Investment Banker: Career and Salary Facts

Investment bankers design and coordinate financial strategies that are expected to yield a profit. Read on to learn about the education requirements, salary info and typical career path for these professionals. Schools offering Accounting & Finance degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Would I Do as an Investment Banker?

The investment banking industry comprises a wide range of institutions that employ individuals in many capacities. Investments vary by organization, which usually employ an overall strategy to handle individual assets. Investment bankers represent an elite section of this field and are generally responsible for coordinating strategies.

What Kind of Education Do I Need?

The financial industry is an environment of very high competition, and most investment bankers have at least a bachelor's degree, often in business or economics. Coursework in these areas frequently includes business fundamentals, accounting, economics and management strategy.

Post-graduate education is not uncommon in this field. Many investment bankers go on to earn a Master of Business Administration (MBA) or an advanced degree in economics. As an aspiring investment banker, you also need well-developed mathematical, organizational and analytical skills.

Do I Need To Be Licensed?

Most investment bankers need to be registered with the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), which oversees the industry and grants licenses. FINRA offers various licenses that cover many jobs and responsibilities in the banking industry. You need to pass exams and demonstrate your industry knowledge and compliance with regulations. Continuing education is usually necessary to maintain your registration.

Where Might I Work?

You can expect to begin in entry-level positions within investment firms. This usually entails working as an analyst and undergoing a training period. Successful analysts are generally promoted to associate-level positions and begin to handle clients' accounts more directly. Investment bankers are directors of financial firms and represent the apex of this career path. The level of employment at which you enter the financial sector and the speed of your advancement may be influenced by any advanced education credentials you possess, as well as your personal skills.

What Kind of Working Conditions Can I Expect?

The financial industry is known for its high stress environment and demanding hours. You could face regular deadlines and competition from your peers. Because you may be working in groups with other analysts or associates, networking and social skills are an asset.

As a director in investment banking, you would meet with high-profile clients and coordinate investment strategies. You could travel frequently, and your position would demand the leadership and communication skills necessary to guide associates, as well as work with investors.

What Kind of Salary Could I Have?

In 2008, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that the median hourly wage of general and operations managers within this field was $73.39 (www.bls.org). Of those working in the securities, commodities and investment industry, this is the highest hourly wage reported. This figure could vary due to salary frequently being dependent on factors like the output of the individual and the strength of the market, as well as any bonuses you might receive.

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