11/24/12

I was one of those high school seniors that posted on WallStreetOasis in the ye olde days when it was known as ibankingoasis.com, and well, despite my earlier enthusiasm for the job, I decided to quit this week.

I wanted to both share my story and get some guidance/perspective from the community.

Me:

Top bucket second year analyst at a large investment bank (RBC, Wells, etc) in one of their best groups. No buyside offer, but was in later stage interviews with a few large, well-known hedge funds. A few older analysts have placed well, and I was not concerned about my exit options.

Why I Quit:

The job wasn't fun and I wasn't happy. It wasn't to the point that it was unbearable, and last week wasn't a particularly bad week, but I felt that the job was beginning to change me as a person. I used to salivate at the thought of working on live deals, particularly deals for large, well-known companies, and well, after closing north of ten deals, you learn that a deal for a $1 billion EBITDA company isn't so different from a deal for a $30 million EBITDA company. It's all the same steps, and the smaller client isn't necessarily less demanding. In fact, they might require more hand-holding due to their lack of financial expertise. I was irritated and stressed. I would wake up and say to myself "F*ck. Another day?"

Speaking to associates at larger funds, their lives weren't much better. Sure, their hours were better and their pay perhaps double mine, but when their MDs said jump, they would still ask how high. It was far from the lifestyle I wanted. Reassessing, I don't need very much money to be happy. Afterall, I'm 23. All I want to do is have fun, meet people, explore the world and try not to become someone's father anytime soon.

Still, I believe that banking is an excellent first job. I've learned a lot, not just how to number crunch, but how to deal with rich, old men (clients, believe it or not, analysts do interact with clients), handle demanding and often times unreasonable bosses, and navigate my way through the corporate jungle.

Post-Banking:

I feel great. My health is returning. The dark circles under my eyes are slowly fading, and it is nice to see the daylight again. I've been catching up with friends and going to the gym for two hours each day. My only "work" nowadays is reading 4 Hour Work Week.

Currently, I am considering startup ideas or perhaps joining a startup. Anyone have any interesting suggestions on what to do? Sorry for the longwinded post. Just trying to figure out life after banking.

Comments (43)

In reply to In The Flesh
Best Response
11/24/12
In The Flesh:

Good luck to you and keep us posted!

+1

I think you've touched upon a common thought pattern amongst banking analysts. However, you've also run into the same conundrum of what next? As alluded to by one poster, it's very difficult to jump off a track you've been building steam on since college (or even earlier in your case).

I think there are two questions to answer here:
1) How do you want to spend your 20s?
2) Where do you see yourself at middle/later parts of your career?

Any job that's going to set you up to be an MD/partner in finance/consulting (and other white collar tracks such as law or medicine) will inevitably require some sort of sacrifice during your 20s. Finance - hours, consulting - travel, law - intense competition for dwindling job opportunities, and medicine - loans and studying. All of them, save for medicine, will also involve some MD/partner-requested high jumping. On the flip side, they will likely set you up for a fairly well-compensated position by the middle/later part of your carerr. However, this brings us to the key second question. Is partner/MD something you want to be? I think everyone has to answer for themselves whether they want that life.

I believe many on this board work through the lower levels of banking to finance an MBA loan-free and/or get to some buyside gig, ultimately hoping to set themselves up for a solid 6- (or 7-digit, for you ambitious monkeys) salary earning capacity. I don't even want to get into the whole argument as to whether you need that much money and, furthermore, whether it's worth the sacrifice (health, stress, hours, etc.) early and partially later on. There are way to many personal considerations revolving around this question, so everyone will have unique, evolving view on it.

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11/23/12

sounds like how I feel after four months on the job.

11/23/12
11/23/12

Boston Startup School and join a startup

11/23/12
11/23/12

How many savings do you have lined up? How long of a cushion do you have before you have to go back into the 'jungle' again? Or would you say you're just past that part now?

11/23/12

well that was a little demotivating, but congrats

In reply to Onetwobit
11/23/12
tmur:

how about the drug trade?

Op are you in Baltimore? Ever since Marlo left the game there's been serious unmet demand in the West Side. Salary is great, downside is that exit ops are death and prison.

