If you haven't yet applied for your trainee position in an investment bank for 2014, you may be a little late: most banks closed their full time applications in December, although you can possibly still apply for a summer internship or an operations job at select institutions.
If you've missed the deadline and decided to eschew banking in favour or something like accounting, you may want to give yourself a hard kick. The year of the Snake will be one of the best times ever to start a career in investment banking. So (reportedly) says Jan Weber, a managing director at Morgan Stanley.
Weber was one of several senior bankers to present to students at the London Business School (LBS) this week. People who attended his presentation said that he told LBS students that 2014 looks like the moment for beginning an investment banking career.
"Weber said that investment banking is a cyclical industry and that this is a perfect point in the cycle to get in," said Richard Bland, associate director and head of finance careers at the London Business School. "An upswing in M&A and IPOs may be coming and Weber suggested that banks may have over-fired. Banks are pretty lean, and as a junior in this kind of market you can get a lot of exposure on the upturn."
Morgan Stanley declined provide further comment, but it seems Weber's not the only one extolling the virtues of getting into banking now. Bland said Deutsche Bank visited also LBS this week and said much the same.
There may be something in it. As we reported last year, the pipeline of deals likely to happen but not actually happening is high. If those deals come to pass, bankers will be very busy indeed. Moreover, having cut costs and shed people since 2010, most banks are indeed now staffed at minimum levels.
Needless to say, things may not turn out so great. "There were a lot of caveats," said Bland. "The upturn might not happen - people have been waiting for this pick-up in M&A for some time." Equally, a sudden upturn in work may simply mean that junior IBD bankers simply find themselves working stupidly long hours.
Weber may simply have been seeking to rally enthusiasm among a community for whom investment banking jobs are less appealing than before. As we reported a few weeks ago, the number of MBAs at London Business School who went into financial services fell last year. Bland said this trend is likely to persist in 2014, but that it's a good thing: "Banks are now attracting the people who are genuinely interested in finance and really committed to it as a career, rather than people who are only interested in it for the money."