Top 3 Skills Needed for Investment Banking

Investopedia lists discipline, entrepreneurial, and relationship-builder as among top five skills for investment banking. In my opinion these along with persistence and excellent communication are essential for bankers. What say you?

investment banking skills needed for analysts

When talking about investment banking, many prospective bankers are highly focused on the needed technical skills such as accounting, valuation, and financial modeling. While these skills are important - in reality soft skills are what make most bankers successful. Investment banking is a very time intensive and stressful job that wears out most people. Those are that able to succeed must have endurance in addition to a commitment to producing perfect deliverables for clients.

Some of the key necessary skills include:

  • Enthusiasm
  • Grit
  • Attention to Detail
  • Endurance
  • Positive Attitude
  • Ability to Learn Quickly
  • Tenacity

Investment Banker Skills Required for Success

Of these, the ability to learn quickly is extremely important. as analysts are often thrown into the fire after a short training period. The most successful analysts will be the ones that are able to figure out the tasks needed and complete them very well without having to ask an endless stream of questions. Additionally, this is important as analysts shouldn't make the same mistake twice.

Along these same lines - attention to detail is critical as the work submitted by analysts (both models and ppts) will go to boards of directors and can affect billion dollar deals.

The necessity of endurance, grit, tenacity, and a positive attitude all exist around the knowledge that investment banking has brutal hours and often mindless work. The most respected analysts are the ones that can keep their head down, put on a smile, and put in the work without any attitude.

User @AndyLouis", an industry COO, shared a good alternative list of the skills needed:

AndyLouis - Industry COO:
  • Prioritization & efficiency
  • Attention to detail & consistency
  • Discipline & work ethic
  • Dependable
  • Easy to get along with / friendly

You can learn more about the skills needed to be an investment banker with the below video.

Outside of these soft skills, our users emphasized that proficiency with Word, Excel, and Powerpoint is critical as you will spend almost all of your time working with these programs.

You can learn more about excel and modeling with the Wall Street Prep Financial Modeling Course.

Read More About Investment Banking on WSO

Preparing for Investment Banking Interviews?

The WSO investment banking interview course is designed by countless professionals with real world experience, tailored to people aspiring to break into the industry. This guide will help you learn how to answer these questions and many, many more.

Investment Banking Interview Course Here

Comments (55)

Nov 20, 2016 - 11:15pm



Attention to Detail


I don't care who your dad is
  • 2
Best Response
Nov 21, 2016 - 4:50pm

"What are the 3 most important skills needed to be an investment banker?"

"1. Enthusiasm

  1. Grit

  2. Attention to Detail

  3. Commercialism"

"Investment Banking - Industry/Coverage - Intern"


  • 29
Nov 20, 2016 - 11:37pm

The wherewithal not to ask stupid questions.

Those who can, do. Those who can't, post threads about how to do it on WSO.
  • 1
Nov 21, 2016 - 9:53pm

Depends on your role (analyst, associate, MD, etc)

At the junior level I would say 1) stamina 2) ability to learn quickly and 3) independent (don't need to hold your hand, great to have analysts that are proactive and don't have to be told what to do all the time)

Nov 25, 2016 - 2:54am

you must be dead inside

You killed the Greece spread goes up, spread goes down, from Wall Street they all play like a freak, Goldman Sachs 'o beat.
  • 4
Dec 1, 2016 - 2:53pm

Yeah I'm doing IB specifically BECAUSE there isn't an entrepreneurial bone in my body

Dec 7, 2016 - 11:04am

Quant skills in IB (Originally Posted: 07/09/2017)

I recently passed the GMAT with a pretty good score (710) quant scores were good, but I'm honestly that keen on quantitative work, is there a lot of quant work in IB? I know the question can be tricky, but any other fields in the industry where the quants are not that heavy?


Dec 1, 2016 - 4:22am
  1. Google
You killed the Greece spread goes up, spread goes down, from Wall Street they all play like a freak, Goldman Sachs 'o beat.
Dec 7, 2016 - 11:07am

the IB "skill set" ?? (Originally Posted: 01/17/2008)

Ive read alot about the specific skill-set one learns doing IB. but what exactly does this mean? from what ive understood, this has included: extensive modelling/valuation skills, ability to work hard and long, do bitch work, learning how to BS

Can someone else (preferably a banker) talk about exactly what they mean when they say skill-set?

  • 2
Dec 7, 2016 - 11:08am

Come on dude...are you serious? You answered your own questions...its just a set of skills bankers develop and perfect while on the job.. These skill are ussually transferable to other jobs in finance yet are used extensively in bankig...they include all the ones you listed above (extensive modelling/bieng able to value a business, writing memos, perform due dilligence, interact with senior level/c-level executives, etc..

Its no different than a kid going to basketball camp for 3 months and developing new jumper or defense techniques...that he wouldnt have been able to learn elsewhere

Dec 7, 2016 - 11:09am

I was referring to the "softer" skills (client interaction, etc...). I just wanted to know if I had missed somthing.

