Everything About An Investment Banker Career
You think about becoming an investment banker but are not sure whether this will be the right career for you or not?
Great! Stick with me since I will show you everything you need to know about being an investment banker in the following chapters.
Not only will you learn how much money you can make as an investment banker, but we will also talk about job satisfaction, future outlook, working hours, work-life balance, educational requirements, duties and much more.
At the end of this article, you will also find an FAQ section where I answer the most common questions about being an investment banker.
After reading this article, you will have a much better idea of whether you still want to become an investment banker or rather want to go for a different career instead.
What does an Investment Banker do?
Investment bankers work on complex transactions and make sure that mergers, acquisitions and other deals are carried out in the best possible manner.
They also do lots of research and trade stocks and other securities to maximize the profits of the investment banks they work for.
Responsibilities & Duties of an Investment Banker
- Financial market research
- Trading of securities
- Working on complex transactions
- Supporting mergers and acquisitions
- Supporting initial public offerings
- Raising money for clients
- Supporting the issuance of debt
- Advising clients on investment opportunities
- Using arbitrage trading opportunities
- Working with complex financial models
- Assuring that all deals are fine from a legal perspective
- Doing everything that their clients are happy
What a Typical Day of an Investment Banker looks like?
Most investment bankers start their workday between 8 and 10 a.m.
After getting to work, the first thing they do is to have a look at their schedule so that they can prepare for meetings properly.
They also check their mails in the morning and answer the most important ones.
After doing this organizational work, investment bankers start doing their technical work and work on complex transactions all day long.
Some investment bankers are also focused on trading and try to outperform the market by using sophisticated trading models.
Working as an investment banker is not a classical 9 to 5 job.
Instead, you will often finish your workday late in the evening or even at nighttime.
In fact, most investment bankers finish their workday between 8 and 11 p.m. and you should not aspire to a job in this field if you are not willing to work long hours every day.
Investment Banker Salary 2021
Investment Banker salary brackets 2021
|Salary Brackets||Salary (per year)||Salary (per hour)|
|Top 10 %||> $235,000||> $117.42|
|Top 25 %||$186,000 – $212,000||$92.93 – $105.89|
|Bottom 25 %||$103,000 – $127,000||$51.45 – $63.38|
|Bottom 10 %||$82,000 – $93,000||$40.91 – $46.44|
|Range||$82,000 – $318,000||$40.91 – $158.93|
Investment Banker salary 2021 by expert level
|Level of Experience||Salary (per year)||Salary (per hour)|
|Entry level||$82,000 – $118,000||$40.91 – $58.93|
|Junior||$109,000 – $148,000||$54.44 – $73.95|
|Professional||$141,000 – $179,000||$70.39 – $89.46|
|Senior Professional||$173,000 – $235,000||$86.42 – $117.39|
|Expert||$227,000 – $282,000||$113.38 – $140.92|
|Top Expert||$265,000 – $318,000||$132.47 – $158.93|
Investment Banker salary by state 2021 (average)
|State||Salary (per year)||Salary (per hour)|
|District of Columbia||$156,800||$78.38|
Job Security of Investment Bankers
Investment bankers have pretty decent job security.
Since they are often really smart and learn many valuable skills, investment bankers don’t have to worry about losing their jobs since even if they do, they can work in many fields in the financial sector and will find a new job pretty soon.
Future Job Prospects of Investment Bankers
Even though investment bankers will also have a decent future outlook, some jobs will still vanish in this industry since humans will be partly replaced by intelligent machines and some investment bankers will just lose their jobs.
However, you still don’t have to worry about getting unemployed that much since you can still work in many finance-related jobs if this happens.
Working Hours of Investment Bankers
Investment bankers usually start their workday between 8 and 10 a.m. and finish their workday between 8 and 11 p.m.
During busy times, you may even have to work all day and night long and becoming an investment banker will therefore not be the right career choice for you in case you want to have lots of leisure.
