How to become an investment banker

Investment banking is among the top careers in the world. It is a lucrative career and even entry-level roles pay quite generously. There is also a lot of room to grow with plenty of opportunities for career advancement. As you climb up the ladder and acquire a more professional role, you can easily take home six figures as your salary. 

Investment bankers serve as a link between investors and companies by helping companies issue, manage, and sell financial securities to investors. It is a great career choice for those with strong math and analytical skills. If you’re interested in becoming an investment banker, then stick around as I will outline all you need to know to become an investment banker. 

What is an investment banker?

Investment bankers are investment professionals who help public and private companies accrue capital for their development. They are skilled communicators with great analytical skills and industry expertise which they use to provide advice to both investors and companies. They help companies by issuing stock, borrowing money and offering financial advice. They also help investors with advice on the stocks and bonds to buy, when to buy them, how and at what price. 

How to become an investment banker

Becoming an investment banker will take a lot of time and hard work, but if you’re willing to put in the work, you’ll get there sooner than later. Below are steps to follow to become an investment banker. 

1. Earn a bachelor’s degree

A bachelor’s degree in finance, business or accounting is the basic requirement to become an investment banker. The degree you earn should provide you with strong math and analytical skills, as well as an excellent understanding of economics and corporate finance. 

Although you can still become an investment banker with a degree in accounting, business or a related field, a degree in finance should be your go-to option. Studying finance will equip you with the knowledge and skills necessary for a career as an investment banker like how to perform financial analysis and forecasts, how to evaluate financial statements and many more. A finance degree will also help you gain a basic understanding of financial markets, which will be what your job as an investment banker will revolve around.

2. Obtain a postgraduate degree

It is not a must to obtain a postgraduate degree to become an investment banker. However, a bachelor’s degree in corporate finance or MBA will help improve your career prospects quite significantly. It is worth noting that most higher-level positions in investment banking require a postgraduate degree.

3. Obtain certification 

Depending on your country or state, you may need to write and pass professional exams in your field of expertise and obtain qualifications. There may also be some additional optional qualifications that you may need to pass to help you gain more ground in the field. Research the specific requirements to become an investment banker in the country you choose to work in and prepare yourself to meet them. 

4. Gain work experience

Do not wait till you are certified to start accumulating experience in the investment banking sphere. You can start early by applying for internships while you are still in school. When you graduate and start working, you may not start immediately as an investment banker. Apply for entry-level roles like analyst roles and work your way up as you gain experience. Take part in any on-the-job training, workshops and seminars offered by your employer to help build your negotiation, communication, and presentation skills, as well as gain important knowledge in accounting, markets, risks, statement analysis and relevant areas. 

There may also be some continued education opportunities available to entry-level investment bankers, which you should take advantage of. This way you can advance in your career and move up the ranks much faster.

5. Form networks and connections 

From the moment you step foot in the financial and investment world, you should start building a strong network. This is a significant aspect of building a successful investment banking career that should not be downplayed. Knowing the right people in the investment banking world can open you up to numerous opportunities that may not be available to you otherwise. Even when you have attained a significant height in your career, networking and building connections will help you have a better stand in the field. 

6. Advance your career

You will not go into the field as a top investment banker, you will have to start lower, usually at an entry-level financial role. You can start at a better position with a postgraduate degree, but you can still work your way up with just a bachelor’s degree. 

There are many opportunities for career growth, you must learn to recognize and take advantage of them. Attend workshops and grab any continued education opportunities offered by your employer. Obtain the necessary qualifications and additional ones if necessary. 

Having a good work ethic and being a generally good employee will put you in a better position for promotions. If your boss recognizes your efforts, then you’ll most likely be on their mind when the next opportunity for a promotion comes around. 

To advance in your career, the key is to show dedication to your work and acquire skills and experience along the way. As you gain more experience, and improve your expertise in the field, many opportunities to advance will be open to you. 

Conclusion

There’s a lot that goes into becoming an investment banker. If you want to be successful in the field, you will need a good educational background, connections and incredible skills. Hard work and dedication to your career are also important. 

Remember to always stay up-to-date with the latest trends and stay competitive by always improving your skills. The connections you can make will do wonders for your career growth so always keep an open and be willing to meet with other professionals in the field. 

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the main responsibilities of an investment banker?

Investment bankers perform several responsibilities including: 

  • Advise companies on financial strategies, mergers and acquisitions, and capital raising, and assist in executing financial transactions.
  • Help organizations, companies, institutions and other entities to raise capital and funds by issuing securities, bonds and other financial instruments. 
  • Handle necessary legal processes with financial regulatory agencies. 
  • Coordinate mergers and acquisitions. 

What skills are essential for an investment banking career?

Essential skills critical thinking, self-discipline, relationship building, financial analysis, valuation, strong work ethic, communication, and the ability to handle high-pressure situations. 

Is an MBA necessary to become an investment banker?

While it’s not mandatory, an MBA can enhance your prospects and accelerate career growth in investment banking.

How can I prepare for investment banking interviews?

Interviews for investment banking roles are among the toughest in the financial field. As such, you will need to prepare adequately for it. Practice case interviews, review technical concepts and be ready to discuss your experience and skills effectively. Employing the star method for your interview may be beneficial. 

What are the salary expectations for investment bankers? 

Investment bankers are typically among the highest paid. In the United States, investment bankers earn an average of $84,000 per year. 

What are the typical career progression opportunities in investment banking?

Common paths include Analyst, Associate, Vice President, Director or Senior Vice President and Managing Director. Each level involves increasing responsibilities, leadership roles and salaries. 

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Habibat Musa

Habibat Musa

Habibat Musa is a content writer with MakeMoney.ng. She writes predominantly on topics related to education, career and business. She is an English language major with keen interest in career growth and development.

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