How to Get into Investment Banking?

Investment banking is a popular choice of career among finance graduates, but recently investment banks opened up to graduates from all backgrounds for hire. This, for obvious reasons, has increased competition to get into investment banking. The missing knowledge of finance is covered by investment banking certification or training. Nonetheless, it still remains a top choice for career among finance graduates—flamboyant salary and glamorous lifestyle.

Investment banking has broad field. Contrary to popular belief, Investment banker isn’t the only high-paying popular role. Though, they do earn a good amount of money. Analysts and traders also make equal salary and enjoy the same benefits as them. To get into investment banking, you don’t necessarily have to start as an investment banker. Other roles including analyst, trader, operations manager, could get you on the path to become an investment banker. Many investment bankers have transitioned from these positions to who they are today.

An investment banker is tasked with the responsibility to reach out to potential clients and persuade them to invest with their banks. Generate recurring profits for their clients by proposing them investment techniques, and continually foster their relationship with clients. 

In order to do so, an investment banker requires — 

  1. Good knowledge of capital markets (stocks and bonds) — Investment bankers assist clients to invest their savings and derive return from those investments. Capital market is a common channel to facilitate this. They need good knowledge of capital market. 
  2. Investment techniques: Capital market is one of the channels of investment. Other techniques such as derivatives, etc. should be known. 
  3. Knowledge of merger & acquisitions—Business owners and industrialists often seek the help of investment bankers with merger and acquisition deals. For this, they are required on the finalization of deals and other matters.  
  4. Strong analytical skills—Investment bankers’ work depend on getting their numbers right. Hence, they are required to be analytical strong. In fact, this a major skill, which investment banks look for in potential investment bankers. 
  5. Strong communication skills—Investment bankers work with business leaders, which requires them to understand clearly. Hence, impeccable communication is a necessity, then a requisite. 

As you might understand, these skills do not specifically require a degree in finance, instead 2-3 months of practicing and learning can help acquire these skills. Investment banking certifications work on these principles and train on these skills. Hence, a reason graduates are increasingly moving to investment banking. Most employers don’t have finance background as a necessary criterion for hiring investment bankers. If you’re confident that you have these skills, you can apply for various positions in investment banking (do not limit yourself to the investment banker position) at banks and other institutions.
Further, if you’re still in grad school, you can take an internship. Many investment banks offer full-time opportunities after successful completion of internship.

Further, finance professionals who are already working in corporate banking can easily transition to investment banking, provided that they acquire additional skills required for the position of an investment banker.