Can I speak to anyone from here regardign oppport. in Mumbai and London? Pls respond to this post and we can take it from there


    1. No one running the site has experience in Mumbai or London, but someone else reading may be able to respond and help.

  135. Hi,
    I am just finishing off my CA and want to get into m&a. Can you help in defining my career path. Are there any possibilties for me to work in somewhere like nyc or london. I am also thinking of doing certificate course in valuations from ICAI. will it help. Please reply

    1. Your best bet is to network a lot as this reader did, start at a boutique in India, then move up to a bulge bracket bank there and then transfer to another location like NYC or London. Not sure of the value of certifications there.

  136. Hey! I did manage to cut across to a few firms through networking. Am currently facing a roadblock in terms of my CV. Any suggestions/sample on how I could reformat my CV to make it more suited to IB profiles?


      1. Thanks a lot!

  137. Hi!

    I am a PhD in stats and hold 6 years of experience in software and services sales in the BFSI and Telecom industry. I am currently looking to move into the IB industry. Can you please guide me for the same?


    1. Go to a top MBA program.

      1. I was hoping I could skip the MBA for another 2 years at least … any inputs ???

        1. – Unlike industries that make sense, in banking experience actually counts against you.

  138. Hi,
    I am pursuing MBA from one of the top10 B-Schools in India. In my college only equity research profile is offered by the banks like GS and JPMC. What is the career path if one wants to move to core I-Banking from there? Also how difficult it is?

    Secondly, what about the work culture here in India? Are the work hours and other things same as in US? Ans also how thw quality of work done here differ from that done there in US?


    1. I am not an expert on India and have never even been there before so I couldn’t tell you – I would assume that what the interviewee says above about the work and culture is accurate. Moving into IB from ER is tough but possible… it all depends on networking, as with anything else in finance.


        Almost impossible, even with CFA l3 and so on.. Where did u do ur MBA from? If its A/C then you can any day move, given the alum base. Else you can try…

  139. I can’t seem to find the correct place to post, so hope this works.

    I am posting for a good friend of mine that seems to be really struggling here in the US. He is an experienced equity trader from India looking for the same type of position in the US. He has been looking for a job here and has only gotten rejections due to lack of experience in the US market.

    What is the best way to get a job or even an internship here in equity trading?? Networking has proven extremely difficult – what is the best way to network when you don’t know anyone else in the field? Does it truly help to directly contact VP or Associates at banking companies, and what do you say to prevent them from dismissing you even though you don’t have experience in the market?

    Thanks in advance for your help!

    1. Cold-call small prop trading firms – banks are almost impossible unless you have gone to a top university or business school.

  140. Hello

    I am currently pursuing MBA from one of the premiere MBA institutes in India. I have an offer from captive KPO of JP Morgan Chase. I have no previous experience in financial services. I am in big dilemma whether to accept the offer or not. Where can I take my career from here?(What are the exit opportunities?). Do PE firms consider the work-ex in a captive KPO as relevant?

    1. It’s hard to move form captive KPO to PE – you can take the offer, but you would need to move over to real investment banking as fast as possible.

  141. guestappearance


    I recently finished my under grad and I am currently working with JP Morgan in their Treasury and Securities division. My ultimate aim is however to get into IB and this is my first year at work. As you mentioned, there are not many under grad IB front office roles. IB roles here for under grads are more or less restricted to operations/KPO/Back office roles. What should my career path be? I intend to at the very least be an analyst before i do my Masters. I am not an engineering student from those colleges where banks visit. I have an under grad degree in Finance.

    1. You have to use networking to move over to IB… if that doesn’t work, follow the advice of the interviewee above and think about courses and other certifications that might help.

      1. guestappearance

        I have a couple of certifications already. One is the Investments Administrative qualification for the Securities Investment Institute in London and I have an advance diploma in Finance from Cambridge. Thought of CFA, but M and I has helped me decide against it. How do I get networking contacts?

        1. guestappearance

          Moreover, how do I get networking contacts for Banks in Banking hubs like NY or London?

        2. Read the FAQ under Networking

  142. Hello

    Since this article is about investment banking in India, i thought it apt to post my queries here.

    I am from India, and am currently pursuing a degree in an engineering college here (BITS Pilani). Over the past year or so, I have developed a keen interest in finance, and am hoping to pursue a career in the same. I wanted to know the criteria for getting an internship in one of the top investment banks/financial firms here. For me, the upside is my age (20), while the downside is my GPA (around 6/10). Also, is there any chance of landing a full time job in a financial firm as soon as I pass out of college? What can I do to improve my chances?


