Technical Skills Needed for Investment Banking

This discussion of the technical skills needed for investment banking is seen to be beneficial to mostly individuals who are business-oriented, goal-oriented, or visionary people and students the same. Investment banking is the act of raising capital for firms, through either issuing debt or selling equity.

It also includes the peripheral tasks of managing M&A, advisory, and other corporate finance services. In fact, smaller firms may not have specific investment bankers, and the same roles may be handled by the corporate finance departments.

This investment banking job description was inspired by the responsibilities outlined by a list of investment banks including Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, Credit Suisse, UBS, and Barclays.

Those who work in investment banking have an excellent grasp of the investment climate, with knowledge of popular investment vehicles. Should a company wish to perform an IPO, investment bankers are often key contributors to this process. It is the job of the investment banker to maximize investment returns, and therefore, attempt to set the IPO at the highest price possible.

Read Also: Professional Skills Needed to Become Successful in Workplace

Here are some of the responsibilities of the bank itself:

  • Development of various types of financial models to value debt and equity for mergers, acquisitions, and capital raising transactions.
  • Perform various valuation methods – comparable companies, precedents, and DCF.
  • Develop recommendations for product offerings, private equity transactions, mergers and acquisitions, and valuations.
  • Conduct preparation and review of materials used in the financing of clients, including investment memoranda, management presentations, and pitchbooks.
  • Develop relationships with new and existing clients in order to expand the business.
  • Perform due diligence, research, analysis, and documentation of live transactions.
  • Create presentations for client portfolios.
  • Affinity for current events, critical issues, and relevant news.

Technical Skills Needed for Investment Banking

Check the list of the technical skills needed for investment banking both as an aspiring investment banker or the working one:

Relationship Building Skills

This final skill is perhaps the most intangible but considered to be one of utmost importance, particularly as investment bankers climb the career ladder.

Social and relationship building skills, such as being able to deal with difficult people in extreme situations, having high energy and a positive attitude that exudes power but also an “I understand your needs” attitude and developing and maintaining client relationships are characteristics that bankers must possess in order to be successful.

At the end of the day, investment banks make money based on the amount of fees they get paid by clients. So a strong set of interpersonal skills goes a long way in acquiring and keeping clients.

Financial Skills

As part of their role, investment bankers facilitate large-scale financial transactions like corporate mergers, acquisitions, and IPOs and make crucial investment decisions for their clients. Strong financial skills with particular emphasis on economics, mathematics and accounting help investment bankers perform their job requirements efficiently.

Besides these core financial competencies, financial curiosity helps candidates overcome challenges in the workplace and advance in their careers.

Strong Intellect

This is perhaps the most obvious characteristic. A strong intellect with particular emphasis on analytics, mathematics, finances, and economics goes a long way toward performing many of the job requirements. But it goes beyond these basic core competencies.

Investment banking also requires an intellectual curiosity such that you not only perform and understanding your silo of work, but you branch out to understand how a colleague’s work or other factors fit into the overall puzzle.

Investment bankers possess a desire to solve complex problems and to create new and innovative solutions. Areas of study that often drive the intellectual skills and propel this type of problem-solving and curiosity tend to focus on mathematics, science, such as physics, economics, engineering and finance/accounting, etc.


Interestingly, with all the rigor and structure in investment banking, creativity and innovation are very highly regarded skills. The top-performing bankers are able to approach a task or provide a solution in a way that may be new, pioneering an avenue for products and services.

There is an intangible characteristic that compels individuals to approach a situation from a different angle, and while this may be reinforced by academics, it is often instinctive.

University classes, such as entrepreneurial business classes, as well as some science and social science classes, can provide a foundation for more innovative thinking.

Analytical Skills

Investment bankers analyze large sets of data, solve problems and make crucial financial decisions. Their job requires collecting, evaluating and analyzing data to make informed decisions. Recruiters prefer candidates who exhibit strong analytical skills like the ability to quickly understand and apply complex pieces of information.

As investment banking is all about agility and intellectual curiosity, having strong analytical skills can help you absorb new data, manage a project efficiently, make informed decisions and achieve business goals.


We know the world is more globally connected and business is no different. Broad-mindedness, which opens the door to a deeper understanding of culture and societies, expands the ability to work with and for international businesses.

Combining that knowledge and understanding with an ability to communicate in more than one language is an added and sought after skill in investment banking. Academics concentrating on sociology, anthropology, and complemented by advanced linguistic skills (i.e. becoming fluent in a second language like German or Mandarin) are desired skills. A good example is participating in study abroad programs, which promotes these types of skills.


News outlets often report on the high salaries of investment bankers but little is told about the long hours, hard work, diligence and self-discipline that goes into those high rewards.

Investment bankers, from the entry-level analyst to the top level managing director, work in a pressure cooker environment and because of that, need to be able to perform under intense scrutiny and demands.

These traits are often innate, but can also be learned throughout life in numerous ways, such as by subscribing to and accomplishing a demanding task, like graduating law or medical school, or through athletic accomplishments like performing on a collegiate sports team.

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