I.
Basically just want to clarify the different functions within an investment bank that an MBA graduate will typically get recruited into.

MBAs are generally recruited into four main functions/divisions. Their roles are actually quite different so I think it's probably hard to generalize about the IB culture.

Four Main Areas open to MBA students:

--Corporate Finance, commonly known as IBD (Investment Banking Division)

--Research

--Sales & Trading

--Wealth Management

 

II.
More detail about investment banking (other parts to follow when I have time)
 
What jobs do MBAs get when they enter investment banking?

Associate
 

What is the heirarchy like?

Typically it is Analyst --> Associate --> VP (Vice President) or in some banks AD (Assistant Director) --> Director --> Executive Director (sometimes) --> Managing Director

 
Who are the major Investment Banks with a presence in Asia?

US firms: Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, JP Morgan, Merrill Lynch, Lehman Brothers, Citigroup

European firms: Deutsche Bank, Credit Suisse, UBS, BNP Paribas, HSBC, ABN-Amro

Others: Macquarie Bank (Australian), Nomura (Japanese)


 
What do you do as an Investment Banker?

--Underwriting: IPOs (Initial Public Offerings); ADR/GDR (American Depository Receiptis/Global Depository Receipts); Convertible Bond Offering; Exchangeable Bonds
--M&A advisory: Basically convincing one company to buy another 

 
So do you need to have really strong financial skills?
 
You need to be sensitive to numbers, but being "strong" quantiatively is probably the biggest misconception. More important than anything else for banking is your presence and having strong communication (written and spoken), interpersonal and analytical (logical) skills.

Being a banker is really like being a lawyer. You are really specialized and you perform the task over and over.

Eventually, as you move higher up on the banking ladder, the most important skill to have is sales.

 

So what is a day like?

The reality is that there are not that many big deals to go around. There are few IPOs and few M&A. It is possible for someone to work 2-3 years at a bank and never participate in a "live deal."

So for a lot of junior bankers (analysts & associates), their time is spent on pitching--coming up with a story why company XYZ should buy someone else or sell itself or why it should go public.

I'd be happy to take questions on this.