11/23/12

Most analyst stints are two years. My guess is you quit before getting laid off, a good move in general.

I've seen lots of ex-Analysts getting into consulting (Mckinsey, etc)

"I like money (as do most females) but love is...great :)"-student
"Perhaps you've failed to take into account my hidden assets"-007
Omnia

11/23/12

Congrats....I need to do the same....

11/23/12

Congrats on quitting IB and pursuing something you actually want, lots of ppl don't have the courage to do that. From your description, I sound like you in highschool at the moment (get hard-on for ibanking). I wonder how this will turn out ..

11/23/12

Congrats on your decision, I think you gave a very mature reflection and assessment of your time in banking.

The WSO Advantage - Investment Banking

Financial Modeling Training

IB Templates, M&A, LBO, Valuation +

IB Interview Prep Pack

30,000+ sold & REAL questions.

Resume Help from Actual IB Pros

Land More IB Interviews.

Find Your Perfect IB Mentor

Realistic IB Mock Interviews.

11/24/12

Don't take this question the wrong way, so how does it feel to shatter the goal you've strived to achieve for the past four years?

11/24/12

Let me know if I can suggest particular startups for you, I work in vc, which means 30% chance I recommend good ones.

11/24/12

job wasn't fun, good reason

11/24/12
11/24/12

just a word of caution as i had done the same thing 4 years ago. sure banking sucks and everything but the startup side is infinitely harder and more stressful. in banking your sleepless nights are rewarded with (generally) a higher bonus, better references, etc. when you do your own startup, your sleepless nights could be rewarded greatly but you can also do everything right and still blowup and have nothing (and an empty bank account) to show for it.

in general successful startups that scale are really difficult. sure you can follow the 4 hour work week and start a small lifestyle service-oriented startup that can be nice but doing a big time startup, raising institutional money, getting customers/users is a real bitch. you can do everything right, execute according to plan, rally together a great team and still fail if you dont get lucky and nail the timing.

not to dissaude you but startups are infinitely more dificult than the coddled land of banking/consulting. but that being said you will learn more in 6 months of a startup that you do i 5+ years of banking. just be prepared for a long, sleepless, extraordinarily stressful grind that will have tons of ups and downs.

11/24/12

Good for you. But is there a reason why you are choosing the startup path, rather than continuing on with your HF interviews? I mean the lifestyle isn't bad (relative to IBD).

11/24/12

You could always teach math at a prep school.

11/24/12

Good luck to you and keep us posted!

Metal. Music. Life. www.headofmetal.com

11/24/12

How many other young bankers feel this way? Does it boil down to you wanting to spend the majority of your best years out of that environment?

@Orangutan
Do you think you'll regret it?

In reply to robofnapa
11/24/12
robofnapa:

Let me know if I can suggest particular startups for you, I work in vc, which means 30% chance I recommend good ones.

30% chance that one of the startups you suggest is your startup?

11/24/12

Best of luck to you OP.

No pain, no pain.

In reply to MarkusFenix
11/24/12
MarkusFenix:
In The Flesh:

Good luck to you and keep us posted!

+1

I think you've touched upon a common thought pattern amongst banking analysts. However, you've also run into the same conundrum of what next? As alluded to by one poster, it's very difficult to jump off a track you've been building steam on since college (or even earlier in your case).

I think there are two questions to answer here:
1) How do you want to spend your 20s?
2) Where do you see yourself at middle/later parts of your career?

Any job that's going to set you up to be an MD/partner in finance/consulting (and other white collar tracks such as law or medicine) will inevitably require some sort of sacrifice during your 20s. Finance - hours, consulting - travel, law - intense competition for dwindling job opportunities, and medicine - loans and studying. All of them, save for medicine, will also involve some MD/partner-requested high jumping. On the flip side, they will likely set you up for a fairly well-compensated position by the middle/later part of your carerr. However, this brings us to the key second question. Is partner/MD something you want to be? I think everyone has to answer for themselves whether they want that life.

I believe many on this board work through the lower levels of banking to finance an MBA loan-free and/or get to some buyside gig, ultimately hoping to set themselves up for a solid 6- (or 7-digit, for you ambitious monkeys) salary earning capacity. I don't even want to get into the whole argument as to whether you need that much money and, furthermore, whether it's worth the sacrifice (health, stress, hours, etc.) early and partially later on. There are way to many personal considerations revolving around this question, so everyone will have unique, evolving view on it.

