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Are you great at planning? Can you set achievable goals? If you want a job that involves helping clients achieve their best by coming up with plans for the future, a career as a strategist could be perfect for you.

Are you interested in a career as a strategist? Explore the investment banking graduate opportunities available right now. 

What do strategists do?

Strategists in the financial sector look at an organisation’s finances and come up with plans for the future on how to achieve the most they can. In the role, you also look into potential investments which could maximise profits for the organisation. Here are the tasks that financial strategists have:

  • Meet with clients to understand their current financial situation and their goals for the future.
  • Research the current market, analysing whether investment opportunities are suitable for your clients.
  • Make detailed plans for the client’s future, making sure they’re achievable and fit with the goals that they want to meet.
  • Look over investments, manage their progress and advise clients when there is a change or you recommend selling.

Strategist career path

When working as a strategist, you either work as an in-house employee for a single company or as a contractor as a part of a consulting company. The career path is the same for the two types of employment and the decision about which you work for is based on your interests and preferences. You have exposure to many other kinds of employment throughout your career. If you enjoy working in a strategic, planning role, you could move into project management or management consulting. If you enjoy the financial side and like investments, you could move into an investment banker or trader role. If you enjoy working as a strategist, here is the career path you could have:


You begin your career as a junior strategist. In this role, you conduct research for senior members of the team, looking into market performance and other areas that impact investment opportunities. You work with senior colleagues, learning the skills you need for your career by sitting in on meetings and discussing ideas with colleagues and clients.

Career progression

With experience, you move into a mid-level strategist role. You’re given more responsibility and freedom to work with your own clients. You meet with them, provide advice and plan for their financial futures with them. Your role is client-focused and making sure you do your best for each client is a priority in your job.

Future career

After many years of experience and building up a great track record, you become a senior strategist. You work with the biggest clients or on the most complex projects. You’re responsible for training junior colleagues when they join the firm, setting them work to do and answering their questions when they come up. 

If you progress high enough and want to move away from doing any strategy-based work, you can move into a strategy manager or director position. These roles focus on the colleague and client-side of the work. You look after the department, making sure budgets are kept to and reporting on the work to more senior colleagues. You may also deal with clients. This could be making sure the client is happy with the service the department is providing or bringing in new clients to the firm. 

Strategist salaries

The specific salary that you earn as a strategist often depends on the type of organisation you’re working for, its location, its size and your level of responsibility. Here are the salaries that you could earn as a strategist:

  • In an entry-level position like junior strategist, you earn between £30,000 and £40,000 per year.
  • As a mid-level strategist, you earn between £40,000 and £60,000 per year.
  • As a senior strategist, you could earn up to £90,000 per year.

Qualifications and training

Having the right qualifications and training sets you up well to begin your career as a strategist. Here’s what you need for the strategist career path:


Most strategists in the financial sector have an undergraduate degree. Relevant degrees include finance, business, maths and some science subjects. These degrees teach you the background mathematical skill that you need for the job. Finance and business degrees give you relevant background and contextual information that are very useful in a strategy job so you can enter the profession knowing about the way stocks, shares and bonds work but also how the financial sector works. Having a master’s degree in a relevant subject is useful but not a requirement. 

Another option is doing an apprenticeship. In an apprenticeship, industry experts teach you how to do the job and you learn in a practical and hands-on way. Some apprenticeships include a formal education element where you complete a degree at the same time. However, this isn’t necessary for all apprenticeships. If you’re interested in apprenticeships, you can use the government apprenticeship search tool to find apprenticeships relevant to you right now.

If you’re not interested in a degree and don’t want to do an apprenticeship, you can do a diploma in a finance, business or investment subject which will help you get into the strategist career path. A diploma gives you more job relevant information than a degree, is cheaper than a degree, takes less time than a degree but doesn’t offer you the practical application that an apprenticeship does. Whilst there are good and bad points of all of these options, finding the training scheme that suits you and your educational needs the best is the most important part.

Work experience

If you’re completing a degree or a diploma, having some work experience is important for joining the career path. This is because the job market is competitive and work experience gives you the skills that you need to jump into a career. One way of getting some work experience is through an internship. Explore the investment banking internships available now and complete this Bright Network Academy module on converting an internship into a permanent job to help you get ahead.

Strategist skills

Getting a great strategist job requires combining your qualifications and experience with your excellent skill set. Incorporating your skills into a job application is a great way to impress a hiring manager and get to the next stage of the application process. One way of doing this is including times that you’ve gained these skills or used them in your professional or academic life. Here are the skills that you need to be a strategist:

Hard skills

  • Financial knowledge. Since your work is within the financial sector, you need to make sure you’re all caught up on how financial markets, stocks, bonds and shares work.

Soft skills

  • Analytical skills. As a strategist, you need great analytical skills so you can look into investment opportunities and understand the best options to suggest to your clients. You analyse the market and use this information for your clients.
  • Communication. Your job primarily involves assisting clients. You need to use your great understanding of the financial and banking sector and turn it into advice for your clients. Having great communication skills helps you do this because you can relay your knowledge easily without any confusion. If you want to brush up on your communication skills, complete this Bright Network Academy module on developing effective presentation skills.

Pros and cons of being a strategist

Understanding the positive and negative aspects of being a strategist can help you decide if it’s the right career path for you. Here are the pros and pros and cons of the role:


  • Working for a single organisation gives you stability.
  • On the flip side, working for a consulting firm allows you to work with many different organisations which keeps your work life varied.
  • You could earn a lot of money in this career path.
  • Your work could have a really positive impact on a company in the long run which can be very satisfying to see.


  • It can be a stressful career path because you’re suggesting activities that could have a big impact on your clients’ future.
  • If you make a bad suggestion or an investment loses money, you might be held accountable.
  • Factors out of your control could negatively impact your career and job performance, for example, an economic downturn.

Strategist work-life balance

As a strategist, you may have long working weeks. This could extend beyond typical office hours and mean you’re working overtime most weeks. Having long working days and weeks can negatively impact your ability to maintain a healthy work-life balance which can impact your wellbeing throughout your working life. Developing good stress management strategies before joining the career path could help you enjoy your job and get the most out of your working life.

Typical employers

You could either work in house for a single organisation or for a consulting firm in this career path. Here are the typical organisations that you could work for as a strategist:

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