A couple of stories have hit the tapes recently which both make fairly depressing reading for those looking to jump into a new 2/3 year analyst programme at abank.
1 - Bonuses are down. Way down. I can only give UK figures here but the average 1st year salary is now around PS65,000 all in (20k bonus) which, after tax, is more like 35-40k. Numbers are similar in the US.
2 - Banks are slimming and trimming faster than an anorexic teenager. First Goldman announces it is cutting it's 2 year programme, thenlays off most of it's London bankers. Across the board the are cutting middle-management, promoting less partners and hiring less grads.
Now, I am not for a second going to question the value on your resume of having 2 years at a, very little compares. However, what about the stuff that DOES compare?
Top tier consulting, boutique / middle marketand advisory firms, hell even corporate finance positions aren't far off. If you're aiming for business school any of these will set you up nicely (arguably better than in the case of consulting). The economy is in a terrible shape so now is probably the least risky (in terms of your career) time to try the entrepreneurial route.
So, aspiring monkeys, consider your options wisely! An investment banking stint at awill always be an incredibly rewarding path, but that isn't the only thing that's out there. It isn't all-or-nothing, there are other paths out there.
Have a good week!