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Investment Manager Career Guide

How to Secure an Investment Management Career

If you’re looking for a high-paying, fulfilling role where you work with clients to help them build wealth and live fruitful lives, then chooseing a career path in investment management may be a great fit. It may also pay handsomely. Investment manager salaries can average higher than $135,000.

Investment managers oversee investment portfolios of banks or individuals. They generally have a few years of experience in the industry and hold a degree. With a respected degree from WGU, you can prepare yourself to become an investment manager, make a difference, and earn a great salary.

a group of investment managers in suits and business dress

What Is an Investment Manager?

An investment manager is responsible for overseeing and managing individual investors portfolios, helping with asset management to ensure they’re performing well, according to client goals and risk tolerance. Investment managers are skilled communicators who are well organized and attentive to detail. They must be able to protect the value of investments and act strategically with the client’s best interests in mind.

What Does an Investment Manager Do?

Investment managers have several day-do-day responsibilities, including:

  • Analyzing and adjusting investment strategies to maximize earnings for clients and communicating these adjustments simply, asset management.
  • Protecting and safeguarding all individual or organizational assets to ensure financial returns align with client needs.
  • Building portfolios that reflect client specifications to deliver an outstanding customer experience.
  • Using financial analysis to understand how portfolios are performing and where growth opportunities remain.

How Do I Become an Investment Manager?

To become an investment manager, you should have a passion for helping others and be great with people. You would be wise to also prepare yourself by earning a degree in an area that’ll teach you the necessary skills to excel in the role.

If you want to be an investment manager, consider earning a bachelor’s degree in business management or accounting. If you already hold an undergraduate degree and you’re looking to hone your expertise, an advanced business degree may be a great option. Consider pursuing a master’s in business administration or a master’s in accounting if you’re looking to skill up and stand out.

Nothing substitutes for real-world experience. Gaining on-the-job expertise in portfolio management, financial analysis, due diligence, and financial modeling will prepare you to become an investment manager. Start with an internship or entry-level role so you can get your feet under you, learn from a more seasoned investment manager, and prepare to step into a greater role.

Best Degrees for an Investment Manager

Business Management – B.S. Business Administration

Hone your business acumen and garner added respect:...

Hone your business acumen and garner added...

Hone your business acumen and garner added respect:

  • Time: 70% of graduates finish within 41 months.
  • Tuition and fees: $3,720 per 6-month term.

Sample careers and jobs this business degree will prepare you for:

  • Account executive
  • Business analyst
  • Program manager
  • Director or senior director
  • Vice president

This online degree program is an excellent choice for kick-starting your organizational management career.

Accounting – B.S. Business Administration

Have a knack for numbers or fine-tuning finances?...

Have a knack for numbers or fine-tuning finances?...

Have a knack for numbers or fine-tuning finances?

  • Time: 70% of graduates finish within 41 months.
  • Tuition and fees: $3,720 per 6-month term.

Some careers and jobs this business degree will prepare you for:

  • Accounting manager
  • Financial director
  • Vice president of finance and operations
  • Chief financial officer
  • Forensic accountant

Take your first step toward CPA certification and learn how to use GAAP, ledgers, and journals.

Master of Business Administration

The flexible MBA program you need, focused on business...

The flexible MBA program you need, focused on...

The flexible MBA program you need, focused on business management, strategy, and leading teams:

  • Time: Graduates can finish in 12 months.
  • Tuition and fees: $4,675 per 6-month term.

Sample careers and jobs this business degree will prepare you for:

  • President and CEO
  • Vice president
  • Executive director
  • Chief strategic officer

Our competency-based model gives you an innovative learning experience you won't find anywhere else—and our MBA grads tell us they loved accelerating their program to see a faster ROI.

Accounting – M.S.

Become better qualified to pursue a greater variety of public...

Become better qualified to pursue a greater...

Become better qualified to pursue a greater variety of public and private accounting positions:

  • Time: 70% of grads finish within 23 months.
  • Tuition and fees: $4,675 per 6-month term.

Some careers and jobs this business degree will prepare you for:

  • Accountant
  • Accounting manager
  • Internal audit manager
  • Senior accountant
  • Other specialized finance roles

This MAcc program is designed to prepare you for the CPA exam and also the CMA or CIA exams.

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What Skills Does an Investment Manager Need?

Investment managers need a particular set of hard and soft skills to be successful. An investment manager should be skilled in:

  • Financial analysis. Understanding the financial situation of a client and their goals is the first key skill an investment manager needs. This includes familiarity with reading financial statements, identifying investable income, and helping clients understand their financial standing as it relates to investment possibilities. Even if you don't spend your time as a full time financial analyst, having the underlying skills will be important.

  • Strategy. Knowing a client’s baseline and expectations is just the first part. Where investment managers really shine is in their ability to create an investment strategy their clients can trust. They need a solid, viable plan to prepare for retirement and trust their investment manager to help them.

  • Portfolio management. Managing an investment portfolio and adjusting as the market changes is challenging and time-consuming for those who either aren’t familiar with the markets or don’t have the time. Clients give their portfolio managers the reins, trusting that they will manage their money wisely, shifting funds around to meet agreed upon goals.

  • Due diligence. Investment managers must be precise and careful in every transaction or management activity they undertake. They should carefully analyze investment opportunities with a scrutinizing eye for detail, ensuring clients are aware of potential risks and always keeping the client’s interest at the forefront.

  • Communication. Investment managers handle others’ money. As such, they should be careful to communicate frequently and adequately with each client to apprise them of how their portfolio is doing. Transparency and honesty are key to gaining and maintaining trust and building a solid reputation.
female investment manager using a calculator

How Much Does an Investment Manager Make?


The salary for an investment manager can vary depending on years of experience and whether they work independently or for an investment agency. The estimated median salary for an investment manager in the U.S. is $135,968 according to with the top 10% of earners making more than $175,000. Low-end salaries can be around $63,000.

What Is the Projected Job Growth for Investment Managers?


The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projected that the market for financial managers will grow by an astounding 17% from 2020 to 2030, with nearly 120,000 new jobs expected over that period.

How Long Does It Take to Become an Investment Manager?

5 Years

It usually takes about five years to become an investment manager. To land a job, candidates should plan to have at least a bachelor's degree and two or more years of hands-on experience managing and communicating portfolio strategies. A WGU degree can be earned more quickly and potentially fast-track your progress.

Investment Manager FAQs

Investment managers can work in many different roles. Some work directly with their own private clients, some work for investment firms, and others are part of an investment arm of a larger company.

Yes. For an entry-level position you will need at least a bachelor's degree. To be considered for management-level positions, a master’s degree is strongly recommended.

To become a professional investment manager, you may not need a specific certification. That said, be sure to understand the specific regulations for financial planners and such in the state in which you plan to work.

Interested in Becoming an Investment Manager?

Learn more about degree programs that can prepare you for this exciting career.

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