(Original post by girlbanker)
I think this is a very mature question.
I have been in investment banking for 7-years and have recently published a book about getting into it. Why did I go into it? Well, if you go to read Economics at the University of Cambridge over 90% go into banking
(the rest go into academia, management consultancy and Government) so peer influence is definitely part of the reason. I had never even heard of i-banking until my second year of Uni when I walked into the first lecture of that year and found everyone reading an FT.
In my book, To Become an Investment Banker, I give the following reasons that people go into IB:
1. A real interest in seeing economic principles at play. If you work in the capital markets of an investment bank you see the impact of news feeding into stats immediately. It can be very exciting.
2. A desire to learn more about business and finance. I have always wanted to start my own business. When I saw the type of stuff one learns in Corporate Finance, I thought it would help to make me a better person.
3. Experience in working with people of different cultures. I really LOVE meeting people of different cultures. I am from Malawi in Africa which is very much a monoculture. With 7-years as an i-banker,
I now have friends and acquaintances from India, Italy, France, Senegal, China, Kenya, Australia, Côte d'Ivoire, Norway, Sweden, Belgium, Lebanon, Nigeria, Ghana, Pakistan, Iran, Morocco, Greece, Cyprus, Malaysia, the UK (obviously) and, of course, the US of A.
4. Meritocracy. In banking I always felt my brains mattered more than my skin colour, I am black.
5. Influence and social responsibility. Some of us have grand hopes and desires for the world. The most direct way to contribute is with money. You can follow in the footsteps of Warren Buffet and Bill Gates who have earned large fortunes and have chosen to donate much of that to good causes. Your contribution can extend beyond donating money. You can use the financial skills that you develop to devise a lasting solution to poverty.
6. Getting that start-up capital. Some people are fortunate enough to find backers for their world-changing idea from the get go. Many others have to start off by themselves before they’re recognized enough to get any capital. A lot of people go into banking just for that reason, to save enough to start their own business.
I chat a lot more about the above in my book but I think this answers your question reasonably well. Feel free to ask me more.
Heather Katsonga-Woodward (a.k.a. Girl Banker)