• Sharebar

According to my observations, most associates that enter IB post MBA have several characteristics in common. First, most of them went to crappy or semi-crappy schools for undergrad. In addition to that, they worked in some crappy jobs like HR/payroll analyst at the local office of a restaurant chain, loan administrator at some regional bank, or auditor at Big 4 at best. I think that many of them couldn't make it to IB after undergrad or didn't even try as they knew they didn't stand a chance. My impression is that they view their MBA and their IB gig as a chance to redeem themselves and put some 'prestigious' names on their resumes. It's not that I haven't seen post-MBA associates with impressive backgrounds, but these are not in the majority. Most associates I've seen are really mediocre. I also have the impression that most of these guys don't know exactly why they want to do banking, which is funny because they are supposed to be hired for the long term, but I don't think that most of them really have that intention, or even if they do, they don't know what they are getting into and soon bail out. Some stay because they don't know what else to do. Isn't that one of the reasons that you have so many bitter VP's and MD's who entered post-MBA and remained trapped with no good exit options and take out their insecurity for being mediocre on their underlings. I think the result is that one of the big differences between mid-level to senior folks on the buyside and sellside comes down to buyside folks being overachievers who managed to actually achieve what they wanted, while sellside associates, VP's and MD's being bitter and insecure as they failed to live up to their aspirations during their whole life, with IB being one of their biggest achievements. Seriously, the only reason that most of these people managed to get jobs in IB after MBA is that they face lower competition at that level as most analysts don't want to go back anyway.

Have you found these points to be true in your experience? As most of these people are not dead set on staying in banking, what is the point of going in if their exit options are reduced compared to those of the analysts? Most PE shops won't hire them, HF even less so, corpdev or corporate finance are jobs you can get without IB experience. So why waste 2-3 years to go back to square zero? I am excluding the small part of MBA hires that are really talented and passionate about the job and know that they want to make MD's.

2 9

The WSO Advantage - Investment Banking

Financial Modeling Training

IB Templates, M&A, LBO, Valuation + Learn More.

IB Interview Prep Pack

30,000+ sold & REAL questions Learn More.

Resume Help from Actual IB Pros

Land More IB Interviews. Learn More.

Find Your Perfect IB Mentor

Realistic IB Mock Interviews. Learn More.

Comments (35)

  • jimbrowngoU's picture

    I think you're going to take a little heat for the tone of the post (a bit harsh), but I find it pretty interesting and definitely see that happening. Lots of associates have no clue what they're getting themselves into (similar to lots of analysts having no clue what they're getting themselves into), but analysts have exit ops and can rebrand themselves, whereas associates have MBAs and really can't do much. They need the job to pay the bills and, quite frankly, they just aren't as marketable as a pre-MBA 24 year old with banking experience. Most associates/VPs I know are just as miserable, if not more so, than analysts because they work nearly as many hours, are more responsible, and tend to have families (thus, more stress from significant other b*tching about them never being home). Life must SUCK for post-MBA associates...

  • craigmcdermott's picture

    Some of what you say is true to a degree but you're really underestimating the type of people that are in the top MBA programs right now. Even career switchers have impressive careers in other areas. It's not like some idiot from a no name undergrad degree, bad gpa, and bad work experience goes to HBS and becomes a bad associate.

  • wsib1's picture

    hopefully you're not talking about john rolfe.

  • fishbeancake's picture

    "I am excluding the small part of MBA hires that are really talented and passionate about the job and know that they want to make MD's."

    funny. nice caveat.

  • shorttheworld's picture

    yeah why does anyone go to college if they cant get into HYP? such pleibian illusions of grandeur.

  • econ's picture

    Just because someone had a mediocre background, it doesn't mean they are not equally as productive as the people who actually get those IB analyst jobs. They just have less pedigree, so they can't land those jobs initially. That's why they needed the MBA, to show employers that they are actually more productive than their previous background suggests. Not to mention, many of them might not have been interested in IB as undergrads, or maybe didn't even know about the career early enough. It's like saying, why are there all these people with good jobs who had bad high school grades, test scores, etc.? Because, if you messed up in high school, you can use college to makeup for it and show people how talented you really are. Or think of all the people who were terrible students, but once they get in the real-world, their true colors shine through and they become really successful.

