No doubt you have a vision in your mind regarding what investment bankers look like and what qualifications they have achieved. However, do you know what investment bankers actually do on a day-to-day basis? Very few have a complete understanding of what investment banking entails.
Therefore, if you are thinking about getting involved in this industry, or you simply want to know about Wall Street bankers, read on to discover everything you need to know.
What is the role of an investment banker?
There are a lot of misconceptions regarding investment banking. Investment banks simply help governments or businesses to raise capital through equity and debt financing. Professional investment bankers have a critical role to play, as capital markets are highly regulated, fast-paced, and there are high stakes involved.
A career in this route can open many doors, though. You could work on the side of the consumer, for example, can you negotiate a lower payoff amount on a credit card for a customer? Can you help someone with their investment portfolio?
Working for an investment bank.
At large investment banks, for example, Morgan Stanley, there are sales and trading divisions. However, an investment banker in the traditional sense will meet clients, prepare offers, and run financial projections.
A lot of financial and accounting students believe that the transition to investment banker is an easy one. However, while they may be able to perform the technical functions that are required, they can often struggle with the social side of it. The right attitude and personality are imperative if you are to be a successful investment banker.
A typical day.
Now that you have a basic understanding of what an investment banker is, and what their job entails, let’s take a look at what they do on a day-to-day basis. Remember, this is just a general routine, and it will, of course, different from bank to bank and banker to banker.
Unfortunately, you can find yourself working beyond the ‘traditional’ office hours of 9-5. It is not uncommon for investment bankers to be in their office until late in the evening. On the flip side, early starts are a rarity. You should have plenty of time to slowly get into your day.
The morning tends to be the most consistent part of the day for an investment banker. It is also the slower part of the day, and it is a lot more methodical than the work you will be doing later in the day. During the morning, you will typically be involved in in-office meetings and attend to emails. As an investment banker, you will need to get used to responding to a huge amount of messages every day. More often than not, these messages will come from senior bankers and co-workers, as they want every calculation, presentation, and status report checked several times. You will receive queries from your clients as well. Aside from this, you can expect to work on company analyses until lunchtime, making amendments in accordance with requests from senior staff.
At this point, associates will often need to review any documents that have been provided by their team’s analysts. This includes the likes of presentations and models. They will need to make recommendations and corrections, after which they will send back to the analyst. This is often a stressful process. The analysts know what the directors require and time is not of the essence, making it difficult to go through a ton of changes. At the same time, the associates want to prove that they can contribute.
Active deals are the main focus of afternoon work. In most cases, one deal will be given to an investment banking team at a time. Senior bankers here need to be meticulous about their work, as any tiny error could result in the compromise of a deal with millions or even billions of pounds. When working on deals, you will either be assessing the desirability of a deal, or you will be executing the deal, i.e. structuring and negotiating detailed terms.
Thought the day you can expect to work with a lot of other professionals, from sales staff to equity research. This is why you need to have exceptional social skills if you are to excel as an investment banker. Does this sound like the right type of career path for you?