Despite what their name suggests, investment bankers do not provide advice on where people should put their money in the stock market or how they should allocate their 401(k) money. Instead, they are in charge of complex financial activity, such as raising capital for businesses, putting together the plans for mergers and acquisitions and helping businesses manage their debts. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics says that a bachelor's degree is required for entry-level jobs, but a master's degree is advised for advancement.
Economic Principles and Theory
Investment bankers must have a sound education in economic principles and theory. An understanding of economics can help them make financial recommendations that benefit their company. For example, they can learn how to manage company assets during an economic downturn or how changes in economic policy can cut into or improve company profit. Courses in economics also help investment bankers advise their companies on international business dealings and international law.
An Accounting Foundation
Courses in accounting teach investment bankers the financial principles that lay the foundation for much of the work they do. Accounting courses can teach them how to analyze financial statements, balance budget sheets and monitor investment performance. Accounting classes also include training on tax laws and responsibilities. Investment bankers use this knowledge to make recommendations for companies to address any financial weaknesses, improve their accounting systems or ensure compliance with tax obligations.
Corporate finances are more complex and are more heavily regulated than finances for individuals or small businesses. Classes in corporate finance introduce advanced concepts over what was learned in basic accounting courses. Course work in corporate finance includes information about mergers and acquisitions, raising and distributing venture capital, creating shares for an IPO, and allocating assets. Much of the information learned in corporate finance will influence the direct, day-to-day work of investment bankers.
Assurance, Governance and Ethics
The rules governing corporate behavior are expansive and complex. Investment bankers must take several classes learning about these rules and how they apply to the work they do. Some examples include the responsibilities of a company toward its shareholders in an IPO, the notification process for shareholders and employees during a merger or the ways that venture capital can be distributed for a new project. Ethics are also an important part of this training to make sure that investment bankers help companies to act openly and responsibly.
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook: Securities, Commodities, and Financial Services Sales Agents
- MBA Today: Investment Banker Career
- Florida Tech University Online: Investment Banker Career and Salary Profile
- The University of Texas at Austin: Accounting Courses for MBA Students
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