What it takes to become a top Investment Banker!
There is no academic course that prepares you to be an investment banker although going to a prestige school and studying economics, finance, accounting, etc. will help a bit. Become a top Investment Banker mainly for your contacts–the deals & investors you bring in. An aggressive, pushy-but likeable personality is worth a thousand times more than any college degree.
What makes a top investment banker is contacts:
1. Customers who have millions to invest, like “Family Offices”.
2. Then the ability to sign up business people or corporate tycoons who need major investors.
Better than any course, is to simply watch & learn from the book/movie Wolf of Wall Street.
The hero, played by DeCaprio was quite unethical. An investment banker does much the same thing without the fraud. In other words, bringing investors and public companies together is the main job of an investment banker.
It is not the technical skills one learns in school, but rather the ability to seek out deals and bring in clients to invest is what makes a successful investment banker. Those with technical skills work in the back office —on salary with the possibilities of bonuses. But the big shots are the ones who bring in and keep the major clients.
Needless to say, the investment banker must be able to tell good deals from scams. This takes common sense more than anything else. Being a Chartered Financial Analyst or Certified Public Accountant and/or a lawyer —-Well, all three qualifications help. But without the “people skills” i.e. the ability to bring in deals and investors, one remains a mere cog in the machine—not the guy who runs the show.
Warren Buffet is sort of a one-man investment banker to his company- Berkshire Hathaway. Also see my recent QUORA answer on How Investment Bankers Make Millions & Billions. In it I tell the secret story of a legendary boss of Goldman Sachs for whom I was a flunky- briefly.