Investment banking analyst

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How to Become an Investment Bank Analyst

Wall Street has changed in the aftermath of the Great Recession of 2008 and 2009 and that has changed the role of the investment banking analyst. As any would-be analyst knows, the job is very demanding and the responsibilities are extensive. Here is a look at the basics.

Key Takeaways

  • Investment banking is a sought-after career path for those looking for a finance job, which can come with big compensation.
  • The entry-level position in most banks is as an analyst, and these job openings are highly competitive.
  • Banks are looking for smart, skilled, and educated candidates that already have a firm grasp on financial modeling and quantitative skills.

What Banks are Looking For

Banks, brokerages and other financial services firm will favor job candidates who bring the following "must-have" attributes to the negotiation table:

  • Deep insight into changing financial consumer demographics, including millennial investors who will inherit $30 trillion from their Baby Boomer parents and overseas investors climbing out of the middle class and into affluent investor status.
  • A pitch-perfect grasp of investment risk and securities analysis.
  • A clear, concise and compelling handle on the new banking business model, which emphasizes caution over aggressive risk-taking.
  • Deep experience in statistics, quantitative analysis, and information modeling.

Viable candidates will have a finance or business degree, and maybe advanced Masters of Business Administration (MBA) degrees for plum investment banking analyst posts, although financial services firms do recruit finance and business undergraduates from high-end schools for entry-level analyst positions.

New analysts can expect long workweeks – 80 hours isn't out of the norm – and will work closely with firm managing directors to "fill in the blanks" on the investment strategies favored by those directors.

Typical Investment Banking Analyst Duties

Expect to spend most of your hours on the following tasks:

Examining industry research

Investment banking analysts are usually slotted in industry-specific categories such as finance, healthcare, manufacturing, or emerging markets. They'll talk to company executives and investors and try to build cases for or against investments in specific firms or industries.

Build financial valuation models

A sharp facility with online spreadsheets and investment models is vital for an investment analyst. Tracking financial trends, isolating business and revenue cycles, and gauging performance in increasingly competitive global markets will all be on the menu for new analysts – and in heavy doses.

Produce investment presentation materials both on- and off-line

New investment banking analysts are expected to be good communicators, for both retail and institutional investment banking audiences. Researching, writing and editing research reports, status reports, PowerPoint presentations, briefing books and pitching books for new initial public offerings (and often managing their journeys through the editorial and production pipeline) are key tasks for banking analysts. Sudden and seemingly unreasonable deadlines for delivering these materials are also par for the course in the day-to-day life of an investment banking analyst.

The "Fast Path" to Becoming a Bank Analyst

The candidates who land the best analysts jobs at high-end Wall Street investment firms have a few in-common attributes, including:

  • A bachelor's degree at a top college or university;
  • A heavy undergraduate classwork load in subjects such as accounting, finance, statistics, economics and business administration;
  • An MBA or Masters in Finance from a high-end business school;
  • A heavy graduate school classwork load in bond valuations, options trading and pricing, tax laws and risk management; and
  • Relevant work experience such as a summer internship at a big investment bank.

What to Look for in a Job Interview

Bank analyst candidates should be prepared to tout their experiences, either in their academic studies or in their careers. Be prepared to discuss your analytical and problem-solving skills. Interviewers will also likely ask you to define and elaborate on your interpersonal skills, your work ethic (those 80-hour weeks may or may not come up, but prepare like they will, and have a good response ready).

Investment firms will give an edge to candidates who can speak multiple languages (Chinese, Spanish, and German are highly favored these days), and to candidates who have a firm grasp on technology and social media.

When you do get to the negotiating table, know that the average entry-level annual salary for investment analysts is $62,645, while financial analysts usually command $54,488 right out of the gate. Additional compensation, such as signing bonuses or yearly performance-based bonuses, is usually available, but these payouts will vary greatly depending on the employer.

A bonus tip: while you can launch your banking analyst job search on any date on the calendar, Wall Street firms usually deliver their yearly bonuses in December, after which some analysts may decide to jump ship. Thus, start your search in November, and intensify it in December and January, just as hiring managers are looking to make a move.

