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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 (“PWM”)
  • Investment Management, including Hedge Funds and Private Equity
  • Corporate and Commercial Banking
  • Retail Banking
  • Risk and Technology

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, and 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

  • Following the markets with a passion-be able to articulate where the S&P is trading on any given day and have an opinion of where it will be trading tomorrow and the rationale for this opinion
  • 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-this is a very stressful, fast-paced sector, particularly in Investment Banking and Securities Sales & Trading
  • Ability to juggle many projects at one time, always in a calm, 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, without being or appearing arrogant
  • Quantitative skills, quick thinker
  • Diligent in your work-make few, if any, mistakes
  • Excellent communication skills-both verbally and in writing. The firms have to be confident that they can have you leading a meeting with a senior client executive. One should be comfortable voicing one’s opinion in a professional, concise manner in any setting.
  • 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.