Company of the Week: SEB – Investment Banking Analyst
Investment banking, what’s that? To begin with, forget The Big Short and that certain Leonardo DiCaprio movie (you’re thinking about them, aren’t you). The atmosphere is overall very different here in the Nordics than in London or Wall street.
In SEB Corporate Finance we advise firms on capital market transactions – when firms are listed to stock exchange, bought or sold, or when they’re in need of cash. Our job includes e.g. organizing the process, drafting various kinds of materials or connecting buyers and sellers, while working in small teams of 2-4. Some deals come from clients’ initiative, but our job is also to create and pitch ideas for potential transactions. When thinking about student audience, I ended up listing a few things I wish I knew “back then” (meaning a year ago) about working as an IB analyst. Hopefully useful for both, those interested in a career in banking, and those just wanting to widen their understanding beyond the above mentioned movies.
I joined the team in November 2017 after having done several different internships and graduating from Aalto Biz in March. My first touch to SEB was a summer internship in the Markets department in 2016, which positively convinced me of the people and atmosphere here, and triggered to rejoin the firm.
The numbers… and beyond
One of my biggest misconceptions about the analyst job was, that it is only about numbers. Yes, you need to be relatively comfortable to face large amount of figures (which develops in time), but qualitative analysis is equally important. We constantly need to familiarize ourselves with new firms and industries, and form a clear understanding of the target and its market in a relatively short period of time. This same aspect makes this job so versatile and interesting. You’ll find yourself developing interest towards areas that you sometimes didn’t know even existed – ranging from design products to medical devices, used car sales or operating principles of an energy plant, to name a few I’ve had the pleasure (and pain) to work with.
Recipe for a great banker?
If you’ve read any job announcement from the field, you’ve probably heard about the analytical mindset and outstanding interpersonal & teamwork skills. In return you’ll have the famously steep learning curve, obviously. Old news, what else is there? There certainly isn’t just one single profile for a great analyst, but I’ve found three characteristics helpful: persistence, curiosity and the ability to digest new information relatively fast. Persistence is the fundament of all learning and gives you resilience when things don’t go as planned. Curiosity leads you to develop genuine interest towards the target firms and markets which, combined with the ability to rapidly take in new information, will help you to dig deeper into the area of focus and adhere to sometimes tight deadlines.
When it comes to choosing a career, the right thing for you might be something completely different than what you initially thought. So, if you find yourself asking ‘could this be the right field for me’, I encourage – no, dare – you to apply and try! If you happen to want a smart, supportive & low-hierarchy team filled with sense of humor, I would say that SEB is the place to start. And, if you’re still wondering whether you make the fit, someone wise once said that nothing normal ever changed a damn thing.
Analyst, SEB Corporate Finance
PS. SEB Corporate Finance Internship Programme runs every year and the application period for the internship positions in 2019 will begin in August 2018. Please read more: https://seb.fi/tietoa-sebsta/rekrytointi/trainee-ja-internship-ohjelmat