If you're a college graduate looking to break in, Wall Street firms often provide job fairs, "Super Saturdays" (recruiting events held on Saturday at the financial institution) and networking socials to break the ice – usually in the spring months. Check with your college jobs and careers office for details.

The Bottom Line

Latching onto a financial analyst job can be a gateway into a lucrative career on Wall Street. Expect to work hard and be ready to listen. Do all of the above, and you'll vastly increase your chances of landing that Wall Street analyst dream job.


Back to Divisions

Our Investment Banking teams deliver high-quality strategic advice and creative financing solutions to our clients, including mergers and acquisitions, financing, and risk management transactions.

What We Do

We pride ourselves in our resourcefulness and work on a variety of initiatives. On any given day, our work could include advising a company on a cross-border merger, structuring the initial public offering of a subsidiary, refinancing an outstanding bond and more.

As a division, our strategic objectives include:

  • To be the world’s preeminent investment bank – trusted advisor, financier and risk manager for our clients on their most important transactions
  • Build long-term relationships with clients and bring them world-class execution by “delivering the firm” over time
  • Drive superior returns for our stakeholders
  • Be the employer of choice for all career levels by providing a highly dynamic, meritocratic, diverse and rewarding workplace

How We’re Organized

Classic Investment Banking

We work in developed and emerging markets worldwide to deliver banking services for a wide range of industries. Our team approach to client service enables our bankers to play an important role in building relationships and executing transactions. Classic investment bankers have expertise advising clients across industries, regions and products. Teams are organized by industry group, including Consumer Retail Group, Financial Institutions Group, Financial and Strategic Investors Group, Healthcare, Industrials, Public Sector & Infrastructure, Natural Resources, Real Estate, and Technology, Media and Telecom, as well as by region, country and company size as part of the Cross Markets Group.

The Mergers & Acquisitions Group

We offer our clients differentiated advice on shareholder activism and corporate governance-related issues, structured transactions including spin-offs, carveouts and divestitures, and capital markets insights relating to M&A.

The Financing Group

Within a dynamic, market-driven environment, our teams work closely with corporate clients, pension funds, financial sponsors and governments to structure and execute some of the largest and most complex financing and risk management solutions across the full product spectrum, including equity, debt and derivatives. To achieve this goal, the Financing Group comprises all Goldman Sachs’ capital markets departments, and operates on close cooperation with other areas of Investment Banking and other divisions within the firm, including Fixed Income, Currency and Commodities and Equities.

Transaction Banking

We are building a modern and best-in-class digital platform to serve clients’ cash management needs. Offerings will include global payments and liquidity solutions, along with data and insights to create efficiency and deliver returns. The Transaction Banking team provides clients with a holistic view of their business to make smarter decisions with their cash.


Our operations professionals are core to Investment Banking and enable business to flow – read more.


Engineering is at the critical center of our businesses. Our engineers are solving challenging problems using innovative strategic thinking and the latest technologies – read more.

Who We Look For

Working in the Investment Banking division, you will be helping clients solve some of their most critical financial and strategic challenges. We’re looking for candidates who will thrive in a dynamic environment where multitasking and time management skills are essential.

You should be comfortable working with numbers and be an analytical thinker. Strong communication and interpersonal skills are needed in order to work successfully with clients and team members.

“Every day you are doing something different, like helping draft a roadshow document so that a client can raise capital for growth… or advising a company in an acquisition.”


Vice President, Financial Institutions Group, Investment Banking Division, New York

Meet Our People

We Invest in Our People


We created Goldman Sachs University to help our people grow professionally – starting with their orientation and integration into the firm and continuing with ongoing development over the course of their careers.


From ongoing feedback to diverse talent programs, we’re committed to empowering our people to drive their own development and expand their horizons.


We emphasize an apprenticeship culture in which our junior team members learn by working closely with seasoned professionals. We believe this is critical to developing the next generation of Goldman Sachs leaders.

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Become an Investment Banking Analyst

Investment banking careers, although demanding, are some of the most rewarding financial career opportunities available. For one, you have a hand in real-time financial markets and help companies, government organizations, and other clients succeed financially. You also have great opportunities for future career growth and satisfaction; investment banking is an incredible stepping stone to more prominent careers in finance. Read on to learn more about investment banking, investment banking careers, and how to become an investment banking analyst. 

