How to Make a Successful Career in Banking?

Banking is at the very heart of any economy and drives the financial ecosystem of a nation. For an aspiring professional, a career in banking is an excellent way to be a part of that ecosystem. If you are a fresh graduate or a young professional interested in banking, here’s a handbook to help you build a successful career in this sector.

Skills required for a career in banking

Like any other industry, banking also requires you to have specific skills, both quantitative and qualitative. Honing these skills before and during a job will go a long way in shaping you into a good banker. 

Core Skills: Learning Skills, Personal Skills, Cognitive Skills, Communication Skills, Technology Skills,  Productivity Skills, Persuasion Skills and Business Skills. 

Professionals Skills: Lending, Financial Analysis Skills, and Financial Marketing Skills. 

Types of banks

Banks around the world are typically classified as public sector and private sector banks. The public sector banks are wholly managed by the nation’s government, while private sector banks are operated by privately held organizations but follow the state and national government regulations.  Following are the different types of banks. 

  • Central Bank
  • Commercial Banks
  • Specialized Banks
  • Small Finance Banks
  • Foreign Banks
  • Payment Banks
  • Non-banking financial companies 

Career progression in banks: Functions and positions

The career path depends on the kind of bank (sector or the organization) you work in. Typically, it goes like this; 

Trainee or a Clerk/Probationary Officer > Manager > Senior Manager > Chief Manager > Assistant General Manager > Deputy General Manager > General Manager > Chief General manager>  ED > MD > Chairman 

What do you need to build a career in banking?

Anyone with education in banking and finance can get a job in the banking industry. But if you want to build a career, it needs more than theoretical knowledge. You need to have the right qualifications, coupled with necessary soft skills, technical skills, and not to mention, the right attitude for the role. 

Here’s a quick overview of what you need.  

  • A degree in finance, economics, accounting, and/or banking.
  • A high score in relevant bank entrance exams (generally for the public sector banks).
  • A higher degree (Masters or PG Diploma in Banking) for senior-level roles.
  • Professional certification in trending subjects or anything that can add value to your current qualifications. 
  • A solid professional network so you can broaden your horizons, look for newer opportunities, and be knowledgeable.

Getting into public or private sector banks – How, pros and cons

Public sector banks work like any other government-run agencies. They have their internal rules and regulations for hiring. If you wish to join a public sector bank, appear for an exam recommended by the central administration for a particular bank. 

Private sector banks are just like any other privately owned corporation. The hiring process is also similar to other industries, where you apply through a job portal, get selected, and appear for interviews. 

Banks Pros Cons
Public Sector
  • More secure, steadier than private jobs.
  • An assured pension after retirement.
  • Several benefits as offered by the government. 
  • Less competitive work environment.
  • Jobs can get monotonous since skills are not transferable within the banks. 
  • Growth is based on internal exams and not performance.
  • It can get difficult to switch from public to private banks at a later stage.
  • Limited salary growth
Private Sector 
  • Higher salary than the public sector with additional benefits in some organizations. 
  • Regular appraisals and chances of faster career growth.
  • Lot of emphasis on performance and conduct along with technical skills.
  • Market volatility can impact job security. 
  • Fast-paced, highly competitive work environment. 

To get a banking job, you need to have a basic graduation but get a specialized degree or diploma after that for professional-level training. You can choose from any of these masters or post-graduate diploma programs in banking and finance.

Masters Programs Diploma ProgramsCertificate Courses
  • MBA in Banking and Finance
  • Masters in Financial Mathematics
  • Masters in Monetary and Financial Economics
  • Masters in Finance/ Accounting
  • Masters in Banking and Insurance
  • Masters of CommerceM.
  • Voc in Banking, Stocks and Insurance
  • PG Diploma in Banking and Finance
  • Diploma in Banking and Finance
  • Diploma in Banking Services Management
  • Graduate Diploma in Banking
  • Graduate Diploma in Banking and Finance Law
  • Post Degree Diploma in Economics and Global Banking
  • PGDM in Banking Management
  • PGDM in Banking and Financial Services
  • Graduate Certificate of Finance and Banking
  • Graduate Certificate in Banking Security
  • Advanced Certificate in Banking laws and Loan management

Top institutions and courses to start your career in banking

Enrolling in an accredited high-ranking university/college/professional institute can help you get the right education and a solid foundation for a great banking career. 

Here are some of the best places in India to earn a degree/diploma in banking and finance.

  • Delhi University 
  • Jamia Millia Islamia University 
  • TKWs Institute of Banking & Finance
  • National Institute of Bank Management (NIBM)
  • NIIT University 
  • Faculty of Management Studies (FMS)
  • Narsee Monjee Institute of Management Studies (NMIMS)
  • Amity University 
  • University of Petroleum and Energy Studies 
  • K.P.B. Hinduja College of Commerce 
  • IIM Calcutta 
  • Indira Gandhi National Open University 
  • Guru Gobind Singh Indraprastha University
  • Indian School of Business 
  • Xavier’s Institute of Management

Top companies and banks that hire regularly

  • SBI 
  • Bank of Baroda 
  • HDFC Bank
  • Axis Bank
  • ICICI Bank
  • HSBC 
  • Citibank 
  • Kotak Mahindra Bank
  • Yes Bank 

Salary/Pay package
Depending on the role, experience, educational qualifications, and the organization you join, you can expect a starting salary of INR 3 to 4 lakhs per annum. In the course of your career, you can upgrade your skills and qualifications through internal exams and performance and prepare yourself for yearly appraisals and increment in your pay package.