Banking versus Trading - Did a summer in S&T
First of all, bear with me. I know this question has been belabored to death, but hear me out. This is an alternate account of a relatively prominent user on this site .. and for particular reasons, I'd like to keep my identity safe.
I summered in S&T. It has gone well. All indications are positive so far, and I anticipate good news. I have the opportunity to move laterally to IBD for a full-time role, however. This is a tough decision, and I'd welcome some input. I recognize that I'm young and I want a fact check on my assessment so far.
- At the junior level, you need to put time in before getting your own book. You might be as far as 3 years in before you actually get to trade.
- Electronization is changing the industry, arguably for the worse (fewer seats left for humans).
- Regulation is crippling sell-side trading.
- You define yourself on a very narrow career path within finance. Trade on the sell-side or get lucky and get snagged by a solid fund if you crush it (for years). Unless you hit the b-school reset button, you're in S&T for keeps, more or less.
- Work-life balance actually exists.
- It is intellectually stimulating. You think, develop a position, learn to defend it, and ultimately deploy capital based on your convictions.
- It's exhilarating.
- The hierarchy is flat. Titles (relatively speaking) mean shit, you can sit next to an MD and he's barely 10 years older than you and you're still judged on the same merits: PnL.
- Mentorship exists. There is a training program, people buy into you, and the workplace is that much better for it.
- Your quality of life is nonexistent. It's a lie and everyone knows it.
- Your worldview gradually changes as you get beaten into a pulp by the two-year analyst stint.
- The work is menial, trivial, and not engaging. You bind pitchbooks, obsess over Powerpoint, and master Excel like no one ever deemed (or hoped) possible.
- The hierarchy is stifling, it is a dogshit world of bureaucracy and saving face and kissing ass all the way up the chain of command.
- Your exit opportunities are unrivaled. PE, HF, Corp Dev, b-school, startups, take the Associate promotion ... broadest potential down the road.
- No one will ever question your work ethic again. You'll never think anything is as bad as those two years of hell. Anything is a breeze after 90+ on the regular.
- You get paid better out of the gate, particularly in a down market like this (and what we'll likely have for the next half decade or so). Your bonus is closer to your full salary figure, whereas in trading it is peanuts until you can get paid by PnL.