What Is Investment Banking?

Investment banks serve as intermediaries between companies and the financial markets. Investment banks help their clients become publicly traded, facilitate mergers and acquisitions, provide financial advice, trade stocks, and research market trends to help clients make lucrative financial decisions. 

About Investment Banking Analyst Jobs

An investment banking analyst evaluates and researches investment opportunities with the aim of finding the investment that best meets the goals of their corporate clients. Investment banking analysts assess opportunities and recommend investments based on client needs and goals. They are usually part of an investment team and are likely to report to an investment banker who will ultimately guide clients to their final decision.

The corporate clients can be new investors, existing investors, or even the analyst’s own company. If the clients are new, the analyst gathers and processes data, investigates opportunities, and presents the findings to the team and sometimes the client. For existing clients, the analyst evaluates their investments based on performance and makes recommendations for keeping or replacing them. If the client is their company, analysts assess business assets, earnings reports, industry trends, and more to make investment recommendations for their institution.

Other investment banking analyst responsibilities include the following:

  • Reviewing and analyzing data for investment portfolios, including the performance of stocks and bonds, credit trends, and other transactions
  • Presenting the results of their research and investigation to the investment banking team, an investment banker, or even clients
  • Handling administrative tasks such as arranging meetings, generating reports and other materials, and making sure the team operates smoothly

What’s the Difference Between an Investment Banker and an Investment Banking Analyst? 

Most investment bankers start out as investment banking analysts and hold that position for 2–3 years before moving on to an associate position. If you have just graduated with a degree in finance and want to work in an investment bank, your most likely entry point will be as a financial banking analyst.

Investment bankers are critical to corporations and communities who want to raise money to fund their activities. Investment bankers underwrite securities and help corporations navigate through some of the most difficult business processes, such as mergers and acquisitions and initial public offerings. They act as intermediaries between their banks and their corporate clients, assisting in complex financial transactions and issuing securities as a way of raising money. They also use sophisticated financial modeling to determine cost estimates of financial instruments and identify potential risks, project possible earnings, and prepare documentation on behalf of their clients.

How to Get Investment Banking Analyst Jobs

Investment banking analyst jobs are highly competitive, but if you get an offer and do well, you’ll have a highly rewarding job with upward mobility. Follow these steps to increase your chances of landing an investment banking analyst job. 

Earn Your Bachelor’s Degree

The first step toward becoming an analyst in investment banking is completing your undergraduate degree. Common majors for future analysts include accounting, finance, and math. That being said, some successful investment banking analysts majored in something totally unrelated, such as a foreign language or science. No matter what you major in, make sure you can market the skills you developed in your undergrad in your interviews for investment banking analyst jobs.

Complete an Investment Banking Internship

Internships have several advantages. First, internships provide you with real-world practical experience. Immersion is truly the best way to learn and become acclimated to the life of an investment banking analyst. Secondly, the experience and skills you gain in an internship will make you more attractive to potential future employers. Think of your internship like a long-form job interview; investment banking interns often earn the opportunity to be considered for a position as an analyst after graduation, based on the great work they did during their internship. Finally, internships provide a valuable environment to make connections and build your network. It may lead to future opportunities in the firm where you’re interning, or it could lead elsewhere, as the people you work with in your internship move on to other banks.

Register With FINRA and Pass Applicable Securities Exams

In order to operate as an investment banking analyst, you are required to register as a representative of your bank with the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (commonly called FINRA). In addition, depending on the type of work you will be doing, you need to prepare for and pass any applicable securities (series) licensing exams to qualify for registration.

Stand out With the CFA® Charter

While not required, prospective investment banking analysts often start the Chartered Financial Analyst® (CFA®) Program while they are still in their undergrad or soon after they graduate. The CFA charter is globally recognized as the most respected investment management designation you can earn. The program focuses heavily on investment valuation, company analysis, and portfolio management. 

Earning the CFA charter requires you to pass three levels of exams. This process typically takes several years. Candidates study an average of 300 hours per level. In order to earn the charter, you must also demonstrate that you’ve logged 4,000 hours of applicable investment work experience. But you don’t need any experience to start, so it’s common for individuals to complete the examinations while earning their required experience.