Job Satisfaction of Investment Bankers
Many investment bankers are not happy with what they are doing since they barely have any leisure at all and even though they can make good money from what they are doing, the high workload leads to all sorts of mental and emotional issues and many investment bankers therefore think about quitting their jobs.
Promotion Opportunities of Investment Bankers
Investment bankers have pretty decent promotion opportunities.
If you are willing to work hard, you can climb the corporate ladder soon and may get lots of personnel responsibility at a rather young age.
Career Levels of Investment Bankers
- Investment banker intern
- Investment banking analyst
- Investment banking associate
- Vice president
- Senior vice president (director)
- Managing director
Fields and Types of Investment Bankers
- Investment bankers focused on mergers and acquisitions
- Investment bankers with expertise in issuing debt
- Investment bankers specialized in issuing equity
- Investment bankers focused on IPOs
- Investment bankers specialized in trading
- Investment bankers focused on venture capital
- Investment bankers focused on private equity
- Investment bankers specialized in the legal side of deals
- Investment bankers focused on financial market research
Educational Requirements for Investment Bankers
Investment bankers need at least a bachelor’s degree in finance, business, economics, mathematics, physics or a related field.
Even though you don’t have to get a business-related degree, you still need to get a degree that shows that you have a talent for working with numbers and that you are also pretty smart.
How to become an Investment Banker
- Inform yourself about the advantages and disadvantages of being an investment banker
- Apply for your favorite college degrees at renowned universities
- Choose your favorite college degree and start college education
- Focus on getting excellent grades
- Apply for an internship at investment banks
- Work hard and make a good impression during your internship
- Stay in touch with your colleagues
- Finish your college degree with excellent grades
- Apply for jobs at major investment banks
- Master the job interview
- Sign your labor contract
- Work hard and climb the ladder
Character Traits you need as an Investment Banker
- You should have a talent for working with numbers
- Willingness to work hard
- Willingness to work long hours every day
- Ability to stay calm under pressure
- Willingness to work in a competitive environment
- Willingness to make lots of sacrifices for your career
- Persistence helps you push through difficult times
- You should be able to deal with drawbacks in a healthy manner
- You should always put the client first
Hard Skills for Investment Bankers
- Excellent knowledge of mergers and acquisitions
- Expertise in how to do deals
- Excellent knowledge of financial market instruments
- Expertise in doing IPOs
- Knowledge of how to raise money for companies
- Excellent math skills
- Strong analytical skills
- Good project management skills
- Talent for working with numbers
- Good problem-solving skills
- Knowledge of legal rules and regulations related to investment banking
Soft Skills for Investment Bankers
- Good people skills help you deal with difficult clients
- Ambition helps you stay competitive
- Persistence helps you push through difficult periods of your career
- Patience helps you get deals done
- Good time management skills help you get things done in time
- Team working skills help you work successfully on complex projects
- Passion for deal-making
- Dedication for your projects
- Self-confidence is key to work in this competitive environment
Exit Options for Investment Bankers
There are many fancy exit options for investment bankers.
Since investment bankers learn many valuable skills and are often also pretty smart, they can easily also work as financial analysts, financial controllers, underwriters, consultants or compliance officers.
Investment Banker – Similar Careers
- Financial analyst
- Financial controller
- Compliance officer
- Day trader
- Private equity specialist
- Investment advisor
- Corporate finance manager
- Research expert
Investment Banker Career FAQs
Is working as an investment banker physically demanding?
Working as an investment banker is not heavily physically demanding since you mainly work with a computer and don’t have to lift heavy things.
However, you will still have to work long hours and this may stress your body quite a lot in the long run since you will often not get enough sleep to reload your batteries.
Is working as an investment banker mentally demanding?
Being an investment banker is highly mentally demanding since you will have to work on complex deals all day long and mistakes on your side can lead to serious outcomes.
Hence, you always need to stay focused and this can really stress your brain quite a lot and may lead to all sorts of mental and emotional issues.
Is it dangerous to work as an investment banker?