    1. It’s all about work experience… as he mentioned in the article, the CFA can also be helpful in India though I personally don’t like it. There are no real “criteria,” it’s more about the overall picture of how much you’ve networked and cold-called places, whether you’ve done internships and so on. I am not familiar with the grading system in India so I can’t comment on that, but you usually need to be in at least the top 25% to have a good shot.

      1. Thanks. Any help from someone from India would also be appreciated.

        1. BB hiring in India at under graduate level is limited and happens mostly from the IITs. And the Indian banks do not have an established process for hiring grads.
          Best way to get in would be to network your way through Indian banks. Contact people through Linkedin or your alumni office.

        2. Pratik, Sorry for being frank with you, but unless you have some amount of workex in fin area, a CFA level 2+ and an MBA from A,B,C; i think its a real up hill task, esp since you are not from target school (IIT B,D,K,KGP,M) and since your GPA is pretty sad.

          1. hii.. same question here.. i am from IIT. GPA is 9/10. can you tell me what banks to search in india?

  143. Hey

    I have three I-Baking Internships all in M&A, and I go to an Ivy leauge school in the USA studying Electrical Engineering.
    My I banking internships are in Standard Chartered (Sing) M&A, CS IBD M&A (Mumbai) – twice, freshman and junior year. (all FO of course)

    However I have no internships in USA and was wondering if I would still get as much leeverage from the above BB internships to land a goldman/MS/CS job in NYC. I believe True Bankers go to NYC and cannot stand working the pussy hours in India.

    1. The internships will definitely help, but as you mentioned bankers will discount them because they’re not NYC or London internshis.

  144. Hi! I am international student and I go to a school in the US. I am doing an Economics and Mathematics major. I am currently doing an internship in a bulge bracket investment bank in India. But, my problem is I am not an Investment Banking Analyst over here instead I am Business Analyst doing some back office work. But, the good part about is that I am in touch with lot of bankers in the US and they all have asked for my resumes. As I had conversations with 4 bankers they all told me the problem is not having an investment banking internship, but it’s good that I have been productive and reaching out to people. So, through my persistent effort and networking, I have got an opportunity to change my division and get 3 weeks of working experience in Investment Banking.

    So, my question is should I continue my networking in the US and try to get a job over there or I should focus on getting a job in India and then internal transferring to the US?

    How many banker I should reach out to?

    1. It will probably be easier to get a front-office job in India and then do an internal transfer to the US. You can keep networking but it’s usually easier to do that vs. trying to move to the US right away.

      1. Prashant

        Moving from the backoffice to the front office was de rigeur in India during the hey-days of 2007-2008 with loads of folks from the capitives of BB moving to offices in Singapore , London , HK etc.

        Things are very different now because of two reasons :
        1. The backoffices have a LOT more people than they did earlier , so things are MUCH MUCH more competitive now than they were.

        2. There are loads of folks that are now coming back to India especially doing an MBA from the US etc. So the supply side issues make it necessary to get into a front office IB in India.
        IMHO , leverage the US education and try to angle for a front office job in India. Would be easier to sell when u try to move back to the US.

  145. Thanks M&I !

  146. I am delighted to come across a forum like this.
    I liked it for two reasons one is the conviction of going against the tide by breaking into finance (read IB) .Second is that I have been looking for something like this , as my story is similar without the desired results though.So far at least.

    With a profile given below (age is not on my side at all), what (if there are) are the ways / steps to get into equity research /FRM / other roles in finance that can pave way for IB/PE industry.I dont want to assume that there isnt any.My own plans like doing a finance heavy EMBA from a very good school doesnt convince me getting into the industry of my choice.I would be very glad to get your comments/views/solutions.I can enrol in a relevant course or even study on my own ….if I know what to study.

    Profile –

    Keen Investor in Indian financial markets for the last four years. At one point had a personal portfolio of 3.5 M INR with good returns.This interest in stock markets led me to know and read more about finance and markets.I can read about stocks , investing and related stuff all day.

    Currently in the role of Program manager in an IT company- a NASSCOM top 20 IT firm.
    14 odd years with ten in IT and four in Sales.
    International exposure , good communication skills .
    Engineering from one of the top ten schools in India.
    GMAT Quant – 46….and I can better this for sure.