  • 2x2Matrix's picture

    I have several family friends who are senior MDs (one guy's a global group head) who absolutely cannot be described as "bitter and insecure as they failed to live up to their aspirations during their whole life, with IB being one of their biggest achievements." The buy-side isn't everyone's dream: if you have a sales-y personality, IB can be a perfect fit. And not everyone who does something other than banking after college did so because they failed to get a banking job. Some just didn't think it was for them until they changed their minds later.

    One of those lights, slightly brighter than the rest, will be my wingtip passing over.

  • In reply to 2x2Matrix
    suckmydick's picture

    2x2Matrix:
    I have several family friends who are senior MDs (one guy's a global group head) who absolutely cannot be described as "bitter and insecure as they failed to live up to their aspirations during their whole life, with IB being one of their biggest achievements." The buy-side isn't everyone's dream: if you have a sales-y personality, IB can be a perfect fit. And not everyone who does something other than banking after college did so because they failed to get a banking job. Some just didn't think it was for them until they changed their minds later.

    That's true, but I am not discussing people who really love the job. From what I have seen, most associates are not there because they love finance. I have found most to have little clue as to what the job really entails. Most of them don't even seem to realize that it is a sales job. It's not like the analysts know it all either, but in their case, they have a 2-year plan in mind anyway. With associates, that 2-year horizon doesn't exist and I think that what most of them have in mind is much more indefinite and unrealistic than the analysts. That in my opinion results in disappointment and bitterness afterwards. Although associates are supposed to be more mature in their choices and more informed as to their options, it does not show when they make the move into IB.

  • ILOVENYGUY's picture

    Yes, analysts are smarter than post MBA associates, however the associates have the drive to do well. You will be surprised how many very smart analysts burn out never to go back to Wall Street or anything finance related. Banks like post MBAs with loans and families because they are committed and will do what it takes. Ultimately you need a combination of brains and drive to be successful

  • In reply to ILOVENYGUY
    suckmydick's picture

    ILOVENYGUY:
    Yes, analysts are smarter than post MBA associates, however the associates have the drive to do well. You will be surprised how many very smart analysts burn out never to go back to Wall Street or anything finance related. Banks like post MBAs with loans and families because they are committed and will do what it takes. Ultimately you need a combination of brains and drive to be successful

    If a big part of somenone's motivation is to pay off their loans, I don't think that they are going to last in IB. They will be driven by the wrong thing. As soon as the loans are repaid, the family thing works in the opposite direction and most of them would be prone to leave in order to have time for their family. The ones that stay are either the minority that really likes banking, or the ones who are chasing some unrealistic exit options, which never materialize and they are trapped and miserable. The others exit after their 2nd or 3rd year.

The WSO Advantage - Investment Banking

Financial Modeling Training

IB Templates, M&A, LBO, Valuation + Learn More.

IB Interview Prep Pack

30,000+ sold & REAL questions Learn More.

Resume Help from Actual IB Pros

Land More IB Interviews. Learn More.

Find Your Perfect IB Mentor

Realistic IB Mock Interviews. Learn More.

  • mba2012's picture

    Whoa. Way too many misconceptions on here. I'm not even sure where to start and I don't have the energy to tackle all of them.

