A career in finance is highly rewarding and exciting. One of the things that makes a finance job extremely hard is deadlines and a pressurizing environment. Finance professionals, especially investment bankers, are continuously on their toes. Given that finance jobs are extremely demanding in terms of work; investment banks look for specific skills in candidates.
Investment bankers require a specific set of skills to deliver results and expectations per the demand of the
Who are investment bankers?
In layman terms, investment bankers are intermediates, who facilitate a transaction between two parties. Mergers and acquisitions, for instance, where one company merges with another or a company completely acquires a smaller firm to expand itself or increase its market share. An investment banker also helps a company raise funds for expansion and growth (like IPOs).
Overall, investment bankers are the professionals that companies need when a transaction is on the way and companies need someone to oversee the transaction or/and raise capital. These responsibilities require investment bankers to have a multitude of skills to handle a transaction.
Top five skills of an investment banker
Employers look for certain characteristics in people for investment banking. A few traits are obvious that are imperative to excel in investment banking, others are more nuanced and vary from person to person.
Strong intellect is the most obvious characteristic that banks look for in investment bankers. Focus on analytics, mathematics, finances, and economics will go a long way in fulfilling the job requirements. The responsibilities of an investment banker require them to solve finance-related problems quickly and frequently. Graduates from physics, engineering, finance, accounting, and post-graduate certificate like Chartered Investment Banking Professional (CIBPTM) tend to have a strong inclination toward problem-solving. An investment banker also requires an intellectual curiosity to not only understand their work but see and understand the work of their colleagues to effectively and innovatively solve a problem.
This is often missing in most professionals. However, without discipline, investment bankers are bound to fail at their work. In a high–pressure work environment, investment bankers need to stick to their routine. Though discipline is an innate skill, professionals can develop with regular work assignments. Most investment bankers develop discipline at work. From investment banking analysts to managing director, at each level discipline is essentially required to do good at work.
Most resources talk about the highly –rewarding and lucrative opportunity investment banking offers. What’s missing from those resources is the amount of hard work and self-discipline that goes into making that kind of money.
- Strong communication skills
Communication skills is imperative for all professions. Investment bankers, however, need it more than any other professionals. They are constantly interacting with high net worth individuals (HNIs), investors, CEOs, and other high –profile designee. These professionals are constantly deep in work. So being impeccable in communication is essential to work with them. Often bankers exchange emails back and forth with these professionals and have video calls, so not only verbal communication is important, proficiency in written communication is equally important too.
- Entrepreneurial mindset
As with any job, there are times when investment bankers are faced with problems that haven’t been encountered earlier. At this point, investment bankers require a different approach to solve a problem without being deterred. This is also an opportunity for them to come up with a solution that hasn’t be implemented before. Coming up with an innovative solution or a pioneering approach will be crucial at this point.
- Global outlook
The investment banking industry isn’t limited to one region. The broader outlook an investment banker can develop; the more lucrative opportunities they can find. Polyglot investment bankers often find better investment banking opportunities across the world. An India-based investment banker can find opportunities in China if they have good mandarin skills. Further, knowledge of the global market helps structure and understand deals better and gauge the profitability of deals. Therefore, a global outlook and knowledge of the market is helpful.
- Relationship building
An investment banker is as good as its network. The more connections an investment banker has, the better results they can derive from their work. Relationship building skills are critical to building connections. How to respond timely, schedule meetings, communicating essential details of the detail, arranging meeting places, and other such details are essential for building and maintaining relationships.
Investment banking requires a specific personality and skillset. While some skills can be picked up, others are inherently required to excel. Some you can learn at universities or college during your investment banking program, others must come naturally. If you want to excel at investment banking, finding out the skills you already have and the ones that you need to develop will essential.