Banking and Investment

Includes investment banking, retail banking, asset management or investment management, and trading.

What’s banking and investment like? 

There are several types of banking and investment companies, as outlined below. There is some overlap – for example, many retail banks also have investment banking arms. 

Investment Banking 

These banks are the most easily recognisable in the graduate market, often with multiple global offices and specialising in areas such as mergers & acquisitions (M&A), sales & trading, asset management and risk. They provide specialist financial services and advice to a wide range of clients, including governments, corporate entities and charitable institutions.

Retail Banking 

The high street banks – eg: Barclays, Lloyds, HSBC, Santander – offer retail banking and also operate in areas such as business and corporate banking, and wealth and investment management. 

Asset Management & Private Equity

Asset managers (also known as wealth managers or investment managers) buy and sell shares, bonds and other assets to increase the value of their clients’ portfolios. Clients range from large institutional investors such as pension funds to high-net-worth individuals. You could work in sovereign wealth funds, independent companies, boutiques or within a sub-division of a bank.

Private equity firms invest in companies (often those which are under-performing) to help them meet their growth potential, then sell their stake for a profit at a later date. Some larger private equity firms also have large real estate practices, investing in office, retail, hotel, industrial and residential properties across the globe. 

Trading Firms 

These independent firms do similar work to sales & trading teams within the larger banks, often with a focus on using technology to design trading strategies, build statistical models or create trading algorithms. As this work often requires high levels of numeracy and strong IT skills, firms typically recruit undergraduates and postgraduates from quantitative disciplines such as Maths, Statistics, Computing, Physics, Engineering etc. 


You can find out more about particular roles in this industry by visiting the following job profiles:

Retail banker

Financial adviser

Corporate investment banker

Corporate treasurer

Financial manager

Operational investment banker

Financial trader

Investment analyst 

How can I get work experience? 

Work experience will help develop your skillset and commercial awareness as well as building a network of colleagues and contacts.

Spring Weeks: some banks organise these week-long programmes for first year students (or those in the second year of a 4 year course) to provide an insight into roles within banking. They generally take place at Easter.  You can find these advertised on MyCareerHub.

Internships: many banking and investment firms offer summer internship programmes. As they use these as a way to source graduate hires they often only recruit penultimate year students or those who are continuing in education following the summer internship. Some banks do offer “off-cycle” internships to finalists and graduates after they have completed their degree, but this is usually dependent upon business needs.

Work shadowing: observing a professional at work gives you chance to observe their day-to-day activities and find out first-hand what the job involves.

Speculative applications and networking are key approaches to finding work experience. Read our advice on how to do this:

Creating your own opportunity  


Skills development 

Different skills will be required for the different roles within the sector. For example, a salesperson with an investment bank will need an in-depth knowledge of the markets, and someone working in compliance will need an interest in financial regulations and relevant legal principles.

Whatever role you’re applying for, employers are looking for applicants who can demonstrate commercial awareness and receptivity to new ideas. Check out our advice on how to develop commercial awareness: 

Build your commercial awareness

 Extracurricular activities and part-time jobs can showcase problem-solving skills e.g.  overcoming unforeseen difficulties whilst planning an event or resolving a customer complaint. 

Taking part in sport and university societies provides opportunities to develop team work and communication skills: 

You may develop relevant technical skills in your coursework or internship. 

Visit the Events section of MyCareerHub for details of relevant events. 

Get your organisational and time management skills recognised by taking part in the Edinburgh Award: 

Edinburgh Award      

Postgraduate study 

A postgraduate qualification is usually not essential, and may not give you a significant advantage. 


The exceptions to this are students with quantitative backgrounds. These are actively sought after for quantitative analytical roles in firms (particularly students with advanced degrees in statistics, mathematics, physics, engineering etc). If you do decide to pursue further study, there are lots of courses to choose from.  



 Many of the big financial institutions offer graduate schemes. Most will advertise on MyCareerHub but it is still worth checking individual company websites for opportunities. You can also use the expired opportunities feature in MyCareerHub to see when companies have previously advertised.


You will also find banking and investment jobs advertised on many other websites, for example: 




LinkedIn is a great way to access ‘the hidden jobs market’ – the vast number of job openings that are not formally advertised. Use LinkedIn to network and explore the career paths of people doing the type of job you want to do: 

Become professional