    As a first year at a top MBA program, recruiting for banking, let me dispel some of your thoughts about the "kind of people" who come in as associates. The most common I've seen are:

    - Consultants from solid firms, albeit generally not the McKinseys of the world
    - Engineers with experience at solid tech companies like Cisco, Microsoft, etc. who want to get into TMT groups
    - Healthcare folks from solid companies like Pfizer, Genentech, Amgen, etc. who want to get into Healthcare groups
    - Folks from top notch industrial companies like Danaher, GE, etc. who want to get into Industrials groups
    - Guys from boutique or mid-market investment banks who want to get into a top bulge bracket (these guys usually end up at GS/MS/JPM post-MBA)
    - Big 4 auditors/tax guys (very relevant skillset to banking)

    Quite a far cry from what you listed above. The guys who have an industry focus and specialization can do phenomenally well as senior bankers covering the space that they're passionate about. It's rare to see this level of commitment or dedication from someone right out of college.

    And yes, it's true that not everyone was very familiar with investment banking or what it entailed when they were in college. Some of them did not go to Ivies or equivalents for undergrad (but were top students at whichever schools they went to). A lot of others may have went to targets, but didn't want to do banking at the time.

  • Curious Kong's picture

    So if you graduate with an MBA from a top B-school and enter GS/MS/JPM as an associate are you stuck there without any real exit opportunities? Is where you choose after an MBA generally where you remain because your biggest career changing opportunity (your MBA) is now finished or can you still move into PE or HF at some point?

  • suckmydick's picture

    mba2012, please wait until you actually start working before explaining to me who can do well as a senior banker and why. You have listened to too many 'Why banking' stories by your classmates and have believed the BS they feed recruiters about how their passion for their pre-MBA field made them go into IB. First of all, people do not go into a coverage group in IB because they were so passionate about their industry. That's just the way candidates try to tailor their experience to IB because they think that it would be the easiest way to get in. Anyway, your prior experience in one department at one company does not make you a good coverage banker for the whole industry. You should have realized at least that by now. Passion and interest do make a difference, but not specialized experience by itself. But don't tell me that all these guys who want to leave their industry are passionate about it. They got in, decided that their jobs sucked, went for an MBA and are now thinking that IB will suck less or even if it sucks more, the money will compensate them for that and they are BS-ing recruiters with all that 'I am passionate about my prior industry, but I left it because in IB I will have more opportunities to make a difference in it' crap. For most of them that is the first step to disappointment. Few are really passionate about finance in general and will last past their 3rd year. As I said, most of your classmates will be back to square zero within 3-5 years.

  • HerSerendipity's picture

    Curious Kong - yes, i'd say so. Being a post-mba associate at a bank is usually *the* exit opportunity. Of course, there are stories of associates who make the switch into PE/HFs, etc. but it's much more difficult because the process is not as standardized as the pre-mba track. Positions at PE/HF shops come up sporadically at the post-MBA/VP level. It's definitely a 'right place, right time' type of position. Even then, many of those places will be reluctant to take a chance on an i-banking associate with no buyside experience (more expensive, too much time to train, etc.). Furthermore, I've come to find that many bankers (more seasoned) have a difficult time making the transition from sell side to buyside. It's a pretty different skillset and even at my shop, I've seen some senior folks only last a year or two before leaving.

  • mba2012's picture

    Sorry but I'm going to abstain from this thread. The opinions are way too extremist for my tastes. Good luck.

  • marcellus_wallace's picture

    Read threads by GenghisKhan. Most of the MDs/CEOs/top guys at most banks were post-MBA banking/trading associates. Not pre-mba post-mba.

    Or go read leveraged10x's blog/thread. He explains how HYP--> analyst --> PE associate --> top MBA. Basically lots of people were stuck then too.

  • WishYouWereHere's picture

    Check out the associates at evercore, greenhill, perella etc. great credentials, often HBS/Wharton, ivy undergrad with analyst experience at a bulge bracket

  • Blue Baller's picture

    I'm a 2nd year associate who came from B-school. There are some good observations here and I have enjoyed reading how the average analyst views the average associate.

