What is a job as an investment banker like?

Students who graduate with a Master of Business Administration benefit from a wealth of career possibilities and earning potentials. With the right MBA program, students can build upon their existing business expertise, emotional intelligence, and leadership skills to become the best version of their professional selves. But what if you have a passion for financial and investment opportunities? You might want to consider entering the fast-paced and high-pressure work environment of investment banking.

Investment banks are divided into three main areas, which include investment banking sales, trading, and asset management. At these organizations, investment bankers offer financial and other services to governments, individuals, and corporations, depending on the size and focus of the institution. These bankers may raise financial capital through underwriting or — acting on behalf of their client in certain situations — may participate in mergers and acquisitions, and tackle general investment and asset management operations.

Those wishing to enter the field must have a deep knowledge of investment processes, mathematics, and critical thinking skills to succeed, along with a passion for high-risk and fast-paced work environments. If you believe pursuing the University of Alabama at Birmingham’s online MBA degree program might be right to help you reach your career dream of becoming an investment banker, here are more facts and necessary information you might want to know about your chosen profession.

Investment banker speaks with couple

What does the daily life as an investment banker look like?

The daily responsibilities of an investment banker vary greatly depending on the type of organization and what role they assume at the company. Additionally, the investment banking industry is incredibly diverse and fast-paced, which means MBA graduates could find themselves wearing many hats on any given day as an entry-level banker. For those who love tackling new challenges and never feeling bored at work, the investment banking industry might be perfect.

On most days, investment bankers may be required to advise clients on financial situations, analyze operational or financial company performance, collaborate on projects, coordinate operational processes, develop and maintain client relationships, evaluate capital needs of clients, negotiate deals, supervise or train junior team members, and create and give client presentations. Other, more specific duties may include performing securities valuations, specializing in green financial instruments, and conferring with clients to restructure debt.

What are the required skills and qualities of an investment banker?

A common misconception about investment banking is that anyone who is good with numbers will be a great fit for this position. While a natural proclivity for quantitative data and numbers are assets to any beginning investment banker, there are a range of other skills and personal qualities you must possess to succeed in this MBA career path. Most importantly, you must thrive in a fast-paced work environment, be ambitious, and be willing to work hard to achieve your professional goals.

As one of the only high-paying positions in the industry that generally welcomes new or fairly new MBA graduates, it can be one of the most competitive sectors in the banking industry, and many new and veteran employees are expected to work long hours. While this might seem daunting at first, if you possess an intense drive to succeed in your chosen career, you have the base quantity you need to do well in investment banking. Additionally, many firms are also improving their work culture by encouraging better hours, greater flexibility, and in-office perks, making it the right time to enter this celebrated field.

Suggested skills include a tireless work ethic, competitive nature, persuasive speaking and writing skills, the ability to take and apply constructive criticism, interpersonal communication skills, and the right MBA education. Most industry insiders agree that the first few years of the profession can be tough, which means having the drive to succeed could be considered another necessary skill.

What are the salary expectations for an investment banker?

Just as is the case for many other fields, the type of organization you work for dramatically impacts your compensation in the investment banking industry. Despite this variation, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics found that entry-level financial analysts earned a median of $84,300 in 2017, while the top 10 percent earned $165,580. The top-grossing sector of investment banking includes securities, commodity contracts, and financial investments, with employees earning an average of $100,180, while professional, scientific, and technical service investment bankers earned around $83,970.

Meanwhile, Careers in Finance estimates that the salary range for first-year investment banking analysts traditionally runs around $100,000 to $150,000 a year. As employees progress and rise in the ranks, many managing directors with seven to 10 years of experience can expect anywhere from $500,000 to $2 million a year, including an annual bonus. Even for entry-level investment bankers, bonuses can amount to one to three times their base salary.

How can UAB help turn this career dream into a reality?

So you believe you have the skills, drive, and passion to succeed in the investment banking industry? To take your first step toward your career dreams, consider UAB’s online MBA program. Our rigorous curriculum and specialized concentration in Finance can provide you with the foundation skills, knowledge, and professional network you need to continue along your career journey. Contact one of our program advisors today to learn more.

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UAB Collat School of Business: Online MBA Degree Program

O*NET OnLine: Summary Report for: 13-2099.03 – Investment Underwriters

Houston Chronicle: Salary Range for Investment Bankers

Investopedia: Investment Banker: Job Description & Average Salary

Investopedia: What do investment bankers really do?

Mergers & Inquisitions: What Do Investment Bankers Do?

The Balance: What Is an Investment Bank?

Bureau of Labor Statistics: Occupational Outlook Handbook: Financial Analysts