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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 "IBD 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 summer internships at 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.

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Comments (91)

  • roberto's picture

    I think there is a point to be made here, but I'm not sure comparing entry level IBD analyst aspirations to current CEO life paths was the best way to go about it.

  • In reply to roberto
    HowardRoark's picture

    Very true, but I wasn't trying to compare the two. I used the CBS CEO as someone who didn't have to feel stuck in a position he disliked to achieve great things, which is something I believe a lot of analysts feel is required for their idea of success (whether it be M7, buyside, etc.)

    jacobzhang.net - my thoughts and portfolio.

    "Money doesn't talk, it swears." - Bob Dylan

    See my other WSO Blog posts

  • TheKing's picture

    End of the day, there are many, many, many ways to make it in the world. There are very few set paths to take, and having an obsession with taking a single path is bad for your health. Because if you don't make it to the path or fall of the path, you'll find yourself unable to deal with it.

    Better to embrace uncertainty and carve your own niche than to follow the tried-and-true (and overly saturated) path.

  • IlliniProgrammer's picture

    There are a number of problems with views and perceptions on Wall Street:

    1.) The kid with a 1.9 GPA at UPenn who thinks he's going to be a banker and has people on this very forum telling him such.

    2.) The kid with a 2.9 GPA in Hotel Management at SUNY Binghamton who thinks he's going to be a banker.

    3.) The kids who were formerly (1) and (2) who are now part of "Occupy Student Loans" because they can't pay off $100K in student debt on a $30K/year job as a hotel worker or artist.

  • gammaovertheta's picture

    I don't get it. As you say in the first paragraph, this site is dedicated to giving advice on breaking into finance. Granted, a lot of people on this site aren't cut out for it and are interested in it superficially and for the wrong reasons - I'd say probably more than half of WSO membership in fact. But that doesn't mean that this site is the place to preach about the superiority of other fields (and the CBS CEO's paycheck - what??) either.

    EDIT: Illini's comment nailed it by the way

  • BTbanker's picture

    Blankfein is worth 500MM and just about everyone in the country knows who he is. Nobody on this forum knew who Moonves was. And again, becoming CEO as a Spanish major is an exception, not a rule. Most Spanish majors end up selling tacos and burritos.

  • iRX's picture

    Interesting post. I've been saying the same thing for quite some time now. Happiness > compensation/prestige, bottom line. At the end of the day I don't really care what other people are doing or how they live their lives, but that has been my motto.

  • In reply to gammaovertheta
    HowardRoark's picture

    @gammaovertheta, it's not so much that the media field was "superior," but it's rather offered as an inspiring alternative, given, as you said, how many people aren't cut out for finance

    jacobzhang.net - my thoughts and portfolio.

    "Money doesn't talk, it swears." - Bob Dylan

    See my other WSO Blog posts

  • darety's picture

    You're forgetting one of the main reasons why people go into finance is that it's one of the few industries where unexceptional people can get an exceptional paycheck.

  • twinb's picture

    I see your point but I don't think it was articulated in the best way.

    It's hilarious to me when people scoff at a $65k salary out of college. According to some if you don't make $100k/yr you must be living in poverty. HYS or bust. IBD or your life is over. It's a ridiculous thought process.

    I'm not sure what Moonves has to do with that though. He's obviously an exception, as all CEOs of huge conglomerates are. Only a select few make it there. But then again everyone on WSO is the next David Einhorn.

    I think you would've been better served comparing upper management in finance to other industries or even corporate finance. With a lot of hard work and a little luck any really smart person can make it there and probably have a better work-life balance. IBD definitely puts you in a better position to get those positions though.

  • SirTradesaLot's picture

    Julie Chen?

    adapt or die:
    What would P.T. Barnum say about you?

    MY BLOG

  • Dreamgazing's picture

    Damn. Julie chen is pretty hot.

