A Guide for Switching From Commercial Banking to Investment Banking

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Rank: Neanderthal | banana points 3,151

Given the number of messages I continue to receive with questions regarding my switch from commercial banking to investment banking, I thought it'd be helpful to provide a few guidelines for those looking to make the switch.

How to Break Into IB from Commercial Banking?

Below is an overview of how to break into investment banking from commercial banking.

Target Middle Market or Lower Tier Banks

Aim low(ER). I guess you could technically move from a middle-market commercial bank into the TMT group at Goldman, but your time would be better spent focusing your targeting on the middle market banks, Big 4 corporate finance groups, and boutique offices.

Find Commercial Bank Alumni in IBanks

Find former commercial bankers in the industry. Your odds to get hired are much higher if you can find banks who employ a few former commercial bankers who are more likely to sympathize with your situation and willing to "give you a shot". Not sure if it's a coincidence, but one of our senior bankers was previously a commercial banker.
These are the only real tips I have for those looking to land interviews. There is no magic formula for securing these interviews. You'll have to network, cold call, email, and search like all the other monkeys. The majority of my comments are for those who have already entered into the hiring process and want to get an IB offer.

Know the Comparison Between CB and IB

Highlight the similarities. Despite what many on this forum would want you to think, commercial banking and investment banking are a lot more similar than different. In your interviews, point out that you are already comfortable covering multiple industries at once, dealing with the ebbs and flows of transactional-based workflow, financial modeling (albeit more basic), and that you enjoy and understand the nuances of dealing with business owners who are considering large financial decisions for the future of their company.

Be Prepared to Address the Differences Between IB and Comm. Banking

Anticipate their doubts. Any IB will assume the following three things about you during the interview process:

  1. You can't handle the hours in IB
  2. Your modeling skills are sub-par
  3. You weren't worthy of breaking into IB out of undergrad

Some would say it's not prudent to bring these "areas of weakness" up in interviews, but I believe it's better to address these head-on, rather than let the bankers draw their own conclusions, especially if you have strong supporting evidence to refute their suspicions. For example, I explained in my interviews that I was already working 60 hours a week in the commercial bank's most intensive group and that I was aware and willing to increase that workload even further. I had taken a modeling class after graduation, and the reason I didn't pursue IB out of school is because no IBs recruited on campus and I was less aware of this industry as a 21 year old. All fair answers and (hopefully) laid their suspicions to rest

Be Prepared to Prove Your Interest in Interviews

Demonstrate you belong. Given your "atypical" background, you will have to try that much harder to show you belong compared to your interviewing peers who may already be working at other IBs and looking to lateral. Read up on the latest M&A deals, know your technicals frontwards and back, and show an over-the-top eagerness to break into the industry. In response to the "Why switch from CB to IB?" question, I recall responding with "because I look around at 5pm seeing everyone head for the exit, and I know I have more to offer and want more out of my career than that". May have been cheesy in retrospect, but I believe that's when I won over the interviewer.

Hope this helps for those looking to move over to "dark side", and remember, the longer you stay in commercial banking, the harder it is to make the switch!

Want to learn more about commercial banking? Check out the video below.

Read More About Commercial Banking on WSO

Preparing for Investment Banking Interviews?

The WSO investment banking interview course is designed by countless professionals with real world experience, tailored to people aspiring to break into the industry. This guide will help you learn how to answer these questions and many, many more.

Investment Banking Interview Course Here

Find Your Mentor

  • Increase your chance of landing a job by matching with one of our 200+ mentors.
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  • Proven process with over 1,100 clients over 10 years.

Comments (191)

Aug 30, 2013

All very good points.

Do what you want not what you can!

Aug 30, 2013

+SB, as a newly hired corp banking analyst, I will definitely bookmark this for future reference if/when I decide to switch.

Sep 4, 2013

thanks for the post, good info

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Sep 4, 2013

#5 so true. Honestly I did a CB internship last year and it was very relaxed and not hard at all. I'd honestly rather be pushing myself both physically and mentally when i'm young and can handle it.

Sep 4, 2013

Well said. For those facing this situation, understanding #4 and 5 will be crucial to acing those interviews.

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Side-by-side comparison of top modeling training courses + exclusive discount through WSO here.

Sep 4, 2013

Well said

Sep 4, 2013

great post

Sep 4, 2013

Excellent post and timely for me. I'm already ready to get out! I have the same experience with 5 pm rush out the door.

The hills are alive with the sound of horsepower! - Jeremy Clarkson

Sep 4, 2013

I'm currently in CB and while switching to IB is unrealistic, I'd like to at least be in the Corporate Banking division at a bank like wells or BofA. I posted in the resume review forum if anyone would like to help me please!

Sep 4, 2013

Solid post

Sep 4, 2013

I'm in CB and see no reason one would want or try to switch. Pay wise, I'm crushing it in a low COL city when my income puts me in the top 10%. Just bought a 3,500 sqft in the most prestigious gated community and I'm only 31!!!

IB is fascinating from the size of deal perspective but I work 40 hr weeks, and I'm okay with that. Working 80-100 hours for double the pay doesn't interest me too much.

Sep 5, 2013

Only skimmed through it, but I think all of these apply to all non-traditional backgrounds. Good post, though.

Sep 5, 2013

@gregt14

Nice sized home at 31 yrs of age - living the dream! You mentioned a low COL city - may I ask what state or metropolis you are living in?

Sep 5, 2013

Sure. Northern CA. Closer to Sacramento.

    • 1
Sep 5, 2013

Thanks for the post.
I do have a different view with #1 though. Why aim lower when you can leverage your experience in a CB to suit the career target you're seeking? I mean if we take a look at a guy/gal fresh out of school, and a candidate that is at least experienced enough to know the ropes of banking, in general, I say the experienced hire has way more edge.
My above statement does come with a grain of salt; location and cost/head does play a major role in the selection process.

Death is certain; Life aint.

Sep 7, 2013

What about some one who has been in an industry specific role at a commercial bank (lets say healthcare, tech, real estate) for 4 years. What then? try to get in as an analyst? Or MBA -> associate? It actually seems like a senior analyst at a commercial bank could have a similar skill-set to what an associate needs.

EDIT:
Also how about a CFA? does that help at all?

Sep 7, 2013

Specifically to the OP, excellent post overall. However, I'm honestly amazed at the shortsightedness of many of us here. I switched over from investment banking into commercial banking and I don't regret it at all (although the process was quite indirect and lengthy).

What are the facts that we know about investment banking? The vast majority of people do not make a career of it after the analyst stint--the hours are horrible and the business is highly concentrated in a handful of the largest markets. And most people ultimately find it as boring as any other job (there are all kinds of posts on WSO, for example, from employees bemoaning their choice of IB). And to reach the executive level (VP/MD) requires a salesman's personality, not genius mathematical skills--in other words, it demands skills that the average brilliant IB analyst doesn't actually posses. So investment banking as a long-term career is unlikely for the vast, vast majority of people who start off as an analyst. For the incredibly small number of people who rise the ranks, their lives are utterly consumed by their job, but they do make a lot of money. My first boss made millions a year but he spent his ENTIRE life working. He lived by a charter jet.

What do we know about commercial banking? The pay at the lower levels (and even at the middle levels in some cases) absolutely sucks. As a result, there is a ton of turnover and a huge vacuum of talent that is left to be filled. On the other hand, we also know that people with 10-15+ years of experience in commercial banking can rise the ranks fairly quickly and demand $150-200,000 for a 40-45 hour per week job. And with the high levels of turnover, if you're a talented person and you stick with it then you'll be the guy waiting to fill the talent vacuum. I've worked the 80+ hour per week jobs. There's nothing glorious or special about it. Leaving at 5 pm to go do other things is a blessing that modern society grants us. To work 80+ hours per week is to go back in time to a past agrarian society where people worked from dawn 'til dusk and then went to bed and repeated it 6 days a week. Why would you want that life?

The point is, most IB analysts are likely to never come anywhere near the managing director level and will ultimately switch careers to something else, and when they're in their mid-30s they will have settled on a long-term career choice that pays about the same as a commercial banking officer with 10 years of experience....

