MBA Candidate Persona: The Banker


I’m being very broad in applying the “banker” label to include applicants working in investment management, private equity, venture capital, research, sales and trading, and investment banking. In any case, these candidates are overrepresented in the applicant pool at elite MBA programs.

Valuable Banker Skill Set
• Analytical sharpness
• Quantitative strength
• Savvy and polish
• Adept at working on challenging projects

Banker Detractors
• Type A and impatient
• Too self-motivated, not necessarily team players
• Limited management experience
• Number crunchers who execute but may not understand
the business decisions behind the numbers
• Worker bee
• Not balanced—no life outside work

What to Do
• Show team mindset: balance showing your individual involvement and impact with working behind the scenes and helping others become successful. It is important that your story is mixed with “we” and “I” instead of only your own involvement.
• Be sure to convey how your impact at work transcends the financial analysis that you did.
• Don’t underestimate the power of initiative and coming up with creative ideas and seeing them to fruition.
• Seek opportunities to lead recruiting and training initiatives.
• Step up to fill a void when the opportunity presents itself. (Don’t simply get your job done.)


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