Organised by the LGBT Interbank Forum, Inside & Out is specifically designed to help lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender undergraduates learn more about careers in the investment banking industry. On this site, you’ll learn more about the huge range of opportunities on offer in our rapidly-changing industry. You can also find out what the banks are doing to attract more LGBT applicants and hear from some LGBT professionals already working in the field.
We hope this site gives you an insight into what it’s really like to work in the City – and answers any questions you might have about one of the most demanding and rewarding careers around. Use the menu bars to discover more and to meet the banks involved in Inside & Out.
Put simply, investment banks provide a range of financial services to companies, governments and wealthy individuals. One of our main roles is to help clients raise capital by issuing and selling securities in the capital markets. We also provide expert advice on mergers and acquisitions, as well as helping clients manage their financial risks.
Investment banking is a dynamic, fast-moving and unpredictable environment where new products, new deals, new risks and new opportunities emerge with astonishing speed. To succeed, you’ll need to be ambitious, intelligent and adaptable. It’s also essential that you have a strong academic record as well as excellent numeric, verbal reasoning and analytical skills.
Investment banks offer challenging and rewarding opportunities in a wide range of business areas. Here’s a brief overview of the main areas you could work in:
Teams in this division work with corporate and government clients seeking to raise capital in the markets. We also help clients manage their exposure to risk.
Operating in a fast-paced and challenging environment, our trading teams buy and sell a wide variety of financial instruments such as stocks, bonds and derivatives. As well as actually executing deals, traders manage our clients’ risk and help them to develop long-term trading strategies.
Providing a link between clients, traders and researchers, our salespeople ensure each client is kept abreast of all the latest investment and trading opportunities. It’s a role for skilled relationship managers who are able to explain complex financial products simply.
If you thrive on intellectually challenging work, a career in research could be for you. Our research teams provide the insight and intelligence that allows the banks to operate effectively in complex financial markets.
To maintain their competitive advantage, it’s vital that the banks have access to the best technology available. Our IT teams make sure they have it, developing and managing cutting-edge trading, analytical, operations and reporting systems.
The Operations department plays a key role in the smooth running of the bank. Their main responsibility is to make sure that all trades are processed accurately and efficiently.
Many people assume that investment banking is predominantly white, male, middle class and heterosexual. That may have been true in the past, but it’s far from the case today. In fact, because the investment banking industry is an intensely performance-focused environment, people are judged very much on what they do, rather than where they come from or who they are. This makes for a surprisingly diverse workforce – not just in terms of sexuality, but also in terms of gender, race and background.
Another common myth is that investment banking is a cut-throat, ruthless industry where individuals can expect very little support. Again, this preconception is based on misinformation rather than reality. The most important asset for an investment bank is the talent they have on the team, so recognising diversity and fostering an inclusive culture is a business-critical issue for all banks.
What sort of professional and social LGBT networks exist within the banks and what service do they provide?
All of the banks profiled on this site have LGBT employee networks, and recognise the value they add to a diverse workforce. In general, such networks can provide development and mentoring opportunities, as well as organising great social events and activities. They offer a chance to mix with fellow employees from all levels, allowing you to build connections right across the business. They also serve as the voice of the LGBT population and can help drive change and shape policy.
Do I need a finance-related degree?
Although knowledge of finance is not essential for many careers within investment banking, you will need to demonstrate a genuine interest in, and motivation for, the area that you are applying for. Most banks run intensive formal training schemes tailored to the needs of each business area, which ensure every graduate joiner has the required skills to be successful in their roles.
Banks typically look for people who combine a mix of skills and aptitudes, and who can contribute to an atmosphere of teamwork and respect. You will need an excellent record of personal accomplishment, along with impressive academic credentials. Most programmes will require you to have a 2:1 or above in any academic discipline.
Do I need to have been to Oxbridge?
There is no preference shown to graduates from specific universities – banks market to universities across the UK and internationally.
How has the economic downturn affected graduate opportunities?
All participating banks in Inside and Out continue to run graduate programmes, and many are hiring more interns and graduates in 2011 than they did in 2010.
How will the industry evolve in terms of career prospects?
The investment banking industry is constantly evolving because our clients are constantly evolving. With that change, comes enormous opportunity for both personal and professional development and mobility. Opportunities won’t necessarily come to you – it’s up to you to seek them out. The global nature of investment banking will offer those opportunities.
Should I mention my sexuality in the application process?
That is entirely up to you. Some people are more comfortable being ‘out’ than others – it’s a decision only you can make. You can mention your sexuality on the application form, during interviews or after an offer has been made, or you may decide that you’re not prepared to discuss your personal life at work. The choice is yours.
What’s the most common reason for an unsuccessful application?
Most unsuccessful applications for a place on a graduate scheme are due to a candidate’s inability to demonstrate commercial awareness, knowledge of, and motivation for, the investment banking industry; through their studies, work experiences or interests. Some banks also require specific language requirements to suit their business needs.
Before I joined my bank, I felt the need to be quiet about my sexuality at work. But here, I feel comfortable being myself. The atmosphere here is tangibly more inclusive. For instance, now when I walk into our communal kitchen, I can’t miss posters advertising Pride Month event.”
As an openly gay Managing Director I’m a living example of my firm’s commitment to diversity, where everyone is valued and difference appreciated. We celebrate the diversity of our workplace and support our employees through networks such as GLEAMS (our LGBT employee group).”
My organisation actively encourages employees to be open about diversity. Senior managers are held accountable for promoting an inclusive working environment and the firm is proud of its open culture.Our networking groups provide an excellent forum for employees to interact and debate ideas.”
The Inside & Out event is an initiative of the Interbank LGBT Forum, an industry-wide group that focuses on promoting career opportunities in investment banking. Click below for more information on any of the participating banks:
What do we do
Financial management and advisory services.
We hire penultimate year students for summer internships and final year students for entry-level roles in several areas: Global Markets, Corporate & Investment Banking, Capital Markets, Global Wealth & Investment Management, Research, Treasury Management, Corporate & Financial Institutions Debt Products, Operations & Middle Office, Risk Management, Technology, Human Resources & Card Services. Students who join our organisation gain a breadth of knowledge and experience and are positioned for great growth opportunities.
Graduates who join the organisation gain a breadth of knowledge and experience and are positioned for great growth opportunities. They will work alongside professionals who are leaders in the industry and have skilled mentors who are committed to developing talent. In addition, they will be offered unlimited opportunities to develop their abilities and grow professionally through a variety of structured training courses.
approx. 280,000 globally
Full-time Analyst application deadline
12 November 2010
Summer Analyst application deadline
17 December 2010
Bank of America Merrill Lynch is part of Bank of America, one of the world's largest financial institutions serving individuals, small and middle market businesses and large corporations with a range of banking, investing, asset management and other financial and risk-management products and services. The company has relationships with 99 percent of the U.S. Fortune 500 and nearly 96 percent of the Fortune Global 500; it prides itself on offering an array of world-class products and world-class service to clients.
Employee Professional Networks are a key component of our culture, providing development, networking and volunteer opportunities. They are integral to shaping and forming new business development and recruiting relationships. These networks include employees at all levels, from all parts of the company.
The sort of people we’re looking for are ambitious, confident and highly motivated – natural team players with a desire for a future in financial services. Whatever your academic background, you’ll have an inquiring mind and the ability to communicate complex messages in a clear, simple way. Relevant work experience and foreign languages would be advantageous.
To register for a space at this event, please send a recent CV and briefly explain why you would like to attend the event, to firstname.lastname@example.org