Investment Banker

Job Description:

Investment bankers help companies to raise capital.

Job Category:
Financial Services

What you will do:

You’ll serve as a link between companies and investors. When a company wants to expand or begin a big project, they need capital to do it. Investment bankers help them to raise that capital by issuing stock or borrowing from investors.

Your day-to-day duties might include:

  • advising on the sale or disposal of the shares or assets of a business
  • meeting with clients
  • preparing offers
  • analysis (e.g. estimating the market value of a company or running financial projections)
  • creating presentations (e.g. pitchbooks to attract new clients)
  • providing strategic advice
  • acting as a go-between on mergers (when two companies join together) and
  • acquisitions (when one company buys another)


You’ll need:

  • maths knowledge
  • knowledge of economics and accounting
  • to be able to use a computer and the main software packages competently

As well as:

  • numerical and analytical skills
  • dedication, persistence, energy and commitment
  • ambition and a desire to succeed (ambition/drive)
  • the ability to use your initiative and judgement and make decisions
  • thinking and reasoning skills
  • attention to detail
  • communication and interpersonal skills
  • the ability to work under pressure and to strict deadlines (adaptability skills)
  • good time management skills
Illustration of employee looking at workspace

Entry Requirements:

To become an investment banker, you typically need to pursue a higher education degree and gain relevant experience. While there are no specific subjects required for this career, your choice of subjects can certainly prepare you for the academic and analytical aspects of the field. Here’s a list of helpful subjects and skills:

  1. Mathematics: Strong mathematical skills are essential for investment banking. Focus on subjects like mathematics and additional mathematics to develop a solid foundation.
  2. English: Good communication skills, both written and oral, are important in the finance industry. English can help you develop these skills.
  3. Economics: Taking economics can give you a basic understanding of economic principles, which are fundamental in investment banking.
  4. Business Studies: This subject can provide insights into business operations and concepts, which are relevant to finance.
  5. Accounting: Knowledge of accounting principles is valuable for understanding financial statements and transactions.
  6. Statistics: Statistics can help you develop quantitative skills that are crucial in analyzing financial data.
  7. Computer Science or IT: Familiarity with computer programming and software tools, such as Excel, can be highly advantageous.

Post School

Most investment banks recruit graduates with a 2:1 degree or higher. This can be in any subject, though a related topic like mathematics, finance, economics or business is a plus. You’ll be doing training on the job, and depending on your exact role you might have to take exams for the first few years of your career.

You might be at an advantage if you also have a Master of Business Administration (MBA) post-graduate qualification.

Work experience in the industry is essential, so you’ll need to complete an internship or other work placement with an investment bank before graduation.

Working Hours and Environment:

You’ll be expected to work long hours. According to Andrew Gutmann, author of How to be an Investment Banker: Recruiting, Interviewing, and Landing the Job, junior investment bankers work an average of 80-90 hours per week: ‘A typical schedule […] might be weekdays from 9:00am until perhaps 11:00pm, and working on either Saturday or (more likely) Sunday.’

You’ll be office-based and will usually work in the city centre.

The work environment can be very stressful as you’ll be expected to meet targets in order to progress your career, and your pay will probably depend on your performance. In addition, the industry depends heavily on the strength of the economy, so you might experience times of low job security.

Career Path & Progression:

The career ladder in a typical investment bank is as follows:

  • analyst
  • associate
  • vice president
  • senior vice president / director
  • managing director

Most graduates begin their careers as an analyst, typically for two or three years. Upon completion, top-performing analysts progress to an associate role, although it’s possible to progress straight to this role if you have a Master of Business Administration (MBA) post-graduate qualification. Associates often have a team of analysts working for them.

Typically, you’ll then work as an associate for three or four years before progressing to vice president.

You could also move into related fields like Private equity or Hedge funds, which are more risky businesses with bigger payoffs.