With hundreds of careers out there, which one is calling your name the loudest?
The world of finance and banking is fast-paced, but it’s also a necessary field that requires dedication, hard work, and intellect.
No day is ever the same, which is why so many people are drawn to this fascinating career path.
If you’re interested in learning more about the path to becoming an investment banker, you’ll find this information useful. Continue reading to learn how to achieve this goal and what the job title entails.
What Is an Investment Banker?
An investment banker wears many hats for their clients. Their role is to act as someone who sells equity within their firm. In addition to this, they issue debt. They may also help clients price capital and allocate it for various different uses.
In a nutshell, they are corporate financial advisors who can help the higher-ups make more sound decisions regarding money. Since their job is heavily tied to the capital markets, they tend to do well when the market is thriving. This is why school is so crucial when hoping to achieve this goal — you must be great at crunching numbers.
Stock and Bond Offerings
Investment bankers are in charge of outbidding the competition transaction when an entity wants to raise funds through equity or debt offering.
Since the market is ever-evolving, investment bankers must also research whether to buy or sell stock on any given day.
Certain banks can cater to various Fortune 500 companies, meaning that millions of dollars can come pouring in on a weekly basis. Investment bankers can help these companies manage their finances and make smart risks and decisions in the stock market.
How Do You Become an Investment Banker?
If this sounds like a position you think you could thrive in, here’s what you need to know about the path to becoming an investment banker.
Make Sure You Have the Following Skills
Investment bankers and people who are interested in entering the world of investment banking should have the following skills on their resume.
You must have leadership skills. You should also feel confident working with numbers. Resilience is another valuable skill. The path to becoming an investment banker is not easy. Many people may stray off the path to becoming an investment banker, as you’ll have to take several exams and complete various certifications. Since you’re also working with hundreds of thousands of dollars at a time — if not more — it requires an incredibly responsible individual.
Earn Your Bachelor’s Degree
One of the first steps you can take on the path to becoming an investment banker is to acquire your bachelor’s degree from an accredited college. You can make it in finance with any major. But it helps to specialize in accounting, economics, or math. Other sound choices include.
- computer science
Selecting a degree plan within these fields can help you land a better internship outside of college in the investment banking world. Taking these classes will also set you up for success out of the classroom. If you have any questions about your degree plan, make sure to ask your advisor for help planning out your coursework.
Accounting will help you with the technical side of things, but you must also be a master communicator if you wish to become a successful banker.
Consider majoring in one and minoring in the other so you can become a well-rounded candidate.
Look Into Internships After College
Sorry college grads, that diploma won’t help you land a job immediately after college! You’ll also need an impressive resume if you wish to land a more permanent position in this highly competitive field and embark on the path of becoming an investment banker.
The key to finding a quality internship in banking is not spending all of your hours applying to listings on job boards. Internships can also help polish your skills in the financial and banking world, but if you’re wondering how you can get your foot in the door, networking is the answer. You’re more likely to set yourself up for success on the path to becoming an investment banker through this method. Applying to internships online is no longer effective due to the high number of applicants a bank will typically see.
Start by creating or updating your Linkedin profile. Think of this website as the Facebook for career orientated folk. It can help you connect with alumni too, which is the secret to getting a job interview these days. Don’t be afraid to list every award, scholarship, achievement, and past internship on your profile. The more information you upload, the better chance you have of getting a call back!
Another great way to start networking is to invest in business cards. This may seem a bit ‘old-school’; however, this tactic is unique and effective enough to work. Print out around 500 cards with your email, social media profiles, and a link to your portfolio. Pass these cards out whenever you’re attending networking events to make your presence known to anyone hiring in the area.
If this method is too old-fashioned, you can build a brand by creating a website to showcase your skills. You can send this link to hiring managers and use it as both a resume and a portfolio.
You can also use other forms of social media as a way to connect with peers in the field. Don’t be afraid to send a message! Make sure you are using professional language if you use this method to land an internship or job.
Register with FINRA and Pass Applicable Securities Exams
After getting your degree and getting some experience under your belt, you will have to register with FINRA and pass your exams before entering the professional world. You may also register during the final months of your degree plan if you’re wrapping up the semester.
One of the most talked-about exams you will need to take is your Series 79. You can even apply for a Series 79 sponsorship as the fees can add up, which can make any college grad feel like they’re drowning when they’re already knee-deep in debt.
Registering with the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority is rather simple, and most of it can be done online. Those who wish to go through this process can retrieve and complete their draft fillings electronically to their current brokerage firm. You will also have to file a Uniform Application for Securities Industry Registration or Transfer — also referred to as Form U4, through the CRD system. This form is meant to collect all the administrative and disclosure information your new firm will need in order to hire you. To register, you will also have to provide your social security card as well as a fingerprint scan to prove your identity. If any criminal history pops up, you will have the right to challenge it before moving onto the next step.
Handling your exams, however, can be a bit tricker than simply sending information in. You will have to schedule it with the test vendor of your choice. FINRA also provides testing points to help you study and meet their required proficiency score for each area of discipline.
You must schedule your exam 120 days in advance to you taking it. When booking with your testing center, they will also need to know the following information.
- your name along with your given CRD number
- the name of the exam you plan on taking — for example, a Securities Industry Essentials Exam will have a different code than a FINRA Principal-level Exam
- your contact information to confirm
- your future employer’s contact information
Please be aware of FINRA’s policy on canceling or rescheduling before booking your appointment.
Their policy states that you must make any changes at least ten days prior to avoid any fees.
Start the Chartered Financial Analyst Program
If you wish to go above and beyond, the CFA program will further validate your skills on a resume. You will have to pass three levels of exams to gain this certification. But it will also help you make valuable connections by helping you network through the CFA societies.
Get the Job of Your Dreams
By now, you should have a good idea of where you want to work. Use the connections you made throughout your internships to land an interview. When you finally get that call back, prepare yourself for nailing it and getting a great job straight out of college.
Practice the night before. Walk in with confidence, and play to your strengths. Have a fresh copy of your resume ready to go, and always ask questions to keep the dialog going. If you do this, congratulations — you’re on the right path to becoming an investment banker.
What are the Benefits of Becoming an Investment Banker?
Now that you are more aware of the path to becoming an investment banker, here are some great perks that come with the job!
Most jobs will give you vacation time, but they may encourage you to bring your work home with you or to keep your phone on you for conference calls. However, most banks require time blocks where their investment bankers are forced to unplug completely from their work.
Speaking of vacations, some banks require you to take a gardening leave before transferring to a new bank. You may get one to six months of paid vacation time during this transition period. It can help you dump all the information from your all job, so your brain feels fresh and ready for your next set of clients.
You Will Have an Adaptable Set of Skills
Most people worry about committing to one career path. They fear that they will grow tired of working the same job, day in and day out. However, if you choose the path to becoming an investment banker, you’ll have an adaptable set of skills that you can apply to several other jobs in the financial world. Many people in the field can eventually use their skills to create their own business and work remotely.
Investment bankers can also make up to six figures and beyond, which means you can achieve all of your financial goals with this job. You can save up to live in a luxury retirement community.
Learn How to Invest Your Own Money to Expand Your Income
By becoming an investment banker, you will learn how to handle your own finances too. Should you invest in Apple or ExxonMobil? You won’t have to hire a financial advisor since this career allows you to act as your own.
If you’re interested in following this path to becoming an investment banker, do your research!
It’s not a career that everyone can excel at. However, if you’re financially savvy and wish to make a great salary, the path to becoming an investment banker could be one for you.