How to Become an Investment Banking Analyst

Career Path Guide

Although there are several paths you can take to become an investment banking analyst, a very effective route for entering this profession is to follow these general steps:


1. Determine if this profession is suited to your personality and professional interests

2. Pursue a bachelor’s degree in Finance, Math, Computer Science or a similar field

3. Aggressively seek internship opportunities with an investment bank while you're a student

4. Get full-time work as an investment banking analyst upon graduation, leveraging your internship experience and contacts if possible

5. Advance into roles of greater responsibility and pay as you gain experience


Read on below to learn more about what it takes to become an investment banking analyst:



What college/university education will I need?

A position as an investment banking analyst is considered ‘entry-level’ in the investment banking world. As such, you typically only require a bachelor’s degree to be hired on. 


Fields such as finance, accounting, economics, mathematics, computer science or physics are the most relevant for this work, as they can help teach you relevant competencies, such as financial and mathematical analysis.





What is an investment banking analyst?

Investment banking analysts support investment banking associates and teams within investment banking firms by helping with project work, and providing general administrative and analytical support as needed.


Their work typically involves developing and preparing marketing and sales presentations, analyzing client equity and fixed income portfolios, providing analysis of financial statements, preparing financial models, researching current trends, and assisting with trading.



What exactly do they do?

Investment banking analysts are typically responsible for preparing and executing presentations, as well as performing administrative and analytical functions. Their typical duties that would fall within this scope would include:


• Scheduling internal meetings

• Preparing financial models

• Composing pitch letters and proposals

• Performing extensive research on market trends and developments

• Qualifying prospects

• Possibly focusing their work on a particular industry, product type or geographic region

• Answering client phone calls and emails

• Conferring with investment banking associates and team leaders

• Analyzing financial statements of external organizations in order to determine the value of their securities



What are the working conditions of an investment banking analyst?

Hours: Investment banking analysts work during normal business hours, although they are occasionally to frequently required to stay late or come in early to work on presentations and meet tight deadlines.


Setting: Investment banking analysts typically work in a comfortable office setting, usually in larger urban centres, as this is where banking and business corporate headquarters are most often located.


Conditions: The work of investment banking analysts can be very stressful at times, and highly competitive, as only the most capable and dedicated analysts advance to positions of greater responsibility and pay. They often face intense pressure to meet tight deadlines, and a great deal of scrutiny from superiors regarding the quality and accuracy of their work.



How do I actually get into this field?

Investment banking is a very competitive field, and investment banks are notoriously rigid with their recruiting, relying on the age-old method of great marks and a great interview. The path for entry can depend on where you are in your academic career; whether you’re still a student or a recent graduate:


Student: If you’re still a student, do your best to get an investment banking internship any way you can. This can involve going through on-campus recruiting, or finding an opportunity by networking with alumni, family, professors, student groups, and so on. Depending on how well this goes, you made need to be more aggressive with networking. You may need to cold-call many small, local banks to find an opportunity.


After you get this banking internship, go through the same recruiting / networking process and leverage your experience into full-time interviews and offers for Analyst positions.


Recent Graduates: While this field arguably favours recent graduates (as many fields do), you are not completely out of luck if you graduated within the last few years. However, you will have to do some major networking, or you may have to go back to school to pursue an MBA if your networking doesn't pay off.





Is this profession right for me?

Many people are not cut out for the world of investment banking, especially in the role of analyst. However, For example, if you have the following personal and professional attributes, you are likely very well suited for a career in this field:


• You have a client and solutions focused approach to work activities 

• You’re collaborative and work well in a team environment 

• You can take direction from others with regard to your work

• You're willing to constantly review your work, and amend it several times if necessary 

• You're willing to work very long hours if required

• You’re guided by the highest standards of integrity

• You’re interested in networking and building relationships with business executives 

• You’re willing to put in time doing entry-level work in the investment banking world, which can often be mundane and frustrating

• You’re keen on advancing into more senior-level roles in the investment baking world, such as ‘investment banking associate’, or ‘account manager’

• You’re the type of person who’s willing to make your boss say,"thanks, that's great" instead of just “thanks”

• You’re quite competent in mathematics, and have an aptitude for computer applications, such as Microsoft Excel and PowerPoint



Who employs investment banking analysts?

Investment banking analysts are typically employed by the following types of organizations:


• International investment banks like Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley

• Investment banking departments of large commercial banks like RBC, Citigroup, Barclays, TD

• Specialist investment banks like Lazard and Rothschild, PI Financial Corp. and Greenhill



Current job postings

Our job board below has a listing of "Investment Banking Analyst" postings in your area of Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom or Australia.



Career advancement opportunities 

If you’re willing to stick it out through the good times and the bad, and display the highest levels of competence, determination and dedication, a wide variety of career advancement opportunities will present themselves to you, which may include:


• Earning greater levels of pay and responsibility 

• Moving into the role of investment banking associate

• Becoming an account manager

• Moving into the role of  vice-president or investment banking director

• Eventually becoming self-employed as a consultant, such as a ‘mergers and acquisitions specialist’

• Becoming a blogger in the field of investment banking or finance


Success Tip: If you’re looking to move up from 'analyst' to ‘investment banking associate’ one day (which is the natural progression of the role within the investment banking hierarchy), some banks will require that you go back to school and earn an MBA, whereas others may simply promote you with enough experience and a demonstrated ability to work effectively in the field.



What careers are similar to this one?

Listed below are careers that may be in the same field, or they may involve many of the same skills, competencies and/or responsibilities as “Investment Banking Analyst”:


• Bank Manager

• Financial Analyst

• Financial Trader

• Insurance Underwriter

• Investment Analyst

• Investment Banker

• Quantitative Analyst

• Stockbroker



What scholarships are there? 

The “Relevant university majors” section below lists fields of study that are relevant to becoming an investment banking analyst. You can search for relevant scholarships by finding those majors on our "Scholarships” page. 


Success Tip: Apply for any and all scholarships that you even barely qualify for; there are millions of dollars worth of scholarship money that goes unused every year due to a lack of applicants in Canada and the United States!



Sources for this career guide

The following resources were used to gather information for this career path guide:


• Careers: “Investment Banking Analyst Program - Full-time.” (n.d.). JP Morgan. Retrieved August 4, 2017.

• Careers - Banking Jobs: “The Job Description of an Investment Banking Analyst.” Alejandro Russell (n.d.). Houston Chronicle website. Retrieved August 4, 2017

• Investment Banking - On the Job: “A Day in the Life of an Investment Banking Analyst.” Brian DeChesare (n.d.). Retrieved August 4, 2017

• Occupations: “Financial Analyst.” (March 30, 2017). Alberta Learning Information Service. Retrieved August 4, 2017.

• Occupational Outlook Handbook: “Financial Analysts.” (May, 2016). United States Bureau of Labor Statistics. Retrieved August 4, 2017.



Relevant university majors

We have career guides for over 60 university majors in our database. Below we've outlined those that are most relevant to becoming an investment banking analyst. Click on the links to see what else you can do with these majors!


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