    I actually think a lot of these observations about mediocrity and such apply to more than just associates and to more than just banking for that matter. I have a few thoughts here, so I'll just ramble a bit here and give my personal thoughts:

    I was in the military after undergrad then i went to b-school to get into banking. You could say I am one of those who couldn't get into banking out of undergrad. However, I have learned a lot from being an associate and I enjoy the work. So for now, I think this job is good for me and I'm going to hang on for a bit. Could I have made more money if I got that buy-side job out of b-school or one of several other career paths? Yes. Do I wish I was doing that right now? (honestly, sometimes yes and sometimes no). However, the thing I do know is that I have not mastered or come close to mastering a lot of the things I do in my job and as soon as I begin to master an aspect I find myself getting more and more responsibility with clients and with executing transactions. However, I can see how eventually this will get old and to be honest I'm always talking to recruiters and friends on the buy-side about what the future may hold. But for now, I am happy learning a great deal and getting some interesting experience as well as exposure to executives at clients (experience that I believe is giving me insight into how Companies function which I expect will be helpful knowledge in the future).

    For now, I think the associate thing is a solid option and I'm learning a great deal. I know I don't want to be an MD (or VP for that matter), but I don't see any real reason to quit right now and I'm not sure what I really want to do next.

    I'm not sure how common my outlook is, but I think its one perspective from the associate side on this topic worth reading. I know analysts love to bash associates on here and to be honest, i hate most of the associates I work with in my group too... they are a bunch of douches who really are mediocre at best. But hey, maybe I am exactly the same as them. So I can understand the hatred I hear from the analysts.

  • idragmazda's picture

    Not everyone decided they wanted to work in the investment banking industry when they came out of their mother's womb, and therefore their undergrad school of choice may have not been the best in regards to recruiting for IB positions.

    Please excuse your big-headed comments about career changers who decided to join the IB industry post-MBA because that was their most efficient route of entry. Some people don't have the luxury of going to Ivys and Targets for undergrad (different reasons for different folks)

    Super Nintendo, Sega Genesis - when I was dead broke man I couldn't picture this

  • In reply to suckmydick
    ILOVENYGUY's picture

    If a big part of somenone's motivation is to pay off their loans, I don't think that they are going to last in IB. They will be driven by the wrong thing. As soon as the loans are repaid, the family thing works in the opposite direction and most of them would be prone to leave in order to have time for their family. The ones that stay are either the minority that really likes banking, or the ones who are chasing some unrealistic exit options, which never materialize and they are trapped and miserable. The others exit after their 2nd or 3rd year.[/quote]

    Get a mortgage on a nice house and send your kids to a nice private kindergarten - and then see how motivated you can get - haha!

  • In reply to idragmazda
    suckmydick's picture

    idragmazda:
    Not everyone decided they wanted to work in the investment banking industry when they came out of their mother's womb, and therefore their undergrad school of choice may have not been the best in regards to recruiting for IB positions.

    Please excuse your big-headed comments about career changers who decided to join the IB industry post-MBA because that was their most efficient route of entry. Some people don't have the luxury of going to Ivys and Targets for undergrad (different reasons for different folks)

    Look, I don't care why you went to your undergrad and took the job you worked in before banking. I am more interested in why many post-MBA associates go into IB ignoring the information about the nature of the job and the lack of exit opps only to end up out of the industry in a few years. I was also interested in others' thoughts about how this situation shapes the work environment in IB, given that many associates stay because are sort of trapped - they don't like the job, but don't want to take a paycut and stay and scramble for some non-existent exit opportunities. No need to get defensive about your choices before IB.

    @Blue Baller: thanks for your opinion.

    @mba2012: Extremist?! If you think that the opinions here are extreme, I don't know how your refined taste will handle a situation when a VP tells you that you are a moron for not making sure that the heading on page 34 is underlined. No need to hide your head in the sand when confronted with information you don't like. I don't know whether to wish you success in getting an offer as not getting one might be a blessing in disguise for you. Best of luck anyway, but keep in mind that the people who manage to stay in the industry have a taste with quite a high tolerance for extremity.

