Investment Banking Education Requirements and Career Info

Degree programs related to investment banking typically cover the principles of taxation, accounting, investing and corporate finance. Find out about the requirements of these programs, and learn about career options, job growth and salary info for investment banking graduates.

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Investment banking is a general term that includes a few different careers, including floor brokers and financial managers. Candidates interested in the field minimally need a bachelor's degree, though those with eyes on advancement should complete a master's program.

Essential Information

There are many degree programs to prepare individuals for careers in investment banking. Common majors include accounting, business or finance. Although bachelor's degrees are suitable for many positions, higher level positions in this field may require job applicants to hold master's degrees in business administration or finance. Many business administration programs provide actual field experience, which employers prefer. Both undergraduate and graduate programs in these fields provide instruction on developing proper professional behavior and understanding the importance of business ethics. Some potential job titles to consider include investment banker, floor broker, and financial manager.

Career Titles Investment Banker Floor Broker Financial Manager
Education Requirements Bachelor's degree or higher Bachelor's degree or higher Bachelor's degree or higher
Projected Job Growth (2014-2024) 10% (All securities, commodities, and financial services sales agents)* 10% (All securities, commodities, and financial services sales agents)* 7%*
Median Salary $84,290 (2016)** $149,044 (2016)*** $117,990 (2015)*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics; **PayScale.com; ***Salary.com

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Career Options

Investment Banker

Many financial sale agents are referred to as investment bankers. This position involves connecting businesses with investors. Investment bankers advise companies on which stocks or bonds to pursue, and they sell securities to investors to try and ensure that investors are protected. Most employers require applicants to hold the minimum of bachelor's degrees. Investment bankers usually must be licensed or registered through the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA). In order to do so, a worker must be employed for a minimum of four months before passing the General Securities Registered Representative Exam. Many states also require the completion of a second examination, which is the Uniform Securities Agent State Law Examination.

Floor Broker

Floor brokers sell and trade goods on behalf of investors. These professionals work in high-paced environments. On the trading room floor, they communicate with their investors and negotiate with other brokers concerning prices for purchasing and selling goods, services, and other investments. Bachelor's degrees are the minimum education requirement for this position, although some firms may prefer applicants who hold master's degrees. Licensure or registration through FINRA is also required.

Financial Manager

There are many different types of financial managers, and each manager has slightly different job duties. At organizations, these professionals oversee all financial decisions and budgetary planning. Financial managers who focus on investment banking may help organizations determine investment strategies. Managers in investment banking generally have bachelor's or master's degrees along with a certain amount of work experience. Licensure is typically not required for financial managers, although industry certification is highly recommended.

Career Outlook and Salary Information

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicted that overall employment opportunities for securities, commodities, and financial services sales agents, including floor brokers and investment bankers, would grow by 10% during the 2014-2024 decade. BLS predictions for that same decade indicate that open positions for financial managers will grow by 7%. As of 2015, data gathered from the BLS showed that securities, commodities, and financial services sales agents in general earned a median annual salary of $71,550. PayScale.com reports from 2016 indicate that the median salary of an investment banker was $84,290; floor brokers earned a median salary of $149,044 per Salary.com. Information from the BLS in 2015 showed that financial managers earned a median annual salary of $117,990.

A career in investment banking involves working with investments and managing money in different forms. Job outlook in this field is positive for the next several years: average or above average, depending on the position. Bachelor's degrees are typically a minimum education requirement.

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