Christian in IB
I'm starting FT soon and I am worried because I felt as if I completely forgot my faith during my SA simply due to being busier and more anxious than I had ever been. I am not allowing that to happen again, and want to know if there is anyone here who has felt similarly and has advice/experience staying the course during banking.
Christian banker here. It's tough man, but oh so important as this job will drive you to your darkest moments if you let it (being overly concerned about money with bonus politics), covering your neighbor (watching your peers to make sure you outperform or are supposedly getting the same transaction opportunities), working without proper rest (Sunday is a full Monday for top groups), gluttony (being sedentary and relying on delivered food 24/7 which makes it easy to choose poorly). Here are a couple adjustments I made to keep me faithful first:
Little known fact but Saturday night mass counts as a Sunday. Hence why just about every Catholic church has a 5 p.m. or 6 p.m. Saturday mass. The sabbath was traditionally sun down to sun down. So "Sunday" in the religious sense starts sun down on Saturday and ends sun down on Sunday. Hence your Saturday might actually be Sunday anyway.
I've always found 8 a.m. and 9 a.m. mass to be pretty easy as well. While Sunday is a working day in IB, I remember everyone rolling in between 9 a.m. and 10:30 a.m. so that gives you plenty of time.
Lastly, people can be pretty cool if they understand that you're serious. I remember mentioning going to mass to my team in casual conversation and later that week my VP pulled me aside and told me that I can go whenever and I don't even need to ask. He wasn't a very religious guy either.
Dang, I wish I knew that. My family tries to guilt me for being selfish for going to mass Saturday instead of Sunday but it's only day I usually can sleep in and not work outside of e-mails. I've been accused of twisting my schedule to accommodate my job instead of God lol.
when it comes to how the job itself forces us to sin as you mentioned, this worries me. Christ says to cut off the hand that makes us sin. Are we wrong for even doing finance at all? I can't help but wrestle with these questions before starting
I'm no preacher or in any place to tell you what should and should not feel right in regards to sin. I think many things and experiences in life compel us to sin because we are human beings who are innately drawn to sinning no matter what we do. I think it's a better demonstration of faith to resist the temptation to sin when we see it outright. Do I think being a banker and working long hours to make a comfortable wage is innately sinful? I do not - the Bible says we should work and contribute to society and provide for our kin, etc. The Bible is also clear about resisting the temptation to be greedy (destroying your body to sleep even less or eat even worse for a measly $5k difference in bonus pay is a destruction of your temple and for negligible gain. You don't miss that 5k and your ego is driving your desire to be "top bucket"). The Bible is clear about resisting idolatry (Making you're whole existence in this world about maximum financial accumulation is misguided - we all want to be compensated well for our work but you should not innately be driven only by compensation). The Bible is clear about being a blessing to others when you have an opportunity to (a good chunk of money should be given away with no strings to charity or good causes or tithes - the more you bless others the better for you in the long run, also this removes the idolizing of hoarding money).
It's really a personal decision you have to contend with, but I do believe it's possible to be a banker and still serve our God. Others may feel differently which is completely fine as we are all on our own paths and have our individual relationships with our faith.
Good advice. One thing I like to keep in mind and recommend doing as well: give money consistently. I like to maintain recurring, monthly donations so that I'm constantly reminded at work that all my hard work is honoring God and benefitting others. It's easy to get bogged down in IB/PE and lose sight of the only thing that's important. Giving is a great way to remind yourself of your purpose while honoring God through work (and working hard). We (IB/PE) have been placed in unique career positions and have unique opportunities to bless others.
This also helps combat the inevitable focus on money (and potentially greed) that runs rampant in our world.
I am a Christian/Catholic with a touch of Evangelical, outside of the norm I also don't drink or visit certain establishments.
There are quite a few Christians in finance, they just might not be very vocal about it.
Catholic as well but mostly on the Irish Catholic side. So, I drink, but I also don't visit certain other establishments. Amen brother.
I am pretty vocal to my teams that I am unavailable on Sundays between 9:30-11 while I am at church. It's a religious freedom. If the jews can take shabbat then you can go to church.
State your case and stand your ground that a sliver of a segment of time will be dedicated to worship and you'll be unavailable, but if you're really anxious doing this, just caveat and say if it's absolutely urgent, you can answer your emails throughout worship (which I would personally not recommend).
If you're responsive and deliver quality work, most firms will not (or rather should not) hold this against you as I'm sure there are others at the junior or senior level that can relate and if not, at least realize that this small amount of downtime is crucial for your longevity within not only a professional setting within the team / firm, but also throughout life.
