Exploring The Top Banking Careers For Recent Grads

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Before you hatch a career in your chosen industry, it’s a good idea to research some of the entry-level roles out there.

Having a sense of the range of roles available in banking will help you plan your career path, while also indicating some of the key skills you may want to develop as you prepare to start your professional life.

Want more banking career insight?

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Here are just a few of the most popular entry-level positions for recent graduates looking to kick-start their careers in banking.

Retail banking

Customer Service Representative

In retail banking, the Customer Service Representative, often referred to as a Bank Teller, is a bank employee who deals directly with clients looking to process and complete routine transactions.

Typical duties include deposits and withdrawals, payments, balancing cash and ledger amounts, processing customer account amendments, resolving customer issues and more. Connecting bank clients with appropriate upper-level staff is also a key responsibility.

Required qualifications for Bank Tellers often vary from bank to bank, but typically the role requires a high school diploma, with some post-secondary experience preferred.

Banks will also require demonstrable numerical literacy, and welcome previous customer service experience.

Personal Consultant

Also known as a Financial Advisor, Personal Consultants offers advice to banking client on how to invest and save their money.

While Personal Consultants do work outside of banks, banks typically have on-staff advisors, primarily due to their expertise in market-related investments. While some Personal Consultants specialize, most are generally informed in financial areas including mutual funds, bonds and stocks.

Banks require university education in order to pursue a career as a Personal Consultant. Additionally, Financial Advisors will require licensing in order to sell insurance, mutual funds or securities.

There are also three distinct licenses to sell securities in Canada. The Canadian Securities Course allows the sale of most securities: stocks, bonds, and mutual funds. Additional licensing is also required to sell derivatives and commodities. The final possible license is the Exempt Securities License which allow sales for tangible assets such as metals and artwork, or financial assets such as private equity and venture capital.

Bank Manager

The Bank Manager oversees management and operation of a bank branch.

To this end, the Bank Manager is responsible for maintaining overall service standards, staffing and training, as well as ensuring any necessary performance goals are met.

A Bank Manager is usually also responsible for marketing and promoting a branch’s products and services as part of an overall team, as well as ensuring a reliable chain of command between the branch staff and relevant executives and upper-level management.

Qualifications for a position as a Bank Manager are high. Banks will hire Bank Managers with relevant university experience, intimate familiarity with bank operations (this typically means previous banking work experience – preferably at the same bank and branch) and demonstrable leadership experience.

Investment banking

While retail banking jobs generally involve working in bank branches, investment banking positions are typically more varied, and can range from working at a bank’s head office, to a position at a global finance firm. Careers in investment banking can be highly competitive and call for significant education and experience – but are as rewarding as they are demanding.

Investment Banking Analyst

Investment Banking Analyst positions are typically the entry point for university graduates interested in investment banking.

Analysts usually work on the private business end and are divided either by industry or product group. Product groups do the same thing for different industries, while an industry group does different things for a specific industry. Analysts in this capacity are best understood as working cogs and support staff for senior management where management articulates direction, and analysts process and produce the necessary work.

As an Investment Banking Analyst, you’ll conduct industry research, perform analyses, build financial models and prepare presentation materials.

Aspiring Investment Banking Analysts can expect to have completed educational training in a relevant degree or concentration (B.Comm, BA in Economics). Top firms may also require completion of business graduate studies, typically an MBA, and will play close attention to academic success.

Investment Banking Associate

The Investment Banking Associate is a more senior position at a bank or firm. Associates in this role directly manage key areas of client transactions, as well as completing a variety of tasks like an Investment Banking Analyst. Associates can expect to work in a specific product group and servicing different industries, or work in an industry group working with different financial products.

Qualifications for a position as an Investment Banking Associate are similar to that of an Analyst, but will almost certainly require previous investment banking work experience as well. Associates are expected to have a university degree related to business and high academic excellence. Associate positions can be considered entry-level positions for MBA graduates, but firms typically prefer previous work experience as an Analyst.

For more resources on the banking industry, check out our Banking Career Guide!

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