    But back to the topic. This is same thing as high school kids obsessing over Ivy or bust. They are ivies for a reason and they are the "conventional" path to success. People comforting kids rejected by ivies always mention the exceptions like even Jamie Dimon, Tufts if i remember. But these are exceptions. Just look at the bios of all the management at HFs and PE firms that are "making it." And probably even look at F500 CEOs' backgrounds. Probably top 10 schools across the majority of the board.

    Same thing can be said of IBD/finance. Conventional path to success + money + exit opps will always be the proven path to what people perceive as success. Sure there are exceptions who might end up broke or never make it past VP. But the majority are still better than the kid stuck at the bottom of the F500 ladder with a DeVry degree.

    The obsession with IBD specifically on this forum though is crazy. Looking through asset management forums today made me realized how in-depth the IBD forums are. I don't see much Asset management interview prep.

  • TeddyTheBear's picture

    I think this argument would have been better if you used a more realistic profession. I know in fact that being a doctor or someone in the medical field is looked as more prestigious than banking in many circles. If your a doctor, it shows that you worked hard to get where you are and enjoy helping people. I just don't understand why nobody wants to be a doctor and everyone wants to be a banker. In terms of salaries, many of my family members are in the medical field. They make much more than bankers and only work 40 hours a week and can take vacations whenever. They have huge houses and nice cars. When they asked me why I didn't go for it, I simply told them that I am not much of a science guy. However, most people here just look at $$$, if this is the case, why banking? If you enjoy then it makes sense, but if you are doing it for money, then you are missing out on much better opportunities with nicer work/life balances.

  • In reply to BTbanker
    eliteculture's picture

    BTbanker:
    Blankfein is worth 500MM and just about everyone in the country knows who he is. Nobody on this forum knew who Moonves was. And again, becoming CEO as a Spanish major is an exception, not a rule. Most Spanish majors end up selling tacos and burritos.

    dude, you need to get out and social. Outside of finance industry, most people don't know who Blankfein is nor do they care.

  • In reply to eliteculture
    BTbanker's picture

    eliteculture:
    BTbanker:
    Blankfein is worth 500MM and just about everyone in the country knows who he is. Nobody on this forum knew who Moonves was. And again, becoming CEO as a Spanish major is an exception, not a rule. Most Spanish majors end up selling tacos and burritos.

    dude, you need to get out and social. Outside of finance industry, most people don't know who Blankfein is nor do they care.


    Right, and they care who the CEO of CBS is?

  • In reply to TeddyTheBear
    BTbanker's picture

    TeddyTheBear:
    I think this argument would have been better if you used a more realistic profession. I know in fact that being a doctor or someone in the medical field is looked as more prestigious than banking in many circles. If your a doctor, it shows that you worked hard to get where you are and enjoy helping people. I just don't understand why nobody wants to be a doctor and everyone wants to be a banker. In terms of salaries, many of my family members are in the medical field. They make much more than bankers and only work 40 hours a week and can take vacations whenever. They have huge houses and nice cars. When they asked me why I didn't go for it, I simply told them that I am not much of a science guy. However, most people here just look at $$$, if this is the case, why banking? If you enjoy then it makes sense, but if you are doing it for money, then you are missing out on much better opportunities with nicer work/life balances.

    Out of college, bankers are a decade ahead of doctors, while comp starts at about the same; plus they usually have little to no debt since they didn't need med school.

    The low job security and public perception of bankers does little to fase my passion for financial markets. It's laughable that people choose to be doctors, so that society will "accept" their success.

  • Beanyeyes5's picture

    Coming from someone who's been in Corporate Finance for a F50 since graduating undergrad (2006), I assure you the comparison here to a CEO of a major non-finance company is completely off base. The chances of getting to be the CEO of a major company like CBS, or any major company for that matter, is extremely slim and would take the better part of a lifetime to do it. Correct me if I'm wrong, but it's almost impossible to make the type of money an analyst or associate will make at the age they will do it outside the IBD, VC, PE, HF, etc world. In comparisons to my company, it would take at least another 10-15 years (I'm in my late 20s) to make that type of money base or bonus. My company, and most F100-500, don't even off yearly bonuses unless you're at the director level or up. I'm all for the point that if you want a great work life balance that IBD, etc isn't the right place to be, but comparing the money, career path and lifestyle to that of a CEO is not very realistic imo.