    1. At this point a top business school combined with a lot of networking is your best bet, similar to what the reader above did.

  147. you spoke about Financial Modelling Course.. CAn you please tell me what course was it and from where can i do it ?


    1. I don’t know which one it is offhand but I’ll see if the interviewee knows / could share it here

  148. Can a fresher CA expect to get ANY sort of role in the front office M&A division of any bank india?

    1. Not really sure, but I think you would need more experience first, based on what the interviewee said.

  149. Tanuj Gigras

    I will pass out from the best engineering school in India in June 2010.
    I have a job offer from Credit Suisse IBD in their captive KPO.
    Could you please tell me that is it possible to break into front office IBD in India from captive KPO. Also what BB’s actually have formal front end 1st/2nd year analyst roles.
    Your response would be valuable to me as I come from a non finance background and at a crucial juncture of my career.

    1. I think it’s possible to move from captive KPO to front-office IBD, though definitely not easy. I’m really not sure on BBs in India as this was an interview with a reader who’s more knowledgeable on the topic – perhaps another reader from the region could help out with an answer here.

      1. Tanuj Gigras

        Hey junta.
        Is there anyone from the region who could answer my query ?.

        1. Tanuj,

          I am an investment banker from a boutique IB firm in India. At an 1st yr analyst level there is hardly any difference between a KPO and a front end role. You can definitely make the shift to front end. In India, a CFA (the american one) is regarded highly and I recommend you to complete atleast the level 1.


    2. Prashant

      It depends on what you are going to be doing in the KPO. It will definitely be good pre-MBA exp.

  150. I just became a ca, and will be giving my cfa level 3 in june.
    After talking to many bankers, I realised that I dont want to work so hard. I can make more money teaching chartered accountancy.
    But my dad thinks its better to work at a bb for a while, so that he can flaunt that when looking for a bride for me. True story.
    Which brings me to my question. Can a CA get a profile/pay similar to whats offered to an mba with less work ex, ie at a third year analyst level maybe?

    1. I’m not 100% certain there but I doubt it – banking pays more than almost anything accounting-related.

      1. Prashant

        Not necessarily if you look at risk adjusted pay M&I … but then both CA’s and bankers cant think that deep :)

  151. Hello Sir, I am very inspired by your story.
    Infact I am Engineer from one of the top 10 universities in India. Unlike, in your case I do not want to wait for 5 years to switch to IB. I am very passionate about finance. I have been working for 6 months in a small yet very resourceful place, analyzing and trading derivatives in the international markets especially Short term Interest Rate futures, U.S treasury notes and Crude Oil futures. I have a very decent pay package i.r 7.5 lpa at present. However monetary compensation is not my primary driving factor.
    I would like to know about premier boutique ib’s in the country and also with the help of my qualifications how do i get there.

    If possible please do pass me your personal email id. I was very moved by your interview, matched my situation to the word!

  152. Hi,
    I am in the final year of my MBA (Finance) of one of the top 20 colleges in India (I know not a very good prospect). I have 3.5 yrs of prior work ex in IT as Business Analyst and currently I have cleared CFA Level 1 and appearing for Level 2 in June 2010. I want to know how good/bad my resume will look for a profile in I-Banking in India. Where are the opportunities (if any).


    1. You sound competitive – they key question is how many banks recruit at your school. I’m not familiar with the recruiting environment at all the universities in India, but it will come down to how many banks recruit there.

      1. If possible can i get into equity research side and then shift to I-Banking… Is the shift possible and do the I-banks look at this with respect??

        1. Yes, it’s possible – ER is certainly good, though banks view it as less similar than private equity, for example.

          1. Prashant

            In India campus hiring in IB for BB is limited to IIM A,B,C , XLRI Jamshedpur and ISB.

            For Sales & Trading roles , the IIM’s almost enjoy an exclusivity , due to the summer internship model.

            Equity Research to IB is a longer shot.You are much better off trying your luck at either
            a. One of the boutiques(Indian not international)

            b. One of the public sector IB’s like SBI Capital , or IDBI Caps , which wont pay , but are a better entry route into the industry.

          2. Hiring for BB firms in India happen from IIMs A,B,C and L. They also hire limitedly for their NY, London and HK offices from these colleges.
            ISB students with non-finance work-ex are at a disadvantage because of it being a 1-yr course and consequently no internships. Still some BBs do visit ISB and hire people with prior finance work-ex.
            Shifting from ER to IB is very uncommon and not a preferred route. Transition from KPOs of BBs to Indian IBs happens regularly, though you lose out on a couple of years.