A major benefit of earning the CFA charter is that it can help you build your network through CFA Institute and local CFA Societies.

Investment Banking Analyst Salary

What could you make as an investment banking analyst? How much you earn as an investment banking analyst depends on where you live, how long you’ve been working, and what company you work for. As of 2020, the average investment banking analyst salary in the United States is $86,643, but that can vary widely. 

In addition to an annual salary, investment banking analysts receive an annual bonus based on their personal performance and the performance of their employer. You can expect this bonus to exceed $50,000, and it can even exceed your annual salary in some cases. Keep in mind, though, that although investment banking analysts can earn a huge amount of money right out of college, they are also working incredibly long hours. It’s not uncommon to work 90–100 hour work weeks. 

Why Investment Banking?

People often go into investment banking for the wrong reasons. If you’re drawn primarily by the prestige and earning potential, you won’t find satisfaction in your work and might even burn out quickly. Below are some reasons why investment banking might be a good fit for you:

  • You’re interested in the skills you’ll gain as an investment banking analyst, such as Excel, and financial modeling. 
  • You want to learn more about high profile transactions, financial markets, and how a company makes financial decisions.
  • You thrive in a fast-paced environment with long hours.

Analyst investment banking

Investment Banking
Analyst Program

In this program, you’ll join our industry or product groups, developing meaningful solutions for clients or executing significant deals and transactions. Our program will prepare you to become a strategic advisor to our clients and teams.


On-the-job experience

You’ll work on in-depth company and industry research, financial analyses and models, client pitches, and the origination and execution of transactions. You’ll enjoy increased responsibility and opportunities for leadership. Our unique tutor program help the new full-time Analysts acclimate to the J.P. Morgan culture and putting the learned concepts/theories into practice and business application.



Our widely recognized, industry leading, full-time training program is uniquely global. You will begin in New York with 7-9 weeks of economics, accounting, modeling, valuation, applied corporate finance and credit analysis while receiving training for licensing and registration exams.  From day one you will build your global network while sharpening your technical skills.


Career Progression

The full-time program puts motivated Analysts on track for Associate roles at the firm. Our robust continuing education program will further enhance your on-going development and career progression. You’ll be positioned for success – whether it’s for a mobility opportunity or a role outside the firm.


Advice for New Investment Banking Analysts
Investment Banking Analyst hard at work

Ah, the investment banking analyst.

This was the subject of the first article I ever wrote for this site – an article that has continued to generate comments, threats, and snarky reactions ever since.

We’ve covered this topic across many scattered articles and interviews, so I wanted to consolidate all the coverage, update it, and lay out everything you need to know in one spot.

Here’s what an investment banking analyst really does, the pros and cons of the job, what to expect in an average day, and how to break in.

What Do Investment Bankers Do?

Investment bankers advise companies on large, corporate-level transactions such as mergers and acquisitions and debt and equity issuances.

“Advise companies” means “Work with management teams to market and sell companies, find potential targets to acquire, and make deals go through; or recommend the best terms and timing for a capital raise and then market that debt or equity issuance to investors.”

The role is part advice, part sales and marketing, and part negotiation and deal-making – on a grand scale.

In the investment banking career path, the Analysts are the foot soldiers and workhorses.

They’re near the bottom of the hierarchy, above only Summer Interns.

The Investment Banking Analyst Job Description

Many articles about investment banking say that as an Analyst, you’ll be “in charge of Excel and PowerPoint deliverables, administrative tasks, and responding to requests from clients and potential clients.”

That is true, but it misses the point of the Analyst role.

As an Analyst, your job is to do whatever it takes to support senior bankers in winning and closing deals, even if that means doing ridiculous tasks that have nothing to do with accounting or finance.

Many students from top universities kill themselves earning high grades and winning multiple internships, all to land that elusive investment banking role…

…and then they start working and are disappointed to find that most of their time is spent revising presentations, tracking buyers and sellers, and doing mind-numbing market updates.

Even in highly technical groups, you’re unlikely to spend even 50% of your time on tasks such as financial modeling and valuation.

The “average case” for your time on the job might look like this:

In less technical groups, such as Equity Capital Markets, you’ll spend even less time in Excel, and in more technical groups, such as Restructuring, you might spend closer to 40-50% of your time on technical tasks.