  • fearless's picture

    I think what the OP said about kids going into depression or suicidal if they don't get into IDB is searingly accurate. I met a few people who believed that they were cut out for banking because they majored in Spanish or Russian with a 3-day boot camp from Wall Street Prep or Wall Street Training. Even though I'm okay with them setting such an unrealistic expectation for themselves, I think that mergers and inquisitions and WSO have been watering down how excruciatingly competitive it is to get into IBD and the skillsets required to get the job. I went to the WSO conference, and the people I met who are in banking were articulate, passionate, and intelligent, then there are the kids who quite frankly are just plain creepy and weird. There is also the fact that the Wall Street movies and American Psycho also perpetuate the elite social camraderie and the easy models and the rooftop penthouse suite paid for by the line-of-credit your boss handed to you for helping him make a brick-ton of money.

  • moneymogul's picture

    BTbanker:
    Blankfein is worth 500MM and just about everyone in the country knows who he is. Nobody on this forum knew who Moonves was.

    I doubt most of my peers know who Blankfein is... or GS.

    “Be a yardstick of quality. Some people aren't used to an environment where excellence is expected.” - Jobs

  • In reply to BTbanker
    dolph's picture

    People might have heard the name Goldman Sachs but only a small minority would know Lloyd Blankfein. Maybe you're spending too much time solely around investment bankers?

    And the only reason people know the name Goldman Sachs is that it became a figure of hate after the financial crisis. I'm not sure if that's something to be proud of.

  • Inept Speculator's picture

    Howardroark great topic. One sb for you. I was always say let society weed out itself and with time those who are truly determined to go into banking(and not only for monetary value) will appreciate their chosen career. Cheers

  • HowardRoark's picture

    LOL. In retrospect, comparing the thousands of aspiring analysts to a (very lucky) and established CEO probably wasn't the right way to go about establishing my argument. However, my point remains that there are tons of other options out there to achieve (ridiculous levels of) success, and that finance may not be worth it if you're not 100% into it.

    jacobzhang.net - my thoughts and portfolio.

    "Money doesn't talk, it swears." - Bob Dylan

    See my other WSO Blog posts

  • Wall Street Jungle's picture

    Was definitely waiting for this one to come up.

  • In reply to HowardRoark
    BTbanker's picture

    HowardRoark:
    However, my point remains that there are tons of other options out there to achieve (ridiculous levels of) success, and that finance may not be worth it if you're not 100% into it.

    I hope you realize that you can say the exact same thing about every single profession. Most people become doctors and lawyers for the wrong reasons. They fall for the glamour of saving lives every day, or winning a huge court case when the real world is nothing like that. Or even those who want to become teachers to shape young minds, who eventually come to realize they are completely wasting their time while working their asses off for little pay. Architects and engineers set out for lofty dreams of designing things to change the world forever, until they come to realize it isn't very intellectually stimulating, projects move too slow -- but the aspects move too quickly, and things rarely go the way you want them to.

    tl;dr - you're missing the bigger picture here

  • twinb's picture

    I'd say lawyers are even worse than some of the people pursuing banking.

    The legal field is oversaturated with people that have JDs in their back pockets. People go to Chitlin Switch State and get a law degree for almost the same price as Harvard, come out of school after 3 years they could've been earning money in debt for $100k+, and expect a Big Law or relatively high-paying job.

    At least in finance, especially for most coming from undergrad, you have options and no/little debt. Can't get IBD? Try back office. Or maybe consulting. Or CorpFin. Or Big4. If you have the right majors of course.

    Becoming a doctor seems like such a slog and totally depressing.

  • In reply to twinb
    greengohome's picture

    twinb:

    Becoming a doctor seems like such a slog and totally depressing.

    You mean having shit jobs, insane hours, no money, and taking 10 years through undergrad and med school + residency whatever is not totally amazing? I AM BLOW AWAY BY THIS REVELATION.