I actually think the sacrifice later sucks more. In your 20s you have the energy, nyc at least allows you to still maintain a social life, and most jobs that won't bore relatively smart people suck pretty hard (fyi, medical residents and to a lesser extent fellows are asked to jump quite a bit as well).

The guy who wrote about start-ups is right, to build anything decent requires you to kill yourself for years, and there is a high chance it simply won't work. Think what "that" MD does for his white whale pipe dream mega-deal and then imagine that is the only way you can be successful and pay off the personal debt you took on to finance your business early on.

Don't understand why you would quit now though? At least finish your interviews, some HF jobs have excellent lifestyle, and you can always leave for AM where lifestyle can be great, especially if you aren't gunning make PM. If you were about to be laid off, take severance. Or if you are on a year-end bonus cycle, let it hit the bank (unless you got a bagel, but your gripe doesn't seem to be comp).

In reply to monkeyc
11/24/12
monkeyc:
MarkusFenix:
In The Flesh:

Good luck to you and keep us posted!

+1

I think you've touched upon a common thought pattern amongst banking analysts. However, you've also run into the same conundrum of what next? As alluded to by one poster, it's very difficult to jump off a track you've been building steam on since college (or even earlier in your case).

I think there are two questions to answer here:
1) How do you want to spend your 20s?
2) Where do you see yourself at middle/later parts of your career?

Any job that's going to set you up to be an MD/partner in finance/consulting (and other white collar tracks such as law or medicine) will inevitably require some sort of sacrifice during your 20s. Finance - hours, consulting - travel, law - intense competition for dwindling job opportunities, and medicine - loans and studying. All of them, save for medicine, will also involve some MD/partner-requested high jumping. On the flip side, they will likely set you up for a fairly well-compensated position by the middle/later part of your carerr. However, this brings us to the key second question. Is partner/MD something you want to be? I think everyone has to answer for themselves whether they want that life.

I believe many on this board work through the lower levels of banking to finance an MBA loan-free and/or get to some buyside gig, ultimately hoping to set themselves up for a solid 6- (or 7-digit, for you ambitious monkeys) salary earning capacity. I don't even want to get into the whole argument as to whether you need that much money and, furthermore, whether it's worth the sacrifice (health, stress, hours, etc.) early and partially later on. There are way to many personal considerations revolving around this question, so everyone will have unique, evolving view on it.

I actually think the sacrifice later sucks more. In your 20s you have the energy, nyc at least allows you to still maintain a social life, and most jobs that won't bore relatively smart people suck pretty hard (fyi, medical residents and to a lesser extent fellows are asked to jump quite a bit as well).

The guy who wrote about start-ups is right, to build anything decent requires you to kill yourself for years, and there is a high chance it simply won't work. Think what "that" MD does for his white whale pipe dream mega-deal and then imagine that is the only way you can be successful and pay off the personal debt you took on to finance your business early on.

Don't understand why you would quit now though? At least finish your interviews, some HF jobs have excellent lifestyle, and you can always leave for AM where lifestyle can be great, especially if you aren't gunning make PM. If you were about to be laid off, take severance. Or if you are on a year-end bonus cycle, let it hit the bank (unless you got a bagel, but your gripe doesn't seem to be comp).

I think we can all agree that achieving any manifestation of "success", whether it be law, finance, medicine, entrepreneurship, etc. requires a lot of "sacrifice", and just plain ol' hard work. I would qualify this though by saying that different people thrive in different environments. From personal experience, if you're above-average at whatever you're doing and can envision a future of you doing it, the hard work just comes.

I also think the timing is a bit weird with this one though. So you've been drinking the i-banking gatorade since before high school, managed to break in, and suddenly realized it all 'wasn't worth it' right when you're in positioning for "exit ops"? Doesn't make sense to me.

In reply to Culcet
11/25/12
Culcet:
monkeyc:
MarkusFenix:
In The Flesh:

Good luck to you and keep us posted!

