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What does an investing career path look like?

If I go to college and eventually get into a job in investing, where do you start (like what is the job title) and when you go up the ladder what do you go up to (what’s the top of the ladder)? How long does it take to go to the top of the ladder? I’m sure it must be really hard, but I’m curious anyway, and I think maybe it could help me learn more about whether I could do this. #finance #investment-management #investing

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Seth Daniel’s Answer

I don't believe in "typical" career paths because we are all unique and carve out our careers based on what we're good at, and usually what we like the most. One of the fundamental choices you can make first is between research/analysis (often quantitative analysis and modeling are the entry level choices) and trading/arbitrage, or taking college classes across Finance and Math/Physics/Engineering that will prepare you for both. Once you are in a specialty in which you are skilled, you can move up (or laterally) within that specialty or expand into new areas or niches depending on your interests which will clarify for you on the job. For example, I worked with one colleague who thought she'd only be interested in equity investing, and but fell in love with fixed income trading.

One of the decisions you will need to make is whether you wish to push as far as you can technically, or whether you eventually want to be part of "running the enterprise". After about 3-5 years on the job, you'll be better able to make that decision if it's not readily apparent.

Others on this site may differ in their opinions, but I have vouched for starting at what you enjoy the most and for what you have the best developed skills. Be patient, learn from your mentors and colleagues, and you will find that both traditional and even very unexpected opportunities will present themselves if you perform on the job. There is a real danger in going into a career with pre-defined expectations. Once you obtain your first internship or job in investment management, do your best, and let the adventure unfold. It will be as unique as you are.

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sumeet’s Answer

Investment banking is considered one of the premier fields in the financial industry. There are two standard paths into an investment banking career: A. Attend a noted undergraduate university and
B. Enter on the ground level as an analyst, or go to business school,earn a Masters in Bussiness Administration (MBA) and break through as an associate.
The academic and experience credentials necessary to become an investment banker are unquestionably higher than for most corporate finance positions. Interested investment bankers should focus on
1. Degrees in finance
2. Economics
3. Banking or investment analysis.
Most intern or take low-level positions at large banks to gain experience, and many work as analysts elsewhere before receiving their MBA.

Major investment banks, especially in New York and London, focus their recruiting efforts on the best-performing prospects from Ivy League schools – although it's not unheard of for exceptionally analytical prospects with degrees in challenging subjects such as biopharmaceuticals or other medical fields to make their way into the industry.