Top 6 Core Competencies an Investment Banker Needs

The job outlook in the investment banking industry is changing to a greater extent today. Employers look forward to competency skills in their employees.

When you start searching for an investment banking job, you think of academic excellence and skills in the industry as a prerequisite (work experience or internship is an added advantage).


Industry knowledge and skills are the primary skills for any job.

But, apart from this industry-related knowledge and skills, employers look for additional skills, which they often refer to as ‘competency models.’ The competency here is associated with skills and abilities that describe the exact needs of the job. Further, the pandemic situation and accelerated digitalization process have compelled employers to look for certain special skills too.

Let’s understand what industry leaders look forward to from investment banking professionals here. As a first step, let’s revisit the key responsibilities of an investment banker.

Key responsibilities of an investment banker

As an investment banker, a few of the major responsibilities include:

● Develop various financial models for valuing debt and transactions.

Perform all major types of valuation -DCF, precedents.

● Perform research analysis, due diligence, and documentation of transactions.

● Review of materials used in the financing like pitchbooks, investment memoranda.

● Develop recommendations for M&As, PE transactions, and product offerings.

● Build relationships with existing and new clients for business expansion.

● Create and manage presentations regarding client portfolios.

● Stay updated with critical issues, relevant news, and happenings.

Yes, the responsibilities are the same!

But the industry leaders look for more apart from academic knowledge and skills. Let us understand the skills and competencies expected by the industry leaders.

Core competencies required for today’s investment bankers

As the pandemic drives all of us to a new world of work, the associated skills are also changing. Take a look.

Entrepreneurial skills

To get into the investment banking industry, it is recommended to gain entrepreneurial skills by reading many books or involving in the family business. In brief, investment banking is also a business, where you need to act as a salesperson where you earn for your industry. It is essential to know that the revenues earned for each transaction must be greater than the costs utilized.

Reading books related to entrepreneurial skills and exposure to the domain is very much necessary.

Technical skills

Leaders of the investment banking industry today rank technical skills in the first place. They expect skills such as traditional ones — finance, asset classes and portfolio management, and foundational skills. Also, they look for skills in information technology and computer science, management sciences, ESG analysis, solutions skills — understand the client needs and develop portfolios. Apart from foundational skills, solutions skills are more expected today.

Acquiring investment banking certification or any other industry-related finance certifications helps you to grow your skills.

Analytical skills

As an investment banker, it is essential to document a detailed analysis of businesses. To achieve this, it is recommended to develop the ability to solve complex tasks, add new information, gain qualitative and number crunching abilities. You will be challenged to present detailed analyses of business and investment plans, risk-return trade-offs.

The thing here is all these and many things are turning digital. As a result, you should be able to use advanced analytical tools, use big data, absorb the details to manage the project successfully. It is necessary to improve your practical knowledge of AI technology, analytics, blockchain technology, and related tools used in the industry.

Resilience skills

To be competent in today’s world, it is necessary to bear the work pressure. Given the pandemic situation, many companies have moved to the remote style of working where virtual conferences, meetings, and making deals is becoming more common. Further, they face challenges in deal closure too. To overcome this, the companies are working toward speeding up the recovery period, making new strategies, and show resilience. Crisis management skill is of utmost importance today.

As a result, transferable and resilience skills are becoming the main search for today’s head hunters. In the interview rounds, you may be explained a scenario and challenged to show your resilience attitude.

T-shaped skills

It is nothing but the ability to connect across disciplines. Candidates with T-shaped skills are very much preferred today because they are able to frame questions and solutions for the development of an organization. You should be able to spot areas of importance. It means to be tech-savvy, systems savvy, situational fluency, situational adaptability, leveraging diverse perspectives, building a valuable network, and each of these skills is helpful for the organization.

Global outlook

As remote work gears up, global participants are becoming more. As a professional, you are now challenged to work and operate in an international context, could be clients, colleagues, or your employers. The readiness to work abroad, learning foreign languages, knowledge of associated country’s or regions’ cultures, socioeconomic trends, and market skills are some of the competencies listed in top investment banks’ job listings.

To conclude…

To step into the investment banking industry, academic qualification, work experience, extra-curricular activities, and skills are becoming basic. The industry looks for additional competency among the candidates attending the interview.

Want to stay in the race?

Understand the current industry’s market and gain the competencies the employers look for.

Ace your next interview in investment banking!

Investment & management accountants Writer, Adviser, Researcher and Investor.