How difficult is investment banking

How do I become an investment banker?

Also known as IM, Investment Analyst, Investment Specialist, Portfolio Advisor, Investment Manager

In principle, you only went to kindergarten in a suit and instead of the bottle you put a hip flask in your backpack? When you watch Donald Duck, are you most likely to identify with Uncle Scrooge? Then you should probably become an investment banker. As an investment banker, you handle other people's or companies' money. You will provide information and advice on financial products, investment options, financing strategies and everything that has to do with money. You will help companies prepare for takeovers and mergers financially. You create and present market and risk analyzes. In your job you take on a lot of responsibility right from the start, after all, this is about cash. Your working hours are correspondingly long: 60 to 80 hours per week are not uncommon.


Required degrees

Master's degree in finance and subsequent entrance tests

Recommended training

Business Mathematics

Further training


Important school subjects

German, English, computer science, mathematics, other foreign languages, economics and law

Starting salary as an investment banker

€ 2.500 – 6.400

Working as an investment banker

Important skills as an investment banker

As an investment banker, you mainly work with numbers, models and forecasts. You must therefore be able to think logically and analytically and mathematics should be one of your strengths. You should also have sufficient knowledge of the economy and the financial industry, and you must be able to handle the computer programs that are used in the industry. Basic knowledge of corporate law does no harm, especially in the area of ​​mergers and acquisitions, or if your customers are more companies than private individuals. You will acquire this knowledge as part of your studies. In terms of personality, you should be social and be able to deal well with people, because your network is not unimportant as an investment banker, especially when it comes to winning new customers or closing deals. You need to be intelligent and quick to grasp to keep up with the steep learning curve. Above all, you have to bring a good dose of resilience with you. Investment banking is certainly not a “9-to-5” job. If you decide to go into business, there will be many evenings and nights when you will still be sitting in the office while your friends call it a day. You have to decide for yourself whether the extra money is worth it to you.

Important hard skills

Expertise in economic contexts Comprehensive knowledge of finance and banking, mathematical talent, IT application knowledge

Important soft skills

Physical and psychological resilience Logical thinking skills Analytical working method Strategic thinking

How do I become an investment banker?

There is no compulsory education for investment bankers, but you should have studied either finance, economics or mathematics. Clearly, preference is given to applicants with a diploma or master’s degree. A doctorate or an MBA are definitely welcome and can lead to a higher starting salary. You can of course study at any university. With the big banks, however, private universities or universities with a particularly good reputation are preferred. Good addresses for this are elite universities in Great Britain, the Haute École de Commerce in France or the University of Sankt Gallen in Switzerland. The degree alone is not enough; you usually have to pass a multi-stage, complex and tough application process before you can be hired by a bank.

  • Study of mathematics
  • Study of economics
  • Study of finance

Advanced training and specializations

As an investment banker, you will learn most of all in your job. Should further training be necessary, these are usually offered in-house. For example, it is important to always stay up to date when it comes to software - this is where the employer sends you to trainings. If you are climbing up the career ladder and have to look after a team, for example, you may also have to attend training courses in leadership and soft skills.

Advanced training

  • Software training
  • Leadership training

Future prospects as an investment banker

Despite the financial crisis, investment banking is still an attractive profession for many, not least because of the above-average starting salaries. The financial market is now more strictly regulated and the bonuses are also capped in many places. However, the earning potential is still high and, above all, the opportunities for advancement are very good. In a bank in the investment banking sector, you usually start as an analyst, and the career ladder is clearly defined: after a few years you will rise to become an associate or senior analyst, the highest positions being director, vice president or partner. You have the best career and salary opportunities in the big financial hubs like London, Frankfurt or New York. Due to the high pressure and workload, many people do not stay in investment banking for long, but switch to management consulting after five years or start their own company when they have gained enough experience.