Investment bankers assist corporations and governments with financial investment matters. Tasks within this field may range from managing profits and raising funds to offering stock trade advice. Investment banker careers may be found at various regional levels, including big firms that manage large regions and small boutiques that work with a more streamlined clientele. Within a typical investment bank, individuals may become financial analysts and planners, work in sales and trading, or assist in company mergers and acquisitions. Each discipline covers a wide range of subspecialties, and may require various types of support staff.
One of the areas where many investment banker careers begin is financial planning. For example, professionals in the field of corporate finance help businesses remain viable by showing them how to properly invest so as to obtain funds for everyday operation. Organizations may also need to generate funds for special projects, and this duty falls to project finance professionals who are often entrusted with company assets for investment. Further, places of business that offer services that temporarily give company funds to clients — such as loans and mortgages — often need the services of a structured finance professional who develops methods for these types of transactions.
A particularly profitable arena for many investment banker careers is the mediation of mergers and acquisitions (M&A). When one organization combines with another or simply overtakes its operations, a representative is needed who will ensure a fair and profitable exchange for both parties. The M&A professionals of investment banks can serve as the go-between and facilitate an equitable transition.
Many prospective investment bankers likewise target the sale and trade of stocks and bonds for its challenging work environment and profit potential. The field includes many subdivisions: foreign exchange, equity, fixed income, derivatives trading, agency securities, repossessions, and others. The main objective of individuals in this area of investment banking is to buy and sell assets to and from other traders at other investment banks, traditional banks, or institutions. For example, capital markets specialists deal mainly with bonds, or promised debts to individuals or organizations. In addition, those working as stockbrokers help individuals with buying and selling stocks, or securities stakes, in an organization.
Several other investment banker careers help make an enterprise successful. Financial advisers can provide invaluable insight for smaller businesses or individuals, especially in areas of risk management. Investment banks also utilize research analysts who possess deep knowledge of particular work industries and mathematical principles. Scientists may lend assistance in certain industries like bio-technology, while lawyers can assist investment banks with sales and negotiations. Administrative support like secretarial work is an important component of any business profession as well.
Investment banker careers generally require diverse skill sets and diligence. Most jobs are available in small boutique banks that do not frequently advertise openings and that focus on specific industries or regions. Individuals should be aggressive and utilize any networking opportunities in a job search. Certain innate characteristics and skills are also beneficial, namely communication skills, sales ability, creativity, deep thinking, a high tolerance for stress, and a strong work ethic. A masters degree is even more desirable, preferably in a numbers- or communication-heavy major like economics, mathematics, business administration, or marketing.