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Career Resources — Financial Services

Industry Overview

There are many different career tracks within the Financial Services sector, but they all have one common element: following the Financial Markets. This includes the equity markets, the fixed income (bond) markets, the currency markets, the commodity markets, and many variations of these markets such as derivatives, convertibles, futures, etc.

Primary Sectors of the Financial Markets

  • Investment Banking​
  • Securities Sales & Trading
  • Capital Markets and Equity Research
  • Asset Management/Private Wealth Management
  • Buy Side, including Hedge Funds and Private Equity
  • Corporate and Commercial Banking
  • Retail Banking
  • Risk and Technology

Each of these sectors can be further broken down into either a product or a coverage group. Product groups work with a specific service produced by the bank and would include Mergers and Acquisitions, Leverage Finance, etc. While coverage groups focus on covering a specific sector such as Industrials, Technology, Energy, etc.

Although the hiring practices in this sector are rapidly changing, most Notre Dame students will ultimately land a position in either Investment Banking, Securities Sales & Trading, Asset Management and PWM or Commercial Banking.  Very few Private Equity and Hedge Funds will hire a student directly out of undergraduate studies, preferring the candidates to sharpen their skills by spending at least two years in an Investment Banking division.

Key Skills to Success in Financial Services

  • Interest in the Financial Markets: Following the markets with a passion is important to success in this industry, students should be able to articulate what major M&A or LBO transactions are intriguing to them as well as discuss market trends such as how the S&P index has fluctuated over the past year


  • GPA: Depends on the sector and firm: generally speaking, a higher GPA (3.5 minimum) increases one’s likelihood of success, particularly in Investment Banking and Investment Management


  • Thick Skin: Financial Service careers are very stressful and fast-paced, particularly in Investment Banking and Securities Sales & Trading


  • Ability to juggle many projects at one time: It is important to be able to multitask and balance different tasks while always maintaining a calm and professional attitude


  • Ability to work long hours: Although the sector is working hard to change this image, one should expect to work a minimum of six days a week, and a minimum of 60-80 hours a week in most Financial Services positions

  • Self-assurance and confidence: It is important to be confident in your work without appearing arrogant

  • Quantitative skills:Students should be comfortable working with numbers in a variety of different ways, familiarization with excel and other software programs is also a good skill to have


  • Problem solving skills: Financial Services requires the ability to think quickly while working through complex tasks


  • Diligent in your work: Students must be able to produce high quality, thorough work with little to no mistakes

  • Ability to work with ambiguous instructions: Many tasks will have unclear instructions, and it will be up to the student to take the instructions and develop a solid output


  • A student’s course of study or Major is generally not a relevant factor-but this does not excuse a student from having a passion for the markets