The M&A Society hosted an investment banking panel on November 11th, 2019. The panel consisted of investment bankers that took different paths to their current role. The focal point of discussion included a basic overview of investment banking, the recruiting process, and the average day in the life of an investment banker. The panel included:
- Susan Wolford (Vice Chair of IBD, BMO)
- Jeremy Murphy (MD, Citi)
- Andrew Lee (VP, J.P. Morgan)
- Davion Louis (Analyst, Morgan Stanley)
- Ryan Mazzie (Analyst, Goldman Sachs)
Before I begin discussing the details of the panel, I want to encourage readers to attend more panels like this. They are an excellent way to garner first hand information on interviewing and recruiting. You can learn valuable tips from these professionals that you cannot read in a textbook. Furthermore, these events allow you to expand your network, meet Villanova alumni, and get your name out there. Click here to visit the Mergers and Acquisitions website to view upcoming events and opportunities.
The panel provided many great stories that contained valuable life lessons. Due to the diversity of the panel, especially in age, each story held unique value. For example, Susan Wolford and Davion Louis provided drastically different paths to an investment banking career. Davion took the traditional route: business undergrad, summer internships, and the job. Susan took a much different approach. She studied in the liberal arts and science school as an undergrad and studied at Columbia for her masters. She never knew that she wanted to do investment banking as an undergrad like Davion. She was first hired at the associate level when she applied to the field. Here we can learn the valuable life lesson that there does not exist one right path to a career. Keep your mind open to opportunities and other options.
Personally, I thought the most pertinent information from the panel revolved around recruitment. All panelists agreed that the key to landing a job is networking and differentiating your application. Each year firms receive stacks of applications -sometimes a few feet high. The only way for them to pick your application for an interview is by using your connections or standing out. Furthermore, they agreed that the actual knowledge you know is not the most important factor when you have the top students from Harvard, Yale, and other schools competing against you. In the interview they test your personality, tolerance to pressure, and understanding of the field. My main takeaway from the panel was that networking and standing out is the key to success in the recruitment process.
The event concluded with a brief networking session in which students had the ability to introduce themselves to the panelists. All of these ‘Nova alumni were super friendly and eager to help. This event provided a great opportunity to learn about investment banking and meet some fellow Wildcats in the real world.