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An Investment Analyst is a finance professional who evaluates financial and investment information and acts as a liaison between investment bankers, clients, and potential investors. Investment Analysts can work on the buy-side for investment banks that work on: mergers and acquisitions, corporate finance, equity research, sales and trading, and asset management, or the sell-side for mutual funds and financial advisory. They can find full-time work in-person at bulge bracket banks, middle-market banks, mutual fund banks, financial advisors, and regional or elite boutique firms.
Investment Analysts almost always work at least 40-hours per week, often more than 50-hours per week, and are sometimes required to be on-call. They work with Researchers, Associates, other Analysts, Sales Staff, Directors, and Administrators. Every Investment Analyst’s job is different, but you can find them: juggling emails, arranging and attending meetings, compiling data, negotiating, creating presentations, creating spreadsheets, analyzing assets, editing reports, modeling data or finances, compiling notes on companies, and researching and gathering information on companies and the market.
Communication is the most important skill for an Investment Analyst. They’ll be regularly communicating via email, phone, in-person meetings, presentation decks, and reports, which means that their written and oral skills must be top-notch. A keen eye for detail will be necessary as well, to catch any errors in spelling, hierarchy, numbers in a spreadsheet, or jumbled jargon. Fantastic social skills will be valuable to an Investment Analyst as networking is the top way to earn promotions and a good reputation.
Investment Analysts should understand basic probability and math, accounting, and data and financial modeling. They must be skilled researchers and multitaskers. Their stamina for long, stressful hours should be high. They must have a high-level understanding and passion for investment banking. They should get to know investment banking jargon and their abbreviations, such as IPOs, M&A, IOI, LOI, CIP, DCF, LBO, and NBP.
Excel is a spreadsheet developed by Microsoft that runs on Windows, macOS, Android, and iOS. It is used for calculation, graphing, data visualization, and Visual Basic for Applications (VBA) macro programming.
Investing is allocating money with the expectation of a future benefit. Benefits accrued through investment are called returns.
Financial modeling is the use of a tool built into Excel to forecast the future financial performance of a business. These predictions are based on the historical performance of a company, and inferences of the future.
Finance involves the management, study, and creation of money and investments. Finance dictates how a company, individual, or governing power acquires necessary capital. Finance typical uses tools like Quickbooks, Oracle, and Excel.
Accounting involves processing, measuring, and communicating financial information about businesses. Accounting often uses software like QuickBooks, Excel, and other office communication tools.
A Investment Analyst in the United States makes, on average, $75,155 annually, according to Indeed.com.
Salaries for Investment Analysts vary by region within the the United States. Listed below are some Investment Analyst salaries for specific areas with the United States compared with the average national salary:
Investment Analysts are almost always required to have at least a bachelor’s degree in finance, economics, accounting, statistics, or a related field. An MBA is not required for this position but may be desired by many employers. Investment Analysts without an MBA might also find it more difficult to get promotions, as most higher-level positions in finance do require it. If you are pivoting from another career, an MBA is the most efficient way to enter the finance industry and can lead to an Associate position directly after graduation.
Investment Analysts can earn their Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) Certification which requires three exams and several hours of studying. A CFA is not required but can boost the chances of a promotion for an Investment Analyst.
Investment Analysts can work on the buy-side for investment banks that work on: mergers and acquisitions, corporate finance, equity research, sales and trading, and asset management, or the sell-side for mutual funds and financial advisory. They can find full-time work in-person at bulge bracket banks, middle-market banks, mutual fund banks, financial advisors, and regional or elite boutique firms. You’re more likely to find high-paying jobs on finance-specific job boards or via word of mouth, but you can find low-level Investment Analyst listings on general job boards as well.
Investment Analysts can find jobs on these sites:
Investment Banking is an extremely competitive industry. Investment Analyst is an entry-level position and it is usually awarded to candidates during their last year of college or an internship. Landing a position at a firm within a financial hub will be difficult. Examine the different types of investment banking you want to do and the type of bank you’d like to work at. You’ll need to be sure that the culture of the bank you want to work at is a good fit for you and your aspirations.