    • 7
    • 2
Oct 23, 2013
DCDepository:

Specifically to the OP, excellent post overall. However, I'm honestly amazed at the shortsightedness of many of us here. I switched over from investment banking into commercial banking and I don't regret it at all (although the process was quite indirect and lengthy).

What are the facts that we know about investment banking? The vast majority of people do not make a career of it after the analyst stint--the hours are horrible and the business is highly concentrated in a handful of the largest markets. And most people ultimately find it as boring as any other job (there are all kinds of posts on WSO, for example, from employees bemoaning their choice of IB). And to reach the executive level (VP/MD) requires a salesman's personality, not genius mathematical skills--in other words, it demands skills that the average brilliant IB analyst doesn't actually posses. So investment banking as a long-term career is unlikely for the vast, vast majority of people who start off as an analyst. For the incredibly small number of people who rise the ranks, their lives are utterly consumed by their job, but they do make a lot of money. My first boss made millions a year but he spent his ENTIRE life working. He lived by a charter jet.

What do we know about commercial banking? The pay at the lower levels (and even at the middle levels in some cases) absolutely sucks. As a result, there is a ton of turnover and a huge vacuum of talent that is left to be filled. On the other hand, we also know that people with 10-15+ years of experience in commercial banking can rise the ranks fairly quickly and demand $150-200,000 for a 40-45 hour per week job. And with the high levels of turnover, if you're a talented person and you stick with it then you'll be the guy waiting to fill the talent vacuum. I've worked the 80+ hour per week jobs. There's nothing glorious or special about it. Leaving at 5 pm to go do other things is a blessing that modern society grants us. To work 80+ hours per week is to go back in time to a past agrarian society where people worked from dawn 'til dusk and then went to bed and repeated it 6 days a week. Why would you want that life?

The point is, most IB analysts are likely to never come anywhere near the managing director level and will ultimately switch careers to something else, and when they're in their mid-30s they will have settled on a long-term career choice that pays about the same as a commercial banking officer with 10 years of experience....

All good stuff here.

The only thing id argue is that you don't need to be in CBanking 15 years to hit $200K.

I've been in it not even 5 years, am 31, have a base of $160K, and commissions average around $50-$60K. So my all in for this year is $160K (my base just got significant raised from $115K) and next year with the new base I will easily hit $200K+.

Oh and I work 35-40 hours.

Don't get me wrong - my situation is not typical. You have to hustle your ass off and find the right situation (right Bank, right mentors, etc).

I'll skip 80hrs for $300-$500K (VP level right? In IB?) and take $200K for 40 hrs all day long.

    • 1
Oct 23, 2013
gregt14:
DCDepository:

Specifically to the OP, excellent post overall. However, I'm honestly amazed at the shortsightedness of many of us here. I switched over from investment banking into commercial banking and I don't regret it at all (although the process was quite indirect and lengthy).

What are the facts that we know about investment banking? The vast majority of people do not make a career of it after the analyst stint--the hours are horrible and the business is highly concentrated in a handful of the largest markets. And most people ultimately find it as boring as any other job (there are all kinds of posts on WSO, for example, from employees bemoaning their choice of IB). And to reach the executive level (VP/MD) requires a salesman's personality, not genius mathematical skills--in other words, it demands skills that the average brilliant IB analyst doesn't actually posses. So investment banking as a long-term career is unlikely for the vast, vast majority of people who start off as an analyst. For the incredibly small number of people who rise the ranks, their lives are utterly consumed by their job, but they do make a lot of money. My first boss made millions a year but he spent his ENTIRE life working. He lived by a charter jet.

What do we know about commercial banking? The pay at the lower levels (and even at the middle levels in some cases) absolutely sucks. As a result, there is a ton of turnover and a huge vacuum of talent that is left to be filled. On the other hand, we also know that people with 10-15+ years of experience in commercial banking can rise the ranks fairly quickly and demand $150-200,000 for a 40-45 hour per week job. And with the high levels of turnover, if you're a talented person and you stick with it then you'll be the guy waiting to fill the talent vacuum. I've worked the 80+ hour per week jobs. There's nothing glorious or special about it. Leaving at 5 pm to go do other things is a blessing that modern society grants us. To work 80+ hours per week is to go back in time to a past agrarian society where people worked from dawn 'til dusk and then went to bed and repeated it 6 days a week. Why would you want that life?

The point is, most IB analysts are likely to never come anywhere near the managing director level and will ultimately switch careers to something else, and when they're in their mid-30s they will have settled on a long-term career choice that pays about the same as a commercial banking officer with 10 years of experience....

All good stuff here.

The only thing id argue is that you don't need to be in CBanking 15 years to hit $200K.

I've been in it not even 5 years, am 31, have a base of $160K, and commissions average around $50-$60K. So my all in for this year is $160K (my base just got significant raised from $115K) and next year with the new base I will easily hit $200K+.

Oh and I work 35-40 hours.

Don't get me wrong - my situation is not typical. You have to hustle your ass off and find the right situation (right Bank, right mentors, etc).

I'll skip 80hrs for $300-$500K (VP level right? In IB?) and take $200K for 40 hrs all day long.

Wow, that definitely is precocious. What exactly is it that you do? I assume you have some form of production or hybrid production role.

I would say I'm on the "CEO" track. People often look around and wonder how "that guy" rose the ranks to become CEO of that large, established organization. Well, he got a masters level education and he spent either many years at the organization or many years at similar organizations and hyper specialized in that business and knew many people inside the target organization. I'm getting my MSF, am halfway done with the CFA charter and am in a formal bank management program, all paid for by my organization. I'm just going to camp out here for another 10 years or so and see where it takes me. Maybe CEO? Maybe. If not here then there are a ton of smaller credit unions and banks that could use an experienced guy with all the formal education. I'm kind of upset that I spent several years at the IBD and IBD-type jobs, but I've got to admit that those firms and that experience gives me automatic credibility with everyone I meet inside the commercial bank. The first thing everyone says to me: "So, where did you come from?"

Oct 23, 2013
DCDepository:
gregt14:
DCDepository:

Specifically to the OP, excellent post overall. However, I'm honestly amazed at the shortsightedness of many of us here. I switched over from investment banking into commercial banking and I don't regret it at all (although the process was quite indirect and lengthy).

What are the facts that we know about investment banking? The vast majority of people do not make a career of it after the analyst stint--the hours are horrible and the business is highly concentrated in a handful of the largest markets. And most people ultimately find it as boring as any other job (there are all kinds of posts on WSO, for example, from employees bemoaning their choice of IB). And to reach the executive level (VP/MD) requires a salesman's personality, not genius mathematical skills--in other words, it demands skills that the average brilliant IB analyst doesn't actually posses. So investment banking as a long-term career is unlikely for the vast, vast majority of people who start off as an analyst. For the incredibly small number of people who rise the ranks, their lives are utterly consumed by their job, but they do make a lot of money. My first boss made millions a year but he spent his ENTIRE life working. He lived by a charter jet.

What do we know about commercial banking? The pay at the lower levels (and even at the middle levels in some cases) absolutely sucks. As a result, there is a ton of turnover and a huge vacuum of talent that is left to be filled. On the other hand, we also know that people with 10-15+ years of experience in commercial banking can rise the ranks fairly quickly and demand $150-200,000 for a 40-45 hour per week job. And with the high levels of turnover, if you're a talented person and you stick with it then you'll be the guy waiting to fill the talent vacuum. I've worked the 80+ hour per week jobs. There's nothing glorious or special about it. Leaving at 5 pm to go do other things is a blessing that modern society grants us. To work 80+ hours per week is to go back in time to a past agrarian society where people worked from dawn 'til dusk and then went to bed and repeated it 6 days a week. Why would you want that life?

The point is, most IB analysts are likely to never come anywhere near the managing director level and will ultimately switch careers to something else, and when they're in their mid-30s they will have settled on a long-term career choice that pays about the same as a commercial banking officer with 10 years of experience....

All good stuff here.

The only thing id argue is that you don't need to be in CBanking 15 years to hit $200K.

I've been in it not even 5 years, am 31, have a base of $160K, and commissions average around $50-$60K. So my all in for this year is $160K (my base just got significant raised from $115K) and next year with the new base I will easily hit $200K+.

Oh and I work 35-40 hours.

Don't get me wrong - my situation is not typical. You have to hustle your ass off and find the right situation (right Bank, right mentors, etc).