Get Jiggy With It
I don't think (they) will like this
I do this all the time. I'm at church...you have an issue with my religious observance?
This is what I do as well and I havent had any push back.
Go all the way
Saw this a few time: the portable Jesus. Honestly, you're too busy to be giving up an hour or 2 on Sunday. use that time to sleep. Here's the solution. You buy a nice pictorial (they come laminated) of a stained glass window, god, or whatever depiction you want (they have a million) and you put it in your wallet or in your bedside drawer. On Sunday, Saturday, or a few times a week, just take 10 minutes and talk it out. Pops in some headphones and hit the gospel track that you thought was low-key catchy. The world is revolving to a place that doesn't need a pastor. You got your reps in as a kid. This modified version saves you time, let's you focus on what you need to focus on, and keep it moving
"And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near." Hebrews 10:24-25
You will be baptised again, this time with Excel.
God is your MD
Devout Catholic monkey here-Rosary on the train, sets the tone for the entire day. NYC is amazing in that there are ~300 Catholic churches, all accessible via subway in ~30min or less (catering to Catholics here, but you get the idea). I'm blessed that I can usually walk mass near my office and be in and out in less than 45min. I can usually do this at least 2-days a week, sometimes 5 depending on flow. Make it a priority and it will become a priority. People caught on to my attending of mass and- oddly- respect it? Point is, no one will make it a big deal at all unless it hinders your work, which if you're loyal to your faith in the face of monumental societal pressures, it's hard to think you won't be loyal to your work, but I digress…
I refrain from being intoxicated by not partaking in heavy drinking with teams/clients. Also, I would not say those ungraceful words, that have become too prevalent in our daily conversations.
Plus, letting your team know that you will be out of pocket for a couple of hours on Sunday shouldn't be a problem.
Jesus says you should rest on weekends
Say a little prayer in your head before you eat lunch then just pick the church back up when your older and have more time
We carry our faith with us every day. I read a devotional or a few scriptures in the morning, gets my head in a good place. May watch a couple of Michael Todd or Steven Furtick sermons on the weekend.
Have to say, surprised by some of you "coming out", so to speak. No judgment, just surprise.
OP, it's important to set boundaries. The easiest path is to deliver, be a team player and be well regarded in the team, so your requests carry weight and the time is respected. It is not offside at all to ask to carve out time for worship but keep in mind you'll have to have some flexibility here depending on urgency of tasks, deadlines etc. Have seen Muslim colleagues thread the needle here re: Friday prayer and have never heard that the firm is unsupportive.
Funny how you had to "come out" if you were gay 10 years ago but now have to "come out" if you are Christian today.
Not trying to pick at your words, just making a general observation. The quotes create a different tone than intended.
Christian here as well - Presbyterian in denomination although have a slight orthodox / Catholic lean in practice.
I find that the most important element is to not give up on scripture. Probably the inner Protestant in me, but burying yourself in the Word daily will truly renew your mind and heart.
Always make time for the faith as faith itself is what you stake your life, your time here upon.
I've made it clear to my team that I'm unavailable on Sunday mornings. You may have to make it up elsewhere at certain times, but if you're up front about it from the get go nobody should give you a hard time, especially in today's world of "diversity, equity, and inclusion."
Just don't wait to make it known that you're in church at that time every week. It may be difficult to make the change after you've given them the expectation of being available on Sunday and then out of nowhere you aren't.
There's more to life than IB. Don't lose who you are for a job.
Not trying to be the devil's advocate here (literally..), but I actually do think your faith can take a hit in high finance. There are lots of great Christians in every profession, but I don't think it's likely that by surrounding yourself with the money-hungry, soulless, multiple-times-divorced, somewhat-to-blatantly dishonest people who constitute the higher ranks of the profession, that you'll somehow leave your experience MORE full of Christlike charity.
For every 10 younglings going to Wall Street full of faith, there are 9 who become jaded, bitter, self-absorbed, and sad. I can't help but think that many of us -- especially myself -- want to see ourselves as charitable do-gooders who went to finance to "pick up skills and influence to help lift the poor", but it's dang hard not to let the focus drift to bagging a comfy salary at a giant bank to afford to live like rich people live. We're not exactly building water wells in Africa here, let's be honest. So at least be honest with yourself why you think investment banking is along your personal "path of discipleship" before you dive right in. Stay strong!
OP once his bonus hits the account:
I don't know... Yeah. Almost definitely yes.
Hebrews 6:4-6 KJV
Try figuring out (gently, and politically correctly...) if there are fellow Christians or similarly religious folk in your office. Tons of Mormons and Jews work in finance. Y'all can start a support group.