  153. Thanks for your response. So then would I have a natural advantage for exit ops within the West coast then? I’m doing TMT and have an opportunity to go to the NY office but everyone tells me that would be a dumb move due to deal flow being better in the SF office. However, I still want to move to NY within 5 years, either after a MBA or lateral within groups.

    I don’t mind doing PE/VC for West coast though, what are your thoughts on which location I should pick (W vs E)?

    1. You would have a better chance on the west coast. If you really want to be in NY eventually, then I would go to the NY office right now instead.

  154. Hey Brian I was wondering about your experiences working in IBD at locations like San Fran, Los Angeles, etc, basically non-NYC locations.

    Are the exit ops worse off in the west coast? Can I still make it to PE? What is the advantage of working in NYC and should I transfer to my firm’s NYC office asap? Or will that be really hard and I should just look at lateralling to BB’s in NYC. If it helps, my group is industry such as Sponsors/TMT/Consumer,Healthcare.

    Thanks a lot!

    1. You are more limited to west coast opportunities if you start there. You can still get into PE but it’s harder to move to NY because you have to fly in for interviews. Generally people think that NY is more flexible / lets you move to more places vs. starting elsewhere. Transferring is up to you – if you really want to work in NY long term it’s a good idea but completely dependent on how difficult it is to do.

  155. If I did something unrelated to banking/consulting before MBA, then did an associate stint at a bank or a strategy consulting firm after MBA, is it possible/likely to move towards private equity?

    1. It’s possible but very difficult with no pre-MBA banking experience. They are mostly looking for former IBD analysts – even consultants have a hard time getting into most large PE firms.

      1. I meant say after 2 years as an Associate is it realistic to move to PE? I heard they usually only recruit out of analyst classes just I was curious

        1. It’s possible but rare. It was more common in the bubble (2005-2007) when PE was in need of more people – these days you might be able to pull it off at a small fund but it would still be tough.

  156. Someone I know at a firm hasnt responded to my email (which requests a phone call to discuss his firm) and it’s been 2 weeks.

    When I follow up should I reply to my sent message so he can see the original message OR should I send an entirely new email? How should I word it?

    1. It doesn’t matter much, but you can quote the original one and say, “[Name], I emailed you last week – just wanted to follow-up and see if you had any availability to discuss…” and keep it very brief.

  157. Hi,

    I was really glad to read this interview.. it has a lot of truth in it.. I’d like to add my perspective to it as well.

    I live in Mumbai and graduated with a degree in management studies(undergraduate).. I was set on breaking into Investment banking and tried cold calling, emailing and even straight out walk-ins at all known Investment banking divisions, big and small.. however nobody seemed to be interested in taking on undergraduates in a junior analyst role here in Mumbai.

    I even tried networking and managed to have an informational interview with a VP at one of the leading local brokerages.. who informed me of how the scenario is and the message i got is that theres no room for undergraduates.

    I ended up working at a 3rd party KPO doing research for a bulge bracket. The pay is low, but its a learning experience which I hope will hold some value till I complete my postgraduation.

    These are the views I’ve come to realise through my own experience:

    Fact 1
    I’d like to point out that MOST analysts at investment banks here in India ARE engineers.. (you can browse though linkedin and verify the same) and most IIM Mba’s ARE engineers as well.

    Fact 2
    No Investment bank here seems to be hiring undergraduates.. the requirements are MBA’s and CA’s only.

    Fact 3
    Most Investment banks have fewer than 100 analysts.. and openings are few and Investment banking is not a well developed field here in India..

    Fact 4
    A CFA certification is held in regard here in India.. simply because the state of education here in India is still pretty miserable, so an international certification adds a great deal of credibility, even though most bankers dont have one.

    1. Thanks for the additions. The bit about the CFA is interesting, maybe India is the one region where it’s a good idea…

      1. Hi,

        Nice article.. I am really at the crossroads right now.. just finishing my MBA and have an offer from a boutique in Project finance profile (i know its not the best thing :-)…). Anyways, the point is i have a pre MBA workex in IT (very common in India).. and now i am thinking of starting on my CFA. I was just wondering whether it is useful in Indian scenario for a career in IB. Also what it takes to move into M&A dept after working in project/infrastructure finance.