I'll skip 80hrs for $300-$500K (VP level right? In IB?) and take $200K for 40 hrs all day long.

Wow, that definitely is precocious. What exactly is it that you do? I assume you have some form of production or hybrid production role.

I would say I'm on the "CEO" track. People often look around and wonder how "that guy" rose the ranks to become CEO of that large, established organization. Well, he got a masters level education and he spent either many years at the organization or many years at similar organizations and hyper specialized in that business and knew many people inside the target organization. I'm getting my MSF, am halfway done with the CFA charter and am in a formal bank management program, all paid for by my organization. I'm just going to camp out here for another 10 years or so and see where it takes me. Maybe CEO? Maybe. If not here then there are a ton of smaller credit unions and banks that could use an experienced guy with all the formal education. I'm kind of upset that I spent several years at the IBD and IBD-type jobs, but I've got to admit that those firms and that experience gives me automatic credibility with everyone I meet inside the commercial bank. The first thing everyone says to me: "So, where did you come from?"

I am a FVP / Sr. RM for a large Community Bank ($2B in Assets). I have had offers from JPMC and Wells for their mid market groups ($25MM-$1B) but have declined both offers - I am making way too much money and am on track for the Executive Ranks.

I think you make valid points. I have a MBA (non target) and just found a very good bank (albeit relatively small) but what people dont get is that their is money to be made at smaller, regional banks and you can then become a big fish in a small pond. Making it easier to hit EVP status at other (maybe even larger) bank.

No - I wont make EVP at B of A / Wells / Etc. But do I have a good chance of hitting a EVP position at a Bank that has $5B in asset and getting paid $750K a year? Yes i believe i do.

This website thinks you can only make money as a MD at GS. Their is money to be made everywhere so long as you love what you are doing and hustle.

    • 4
Oct 23, 2013
gregt14:
DCDepository:
gregt14:
DCDepository:

Specifically to the OP, excellent post overall. However, I'm honestly amazed at the shortsightedness of many of us here. I switched over from investment banking into commercial banking and I don't regret it at all (although the process was quite indirect and lengthy).

What are the facts that we know about investment banking? The vast majority of people do not make a career of it after the analyst stint--the hours are horrible and the business is highly concentrated in a handful of the largest markets. And most people ultimately find it as boring as any other job (there are all kinds of posts on WSO, for example, from employees bemoaning their choice of IB). And to reach the executive level (VP/MD) requires a salesman's personality, not genius mathematical skills--in other words, it demands skills that the average brilliant IB analyst doesn't actually posses. So investment banking as a long-term career is unlikely for the vast, vast majority of people who start off as an analyst. For the incredibly small number of people who rise the ranks, their lives are utterly consumed by their job, but they do make a lot of money. My first boss made millions a year but he spent his ENTIRE life working. He lived by a charter jet.

What do we know about commercial banking? The pay at the lower levels (and even at the middle levels in some cases) absolutely sucks. As a result, there is a ton of turnover and a huge vacuum of talent that is left to be filled. On the other hand, we also know that people with 10-15+ years of experience in commercial banking can rise the ranks fairly quickly and demand $150-200,000 for a 40-45 hour per week job. And with the high levels of turnover, if you're a talented person and you stick with it then you'll be the guy waiting to fill the talent vacuum. I've worked the 80+ hour per week jobs. There's nothing glorious or special about it. Leaving at 5 pm to go do other things is a blessing that modern society grants us. To work 80+ hours per week is to go back in time to a past agrarian society where people worked from dawn 'til dusk and then went to bed and repeated it 6 days a week. Why would you want that life?

The point is, most IB analysts are likely to never come anywhere near the managing director level and will ultimately switch careers to something else, and when they're in their mid-30s they will have settled on a long-term career choice that pays about the same as a commercial banking officer with 10 years of experience....

All good stuff here.

The only thing id argue is that you don't need to be in CBanking 15 years to hit $200K.

I've been in it not even 5 years, am 31, have a base of $160K, and commissions average around $50-$60K. So my all in for this year is $160K (my base just got significant raised from $115K) and next year with the new base I will easily hit $200K+.

Oh and I work 35-40 hours.

Don't get me wrong - my situation is not typical. You have to hustle your ass off and find the right situation (right Bank, right mentors, etc).

I'll skip 80hrs for $300-$500K (VP level right? In IB?) and take $200K for 40 hrs all day long.

Wow, that definitely is precocious. What exactly is it that you do? I assume you have some form of production or hybrid production role.

I would say I'm on the "CEO" track. People often look around and wonder how "that guy" rose the ranks to become CEO of that large, established organization. Well, he got a masters level education and he spent either many years at the organization or many years at similar organizations and hyper specialized in that business and knew many people inside the target organization. I'm getting my MSF, am halfway done with the CFA charter and am in a formal bank management program, all paid for by my organization. I'm just going to camp out here for another 10 years or so and see where it takes me. Maybe CEO? Maybe. If not here then there are a ton of smaller credit unions and banks that could use an experienced guy with all the formal education. I'm kind of upset that I spent several years at the IBD and IBD-type jobs, but I've got to admit that those firms and that experience gives me automatic credibility with everyone I meet inside the commercial bank. The first thing everyone says to me: "So, where did you come from?"

I am a FVP / Sr. RM for a large Community Bank ($2B in Assets). I have had offers from JPMC and Wells for their mid market groups ($25MM-$1B) but have declined both offers - I am making way too much money and am on track for the Executive Ranks.

I think you make valid points. I have a MBA (non target) and just found a very good bank (albeit relatively small) but what people dont get is that their is money to be made at smaller, regional banks and you can then become a big fish in a small pond. Making it easier to hit EVP status at other (maybe even larger) bank.

No - I wont make EVP at B of A / Wells / Etc. But do I have a good chance of hitting a EVP position at a Bank that has $5B in asset and getting paid $750K a year? Yes i believe i do.

This website thinks you can only make money as a MD at GS. Their is money to be made everywhere so long as you love what you are doing and hustle.

You said it. "Big fish in a small pond."

Sep 26, 2013

The only thing missing from the above post is what doors IB experience opens as opposed to Comm. Banking experience.

Sep 26, 2013
Texas Tea:

The only thing missing from the above post is what doors IB experience opens as opposed to Comm. Banking experience.

I would like to hear this as well. Can anyone speak to the possibility of jumping to a credit fund, specialty credit firm (BDC's, specialty finance, etc.), or Mez/PE?

    • 1
Sep 26, 2013
watdo:
Texas Tea:

The only thing missing from the above post is what doors IB experience opens as opposed to Comm. Banking experience.

I would like to hear this as well. Can anyone speak to the possibility of jumping to a credit fund, specialty credit firm (BDC's, specialty finance, etc.), or Mez/PE?

I know several corporate and commercial bankers that moved into mezz or BDCs. Skill set is relevant. Not all are good w/modeling so if you are in a good credit analyst program, that will help. Early the better generally too, though even VPs can lateral if they aren't pure BD guys and truly understand credit.

You are going to have a much tougher time moving into equity-focused PE (i.e. buyout funds). I wouldn't bank on that at all, but anything is possible.

Oct 22, 2013
peinvestor2012:
watdo:
Texas Tea:

The only thing missing from the above post is what doors IB experience opens as opposed to Comm. Banking experience.

I would like to hear this as well. Can anyone speak to the possibility of jumping to a credit fund, specialty credit firm (BDC's, specialty finance, etc.), or Mez/PE?

I know several corporate and commercial bankers that moved into mezz or BDCs. Skill set is relevant. Not all are good w/modeling so if you are in a good credit analyst program, that will help. Early the better generally too, though even VPs can lateral if they aren't pure BD guys and truly understand credit.

You are going to have a much tougher time moving into equity-focused PE (i.e. buyout funds). I wouldn't bank on that at all, but anything is possible.

I know this is a bit off topic, but what would you consider some "top" good credit analyst programs?

Oct 22, 2013

I have to imagine that a position with any of the "Big 4" banks (JPM, BAML, Citi, Wells) would provide solid credit experience.

