How To Land the Highest Paying Finance Jobs on Wall Street

How to Land the HIghest Paying Jobs on Wall Street

If you plan to climb your way up the corporate ladder and secure one of the top paying finance jobs on Wall Street, be prepared to pay your dues. The most coveted Wall Street jobs typically require an MBA and several years of toiling away in the trenches.

There is no question that finance jobs can pay well, which is one of the main reasons people choose to pursue careers in finance. Even entry-level financial analysts can expect to start out well. According to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics (BLS), the 2010 median annual income for a financial analyst was close to $75,000.

For finance pros who hope to earn the big bucks – millions of dollars in salary and bonuses – the opportunities are better in finance than in many other fields. It still isn’t a piece of cake to land the highest paying finance jobs on Wall Street or elsewhere. If you do want to aim high, here are a few jobs you might consider along with some insight on what it takes to get hired.

Stockbroker

If you have a 4-year degree, competitive spirit, thick skin and excel at networking, a career as a stockbroker might be a good option for you. Your degree might get you in the door, but you’ll have to work hard and compete with hundreds of other brokers to get the most desirable, high-net-worth clients to utilize your services. Long-term success in the brokerage world relies on referrals, so you need to deliver great results for your clients in order for them to recommend people from their circle to you.

Head of Investment Banking Firm

Have you set your sights on the investment banking world and the big paychecks that come with it? Getting to the top of an I-bank isn’t a walk in the park. While entry-level investment banking jobs pay a decent wage to start – you can expect to make about $75,000 per year – you will need to have a top-tier MBA, do your time as a financial analyst (80 to 100 hours a week) and be a great networker to become a head of an I-bank. You will also need to be a stand out contributor in big-money deals, have strong accounting skills and be able to deal with egos and office politics to get the top investment banking jobs.

Chief Risk Officer

If you have a passion for risk management, actuarial work and your MBA in hand, the role of Chief Risk Officer could be your ticket to a big payday. The demand for experts in risk management has grown in recent years due to the economic collapse. Expect to spend your early finance career years doing actuary work (the median income level for actuaries was close to $90,000 in 2010 according to the BLS) and accumulate a decade or so of managerial experience before qualifying for this position. Excellent communication skills – verbal and written – are a must for Chief Risk Officers.

Mutual Fund Manager

Are you a team player who is willing to spend time in the trenches researching companies and fetching coffee? A career in mutual funds might be a good fit for you. Entry-level mutual fund analysts can expect to make a decent starting wage similar to other entry-level finance positions. Once you make your way on to a mutual fund management team, salaries in the low to mid six figures are common. Managing multi-billion dollar funds comes with a great deal of pressure, because a lot of people are relying on your decisions, so you’ll need to handle stress well. Mutual fund companies also prefer to promote from within, so you’ll want to avoid job-hopping to land the top-paying mutual fund jobs.

Finance Media Superstar

If you’re looking to see your name in lights – or on the TV screen – you could expect to make a good chunk of change in the finance world. According to Forbes, big names like Suze Orman and Jim Kramer can pull in $10 million to $20 million or more annually. In order to work your way up the media ranks, you’ll need to start with a journalism degree, and an MBA will help get you in the door at the top media networks – Bloomberg, ABC, NBC, CBS or Fox. Expect to spend several years working behind the scenes doing research and supporting other players before you get your chance in front of the camera and a book on the New York Times bestseller list.

Head of Mergers and Acquisitions

Like other finance careers, you’ll need to do your time as a financial analyst and have an MBA to be a top M&A earner. Expect to do the legwork, research and number-punching for a managing director then set your sites on an associate position at one of the top banks. You’ll need to advance your career from associate to VP to managing teams and hone your relationship building skills along the way if you hope to land a top job in mergers and acquisitions.

Big Money Means Hard Work and Time Invested

All of these finance jobs have several things in common, aside from the multi-million dollar paydays. If you want to secure a top job on Wall Street, you will need a great education, an MBA, years of experience working through the ranks and a strong network. If you hope to make your way to the top, expect to invest many years getting that top degree and working hard.

Photo Source: Shutterstock

Resources:

“Occupational Outlook Handbook; Financial Occupations.” U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor and Statistics. 2012. Available at http://www.bls.gov/ooh/business-and-financial/home.htm. Accessed Nov. 11, 2013.

“Making It Big on Wall Street.” Forbes website; May 18, 2013. Available at http://www.forbes.com/sites/investopedia/2013/05/18/making-it-big-on-wall-street/. Accessed Nov. 11, 2013.

