I Want to Work In … Banking



There are many different roles within banking, which are not always clear-cut. Although banking can be broadly divided into “retail banking” and “investment banking”, there are also specialist areas such as investment management, wealth management and risk.  These may be functions within a large banking group or may be carried out in an organisation that specialises in a particular area.

Retail Banking

Retail bankers work in “high street” banks and building societies and also for online banks and other providers of banking and financial services. They assist individuals and small businesses with financial services ranging from loans and mortgages to savings and investments.

Graduate schemes in retail banking tend to be very varied and to go beyond pure banking roles, as the following job descriptions show:

Going from team to team on rotational placements which could include roles such as Customer Planning Specialist, Digital Analyst, Planning & Performance Analyst, Process Engineer and even a Team Leader in our contact centre network or Service Manager in branch will give you a deep insight into what our customers want, need and expect from us. Each placement is designed to develop your commercial and strategic thinking, negotiation and influencing skills and understanding of how our Bank works (Co-operative Bank)

As a graduate you might work in a Regional Director office for one of our branch networks. Or, in our Wealth teams, you could be delivering private-banking and wealth-management solutions to our more affluent customers. You could also find yourself in one of our supplier functions, such as the Chief Operating Office, delivering a key piece of change for our customers and front-line colleagues, or in Group Brands and Marketing, ensuring customers understand our brands and products. Other potential opportunities include helping to design and manage our Retail products with the Retail Customer Products team, or measuring and assessing risk with Retail Business Risk.
(Lloyds Banking Group).

Investment Banking

Best and Worst Things About Investment Banking


  • Interaction with interesting people
  • Gain a very wide and deep knowledge of the banking sector
  • Top graduate position, high salaries
  • Interesting, challenging and varied


  • Workload
  • The hours. Oh my God the hours.
  • Public perception of the industry   


Investment banking relates primarily to raising capital for companies and other organisations, the provision of mergers and acquisition advice or advice on specific issues such as raising loans or stock exchange flotations.
Job roles in investment banking tend to be divided into front office (such as mergers and acquisitions (M&A), sales and trading, research, debt capital markets and equity capital markets), middle office (advising and monitoring the front office, such as compliance, risk and technology) and back office (operations).
Job profile of an investment banker from the Prospects website
Job profile of an investment banker from the TARGET Jobs website
Inside Careers: Banking and Investments
Wikijob: Investment Banking
The Job Crowd: Investment Banking

Employers include large international banks, medium-sized (“mid-cap”) and small (“boutique”) investment banks.


Work Experience in Investment Banking

We really want people who want to work for our bank to know a lot more about us rather than just applying for all of the banks.

I think it’s the additional skills, really having that hunger, to be motivated to work, especially in global banking. It is very long hours and it is very hard work; so they really must want to put as much effort in as possible and be able to see the picture.

Multinational bank

The vast majority of successful applicants to banking and investment graduate schemes have previously completed a relevant internship – mainly at the same institution. Typically 50% to 70% of graduate hires in banking and investment have worked for that organisation as an intern. In some cases the figure is even higher: 90% or above. (TARGET Jobs)

Almost no one secures a graduate scheme at a top bank without work experience in the finance industry. The banks want applicants with intern experience to prove the candidate is passionate about finance, and has evidence they can work in that environment. Banks will often select the best interns to be fast tracked to the graduate scheme – J.P. Morgan exclusively hires its grads from its interns (Bright Network)

In 2015, investment banks offered over 2600 paid internships and work placements. (High Fliers Research Report). In addition, many banks also run Spring Weeks and/or Insight Days to give first-year students a taste of the industry.

Summer internship programmes usually run for 8-10 weeks, from July to September. They are open to penultimate year undergraduates and to postgraduate students. It is just as hard to get an internship as it is to get onto a graduate scheme, so make sure you research the employer and take time and care over your application.

Deadlines for all these programmes can be as early as November, so start planning in good time.

Top Reasons for Applying to Investment Banking
Excellent starting salaries
Prestige of the jobs 38%
Interested in content of work 35%
Work is intellectually demanding 35%
Good long-term career prospects 26%
Chance to work overseas 22%
Able to use your degree subject 20%
Quality of training and development 18%
Availability of jobs
Jobs are located where you want to work
Source: The UK Graduate Careers Survey AGR/The Times

Retail and Investment Banking Employers

Recruitment Agencies and Jobs Boards


Chart of Careers in Finance

Further information on banking

Last fully updated August 2016