What would you do if you weren't in finance?

I think we all have those days where we want to pull a Chris McCandless and go be a mountain man. If you weren't in finance, what would you do?

I have a knack for extreme stuff. I think I'd get my free-fall skydiving certification and PADI certification and maybe do that stuff. I went skydiving for the first time this summer and it was a fucking thrill - definitely something I want to do again. Another crazy item on the bucket list is to shark dive without a cage. With that said, I think I'd maybe instruct courses in those areas if I wasn't in finance. Or do some personal training, but I think that'd be a tough living financially.


Be wary of greener grass; there are always tradeoffs...

Mod Note (Andy): This comment is from the post Career decisions: walking away from FT M&A and is so good (26 silver bananas and counting) that I had to put it as a standalone post on the frontpage. Enjoy.

As someone who did two summers in investment banking at the same top bulge bracket and subsequently turned down a full time offer, I want to echo what another poster wrote about being wary of greener grass. It never is. There are always tradeoffs.

The truth is that few jobs are intellectually stimulating. Most work is process oriented and will be until sentient AIs come to relieve us of our duties. There are a small number of critical creative jobs at any given moment. There is some truly revolutionary stuff going on at tech companies like Google in the fields of machine learning and life extension, but the vast majority of Google engineers are just bodies being thrown at more trivial matters like search and maintaining legacy code. On the non-critical but intellectually stimulating side, the pay is dog shit. Think PhD postgrads, lab technicians, journalists, writers, artists, etc.

Something you'll learn in due course is that it's very uncommon to make this kind of money anywhere outside of high finance without being an entrepreneur or principal. This is about as sure fire a path as one can find to a wealthy existence in the long run without any actual talent and large doses of good fortune.


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Energy After Meals

Anyone have any good tips for maintaining a high energy level when returning to the desk right after lunch or dinner?

It seems that unless I eat a salad it takes me c. 1 hour to get my energy back. I usually have a coffee right after lunch too and that doesn't do the trick. Generally not eating unhealthy either - think chop't wrap, roast kitchen, fresh & co, etc


How do you allocate your bonus?

I'll be receiving my first bonus at the end of the year. Just wondering how people who have been receiving massive bonuses for years allocate theirs?

I figured I would put about 50% into IRA/401k accounts, 25% in my personal portfolio, 15% on a big gift (maybe), and the remaining 10% just in my checking account. Certainly open to better ideas from more experienced people.


Advice From a Seasoned Equity Analyst

Mod Note (Andy): #TBT Throwback Thursday - this was originally posted on 8/9/13.

So, I used this website years ago when I was getting into equity research. 7 years on and now considering the buyside, I thought it would helpful to share my experience and advice as this website at the time was very useful in the early years of my career. Please don't ask me for a job as I am not hiring at the moment but if you want advice I am happy to give it to you.

First, a little about me. I have spent 8 years working as an equity analyst in London, NYC and Paris. I have worked at large bulge bracket banks and boutiques. Currently I am one of the top ranked analysts in my sector at a very reputable house in London. You can believe me or not but I can assure you my advice and background is legitimate.

Anyway, let's begin.

1. Skill set

To be a good analyst you need the following skills


Money, Death, and Wall Street: Is there really a change on the horizon?

As an outsider it can be easy to shake your head at the death of a Wall Street analyst, to say: "just quit" or to label any and all demises "categorically senseless" or espouse the media's buzzy "it's a suicide contagion!"

All are valid, and yet, none tap into the very essence of what makes Wall Street the sort of environment where the workload would become too much, the pressure unbearable and the hours so long that one might lean towards killing themselves over just walking away from the job.

The only certain element in all of this is working on Wall Street can be an extremely tough gig.

"I think the working conditions of Wall Street banks are a constant -- they've always been bad, they'll probably always be bad," says Kevin Roose, author of New York Times bestseller Young Money: Inside the Hidden World of Wall Street's Post-Crash Recruits.

But Roose, who spent three years post-recession shadowing eight young workers at financial firms like Goldman Sachs and J.P. Morgan for his book, says the interesting thing is this: despite all the chatter surrounding working conditions and the shuddering economy, the Wall Street post-crash and the Wall Street of today still look similar.


Moving to London, advice please

Hi, I currently work in Singapore, and am moving to London to join a BB firm (IBD Associate). My office will be located at Liverpool Street Station.

1) Which area should I stay?
I have a couple of friends in London who recommended Shoreditch area. Things to consider would be whether, in the event the underground is not working, whether there are buses to get to work or whether I can walk. I also expect long working hours, so would prefer reasonable commute options when I end work late at night (not sure if transport home is covered). Lastly, I would probably be spending most of my time in office rather than at home, so would not want to pay through the roof and not enjoy the area.


WSO Caption Contest - September 2nd... Collect Silver Bananas and Win a Free WSO T-Shirt

WSO Caption Contests are back! You guys know the drill, all you have to do is leave a comment in this post with a caption you think is most fitting for the cartoon posted below. The winner will be determined by the community based on the number of Silver Bananas awarded to each comment. In the event of a tie, the admins of the site will decide the winner or send out multiple free shirts if we can't decide. Wall Street jokes welcomed and encouraged!



WSO NYC Commercial Real Estate Happy Hour/Meet Up

Happy hour is geared towards CRE professionals however all are welcome.

Date/Time: TONIGHT, Thursday, September 3rd @ 7PM

Location: Galway Hooker - 7 E 36th Street, between 5th and Madison

How to find the group: Mention "WSO" or "WallStreetOasis" at the door and they'll direct you to where we are located.

When: 
September 3, 2015 - 7:00pm
Event type: 
WSO Happy Hour

Beijing Blunders: Bull in a China Shop!

I have generally steered from using my blog as a vehicle for rants, not because I don't have my share of targets, but because I know that while ranting makes me feel better, it almost always creates more costs than benefits. It is true that I have had tantrums (mini-rants) about the practice of adding back stock-based compensation to EBITDA or expensing R&D to get to earnings, but the targets of those tend to be harmless. After all, what can sell-side Equity Research Analysts or accountants collectively do to retaliate? Refuse to send me their buy and sell recommendations? Threaten me with gang-audits?

This post is an exception, because the target of the rant is China, a much bigger and more powerful adversary than those in my mini-rants, and it is only fair that I let you know my priors before you read this post. First, I am hopelessly biased against the Chinese government. I believe that its reputation for efficiency and economic stewardship is inflated and that its thirst for power and money is soft-pedaled. Second, I know very little about the Chinese economy or its markets, how they operate and what makes them tick. It it true that some of my ignorance stems from the absence of trustworthy information about the economy but a great deal of it comes from not spending any time on the ground in China. So, if you disagree with this post, you have good reason to dismiss it as the rant born of ignorance and bias. If you agree with it, you should be wary for the same reasons.

The Chinese Economic Miracle: Real or Fake?


Bankers decide to take their talents to...Cleveland?

By now, I'm sure all of WSO is sick of the Wall Street vs. tech debate, but this article from Bloomberg is saying that bankers are not only leaving for tech but also smaller banks in cities like Cleveland.

Wall Street banks have been bleeding talent to hedge funds, buyout firms and technology companies. Now they're facing another predator: smaller lenders in states like Ohio and Rhode Island.
U.S. regional banks are luring executives from global rivals with an ease and frequency unseen before.