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How to Become an Investment Banker

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    Managing stocks, and other investments, is a complicated and highly-regulated process. This is why companies hire investment bankers. In addition to having strong math skills and a background in finance, investment bankers must be comfortable navigating the legal complexities surrounding investment banking. At this point, you may be wondering, but what does an investment banker do exactly? And how do you become one? In this article, we will explain how to get an investment banking job. So if you have questions about educational requirements, licensure exams, or potential salary, you’ve come to the right place!

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    What is an investment banker?

    Before we get too invested in how to become an investment banker, let’s take a moment to answer the question, what is investment banking? Investment banking is a type of corporate banking that deals with complex financial transactions, such as mergers, acquisitions, and the management of stocks. As previously noted, these types of transactions are highly regulated, so companies need to hire a specialist to oversee everything and make recommendations. 

    What do investment bankers do?

    Now that we’ve answered the question “what is an investment banker?” let’s delve a bit deeper into an investment banker job description. Or in other words, what does an investment banking associate do?

    Let’s take a look at some of investment banking tasks:

    • Complete financial analyses and forecasts for companies.
    • Provide recommendations on how to best manage company assets. 
    • Advise and facilitate complex financial transactions, such as mergers and acquisitions.
    • Help companies raise capital by buying, selling, and trading stocks and other financial securities.

    What do investment bankers do?

    Now that we’ve answered the question “what is an investment banker?” let’s delve a bit deeper into an investment banker job description. Or in other words, what does an investment banking associate do?

    Let’s take a look at some of investment banking tasks:

    • Complete financial analyses and forecasts for companies.
    • Provide recommendations on how to best manage company assets. 
    • Advise and facilitate complex financial transactions, such as mergers and acquisitions.
    • Help companies raise capital by buying, selling, and trading stocks and other financial securities.

    What is the salary of an investment banker

    So, let’s get right to it, what does an investment banker earn? While the competition is high and the hours are long — with workers routinely working 80+ hour weeks — there is high earning potential. In fact, entry-level workers can quickly earn six-figure salaries! 

    Investment bankers often earn sizable bonuses as well — in addition to commission and profit-sharing benefits. During profitable years, an investment banker’s bonuses may even surpass their base pay! This is why it’s important to stay on top of the latest financial trends and engage in meaningful professional development opportunities. After all, the quality of your work dictates the quality of your pay. 

    Check out our article, 15 Tips for Negotiating Salary for more information on how to advocate for better pay!

    Investment banking job requirements

    As you can probably tell, investment banking is an incredibly complex field. Not only do you need to have a strong background in finance, but you also need to stay current on financial laws and regulations. So what are the job requirements? How do you become an investment banker?

    What degree does an investment banker need?

    So, you may find yourself asking, what do investment bankers major in anyway? Well, the majority of investment bankers earn their bachelor’s degrees in finance. Others may choose to major in business, accounting, or economics with a finance minor. Throughout the course of their undergraduate studies, students learn how to perform financial analyses and forecasts. In addition to earning a bachelor’s degree, entry-level workers must pass a series of licensure exams. The initial Securities Industry Essentials Exam can be taken at any time, but the remainder of the licensure exams must be sponsored by an employer.

    While college graduates with a finance degree are eligible for entry-level jobs in investment banking, more advanced positions require a Master’s Degree. Most investment bankers earn either a master’s of finance or an MBA with a concentration in finance. Now what about doctorate degrees? While it’s possible to earn a doctorate in finance, this is typically more suited for a career in research or academia. That’s to say that most investment bankers focus on other professional development opportunities after earning their master’s degree, rather than pursue additional degrees. 

    What skills do you need as an investment banker?

    As is the case with all careers, certain people are more likely to succeed in investment banking. These professionals tend to exhibit the personality traits, or soft job skills, listed below:

    • Confidence
    • Dependability
    • Exceptional Leadership
    • Abilities
    • Interest in Finance
    • Meticulous Attention to Detail
    • Problem-Solving Abilities
    • Public Speaking Abilities
    • Skilled in Time Management
    • Strategic Thinking
    • Strong Analytic Reasoning
    • Strong Math Skills
    • Strong Negotiation Skills
    • Strong Networking Skills
    • Strong Written and Verbal Communication Skills
    • Willingness to Work Long Hours

    Breaking into the investment banking world can be difficult to accomplish. It takes hard work, dedication, and a robust professional network. Check out our Networking Strategies: A Step-by-Step Guide to Success for tips on how to improve your networking skills.

    What skills do you need as an investment banker?

    As is the case with all careers, certain people are more likely to succeed in investment banking. These professionals tend to exhibit the personality traits, or soft job skills, listed below:

    • Confidence
    • Dependability
    • Exceptional Leadership Abilities
    • Interest in Finance
    • Meticulous Attention to Detail
    • Problem-Solving Abilities
    • Public Speaking Abilities
    • Skilled in Time Management 
    • Strategic Thinking
    • Strong Analytic Reasoning
    • Strong Math Skills
    • Strong Negotiation Skills
    • Strong Networking Skills
    • Strong Written and Verbal Communication Skills
    • Willingness to Work Long Hours

    Breaking into the investment banking world can be difficult to accomplish. It takes hard work, dedication, and a robust professional network. Check out our Networking Strategies: A Step-by-Step Guide to Success for tips on how to improve your networking skills.

    How hard is it to become an investment banker?

    Wondering how to get an investment banking job? The key to advancing in an investment banking career is networking. Like with all careers, being well-connected helps ensure that you get the bump you need during the job search process. After all, investment banking is an incredibly competitive field, so you’ll need all the help you can get to make sure you get your foot in the door. 

    If you need help connecting with other professionals in your field, consider joining a local chapter of the CFA society (Chartered Financial Analyst). This is a great way to expand your professional network. Another great networking event you may want to attend is the National Investment Banking Competition, a live event where hundreds of schools compete in an investment banking case competition. 

    Again, your likelihood of securing a spot in the investment banking world depends largely on your networking abilities. That said, in addition to developing strong networking strategies, you’ll also want to practice your job interview skills and focus on curating a professional online presence. Create an online portfolio and update your LinkedIn profile. Check out our article, 31 LinkedIn Profile Tips for Job Seekers, for ways to enhance your online presence!

    How hard is it to become an investment banker?

    Wondering how to get an investment banking job? The key to advancing in an investment banking career is networking. Like with all careers, being well-connected helps ensure that you get the bump you need during the job search process. After all, investment banking is an incredibly competitive field, so you’ll need all the help you can get to make sure you get your foot in the door. 

    If you need help connecting with other professionals in your field, consider joining a local chapter of the CFA society (Chartered Financial Analyst). This is a great way to expand your professional network. Another great networking event you may want to attend is the National Investment Banking Competition, a live event where hundreds of schools compete in an investment banking case competition. 

    Again, your likelihood of securing a spot in the investment banking world depends largely on your networking abilities. That said, in addition to developing strong networking strategies, you’ll also want to practice your job interview skills and focus on curating a professional online presence. Create an online portfolio and update your LinkedIn profile. Check out our article, 31 LinkedIn Profile Tips for Job Seekers, for ways to enhance your online presence!

    Key takeaways and moving forward

    Investment banking is a great career path for professionals with strong math skills and an interest in finance. Whether you are a recent graduate or a seasoned professional intent on switching careers, investment banking may just be the path for you! Remember, investment banking is a demanding field, so do yourself a favor and set yourself up for success by reviewing these 50 Productivity Hacks. Additionally, you may be interested in reviewing our article, What is a Culture-Fit Workplace? The Importance of Finding Your Fit at Your Next Job

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