What does it take?
Building a career in any industry requires an assessment of our capabilities and skillsets, the same goes for those who are prying on putting the Investment Banker crown on their head. Am I a good fit for this job? This is a common notion among those who aspire to become investment bankers someday.
Ever wondered what it takes to earn those fat cheques? Well, if I have to put it briefly I will say it needs much more than just a fancy degree. What will it take for you to trust someone with your hard-earned money? That’s going to give you the answer you’ve been seeking.
Skills to Hone for an Investment Banking career
The first thing that you need to do is to understand the role of an investment banker. Getting a glimpse into the daily life of an investment banker will give you a sound idea of the duties you need to perform.
The job description overview says that you need to help mediate the deal between those seeking funds and those willing to invest, guiding them through the process and helping them with your expertise in the financial domain. Breaking up this whole process will help us understand the responsibilities in a precise manner and will also identify the relevant skills in a contextual frame.
The primary task involves doing a lot of research about the market and getting familiar with the business trends. The prerequisite for this is a strong quantitative aptitude as it involves a lot of facts and figures. Numbers alone won’t do much if you can’t paint the bigger picture, meaning you need to have strong analytical skills in order to understand the complex data and derive a meaningful conclusion.
So you’ve done the research and identified your prospective clients, now how are you going to present your value proposal? It requires robust presentation & communication skills that will help the client to understand the deal better. The way you communicate the information has a lot of weight on whether you’ll back the deal or not. What’s complementary to an effective communication strategy? The answer is strong convincing skills. Just detailing the value proposal will not suffice; you have to connect the dots for your clients and that needs strong convincing skills.
The most important aspect of an investment banker’s role is highlighted in Merger & Acquisition deals. The Merger and Acquisition deals require investment banking professionals to negotiate with the investors and convince them to invest in the organization that they are representing. The Mergers and Acquisitions deal also involve pricing securities which requires expertise in financial modeling. You have to predict the future of your investment based on the models you construct given your assumptions.
“Your network decides your net worth”, this applies a hundred percent in the investment & banking industry. Networking plays a key role in obtaining leads and discovering potential clients. Strong networking skills will help you move up the corporate ladder with ease.
At the center, lies the “sales”. You need to be a very dynamic salesperson who can customize and present what’s needed from a pile of seemingly irrelevant information. You need to understand the client’s needs and guide them in their investment decisions.
An investment banking professional also guides their clients on different investment opportunities present domestically and globally. For this, you need to know about all the possible avenues awaiting investment, along with their respective pros & cons to help your client choose better. That requires strong knowledge about the financial markets and the investment tools available.
All of the above skills hold no significance if you are not ethical. You need to worship your work ethics; you need to put your clients before yourself in any and all situations involving financial gains.
A deep understanding of the financial market is a prerequisite, however, the investment banking profession requires more than the teachings of provided in investment banking courses. The hards skills you hone should be complemented by the soft skills you possess. You need to be a good salesperson with a thick skin because the pressure is real. Your analytical abilities should complement your quantitative acumen. The top place in the pyramid is reserved by your ethics and there is no compromising with it!