Location matters for this job. You’ll likely need to be in a larger city and you should look into banks in the region that you’d like to live in before applying to jobs because it is unlikely that you’ll find an investment banking job that is fully remote. The school you go to also matters for this position. Investment banking firms will often hire candidates from specific schools. If you haven’t gone to school yet, consider this when applying.
In banking, networking is absolutely essential. Have conversations with people who are already in the field to learn more about the job and the bank that they work for. You’ll get exposure to the experiences of that person’s position, which can ease your onboarding experience. Leverage any connections to make more connections with others by asking for recommendations on who else you should talk to within the bank. They might not be able to refer you to someone else, but you might be able to ascertain whether this bank is right for you, learn more about the bank to boost your knowledge in your interview, and get you name-recognition among employees at the bank, which would help during the recruitment process.
Beyond your resume and technical qualifications, you’ll need to stand out among a large pool of candidates through three major questions: “Why should we hire you?”, “Why do you want to work at this bank in particular?”, and “Why did you choose an investment banking career?” These questions may be expressed in a way that tests your culture-fit, by asking about how you’ve acted in team settings or challenges. Practice these particular questions through mock-interviews, with anyone you can - like friends, family, classmates, a mentor, or even in your mirror or on camera by yourself. You’ll need to know your answers to these questions and be able to say them with confidence.
Investment Analyst is an entry-level investment banking position that is well-defined. The only aspect of this job title that varies is the type of bank you’ll be working for. Some banks will elaborate on their specialization within the advertised job title such as in wealth management or portfolio investment.
Investment Analysts can look for these positions:
Investment Analysts evaluate financial and investment information while Research Analysts research, analyze, and interpret data. These positions are on par with each other in salary, but not responsibilities. They can be a convenient pivot for the Investment Analyst looking to get out of finance. If finance is your wheelhouse but you'd like to get out of investment banking, you should consider a job as a Financial Analyst. This will result in a pay cut, but possibly a less stressful working environment. Financial Analysts communicate with CEOs, CFOs, and other executives.
If you love your role as an Investment Analyst, you probably already know that you want to be a high-level Investment Banker one day. Investment Bankers advise and aid in merging, acquiring, and investing in capital markets. Or, maybe you’re aiming to become a Private Equity Associate, which is the best next step for an Investment Analyst and requires at least two years of experience. Private Equity Associates work on a project start-to-finish, analyzing and monitoring data, looking for potential investment opportunities for their firm, and raising capital from outside investors. PEAs are also at the top of the pay bracket for these types of roles.
Financial Analysts, Research Analysts, and Investment Analysts are all roles that could lead to higher-paying Investment Banker or Private Equity Associate roles. Most of these roles require bachelor’s degrees in finance, math, statistics, economics, or accounting, depending. It would be worth obtaining a Financial Modeling and Valuation Analyst (FMVA) certification or a Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) certification to elevate your chances at success.
Financial analysts use their business, finance, or accounting background to analyze data and make recommendations for investments. They study past, present, and future business and economic trends to provide data-driven insights for business decision-making. Financial analysts take on roles as fund managers, portfolio managers, investment advisors, and risk analysts. Many earn additional credentials in the field, such as Certified Public Accountant or Project Management Professional certifications.Learn about becoming a Financial Analyst
Investment bankers are financial advisors for corporations. These professionals help clients with mergers and acquisitions and advise on investments in capital markets. Companies looking to make capital investments or to expand operations may turn to an investment banker to help locate and acquire capital. Investment bankers have nearly limitless earning potential, as they are compensated for the value they provide.Learn about becoming a Investment Banker
A Research Analyst researches, analyzes, and interprets data on markets, operations, finance, economics, and customers in their industry. They can find work in nearly any industry but are found at the highest concentration in the financial services sector.Learn about becoming a Research Analyst
Private Equity Associates are responsible for leading deal processes from beginning to end. They work with private equity firms to analyze and monitor data, look for potential investment opportunities for their firm, and raise capital from outside investors.Learn about becoming a Private Equity Associate