As much as I love Wall Street Oasis, I can't help but raise an eyebrow at how narrow some of the mindsets on this website are. I'm specifically talking about in regards to careers; obviously, this is a finance community-targeted website, but it seems unbelievable how many students go beyond "or bust." There's literally been folks who've talked about becoming psychologically depressed or even near suicidal because they didn't get a callback or subsequent offer from some target banks. Others are willing to make extremely illogical moves (like racking up six figure debt to go to a tiny business school in an attempt to gain entrance into the finance world instead of simply networking) to reach "their goals."
In expanding this beyond WSO, so many of my friends at Ivy League institutions, top state schools, and even honors colleges simply cannot fathom that there are jobs that are better than being an analyst straight out of college. For slightly lower pay, they could find something which may give them a better quality of life, a broader skill-set, and the same quality (or better) of network and exit opportunities. See the interview with Nefarious on his position as a strategy associate at a defense firm for evidence of this.
But don't worry; if you've wanted to be a banker since you were 15, have done summerat 3 or 4 banks, have taken finance courses throughout college, and still love it... this field may be for you. It's simply upsetting how many people are blind-sighted by the six figure pay and secretly either don't have any interest in it, or haven't yet experienced enough of the lifestyle to know.
And there's this constant talk about how great the exit opportunities are after the killer 2 years that is an IBD analyst position. What folks don't realize is that these opportunities arise because you've developed certain skills (read: excel and staying up for 3 days at a time) that are valued at other firms. That means that if you hate your job as an analyst, you're going to hate your job on a shorter-hour and better-pay basis in whatever next job you take.
I'd also like to echo a recent article I read about media company CEO compensation. Les Moonves, chief exec of CBS Corp, took in just under $70 million in 2011 and Philippe Dauman of Viacom Inc. took in $43 million. The rest simply went down the list, with these numbers simply making Wall Street CEO exec comp look tiny in comparison.
You all should know about banking's rigid hiring schedule and how much they love pedigree, prestige, and grades. Moonves is now chief executive of CBS, running a corporation that affects and influences millions of lives every day. His major at Bucknell (is that a target?) was Spanish, and he acted in a few plays before shifting to the corporate side and working his way up. Today, he's one of the happiest dudes ever: google image him and see his gigantic smirk in every pic. He has more money than he ever needs, gets to chill with celebrities all the time, and he's married-- with a prenup-- to Julie Chen, the hottest 42-year old thing on Earth.
I think that there are quite a few WSOers who are determined to go to finance and truly have a passion for it, and to them I say go for it. But passion goes beyond liking Wall Street the movie and admiring Gordon Gekko. If you do not truly enjoy what you do, you won't do it well and you'll miss the tangible benefits that come with it. If that sounds like you, perhaps take the route that many of others have taken and find something beyond wall street that interests you.