Finally, note that even if you happen to spend more time on the “interesting work,” it’s still not all that interesting.

Unlike in buy-side roles, where you might use your own research and market/customer analysis to inform your models, many IB models are “paint by numbers” where the numbers are linked to the client’s demands – even if those demands are unrealistic.

You may occasionally get something more interesting, such as an on-site visit, meeting a company’s finance team, or brainstorming potential buyers or sellers, but don’t get your hopes up.

In fact, one of the best perks of the job may be beating down consultants in rap battles.

Investment Banking Analyst Hours

Yes, the hours are bad for the reasons described in our article on investment banking hours.

On average, you’ll be in the office 70-85 hours per week, though you won’t necessarily be “working” that entire time.

However, you will be on call 24/7, and you’ll have to respond to urgent requests and emails all the time, making it difficult to have a life or plan regular activities.

Banks have tried to improve the hours over time with “protected weekends” and other mandatory time off, but the results have been mixed.

It’s a bit better for Analysts now than it was in the late 1990s or mid-2000s, but it’s still a grueling job that requires incredible sacrifice.

Wait… Why Would Anyone Ever Want to Be an Investment Banking Analyst?!!

“Wait a minute,” you say, “this job sounds awful. Most of the work is boring, you work 80 hours per week, and you deal with crazy people all day. Why would anyone do it?!!”

Good question.

Most Investment Banking Analysts do the job because:

  1. It’s Not a Long-Term Position – You do it for 2-3 years, and then you move up into senior roles in investment banking, or you move into jobs such as private equity or hedge funds.
  2. You Earn A Lot – Investment banking offers higher compensation than any other job out of university, except for a few quant finance roles and programming jobs at big tech companies.
  3. You Gain Access to Great Exit Opportunities – And you can win more interesting roles in private equity, hedge funds, venture capital, corporate development, and other fields after working as an IB Analyst. For more, please see our article on exit opportunities.

The basic philosophy is “short-term pain, long-term gain.”

By killing yourself for a few years, you give yourself many future options in other, more-interesting, higher-paying jobs.

If you value your free time and don’t want to sacrifice your early 20s, this is not the right job for you.

Investment Banking Analyst Salary (and Bonus)

Base salaries at large banks in the U.S. are just under $100K USD.

Bonuses are often 0.5x to 1.0x your base salary, so average total compensation might be between $150K and $200K.

Pay is lower outside the U.S., even in other financial centers such as London, and pay also tends to be lower at boutique investment banks.

For more on this topic, please see our article on investment banker salaries.

What Does an Investment Banking Analyst Do?

Each day in your life as an Investment Banking Analyst is different, but an “average day” might look like this:

9 AM – 12 PM: Arrive at the office, update a status report on potential buyers in an M&A deal, send it out, and join an update call with the client’s management team.

The senior bankers do most of the talking, so you work on a pitch book for a different, potential deal in the background.

12 PM – 3 PM: You join a few “due diligence calls” for another deal, where the potential buyer asks customers of the seller questions about why they use its products and services.

You’re just there to monitor the calls and make sure the potential buyer doesn’t go too far with its questioning. After that, you run to Starbucks with a few Analysts for a quick break.

3 PM – 5 PM: There’s a huge incident as a traveling Managing Director requests briefing materials for an upcoming pitch ASAP, and you have to scramble around to find and send hundreds of pages of reading.

5 PM – 7 PM: Your Associate comes over to review the Confidential Information Memorandum (CIM) for the client from this morning, and you start making his changes to the financial summary and market sections.

There’s a bit of downtime after this, so you order food and then shop for furniture online.

7 PM – 10 PM: As one of the VPs is leaving the office, he decides that the team needs to re-do a pitch book for an upcoming initial public offering (IPO), and he wants to see the new draft by tomorrow morning.

You start coordinating with the Equity Capital Markets (ECM) team to get market updates and case studies.

10 PM – 1 AM: The Associate signs off on the new qualitative slides in this draft of the pitch book, and he leaves the office. You continue to tweak the valuation and Excel-based parts.

1 AM – 2 AM: Another Analyst at the office is having a major problem with a complicated Excel model not working, so you decide to stay another hour to help out, and then you go home.