Working as an investment banker is not dangerous since you will work in a classical office job and your risk of suffering from serious accidents at work will be rather low.
However, you will still have to work long hours and your risk of suffering from serious emotional issues and burnout will be pretty high, which makes working as an investment banker riskier than other office jobs where people only work 9 to 5 in a rather relaxed manner.
How long do investment bankers stay in their jobs?
Most investment bankers don’t stay in their jobs for a long time since they have to work long hours every day and sacrifice everything for their jobs.
Consequently, many people exit this industry after a few years since they want to have more leisure and less stress at work.
Is it easy for investment bankers to find a new job?
Since you will learn many valuable skills as an investment banker, it will also be pretty easy for you to find a new job in the financial sector.
Even if you don’t want to work as an investment banker anymore, you could still work as a financial analyst, controller or in many other finance-related fields.
Is it hard to switch from being an investment banker to another field of work?
While investment bankers have an easy time finding a new job in the financial industry, they will have a pretty hard time when it comes to finding a job in a completely different field.
For instance, while you could easily work in private equity, switching to becoming a carpenter or other non-finance-related jobs would be almost impossible.
Do investment bankers have a high social status?
Investment bankers have a pretty high social status.
Even though there had been many scandals in the past, investment bankers are still admired by the majority of the general public and many people would love to work in this field.
Can you help out your family and friends as an investment banker?
You will be able to help out your loved ones as an investment banker in the sense that you can give your family and friends valuable investment advice so that they can invest their money in a wise manner and avoid serious financial losses.
Can investment bankers work remotely?
Investment bankers are able to work remotely for at least some days of the week.
However, they also sometimes have to be present at work in person for meetings with their clients or to see their colleagues.
Is it easy to find a partner as an investment banker?
Since investment bankers have a high social standing and are also able to make really good money from what they are doing, you will have an easy time finding a partner and you will have almost freedom of choice in this regard.
Do investment bankers have to work on weekends?
Even though investment bankers don’t have to officially work on weekends, many investment banks require you to work during Saturdays or even Sundays, especially if you have important meetings on Monday and still have to prepare for them.
Do investment bankers have to work on holidays?
While you don’t urgently have to work on holidays, many investment bankers still work during those days since they want to climb the ladder as quickly as possible and the more you work, the better your results will be and the more likely it will become that you get promoted.
Do investment bankers have to work at nighttime?
Investment bankers have to work long hours and this also includes working in the evening or even at nighttime.
In fact, barely anyone who works at a big investment bank quits hir or her workday before 8 p.m. and some investment bankers even work all night long to get projects done in time.
Do you have to travel as an investment banker?
There is no need to travel as an investment banker while you still work at a junior level.
However, once you become more senior, you might have to do some business trips and will be away from home quite often.
Are investment banker pensions good?
Since investment bankers can make really good money from what they are doing, they also receive pretty decent pensions.
Moreover, if you save and invest your money wisely, you will have more than enough money once you quit your active career and don’t have to worry about financial problems at retirement age as many other people have to do.
Are investment banker salaries going up?
Investment banker salaries have been going up over the past years and they are on a pretty high level.
In fact, there are not many jobs out there where you can make that much money and if money and luxury are really important to you, working as an investment banker will definitely be the right way to go for you.
Can you have a positive impact on society as an investment banker?
You will not have a big positive impact on society as an investment banker since you will just care about making your deals successful and about making your clients happy while you will not care about the bigger picture at all.
How long does it take to become an investment banker?
Since you will need a degree for working as an investment banker, it will take you at least 4 years before you are able to work in this field.
You will also have to spend lots of time and money on college education and you should therefore make sure that working in investment banking is really what you want to do for quite a long time to make it worth the investment.
Is it difficult to become an investment banker?
Becoming an investment banker is pretty difficult since you will have to get a college degree from a renowned university and will also need excellent grades to be able to work in this field.
In fact, only the best of the best will get the chance to work at major investment banks while most other people will have to work in different jobs and will never get there.
Do you need to be smart to work as an investment banker?