Ah yes, Banking. Jesus's favorite industry
like Lloyd Blakfien says, he's just a simple banker doing God's work.
Great responses. Do you recommend I as an incoming intern tell my team that I'm not available Sunday mornings?
I wouldn't mention it but let's say you get a message Sunday AM you could reply "sorry for late response was in church"
Not Christian, but still love Jesus.
Respectfully, is there a difference?
The definition of Christianity is literally loving Jesus.
homie idk if uve read the bible or anything but that is not the definition of christianity
Block off the time that you're at church on Sundays and don't worry about pushback. You really only should get pushback if there's a firedrill for execution work that's closing the following week - marketing & non-urgent execution work can get fucked. Try to carve out time each week to read your bible...Won't be something you put on the calendar like church, but do it when your workload allows. Make a point to pray daily.
As you realized during your SA stint, very easy to become apathetic about your personal life in this job and neglect your faith. I did the same and have drifted further from my faith than at any point in my life and I'm none the better for it. Do as I say, not as I do.
I find it a struggle to believe that any reasonable person could take issue with one carving out 90 minutes a week, particularly on a weekend, for oneself. Especially if that 90 minutes is for physics or mental self improvement. If it happens at the same time every week all the better as people will come to expect it and manage around it.
If that 90 minutes is being carved out for religion it's completely inconceivable to me that an issue would be made of it. Can you imagine someone giving a Muslim grief for such a request? The PR, the lawsuits…
I honestly think you're over thinking this, and if it turns out you're not, you should move firm asap that tells you all you need to know about how toxic the environment must be.
Hey, just wanted to comment and say that I'm an incoming Christian new grad in finance (prop trading which it's even harder to find an honest argument for how it's personally/spiritually edifying or uplifting those around me than IB) and am also worried about this. But, I think the simple fact that you're willing to make this post and show genuine concern for your faith is a good sign, but we'll have to fight to keep our life centered around our faith.
Glad to hear there are other fellow Christians in IB and can definitely relate to all the comments above. I've been working to create an IB Christian networking group to touch base every now and then if people are interested. Mentors would be greatly appreciated too. Comment below and/or drop me a PM and I'll add you to the group.
Would be interested in joining
Add me to this. Would definitely be in.
"Work ethic, work ethic" - Vince Vaughn
Me as well
Interested and have been looking for this for a while. count me in please
Go all the way
Not in IB... but interested.
London based but highly interested
Interested as well
Interested as well
Interested, not IB but finance.
don't worry, banking is doing god's work.
I think I can help here. There are several things you can do to stay connected - and please know there are a lot more Christian people than you think there are. These are mostly for Protestant / Evangelical folks in NYC / New England but might apply to other folks as well
1. Community - Look up Faith in Financial Services (FiFS) and the New Canaan Society. These cater to mostly financial professionals and they meet in person and online outside of regular working hours. I would also connect to a good church and plug in to their community groups. I no longer live in NYC but there were a lot of churches for every kind of denomination, Redeemer, Trinity Grace, Times Square Church, Brooklyn Tabernacle. Redeemer I know is full of young and middle aged Wall Street professionals. I also recommend going to a small church as it is easier to connect with people.
2. Personal Devotion Time - Probably the toughest thing for me to do was to carve out time to spend in the Word. There is no easy way to do this. Mornings are often the best as you are distracted the least. I find the YouVersion Bible app to be really helpful - Nicky Gumbel (creator of the Alpha program) has a daily devotional on the app that is really good. It takes some time to do all the readings but it is worth it. At work, if your circumstances allow it, put on your earphones and listen to worship songs on Spotify / YouTube. You can do this when you are doing some light reading or even doing some financial modeling. This was always a relief and helped me meditate/destress get a way for a bit.
3. Generosity - The biggest fight you will face on Wall Street is the desire you will soon have for a certain amount of money and for a certain kind of lifestyle. No matter how hard you try, you will soon get sucked into wanting those seven figure payouts, that nice big home in the suburbs or in the Hamptons. There is nothing wrong in wanting money but you can't love both money and God. One good way to offset some of this desire is to give generously. Tithe to your church, to other organizations and increase your % giving as you increase your compensation. This is going to be really difficult, but there is a reason why it is easier for camel to go through the eye of a needle than it is for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.