+1

I think you've touched upon a common thought pattern amongst banking analysts. However, you've also run into the same conundrum of what next? As alluded to by one poster, it's very difficult to jump off a track you've been building steam on since college (or even earlier in your case).

I think there are two questions to answer here:
1) How do you want to spend your 20s?
2) Where do you see yourself at middle/later parts of your career?

Any job that's going to set you up to be an MD/partner in finance/consulting (and other white collar tracks such as law or medicine) will inevitably require some sort of sacrifice during your 20s. Finance - hours, consulting - travel, law - intense competition for dwindling job opportunities, and medicine - loans and studying. All of them, save for medicine, will also involve some MD/partner-requested high jumping. On the flip side, they will likely set you up for a fairly well-compensated position by the middle/later part of your carerr. However, this brings us to the key second question. Is partner/MD something you want to be? I think everyone has to answer for themselves whether they want that life.

I believe many on this board work through the lower levels of banking to finance an MBA loan-free and/or get to some buyside gig, ultimately hoping to set themselves up for a solid 6- (or 7-digit, for you ambitious monkeys) salary earning capacity. I don't even want to get into the whole argument as to whether you need that much money and, furthermore, whether it's worth the sacrifice (health, stress, hours, etc.) early and partially later on. There are way to many personal considerations revolving around this question, so everyone will have unique, evolving view on it.

I actually think the sacrifice later sucks more. In your 20s you have the energy, nyc at least allows you to still maintain a social life, and most jobs that won't bore relatively smart people suck pretty hard (fyi, medical residents and to a lesser extent fellows are asked to jump quite a bit as well).

The guy who wrote about start-ups is right, to build anything decent requires you to kill yourself for years, and there is a high chance it simply won't work. Think what "that" MD does for his white whale pipe dream mega-deal and then imagine that is the only way you can be successful and pay off the personal debt you took on to finance your business early on.

Don't understand why you would quit now though? At least finish your interviews, some HF jobs have excellent lifestyle, and you can always leave for AM where lifestyle can be great, especially if you aren't gunning make PM. If you were about to be laid off, take severance. Or if you are on a year-end bonus cycle, let it hit the bank (unless you got a bagel, but your gripe doesn't seem to be comp).

I think we can all agree that achieving any manifestation of "success", whether it be law, finance, medicine, entrepreneurship, etc. requires a lot of "sacrifice", and just plain ol' hard work. I would qualify this though by saying that different people thrive in different environments. From personal experience, if you're above-average at whatever you're doing and can envision a future of you doing it, the hard work just comes.

I also think the timing is a bit weird with this one though. So you've been drinking the i-banking gatorade since before high school, managed to break in, and suddenly realized it all 'wasn't worth it' right when you're in positioning for "exit ops"? Doesn't make sense to me.

I have had multiple conversations, drunk and sober, with my two brother-in-laws about the sacrifices that are required early on in a career and they mirror the above. One is a real-estate lawyer from a very strong school and the other has an MBA from a regional, top-20 program. They both have had experiences proving that the early stages of strong firms or groups require the time commitment that no one desires. The question both they and their friends in similar positions had to answer was at what point do they draw the line of current sacrifice to potential later success. They both agree that the sacrifice now is much easier to make while you are energetic and less committed to other parts of life (kids, aging parents etc.). I am still early in the banking grind but still believe that the time now will pay off. Only wish Uncle Sam didn't take so much of my check...

I also find it strange that this is the time you would choose to exit. I wish you nothing but the best of luck, but am relatively surprised you didn't line up a "less demanding" job before you quit. Hope it works out.

"Now watch this drive." -W.

11/25/12

Do MBA. That's what a lot of people clueless about the direction of their careers do. It will buy you time and may help you come up with startup ideas, find potential start-up partners, and make useful connections.

11/25/12

just left PE after two years of powerpointing and excelling to join a start-up bizdev role and never felt better... Life is too short for a shitty job (which is any job you do not enjoy going to in the morning)... Good luck!

11/25/12

Best of luck! Glad you're finally doing what you enjoy...hopefully.

11/26/12

Congrats on your decision. Best of luck to you

11/26/12

Hey man! I can totally relate myself to you. I turned down my offer recently at one of the well known financial firm for a start-up. Co-incidently I am 23 years old and have taken a path to follow etrepreneurship/start-up. I am working on a start-up and would love to talk to you. People like you inspire me and love to be surrounded by. Shoot me an email.