You need to be pretty smart for becoming an investment banker since you need excellent grades to be accepted by major investment banks and competition in this field is pretty fierce.
In fact, only a very small fraction of people who apply for jobs in those banks will ever get the chance of working in this industry.
Do investment bankers have a good work-life balance?
Investment bankers don’t have good work-life balance at all.
Instead, you will have to work long hours every day and will barely see your loved ones.
You will also have to sacrifice almost all of your hobbies since you will simply not have time for doing things apart from working, eating and sleeping.
Do investment bankers have to work many extra hours?
Investment bankers have to work many extra hours.
In fact, most investment bankers don’t quit their workday before 8 p.m. and many of them even work until after midnight.
Hence, you should not be afraid to work long hours if you want to become an investment banker.
How to maximize your chances of becoming an investment banker?
If you really want to maximize your chances of becoming an investment banker, you should try to get excellent grades and also do an internship at one of the major investment banks and stay in touch with your colleagues so that you already get a foot in the door and don’t have to apply without having contacts after finishing college.
Can investment bankers work part-time?
Investment bankers don’t work part-time.
Instead, they work more than full-time and the average investment banker works around 80 hours per week.
Thus, you will basically do work for two people every week and you should be prepared for that before you decide on becoming an investment banker.
Do investment bankers work indoors or outdoors?
Investment bankers work indoors in a classical office environment.
Hence, while many other people like construction workers or welders have to work outdoors during times of bad weather, you will not have to worry in this regard and can rather enjoy your workday in a convenient office atmosphere.
What does the workplace of an investment banker look like?
As an investment banker, you will mainly work in an office environment.
Consequently, you will do your work on a computer and you will use our modern technologies to do video calls and so on.
Do you have to look good for working as an investment banker?
You don’t have to look good for succeeding as an investment banker.
However, you should still look groomed so that your clients will not be disgusted by your appearance and you will not lose your projects.
Is an investment banker career beneficial for your private life?
Even though you can make lots of money and can afford many nice things, working as an investment banker can still be detrimental to your private life since you will have to work long hours and will not see your favorite people at all.
Moreover, many investment bankers also suffer from mental and emotional issues in the long run and may also use certain substances to stay fit, which may lead to addiction or other serious adverse outcomes sooner or later.
Do you need a college degree for becoming an investment banker?
You need a college degree from a renowned university with excellent grades to become an investment banker.
Even though you don’t need to study something finance-related, you should still choose a degree where you can prove a high IQ since only pretty smart people will be accepted for job interviews at major investment banks.
Do you need to be certified to work as an investment banker?
You don’t urgently need additional certificates apart from your college degree to be able to work as an investment banker.
However, it can still help to hold a CFA certificate to prove that you are a true finance expert and that you will most likely have all the skills you need to succeed in this industry.
How much does it cost to become an investment banker?
Since you have to spend many years on college education, you would also have to spend lots of money on tuition and other expenses related to college.
Hence, investment bankers often have to pay back student loans and even though they can make good money from their jobs, having student loans can still be a big financial and emotional burden.
Is being an investment banker a good career?
Working as an investment banker is considered a good career by most people who don’t have any experience in working in this field.
However, people who really work in this field often complain about excessive workloads and secretly wish to work in a different field instead.
Is it easy to start your own business as an investment banker?
It is not easy to start your own business as an investment banker since it would take you quite a long time to get a good reputation and reputation is everything so that your clients trust you.
Hence, if you want to work self-employed, you should not become an investment banker but rather go for a career in a different field where it would be easier to achieve your dreams.
Can investment bankers teach themselves?
While investment bankers can teach themselves many things they need for working in this field, they still need fancy formal education before major investment banks will be able to employ them.
Do investment bankers make good money?
Investment bankers can make really good money from what they are doing. In fact, you can make a six-figure income right from the start of your career and if you are willing to work hard, you may get into a leading role in your company before you even turn 30 and may even be able to make a six-figure income.
