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What should I major in if I want to become an investment banker?

Many students want to become investment bankers. What is the most common degree that investment bankers usually have, and is that the best degree to get if I am sure I want to be an investment banker?

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Justin’s Answer

Let me add to Jared's answer. In my experience, a degree from a competitive college in virtually any area of study may make you qualified to work in investment banking. During my prior experience at an investment bank, we hired college students with degrees in art history, biology, chemistry, history, math, philosophy, and many others. Yes, the most common major was in a business area, specifically accounting, economics or finance. However, we were typically looking for smart students who were eager to learn on the job.

Thanks for chiming in Justin. Great points. Especially about seeking out students who are ready to learn on the job. Jared Chung BACKER

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Jared’s Answer

Quick answer to my own question: (other answers are welcome)

The most popular majors for investment banking analysts (hired straight out of undergraduate degrees) are finance (if you go to an undergraduate business program) and economics (if you go to an undergraduate liberal arts program). However, bankers are often hired from a wide variety of degrees.

It's also important to note that the above answer doesn't really apply to all of the many departments within a modern investment bank. For example, investment banks include sales and trading desks where there are a wider variety of majors. They also include very advanced derivatives desks where graduates from math and other technical majors are often recruited.

Just wanted to chime in again that upon review four years later I still stand by this piece of advice :) Jared Chung BACKER

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John’s Answer

Jared many financial sale agents are referred to as INVESTMENT BANKERS. This position involves connecting businesses with investors. Investment bankers advise companies on which stocks or bonds to pursue, and they sell securities to investors to try and ensure that investors are protected. Most employers require applicants to hold the minimum of bachelor's degrees. Investment bankers must be registered with the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA). This is a rigorous process that requires opening a special bank account from which examination, application, and registration fees are paid. The applicant's fingerprints are required as is a membership interview. Lastly, a series of exams must be successfully completed to obtain your license.

There are many degree programs to prepare individuals for careers in investment banking. Common majors include accounting, business or finance. There is a two-year associate's degrees in banking and finance and bachelor's degree programs in business administration with a concentration in banking and financial management that are a good fit for prospective investment bankers. These programs offer courses in marketing, management and strategic planning, accounting, and finance. Those who graduate with a bachelor's degree are eligible for commercial and investment banking job opportunities. Although bachelor's degrees are suitable for many positions, higher level positions in this field may require job applicants to hold master's degrees in business administration or finance. According to the BLS, a Master of Business Administration degree prepares prospective employees to work in higher-level banking positions by teaching them about advanced banking and financial concepts, as well as the economy and financial regulations. Some programs may also provide student-experience opportunities that teach students how to follow the market, learn about trends, and make investment decisions. Many business administration programs provide actual field experience, which employers prefer. Both undergraduate and graduate programs in these fields provide instruction on developing proper professional behavior and understanding the importance of business ethics.

Hope this will be helpful for students who are interested in an investment banking career Jared

John recommends the following next steps:

Getting a college degree from a top school, with a major in finance, economics, or something related to business is preferable.
Getting an MBA or some other advanced degree or certification in finance will give you an edge over other candidates.
Getting an internship at a top firm is critical for gaining exposure to the culture, on-the-job-training, a chance to impress potential employers, and networking.
Network like crazy to find a job. Industry groups, school, the company you intern for, or even family and friends can all be good sources of networking opportunities.

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Punit’s Answer

I'd actually recommend learning Accounting and it's impact on the fundamentals of financial statements. I'd recommend this because learning finance and economics is learning about theories, where as studying accounting helps you learn how to connect those theories to how businesses really function and how that drives their valuations, stock prices, etc.

I would suggest an undergraduate degree in Engineering, especially if you are female. H. John Moghaddam

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Jordan’s Answer

For me, it's best to major in Accounting, it's probably most likely to help you.