        1. CFA is probably more useful in India than in other regions. Moving into M&A: mostly networking, trying to show that you’ve done M&A-related projects in project finance.

          1. Prashant

            Undergrads are now breaking in, but its one of the following :

            a. Undergrads from top schools breaking into the Analyst programs of the BB’s that now visit India selectively.

            b. In Equities , undergrads do definitely break in but at the smaller shops. A definite trend is that these undergrads are from smaller colleges in and around South Mumbai , who start out at measly salaries that others may not look at. But the career growth is stupendous.

            c. Undergrads again work with some of the Big 4 firms – Deloitte , E&Y , PwC in their lead advisory – which isnt bad experience pre-MBA.. can land you a job at a BB post MBA if you go to a top school like IIM A/B/C or ISB in India , or a top US School.


      Tis true, what the lady says…

  158. I was actually looking for an article I read in the past that discussed 3 key points to get across when interviewing (motivation or drive?) and I was having trouble finding it. Do you have the link? I thought this would be faster than e-mail. Thanks

  159. Off topic, but do you think a PE internship before I begin my BB analyst stint would be helpful for recruiting for the buyside down the road? It may give me something to point towards when I explain how I became interested in private equity.

    1. Yes it would help

  160. Hi,

    I’ve been an avid reader of your site for quite some time now, but regrettably only found it after my job search was over.

    I graduated from a non-target US school with a respectable GPA in 2009 and though I got to Superdays with two BBs, I ultimately didn’t get an offer from either.

    Amid the hectic economic times, I’ve managed to land a job and am currently working in the M&A department of a top Korean securities firm in Seoul.

    I was wondering if you could give me any advice.

    I am planning on getting an MBA 3 years down the road and ultimately end up in *surprise* large-cap PE (Blackstone). I have a 3.5+ GPA and a GMAT score of 710. How do you think I can maximize my chances of getting into HBS, Wharton and the like? Do you think it is wise to try to move to GS/MS or other BBs as soon as possible? If I did manage to successfully transfer in a year or so, would they consider me a “2nd-year analyst” or would I have to start from scratch?

    Thanks a lot for your time.

    By the way, I saw your twitter page as well and implied from your comments that you didn’t have a very great time in Seoul, which is unfortunate. Are you still in Seoul by any chance? If so, I would love to meet up. I’ll make sure you have no more “Saturday night FAIL”s. =)

    1. To get into a large-cap PE firm you need to move to a US or European bulge bracket bank – you stand very little chance otherwise. I would move ASAP. That will also improve your chances at top business schools. See the article on lateral hiring for more on this – most likely you will have to start over.

      I’m leaving for the Philippines shortly, but will be back in January. It’s not really an issue with Korea itself but more with my work schedule – I’ve had fun here, but I need to make some changes to how I spend my time.

    2. Summer Analyst


      You probably know this already, but “BB” in Korea is a lot broader than NYC. Unless you plan on moving to NYC office, really should broaden your search beyond GS/MS.

      And if you’re planning on going to Blackstone in Korea… I would network like crazy. Only way to get in is kissing/shining Blackstone MD’s Hermes loafers.

      1. Summer Analyst

        And no chance of going to Blackstone if you only have a “top Korean securities firm.”

        More chance with GS/MS/JPM/CS/UBS/BOA-ML/BCS/Macq

  161. iambateman

    I worked at CS India, IBD as an intern the previous summer. The analysts there were MBA’s as well. I would love to know how one could apply to banking jobs in India if you are doing your studies in the UK/US. I am doing a masters in Finance at a top UK target and I did my undergrad at Canada’s best school. Most indian bbs don’t have online application systems and I have no means of networking with people in India. Could anybody help me out in means of reaching people.

    1. check your school alumni network. At least your canadian univeristy should have one.

    2. Alumni, cold-calling, travel to India and meet with people in-person / at meetup events there….

  162. Positive Carry

    Which are the existing top MBA programs that’s only for a year – except INSEAD?

    1. Don’t know, think that’s the main one

      1. Prashant

        The Indian School of Business : (ISB) is another top 1 year program and was recently ranked 12th by the FT12 rankings. Its defintely a very respected degree within India , but less known outside.

    2. Prashant

      The pain of going to a one year program is that you dont get an opportunity to switch industry or intern with a BB. So if you want to move to IB , I’d be very very careful about joining a one year program anywhere. Waiting to hear M&I’s take on this.