This is a fairly busy day, but not an outrageously busy or terrible one.

Factors that create “bad days” include:

  • Multiple Live Deals: If you’re on 3-4 deals that are all active at the same time, the workload is unpredictable, and you could get streams of requests throughout the day.
  • Big Upcoming Pitches: Since pitches have hard deadlines and bankers like to do unnecessary work, you could easily end up staying late or even pulling an all-nighter to finish a long and detailed pitch book.
  • Last-Minute Emergencies: For example, if a traveling MD suddenly needs information for a meeting taking place in 1-2 hours, be prepared to scramble.

“Good days” or “slow days” tend to happen when you can focus on a specific deal or client instead of being pulled in 10-15 different directions.

Interacting with management teams is probably the best part of the Analyst job, so those discussions can also create good days.

A Week in the Life of an Investment Banker

In an average week, you will not have much free time on weekdays.

Many Analysts are in the office from 9 AM to 1 AM each day, and sometimes a bit less than that on Friday or other “slow days.”

You might get called in for a few hours on Saturday and Sunday, but you’re unlikely to be there all day unless you’re working on an important deal that’s close to the finish line and that requires your presence.

If you’re wondering about the gym, sports, or having a social life, you do all of that “when you can,” which often means late at night, on weekends, or not at all.

Investment Banking Recruiting: How to Break In

The bad news about becoming an investment banking analyst is that it’s still a very competitive field to get into, and you don’t have a great shot unless you go to a top university, earn high grades, and complete multiple internships.

The good news is that there’s so much information about investment banking available today that if you really want to break in, and you put in the effort, you probably can.

You might have to compromise by working at a smaller bank or non-bank initially, or you might have to “pound the pavement” with aggressive cold calls and cold emails, but it’s still doable.

By contrast, if you were recruiting for this job several decades ago (e.g., the late 1990s), it would have been nearly impossible to get in as a non-traditional candidate because there was so little information about it.

We cover the details in our article on how to get into investment banking, but the two main paths into the industry as an Analyst are:

  1. As an Undergraduate – Complete multiple finance internships in your first and second years, earn high grades, network with alumni, win a summer IB internship at a large bank following your third year, and convert it into a full-time offer there.
  2. As a Recent Grad – Still complete internships during undergrad, but get started with IB a bit later, so work in a related-but-not-quite-banking role after graduation, such as at a Big 4 firm or valuation firm, and then network and win an offer as a lateral hire.

The Investment Banking Analyst Job: Is It Right for You?

If you’re reading this site, you are probably a high-achieving, Type-A personality, so I’m not going to waste time discussing whether or not IB is right for you (for that one, see our coverage of the investment banking career path).

Instead, there are two specific questions you should ask yourself:

  1. Do you need to work as an Investment Banking Analyst first if your ultimate goal is something else in finance, such as hedge funds or private equity?
  2. What is the long-term outlook for this job? For example, if you’re in high school or your first year in university, will IB Analyst roles still be around in the future? Will they be automated or displaced?

The short answer to the first question is, “No, you don’t necessarily need to start as an IB Analyst anymore if you can win a good offer at an established buy-side firm right out of undergrad.”

However, if you’re not sure what you want to do in the long term, then you can’t go wrong with an IB Analyst role because of the options it gives you.

For more on this one, see the investment banking vs private equity article.

On the second question: unless something very fundamental in the economy and financial markets changes, Analyst roles are unlikely to go away or even change significantly.

Many people also “predicted” that Investment Banking Analysts would go extinct after Excel was developed and adopted by everyone, and that didn’t exactly happen.

I could see programming skills becoming more important, as they have in sales & trading, but I doubt that most IB work will shift away from Word/Excel/PowerPoint in the near future.

So, once you put in the time and effort required to get into the industry, you start working, and then you start complaining about your job, you can look back fondly on this article:

“Wow, it’s just like he described. And… not that much has changed. Except for my compensation – bonuses are up this year! (phew)”

About the Author

Brian DeChesare is the Founder of Mergers & Inquisitions and Breaking Into Wall Street. In his spare time, he enjoys memorizing obscure Excel functions, editing resumes, obsessing over TV shows, traveling like a drug dealer, and defeating Sauron.


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