Investment banking is among the most difficult career paths to walk as there exists an intense competition for the job roles associated with the said domain, especially when you have got no prior work experience. Besides, investment banking is a highly demanding field of profession that tests you real hard at the beginning of your career on many levels, i.e. relentlessness, perseverance, ability to cope up with work pressure, and a few other such work-related challenges.
Surviving the first couple of years in your banking career is considered the hardest. You need to work long hours on a day-to-day basis, sometimes you may need to work on weekends, then cracking investment deals is some another level of difficulty that demands a strong hold on multiple soft skills, and persuading capabilities, apart from possessing the necessary tech skills. The biggest reason for the intense competition in the global job markets for investment banking jobs is the fat pay cheques associated with them. A great tip for aspiring bankers would be to enrol into industry-relevant investment banking certification programs.
Let us have a brief look on how much the investment banking professionals earn in the US.
Investment Banking Salaries in the US
For the junior-most positions in the investment banking industry in the US, the annual pay at large banks range between USD 85k and USD 95k, along with yearly bonuses amounting 70% to 100% of the aforementioned numbers. Associate base salaries on the other hand, ranges between $140k and $180k with yearly bonuses amounting 100%+ of the base remunerations.
Let’s now come back to the core topic of the article, i.e. top 5 investment banking skills for aspiring bankers.
5 Skills You Must Possess as a Potential Investment Banker
Investment bankers, at some point or the other need to act as sales people, because in totality, banking is a form of business. And at the end of the day, being a part of your firm’s sales force, your ultimate goal is to earn profits for the bank. Investment bankers must ensure that the revenues associated with each transaction have to be bigger than the costs incurred.
- Building Professional Bonds (Networking)
Good client relationships are key to succeeding in the banking sector. The human touch makes all the difference. More than often, you have to meet the other investment bankers and investors to help crack a deal, or sourcing deals in the first place. Forming healthy professional bonds, therefore becomes crucial. The better network you have within the said domain, the better are your chances of growing in the said field of profession.
Intellectual abilities set you apart in the banking world, and hence, it’s among the most sought after skills in the banking domain. An intellectual banker can think out-of-the-box, which is what every hiring manager looks for in a candidate while filling an investment banking job position. Also, you need to be a quick decision-maker and a thinker, someone who can come up with new ideas and strategies, fast.
Simply imagine yourself in a very likely situation that you would definitely face as an investment banker, some day or the other, when you are at a business meeting related to deal-making and the potential investment-makers ask you some question about the prospective deal for which you are unprepared for. At this very time, your intellectual capabilities need to kick in. A career in investment banking simply cannot be made if you don’t possess a great intellect.
- Global Point of View
As a potential investment banker, there is every possible chance of you being hired by an MNC (Multinational Corporation). That way, you will get exposed to many transactions that are executed on global levels. You will be bonding with professionals from different nations. Even in case, you get employed by a local bank, it’s a given that you will still come in close proximity to international transactions. Moreover, each country these days works in tandem with the other countries that exist across the globe. It’s a highly interconnected world in the times of availability of fast web connectivity, and cross-border communication channels.
An aspiring banker can better his global outlook by reading the global section of prominent newspapers, and keeping a constant tab on the news pertaining to international financial markets.
- Analytical Bent of Mind
In an investment banking job role, you are asked many complicated questions on a day-to-day basis by your superiors and sometimes, by the prospective investors. To efficiently answer such questions, you are required to see a problem or a scenario from every angle possible, and analyse it mindfully to take an informed decision, that too, fast. To do all of this, you need an analytical bent of mind as it’s much critical to dissecting clients’ issues effectively, and developing varied kinds of financial models based on the client’s situation.
To enhance his existing analytical skills, an aspirant can try solving a Sudoku, or a crossword, or a Rubik’s cube on a daily basis. Or, you can play games specific to brain-storming, such as Chess. One can also opt for solving a business case each day for practice.