  • PossumBelly's picture

    Some of us have social skills and have seen a tit that didn't belong to our mother. we spent a few years after college (a place where we partied and saw the aforementioned boobs) actually learning things that I couldn't teach my 8 year old niece. I'm super glad you can beat the piss out of me at excel, I will remember that when you stammer and stutter when you are forced to speak face to face with a client who, unlike yourself, did not spend his formative years playing Dungeons and Dragons.

    Die in a fire.

    xoxo, hope that helps

  • In reply to PossumBelly
    leveredarb's picture

    Cartwright:
    Some of us have social skills and have seen a tit that didn't belong to our mother. we spent a few years after college (a place where we partied and saw the aforementioned boobs) actually learning things that I couldn't teach my 8 year old niece. I'm super glad you can beat the piss out of me at excel, I will remember that when you stammer and stutter when you are forced to speak face to face with a client who, unlike yourself, did not spend his formative years playing Dungeons and Dragons.

    Die in a fire.

    xoxo, hope that helps


    dude bro man I might be a f*ck up who failed to drink and get good marks at school man dude bro maaan dude cause im kinda r*tarded and cant tie my own shoes dude man bro duuuude but I atleast I got laid man dude bro duuuuuuuude
  • Eric Stratton's picture

    A requirement for being an analyst is no social skills? Learn something new every day.

    ---------------------
    "Well, you can do whatever you want to us, but we're not going to sit here and listen to you badmouth the United States of America."

  • MPG's picture

    @suckmydick,

    I don't think you realize there are exit opportunities for associates--just not PE usually. There are plenty of F500 corp dev jobs in nice parts of the country with a lower cost of living to raise a family. I can't speak for anyone else, but I plan to chase i-banking because I really like finance and want to become an MD; one day I want to start my own boutique. If I really hated banking, I would stick it out for 3-5 years, get some industry experience, and use my service academy, top B-school, headhunter, and military contacts to get a job somewhere else.

    When you were at your finance club meetings at Harvard/Yale/Princeton I was getting the sh*t kicked out of me in military training after class at the academy. I was smoking a cigar on Saddam's palace looking over the lighted city of Baghdad at night when you were cranking excel models as an analyst. I'm not knocking what you do--I even tried doing an analyst stint before B-school, but maybe you should consider that not everyone wanted to take the path you did because they are driven by different things.

  • In reply to MPG
    suckmydick's picture

    jc100021:
    @suckmydick,

    I don't think you realize there are exit opportunities for associates--just not PE usually. There are plenty of F500 corp dev jobs in nice parts of the country with a lower cost of living to raise a family. I can't speak for anyone else, but I plan to chase i-banking because I really like finance and want to become an MD; one day I want to start my own boutique. If I really hated banking, I would stick it out for 3-5 years, get some industry experience, and use my service academy, top B-school, headhunter, and military contacts to get a job somewhere else.

    When you were at your finance club meetings at Harvard/Yale/Princeton I was getting the sh*t kicked out of me in military training after class at the academy. I was smoking a cigar on Saddam's palace looking over the lighted city of Baghdad at night when you were cranking excel models as an analyst. I'm not knocking what you do--I even tried doing an analyst stint before B-school, but maybe you should consider that not everyone wanted to take the path you did because they are driven by different things.

    I think you have not read my postings carefully. First, I have acknowledged that there are exit opportunities for associates. You are right about corp dev, but to get that you don't really need to have done IB. You can start right after MBA. That's why I am wondering why people do banking only for exit opps that you can get without slaving away for 3-4 years. If you like finance, by all means keep doing IB. As I said, people who do it because they like it are few and these are the ones that rise to the top and I have only respect for them.

  • In reply to PossumBelly
    suckmydick's picture

    To unlock this content for free, please login / register below.

    Sign In with Facebook Sign In with Google

    Connecting helps us build a vibrant community. We'll never share your info without your permission. Sign up with email or if you are already a member, login here Bonus: Also get 6 free financial modeling lessons for free ($200+ value) when you register!
  • In reply to MPG
    Ari_Gold's picture

    -----------------------------------------------------------------
    Hug It Out

  • MPG's picture
  • jimbrowngoU's picture