What is an investment banking career like

Investment banker: tasks, studies, salary + application

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Many imagine a life as an investment banker to be a life in high spirits. From the point of view of mere mortals, salaries are exorbitant, residence is mostly in the world's financial centers and lifestyle is exclusive. But the job also doesn't mean regular working hours, a lot of commitment, high expectations and enormous stress. As an investment banker, securities trading is your world. They are very familiar with the numbers and try to maximize profits through constant analysis. We'll show you what you need to know about the investment banker's job ...

➠ Content: This is what awaits you

➠ Content: This is what awaits you

Investment banker duties

Everyday business as an investment banker includes asset management, trading in securities (such as stocks or derivatives) and working with companies on raising capital and going public. Investment bankers work with banks and financial institutions, large companies, pension funds or even states and municipalities. Important areas of responsibility are:

  • Analyzes
    On the basis of market reports and various studies, companies and markets are observed, analyzed and assessed how they are developing: What is the growth like, what forecasts can be derived from it? Tools and sources of information for this include Bloomberg and Reuters.
  • consultation
    An investment banker assists his clients (CEO and CFO) in an advisory capacity. Based on his analysis, he makes statements about when, for example, buying a competing company or selling a company segment would be an option.
  • trade
    If a customer makes a decision based on the advice or is planning to take over another company anyway, such a deal is settled through an investment banker.

However, depending on the specialization and area of ​​activity, there are big differences in the work and tasks of an investment banker. Possible fields in which you can focus are, for example:

  • Asset management
    The care of large investment portfolios from insurance companies, foundations, investment funds, large companies to governments is one of the tasks of an investment banker.
  • Corporate finance
    The tasks of an investment banker include, for example, advising customers on various financial products and helping with an IPO.
  • Financial engineering
    Investment bankers who work as financial engineering experts develop product ranges and financing concepts for business customers in the areas of sales and corporate finance.
  • Research
    The task here is to collect, analyze and process information about markets, industries and companies. These must then be presented conclusively.
  • Trading
    Traders trade in securities, derivatives, bonds, swaps, futures and options for the account of the bank or the customer.
  • Sales
    As a sales manager, you sell a customer's financial products.
  • Mergers & Acquisitions (M&A)
    Investment bankers who work here handle company acquisitions, supervise the merger of two companies or their restructuring.

Investment banker jobs

Investment banker degree

The way to the job as an investment banker does not lead through training, but typically through a degree. Some colleges offer specialized courses in investment banking, but most aspiring investment bankers begin their careers with a degree in economics. Preferred areas are:

  • Business Administration and Economics
  • Math and statistics
  • Finance and economy
  • Accounting and Controlling

Financial institutions have high expectations to investment bankers. Very good performance is a prerequisite, and a master’s degree is standard. Engineering graduates from other courses in particular have a chance to find work in the industry. A dual course of study is also possible, for example through Deutsche Bank in the area of ​​banking and finance.

In addition to your degree, you should have excellent analytical and presentation skills. For investment bankers, spreadsheets with Excel are the order of the day. A perfect handling of the corresponding software is essential. Excellent knowledge of mathematics, German and English are also a matter of course in the industry.

Further pluses for investment bankers

The competition and demands are great. In order to improve your own chances on the job market, as a prospective investment banker you should collect these additional plus points during your studies:

  • Internships
    Be sure to gain experience with different employers. This is the only way to get a feel for the area in which you want to work later. Ideally, you will get a sought-after internship at a well-known investment bank.
  • linguistic proficiency
    Nothing works without English anyway, it is the language of the major financial markets. You should therefore acquire the necessary specialist vocabulary in good time. You can always score points if you have additional languages ​​in demand - such as Russian or Mandarin.
  • Stays abroad
    Stays abroad are also essential for your professional advancement. These can take place as part of your studies or as an internship. In any case, they should already be used to improve your language skills.
  • Networks
    It is also very important that you build up a network at an early stage. Contacts are a real door opener in the industry and create many opportunities. The above-mentioned internships and stays abroad are good options.

Investment banker salary

No question about it: In addition to the opportunity to work for international banks or large corporations, it is above all the money that attracts many. Some surveys find that up to two-thirds of all business students are planning a career as an investment banker. The financial prospects are more than lucrative.

Even the starting salary as a junior is on average 70,000 euros gross per year. However, with work experience and advancement up the corporate ladder, much more is possible. After around five years in the job, an annual gross salary of up to EUR 150,000 is quite realistic.

The salary of successful investment bankers knows hardly any upper limits. It can rise to 300,000 to 500,000 euros per year through bonus payments and variable salary components. Well-known investment bankers also earn up to $ 20 million a year.

Employers: Who Is Looking For Investment Bankers?

The employers for investment bankers are clearly assigned to the financial sector. The greatest employment opportunities are at ...

  • Banks (especially investment banks)
  • Management consultancies
  • Other financial service providers

Career Opportunities: The Prospects As An Investment Banker?

In order to be able to make a career as an investment banker, you should already consider the choice of the place of study. The university's ranking has a huge impact on how well you can get into the industry. Elite universities in America, Great Britain, France or Switzerland appear again and again in the résumés of well-known investment bankers. In Germany it is primarily the Frankfurt School of Finance & Management.

Who brings the appropriate qualifications and leaving the competition behind can have a steep career. As an investment banker, you have five career levels ahead of you:

  • Analyst (two to three years)
  • Associate
  • Vice president
  • Director
  • Managing director

What at first glance looks like a classic chimney career, however, has a catch. In this industry, merciless “hire and fire” or “up or out” is practiced. In other words: top performances lead to promotion and promotion - if the results are not correct, there is a risk of being kicked out. The whole thing has a simple reason: Investment bankers decide over millions of amounts for their customers.

You should also be aware: Investment bankers hardly know fixed working hours and a punctual end of the working day. 80 hours a week is not the exception, but rather the rule.

Investment banker application: tips & templates

In addition to the hard skills, experience and contacts already mentioned above, a number of soft skills are required for a successful application. These aspects, which should be mentioned in the cover letter, are particularly important:

Simply listing qualifications is not enough. It only becomes credible if you can substantiate this with appropriate examples. Characteristics that demonstrate your resilience even beyond normal working hours are essential. This is the only way you can work successfully as an investment banker despite long working hours and great pressure.

An example of the specification of soft skills in the application:

I was interested in numbers from an early age, so I took part in various math competitions. It has been shown that analytical thinking is very important to me, which is why a job in research is very convenient for me.

Free templates with sample text

Benefit from our free application templates. You can download these individually as a Word file by clicking on "Cover letter", "Cover sheet" or "CV" - or as a complete application set by clicking on the preview image. You will then receive all three Word templates combined in one zip file.

➠ Template / sample: cover letter, cover sheet, curriculum vitae

Application templates: 120+ free samples
Use our other professional designs and free application templates to apply. More than 120 professional templates for CV, cover letter and cover sheet as WORD files including sample texts can be found here:

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