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I get this a lot from my brother (Geneticist turned Doctor) and many of my "smart" friends (actuaries, physicists, surgeons, biotech engineers, programmers and mining engineers)

"Finance is NOT complex, all you need to know is:
NPV/IRR; High Risk -> High return; Buy low, Sell high"

"All the other stuff you'll learn as you do - Petro-chemical engineering, becoming president, human stem-cell organ replication, ancient hieroglyphics, particle physics, understanding madarin and arabic, genetic algorithms, bettering Shakespeare, and signal processing with Kalman filters, giving birth is complex; not this finance stuff."

"I can easily replace you at the bank"

Please provide me with some good ammunition for retort!

Comments (120)

  • PanAfricanBanker's picture

    That's an idea!

    My engineer mates keep saying that the number of engineers that seamlessly change industry to finance compared to the number of finance guys that change to engineering is a clear sign of where the difficulty and facility lies

    - Ostende Mihi Pecuniam -

  • UFOinsider's picture

    The focus is dealmaking, not academia. Tell them you do theoretical math for fun. Who cares

    Get busy living

  • Human's picture

    Tell them go buy a Wall Street Journal. What does it say on top? "Wall Street, bitches!" Just kidding.

    If someone ever ask you that again, just tell them straight in the face, "Do I give a fuck about what you think? No! Just look at the smirk on my face. Look, how happy I am."

    "I am the hero of the story. I don't need to be saved."

  • hopesanddreams's picture

    The theory may be easy but the application can be quite hard eg valuing an oil company.
    Requires more then just solid math or academics. Banking is an art and a science which is what makes it difficult.

  • jktecon's picture

    Finance is really not complex because it is a natural human experience to buy sell and trade so I think they are right. Any complexity in the field is a result of intentional manipulation to make it so.

    In short they are right, but did you really take up finance so that you would be regarded as the guy with the occupation that required the highest IQ?

  • Jackie Chiles's picture

    in terms of intellectual difficulty they are probably right but i-banking requires more than just intellect, which is why it is difficult to get into. Being "smart" is always enough.

    "It's outrageous, egregious, preposterous. "

  • In reply to UFOinsider
    bossman's picture

    UFOinsider wrote:
    The focus is dealmaking, not academia. Tell them you do theoretical math for fun. Who cares

    To build on that...deal making is the name of the game, the more i see the senior guys work the more i learn from their thinking...it's not easy to get a deal done with 5 different constituents.

    On a junior level, valuation is not rocket science, but for it to be useful it has to be extremely analytical in nature. Several scenarios must be considered, assumptions must be strong.

    With so much information around us sometimes you wonder where to start...so synthesizing and analyzing lots of dry and convoluted information is not everyone's cup of tea.

    Do what you want not what you can!

  • mhurricane's picture

    The grass is always greener on the other side. Science is easy, all you have to do is memorize.

    The difference between successful people and others is largely a habit - a controlled habit of doing every task better, faster and more efficiently.

  • JDawg's picture

    PanAfricanBanker wrote:
    Please provide me with some good ammunition for retort!

    The reason you're having such a tough time coming up with "some good ammunition for retort" is because there isn't any. Compared to the jobs that your smart friends have, banking is a joke (in terms of intellectual difficulty). If you can't admit to that, then your either 1. blinded by your excessive emotional attachment to banking, or 2. stupid.

  • PetEng's picture

    I'd argue the average IBer is just as smart as the average engineer (or smarter).

    You'd be hard pressed to convince me that the average English major coming out of Dartmouth is less intelligent than the average engineer coming out of UC Irvine.

    Of course, the average MS Engineer is a completely different class.

  • In reply to leveredarb
    swagon's picture

    leveredarb wrote:
    swagon wrote:
    I'd wager most people at most of those jobs could beat a rain making MD on an IQ test. I'd also wager that those same people are much more likely to be socially retarded, or perhaps even lame as fuck.

    whilst bankers who piss away their entire life fixing footnotes in pitchbooks are the coolest dudes on the planet, right.

    puttin wordz in my mouf brah

  • PanAfricanBanker's picture

    Indeed astronomical brainpower is likely to be a surplus requirement in finance.

    However, social aptitude and fortune that favours the bold are minimum requirements.

    Perhaps more importantly, to many fellow monkeys, earning large sums of money is also a minimum requirement.

    This may violate Herzberg's theory of Motivation but hey works for me.