Is it ever too late to become an investment banker?
While it is never too late to become an investment banker, it would still be best to get into this industry at a rather young age since you will have to spend many years on college education and the younger you are, the longer you can benefit from it in a financial manner.
Moreover, since you will have to work outrageous hours at the beginning of your career, you will be better able to do so at a young age since the older you get, the less power you will have to work long hours.
Do investment bankers have to quit their careers early?
Many investment bankers have to quit their careers early since they simply cannot deal with the high workload and pressure in an emotionally healthy manner and suffer from serious mental and emotional problems sooner or later.
What is the most challenging thing about working as an investment banker?
The hardest part about being an investment banker is that you have to work long hours every day and that you will barely have time for anything apart from work.
Hence, you will have to completely neglect your private life and may become socially isolated pretty soon.
Can you provide for your family by working as an investment banker?
You will easily be able to provide for your family as an investment banker since you can make really good money from what you are doing and will not have to worry about money that much.
Will investment bankers suffer from old-age poverty?
Most investment bankers don’t suffer from old-age poverty since they get pretty decent pensions and are also able to save enough money during their active careers to avoid old-age poverty once they quit their jobs and retire.
Can investment bankers retire early?
If you work as an investment banker for 20+ years, you will most likely also be able to retire pretty early in your 40s.
In fact, the longer you stay in this field, the more money you will be able to make and if you save and invest your money wisely and don’t spend everything on useless consumption, you will not have to work until official retirement age as most other people out there have to do.
Do investment bankers get a fixed or variable salary?
Investment bankers get a mix of fixed and variable salary.
While you are still junior, the variable part of your salary will be rather low. However, once you get more senior, the variable fraction of your salary will increase significantly.
Can you get rich as an investment banker?
Since investment bankers are able to make really good money, some of them will also get the opportunity to become really wealthy or even rich.
In fact, the longer you stay in this field, the more likely it will be that you will be able to make a fortune from what you are doing.
Do investment bankers need a second job?
Investment bankers don’t need a second job to pay their bills.
Instead, they can make really good money from what they are doing and will easily be able to pay their bills.
Do you get continuous training as an investment banker?
You will get continuous training as an investment banker to improve the quality of service for your clients.
However, you will also have to learn many things on the job and the harder you work, the better you will become at what you are doing.
Do you get sick pay as an investment banker?
Many investment bankers also get sick pay.
However, this is not true for all of them and you should have a look at your labor contract or ask your colleagues if you are not sure in this regard.
Do investment bankers have a high level of responsibility?
Investment bankers have a high level of responsibility since mistakes on their side could cause big deals to fail, with tremendous adverse effects on the companies involved in those deals as well as for their employees.
Can investment bankers work abroad?
Investment bankers are able to work all over the world.
However, before you move to a foreign country, make sure that you inform yourself about the working conditions and the salaries that might be quite different from what you are used to at home.
Is it stressful to work as an investment banker?
Working as an investment banker can be pretty stressful.
In fact, you will have to work long hours every day and will have to deal with huge workloads.
Consequently, many investment bankers are not happy with their overall working conditions at all and just feel overwhelmed.
Is it boring to work as an investment banker?
Working as an investment banker is not boring at all. You will just work on many complex transactions and no deal will be the same.
Hence, you will always have to adjust to new conditions and clients and this can be really demanding.
Is being an investment banker hard?
Working as an investment banker is pretty hard.
Even though you will not have to work in a hard physical manner, you still have to stress your brain quite a lot and will also have to work lots of overtime and will not have time for your social contacts at all.
Are investment bankers at risk of burnout?
Since investment bankers have to work long hours and also have to deal with lots of stress at work, they are also at great risk of burnout.
In fact, many people who work in this industry complain about mental problems and also rather feel like zombies instead of real humans after working in this field for just a few months.
Is there a dress code for investment bankers?
Investment bankers often wear fancy suits and since you will have to deal with many wealthy clients, you will also have to dress up to impress your clients so that they feel confident to do deals with you.
