Advice on Investment Banking Career for a 2:2 Graduate

Hello,

You’re doing a great job with your blog, your articles and advice are super helpful. Thank you.

I am 20 years old, a Lower Second Class graduate of Economics from University of Ilorin. I am presently serving and will be done by December.

I am pursuing a career in Investment Banking, I am especially interested in stocks and how the market works. I have also completed the first stage for my ACCA. I have read a lot of things about investment banking on your blog, but I also need personalized advice from your team.

I am planning to go for my masters next year, in US or Canada. I just want to ask if the best masters for me is in Finance or Financial Economics and also the best schools and countries to apply to.

PS: I plan to take CFA exams alongside.

Thank you as you oblige.

Ruth

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INVESTMENT BANKS

Dear Ruth,

I ran this by my network in the Finance Industry in Nigeria and here are the responses:

Contact 1: Head of Research at an Investment Management firm

Dear Jarus,

Sincerely, a CFA qualification should substitute, to a degree, for both MSc Finance and Financial Economics. Between the two however, I will advise Financial Economics, I think fewer people go for it and it is more competitive than Finance.

I think I will also suggest US, there are a lot IB, PE, VC firms in US than in Canada. Being close to Wall Street also confers some advantages for her.

Investment Banking, I am especially interested in stocks and how the market works. IB and stock market have some things in common but are clearly distinct career paths. Having a background in stock market especially research helps but is not same as IB.

Hope this helps.

 

Contact 2: Worked with a couple of top investment institutions in Nigeria. Currently CEO of a personal finance management company

My one kobo:

Masters in Economics (US or Canada) + CFA.

She will be well built for the world of finance!

Contact 3: Worked with a number of Nigerian and international investment firms

 

I think IB firms are more particular about academic excellence and achievements at entry level (because those suggest ability to withstand rigour, operate under pressure and possibly creativity). Experience is needed for more senior roles. That said whether she goes for MSc Finance or Financial Economics, it does not in my opinion make a lot of difference. However, in my view, having the CFA designation and MBA may be a very good combination.

 

Good perspectives from all contributors.  All agree CFA is great to have. In addition, I think CFA will also compensate for your 2.2, the threshold most Nigerian employers use for entry level recruitment. I will also advise US for your Msc for the opportunities the first advisor mentioned. Either Economics or Financial Economics is fine in my view.

The good thing is, at 20, you are still very young. Go for Masters ASAP and start CFA. You should continue your ACCA too.

At 23, with a good Msc from the US, CFA (completed or in level 2 or 3), and information from wide reading, you should be good to start a career in investment banking. If possible, you may want to gather few years experience in the US before returning. That will also broaden your advantage when you return.

I wish you all the best.

Jarus

 

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