The investment banking industry is highly selective when it comes to recruiting talent. A top-notch education alone may not be enough to sustain a successful career in this field. You will need to layer it up with tangible and intangible skills that help you stand out and establish your identity as an i-Banker. Here are some add-ons you can try to master:
1. Specialised skills
Skills for any profession can be broadly divided into two categories:
- Technical skills
- Intangible skills
Technical skills are those that help you solve specific problems using models, applications, software, or other tangible and measurable methods. For investment banking, technical skills that are needed and are non-negotiable are:
- Analytical thinking
- Financial modelling
- Numerical skills
- Spreadsheet proficiency
You can gain a primer on investment banking through an overarching course like the Investment Banking pathway by FMI.
Intangible skills can be slightly more difficult to measure. However, these span across careers and can be helpful to anyone. For investment bankers, these skills can highly impact your banking career and recruiters look for them in potential candidates. These include:
- Ability to work in a team
- Creativity while solving problems
- Discipline and time management
- Interpersonal skills to build relations with clients
These skills can be sharpened with practice and interacting with a variety of people on a regular basis be it strangers or your co-workers. This will help build your confidence and turn you into a better public speaker.
2. A hunger to learn
This is essential and indispensable for any profession that you care about. The investment banking industry is extremely dynamic and everyone who makes it big is constantly open to learning. To keep up with industry trends, you must have an optimistic approach to learning and evolving
Before you enter the industry, you can do internships or finish courses that will help you get an understanding of the field. These will not only help you widen your knowledge and skills but also increase your chances of selection during recruitment.
If you have made it and landed a job in investment banking, you must not become complacent! You must keep up with the news, the trends, the updates with all your clients, and in general, the financial world to enjoy the learning process.
3. Good communication
A lot of people do not understand or know this, but investment banking is primarily a sales job. Most roles in the industry involve interactions with clients. There are a few backend jobs, however, they will not be in complete isolation either. All roles will require a decent amount of interaction.
Most roles involve high levels of relationship building with clients and selling them ideas that they may not be open to. This requires an exceptional communication ability. Being able to speak and conduct yourself properly will help you win big in the investment banking industry.
4. Having a global perspective
The ability to think globally is extremely valuable in the investment banking industry as your clients could hail from varied backgrounds. As we know, the world is becoming increasingly globalised and interconnected.
Having international clients or MNC clients will push you to become more receptive to diversity and preferences of a global audience. So, try to expand your worldly perspective.
Moreover, being sensitive to different people’s needs will help you come up with innovative solutions for your clients. You will be able to provide them with excellent services and help your firm grow. So make sure you work on this and stay open-minded!
Investment banking is a popular industry and is recruiting hundreds of thousands of individuals at a given time. To make the cut and to then grow in this industry, you must look at skills and resources that set you apart. Technical and transferable skills, a passion for learning, excellent communication, and a global perspective are four major areas where you can differentiate yourself.