What kind of investment bankers are paid the most?
The more senior you become, the more money you can make as an investment banker.
You will also be able to make quite a lot of money if you work in mergers and acquisitions since you will often get a small percentage of the deal volume as a commission and this can really add up to lots of money if the volume of the deal is sufficiently large.
What percentage of investment bankers are women?
While around 75% of all investment bankers are men, only 25% are women.
Thus, this industry is still dominated by men, even though an increasing number of women aspire to a career in investment banking.
Do I need a mentor to succeed as an investment banker?
It can definitely help to have a mentor on your side who can help you push through difficult times as an investment banker.
Not only will this person be able to help you from a technical perspective, but he or she can also give you lots of emotional support during your first years which are usually pretty hard.
Will you be personally liable for mistakes as an investment banker?
While you are still junior, you will often not be personally liable for mistakes as an investment banker.
However, once you become more senior, you may want to get insurance in this regard to be covered in case of emergency.
Do investment bankers have a high life expectancy?
Investment bankers don’t have a high life expectancy since they often live a pretty unhealthy lifestyle and also don’t get sufficient sleep since they have to work long hours every day.
Consequently, many investment bankers suffer from serious health issues at a rather young age and their life expectancy will be rather poor.
Do investment bankers suffer from sleeping problems?
Since investment bankers have to work long hours every day, they will often also not get enough sleep and will also destroy their natural sleeping pattern.
What states are best for working as an investment banker?
The best states for working as an investment banker are New York or California since you will be most likely to make the best money in those regions while working hours don’t really differ across states in this field.
Who do investment bankers work with?
Investment bankers work with many different clients and you should therefore not be afraid to work with new people on a regular basis if you want to stay happy with what you are doing in the long run.
Is working as an investment banker cool?
Working as an investment banker is considered cool by most of the general public.
However, you should still not care about what’s cool but rather do what’s best according to your individual preferences.
Can you start a side hustle as an investment banker?
It is pretty hard for investment bankers to start a side hustle since they simply don’t have time for it but rather have to spend all their time on their day job.
Do you have to be creative as an investment banker?
You don’t need to be creative as an investment banker.
Instead, what’s much more important is that you have excellent knowledge of how to do deals and also that clients will have trust in you.
Do investment bankers suffer from being overweight?
Since investment bankers work in a classical office job and do all of their work with a computer, many investment bankers also suffer from being overweight since they simply don’t burn enough calories at work.
How employable are investment bankers?
Investment bankers are pretty employable and if you get a college degree from a renowned university with excellent grades and are also able to work hard to achieve your dreams, chances are that you will get the chance to work in this field sooner or later.
Are investment bankers happy with their jobs?
Even though investment bankers can make really good money, most of them are still not happy with what they are doing for a living since they have to make many sacrifices and basically just live for their jobs.
Is working as an investment banker exciting?
Working as an investment banker can be pretty exciting since you will meet many new people and can also work on fancy deals on a regular basis.
Can you have a positive impact on our environment as an investment banker?
Your positive impact on our environment will be rather limited as an investment banker since you will just do what’s best for your clients and the company you work for and will not care about our planet that much.
What are the pros and cons of working as an investment banker?
If you are still interested in becoming an investment banker, you may also want to get information about additional pros and cons of an investment banking career.
Interviews and own research.
About the author
My name is Andreas and my mission is to educate people about the different career paths that are possible in our current state of the world. In my opinion, people often make the mistake to choose their profession solely based on how much money they can earn from it instead of doing what makes them really happy.
This is quite sad and I just want to give people a more objective picture of how a fulfilling career could look like. I did the same when I started working in consulting after finishing my Master’s degree in Economics. However, I’ve quit pretty soon after that since I haven’t found true meaning in my job.
Now I can do what I really love to do and I want to enable as many other people as well to go this exciting path towards happiness instead of money.
I conducted various interviews with employees to give you a good impression of what working in different fields will look like and that you can make the best possible decision regarding your future career choice.
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