Oct 23, 2013

This is very helpful, thank you. I'm a final year student considering starting a career in corporate banking with a long-term goal of moving to the buy-side - e.g. corporate bonds mutual funds, credit funds. Would you say that it's reasonable to expect to be able to make a switch to an analyst position on the BS after starting at a corporate bank?

Oct 22, 2013

Good write up! Thank you.

Oct 23, 2013

what is your understanding of what constitutes commercial banking vs say corporate lending?

Oct 23, 2013

great post, thanks!

Best Response
Oct 29, 2013

As a second year commercial banker I thought I would add my two cents. I'm personally looking at moving to a different shop in the next year after I write my CFA Level III exam and then hopefully an MBA in 2-3 years.

1) If you want to be a successful investment banker (MD level or higher), the skills you learn as a commercial banker doing business development grunt work is infinitely more valuable than any financial modelling/credit analysis skills you pick up. Of course you need those to be able to structure deals, but if you don't know how to network and build meaningful relationships where business owners/managers trust you, you won't find major success in investment/commercial banking, PE, VC, or any transaction-oriented finance job. If you're trying to jump ship from commercial to investment, sell them on your ability to generate new business as that will distinguish you as someone who has solid long-term value to the firm.

2) Demonstrate that you're a finance nut and you don't want to get into IB for a bigger pay day. Manage your own portfolio? (You probably do because commercial bank benefits are beyond rich), show that on your resume and talk about your investment decision making. Write the CFA exams. Not only will you learn about the basics of IB in the corporate finance section, you can prove that just because you didn't go to an Ivy or were an entry-level analyst hire, you're still smart. It also shows that you can go above and beyond what's expected of you and you're not twiddling your thumbs once 5 o'clock rolls around (even if that's not true, IB's tend to think that of commercial bankers).

3) As far as exit opps for commercial bankers go, it really tends to depend on your personal experience. In my role, I manage a portfolio of clients and am responsible for developing new business and helping the senior guys with underwriting new deals. As far as coverage goes, I can finance operating companies (not industry specific), real-estate, and construction. If I wanted to, I could realistically work at a mezzanine lender, real-estate development company, real-estate investment company, PE, VC, or IB. However, I have invested in myself beyond my commercial banking role so I think I have a shot at a more untraditional career path than other commercial bankers. Personally, I'm looking at moving to a mezz fund, corporate banking division, leveraged finance group at a bank, or possibly PE or VC but we'll see who I meet.

Feel free to message me if you want to know more.

    • 9
Mar 17, 2014

Thanks jmayhem. I am also in my 2 year in CB and giving my CFA Level II. Well said point # 1. Is switching to IB more easy or common after MBA ?

Mar 21, 2014

D

Dec 15, 2013

Thanks for sharing your thoughts

Mar 17, 2014

Hey. Thanks for the insight. Is switching to IB after MBA more plausible or easy ? I am currently working in corporate banking for 2.5 years and am planning to go for an MBA before switching to IB. Do people without pre-MBA IB experience go in as analysts or associates ? I have very basic modelling skills right now.

Mar 22, 2014

Yes, assuming you attend a solid program. You'll definitely have a good handle on credit, so DCM, LevFin are naturally the smoothest transition. But, M&A should be fine also, given you understand cash flow and balance sheets.

Apr 6, 2014

If you're doing CB in a BB I don't see how networking couldn't make it any easier to lateral. One of my managers even said something to this effect during my interview lol

Apr 6, 2014

i know people that have gone from a credit analyst position to HF and IB BB/MM. They all dealt with non-investment grade companies during their credit analyst stint.

Apr 6, 2014

The skills from Credit Analyst to IB Analyst are similar. Network and it can be done.

Apr 6, 2014

interested in this as well...I just had an MD from a MM firm tell me that it is a good entry point

Apr 6, 2014

This is actually super positive information to hear! I think a thank you to WSO might be in order very shortly

Apr 6, 2014

Kind of in left field but what about getting into S&T or ER from being a Credit Analyst?

Apr 6, 2014

It can be done but it requires a lot of hard work, good timing, and a strong network. I started at a mid-market commercial bank in a credit analyst program. At the conclusion of the program (2-yrs), I left to go work for a large international bank still on the commercial side, but with larger clients and more products (Equity Research, S&T, DCM). I spent the next 3-yrs working extremely hard and networking internally with the rain makers at the bank. In addition, I notified my current boss that I intended to switch to a structured products group within DCM because it interested me and I thought I could add a lot of value. It took 12-months for a position to open, meanwhile I had to convince the DCM group to hire me. I'm now 6-months into the DCM gig and things seem to be going well.

I also have quite a few friends that went from commercial banking to HF or PE, but I have not known anyone to put in a few years at a commercial bank and then switch to M&A or S&T.....I think it can be done, but is much more difficult.

Dec 13, 2016

I know this is super old, but I'm just starting in a credit role at a BB now and looking to make a transition to DCM in 18 months or so. Would love to hear more from you about the switch if you're still around.

Apr 6, 2014

Clearly better exit ops into a credit role than M&A/equity. I would say the skill-set is transferable to many credit products (DCM, etc) on the banking side as well as credit funds. However, the key here is to not get stuck on an IG portfolio and ideally work as close as possible to the deal side of things. Depending on the institution / group, you could have pretty meaningful exposure and move up to some interesting positions - at the same time I've seen credit analysts being stuck copy/pasting S&P reports for revolver participations...

Apr 6, 2014

I made this move after spending a little over a year as a Credit Analyst with a regional commercial lender. My experience was a little different because of the size of the commercial bank I was at, (read: no formal credit training program) but I got decent hands-on experience with restructuring troubled loans and underwriting new credits independently for approval by credit committee (small stuff <$1mm). Like other posters have mentioned in thread, I moved into a DCM/credit products role.

Apr 6, 2014

.

Apr 6, 2014

A good friend of mine has done this. He worked in the commercial bank as a credit analyst for Investment Grade Loans (more for MM commpanies). He outperformed his peers and was put on the best underwritings, which gave him exposure to the IB investment grade and LevFin guys. A spot opened up and they knew he was a strong analyst. Asked him to come over, which he gladly accepted. It can be done.

Apr 6, 2014

k

Apr 6, 2014

How would exit oppurtunties differ from commerical credit analyst or big 3 rating agency credit resesrch focused on HY and IG credit in one sector.

Apr 7, 2014
Apr 7, 2014

so...you aren't actually in commercial banking yet, but you are asking about switching from commercial banking to IB?

complete step 1. then ask about step 2.

Apr 7, 2014

Any insight on a day in a life of commercial banking?

I'm really interested in hearing on personal experiences

Apr 7, 2014

Pay is much less especially the bonuses (like 10%-20% of IB bonus), but the life style is great and people are laid back most of the time. Mid-corp groups have similar experience to IB but less stressful, less deadlines, and smaller deals.

I know of many people who go from CB to IB. Usually it's from CB FO to IB MO and then to IB FO or sometimes straight to IB FO. Networking is very important and performance in CB is even more important.

Do what you want not what you can!

Apr 7, 2014

I put together what a typical day of a commercial banker is like. This is based on my experience of having a checking and savings account for the past 9 years.

8:00am: Wake up. Quickly brush your teeth and throw on your uniform. Make sure not to forget that name tag.

8:20am: Grab a bowl of fruit loops and watch a Beast Wars or a Digimon episode while your mom is getting ready to drop you off on her way to work.

8:35am-9:30am: Arrive at the office. Tell a line of people standing outside that the branch doesn't open until 9:30am and will conveniently close at 3pm.

9:30am - 11am: Work the drive-through window shift.

11am-12pm: Sort coins.

12pm-12:30pm: Eat that PB&J sandwich that your mom packed. Admire your transformers lunchbox.

12:30pm-2pm: Take deposits, cash checks, tell people how great that 0.23% APR is on your new 6 month CD.

2pm-3pm: Reconcile the registers and make sure everything is accounted for.

3pm-3:45pm: Walk home because mother doesn't get out of work until 6.

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Apr 7, 2014
Flake:

I put together what a typical day of a commercial banker is like. This is based on my experience of having a checking and savings account for the past 9 years.

8:00am: Wake up. Quickly brush your teeth and throw on your uniform. Make sure not to forget that name tag.

8:20am: Grab a bowl of fruit loops and watch a Beast Wars or a Digimon episode while your mom is getting ready to drop you off on her way to work.

