Investment Banking Analysts


Education and Training Requirements

High School

You’ll need stellar grades to get into a top college, so it’s important to work hard in high school. Take as many classes as possible in business, microeconomics, macroeconomics, statistics, accounting, mathematics, computer science, foreign language, English, and speech. Performing well in Advanced Placement classes will increase your chances of being accepted by a prestigious university.  

Postsecondary Education

Since so many people want to work as investment banking analysts, investment banks have their pick of the top candidates. They typically seek those with superior educational credentials [i.e., a degree from an Ivy League or other top tier school, excellent grades (minimum 3.50 GPA), active participation in business and investment clubs, and participation in at least one internship at a top investment bank, Big Four accounting firm, alternative investment firm, or another prominent employer]. Analysts typically have bachelor’s degrees in business, finance, accounting, economics, or a related major.

Analysts who participate in two-year analyst programs provided by “bulge bracket” banks (i.e., the world’s largest and most-profitable investment banks: Goldman Sachs, Barclays Capital, Credit Suisse, Deutsche Bank, JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup, Morgan Stanley, and UBS) complete two months of intensive on-the-job training that covers financial modeling, corporate finance and valuation, the use of software applications such as Microsoft PowerPoint and Excel, and company rules and business practices. Some banks offer ongoing educational opportunities to their employees. For example, Goldman Sachs provides Goldman Sachs University (GSU), an internal training and development resource that features more than 4,000 classes offered in classroom, webcast, and e-learning formats. Each year, more than 98 percent of its employees attend one or more GSU programs.

Other Education or Training

Professional associations such as the CMT Association and CFA Institute provide continuing education classes, webinars, and workshops. Contact these organizations for more information.


Certificates in investment banking and related areas are provided by colleges and universities. For example, City University of New York-Baruch College offers an Advanced Finance and Investment Principles Certificate Program. Classes include Introduction to Derivatives Markets, Debt and Fixed Income Markets, Advanced Financial Statement Analysis, Equity Markets & Portfolio Theory, Investment Banking, Entrepreneurial/Venture Finance, and Wealth Management. Contact schools in your area to learn about what types of educational opportunities are available.

Certification, Licensing, and Special Requirements

Certification or Licensing

Certification is not required, but job-seekers who are certified, or who express a willingness to recruiters to become certified, will improve their chances of getting hired. Many certification programs are available, but some are only open to those with several years of on-the-job experience. One credential that’s available to those with either a bachelor’s degree or those who are in the last year of undergraduate study is the three-level chartered financial analyst (CFA) program, which is administered by the CFA Institute. It takes an average of four years to complete the CFA program. According to the CFA Institute, “completing the CFA Program shows employers and clients you have mastered a broad range of practical portfolio management and advanced investment analysis skills.”

Some analysts earn the certified public accountant (CPA) designation. To earn this designation, you must complete 150 semester hours of college course work (in nearly all states), pass a qualifying examination, have at least two years of public accounting experience or the equivalent, and hold a certificate issued by the state in which you wish to practice. The Uniform CPA Examination, which is administered by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA), is used by all states.

Many investment banks prefer that analysts have or eventually receive their Series 7 (or General Securities Representative), Series 63 (Uniform Securities Agent State Law), Series 66 (Uniform Combined State Law), or Series 79 (Investment Banking Representative) credentials from the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, the self-regulatory arm of the investment industry.

Experience, Skills, and Personality Traits

Aspiring analysts must complete at least one internship, fellowship, or co-operative educational experience at a top investment bank, Big Four accounting firm, alternative investment firm, or another prestigious employer.

Quantitative skills are a must for analysts, as much of their time is spent dealing with books of trades and numbers. The ability to crunch numbers in a short time is especially important on the debt side. Traders often demand bond price or yield calculations with only a moment’s notice, and analysts must be able to produce. Other important traits include:

  • a willingness to accept criticism and learn from one’s mistakes
  • the ability to perform sometimes monotonous tasks for long hours, day after day without complaint
  • a positive, energetic attitude
  • being extremely hard working, responsible, and detail oriented
  • having strong analytical, time-management, and problem-solving skills
  • possessing excellent financial modeling/valuation and analytical abilities
  • being an excellent communicator and a good listener
  • being able to work independently and as part of a team
  • being proficient in the use of spreadsheets, graphing, and presentations with a basic knowledge of financial models
  • possessing strong interpersonal skills with the ability to interact with all levels of personnel.