Different banks conduct their training in different ways. But one thing they have in common is to do large scale training for general topics that apply to everyone (e.g., how to use Microsoft Outlook), and smaller group sessions for area-specific subjects.
Key Learning Points
- General training applies to everyone and gives an introduction to the bank and what it does
- More specific technical training aims to get you working at speed as soon as you hit your desk
- In many jurisdictions, regulatory training is provided to help with exams that must be passed for those in client facing and investment decision roles
General Training for Everyone – Non-Technical
This usually includes the following:
- Global orientation – welcome to the firm, values, vision, etc.
- Understanding the bank
- Compliance, ethics, internal systems
- Data provider training e.g., Bloomberg, Factset, CapIQ, Refinitiv Eikon, etc.
- Managing risk and the regulatory environment
- Microsoft Office, particularly PowerPoint
- Networking events
General Training for Most People – Technical
You can get anything from 3 days to 3 weeks of technical training to help you do your actual job as an investment banker. Compared to the years you will have spent studying 1 topic at university, this is very short and intense. Doing some preparation in advance will help.
So, what can I expect? Most people, irrespective of which team they are joining, will get some version of the following:
- Accounting (recordings in advance of training, and maybe a day of actual training if lucky)
- Modeling – shortcuts in Excel and practice building three statement models including cash sweeps and circular interest
- Valuation – trading comparables, transaction comparables, discounted cash flows and synergies are all taught in short succession
- Financing – debt, equity, credit products and markets, and how they affect the bank
- M&A and LBO – the principles of both and practice building mini models
- Internal exams on all the above (some banks have lots of exams, some do none)
- Case study and presentation – the training instructor uses a case study company to bring the training to life, gradually building up the accounting, modeling, etc., but after this, there is often a second case study where participants must do it all themselves before presenting to senior bankers
Those people who have done some of the above already (university, previous internships, their own reading, and training courses) get the most from the technical training because they have already mastered the basics and can focus on applying this new knowledge to their job.
Regulatory Training and Exams
Depending on your role (whether it is client facing and impacts investment decisions), most participants will have to take exams set by their country’s regulator.
This requires intense study covering many of the topics covered in the technical training mentioned in the section above. By the end of your technical training, it will be assumed that you have mastered those topics.
You may be given some training from an exam-prep training company to help you through this, depending on the country and bank, but the focus of this training is exam technique rather than covering technical topics that you have already been taught.
Less Emphasis on Accounting Training
Accounting is being focused on less and less during formal training schemes. This is not because it is unimportant. Accounting is hugely important and an understanding of it underpins all jobs in investment banking.
But many analysts joining a bank have some form of background in accounting, and banks are looking to save money on their training schemes. Some top banks now do not teach it at all. They provide some recorded accounting training in advance of the course for those with less of an accounting background and that is all.
This is a problem for those graduates who have not formally studied accounting at university, so try to fill this gap yourself in advance of starting the job.