    Seriously why banking? Because there's still a lot of money to be made and the competition to break in appeals to a lot of people, plus the gratification is pretty quick. In the 10 years it takes you to become a doctor, you can make a lot of money and the workload def. will have smoothed out in IBD or wherever.

  • UK2013plus's picture

    i totally agree that there are an awful lot of people who do not even know what an investment bank does and yet are desperately trying to get into finance. it's really sad. same with medicine and law. high school kids watch emergency room or boston legal and then want to become doctors or lawyers. there are kids in school which hate math and sciences and nevertheless dream of becoming a doctor. and shitty movies like wall street 2 money never sleeps reinforce kids wish to go into banking. nothing wrong with wanting to enter finance, but one should be really interested in it and not merely driven my prestige and income. what we lack of are good engineers and scientist. perhaps there should be a tv show where the main characters are engineers and stuff instead police cops, doctors and lawyer. maybe then high school kids would want to explore those fields as well

  • LietuvosBankistas's picture

    Game Theory?

    -wow1wow

  • In reply to BTbanker
    IlliniProgrammer's picture

    BTbanker:
    Blankfein is worth 500MM and just about everyone in the country knows who he is. Nobody on this forum knew who Moonves was. And again, becoming CEO as a Spanish major is an exception, not a rule. Most Spanish majors end up selling tacos and burritos.

    Howard Stern knows who Moonves is.
    Howard SternHoward Stern on Flickr

  • In reply to IlliniProgrammer
    BTbanker's picture

    IlliniProgrammer:
    BTbanker:
    Blankfein is worth 500MM and just about everyone in the country knows who he is. Nobody on this forum knew who Moonves was. And again, becoming CEO as a Spanish major is an exception, not a rule. Most Spanish majors end up selling tacos and burritos.

    Howard Stern knows who Moonves is.
    Howard SternHoward Stern on Flickr

    Haha, did you read the article about him getting sued?

  • In reply to TeddyTheBear
    streetwannabe's picture

    TeddyTheBear:
    I think this argument would have been better if you used a more realistic profession. I know in fact that being a doctor or someone in the medical field is looked as more prestigious than banking in many circles. If your a doctor, it shows that you worked hard to get where you are and enjoy helping people. I just don't understand why nobody wants to be a doctor and everyone wants to be a banker. In terms of salaries, many of my family members are in the medical field. They make much more than bankers and only work 40 hours a week and can take vacations whenever. They have huge houses and nice cars. When they asked me why I didn't go for it, I simply told them that I am not much of a science guy. However, most people here just look at $$$, if this is the case, why banking? If you enjoy then it makes sense, but if you are doing it for money, then you are missing out on much better opportunities with nicer work/life balances.

    I think finance is a perceivable easier route. I'm in my senior year and would like to go back to school someday, but honestly just can't afford it. I can't even imagine being in pre-med and having 4 more very hard years of school to look forward to and then becoming an intern or w.e the next step in med is. You can't really start making the money in med until you're... what, 28?

    "History doesn't repeat itself, but it does rhyme."

  • In reply to streetwannabe
    streetwannabe's picture

    streetwannabe:
    TeddyTheBear:
    I think this argument would have been better if you used a more realistic profession. I know in fact that being a doctor or someone in the medical field is looked as more prestigious than banking in many circles. If your a doctor, it shows that you worked hard to get where you are and enjoy helping people. I just don't understand why nobody wants to be a doctor and everyone wants to be a banker. In terms of salaries, many of my family members are in the medical field. They make much more than bankers and only work 40 hours a week and can take vacations whenever. They have huge houses and nice cars. When they asked me why I didn't go for it, I simply told them that I am not much of a science guy. However, most people here just look at $$$, if this is the case, why banking? If you enjoy then it makes sense, but if you are doing it for money, then you are missing out on much better opportunities with nicer work/life balances.

    I think finance is a perceivable easier route. I'm in my senior year and would like to go back to school someday, but honestly just can't afford it. I can't even imagine being in pre-med and having 4 more very hard years of school to look forward to and then becoming an intern or w.e the next step in med is. You can't really start making the money in med until you're... what, 28?

