Corporate Finance vs. Investment Banking

M Friedman's picture
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Did someone say they needed reasons not to go into investment banking? Well, I have two words for you: corporate finance. Sure, there is the prestige of working at a bulge bracket, then there is the money (which is certainly not as great as it once was), and of course, there is this facade of the damn-it-feels-good-to-be-a-banker lifestyle.

Corporate Finance Investment Banking - Difference Between Careers

Truth be told, many of us are in it for the money. Many of us also realize that all we want is to put in our three years as an analyst and move on. You see, being an investment banking analyst is sort of a check in the box. It says you have work ethic, take orders well, and contain some sort of military-esq discipline. Do these same qualities not exist for corporate financiers?

Perhaps the investment banker's work ethic is subtly different, and so is the overall experience, but if you're not on track to be a Managing Director, then why bother with IB at all?

My point is, working in corporate finance has some pretty appealing incentives when compared to working in a bull pen with as many men as the Patriots locker room during half time.

Why Corporate Finance Compared to Investment Banking?

For one, if you work at a company whose main demographic is women, say Limited Brands or Neiman Marcus, guess what? Most of your coworkers will be pretty attractive. Think of it as being the professional version of a sorority house, and you're one of the only males.

Secondly, the lifestyle is surely better. You may actually be able to avoid the automatron mindset and still attain a level of creativity that may help you later in your professional career. You'll see deals and strategies come in from the pitch and to its execution- an experience that may be far more valuable than binding pitch books all night.

So maybe investment banking is not for you after all. But maybe its time to take a look at corporate strategy. What do you say monkeys, is investment banking all that it is cracked up to be? Or should more people be considering the corporate development / corporate finance route?

Learn more about corporate finance with the video below.

Read More About Corporate Finance on WSO

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