While there are many paths to becoming an investment banker, the process isn’t linear. Ideally, you’ll follow these steps in order and be consistent with your progress. While many professions allow applicants to obtain unrelated degrees, to work in investment banking, you need a four-year degree with a business or quantitative focus. Your degree should be from a top-10 university and have a business-related minor. You should also take extra classes and obtain letters of recommendation from professionals with experience in the field.
Most investment bankers begin as junior associates, working under more experienced bankers. Their primary responsibility is to oversee financial analysis. They work long hours, sometimes 14 hours a day. They rarely get a day off, and they’re expected to be available to answer emails and phone calls. Even though investment banking positions pay well, they’re not for everyone. For those with young children or an uncooperative spouse, this career is not for them.
As more students gain access to investment banking opportunities, networking will be even more essential. In this age of social media, everyone Googles you before you meet them. That’s why you must have a strong online presence and show that you’re the ideal fit for an investment banking position. However, there’s no one formula to be an investment banker. You should be proactive in building your personal brand and focusing on developing networking relationships.
Obtain a bachelor’s degree in finance or a related field. While a bachelor’s degree in a relevant field like finance will get you started, you can also develop your skills on the job. After earning your bachelor’s degree, you’ll need to complete at least one internship to learn the trade and gain networking experience. Depending on your personal goals and the company’s needs, you might decide to pursue a graduate degree in finance.
You can try applying for jobs at big investment banks if you have experience in a related field. Although you might have an edge by gaining some related work experience, investment banking is a highly competitive field that requires specialized skills. Even if you have experience in other industries, you’re unlikely to have the right background to succeed. For those who have the time and skills, investment banking offers a path to seven-figure bank accounts by your mid-30s.
Investment banking jobs vary by sector, but the general process of working in the field is similar. In general, a typical day involves responding to emails and working on financial analyses. The afternoons, however, are hectic as your job is focused on one or two main deals. These could be an IPO, merger, or restructuring case. As such, you’ll likely work until the early hours of the morning. That’s what makes investment banking such an exciting career.
Investment bankers provide financial advice to companies, and they can even oversee the M&A process from beginning to end. M&As involve two companies merging, and acquisitions involve one firm purchasing another. Investment banks advise both the buyer and seller on the price and structure of the transactions. It’s important to have a thorough understanding of the industry you’re working in to be able to make informed decisions. This will increase your chances of earning a good income.