What Does Life As An Investment Banker Involve?

Life as an investment banker can be one of the most grueling in just about any profession, as you will be expected to work long and hard for the comfortably above average salary that you will receive. There are two distinctly different sides to investment banking which demand different skills and which involve you in a completely different work day, but the entry route into either is standardized. It is unlikely that you will work in both sides of an investment bank in the same job, but you probably will do that over the course of your career.


The first fact to realize about investment banking is that it is completely different from the banking world as understood by the average person. There are no savings accounts, no checking accounts, and you do not make deposits in investment banking. There are two separate arms which are known as the buying and selling arm, even though those terms can easily be misunderstood. The selling arm is the one which carries out the most important work of the investment bank, which is to place stock into the market on behalf of corporations and government interests.

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The buying arm does not actually buy anything for the bank, but it makes a guaranteed profit from placing the money of investors into the market on commission. Obviously, the investors are looking for a positive gain on their investment, so there is every incentive for the bank to do the best job it can in investing that money wisely. It will then get more money to invest, and be able to make larger commissions. The banks will impose minimum investment requirements, because their time is valuable and they need to be earning a certain level of commission for the transaction to be worthwhile.

When you start life as an investment banker you will almost certainly have to work as an analyst for some time. This means you will be fundamentally working with the market data and making choices based upon the information which is given to you. The analyst is the lowest paid worker in investment banking, but they still have to work extremely long hours. What happens then will depend on you are perceived by those running the department, and how many openings there are elsewhere. Most will move on, after several years, to the buying side of the business.

The others will be luckier, and will be promoted to become an associate. This is a definite step up in class, and is reserved for only those workers which the management think will be capable of working at a much higher level. The associate earns a higher sum of money, although the work load is still excessive. One negative side of being an associate in investment banking is that you will be expected to give long term service, so if you want to experience life in the buying sector, you will need to turn down the opportunity.

A life as an investment banker can be an extremely rewarding one, especially for those who are able to cope with the long and difficult working hours. It is not something, though, which can be achieved overnight. There are several years of college study to go through first, and the course you complete will largely determine your potential future. Any degree in business studies will give you a chance of an entry level job and the opportunity to progress through the ranks, but a high level MBA course can even have you bypassing the analyst stage altogether. This won't happen every time, but it does happen during life as an investment banker.




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