    Just realized I'm the 100th person to point this out.

    "History doesn't repeat itself, but it does rhyme."

  • In reply to darety
    hosken's picture

    darety:
    You're forgetting one of the main reasons why people go into finance is that it's one of the few industries where unexceptional people can get an exceptional paycheck.

    This.

  • virtu333's picture

    It is indeed a bit terrifying. I have a couple interviews coming up, and I'm quite anxious about not getting a single offer. Before that, I was anxious about not getting a single interview.

  • calikid3820's picture

    To say that it not going to an Ivy and getting a 4.0 means you failed at life and are an idiot is a far cry from the truth and can cause a whole mess of psychological issues in people. Are there other ways to get to a 7/8 figure net worth.. Yes, but finance is the most risk averse path to getting there. You are working for someone, you aren't starting your own company, you are still an employee, and once you get into a successful PE/HF on the partner track your chances of hitting 7/8 figures increases.

    How many people on this site are running off and starting their own companies and websites? Facebook made Zuckerberg a billionaire, which dwarfs the other names mentioned... People aren't doing it because it isn't a learnable skill set and the percentages of starting a successful tech company and becoming a billionaire are a hell of a lot lower than getting good grades in high school and then working hard at an Ivy..then IB then PE

    Its all about maximizing odds.. Its why people go to Harvard, its why people go to BB IBDs, and then subsequently go to PE/HF/VC firms.. It is the highest percentage chance of getting the $$$$$$ without taking on any real risk(other than student loans)

  • In reply to TeddyTheBear
    Stryfe's picture

    The reason that careers in banking are often not looked upon in the same light as becoming a doctor is because you hear way more about the work people have to go to in becoming a doctor than you do a banker.

    On college campuses just about every Tom, Dick, and Harry studying Business Administration thinks that they're going to make it big on Wall Street right out of college. Maybe 50% of them actually intern somewhere, maybe 20% of them get an interview for a mid-market/bulge bracket firm, and maybe 1-5% of business students (at your average non-target) actually understand the value of cold calling, networking, exceptional resume building, etc - everything that this site preaches and advises you to do in college.

    If you talk to someone who's Pre-Med the conversation will usually go to how they're studying biology, then they have to go study for the MCATs, and ready their applications to medical school, then they'll complete that and do their residency and then maybe they'll actually be a doctor.

    People pursuing a banking career would sound a lot more impressive if when asked what their plan to get their was people guided them through their life of networking, cold calling, interning, reading outside books and studying as hard for an interview as you would for a final exam.

    But then again, there are a lot of career paths which can sound just as impressive as becoming a doctor if you sat down and outlined all the steps.

    It could also be due to whatever school you go to. I go to a Top-tier Target school for journalism, so when someone says they're apart of the J-School that's looked at about just as impressively as someone doing pre-med.

  • advantageplayer's picture

    I'm just kind of addicted. Reading WSO and M&I for about 6 months pretty heavily now and having put significant time into studying BIWS guides on valuation, accounting, equity/enterprise value, you really get into it. I find that the more I study the stuff, the more I like it. The adrenaline rush I get from networking/interviewing is just amazing. So, I would say I'm definitely in the IBD or bust mindset.

    The best revenge is massive success. –Frank Sinatra

  • Themistocles's picture

    Howard: This is a long and convoluted way to ask a rather straightforward question. I'll give you a short answer, and a longer explanation:

    Short answer:
    Practically no one wants to be a career investment banker. Everybody wants (1) the business education and (2) the stamp banking provides post graduation. Period.

    Longer explanation:
    That stamp states: I rocked my undergrad years and was top of my class (a PhD from Stanford would say the same about a student with a scientific major in undergrad; Harvard Med would say the same about a pre-med student; In a similar fashion, a bulge Bracket bank does that with business-related majors); It also states: I acquired all necessary hard skills to perform in a highly analytical, fast-paced and intellectually challenging business environment. Such environments include private equity, venture capital, and hedge funds. And banking is the gateway to such jobs.

