How to Become an Investment Banker

Growth Trends for Related Jobs

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Rubbing Shoulders With the 1 Percent

Investment bankers work with some of the world’s richest companies and the people who wear designer clothes and drive luxury cars. If you’re good with finances and this world appeals to you, consider becoming an investment banker. You’ll work hard but bring home more than enough money to support your family. The trek down this path begins by earning a bachelor’s degree in finance or accounting from a top-notch university.

Job Description

Investment banking is not one job; instead, it’s a very broad field with many possible jobs. Investment bankers work for banks that provide financial services to companies, institutions, government departments and wealthy individuals. They help clients raise money in capital markets to finance their business activities. They also help them optimize their investments. An investment banker’s responsibilities could cover any segment of this job, from advising clients on the best ways to raise funds to overseeing initial public offerings to performing mergers and acquisitions.

Education Requirements

If you want to become an investment banker, you need to attend a good college. Get a bachelor’s degree in finance, accounting, economics or business and be sure to work as an intern before you graduate to develop contacts and help you get your first job. To move up in the investment banking field, you may want to earn a master’s in business administration (MBA) with a focus on finance. Most investment bankers at the big banks earned their MBAs at top schools like Columbia Business School, Harvard, MIT, Yale, Wharton, London School of Economics and London Business School.

To be able to sell investments, you need to get a license from the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA). You’ll find there are numerous credentials you can earn by passing FINRA tests, such as becoming a Registered Options Principal or a General Securities Representative. For example, if you take and pass the Series 26 exam (the Investment Company Products/Variable Contracts Limited Principal exam), you have earned the right to buy and sell redeemable securities. Pass the General Securities Representative, or Series 7, exam, and you can buy and sell all the different types of securities products.

After you have your MBA and your licenses, get an entry-level job at an investment bank and prove your worth by bringing in new accounts and meeting and exceeding sales goals.

The median salary for an investment banker is just under $92,000, according to PayScale. “Median” means that half of the investment bankers in this country earn less than this amount, while half earn more. While the salary differential between those with bachelor’s and those with MBAs is only about $2,000 a year, the higher degree may be the ticket to getting and keeping a job.

Relevant Industry

Investment bankers work in the banking and finance industries.

Years of Experience

According to PayScale, the average investment banker salary in this country is $110,000. Entry-level jobs usually pay 15 percent less than the average salary. Those who have worked in the area between five to 10 years may earn 33 percent more than average. After a decade of experience, an investment banker can earn some 35 percent more than this, while those with two decades or more of experience may receive a salary 107 percent greater.

Job Growth Trends

Employment opportunities for investment bankers and others that the Bureau of Labor Statistics considers to be “securities, commodities and financial services sales agents” is projected to grow by 6 percent over the next decade. This growth is comparable to the average for all occupations.