This is the question I am constantly asking myself - and being asked - about my graduate prospects. And I am being continuously reminded about how 'barking mad' I am for seeking a graduate job in investment banking.
I am now three months out of an internship at a leading investment bank which has certainly been a victim of the credit crunch. Times there were hard and depressive on some days, but I miss it. I got hooked on the environment and am now looking at what avenues and alleys are open for me next summer. Do I dare enter the industry in 2009 for a full time fixture?
I am currently sitting on a fully up to date and ready to ship CV and a list of companies I should most probably apply to. I have researched, networked, been to graduate fairs and even befriended several insiders to get a better understanding of it all.
There’s just one hitch. The uncertainty of tomorrow has never been so certain.
On the one hand you have the pessimistic argument:
Everywhere you look you see reports of huge losses, cut backs and redundancies for today, tomorrow and next year, so why will these endangered banks be focusing on and expanding their graduate schemes - and why on earth would anyone consider these banks under the current conditions?
On the other hand you have the optimistic argument:
Graduates are eager to impress and show their hard work and team spirit, and most importantly, are certainly the cheapest labour on the floor, perfect for clearing up all the mess and forgotten work from the last year and half. They can be moulded into the new improved, risk aware, small bonus expecting lemming that our bemused society is demanding.
Despite the majority of advice I have been given, I am choosing to remain optimistic. So while places are limited and competition may be high, there is still hope for a naive, fresh-faced graduate to carve a career in this painful world of banking.