    Also, (3) looking purely at money, your comparison of corporate CEOs and bankers is weak. Here's why: How many Fortune 500 CEOs making millions are there? Well... 500 right? How many bankers making millions are there? Thousands (I would say tens of thousands pre-2008), and they are usually 10-20 years younger than their Fortune 500 millionaire peers (the average GS employee makes $750k a year FYI, from the personal assistant to Lloyd). Seeing this stat, do you now understand the rush to banking, in addition to the education and stamp aspect mentioned above?

    But again, reasons (1) and (2) are the main drivers of college students: to use the banking gateway to propel them to jobs that are really interesting and highly rewarding, both intellectually and financially, and usually come with a good lifestyle.

    Aei ho theos geōmetreî

  • In reply to hosken
    Themistocles's picture

    hosken:
    darety:
    You're forgetting one of the main reasons why people go into finance is that it's one of the few industries where unexceptional people can get an exceptional paycheck.

    This.

    Absolutely second that.

    Aei ho theos geōmetreî

  • In reply to BTbanker
    George Soros's picture

    BTbanker:
    TeddyTheBear:
    I think this argument would have been better if you used a more realistic profession. I know in fact that being a doctor or someone in the medical field is looked as more prestigious than banking in many circles. If your a doctor, it shows that you worked hard to get where you are and enjoy helping people. I just don't understand why nobody wants to be a doctor and everyone wants to be a banker. In terms of salaries, many of my family members are in the medical field. They make much more than bankers and only work 40 hours a week and can take vacations whenever. They have huge houses and nice cars. When they asked me why I didn't go for it, I simply told them that I am not much of a science guy. However, most people here just look at $$$, if this is the case, why banking? If you enjoy then it makes sense, but if you are doing it for money, then you are missing out on much better opportunities with nicer work/life balances.

    Out of college, bankers are a decade ahead of doctors, while comp starts at about the same; plus they usually have little to no debt since they didn't need med school.

    The low job security and public perception of bankers does little to fase my passion for financial markets. It's laughable that people choose to be doctors, so that society will "accept" their success.

    Simply in terms of raw $$$ over a lifetime and disregarding temporary inconveniences of education, I believe IB is a better choice than being a doctor. There are very wealthy neurosurgeons for example who make double or triple the average IB analyst. But neurosurgeon != doctor. If you're smart enough and have put in enough effort to be a successful neurosurgeon then I submit you could be making more as a VP at an investment bank, working at a hedge fund, etc. However, one benefit of being a doctor is job security. If you can take the pressure of constantly making literally life or death decisions and do your job competently then you are set for life with a high salary. Not so in IB. Public perception I believe is also not a trivial advantage. The old saying about women loving doctors has some truth! It may be easy for some here to forget, but status may have higher utility than raw money. Finally the work-life balance (once you get out of residency, which might compete well in intensity with IB analyst jobs) seems somewhat superior: only 10-12 hour days with occasional nights and weekends.

  • In reply to IlliniProgrammer
    George Soros's picture

    IlliniProgrammer:
    There are a number of problems with views and perceptions on Wall Street:

    1.) The kid with a 1.9 GPA at UPenn who thinks he's going to be a banker and has people on this very forum telling him such.

    2.) The kid with a 2.9 GPA in Hotel Management at SUNY Binghamton who thinks he's going to be a banker.

    3.) The kids who were formerly (1) and (2) who are now part of "Occupy Student Loans" because they can't pay off $100K in student debt on a $30K/year job as a hotel worker or artist.

    Yes.

    I think its important to set high but realistic expectations. It seems to me it basically comes down to three things:

    1. Raw Intellect
    2. Conscientiousness/Desire
    3. Connections/Personality

    There are a lot of people on here who routinely say, "If you have enough desire, it's going to happen." That's total bullshit. It might be true for people who graduated with four-year degrees with averages above 3.0, say. But that excepts 80+% of the population. No, you need some kind of combination of the three above things; desire is one but not everything. If you do find yourself in the category of having lots of desire but not much of the other two traits, and I know people like this, there are other jobs for you. I have a lot of sympathy for people in this position. They work hard, do everything right, but it's not enough. In an odd sort of way, although the political atmosphere here seems pretty conservative, I think the conservative Charles Murray pwnts some of the advice here when he says too many people are going to college. He seems right.