Nov 25, 2016 - 11:34am

(i dont work in finance), my guess from all that i've read on WSO and learned from Patrick, and I think these apply to many jobs

in no order:

-prioritization & efficiency
-attention to detail & consistency
-discipline & work ethic
-easy to get along with / friendly

WSO Content & Social Media. Follow us: Linkedin, IG, Facebook, Twitter.

  • 2
Dec 7, 2016 - 11:10am

Develop more knowledge and skills (Originally Posted: 10/24/2017)

What can a person do to further his knowledge about the things he would need in the future as an investment banker or asset manager but probably would not have the time to do, what books, movies do you think are valuable? what skills should he start to develop so that it is easier later? Certifications or anything else? What is one thing that you wish you should have started to do earlier that could have changed your position now or just made you feel more comfortable?

Nov 25, 2016 - 8:04pm
  1. Smug attitude
  2. Willingness to waste life for money and useless slave work
  3. Formatting skills
Let me hear you say, this shit is bananas, B-A-N-A-N-A-S!
Nov 25, 2016 - 8:09pm

Truly, banking is a waste of time. You pigeon whole yourself into a "prestigious" career path with loads of money, but the opportunity cost is extremely high. Sure you are great at modeling and what not, but the world passes you by.

I mean if you're the type of person who is just interested in looking at numbers all day, sure IB is great, but if you want to be a well-rounded person who makes loads of $$$, I think IB will seriously damped your career outlook.

Let me hear you say, this shit is bananas, B-A-N-A-N-A-S!
  • 1
Nov 28, 2016 - 12:05am

You should be able to think independently and dynamically enough that you wouldn't even begin to think about the top three skills, at least at the MM level. It's not about checking off boxes on a list. BI and standardized testing are ruining our youth.

Also, NEVER take career advice from Investopedia.

Thanks, let me know if you ever need an introduction in the industry.
  • 1
Dec 1, 2016 - 5:30pm

LOL just read GS Elevator. As long as you can talk the talk you'll be fine.

Thanks, let me know if you ever need an introduction in the industry.
Dec 1, 2016 - 2:56pm

Entrepreneurial? Relationship-builder?

Lol what kind of crap is that? As a banker you need to be able to just shut the fck up and do what your MD says. And until you are at least 10 year into the job you will never be allowed to even really speak to clients so the whole relationshi-building is also a joke.

What you need is discipline to not just quit when you get another shitty task at 01.00am and an ability to take a lot of crap. You also need to not value your own time too much cause I can assure you your bosses won't either.

Dec 3, 2016 - 8:17am

Then you are the exception to the rule. I don't know a single junior banker that ever gets to speak to clients. Most don't even get to ever join a meeting with a client. Plus even if you have a speaking role that's still very different from actually managing the client relationship.

Dec 2, 2016 - 12:11am

Suscipit omnis qui sint occaecati laborum in. Temporibus recusandae corrupti voluptates consequatur asperiores blanditiis pariatur velit. Porro dicta impedit corporis ut a. Voluptatibus nostrum vitae enim dolorem labore quia ea.

Dec 3, 2016 - 4:57pm

Eligendi facilis in iusto eum nulla. Sed nobis occaecati neque incidunt voluptas similique veniam. Quas rerum iste aliquam.

Voluptatibus eum enim sit. Aut vel incidunt qui natus corporis. Esse doloribus enim quia et magni. Placeat voluptas adipisci consectetur necessitatibus non. Delectus sapiente qui reprehenderit magni laboriosam quidem. Nemo eaque eum aliquam quod.

Iure praesentium nesciunt sed ad quos et. Non culpa in dolor id. Ipsum omnis voluptates officiis nihil distinctio quas facere. Temporibus iusto cupiditate voluptates doloremque alias maiores.

Dec 5, 2016 - 1:51am

Accusantium fugiat ipsum aut ullam quisquam atque. Est consectetur mollitia illo. Sit asperiores exercitationem facilis similique.

Quia harum commodi dignissimos deserunt. Quidem dicta sed impedit ratione sed expedita quo. Incidunt aut sint autem accusantium ducimus mollitia. Recusandae est porro sit non iste. Quis vel et voluptatem et quis dolor sed. Suscipit deserunt enim delectus qui porro voluptatem. Facilis similique aliquid in quos doloribus.

Sit fugiat ad sit temporibus quam enim sed. Asperiores et reprehenderit ad dolorum. Et sint repellendus quod unde et sint reprehenderit. Incidunt est quibusdam voluptatem voluptates quaerat. Fuga voluptas placeat ducimus voluptas tempore odit molestiae itaque.

Start Discussion

Total Avg Compensation

January 2022 Investment Banking

  • Director/MD (5) $604
  • Vice President (23) $377
  • Associates (149) $242
  • 2nd Year Analyst (85) $153
  • 3rd+ Year Analyst (15) $150
  • Intern/Summer Associate (65) $144
  • 1st Year Analyst (296) $142
  • Intern/Summer Analyst (226) $90