Investment Banking Media – Which print publications are fit to print? As a good Gen X / Y aspiring banker you'll probably feel the investment banking blogs already give enough info on how to break into banking and that there is no real need to go elsewhere.
But in order to get into investment banking you need to develop real world business / finance knowledge so you can crush interview questions like "What recent deals have interested you?" and speak intelligently to bankers during networking events and summer internships. And without doubt the best way to go about obtaining this knowledge is through selective reading of the mainstream financial media.
So what's fit to print?
The obvious giants of our media industry are on the investment banking reading list of course. Depending on where you are this could be either the Financial Times or The Wall Street Journal – be sure to check out their own investment banking blogs like Deal Journal etc (just Google the paper's name + investment banking blog).
But even the less 'pure finance' papers have quality within their pages, eg NY Time's Deal Book.
If you live outside of the EU or US you should combine the FT with your local financial paper. The FT is far more useful in Asia, Australia and Middle East due to it's comparatively global-bent.
Believe it or not, but we think the magazine world offers far more rewarding content.
Unlike the sometimes shallow reporting of the paper world, magazines are filled with feature articles that deliver more considered, important and interesting information than any broadsheet. It is through magazines that you can acquire the deepest level of knowledge on IB-relevant topics such as the financial crisis, government regulation or say the general state of the M&A market.
With enough magazines & papers read, come interview time you will be able to deal with almost any Market / Industry / Business question that comes your way and you'll most surely impress interviewers with your insight and firm grasp on current issues. In fact, armed with a stack of business magazines you will earn a degree in Real World Businessin no time thanks to the sheer amount of case studies and lengthy interviews with industry leaders you'll come across.
Admittedly WSJ et al do feature articles too, but they are just not written to the in-depth standard of the magazines.
Since magazines also summarize the week or month's happenings they also guarantee that you're up-to-date and in-the-know on everything. As a college student with limited time, this feature of magazines is potent. No more daily newspapers or 100s of instant always-on Google Alerts needed.
Business Magazines 101 Fortune and BusinessWeek are the two no brainers in this investment banking media category. And once again make sure you jump online and check out their free investment banking blogs too (often billed under the name 'finance blog').
Thanks to killer feature articles and enough-but-not-too-much summary sections, these 2 magazines are the one-stop shops. As my Singhalese-speaking friend would say these two are "Die Die Must Try".
Magazines like The Economist are okay, but I prefer a little less info about rainforests in Brazil and a lot more about the state of the market, deals being done and what Roubini predicts for 2012, when I'm coughing up close to $ 10 an issue .
From our experience though you can read all the magazines for $ 0 – so why not have a flick through Forbes, Institutional Investor etc.
ie If your college has magazine subscriptions – increasingly online – you can feast freely. Alternatively, if you have a Borders, Barnes & Nobles, WH Smith or some other large bookstore chain (still in business !!) nearby, go there fortnightly and ravage their collection for free. A quick flick through all of them each week leading up to recruiting season is all you need.
Also, with so many media pundits waxing lyrical you should be sure to 80-20 your reading list.
If you stick to the real 'education' sort of articles as opposed to the "gossip of the day" crap you'll be fine. And remember there's no need to be versed in every deal going on at this stage of your investment banking life.
Admittedly, us Excel monkeys didn't follow our own advice. Instead, we read everything available. And we started this investment banking media binge at least 6 months prior to recruiting!
Sure this natural appetite for financial media helped us show passion during interviews and our internships, but 90% of it could have been skipped for about the same result !!!