Investment banking and asset management are attractive job options for those who are ambitious and achieve excellent academic results in economics and finance.
Entering any of these professions often entails earning a substantial sum of money straight out of school, as well as gaining a significant amount of social status.
Despite the fact that investment operations specialists and asset managers are ultimately cogs in the same machine, their work responsibilities and day-to-day lives are very different, and the two professions are best suited to people with quite distinct personalities.
The most obvious distinction is that investment bankers are mostly involved in the sale side of the business, while asset managers are primarily involved in the purchase side.
Investment Banking is a branch of banking that specializes in financial investments.
Investment banking is a particular branch of banking that is concerned with raising money for the benefit of other businesses, governments, and other organizations.
Investors in investment banks include institutions and private investors.
Investment banks underwrite new debt and equity securities for all types of corporations, assist in the sale of securities, facilitate mergers and acquisitions, reorganizations, and broker trades for both institutions and private investors, among other things.
Asset managers assist their customers in achieving their financial objectives by managing their money.
Customers of investment managers may include both individual investors and institutional investors such as educational institutions, insurance firms, pension funds, retirement plans, governments, and other financial organizations.
Investment managers may deal with a variety of assets, including stocks, bonds, and commodities, as well as precious metals such as gold and silver.
Education Is Necessary
In contrast to other professions such as medicine, law, or public accounting, neither investment banking nor asset management imposes strict, across-the-board educational requirements.
Although having a graduate degree is considered an advantage in any profession, many successful investment operations specialists and asset managers begin their careers with just a bachelor’s degree in their respective disciplines.
On rare occasions, you may encounter someone who did not even complete high school, but these individuals are the exception rather than the norm.
A set of skills is required
Investment bankers must have excellent interpersonal skills, a strong work ethic, and a passion for the financial markets.
In the wake of the Great Recession, many large financial institutions have worked to reshape their corporate cultures to be less competitive and more family-friendly.
However, the fact remains that investment banking is a demanding profession best suited for individuals who are aggressive and full of energy.
Because 80- and 90-hour workweeks are the norm in investment banking, especially during the first few years, new employees should not be intimidated by the prospect of long hours and hard labor.
Due to the continuous phone interactions with a varied mix of customer personalities that occur over these long hours, strong people skills, the ability to build rapport, and the ability to communicate effectively are required. Investment bankers must have excellent mathematical skills as well as a thorough knowledge of and a passion for the financial markets.
Both professions are financially rewarding, respected, and very selective. A job offer in any area is a positive indication that you have done something correctly.
Which of the two careers is a better match for you ultimately boils down to your skillset and personal priorities.
More assertive people have excellent persuasive abilities and are enthusiastic about their work tend to perform better in investment banking as investment operations specialists.
The asset management field is likely to suit those who are more intellectual, statistically oriented, amiable but not naturally born salesmen, and who place a high value on maintaining a good work-life balance.