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What Qualities do You Need to Become an Investment Banker?

Laura M. Sands
By Laura M. Sands
Updated Mar 03, 2024
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In addition to a comprehensive financial education and adequate work experience, a few of the qualities needed to become an investment banker include strong negotiating skills, marketing skills, an ability to understand the totality of individual investment deals, as well as a keen understanding of domestic and foreign financial markets. Whether working for a financial institution or as a boutique investment banker, other highly desirable qualities include strong interpersonal skills, analytical skills, an ability to combine and implement multiple strategies to complete investment projects, and a willingness to work 50 hours per week or more. Individuals hoping to work in this field should also have a high math competency, as well as strong accounting skills.

With some investment bankers earning in excess of $20,000 US Dollars (USD) per week, careers in investment banking can be highly lucrative and personally rewarding. Whether working in corporate banking or individual banking, however, such careers also tend to be highly competitive. Individuals striving to become an investment banker must, therefore, possess additional qualities to beat out competitors, as well as achieve a positive reputation within the financial industry.

A person hoping to work as an investment banker should also have a natural aptitude for working as part of a team. Leadership skills are particularly of value in this effort, as investment bankers often are required to gather together executives and other business professionals with strong personalities to complete an investment strategy. An ability to communicate with individuals with diverse interests and negotiate different investment structures is crucial to this endeavor.

It is not uncommon for individuals in the banking industry to work with foreign investors, foreign projects or foreign investment vehicles. It is therefore critical for individuals hoping to become an investment banker to possess the ability to understand the inner workings of foreign financial markets, in addition to understanding how domestic markets work. In addition, investment bankers must also have a knack for working well with people from other cultures.

Anyone planning to do investment banking must also be able to accomplish technical tasks in an adroit manner. Such tasks include creating and reading computer-generated spreadsheets, operating specialized computer programs and performing, as well as verifying, technical research. Even if a person possesses all or most of the qualities needed to become an investment banker, she or he must still be able to network within the industry, as well as market oneself well in order to obtain a position as an investment banker.

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Discussion Comments

By Animandel — On Jul 24, 2014

This article mentions that some investment bankers make as much as $20,000 a week. That is enough to make you want to consider this as a career choice. However, you should be prepared to make a lot less than that.

I think the average salary is around $100,000, and you can be almost certain that you will be making considerably less than that when you begin your career. As this article says, these finance jobs are very competitive and only the people who are willing to put in the time and work get to reach the higher end of the salary range.

By Feryll — On Jul 23, 2014

To answer your question @Laotionne, you probably wouldn't be able to get hired as a teller and then work your way up to a position as an investment banker. People who hold these positions start planning for their futures and taking the appropriate steps to get there early on.

You need to get an undergraduate degree to begin with. And you want the degree to be in some math or finance related field. Most investment bankers take jobs as analyst at banks after they get their undergraduate degrees. Then at some point they will go back to school and get an MBA, so they can move up from their analyst positions.

I guess somebody might have started as a teller and moved on to become an investment banker without going back to school, but I imagine that is a one in a million chance.

By Laotionne — On Jul 22, 2014

What is involved in becoming an investment banker anyway? Can you start out as a teller and work your way up until you become an investment banker?

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