LaRoche, J. “Can’t be a CEO? Here are 9 Other Super High Paying Wall Street Jobs and What You Need to Do to Get Them.” Business Insider website; July 20, 2012. Available at  http://www.businessinsider.com/9-high-paying-wall-street-jobs-2012-7?op=1. Accessed Nov. 11, 2013.

Chairman & CEO of Goldman Sachs Gives Advice to Summer Interns

Chairman & CEO of Goldman Sachs Gives Advice to Summer Interns

“Ambition is your inner voice that tells you, you can, and should, strive to go beyond your circumstances or situation in life.”

- Quote from Lloyd Blankfein, Chairman & CEO, Goldman Sachs, during his commencement speech at LaGuardia Community College.

Every year, some of the biggest accounting and finance firms engage the best college students on the planet to gain experience in the business through summer finance internships or accounting internships. Goldman Sachs carries on this tradition annually and offers internships at its many locations worldwide.

This leading global investment banking, securities and investment management firm employs 30,000 people, was founded in 1869 and is based in New York. At the helm is Chairman & CEO Lloyd Blankfein, a graduate of Harvard Law School who eventually made his way into the world of finance and Goldman Sachs.

During the final week of the 2013 summer internship program at Goldman Sachs, Blankfein was invited to sit down with Edith Cooper, Global Head of Human Capital Management at the firm, and answer a few questions from Cooper and a number of interns as well.

From Law to Finance

Cooper started off with Blankfein’s quote above, then inquired about the CEO’s early days in law and how his days are different in the finance world. He remarked that in the finance world, things and priorities could change every day, making it a more interesting lifestyle than his life as a lawyer.

Blankfein went on to talk about his work life today. “There’s aspects of what I do that are a lot of fun, and even some things that I do that are fun can carry a lot of anxiety with it … I have times that I really enjoy and times that I am really stretched … but we are all stretched.” He went on to acknowledge, “Not everything I do has the potential for being fun.”

The CEO also talked about the cooperative atmosphere at Goldman Sachs, and how important the individual players are at the firm. Cooper concurred, “people are our biggest asset.”

“Be Interesting”

Both Blankfein and Cooper stressed the importance of diverse backgrounds at the firm, and how most leaders that young people aspire to be like didn’t necessarily take a straight line to success. “Those people who you want to emulate in the world … what did they do?” asked Blankfein.

Cooper pointed out that she and Blankfein are very different personally and professionally, and their clients are very different and that these different backgrounds and interests are important to the success of the firm. To which the CEO added, “Be a more interesting person.”

One of the interns from Salt Lake City was curious how Blankfein’s upbringing in Brooklyn shaped his view of the world. The CEO seemed to downplay this, saying “Whoever you are, whatever your station in life, you play the cards you’ve had.”

As for his life today, Blankfein is grounded by the circumstances and enormous responsibilities of his role, saying “the goal is to be successful in the job and be thought of well and produce a good legacy and leave the place stronger than when you found it.”

Relax

Cooper asked the CEO to close with one piece of advice for the interns as they look forward to careers in finance and beyond. Blankfein said, “people at the age of people in the room can relax a little, too.” He urged them to be less concerned about where they needed to be career wise, adding that they should “try to get it right, but it’s very unlikely that you will, and not highly consequential right away … Work hard, try to get it right, and be a little less anxious.”

His final words? “Lighten up.”

You can view the interview in its entirety at the Goldman Sachs website. Go to:

Lloyd Blankfein Edith Cooper Interview

Photo Source: Shutterstock

 

Careers in Investment Banking: The Inside Scoop

Photo Source: Flickr

Choosing to pursue a career in Investment Banking is an endeavor that requires steady concentration, relentless determination and an ample dose of business sense. But for those who are willing to put in the work, this professional track provides an immensely satisfying opportunity to exercise one’s natural strengths and abilities.

Kyle Schroeder found an outlet for his ‘affinity for numbers’ in a career as an investment banker. His story is proof that with hard work and razor-sharp focus, talented young professionals can achieve the same level of fulfillment with an occupation that will make good use of their skills, and keep them challenged on a daily basis. We asked Kyle how he leveraged his own academic and professional interests to prepare for his ‘dream’ job as an Associate at Citi Group.

________________________________________________________

Navigating the Finance World with Kyle Shroeder, Citi Group Associate.

Tell a bit about your background: What led you to finance?

