Scale your Career: What Makes a Good Investment Banker Great?

Feb 2022

For new analysts and associates, communication, collaboration and coordination are essential components of a successful investment banking career. Individuals who can communicate and collaborate effectively with colleagues across title levels and help coordinate every-day and long-term projects will establish a strong path for themselves.

Beyond the “three C’s,” avenues to move careers forward, progressing from good to great, include:

Master both hard and soft skills

For hard skills, analysts and associates should master financial analysis, reporting and tools, like Excel, as well as understand basic finance and accounting principles. The ability to write well will also help junior employees reach the next level more quickly. Soft skills are not as simple to master. For instance, it can be challenging to strike a balance between confidence and humility. It is also necessary to be collegial, resourceful and show initiative when supporting one’s deal teams. Working efficiently with colleagues, especially those more senior, is an important skill. Clear communication with senior team members will give them confidence that you can eloquently and respectfully communicate with clients and management teams.

Embrace different backgrounds

While any potential employer might agree that diverse experiences set an applicant apart from their peers, this point of view has an additional nuance in the investment banking industry. Applicants with unique items on their resume stand out as their distinct perspectives and skills benefit the firm and drive colleagues to approach situations differently—ultimately delivering better client service. Analysts and associates who can leverage their distinctive skill sets will more quickly establish themselves as emerging leaders.

Stay one step ahead

Completing work efficiently and correctly isn’t enough to be outstanding. A junior banker who is always thinking one step ahead of their team leaders, both in pushing forward various tasks and requesting feedback, will distinguish themselves from their peers. Proactively seeking feedback to grow one’s skillset makes an analyst or associate a stronger team member. Because analysts and associates are often closer to the details of a process, they should also strive to set senior team members up for success by preparing them for calls or responding to nuanced questions during the discussion.



Lincoln International is committed to employee career growth, providing resources to help analysts and associates achieve their goals. To learn more about careers at Lincoln and current open positions, visit


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