Investment Banking Careers

Investment banking associates in corporate finance serve the sellers of securities, either Fortune 1000 companies that are looking to raise cash to fund growth, or frequently, private companies that are looking to go public. Corporate finance bankers are financial consultants to corporations, advising companies on how to finance their operations, structure their balance sheets, move ahead with plans to sell or acquire a portion of the company. Activities can range from providing pure financial advice to originating or facilitating a debt or equity issue. As a result, industry or product knowledge is key, and many investment banks divide the corporate finance department into specialty sub-groups such as energy, high tech, oil and gas, pulp and paper, and telecommunications. The corporate finance group will do any and all of the following:

  • Underwrite equity offerings – buy shares for sale from the corporation or government entity and then sell them on the market to investors.
  • Underwrite fixed income (debt/bond) offerings.
  • Help firms analyze their financial needs.
  • Help firms devise and implement financial strategies, such as what foreign currency exposure to have and when and how to proceed with funding initiatives.
  • Determine valuations for offerings.
Common pre-MBA backgrounds:    
  • Strong history of achievement in school and work
  • High GMAT
  • Financial markets or valuation experience
  • CPA/CFA
  • Business/Financial analyst experience
  • Financial services industry experience (former analyst)
  • Project management experience
  • Financial analyst/Accounting or valuation experience
  • Engineering
  • Military experience
Typical Concentration(s):    

Students interested in Investment Banking positions have Finance as a primary concentration. Students often choose to do double concentrations, which can include Accounting or Law and Business.

Cross-disciplinary courses applicable for Career Path:   
  • Negotiation
  • Ethics in Business
  • Law and Finance of M&A
  • Securities Regulation
  • Compensation
  • Organization Design
  • Financial Instruments
  • Taxes and Business Strategy
  • Economics of Organizations
  • Game Theory and Business Strategy
  • Statistics II
Clubs or activities applicable to career:    
  • Vanderbilt MBA Finance Club
  • Max Adler Student Investment Fund
  • TVA Investment Challenge
  • Wall Street Week
  • Training the Street
  • Vanderbilt MBA Hedge Fund
  • Investment Banking Academy
  • Financial Markets Research Center
  • New York Interview Day