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I've always wondered this but never posted it as I don't mean to sound like a douche, but why would anyone ever want to go into investment banking after, say, the ripe old age of 26?First of all it's pretty commonly known that the main purpose of banking is for exit ops and that as an analyst you really are learning vast amounts of knowledge and technical skills within a short 2-3 year span. After that 90% of the people leave to go on to greener pastures.

So why is it that there are so many posts of trying to break into banking by doing something else for 2-3 years and going for a top 10 MBA? I'd be curious to see how many people actually follow through with that plan. Banking itself seems like a very boring career trajectory as all you're doing is try to pitch and win deals (as the senior role, i think most people would agree that corporate development or strategy is much more interesting). Furthermore even by breaking into banking post-mba you're just "that associate" who doesn't know jack but passes work down to the smarter analysts. I don't mean to diss on associates with pre-mba finance experience or direct-to-associate promoted guys, but I think the newly minted Top 10 bschool associate without pre-mba experience is generally seen as incompetent. I guess maybe if you're an MD you have a decent life, but you're still working longer-than-average hours, and when you're post-mba do you really want to be slaving away to get there?

So is it purely for the money, prestige, or what? I'm just wondering because it seems like if people want to break in out of undergrad but can't, they want to try again after bschool. But by then it just seems not worth it to me...

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Comments (20)

  • rjroberts1's picture

    You're vastly underestimating the amount of people whose sole goal in life is the big paycheck, at any cost. Thats what banking provides.

  • nycIBD's picture

    i, for the most part, agree with the sentiment expressed in this post. i would never stay on past analyst.

  • drexelalum11's picture

    Your thesis is ridiculous on its face

  • Barboone's picture

    Some people likes sales and IB is the pinnacle of Sales.
    Sales is a drug. Making a deal happen is a fix.
    Your questions have been answered.

    "The higher up the mountain, the more treacherous the path"
    -Frank Underwood

  • Barboone's picture

    Some people likes sales and IB is the pinnacle of Sales.
    Sales is a drug. Making a deal happen is a fix.
    Your questions have been answered.

    "The higher up the mountain, the more treacherous the path"
    -Frank Underwood

  • In reply to Barboone
    adapt or die's picture

    rjroberts1:
    You're vastly underestimating the amount of people whose sole goal in life is the big paycheck, at any cost. Thats what banking provides.

    barboon:
    Some people likes sales and IB is the pinnacle of Sales.
    Sales is a drug. Making a deal happen is a fix.
    Your questions have been answered.

    I think it is a combination of these two posts above. Additionally, you may be underestimating many people's obsession with prestige. It seems many believe IBD it is the most prestigious division of finance and therefore they Must be a banker.

  • fratling's picture

    - Prestige (Just imagine if you're an MD who worked on a multi-billion dollar deal that makes the front page of the WSJ.)

    - Relatively low-risk (as long as you're bringing in some revenue, you're ok. after developing many relationships over the years it shouldn't be that hard to do)

    - Money $$$

  • monty09's picture

    i wish life was this easy... just 2 years then on to bigger and better.... we would all be retired by 35

  • lolercoasterrr's picture

    I agree with the sentiment in this post as well...

  • GenghisKhan's picture

    My reason was relatively prosaic: I liked it better than I thought I would like venture capital or private equity.

    Don't make the mistake of getting caught up in generic terms like investment banking or private equity. I think people tend to overlook the fact that my job is very different than my job was fifteen years ago, despite the fact that both are technically investment banking.

    While private equity sounds great as a job description, the choice was one that opened itself up to me as a mid-level associate. When I thought about the relative job description, it seemed to me that the role I would be leaving for involved more of what I found relatively less interesting - the grind of conducting ground level diligence on a potential investment. In return, I would be trading off what I found to be the relatively more interesting part of my job - the deal advisory and interplay with opposing bankers.

    That calculus may have been different if I was a PE partner vs a banker, but the truth was that I wasn't going to be making any investment decisions, any more than I'd be leading an advisory team in banking. But between spending my time learning by getting familiar with deal structuring, deal execution on the banking side, and even the deal marketing versus being neck deep in the nitty gritty of a particular company's contracts, or pipeline, employee benefit plans, or the millions of other questions you want to understand if you are actually going to own it - well, the answer for me was that I'd rather be a banker. At the associate and VP level, it just seemed like a far better place for me to be spending my days and nights.

  • In reply to nycIBD
    midnight_oil's picture

    nycIBD:
    i, for the most part, agree with the sentiment expressed in this post. i would never stay on past analyst.

    You mean past the least paid and most over-worked and under-sexed position of investment banking?

    This sounds strange to me, considering that many people directly avoid the analyst route b/c it's a pretty painful experience, and for those reasons go to IBD as post-MBA assocs. Not that their lives are much better, but they're better and in a good year, well-comped too.

  • Sterling Archer's picture

    Because it's hands down one of the most lucrative career paths in the world...I'm amazed this question can seriously be posed here.

  • Saccard's picture

    Different question, not sure if I've seen it addressed before- isn't the associate position pretty repetitive for an analyst who has been working for 2-3 years? Analyst-to-associates must be light-years ahead of the post-MBA associates who haven't done an analyst stint. Anybody experience this frustration or am I off target here?

  • PossumBelly's picture

    myblackberryblinks:
    Furthermore even by breaking into banking post-mba you're just "that associate" who actually has real experience, knowledge of things beyond excel, and the people skills required to move beyond cube life, which is why it makes perfect sense to pass menial garbage that my niece could do down to dorks who were in things like math club and haven't seen a tit since their mother nursed them.

    fixed that for you.

  • APAE's picture

    .

    Most people do things to add days to their life. I do things to add life to my days.

    Browse my blog as a WSO contributing author

  • In reply to PossumBelly
    Genesis's picture

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  • In reply to Genesis
    UFOinsider's picture

    Get busy living