Building surrounded by investment bankers

How to Become an Investment Banker: Step by Step Guide

Are you a student with strong math skills and a knack for analytical thinking? If so, this how to become an investment banker post is just for you.


Investment bankers play a crucial role in issuing securities and facilitating complex financial transactions. They provide expert advice and assistance to corporate clients in events such as mergers and acquisitions, as well as arranging financing for companies.


To embark on a successful journey as an investment banker, it is essential to pursue an education in finance. While entry-level positions can be obtained with a bachelor’s degree, most professionals in the field eventually pursue a master’s degree to enhance their knowledge and expertise.


Additionally, earning certifications, such as the CFA charter, can further enhance your credentials in the investment banking industry.


In this article, I will outline the steps and qualifications required to become an investment banker, as well as provide insights into the job outlook and highest-paying investment banks in the industry.

Key Takeaways:

  • Investment banking is an ideal career path for students with strong math skills and analytical thinking abilities.
  • Pursuing an education in finance, including a bachelor’s degree and potentially a master’s degree, is crucial to becoming an investment banker.
  • Investment bankers play a significant role in advising corporate clients in financial events like mergers and acquisitions and arranging financing for companies.
  • The investment banking industry offers high earning potential, with entry-level salaries for investment bankers reaching $101,300.
  • Continuing education, internships, and specialization can enhance your skills and increase your chances of success in the investment banking field.

What Does an Investment Banker Do?

Investment bankers play a crucial role in the financial industry, and their responsibilities are diverse and multifaceted. Investment bankers are at the heart of complex financial transactions, from advising corporate clients on mergers and acquisitions to arranging financing for companies.


At the beginning of their careers, investment bankers often start as analysts. Through experience and further education, they can climb the ladder and reach positions such as analyst or vice president. Their primary tasks include facilitating corporate clients in mergers and acquisitions, arranging company financing, and assisting in capital raising through stock sales.


Investment bankers are essential in guiding businesses through complex financial events and helping them achieve their strategic objectives. Their expertise in analyzing financial data, assessing risks, and making informed decisions is crucial for companies seeking growth and financial stability.

Skills and Expertise

  • Analytical skills: Investment bankers need strong analytical abilities to interpret complex financial data and make informed recommendations.
  • Attention to detail: The role of an investment banker requires meticulous attention to detail, as even a small oversight can have significant consequences in financial transactions.
  • Communication skills: Effective communication is key, as investment bankers must convey complex financial information to clients and colleagues in a clear and concise manner.
  • Decision-making abilities: Investment bankers must make critical decisions quickly and confidently, weighing the potential risks and rewards.
  • Math skills: A solid foundation in mathematics is essential for investment bankers to analyze financial data, evaluate profitability, and assess risks.
  • Ethics and compliance: Investment bankers must adhere to ethical guidelines and comply with relevant financial regulations to maintain trust and integrity in the industry.

Overall, investment banking is a dynamic field that requires a unique skill set and a deep understanding of the financial landscape. The work of investment bankers contributes to the growth and success of businesses, making it a challenging yet rewarding profession.

Steps to Become an Investment Banker

Are you interested in pursuing a career in investment banking?


Here are some important steps to consider:


  1. Earn a bachelor’s degree in finance or a related field: A strong foundation in finance is essential for a career in investment banking. Consider majoring in finance, accounting, or economics to gain the necessary knowledge and skills.
  2. Secure an entry-level position: After completing your bachelor’s degree, look for entry-level positions in investment banking firms. These positions, such as an investment banking analyst, will provide you with valuable experience in the industry.
  3. Consider pursuing a master’s degree: While a bachelor’s degree can get you started in investment banking, many professionals choose to pursue a master’s degree, such as a Master of Finance or an MBA. These advanced degrees can help you stand out in a competitive job market and may lead to better career opportunities.
  4. Obtain relevant certifications: In addition to a degree, consider obtaining certifications that are highly regarded in the investment banking industry. The Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) designation, for example, is widely recognized and can demonstrate your expertise and commitment to the field.

By following these steps, you can build a strong foundation for a successful career in investment banking.


Remember to continuously update your skills and stay informed about the latest trends and developments in the industry.

Bankers meeting around a table going over the numbers

Consider Continuing Education or Specialization

Continuing education and specialization are crucial for investment bankers looking to advance their careers and stay competitive in the industry.


Here are some key factors to consider:


  1. Additional Courses and Certifications: Taking additional courses and earning certifications in banking or finance can enhance your knowledge and skills. Specialized certifications like the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) charter can provide a competitive edge and credibility in the field.
  2. Internships: Internships offer valuable real-world experience and networking opportunities. Consider pursuing internships during your education to gain hands-on exposure to investment banking practices and build connections with industry professionals.
  3. Developing Essential Skills: Investment banking requires a wide range of skills, including analytical prowess, attention to detail, confidence, and strong communication abilities. Continuously developing and honing these skills will make you a more valuable asset in the industry.