8:35am-9:30am: Arrive at the office. Tell a line of people standing outside that the branch doesn't open until 9:30am and will conveniently close at 3pm.

9:30am - 11am: Work the drive-through window shift.

11am-12pm: Sort coins.

12pm-12:30pm: Eat that PB&J sandwich that your mom packed. Admire your transformers lunchbox.

12:30pm-2pm: Take deposits, cash checks, tell people how great that 0.23% APR is on your new 6 month CD.

2pm-3pm: Reconcile the registers and make sure everything is accounted for.

3pm-3:45pm: Walk home because mother doesn't get out of work until 6.

HARHAR.... nat

That would be retail bredren

CB actually entails modelling behind a computer

Oct 26, 2017

anyone who threw monkey shit at this deserves to be stoned. this is comedy gold sir

What concert costs 45 cents? 50 Cent feat. Nickelback.

Apr 7, 2014

I just always wanted to do one of those haha.

Apr 7, 2014

Dude, CB is pretty vague. You need to specify. Are you talking about opening accounts in a branch, being a credit analyst, working in business sales/relationship management, etc.

I worked in commercial/corporate banking doing cash management/business development. Other banks call it GTS, some put it in corporate banking, others stratify it depending on the clients, etc.

If you work in a branch, it is basically a sales gig, but you get your sales fed to you vs cold calling. You pretty much move up to run a branch,etc.

If you are a credit analyst you will be working with relationship managers (sales guys) and analyzing and approving loans and credit applications. Revolvers, term loans, etc. Sometimes you might specialize and do ABL's which would mean a lot of M&E appraisals, etc.

I did treasury (or GTS in other banks) which was a combination of sales and relationship management, but with a focused product set. My day would usually be about this:

830 in the office, coffee, bullshit, email

9am - conference call

930 - talk to RM's, find out if any of their relationships had issues with existing services or needed a meeting

10-12 - go onsite, meeting with owners, CFO ish individuals, others who focused on the treasury aspect of the business.

These meetings would basically be going over the existing relationship, finding out what they needed to accomplish, what the issue was, etc.Then you would talk about some options and give a recommendation. Depending on the familiarity with the client it might end there or you might do a proposal because other banks were trying to come in.

Noon - lunch, sometimes alone, sometimes a business lunch with the people you would meet with

1pm - back to the office, emails, follow up on a variety of things

Usually some afternoon meetings, new initiatives, talking to implementation people or product managers to make sure things are rolled out smoothly

Leave around 6pm

Hours - 50ish, sometimes more, sometimes less.

Issues would happen when there was a disconnect and things got set up wrong. This is serious because you are dealing with large sums of money and a lot of moving parts. Especially if you are setting up multiple services and they don't work perfectly together. Our products and what we did was all about maximizing a businesses cash flow (hence the name) so if you fuck up you are really choking a business.

If you like sales, building relationships and really attention to detail, it was a cool gig. If you like being left alone and cranking on excel, credit analyst was more your gig.

There was also international trade in my bank which fell into that commercial/corporate area. That was dealing with international shipping, letters of credit, etc.

Comp, pretty much analyst base across the board, maybe slightly lower. Bonuses were a lot lower, but more dependent on individual performance, revenue generation. You're not going to make millions, but six figures isn't incredibly hard. I think you would top out around 150-200K if you stayed in the game, but you could easily go to treasury at a large company and keep moving up.

Back to your original question. If by CB you mean credit analyst, then yes, you can move to IB if you work hard. You develop a lot of core skills, but you might have to go to a smaller bank to make the jump. if you are in a branch, I would suggest perfecting your sales skills and trying to move into the high net worth area/ private bank. Not IB, but much better comp and lifestyle.

Apr 7, 2014
ANT:

Dude, CB is pretty vague. You need to specify. Are you talking about opening accounts in a branch, being a credit analyst, working in business sales/relationship management, etc.

I worked in commercial/corporate banking doing cash management/business development. Other banks call it GTS, some put it in corporate banking, others stratify it depending on the clients, etc.

If you work in a branch, it is basically a sales gig, but you get your sales fed to you vs cold calling. You pretty much move up to run a branch,etc.

If you are a credit analyst you will be working with relationship managers (sales guys) and analyzing and approving loans and credit applications. Revolvers, term loans, etc. Sometimes you might specialize and do ABL's which would mean a lot of M&E appraisals, etc.

I did treasury (or GTS in other banks) which was a combination of sales and relationship management, but with a focused product set. My day would usually be about this:

830 in the office, coffee, bullshit, email

9am - conference call

930 - talk to RM's, find out if any of their relationships had issues with existing services or needed a meeting

10-12 - go onsite, meeting with owners, CFO ish individuals, others who focused on the treasury aspect of the business.

These meetings would basically be going over the existing relationship, finding out what they needed to accomplish, what the issue was, etc.Then you would talk about some options and give a recommendation. Depending on the familiarity with the client it might end there or you might do a proposal because other banks were trying to come in.

Noon - lunch, sometimes alone, sometimes a business lunch with the people you would meet with

1pm - back to the office, emails, follow up on a variety of things

Usually some afternoon meetings, new initiatives, talking to implementation people or product managers to make sure things are rolled out smoothly

Leave around 6pm

Hours - 50ish, sometimes more, sometimes less.

Issues would happen when there was a disconnect and things got set up wrong. This is serious because you are dealing with large sums of money and a lot of moving parts. Especially if you are setting up multiple services and they don't work perfectly together. Our products and what we did was all about maximizing a businesses cash flow (hence the name) so if you fuck up you are really choking a business.

If you like sales, building relationships and really attention to detail, it was a cool gig. If you like being left alone and cranking on excel, credit analyst was more your gig.

There was also international trade in my bank which fell into that commercial/corporate area. That was dealing with international shipping, letters of credit, etc.

Comp, pretty much analyst base across the board, maybe slightly lower. Bonuses were a lot lower, but more dependent on individual performance, revenue generation. You're not going to make millions, but six figures isn't incredibly hard. I think you would top out around 150-200K if you stayed in the game, but you could easily go to treasury at a large company and keep moving up.

Back to your original question. If by CB you mean credit analyst, then yes, you can move to IB if you work hard. You develop a lot of core skills, but you might have to go to a smaller bank to make the jump. if you are in a branch, I would suggest perfecting your sales skills and trying to move into the high net worth area/ private bank. Not IB, but much better comp and lifestyle.

Thanks for that! Super insightful !

Apr 7, 2014

Retail technically within Commercial banking.

Kind of like how DCM, Lev Fin, ECM, M&A, is all investment banking, but all are pretty different with different job functions and exit ops.

Apr 7, 2014

Whats the big difference(s) between corporate and commercial?

"There are only two opinions in this world: Mine and the wrong one." -Jeremy Clarkson

Apr 7, 2014

^size of debt deals

Apr 7, 2014

ANT, I too have a few questions if you don't mind:

  1. I was wondering if commercial/corporate bankers ever get to handle loan syndications or if that is strictly limited to DCM/LevFin groups?
  2. What did you like/dislike about the job and what made you end up leaving eventually?
  3. Do you get modeling experience and do any number crunching at the senior levels or is it pure sales? I understand you said that credit analysts do the excel work, but how far can a credit analyst possibly go? Eventually, I'd figure, they'd need to get into the RM aspect of the business, correct?

Pretty women make us BUY beer. Ugly women make us DRINK beer.

Apr 7, 2014
Al Bundy:

ANT, I too have a few questions if you don't mind:

  1. I was wondering if commercial/corporate bankers ever get to handle loan syndications or if that is strictly limited to DCM/LevFin groups?
  2. What did you like/dislike about the job and what made you end up leaving eventually?
  3. Do you get modeling experience and do any number crunching at the senior levels or is it pure sales? I understand you said that credit analysts do the excel work, but how far can a credit analyst possibly go? Eventually, I'd figure, they'd need to get into the RM aspect of the business, correct?

I'd like to know as well.

A few other questions too:

How hard is it to break into corporate banking? What are the best banks in this field to work for?

What is the compensation like? Are there any decent bonuses?

Do you have to do cold calling in commercial or corporate?