  163. Hi, M&I!

    Another good article. I have been a reader for the web for some time and find it really helpful. I am now in a situation that needs some advice from people who have been in banking.

    I am now a final year student majoring in Finance in a top Asian universities in HK. I had an internship with a regional hedge fund working as a research assistant. I hope to join S&T or research after graduation. I have applied almost all banks that are recruiting but hardly got any interviews. The problem is that banks almost recruit solely from overseas (US) and my internship was not with a big name. Also, I think networking does not work as much in HK as that in the US. I am confident that as long as I can get an interview, I can proceed well.

    I currently have a part time offer of institutional sales from a top regional firm and it might be extended into a full-time offer but there is uncertainty. Other probable offers are big fours and some risk consulting firms.

    I have been thinking about my way out and listed out several.
    1. Going on with job hunting and see whether there is any positions opening in next year. Also try to turn the part time offer into a full time one. But there is a high probability that I have to end up in big 4, which I really don’t want.
    2. Deferring grduation for 0.5-1 year. Try to leverage on my last summer internship and this part time job to land a summer intern with a big firm (not necessarily bb).
    3. Similar to 1 but if I end up with only offers from big 4, I will pursue a Master of Finance in UK’s top 3 universities (US schools are much more difficult to apply).

    I am really sorry for this lenthy post but I really appreciate your advice. Could you please give some comments on each alternative? Thanks!



    1. I would apply to Master’s programs in the UK or US and then leverage that to recruit with more banks. You can keep job-hunting in the meantime, but going to a top school elsewhere gives you the best shot at getting an internship / FT offer.

      1. Thanks for the advice.
        How would you say about the master programs in, say, LSE/Oxford/Cambridge? Are those programs with high recognition in banking, at least in the process of CV screening?

        1. I’m not an expert, but yes, I believe those are the top programs in the UK and you should receive recognition at banks.

        2. Summer Analyst

          HK office knows only those three UK universities. Others they have no idea.

  164. Summer Analyst

    “Many firms were reluctant to hire me due to my age.”

    Age is a BIG deal in Asia. I don’t know why, but it’s annoying when the first thing people ask is “how old are you?”

    1. Dude that is the first question people in Korea always ask me. “How old are you?” before even getting my name. I think I’ve just gotten used to it…

      1. Korean dude

        After the age question and a few others, it’s:

        “Do you have a girlfriend/boyfriend?”

        1. Summer Analyst

          Then. Where do you live?

      2. That’s weird. In Asia, it supposed to be really impolite to ask people’s age when you just meet them .

  165. Suraj Krishnaswamy

    Nice insightful article. I would like to add one more type of I-banks to the list, the Indian Full Service IBs like Kotak, ENAM and JM Financial, which rather surprisingly are missing from the list. They have fairly large teams (100+ in IBD) and I work in the M&A Advisory for one of them. As you had rightly pointed out, I too joined the bank straight out of an IIM. These banks concentrate mainly on IPOs and Trading but have a fairly large M&A team too.

    And another curious difference is that in India, graduates, especially from non-finance background, hardly try to get into investment banks. And people at analysts levels are mostly Chartered Accountants and the more senior ones are MBAs who have less pre-MBA work experience ( People attend B-Schools earlier in India and hence are taken in at 3rd yr analyst levels)

    P.S:- I had commented long back about IBs in India and you had replied that you will use them for your future posts. Some of that information might be relevant to this post.

    1. Thanks for the info. I think the author (the interviewee) sort of included the Indian Full Service IBs along with the boutiques and bulge brackets, but that’s interesting to note the difference.

      1. kanishka


        Is t true that IB at IIMs prefer freshers rather than ppl with work-ex ?


          1. kanishka

            Is there someway I can position myslef better ?

    2. Suraj,

      I’m not sure if you’re aware of finance modeling course (10 weeks) which is run by a private school at Nariman Point, Mumbai. Now, as you’re a part of the I-bank already, do you think these banks come to recruit students with no prior finance background but short finance course? Any further interaction related to I-banking can be beneficial for me. Thanks.

    3. Hi Suraj,

      I was just wondering if these firms recruit from SPJain MBA?

      1. Prashant

        Its very very competitive. In good times the answer is yes. I’d reccomend you checking out with the placement office.

    4. Hi,

      Wanted to understand the work done in M&A at junior levels.


      1. hii.. I am an IIT recent graduate and looking for some IB internship in India. Can you plz tell m ewhat banks to try?

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