To be good in banking you need a broad understanding of businessbecause your job will most likely involve interacting with businesses.
People skills are essential because you will be helping people get the loans and investments that they want.
The most common jobs in commercial banking are as a credit analyst and as a lending officer. These jobs require a strong understanding of accounting.
Because banking often requires that you document loans and justify credit analyses you've written communication skills are extremely important.
Banking attracts a diverse group of people. You don't have to be a superstar student with a phenomenal GPA to make it. You do have to be detail oriented, unafraid to sell and conscientious.
International talent is in high demand at money-center banks. According to Hoyle Jones, Head of recruiting at Citicorp: The firm is "aggressively in the hiring market. "We're looking for U.S.-educated Asians and Latin Americans to go back home and grow businesses."
A new business model which is spreading into banking is that of the marketing-oriented consumer products company. Banks are trying to build valuable brand images with consumer-oriented advertising and distinct product lines. According to Richard Kovacevich, CEO of Norwest: "I believe we all must be salespeople; and we should be proud of it... We can no longer be ordertakers, which is still the characteristic of the old banking industry. In fact, we must be great as salespeople. We must be customer-oriented, we must be needs-based and we must be aggressive." In light of this demand, if you have good marketing skills and have taken a number of marketing courses, you will be well-suited to this new environment.
Because of the increasing marketing orientation, many banks have also been paying big bucks to lure product managers away from consumer products companies. Pros with skills in product design and market segmentation wanted (American Banker, January 5, 1995).
Because commercial banks remain profitable and are more involved than ever in the financial markets, they are competing with Wall Street for "high-tech finance jocks" involved in foreign exchange derivatives and financial engineering.
There is also high demand for finance professionals who can develop products for the corporate market. According to Windle Priem of Korn/Ferry International, a top recruiter in banking: "Half of the [recruiting activity in banking] has been in the capital markets and corporate finance arena of these banks. The other part of the commercial banking practice that's booming is investment products and mutual funds. That's been very, very strong. ...Most of those people have been hired from other investment firms, other mutual fund companies. The traditional corporate lending people continue to be downsized and terminated." (American Banker, 1/5/95)
It is generally not necessary to get an MBA in commercial banking although it wouldn't hurt you. Many of the execs at the very top do have MBAs from prestigious schools. And others have attended summertime masters programs at places like the Southwestern Graduate School of Banking (Dallas, TX) or the Stonier School of Banking (Madison, WI).
Banking is reputed to be a low hours/workload position. This is possible, especially in smaller markets, but increasingly bankers are working longer hours as their jobs become more oriented towards general marketing of financial services.
Consumers are increasingly banking from home using online services and the Internet. If you are Internet savvy and familiar with computers you will have an edge in banking. "Banks are at the point now where they have to seriously start moving into an on-line environment, or risk losing some of their best customers, potentially forever. It's a very crucial and very perilous time for banks," said David Taylor, executive vice president at the Bank Administration Institute, in December 1995