"There are only two opinions in this world: Mine and the wrong one." -Jeremy Clarkson

Apr 7, 2014

I work in Commecial Banking now as an analayst. ANT nailed it exactly, except we usually come in around 7:30 and leave about 5pm. Definitely depends on the bank culture. Depending on the RM you support, you wil have direct contact with the clients and that's a great way to show your "soft skills". At any given point I'm working on 7+ deals to present to our discount committee twice a week.

It isn't a very technical job. Focus is primarily on cash flow. The other "skill" you learn is essentially the application of the 5 C's of credit.

It is very common to lateral into IB, but it's usually because of your own efforts. CB is much better lifestyle, but the lack of comp is disheartening after a while. At most, the analyst position is worth staying in for 2 years. After that you are exopected to either move up to a Juniour RM. I work iwth a guy who is moving to Chicago to do valuation with a 70% increase in pay compared to what we get now.

Apr 7, 2014

I switched from CB to IB. PM me with questions if you want.

when you're accustomed to privilege, equality feels like oppression

Apr 7, 2014

I know people that went from mid-corp (commercial banking, or basically investment banking at a large bank for smaller clients) to investment banking. You do almost exactly the same shit and a lot of mid-corp analysts go through the IBD training program.

That said, mid-corp is mostly about relationship management and in a lot of cases execution gets farmed out to a product group in the investment bank.So for example a mid-corporate debt deal might get executed by DCM. The economics (fees) will generally be shared between the two divisions.

Apr 7, 2014

For corporate banking, your MDs primarily interact with Treasurers and Assistant Treasurers selling a wide variety of financing, risk management, and various products (From everyday business needs like working capital loans, loan lines, FX, Interest Rate Deriviatives, Cash Management, all the way up to DCM, ECM, M&A). Most of the MDs are former M&A or Capital Markets MDs because they can speak to those core products but a much more laid-back environment.

The best Corporate Banks right now are banks with large footprints because of the transactional nature. This would include HSBC and Citi as they are globally everywhere Companies need a bank to be. DB is a flow monster meaning they have strong FX and transactional banking capabilities. JP Morgan is a rising their Corporate Banking profile, making heavy investments in Asia-Pacific and hiring a good amount of Senior Corporate Bankers. BofA is making investments in Europe. Again, it really comes down to geographic footprint and coverage sales (relationship managers).

Cold calling is rare in Corporate Banking because its all relationship drive where the Treasurer will call the MD to help them in XYZ geography or product. And yes ECM & DCM get looped closely to CB because those are many times considered capital structure/ funding issues that CB guys cover on a regular basis.

CB analysts typically work on the credit side, participating in revolving credit facilities and sydnicated deals. If you have a non-investment grade client, you migth get looped in closely to the leverage finance transaction related to capital structure or LBO. The execution is primarily driven out of the product teams as your focus is to manage relationships. Remember execution is replaceable, relationships are not (so we are told, but doesnt matter for an analyst).

Base is same as IB analyst. Bonus is much lower but hours are much less. Pros and Cons. You wont go to PE or HF from this unless your the exception. IB is an easier transition if you can demonstrate ability. B-School is a great option because you can definitely demonstrate leadership by coordinating with other senior bankers and take initiative on a lot of deals/projects. Works very well compared to the million other M&A analyst telling the same responsbilities over and over again. With that said, CB is generally frowned upon to by the riche novue elite (M&A analysts) so if you can crush it, demostrate leadership and professionalism, and enjoy your weekends, you will be alright.

Apr 7, 2014

Thanks for that post, it was very helpful!

"There are only two opinions in this world: Mine and the wrong one." -Jeremy Clarkson

Apr 7, 2014

I am not sure where you guys are getting your info on salary for commercial banking. It isnt anywhere close to IB base.

Try $40K on in a major California city...

http://www.wallstreetoasis.com/forums/commercial-c...

Apr 7, 2014

Nobama, we are talking about corporate banking here, not commerical. corporate banking is typically fortune 500 clients (GE, JJ, MS, etc). commerical banking is $50M revenue and under (or something like that).

Apr 7, 2014
workerbee:

Nobama, we are talking about corporate banking here, not commerical. corporate banking is typically fortune 500 clients (GE, JJ, MS, etc). commerical banking is $50M revenue and under (or something like that).

At least at my bank, commerical is for clients between $1 million - $2B. Anything over $2B is corporate and anything under $1m is business banking.

Also, comp is MUCH better than $40k. Anywhere between $55k-65k for base. As mentioned, bonus is much less than IB, but you are working a third (or in some cases, half) the hours of an IB analyst.

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Apr 7, 2014

Generally speaking, how selective are the top corporate banks like Citi & HSBC? I go to a non-target and plan on applying to the Duke MMS, UVA McIntire, and maybe Wake Forest and University of Florida's MiM programs.

"There are only two opinions in this world: Mine and the wrong one." -Jeremy Clarkson

Apr 7, 2014

Its more selective in the fact that there are fewer spots in corporate banking roles because its less analyst work intensive - ie pitchbooks and modeling. Most the kids come from similar backgrounds as IB analysts or they are laterals from PWM (sales but want a more 'technical' focus) or other mid-office roles (bring the operational skill-set). Each industry group might have 1 analyst. Definitely dont need a master in finance for this job. Then again, you dont need a MS Finance for most banking jobs.

Apr 7, 2014
workerbee:

Its more selective in the fact that there are fewer spots in corporate banking roles because its less analyst work intensive - ie pitchbooks and modeling. Most the kids come from similar backgrounds as IB analysts or they are laterals from PWM (sales but want a more 'technical' focus) or other mid-office roles (bring the operational skill-set). Each industry group might have 1 analyst. Definitely dont need a master in finance for this job. Then again, you dont need a MS Finance for most banking jobs.

Interesting. I guess I'll just have to network and see how things go for me. I'm just concerned that my undergrad background will sink me.

"There are only two opinions in this world: Mine and the wrong one." -Jeremy Clarkson

Apr 7, 2014

Ooops sorry. Thought I was reading comp for commercial banking.

Apr 7, 2014

I made more than 40k in a tiny city when I was working. That is shit comp for banking, commercial or otherwise.

Apr 7, 2014

I'm currently a credit analyst in middle market lending and I'm making 55K base with a bonus around 10-20% of salary depending upon individual and bank performance. This is working for a small/medium sized bank by the way (3.7 Billion in assets), but it is similar at larger institutions like BOA, which offered me the same terms, but I turned them down because of all the problems they seem to be having over there. At any rate it seems to me that you (nobama) have just had experience with some shitty banks.

Apr 7, 2014

Could you guys elaborate on the career path in CB starting with Credit Analyst position. Do MBAs go there?

Apr 7, 2014

w

Apr 7, 2014

credit analysts are hired out of undergrad.. at BB's it's typically through some development program... starting salary is approx. 60K... from there you progress either towards assuming increased responsibility on the credit/risk side.. but more often than not the banks want to groom the analysts into revenue-generating relationship managers i.e. bankers... as far as salary goes.. i'd estimate approx. 4-5 years to hit 100K base.. of course you can accelerate this by jumping over to another bank.. btw, unless you're swamped, hours are generally 9-5, no weekends.

Apr 7, 2014

I am an AVP Relatonship Manager at a mid size commercial Bank ($2B in Assets).

My base is $100K with quarterly commissions around $5-7K. I have only been at the Bank for 3.5 years (started as a summer intern while doing my MBA at a non-ranked private school in the area).

I am 30yrs old. My co-worker also has an MBA from a non-ranked private school but has been at the Bank for 7 years - he is also 30. His base is $130K and his last quarterly commision check was $12.5K. He will be close to $175K for this year.

Keep in mind we live in a smaller city, work 45-50 hours MAX, and play a lot of golf. We both own homes (mine is a two story 2,600 sq ft home with all the upgrades and finishes).

I started as an intern, then credit analyst, then jr RM and now am progressing to a VP RM.

It may not be $400K but it has provided me a good lifestyle. The pay is depending on how many deals you bring in so if you are just sitting on your ass, you wont get paid as much.

I have been recruited my Wells Fargo Regional Commercial Banking Office (RCBO). The offer for me was $120K base with a $20k sign bonus. My co-workers was $130K base, $50K sign bonus, and a $25K vesting retirement program. Annual bonus for them would be around 25-50% of salary.