    - Ostende Mihi Pecuniam -

  • PanAfricanBanker's picture

    I am only seeking some ego-resizing retorts for my amusement,

    I am under no a illusions that my occupation is laden with inherent conceptually complexity.

    However, I do benefit from leading others to believe that there is, in fact, significant complexity to justify my remuneration, if only to resize my ego upwards.

    - Ostende Mihi Pecuniam -

  • BlackHat's picture

    The type of intelligence it takes to be a successful investor is way different than the kind you need to be a programmer. You can't even come close to comparing the two. Investing involves a great deal of social intelligence, game theory, attention to detail, pattern recognition, common sense, etc. In most cases it also involves putting your money where your mouth is (i.e. having a BSD), something you'd never see a programmer or a physicist or anyone else have to do on a regular basis. The smartest money managers in the world right now are very intelligent people, but most of what's made them remarkably successful is simply being able to adhere to logic and common sense, and to question everything around them. The type of thinking they have on their investment decisions is rarely something IQ-related. My point is it's just a completely different kind of thought process.

    After your astrophysicist friends develop a groundbreaking new theory or something, tell them to go try and monetize it and maybe then they'll begin to understand there are different types of intelligence out there, not all as scientific as theirs.

    But if we're limiting it to just investment banking - yeah, you're replaceable as fuck at the analyst level.

    I hate victims who respect their executioners

  • Beachbum89's picture

    Tell him that in his line of work, he doesn't draw the blind hatred of millions of people just by virtue of his job title. The fact that the majority of Americans hate investment bankers despite having a minimal idea of what they actually do should tell your brother loads about the kind of shit you put up with on the public relations front. I mean, there are actually people who would draw and quarter you without never having met you! Unless your brother is an abortion doctor, he does not have to deal with this level of vitriol on a daily basis from both the media as well as the mob.

  • heister's picture

    tell them you have to have at least a 7 inch penis to do banking. That will rule out 95% of STEM people.

    Follow the shit your fellow monkeys say @shitWSOsays

    Life is hard, it's even harder when you're stupid - John Wayne

  • PanAfricanBanker's picture

    I must say wall street people are creative!

    Much respect to the nominees for silver bananas:

    • CaliforniaAnalyst
    • melvvvar
    • swagon
    • leveredarb
    • bossman
    • BlackHat
    • Beachbum89

    Any votes one who should get the banana?

    - Ostende Mihi Pecuniam -

  • Singapore Sling's picture

    I'm an engineer reasonably fresh out of Uni, looking to move into the 'financial realm. I won't call myself an Aerospace Engineer or Theoretical Physicist but I have degrees in both, so I'm going to cautiously pass judgement in this instance.

    First and foremost, I think something being easy/hard, simple/complex is a relative thing. Personally, I find differential calculus many times more simple than market analysis say. Your peers suggesting what you do being easy is a moot point unless they've walked a mile in your shoes. I would tend to remind them of this and leave it at that.

    If you choose to engage, which I suggest you to refrain from with an Engineer (even if you're right, they'll never concede that is the case), you have to look at both fields from an objective standpoint and see one's job as a series of inputs and outputs. For a mathematician, there's one input and one output, for applied scientists there are more, but they're to some extend predictable, for financiers... forget it. For any one move there is infinite outcomes and it takes EQ (emotional quotient) in conjunction with IQ (and long hours) to work through these scenarios.

    But I'm only 23, so what would I know.

    The number of day traders on the Forbes Rich List is…zero

  • In reply to Singapore Sling
    PanAfricanBanker's picture

    lloydmof wrote:
    For a mathematician, there's one input and one output, for applied scientists there are more, but they're to some extend predictable, for financiers... forget it. For any one move there is infinite outcomes and it takes EQ (emotional quotient) in conjunction with IQ (and long hours) to work through these scenarios.

    Wise words chap!

    As for your venture into finance, how easy is it so far?
    Do these fellows have a point?

    swagon wrote:
    in order to
    PanAfricanBanker wrote:

    easily replace me at the bank

    you have to

    CaliforniaAnalyst wrote:

    find an investment banking job

    good luck!

    - Ostende Mihi Pecuniam -

  • In reply to Amphipathic
    PanAfricanBanker's picture

    Amphipathic wrote:
    Dr. Strangelove wrote:
    Banking is not difficult because of the skill set required but because of the tenacity and the endurance required to pull off the job.

