Investment Banking Associates – Skill Sets

Last time we looked at the second tier on the investment banking job food chain, the associate. Now let’s look at some of the specific skills requested by employers who are looking to hire them.

In combing through the many positions listed at, we noticed a media/entertainment firm in New York looking for an equity associate. This person would perform equity research and analysis of public-traded corporations in the communications sector.

In another example, an associate in credit risk management for a major New York investment bank would need a thorough understanding of structured finance products. In this case, the employer is looking for an undergraduate degree in economics or finance and at least four years of credit-related work experience.

Another major New York Investment bank (yes, they’re hiring) is looking for an associate to help identify and investigate risk concentrations in the firm’s credit portfolio (no surprise there). This candidate would need a familiarity with traded securities, derivatives, finance, and of course, the fluency in Microsoft Excel and data analysis techniques that goes with the territory for associates.

Of course, you’ll need more than number-crunching wizardry to succeed as an associate at an investment bank. You’ll need exceptional people skills. Investment banking has been described as revolving around “power, politics and personalities.” Meaning you’ll be dealing with a lot of gigantic egos, jockeying for favor among the higher ups, and naturally making your boss look good.

Associates generally don’t have to do as much of the grunt work as first and second year analysts. But you can’t expect much coddling, either. At an investment bank, the world revolves around the deal and everything else comes second. You move up the ranks as an associate because you work hard, understand finance and people, and bring in deals.


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