4. Understand your role in the marketplace - I don't think investment banking or investing are inherently evil in the eyes of God. So don't feel guilty about what you do. A lot of the early biblical characters were full time traders and merchants. They weren't full time pastors or folks working in a non-profit. That said, Wall Street doesn't always do things the right way and there are ways it needs to be reformed. Faith Driven Investing and Faith Driven Entrepreneurs are two different groups I'd recommend for folks that are interested in combining both faith and work and finding meaning in what they do. There are a lot of cool people now that are thinking of new ways of looking at capital, returns, entrepreneurship etc.
Please PM me if any of you want some help with some of the above, happy to help where I can!
100% it's difficult. It's very easy to fall victim to the world - I particularly struggle with what others think of me. The ONLY way that I can course correct is through trusting in the promises of God as revealed by His Word.
As others have said, take time to read the Bible and make church/community group a nonnegotiable. Beyond that, I try, and often do a poor job of, reminding myself of where my priorities should lie: Jesus > Family > Work. It's incredibly difficult when you're chasing a promotion or a bonus to align to that but that's part of living in the Inverse Kingdom. One other way to practice this is through giving of your First Fruits. Have auto draft set for monthly giving, grab your Bible in the morning before you grab your phone, pray before you even get out of bed. Again I often fail at this but if your heart posture is to look to the Cross before all else then you're heading the right way.
The number of devoutly religiously people (regardless of the specific faith) in upper corporate positions is higher than you might think. A hugely disproportionate amount of the most successful people I know are Evangelical Christians, Orthodox Jews, or Mormons. I even know a Pentecostal (the most hardcore of Evangelicals) who is an MD at JPMorgan.
If you're in New York, it's actually quite easy because New York is so large that literally every single denomination has a presence here, even my obscure alt Anglican demonination (Reformed Episcopal baby!).
I struck gold with my particular denomination. Given that it's New York, a large chunk of the congregation is composed of financial, legal, or consulting professionals. Even the reverend is a former M&A attorney.
"Work ethic, work ethic" - Vince Vaughn
If you are clear from the get-go, the team will respect that. So do mention that specific time slots are for your faith.
Muslim here in banking. I still pray 5 times a day and will fast come Ramadan. It's not the easiest thing in the world to leave my desk for 5-10 minutes to pray or fast from sunrise to sunset for a month but that's just who I am.
With this job it's hard to be you 100% but whatever you can keep from you, you gotta go for it..
Muslim here and will start in June, how should I approach the convo and with who about praying and fridays prayers, I'm trying to Atleast maintain my prayers and Friday prayers whilst on the job but i also don't want to be seen as a odd one out
I was an analyst at Citi a long time ago. We had an 8 person Bible study all from our IB analyst pool. Most of us attended the same church, and it happened organically. Was an awesome way of building relationships.
Thats sweet - which church did you all go to? I went to an UWS service but recently moved to one of the Redeemer locations (I wasn't raised Presbyterian)
Go all the way
We all attended Apostles (this was 20 years ago). The lead pastor from that time had to move back to Texas due to some family issues. The church is still around but under different leadership.
I've been through this and certainly know your position. OP feel free to DM me (or anyone else) that is going through this. Some key things are below. Sorry in advance for the walls of text.
It is tough, but not impossible. You are at your job for a reason. We know how godless banking is and we're meant to be testament to a different, better lifestyle.
Go all the way
Speaking of Redeemer, Tim Keller literally just published this in the Atlantic today: https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2023/02/christianity-secularization-america-renewal-modernity/672948/
Echoing #1. Nothing that you read or do means anything if it isn't translated into action, and that will inevitably mean being different. Most hopefully know that a prosperity gospel approach is mostly a self-serving (and reverses the nature of the relationship between us and God) and that living your faith will require you to live differently and accept the consequences of such. People have been physically persecuted and harassed far worse in the past for trying to uphold their faith and getting dinged on bonuses or missing out on certain opportunities are relatively minor in the scheme of things. On the flip side, from what I can tell many who choose to uphold their faith in this profession moreso tend to have fulfilling lives outside of work.
Just make sure your Priest isn't messing with little boys and you'll be fine.
From the agnostic coworker perspective, I've personally seen MDs through analysts bring up when they're out of pocket for church/high holidays/fasting/not drinking/etc. for religious reasons, in many different religions. Totally fine and respected, just manage your work and communications as needed.
You think it'll be tough practicing Christianity in IB? Hahaha, imagine trying to practice Judaism!
christ or finance. these are mutually exclusive paths
think. what would jesus do. are you making the world a better place with finance? inflating valuations for your sell side client to get the most out of an m&a doesnt sound very christ-like to me personally. my recommendation is to quit and become a pastor. spread the word of god
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