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March 11, 2014updated 11 Jan 2016 5:31pm

How to be an investment banker

By Spear's

How to Be an Investment Banker

An investment banker embodies a singular financial institution that helps with the investments of superior organisations and individuals, aids mergers and/or acquisitions, and handles Initial Public Offerings (IPOs) for a company that has a ready-to-launch product. He or she acts as a catalyst, connecting people with ideas to investors. Though one travels a lot and the job is quite rewarding, an investment banker has to slog on average 90-100 hours per week in the first year.


Along with geniality and persuasiveness, investment bankers must be well-educated, preferably with a Masters in Business Administration (MBA). Nonetheless, even college graduates can begin as entry level analysts for a couple of years, at which time they may even accompany their mentor to client meetings and watch sales pitches that give them the requisite shot in the arm or vice versa.

This tactic proves valuable to students from an esteemed school having some sort of practical training at the pre-graduation level.
Other modes of entry onto graduate schemes can include medical degrees or post-graduate law, but might over-qualify candidates for entry-level positions.

Ruling Authority

Mostly, the company you work for will help you with the certification and/or registration process of becoming an investment banker. If your client’s assets are $100m or more, you get registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) in the US, or else you’ll get listed with your state securities agency. You will also be given a guide entitled: How To Register as an Investment Adviser.

What It Takes

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Besides education, one must have both social and analytical skills to enable the interpretation of financial information and transmitting the same deferentially. Industry pundits deem communication and people skills, analytical and synthesising ability, ingenuity coupled with initiative and sales ability, leadership and team spirit and the ability to act decisively under tough conditions as de rigueur for an investment banker.

Graduates of all disciplines can have a go at investment banking. Firms expect a minimum degree of 2:1 combined with strong and steady academics, often specifying a minimum number of UCAS points. Companies look for commercial knowledge and financial market savvy, too. Having experience working in the back office of an investment bank is advantageous to a candidate as it demonstrates long-term commitment.

The recruitment process has many stages, which include an online application form, mathematical and oral tests of reasoning, first interview/assessment centre, followed by the concluding interviews.

Acing your Interview

Finance professionals advocate concrete understanding of finance, corporate valuation know-how and familiarity with debt/equity – otherwise a silly gaffe can mess up an interview. Demonstrating knowledge about a particular company’s previous and current deals shows that one is up to date, awarding valuable points to the application.

The Five of Finance

Goldman Sachs International ranked No. 1 in The Guardian’s Top Five Investment Banks of 2012/13 followed by J.P. Morgan in second and Morgan Stanley in fifth, which have both maintained their previous year’s position. HSBC Global Banking and Markets is in third position while Barclays is on the up in fourth.

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