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How to Become an Investment Banker

How to Become an Investment Banker main image

Investment banking is a very popular career path among MBA graduates. While roles such as trader and analyst are accessible to candidates from a wide range of financial backgrounds, an investment banker position usually requires the high-profile skills and business acumen that only an MBA can give you.

If you’re interested in becoming an investment banker, here’s everything you need to know about the role and how to best prepare for it.

What do investment bankers do?

Investment bankers are key players in many financial institutions across the world, including world-regarded financial banks and holding companies like Morgan Stanley, JPMorgan Chase and Goldman Sachs.

The role’s main focus is to identify the financial risks associated with business operations to ensure that companies, such as banks and non-profit institutions save precious time and money. Other responsibilities include assisting in acquisitions, mergers and sales; curating data and documentation for companies to go public; planning and pricing financial investments.

Pros of becoming an investment banker

There are many perks to landing a job as an investment banker.

First, the average salary is high, starting off at US$75,000 and reaching six figures after bonuses and career jumps.

Second, you’ll be able to refine your business skills in a high-pressure environment, making you an attractive candidate in the eyes of many recruiters and big players in the business world. Aside from obvious accounting and financing skills, you’ll develop unique soft skills, like communicating well with people, a skillset that will allow you to move across industries much more easily.

Third, working in investment banking can give you endless opportunities for professional growth and career advancement. If you land the job at a big firm, you’ll have the opportunity to network and make valuable connections with top-tier players in the financial field, which could easily result in a career jump to high-profile positions such as vice president, senior vice president and managing director in the future.

How can I land a job as an investment banker?

Getting into investment banking isn’t an easy job, with the acceptance rate at big firms mirroring that of prestigious MBA programs at 4 percent.

However, with determination and the right skills you’ll be able to break into the field and kick-start your career. Here are some key steps you’ll need to take:

  • Develop the right skills: Having an MBA qualification under your belt would undoubtedly make you stand out in the candidate pool. Recruiters will know that you’ve already had a taste of the business world and that you will have developed your skillset to make you a great investment banker, such as an entrepreneurial mindset, networking ability, leadership skills, analytical abilities and a global mindset.
  • Land an internship at an investment banking firm: During your MBA, you’ll likely have the opportunity to undertake an internship. If you dream of becoming an investment banker, then an investment banking firm should be your top choice. Getting hands-on experience and learning the ins and outs of the field will give you a significant advantage in the recruitment process.
  • Network, and then network some more: Networking is essential in any industry and always a good place to start if you want to land a job at a specific firm. Make sure your LinkedIn is up to date and attend as many in-person or virtual networking events as you can – they’re a great way to get your foot in the door and make life-changing connections.
  • Start studying for the right qualifications: Aside from a degree in business, you’ll likely have to pass rigorous investment banking exams to start your career in the field, such as the Investment Banking Representative Exam and the Uniform Investment Advisor Law Examination. Once you land an interview, make sure to ask recruiters which qualifications they’d like you to obtain and start preparing right away – you don’t want to miss out on a top-tier job opportunity!
Written by Linda Mohamed

Linda is Content Writer at TopMBA, creating content about students, courses, universities and businesses. She recently graduated in Journalism & Creative Writing with Politics and International Relations, and now enjoys writing for a student audience. 

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