By investing in your education and professional development, you can position yourself for growth and advancement within the investment banking sector. Remember, staying updated with industry trends and developments is essential for success in this competitive field.

What to Know Before Becoming an Investment Banker

Before embarking on a career in investment banking, there are a few crucial things to keep in mind.


It’s essential to understand that accreditation from an accredited degree program is vital. This ensures that your education meets the rigorous standards set by accrediting bodies, providing you with a solid foundation for success in the field.


Licensing and certification requirements can vary, but passing licensing exams is a must for aspiring investment bankers. These exams demonstrate your proficiency in the field and help establish your credibility as a financial professional.


Obtaining a master’s degree or other advanced education can be expensive, but it’s crucial to weigh the potential return on investment.


With the high earning potential of investment bankers, particularly when it comes to bonuses and compensation, many find that the costs are outweighed by the financial rewards.

Preparing for Interviews and Demonstrating Relevant Skills

Recruitment in the investment banking industry can be highly competitive, so being well-prepared for interviews is crucial. Research the specific firm you are applying to and familiarize yourself with their values, culture, and recent transactions.


This will help you to tailor your responses and showcase your genuine interest in the company.


Investment banking requires a range of abilities, including analytical skills, attention to detail, effective communication, and strong decision-making capabilities.


Be prepared to provide specific examples of how you have demonstrated these skills in previous experiences, whether through internships, coursework, or other professional settings.


By understanding the key factors to consider before becoming an investment banker and effectively preparing for interviews, you can position yourself for success in this dynamic and rewarding field.

Highest Paying Investment Banks

When it comes to investment banking jobs, some firms stand out for their high compensation. These prestigious investment banks offer lucrative opportunities for those looking to maximize their earning potential.


Here are a few of the highest-paying investment banks:


  1. Centerview Partners: Known for its top-tier advisory services, Centerview Partners is renowned for its generous compensation packages. The firm attracts top talent by offering competitive salaries and substantial bonuses.
  2. Evercore: Evercore is a leading independent investment banking advisory firm that consistently ranks among the highest-paying banks. With a focus on strategic mergers and acquisitions, Evercore rewards its employees with excellent remuneration.
  3. Lazard: Lazard is another well-known investment banking firm that offers lucrative compensation to its employees. Known for its global presence and expertise in financial advisory services, Lazard provides highly competitive salaries and bonuses.

Working for these elite boutiques can lead to not only higher compensation but also exceptional career advancement opportunities. The challenging and dynamic nature of the work at these investment banks attracts talented individuals who are motivated by both financial rewards and professional growth.

Did you know that global investment banking fees hit a record high in the first half of 2021? They soared to a whopping 80.5 trillion U.S. dollars, outpacing the previous year’s record by almost 18 trillion!

Investment Banker Qualifications

An investment banker requires specific qualifications to succeed in this competitive field. Here are the key qualifications and skills that are essential for aspiring investment bankers:


  • A bachelor’s degree in finance or a related field is typically required to enter the investment banking industry.
  • Many investment bankers further their education with advanced degrees, such as a Master of Business Administration (MBA) or a Master of Finance.

Analytical Skills:

Investment bankers must possess strong analytical skills to evaluate complex financial data and make informed decisions. These skills are crucial for conducting financial analysis, modeling potential deals, and assessing investment opportunities.

Attention to Detail:

Paying meticulous attention to detail is essential in investment banking. Investment bankers must ensure accuracy in financial statements, reports, and legal documents to minimize risks and facilitate successful transactions.

Communication Skills:

Effective communication is crucial for investment bankers to convey complex financial concepts and strategies to clients and colleagues. Strong verbal and written communication skills enable investment bankers to build relationships, negotiate deals, and articulate investment recommendations.

Decision-Making Abilities:

Investment bankers must possess excellent decision-making abilities to assess risks, evaluate investment opportunities, and develop sound financial strategies. The ability to make timely and informed decisions is vital in the fast-paced and dynamic environment of investment banking.

Math Skills:

A solid foundation in mathematics is necessary for investment bankers. Proficiency in financial mathematics and the ability to analyze numerical data are fundamental for accurately valuing assets, calculating risk metrics, and conducting financial modeling.

Knowledge of Ethics and Compliance:

Investment bankers must adhere to strict ethical standards and comply with relevant regulations and laws. A comprehensive understanding of ethics and compliance is essential for maintaining the integrity of financial transactions and protecting the interests of clients.

Developing and honing these qualifications and skills is crucial for aspiring investment bankers seeking success in this challenging and rewarding industry.