In reply to fearless
11/26/12

.

"There are three ways to make a living in this business: be first, be smarter, or cheat."

11/26/12

Okay this f***** embed won't work. Anyway:

fearless:

Don't take this question the wrong way, so how does it feel to shatter the goal you've strived to achieve for the past four years?

[Dennit Jr.] Early word out of NASCAR, is your little obscene gesture is gonna cost you 100 points. Do you know how much that costs us in sponsorship dollars?
[Ricky Bobby] With all due respect Mr. Dennit, I had no idea you got experimental surgery to have your balls removed.
[Jr.] What did you say to me-- what was that?
[Ricky] Hold on. I said it with all due respect.
[Jr.] That doesn't mean you get to say whatever you want to say to me--
[Ricky] Sure as heck does!
[Jr.] No it doesn't!
[Ricky] It's in the Geneva Convention, look it up!
http://youtu.be/Af-Id_fuXFA

"There are three ways to make a living in this business: be first, be smarter, or cheat."

11/26/12

Feel free to PM me if you're interested in joining a very interesting start-up. We're going to need someone on the finance side, especially considering we will be approaching VC very soon. Could be a good opp for you to use your excel, ppt and doc skills to build a career as a CFO. Our CEO is currently an MD in private banking, I'm in PE, and the rest are tech and marketing. Let me know.

11/26/12

*Puts on red shiny shoes in cubicle, closes eyes, clicks heels together* "There's no place like PE, there's no place like PE, there's no place like PE..."

11/26/12

Contact incubators. Do a bit of pro bono work, you'll quickly get a sense of which startups have potential. Knowing when they'll raise their next round, you'll be well placed to be the next hire post-raise.

Aei ho theos geometrei

11/27/12

Have you thought about getting a "real job"--going into corporate finance in a company that makes stuff, like PepsiCo, Microsoft, ConEd? Or joining Teach For America and trying to make the world a better place by joining a nonprofit? How about the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau or IRS, both hiring. You won't make as much money, but if you consider the hourly rate, you'll be earning more, and will have job security and probably more fulfilling work and nicer people to work with.

11/27/12

I've done it for 5-6 years now, and I think I'm about done. The money isn't there any more, and more importantly, the interesting deals aren't either (around here). I think I know enough about the M&A process to branch out into the corporate world now, no interest really in PE or IB any more.

11/27/12
guts:

Still, I believe that banking is an excellent first job. I've learned a lot, not just how to number crunch,...

Firstly, very well done to you! I quit in April after 7 years and quitting is not easy. It is even tougher if you have a good boss. Ever since I quit, I get odd panic moments when I think that my business may not do well in the long run. But other than that, I have never been so fulfilled in my life as a whole.

Banking does start to change you at some point but I think it's a great training ground for "life". Everyone should do a year or two!!

:)

Founder of GirlBankerDotCom, Author of To Become an Investment Banker

In reply to officer farva
11/27/12
officer farva:

sure you can follow the 4 hour work week and start a small lifestyle service-oriented startup that can be nice but doing a big time startup, raising institutional money, getting customers/users is a real bitch. you can do everything right, execute according to plan, rally together a great team and still fail if you dont get lucky and nail the timing.

Don't neglect to look into the small lifestyle service-oriented business a la Four Hour Work Week. My personal opinion as someone who has been running small businesses since I was 17, if you're not in it for love, you're in the wrong business. If all you want is to have the next Facebook by whichever method works, it ain't going to work. I've been dabbling in three businesses since I quit and one of them just started taking off, the 2-month old fan page is already at 4,500 fans but the most important thing is that I enjoy interaccting with my fans. For me, running the business is so much more fun because of the client engagement not because of the money.

Sleepless nights? I would never. I enjoy sleep and I wouldn't enjoy the business if I was having to work so hard I couldn't sleep. But different strokes for different folks, right? PEACE!

Founder of GirlBankerDotCom, Author of To Become an Investment Banker

In reply to [email protected]
11/27/12

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11/29/12

It's not the size of the dog in the fight, but rather carry a big stick; you will go far.

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