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4 Necessary Steps to Become an Investment Banker

By: Andrew Deen


Close up hand of Salesman banker handshake with investor girl for loan insurance investment after negotiation for Business deal and acquisition. Businesswoman sign contract agreement on paper with pen

Banking in the United States makes up about 7.7% of GDP. Investment banking is the process of lending money to companies in exchange for a percentage of future profits, or a repayment with interest not all that dissimilar to a personal loan (just generally on a much larger scale), and generally the investors are not the bankers.

Here is a closer look at what investment banking is, and the path to take to become an investment banker.

What is Investment Banking?

Investment banking involves an investor, a banker, and a business in search of capital to grow and operate. Some people may think you need to be a very wealthy person to become an investment banker, but that is not true. You need to be wealthy to be an investor, but bankers get educated on how to properly understand financial aspects of large investments, and how to maximize profit potential for the investors.

Generally, most finance jobs do have a nice paycheck, and investment banking is no different.

Investment bankers are experts in underwriting, equity, asset management, corporate sales, and trading of securities, but can come from many different backgrounds within the finance industry.


Though lateral transitions to finance do occur, having a degree in finance or economics is all but required to be an investment banker in 2021. Given the money that can be made in investment banking, and the ease of getting degrees with online and flexible scheduling (even with a full-time job), seeking a degree can prove to be quite a sound investment.

Given the interest in the field of investment banking, the more you can do to make yourself stand out, the better, and pursuing a postsecondary degree is one way to do that, especially if you don’t have much real-world experience in investment banking. With so much ecommerce happening, a fresh education is an invaluable tool in today’s investment banking world.

Understand Your Niche

The best way to become a successful banker is to know everything there is to know about the financial ins and outs of a given industry. If you’re able to get into the investment side of an industry you’re truly interested in and very familiar with (or willing to become familiar with), you are setting yourself up for success.


People love their money. With this, it’s important to build a real relationship with a potential investor or room of investors, because they need to deeply trust you to make decisions with their money.

Most investment bankers get paid more for doing their job well, so self-incentive is written in the fabric, but you still must be personable to gain that trust to make those decisions.

Investment bankers can’t be shy about working long and weird hours, as sometimes deals are only on the proverbial table for a short time. Honesty is also very important, as you can be guaranteed to get blacklisted if you’re dishonest about someone’s money (and probably worse, legally speaking).

Strategic thinking and an ability to understand things quickly will also serve you well in this field, as they do in most.

Other Ways to Help Yourself

Even if you have all the degrees the financial world can offer, commerce is an ever-changing field. Stay abreast of any and all trends and changes and take advantage of opportunities to learn and meet new people in the industry whenever they arise.

There is a lot of money to be made in investment banking, and the best trait you can have is diligence and a belief that your hard work will pay off.

Published: September 24, 2021

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Andrew Deen

Andrew Deen has been a consultant for startups in almost every industry from retail to medical devices and everything in between. He implements lean methodology and is currently writing a book about scaling up business. Twitter @AndrewDeen14.

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