I grew up in Wayne, NJ and have an identical twin brother Matthew who is an attorney. I was fortunate to have both a strong academic and athletic career in high school and was sought after by many institutions of higher learning including all eight Ivy League schools. I decided to attend Dartmouth College because of their excellent academic reputation, their access to professors and their winning football program.

Even as a child, I always had an affinity for numbers and attempted to place values on things such as baseball cards. I was the guy who ran the fantasy football league before the advent of the Internet and took much joy in adding the statistics after each game to figure out which team won. When I was introduced to the stock market, a passion for finance developed. The markets seemed like a natural place for me to turn a hobby and talent into a career.

How did you get your first job?

My senior year at Dartmouth I interviewed with multiple Investment Banks. However, it would have been impossible for me to pursue a professional football career as an Analyst, as they typically work 80+ hours a week. Therefore, I decided to look into proprietary trading for a firm in which my hours would be limited by the market, thereby allowing me to continue to train and work out for professional teams. A former classmate and friend was working for a proprietary trading firm at the time. When I asked them if they would let me take a sabbatical to join a professional football team if given the opportunity, their response was very positive. The decision to join a firm that would be that supportive of me was easy.

Why did you join a start-up company? What was the upside and downside of the experience?

I joined the start-up company after applying to and getting accepted to Tuck’s MBA program. While my motivation for attending business school was to land an Associate position in M&A, I felt that given the lack of access to programs for pre-MBA interns, the next best option for me would be to acquire additional experience in a field unrelated to trading where I could develop a skill set that was sought after by Investment Banks.

The upside was huge. I was able to acquire a diverse skill set such as modeling, time management, and the ability to work on multiple projects at once. In addition, I was surrounded by brilliant, passionate people working together to create a business that had previously not existed. The downside was the pay. I earned $500 a week as an Operations Associate. Although the firm offered to pay for my business school education if I stayed with them for another year, I declined in order to pursue my passion for banking.

How did working in operations prepare you for your next job (e.g., lessons learned, skills gained)

As I have stated, the hard skills I developed such as modeling, time management, and project management were critical in preparing me for a role as an Investment Banking Associate. I also took away the ability to successfully interact with highly intelligent, motivated people.

What prompted you to go back for an MBA, and how have you benefited from it?

My desire to obtain a career in investment banking was the main motivation in acquiring an MBA. There was no other way to transition into an Investment Banking Associate position without the skill set and network acquired through an MBA program.

The MBA program exponentially increased my ability to think critically and strategically as well as enhanced my skill sets and time management capabilities. In addition, I have gained an invaluable network of colleagues. There is no shortage of Tuckies who are willing to help out, in any way they can, other Tuckies.

How does Mergers & Acquisitions compare to equities trading?

There is no real comparison between M&A and equities trading. They are two totally different beasts. As an M&A Associate, you need to be exceptional at communication and meticulous at understanding the numbers that are driving valuation. In addition, you must totally understand the strategy behind the proposed combination or divestiture. On the other hand as a trader, you must be able to quickly calculate odds in your head and have the wherewithal to place your money on your calls.

What advice would you give our community members who want to do what you do?

Do your homework. You cannot be over prepared for any professional endeavor. Figure out what skills the job requires and be prepared to articulate how you have gained those skills and how you can apply them to whatever position you want. If the job requires skills you do not currently have, figure out a way to acquire them. Also, network with people in the industry and job function you are seeking. They will provide valuable insights into the job and may be aware of openings.

Among your peers in the industry, what do you see as the secret to their success in finding and keeping good jobs?

The most successful Investment Bankers are those who add value to their team and continually attempt to learn more so that they become an indispensable part of the team. The great thing about M&A is that no two transactions are the same so there is always the opportunity to educate yourself and provide unique insights into a potential transaction.

________________________________________________________

Regardless of current economic conditions, there will always be opportunities for talented young professionals to put their skills to use.

By challenging yourself to attain even greater achievements, you can find a career that will give you access to the means with which to pursue your passion.

Whatever path you choose, Doostang can put you in touch with hiring managers along the way.

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Baruch College (MS), 2011
Analyst – REIS

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NYU – Stern, 2009
M&A Analyst – Mizuho Securities USA

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Fordham University – JD/MBA, 2010
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Cornell University – Johnson Graduate School of Management, 2007
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Doostang Success — Interviews from Many Fortune 500 Companies

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JOHNS HOPKINS UNIVERSITY 2008
SENIOR STRATEGY ANALYST – BOOZ ALLEN HAMILTON

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Sergey
San Francisco State University 2010
Investment Operations Associate – Hewins Financial Advisors

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