  • TeddyTheBear's picture

    "The average GS employee makes $750k a year"

    I am sorry but I would love to know where you got this from.
    http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-07-26/jefferies...

    Also my last piece of input. The people who are "IBD or Bust" are normally college kids who don't know anything about the industry. They believe that 1st year analyst drive Porsches to work and live in penthouse suits. I believe the last 15 years of the IBD industry have corrupted young minds. If you do a search on this forum, you will see the perception of the average college kid is simply out of sync with what the industry is actually like. These people believe they can be making 150k out of undergrad.

  • In reply to TeddyTheBear
    IlliniProgrammer's picture

    TeddyTheBear:
    . If you do a search on this forum, you will see the perception of the average college kid is simply out of sync with what the industry is actually like. These people believe they can be making 150k out of undergrad.

    This is so true.

    In the MSF/MFE program I'm in, there's a huge difference between the kids straight out of undergrad and the folks with industry experience. I tell them that perhaps 25% of the people in the program will one day make MD, and there will only be one or two people who make it to the C-suite, and they become incredulous. This is a very good program, but even among what might be a sample of the best, the odds of success are a lot narrower than people think.

    There is a humongous gap between the expectations of the college student and reality. That said, I was one of those college students who quietly thought he could be a CEO one day- I suspect a lot of industry people had ridiculous ambitions as college students.

    Part of maturity and adulthood is recognizing the reality of our limitations.; recognizing that we may be unique and valuable, but only one person out of thousands gets to be CEO, and there's a very good chance we're not him and we may never be him. Only one person can be the richest man in the country, and he happens to be a 55-year-old computer geek with a whiny voice.

  • para1999's picture

    Actually it works as a vicious cycle: You have college debt==> you want a FAST return for your investment, people are losing patience that's why they abolished networking...
    However besides IBD, cooperate finance may also be a great choice, consulting is good as well:)

    Memory since 1999.

  • couchy's picture

    If you watch Shark Tank, you'll find a lot of young people who have businesses that generate revenues in the millions, and many times the businesses are actually fairly simple like:

    Ice cream chain that uses liquid nitrogen to make ice cream instantly
    Junk cleaning and disposal service
    better tasting peanut butter

    and other just very simple ideas. That's not as good as CEO but it just shows a little free time, focus, and dedication each weekend goes a long way. You'd never be able to be creative enough in IB/HF/PE to think of these things just because you're so busy and brain dead from work.

  • couchy's picture

    If you watch Shark Tank, you'll find a lot of young people who have businesses that generate revenues in the millions, and many times the businesses are actually fairly simple like:

    Ice cream chain that uses liquid nitrogen to make ice cream instantly
    Junk cleaning and disposal service
    better tasting peanut butter

    and other just very simple ideas. That's not as good as CEO but it just shows a little free time, focus, and dedication each weekend goes a long way. You'd never be able to be creative enough in IB/HF/PE to think of these things just because you're so busy and brain dead from work.

  • lucidfighter's picture

    At this point I think I'm set on banking or bust because that's all I know how to do and that's all my resume is tailored towards (two internships at ibanks). Trying hard to nail down a FT offer but we'll see how it all turns out, I can't seem to finish unfortunately, even after making it to 6 or 7 super days.

  • money in the banana stand's picture

    I think a lot of the 'IBD or bust' mentality comes from risk aversion. If you are entrepreneurial and start your own company, you might sell your company for $500 million but it probably will go under after a year leaving you broke. However, *if* you make it into IBD you're guaranteed to be compensated well (historically..who knows now). In addition, you don't have to worry about drowning in debt from med school or law school and you might make that type of money in IBD. In theory, it seems to offer all the upsides with little downside (except the whole consuming your life part).

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