    The folks working 16 hr shifts 7 days a week on Chinese assembly lines could say the same thing about their job too.

    Indeed, they can and rightly so

    - Ostende Mihi Pecuniam -

  • JDimon's picture

    So it's already been said but for IB, you're friends are obviously right, it's not as intellectually complex (though it does require more social, sales, and EQ skills).

    You're trying to show them up though, so just tell them that your job is to provide you're clients with optimized financial solutions. This often means analyzing valuations based on tried and true practices, like DCF, Comparable Company Analysis, and Precedant transaction Analysis. Tell them also though that the true movers and shakers in the industry are people who provide improved financial services. The stakes are high in this field, so it makes it very competitive. The private Equity field and LBOs became a big deal when people were able to rigorously prove that there was an optimum level of debt for companies to have, and than they looked at data to see where that level of debt is. To be a player like that in the industry, you have to be smarter than anybody else. No other field is as competitive as finance, because no other field has as high a demand for any useful innovations.

  • VarmintCong's picture

    Despite a few rare circumstances such as a research oncologist for example, the only difference is that the doctors and engineers spent a lot more time studying in school and memorizing facts about biology -- once they go through their residency, the specialize in one area that has nothing to do with more than 90% they learned about in their education.

    Where as an orthopedic surgeon makes a lot more money than a construction worker, they are practically doing the same job, just one can't afford to mess up the first time around.

    High risk = high reward = high paycheck.

    The key is being the best at what you do, and always striving to become better. If you're always trying to improve, nobody will give you shit for not being a part of a "complex enough" occupation.

    In the war against you and the other qualified candidates out there, the best arsenal is to prove that you have outdone yourself.

  • In reply to Amphipathic
    Dr. Strangelove's picture

    Amphipathic wrote:
    Dr. Strangelove wrote:
    Banking is not difficult because of the skill set required but because of the tenacity and the endurance required to pull off the job.

    The folks working 16 hr shifts 7 days a week on Chinese assembly lines could say the same thing about their job too.

    But that kind of menial labor would lead to death. Literally. Even Foxconn workers work only around 60~70 hours/week. Physical labor takes a far greater toll on the body than does an office job. 16*7 = 112 hrs a week would, without a doubt, lead to death in a matter of few months. If you didn't mean those numbers literally, my bad.

    But yea, I do think that the other mentioned jobs are more difficult because of the sheer intellectual horsepower required for those jobs. But that doesn't necessarily mean banking is "easy."

  • In reply to VarmintCong
    Amphipathic's picture

    VarmintCong wrote:
    Despite a few rare circumstances such as a research oncologist for example, the only difference is that the doctors and engineers spent a lot more time studying in school and memorizing facts about biology -- once they go through their residency, the specialize in one area that has nothing to do with more than 90% they learned about in their education.

    Where as an orthopedic surgeon makes a lot more money than a construction worker, they are practically doing the same job, just one can't afford to mess up the first time around.

    High risk = high reward = high paycheck.

    The key is being the best at what you do, and always striving to become better. If you're always trying to improve, nobody will give you shit for not being a part of a "complex enough" occupation.

    I don't know anything about engineers, but medical doctors just memorize a shit-ton of information and protocols, and then have to spit it back out while working long hours (hell, the last thing I want my doctor to do is get creative...). The exception is those practicing MDs at hospitals that also do research in their own labs.

  • In reply to Dr. Strangelove
    Amphipathic's picture

    Dr. Strangelove wrote:
    Amphipathic wrote:
    Dr. Strangelove wrote:
    Banking is not difficult because of the skill set required but because of the tenacity and the endurance required to pull off the job.

    The folks working 16 hr shifts 7 days a week on Chinese assembly lines could say the same thing about their job too.

    But that kind of menial labor would lead to death. Literally. Even Foxconn workers work only around 60~70 hours/week. Physical labor takes a far greater toll on the body than does an office job. 16*7 = 112 hrs a week would, without a doubt, lead to death in a matter of few months. If you didn't mean those numbers literally, my bad.

    But yea, I do think that the other mentioned jobs are more difficult because of the sheer intellectual horsepower required for those jobs. But that doesn't necessarily mean banking is "easy."

    I just started reading the book "factory girls," its about female Chinese migrant workers, pretty interesting, written by former WSJ correspondent (that's why the thought came to mind). But from what I read so far, the most discussed in the book is 13hr days 7days a week, so its my bad.

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