PM if you have additional questions. While I would love to transfer to IB, I am starting to think why would I? I have a beautful house, am married and enjoy my lifestlye, and my income puts me at the top of the bracket for the city I live in.

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Apr 7, 2014

Great read! This is very inspiring!

As someone with a non-traditional background trying to break into the industry, it is always nice to hear things like this. I hope your success continues well into the future!

Apr 7, 2014

would you mind putting a link to your LinkedIn profile? This is a legit inspiration.

Apr 7, 2014

Having gone through a similar jump from a non-traditonal background to PE, congrats! There's definitely a sense of satisfaction from achieving success outside of the usual methods.

Apr 7, 2014

Indeed! and thank you for your note. I remember Tim Ferris re-stating a quote by Adlai E. Stevenson that said "All progress has resulted from people who took unpopular positions." I find this very true.

I hope there are others out there who have achieved success from "unpopular" positions.

Cheers

Apr 7, 2014

Indeed! and thank you for your note. I remember Tim Ferris re-stating a quote by Adlai E. Stevenson that said "All progress has resulted from people who took unpopular positions." I find this very true.

I hope there are others out there who have achieved success from "unpopular" positions.

Cheers

Apr 7, 2014

how did you network while being in another country? Or is your current position in the same country the distressed bank was in?

Apr 7, 2014

The foreign group opened an office in the country I was in, but is focusing on generating business around the entire region (not just the country I was in). I used friends and family and utilized my existing network from commercial banking to help the foreign group generate business. What's nice about commercial banking is that it is a good way to build your network. It is underrated, but at the end of the day, it's about how people view you as a person and how you build your network.

Apr 7, 2014
Doobsmeister:

I used friends and family and utilized my existing network from commercial banking to help the foreign group generate business. What's nice about commercial banking is that it is a good way to build your network. It is underrated, but at the end of the day, it's about how people view you as a person and how you build your network.

What can you specifically share about your networking? We all understand that it's about providing value to others, letting them talk about themselves (and being a good listener), and just being a nice guy...but that doesn't seem to cut it most of the time. It seems that you have to have an outside-work shared interested that you can also talk about extensively (NFL, kids, alma mater, art, whatever). Was that the case with you? Or did you only lightly touch on these shared interest topics but mostly spoke about work when you talked to these people and built your network?

How did you convince higher ups to have weekly lunches with you and to tell you so much about their company?

Any help you can provide regarding this would be greatly appreciated!

Apr 7, 2014

Damn, good for you!

Apr 7, 2014

great story!

Apr 7, 2014

Really good read and advice. Good luck with your career!

Apr 7, 2014

thanks for posting your story! adding to the frontpage again today

WSO's COO (Chief Operating Orangutan) | My Linkedin

Apr 7, 2014

Great read! Good inspiration for the few (or many?) of us coming from non-traditional backgrounds as well.

I'm coming from a non-target undergrad in economics working as a financial analyst for city-level government for the past year and a half. Not the greatest position to be in for IB, but I'm currently involved in local politics as well as a volunteer in order to network and also hopefully make me a better candidate for one of the better grad school programs. I've considered the CFA as well.

Also have an interview coming up for a client-facing portfolio associate position coming up with a PWM firm. I'm hoping a position like that will help with the entire process of getting into I-banking.

Apr 7, 2014

Could you tell us more about how you landed the opportunity to help turn around the distressed bank, and what continent/region that bank was in? Thanks, great read!

Apr 7, 2014

well done. great story and best of luck going forward

Apr 7, 2014

Great read. Thanks for sharing.

Apr 7, 2014

I would use the search function little more. There is a lot of great material that cover this subject on this site.Good luck

Apr 7, 2014

curious as well

Apr 7, 2014

Do you interact much with IB on stuff like term loans? If so impress them through your work and build a relationship to where you can bring the subject of switching to IB up down the road. I'd also network with alum at other BBs/MMs. Most banks will allow people who graduated a year ago to enter the graduate analyst class if someone currently in IB vouches for you. Worst case scenario stick it out for 3-5 years and get a top MBA.

Edit: can you provide more info on your role? At some banks commercial banking = smaller cap companies. Your chances are immensely higher if you work on middle market and large cap loans since that typically involves heavy collaboration with IB.

Apr 7, 2014

I have worked on many deals involving term loans and revolvers requiring syndicated facilities, but have not had the opportunity to meet anyone from the IB group.

My group is middle market which covers companies with revenue from $50MM to $2bn (although some companies are well over this)

We have certain goals we have to met with debt Capital Markets Group and IB group. However, I find it difficult to reach out to these people who are usually much more senior to me.

Any suggestions on how to approach them about opportunities in their field without sounding like an idiot?

Additionally, I have only been working for 6 months, so I definitely don't want to someone thinking I don't appreciate the work I'm doing or that I don't enjoy the analysis; I honestly just want to be challenged more.

Apr 7, 2014

I know a couple people that have done a year or two in commercial banking and then made the switch. However, I believe they had to start as 1st year analysts. They were in industry-specific lending groups and (obviously) joined industry coverage groups. Also, not sure what your situation is, but being able to work on non-investment grade syndicated loans is probably the best experience you can get within the realm of lending.

Apr 7, 2014

My man, I would consider moving up the totem pole in commercial banking. I have plenty of friends working in CB at BB banks and their salaries are on par with mine (excluding the bonus). They may not get the bonus, but they actually enjoy life. As you move up, you'll work maybe a little bit more, your salary will increase, and the bonuses become more apparent. It really is not a bad career at all, and if you are worried about prestige, to the average person there is no difference between commercial bankers and investment bankers. They're both rich and evil. Food for thought.

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Apr 7, 2014
jackrubin:

My man, I would consider moving up the totem pole in commercial banking. I have plenty of friends working in CB at BB banks and their salaries are on par with mine (excluding the bonus). They may not get the bonus, but they actually enjoy life. As you move up, you'll work maybe a little bit more, your salary will increase, and the bonuses become more apparent. It really is not a bad career at all, and if you are worried about prestige, to the average person there is no difference between commercial bankers and investment bankers. They're both rich and evil. Food for thought.

lol. That would be nice if the bonus wasn't 2-3x your salary.

Apr 7, 2014

Really enjoyed the comments. I am also working in the corporate banking space for two years now. However, I feel that I can challenge myself more, with working on more in-depth deals, instead of handling certain cursory CB transactions. Maybe IB provides you more specific and in-depth experience, instead of cursory knowledge of certain sectors. Please do add and advise ? Thanks. I am looking for a switch from CB to IB.

Apr 7, 2014

Credit Risk

Apr 7, 2014

Pick credit risk. I know some people who were able to move to IB from credit risk background.

Apr 7, 2014

Credit risk

Apr 7, 2014

I went from credit risk to buy side credit research. I know you said IB, but i just wanted to give you another data point of possible options out of credit risk.

Apr 7, 2014

Credit risk.

Apr 7, 2014

Credit risk.

Apr 7, 2014

Decline the offer. It's not remotely close to IB. Know a guy who did it his first year at a BB commercial the bonus was $3k. But hey it's still more than the poor saps at DB are going to see this year.

Since nearly any bank that's any bank has completed SA recruiting, I recommend you throw your app our to some small boutiques. It will be 1000x times better than having a BB commercial on your resume, even if all you do is browse Dealbreaker all day.

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Apr 7, 2014

I actually came in to post a similar topic. I didn't get an IB offer after graduation and ended up working as a Project Analyst for a pipeline company for a couple of years. I'm now an Account Manager (half relationship manager, half analyst role) for a very large Commercial Bank.

Is it still possible to get into IB now and is it even worth it? I've seen someone go Commercial to Corporate Banking as an associate before. I imagine IB you'd be forced to start as an analyst. Unless IB is the dream, why not try to target corporate banking as an associate or is that not typical? I would like to get into M&A myself but I just turned 27 and feel I might have missed the boat with IB and maybe I should be targeting something else.

Apr 7, 2014

Would love some more input. Any other opinions?

Apr 7, 2014

I made a transition from BB commercial banking internship to IB internship this coming summer (HL/Jeff/Moelis size bank) and knew analysts from my group who made similar transitions. Many BB banks facilitate internal mobility at the end of the summer between groups, but obviously you need to earn the offer, make your group love you, and network. The key would be making the jump between CB internship and IB full-time, as the longer that you wait the more difficult it will become.

