What do you call yourself?


Are you a super douche if you tell other people (i.e., industry outsiders) that you're an "investment banker?"

This just might be my imposter syndrome, but is this acceptable as an analyst or would this make someone like an associate/VP judge you? Asking for a friend.

Comments (37)

Sep 11, 2020 - 2:13pm

I really don't care what anybody calls themselves outside of work (or at work for that matter). Me judging you for that would mean that I care and what you call yourself when you meet people is your business. Personally, I prefer to bury the whole investment banker thing when I meet people. It's not as interesting or as well-regarded as people in the industry think and I like to believe that the more interesting parts of me are my hobbies, not my job.

Sep 11, 2020 - 2:29pm

I mean, I'll answer the question if someone asks directly but I try to avoid it and brush it off quickly. Normally, I start with I work in finance and then change the subject / talk about what they do or whatever. If someone wants to dig deeper, i'll throw out investment banking and try to move away from that. After that point, this person clearly isn't going to let it go so we may as well talk about banking, but not my ideal conversation with a stranger.

Most Helpful
Sep 11, 2020 - 2:36pm

Used to just tell people I was in finance... And then if they want to know more I would describe what I do vaguely: "I help companies that are looking to either sell themselves or buy someone else.  I work with either party to value the transaction then assist with the legwork that is required to get the ownership transferred and the deal completed."  Then depending on the situation, and if the person is keeping up, I may continue on:  'Usually there are exogenous factors that lead to these desires, maybe its an economic downturn that is forcing consolidation in the industry, or there may be some other pressure on the company...depends... what do you do?"  you could even through info about your focus (ie I help *Healthcare* companies that...)


Sometimes people will be like "Oh so you're in investment banking?" or they will just play it off and ask other question about what you do.  Then if they ask more questions, continue to operate on their level of understanding regarding what you do.  First off, this is a great social skill to have where you ease into something then let someone else figure out what your "title" is and what it is that you actually do.  Or if they have no idea about anything finance, you dumb it down for them and make them feel as though they are on the same level as you (with regards to understanding - because no matter how much you make or what your title is, we are all humans with unique interests).  Either way, it will lead to better conversation later in the night/day.  It much more impressive if they find out later that you're an investment banker than if you just tell them.  Also, though like not even trying to impress people and just trying to get to know them and what they do, and what their interests are is a class act and will yield great things when done successfully in a consistent manner over time.  IMO


Just feel like a lot of bankers (Im an ex-banker) think they are the cream of the crop and while most of them are great, smart, and relatively rich individuals, it takes some real class to not ride the title.

Sep 16, 2020 - 4:16pm

This is pretty similar to my approach, just describe what we do and if the person keeps asking questions provide more info. I don't know what most people do for a living so I certainly don't expect them to know what I do.

Personal preference but I actually never say the words "investment banking/ banker" unless the other person says "oh you work in IB". frankly I think the words "investment banking" are a misnomer as I don't deal with investments or banking. Also because 9/10 when someone hears those terms they think it has something to do with picking stocks

Sep 16, 2020 - 9:41pm

Couldn't agree more with you, brother.  You also raise an interesting idea here - I think that a lot of people on this site think that people think negatively of investment bankers and they think this because they don't get the response that they think they should when they tell someone they are an investment banker.  Some people need to hop down from their high horse and realize that just because someone doesn't drop down to their knees and gauck your peen, doesn't mean that they think you're obnoxious.  They might just have no idea wtf you are saying.  I keep in touch with many of my buddies from high school and college and there are probably 20% of them that actually know what investment bankers do.

Also, investment banking is a broad term.  That's like a plumber saying he's in construction.  Like yeah you are in construction but try to be at least a little bit interesting.

  • VP in S&T - Other
Sep 11, 2020 - 2:42pm

Back when I was in IB, this was my response "I work for a corporate advisory firm". If people dig deeper, then I elaborated "Advising companies on their sales or expansion strategies"


  • Prospect in IB - Gen
Sep 11, 2020 - 4:18pm

Outside of SF/NY, most people have little to no clue what IB is or what Ibankers do. Most people  in the real world are non-targets or didn't even go to college, and a good number of business students at non targets have no clue what investment banking is. 

It's not like you're walking around telling people that you play in the "NBA." 

  • Analyst 1 in IB-M&A
Sep 11, 2020 - 4:18pm

I usually say finance or mergers & acquisitions. I find if I answer investment banking to non-professionals they assume I’m some kind of money manager who will tell them what stock to buy next.

  • Associate 1 in PE - Other
Sep 12, 2020 - 2:23am

There's nothing "douche" about telling people precisely what you are... are you not an investment banker?

Now if you think there's associated stigma, eg. due to financial crisis, then you could be more general and say you're a junior banker/work in the financial services industry.

  • Intern in PE - Other
Sep 14, 2020 - 2:01am

I tell people I’m a potential incoming investment banking summer analyst hireview interviewee for summer 2022 (GS, MS, JPM type place)

Sep 14, 2020 - 1:43pm

I say an investment banker.  Partially because I am an investment banker and partially because I've answered "I work road construction" enough times, and had people do the empathetic nod and go "mmm...yeah, gotcha" enough that I don't feel like a douche when I say it. 

Sep 14, 2020 - 2:16pm

"banker" or "finance" is what I hear and have said myself.  I have mentioned "valuation" in a description a few times but found one word answers are best.  my mother still asks me what i do and can't believe what i describe is a real job...and that anyone wants it.

but i am a rather low key and tend to avoid the "what do you do" or "who do you work for" type chatter anyway.

if i am am trapped i mostly want to listen to see if anyone says something useful so i don't want to put them on guard...let the alcohol do its thing.

it is funny in some rural areas where I hunt the guides and lodge staff think I am a medical doctor, a real estate appraiser, and or a commercial lender.

Sep 16, 2020 - 2:45pm

It depends on the forum:

* I tell regular people like acquaintances or the Uber driver I "work at a bank" or "in finance"

* I tell random professionals I meet that I work in investment banking

* I tell people that are already in finance more specifics about the bank, group etc.

Be excellent to each other, and party on, dudes.
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