Investment Banking Vice Presidents and Directors

Last time we looked at the career path within investment banks after the research analyst and associate stage. Top bankers rise through the ranks to vice president, director and eventually managing director level. What sort of skills are required to become or be hired as a vice president or director? A quick look at jobs posted at reveals some answers.

A vice president in the industrials group at an international investment bank would need an MBA from a top university, plus 5-10 years of experience with mergers and acquisition, preferably in industrials space. In this capacity, you would be providing M&A and capital raising advice to public and private companies and working to complete transactions.

At another firm, a managing director, mergers & acquisitions, would need 10 or more years of M&A experience, and a proven track record of deal generation and solid execution skills. This professional needs to have an extensive network of relationships with referral sources in banking, private equity and law firms in order to generate potential deals.

In addition to specializing in a particular industry, there are also high-level investment banking jobs that require a regional or geographic focus. A bank in Saudi Arabia, for instance, is looking for a director to support their capital market activities. Or a bank in Hong Kong, is looking for a director of corporate finance to lead a team to develop potential deals, pitch new business, conduct due diligence and execute transactions. In these jobs, fluency in a second language such as Arabic or Mandarin and a familiarity with the local culture plays as big a role as your educational background and years of experience in the industry.

Regardless of industry or geography, someone striving to move up the ranks of investment banking to the vice president and director level would certainly need to demonstrate the ability to lead other members of a team, attention to detail and the ability to execute transations.   Although you will be doing less of the tedius research and analysis of your early years, you will still be routinely putting in 12-hour days and longer, especially in the event of a pitch or major deal. You will still be sacrificing a fair amount of your personal life for your profession, though you will be handsomely rewarded for successful efforts.


University of Michigan, Ross School of Business

Boston University School of Management

William & Mary College

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