Image of market data

How Long Does It Take to Become an Investment Banker?

Becoming an investment banker is an exciting career path that offers both financial rewards and professional growth. But how long does it take to become an investment banker? The timeline can vary, but generally, it takes around 4 to 6 years to establish yourself in this field.


The journey to becoming an investment banker starts with earning a bachelor’s degree in a related field, such as finance or accounting.


This typically takes around 4 years of full-time study. Once you have your degree in hand, you can begin applying for entry-level positions as an investment banking analyst.

While a bachelor’s degree is a good starting point, many professionals in this industry pursue advanced education to enhance their knowledge and skills. Pursuing a master’s degree, such as a Master of


Finance or an MBA, can provide a competitive edge and open up more opportunities for career advancement.


Additionally, obtaining certifications like the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) charter can further boost your credentials.

Detailed Education and Experience

  • Earn a bachelor’s degree
  • Secure an entry-level position as an investment banking analyst
  • Pursue advanced education, such as a master’s degree or certifications
  • Gain relevant work experience in the field

It’s important to note that the path to becoming an investment banker requires not only education but also gaining relevant work experience.


This experience can be obtained through internships, co-op programs, or entry-level positions in finance or related fields. It allows you to develop practical skills and build a network of professionals in the industry.


The time and effort invested in your education and experience will be rewarded with opportunities for advancement, high earning potential, and the satisfaction of contributing to complex financial transactions.

Investment Banking Education

Investment banking education plays a vital role in shaping a candidate’s career trajectory in the field. It is essential to acquire the necessary knowledge and skills to succeed. Here are some key aspects of investment banking education:


  • Curriculum: Choose a degree program that offers comprehensive coursework in finance, accounting, economics, and business. These subjects provide a solid foundation for understanding investment banking principles.
  • Internships: Seek internships with reputable financial institutions to gain practical experience and develop industry connections. These internships provide invaluable real-world exposure and enhance job prospects.
  • Networking: Take advantage of networking opportunities through industry events, career fairs, and professional organizations. Building relationships and connections can open doors to job opportunities and mentorship.
  • Soft Skills Development: In addition to technical knowledge, investment bankers should focus on developing essential soft skills such as communication, teamwork, and problem-solving. These skills are highly valued in the industry and contribute to long-term success.

Investment banking education encompasses both academic learning and practical experience, providing individuals with the necessary tools to excel in this challenging and rewarding field.

Investment banking job outlook numbers

Investment Banker Job Outlook:

  • The projected employment growth for investment bankers is 10% from 2021 to 2031.
  • The aging population and decline in traditional pensions contribute to the demand for investment bankers.
  • The complexity of financial markets and the need for expert guidance in investments drive the continued demand for investment bankers.


A career in financial markets offers promising job opportunities and a high earning potential. To embark on this path, individuals should focus on acquiring the necessary qualifications and skills. This includes earning a bachelor’s degree in finance or a related field, gaining relevant work experience, and considering advanced education or certifications.


With a projected employment growth of 10% from 2021 to 2031, the job outlook for investment bankers is positive. Factors such as an aging population and a decline in traditional pensions contribute to the demand for investment banking services. However, it is important to note that consolidation within the financial services industry and automated trading systems may have an impact on the industry’s growth.


By following the recommended steps and demonstrating a strong commitment to professional development, individuals can pursue a successful and rewarding career in investment banking. The combination of education, skills, and experience in this field opens doors to various job opportunities and the potential for career advancement.

What qualifications do I need to become an investment banker?

To become an investment banker, you will need a bachelor’s degree in finance or a related field. Many investment bankers also pursue advanced degrees such as an MBA or a Master of Finance. Strong analytical skills, attention to detail, confidence, communication skills, decision-making abilities, math skills, and knowledge of ethics and compliance are important for investment bankers.

How long does it take to become an investment banker?

The time it takes to become an investment banker can vary, but it generally takes 4-6 years. This includes earning a bachelor’s degree, gaining work experience, and potentially pursuing an advanced degree or certification.

How much do investment bankers earn?

According to Payscale, the average annual base salary for investment bankers is $101,300. Working for prestigious investment banks can lead to higher compensation and career advancement opportunities.

What should I know before becoming an investment banker?

Before becoming an investment banker, it is important to know that accreditation from an accredited degree program is important to ensure that your education meets the standards of an accrediting body. Licensing and certification requirements vary, but investment bankers need to pass licensing exams. The cost of pursuing a career in investment banking can be high, particularly when it comes to pursuing a master’s degree. However, the high earning potential of investment bankers can offset these costs. Recruitment in the investment banking industry can be competitive, and it is important to be prepared for interviews and demonstrate relevant skills.