8 Ways to Break into Mergers and Acquisitions

During an economic boom or economic bust, the Mergers and Acquisitions (M&A) industry is surprisingly robust. The buying and selling of companies is dynamic and requires highly skilled professionals to make deals happen. If you are a new college graduate considering entry into the investment banking arena, here are eight things to consider that will boost your chances of a successful application.

1: Bring your academic A-game. Banks and other financial institutions receive hundreds of qualified applicants for every open Mergers and Acquisitions position. Be certain your application documents and college transcripts shine brighter than the rest.

2: Show true financial talent. Talking a big theoretical game and actually understand how it applies in real life are two very different things. Hiring managers will take special interest in applicants that make critical arguments about current market trends - make sure you are up to speed.

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3: Show you can be competitive. Play a sport or take a cabinet-level position in an extracurricular activity. Investment banking recruiters want to see competition and drive in potential new hires.

4: Network with current investment managers. Your parents, friends, school alumni, and professors can all connect you with people doing the job you want to do. Ask to job shadow or informally interview a current investment banker to discover if it is the right job for you.

5: Take a relevant internship, regardless of the pay. Some poorly paid M&A interns are able to witness big time deals. That kind of shadowing is priceless when it comes to a future in mergers and acquisitions. Do not let the money (or lack of) blind you from taking a truly advantageous stepping stone on your way to the top.

6: Polish your interview strategy. Practice for your interviews, professionally format your resume, and perfect your online persona before ever stepping in front of a Mergers and Acquisitions recruiter.

7: Stay up-to-date on market trends. This tip is not about showing off, it is about showing a true working knowledge of what is going on in the markets. Investment banking hiring managers want to know that potential new hires track market trends without being told to do so.

8: Show your passion for finance. Talk animatedly about why you want to get into mergers and acquisitions. Share relevant experiences and accolades you have received. Hiring managers want to feel your interest in the field - not just read it on paper. You cannot fake genuine interest.

As with any new job in any industry, you will face a steep learning curve upon entry into M&A. From office politics to your own communication flaws, adjusting to life as a working adult takes time. In order to become successful it may take well over a year to learn the ropes as a Mergers and Acquisition professional. With patience and major effort, your corner office will be waiting for you in a couple of years.

RELATED: Are You in the Highest Paying City for M&A Professionals?


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