Apr 7, 2014

I would not decline the CB offer unless you're absolutely certain that you'll be able to get an IB internship during spring recruiting. A lot of people on here will say "if you do this first, there is absolutely no way you'll get into IB" and they're wrong. Take it from someone who's had multiple ib interviews without any substantial IB experience - or even finance experience - it's possible. It's better to be safe than sorry, I'd take the CB offer, network A LOT in whatever city you're in (hopefully NY) and keep those connections active as you search for full-time roles.

"The only thing history teaches us, a wise man once said, is that history doesn't teach us anything."

Apr 7, 2014

The order depends on the quality of the commercial banking, ER, and corp fin. firms. For example, you should take a commercial banking gig at a BB over ER at some boutique shop. Commercial banking gets a bad rap on this site, but for 2-3 years out of college, it's a good experience. MDs in PE have told me if I couldn't get investment banking offers, that they'd consider me out of a top commercial banking program, because at the junior level you're still doing a lot of modeling, analysis, and learning about capital structures. Just don't stay in commercial banking for too long, and try to lateral to something more relevant after 2-3 years.

Boutique i-banking should be your #1 priority. The other 3 (corp fin, ER, and CB) depends on the comparative quality of the firms.

Edited to say I wrote all of that assuming PE or IBD is your long-term goal. The answer would change if ER is a long-term consideration for you.

Apr 7, 2014

Boutique Ibank
Corpfin
Commercial Banking

comm banking is not poor man's ibanking, it's totally different..... corp fin is much more related.

check out special boutiques like Piper Jaffray for positions

=========================================
We are excited to formally extend to you an offer to join Bank of Ameria

Apr 7, 2014

.

Apr 7, 2014

bump

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Apr 7, 2014

25-45%

Depends on your resume/education/experience

How Hard you network

How much the HR ppl like you

But more importantly and I can't stress importantly to moving laterally - is your managers willingness to help you get there/write a solid rec

If you end up in a shitty commercial group your fucked

Apr 7, 2014

Bump am attempting to do this at a top BB commercial bank an idea how to go about? Should I email md's within the system since I'm already in the company or talk to my hr lady? Any advice would be great. Commercial banking is good but we don't really develope any true skills to move elsewhere besides cash flow analysis.

Thanks for any response

Apr 7, 2014

This is off topic and not directed at you, but for some reason it reaply pisses me off when 19 year olds talk about "exit ops" or "lateral moves" from internships.

Apr 7, 2014

Just like moving from many other positions (big 4, corp fin, etc). It can be done, but I would say it is relatively hard b/c commercial banking generally is EXTREMELY relaxed, strict 9-5, etc. While both "banking" they are worlds apart

Apr 7, 2014

maybe you could first try to make the jump to corporate banking...

Apr 7, 2014

bump

Big Four Graduate Analyst- Global Transfer Pricing (Tax Services)- from July 2009

Apr 7, 2014

bump

Apr 7, 2014

Yeah, a guy I know worked in commercial banking for several years but is now working at Deutsche Bank, so definitely possible.

Apr 7, 2014

I know a number of people who started in commerical banking and are now at MM IBs in Chicago and New York. Like everything in business, it's all about framing your story and networking.

Apr 7, 2014

What do you, personally, want out of IB that you can't get out of CB?

Apr 7, 2014

I can't read ignore me

Apr 7, 2014

Frankly it might be a cliche answer but I don't want to just walk out the door everyday at 6pm. The work in cb is a bit mundane In my opinion. I want to challenge myself while I'm young and have stamina and can stay awake past 9:12pm. Plus I want to learn tangible, transferable skills. Add in all the other goodies also i.e exit opps, money, fame, power...kidding about the last 2.5

Apr 7, 2014

I'm interested to know this too.

Apr 7, 2014

I would say networking is key

Do what you want not what you can!

Apr 7, 2014

commercial banking is a big world. What sort of companies would you cover? If the answer is regional, you're probably fucked.

Also, by risk management, I assume you mean credit risk? If you are covering some larger MM firms and a few corporates, you have a decent shot. It all depends on how much you learn and can eloquently put into words during your networking.

Either way, networking is always the answer.

Apr 7, 2014

When you say boutiques, do you mean community banks? And by mm's do you mean regional banks? Because we don't really use the former terms in CB.

Apr 7, 2014

Yeah

Apr 7, 2014

I don't think qualifications are as competitive as IB, so you should be good with what you have now. As for path to MBA/IB in the future, you should continue to work on your GPA and aim for local/regional IB shops and well regarded MBA programs in the area.

Apr 7, 2014

Thanks for your input

Apr 7, 2014

Have a pulse.

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Apr 7, 2014

I'd say the difficulty level of breaking in is similar to Big 4 Advisory or F500 corporate finance. The smaller the bank, the less competitive and vice versa.

If you're an undergrad, you'll start out as a credit analyst. The most important thing to look for here is a credit training program. Most larger banks and some smaller ones will send you through formal credit training. This will help when trying to transfer to another industry. However, just know that CB isn't exactly a stepping stone to IB.

Apr 7, 2014

Commercial banking isn't as difficult to break into, but it is probably on par with corporate finance positions.

I've never worked in CB, but all of the CB guys I know are outgoing. So, aside from learning to understand the credit model and assessment at your firm, you should be willing to network, wine and dine, and be heavily involved in BD.

Apr 7, 2014

is this for undergrad or MBA?

Disclaimer: The post above has been made by someone who is not currently employed in IBD...follow the advice at your own risk

Apr 7, 2014

are you kidding? do you think banks hire analysts straight out of high school nowadays?

Apr 7, 2014

who knows, I don't really have a clue about commerical banking...but there are plenty of jobs in commercial banks that don't require a college degree

Disclaimer: The post above has been made by someone who is not currently employed in IBD...follow the advice at your own risk

Apr 7, 2014

I would agree that there are positions within the commercial bank which do not require a degree. However, I am not in one of them. I am in a capital markets division which talks strategically with middle market companies. Some are involved in M&A, others LBOs, etc. There is no doubt it's not as intense as an I-bank, however, it does require a degree.

So, I guess my question is better structured as follows (please negate my current position): Are I-banking positions a possibility (post-MBA) without a traditional I-banking background? If so, are any of the following b-schools capable of providing such opportunities? Thanks again.

UNC
Virginia
Texas
Boston College
Rochester
Indiana

Apr 7, 2014

the answer is yes, majority of people in <abbr title="Masters in Business Administration

">MBA don't come from banking

Disclaimer: The post above has been made by someone who is not currently employed in IBD...follow the advice at your own risk

Apr 7, 2014

personally I would send applications to all of the top schools...just in case you might get in

Disclaimer: The post above has been made by someone who is not currently employed in IBD...follow the advice at your own risk

Apr 7, 2014

Any of those schools would provide the opportunity... however I would apply to more of the top schools to improve your chances. One of my good friends at Kellogg just scored an I-banking gig at BofA after coming in having worked on the commercial side at BofA.

Apr 7, 2014

Great school. I've heard it described as a "mini-HBS" (no doubt HBS folks will take offense to this and start kicking and screaming). You'll have a great shot at banking coming from Darden, though.

Apr 7, 2014

I think UVa would be the best.

"We are lawyers! We sue people! Occasionally, we get aggressive and garnish wages, but WE DO NOT ABDUCT!" -Boston Legal-

Apr 7, 2014

At BB firms I would say it's harder to get an IB job if you don't have IB background. Might want to try MM or boutique.

Apr 7, 2014

I second what Positive said.
I came from the commercial side of Bank of America and I'm currently working towards my MBA at UC Irvine. Many people have said that I have a good chance at getting in a boutique I-banking firm, but, for the BB firms, students at top teir schools have much better chances.

Apr 7, 2014

UNC and Virgina place a decent number of associates
BB is possible from Texas and Rochester
Probably not Indiana
BC no way

after going through B-school, I would encourage you to apply to a bunch of the top programs...the process is incredibly arbitrary, so it's worth using the shotgun strategy (sometimes I wish I had)

Apr 7, 2014