Skip to content
A day in the life of an investment banker

22 July 2021

A Day in the Life of an Investment Banker: Life on the Trading Floor

Contents

 

If you’re looking for a high-powered career, investment banking may be for you.

The hours are long, but there are plenty of corporate perks and advantages that, for the right kind of person, more than make up for it. A fast-paced, dynamic environment and the opportunity to travel are just a couple, as well as the obvious financial incentives. 

For these reasons and more, competition can be fierce, so it’s worth considering early whether it’s definitely the right career path for you.

To help you get a better understanding of the industry, we spoke to Erika Terrones Shibuya, an associate on the Asia Equities sales desk at Goldman Sachs.

Erika started her career in 2016 at Credit Suisse, as a summer analyst in the Equities Sales and Trading program in Hong Kong. She went on to work full-time in the Singapore office on the Asia equities sales desk, before relocating to London in 2018 and joining Goldman Sachs in 2021. 

Want to know more about life on the trading floor? You’ve come to the right place.

Interested in gaining a unique, 360-degree experience of investment banking? Erika is just one of the amazing speakers on our Investment Banker Programmes. Each is jam-packed with immersive career simulations, exclusive site visits and personalised career coaching, all designed to give you a more hands-on experience of the industry.

This interview has been lightly edited for length and clarity.

What does a typical day in your working life look like?

I work in the Goldman Sachs office in London.

My day starts rather early as we have meetings and calls to do before the market opens in Europe. 

I will come into the office before 7am to have group calls with our colleagues from our Asia offices (Sydney, Hong Kong, Seoul, Singapore, etc.) on how markets have traded overnight. 

The most important meeting we have every day is when we speak to our research analysts to discuss key takeaways [from their reports], so we can then relay them to our clients. 

After that, my day can vary significantly. 

I am on the phone a lot pitching stock ideas or IPOs to investors. If we have a conference happening, I will be joining the panels and meetings with investors. Other times, I may be hosting meetings for investors to meet with the management of listed companies. Sometimes, I travel to other countries in Europe to meet with investors.

It really depends!
 

What first inspired you to consider investment banking as a career?

I actually didn’t have any intention to do investment banking when I started university. I wanted to go into development policy and international relations. 
I was first inspired to consider finance when I did an internship in regulatory compliance at Deutsche Bank. 

I enjoyed it a lot as I was able to gain real-life policy experience. But during the internship, I became curious about how investment banks work on a day-to-day basis, especially the revenue-generating side of things. 

So the following summer I applied for the Equities Sales & Trading internship at Credit Suisse, as I was looking for an environment that was fast-paced and dynamic, and a programme which would allow me to rotate between teams.

Go outside of your comfort zone. Investment banks are especially keen to hire young graduates who are passionate and, most importantly, interesting.

What’s the best thing about your job?

That I get the opportunity to speak to lots of different people every day: people within the bank but also investors and the senior management at various companies.

It’s always exciting when you are at the early stage of an IPO. As an equities sales person, I have the opportunity to hear directly from the senior management (CEOs, CFOs etc.) of these companies before they list.

What’s the hardest thing?

I would say the hardest thing is having to have your own independent views, rather than just agreeing with someone else. 

In a world where well-thought-out opinions are readily available, regardless of the stage you’re at in your career, being able to provide new insights when you’re advising clients can sometimes be challenging. 

But it is a good challenge to push yourself beyond your usual way of thinking. 

What has been your biggest achievement since starting your career in investment banking?

I think it’s that I have managed to forge an international career from an early stage. 

I started at Credit Suisse as an intern in the Hong Kong office and subsequently worked full-time in Singapore. Then I moved to London in 2018. 

That’s already 3 cities! I aim to continue to broaden my horizons this way.

What are the perks/incentives, financial and otherwise, for a graduate looking to become an investment banker?

I think investment banking opens up many opportunities, both within the industry and outside it, too. 

There are many products, teams and divisions you can join. This means you’re never stuck in one role for too long and can easily explore different routes. 
It is also not uncommon for people to jump directly into other, related fields like management consulting, fintech (financial technology) and asset management.

I think investment banking opens up many opportunities, within the industry and outside too.

https://cdn

Are there different pathways or specialisms aspiring investment bankers can choose, and if so, what are they?

Investment banking tends to be specialised, so there are many dedicated teams with their own areas of expertise. 

Within the markets division of each investment bank these teams are differentiated in many ways: by client types (long-only investors vs hedge funds), geography (Asia, US, Europe, etc.) and product (cash equitiesderivativesfixed income, etc.).

How did you find your first 12 months in the field?

I am still in the same role as I was after I graduated, just in a different office at a different investment bank. 

My first 12 months on the job involved ramping up my knowledge of various sectors and the listed companies within them. 

I had to quickly learn what these companies do, how our research analyst views them and what investors think of them. Once I established these things I was able to gradually form my own opinions, which is crucial to the role.

What are your hobbies and interests outside of work?

I like to stay active by doing yoga, spin, weight training and hiking around London. I am an avid foodie as well.

Do you have any advice for young people thinking about pursuing a career in investment banking? 

Go outside of your comfort zone. 

Investment banks are especially keen to hire young graduates who are passionate and, most importantly, interesting. 

Pursuing the same hobbies and extracurriculars as a ‘typical’ candidate won’t help to set you apart from others. If there is a class you’ve always wanted to take or a sport you thought would be cool to try - do it! 

Additionally, aim to get an internship or work placement where you can experience how financial institutions operate. You’ll be able to work in various divisions and see for yourself which would be best for you. It’s not just potential employers who are trying to see if you are a good fit for them, it is also an opportunity for you to figure out if you want to pursue a career in investment banking and if so, which team you want to aim for.* 

*An InvestIN programme is a great place to experience an industry, job or specialism before you commit to it. Every programme combines immersive simulations, site visits and interactive activities to give you a unique insight into the inner workings of the profession, helping you decide if it’s the right path for you. 

Contents