Master’s in Business Administration (MBA) is a gold standard in investment banking. On top of that, if you have earned the degree from a top-tier business school of the likes of the Harvard Business School or Chicago Booth, you win a grand slam!
But what do you do when you don’t have a shiny degree from the most-sought target B-School? The road may be a little harder, but there is a way to get there.
Then again, what do you pursue after High School to get in investment banking?
Here are quick insights into the qualifications you will need to become an investment banker.
Career of Investment Banker: Why go for it?
Banking and finance in general, and investment banking in particular, are highly desirable career fields around the world. For two very simple reasons.
First is, big bucks. The long working hours investment banking professionals spend converts into huge bonuses and mega million-dollar deals. In addition to their six-figure salaries, they earn handsome top-up performance rewards. Greenness of the industry is satisfying for students strapped by education loans and other financial responsibilities. Additionally, the industry offers streamlined career progression with financial benefits increasing correspondingly. Thus, it’s considered as the fastest way to financial security, by many.
Another reason is unparalleled learning opportunities. Banking, predominantly investment banking brings to the table highly refined and transferable skills. Within a few years, one can gain in-depth knowledge of diverse sectors, businesses, financial dynamics, and the impact a decision can have on everything else. More importantly, the skills earned are transferable to almost any industry or career field. It’s the best crash course you can hope for in how the world works.
For better or worse, the learnings will never leave you.
Preparing for investment banking career – What do you need?
A background in Mathematics, Finance, Statistics, Economics, and related disciplines are ideal for investment banking. Opting for these disciplines during high school and undergrad will help get your foot in the door. That said, there may be some with offbeat backgrounds who find their way into the industry. Irrespectively, exposure to finance industry is important.
A quick look at the ideal qualifications sought by industry-experts:
- Bachelor’s in Economics, Commerce, Finance, Mathematics, and related disciplines.
- MBAs in Finance. The value of an MBA rises by multifold if pursued from a top-notch business school.
- Professional investment banking certification. This route will especially be your ally if you don’t come from traditionally sought disciplines or top business schools. Let’s talk more about this route.
Top-Up Credentials: Your Break-In Strategy
If you are new to investment banking, or come from a non-conventional background, such as computer science or pure sciences, you will have to be more proactive.
Earning an industry-reputed qualification is a common way to establish knack for the vocation.
Investment banking industry is not so much about degrees as it is about demonstrating capability for the profession. A professional certification can prove your grip on the skills and knowledge demanded in industry. Two popular international credentials sought by investment bankers are:
- Chartered Investment Banking Professional (CIBPTM) offered by Investment Banking Council of America, and
- Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) by the CFA Institute, among other Investment banking certifications.
Skills you must target
The learning curve is high in the industry. This is the reason banks try to hire skilled candidates who can get started without much hand-holding. Some soft and hard skills revered by industry professionals:
- Hard Skills: Accounting; Financial Modeling; Presentation; Analytics; Mathematics; Business Fundamentals
- Soft Skills: Achiever streak; Creative; Persuasive; High Emotional Quotient; Situational fluency
Build on these foundations to carve up this taxing, but a rewarding career for yourself. Ready to put wagers on the investment banking career?