Help me understand the new generations…

I’ve been reading this forum for a while, and I came to the realization that I don’t understand the new ANL classes. I don’t know your motivations, your game-plan, and more broadly why joining this industry (especially given how much bitching I see on this forum).

I’m a 40 year old male. I’ve worked my ass off and probably will continue to work my ass off for another 10 productive years until I’m financially at the place where I want to be, the kids are out of my payroll, etc.

There were aspects of this job that I didn’t like when I was a junior (facetime, not controlling my calendar, some assholes I had to work for/with), and there are many aspects that I don’t like now either (politics, short-term focus on the next fee, lack of accountability when we miss deals, etc.). On the overall, I like this job more than many other jobs I know, and think it is better than some of my friends’ jobs. I feel lucky to be in this industry. And I enjoy life.

So if you are a summer intern, an incoming analyst, a full time analyst , etc. - I want to hear from you, your story, what you think about this job and the industry, etc.

 

Grew up middle class with a couple siblings. We were okay for money but never completely in the clear. Dad worked in a very cyclical industry and had some bad years. We always knew when money was tight. Very thankful for everything my parents provided but anytime they would make a comment about money I felt so bad. My overall goal is to get off his payroll as soon as possible.

After I Interned this past summer I was pleasantly surprised. I absolutely loved my group and generally was excited to learn. A lot of great mentors who I am excited to learn from for the next couple years. Originally, I was only concerned about money but my focus has shifted. Meet some great mentors, help others who come from smaller schools like I did and maintain relationships with close friends/family. Hope this provides some perspective.

 

@ those throwing MS. Come at me.

I've served in the military, and just can't fathom why anyone would be complaining about making so much money sitting on a desk typing on a laptop in a nice office. Wow you work long hours, ok and? Not like you didn't know about it beforehand. You're stressed because of the passive aggressiveness? Your job doesn't provide you with meaning? Why the fuck would you try to find meaning in your life in a job. It's just a job. Find meaning in some other thing. It's your fault for making your job your identity. Everyone that did their fair time rolling around in actual trenches (hate when people that have never even held a shovel say they've been in the trenches working on deadline or something) will agree on how less stressful and well paying the roles actually are. Anyone complaining are ungrateful.

 

I feel the same way.  I served active duty in USMC.  My parents are immigrants who fled from the Cultural Revolution.  So I get it.

Banking is a joke.  Yeah the hours are long but you are literally a desk jockey.  Who gives a shit.  The dinners and Ubers home are comped and the office is climate controlled.  You get paid an absolutely obscene amount of money.  You are never in danger.  You can turn into a fat slob and won't get fired, whereas the military actually has physical fitness standards.

And once you decide to leave there are a plethora of opportunities afterwards. It's a pretty good gig.  People are soft, but people will always be soft.

 

Shit take lmao. You clearly must have forgotten what it was like to be in the military. Being in the army was easy as pie; probably easier than banking tbh. Yet people complained there too; it's the enlisted mans god-given right to bitch. Same here; same everywhere. Life's never perfect, there's always something to complain about.

 

Dude please stop with this military hardo bullshit, you're making all of us vets look bad. I honestly agree with a couple of your points, but this machoistic chest-puffing for being a vet is cringe af. We're fortunate to live in a country that honors and respects its veterans, but doesn't mean you should be an arrogant prick about it...

 

Not saying those aren't real. They're very real. But having the privilege of making 100k+ right out of college for doing mindless tasks in a sheltered office environment and still complaining is mind bogling to me.

I've served in the military and anyone with an average IQ that's served will be able to crush it at the sweatiest banks and groups. Yall are just whiny asf.

 
Funniest

Thank you for mentioning in back to back posts that you served in the military. I did too, btw, for 8 years, and would like to just highlight that you clearly are one of those veterans with a huge sense of entitlement because you decided to join the military. Funny to me that you criticize banking analysts for being entitled while yanking your own crank about your last job. Rest of us vets would prefer you please just shut the fuck up, nobody is impressed. Also, you're an intern, so please shut up twice. 

 

Ahh wouldn't be WSO without an intern giving out the most freezing cold take

8.8% YoY inflation is just what the woke liberals want you to think !!

Damn sjws and their fake news narrative that wage growth hasn't even been close to matching GDP growth over the past 4+ decades

Bro I made 70k base and 45k bonus in banking a decade ago. That's 150k inflation adjusted. If you take mean 5% (nominal) gdp growth that's 190k. I think analysts make that now so what are you bitching about? I didn't have any protected weekends you guys work less 

 

Ahh wouldn't be WSO without an intern giving out the most freezing cold take

8.8% YoY inflation is just what the woke liberals want you to think !!

Damn sjws and their fake news narrative that wage growth hasn't even been close to matching GDP growth over the past 4+ decades

Dude I made 70k base 10 years ago as an analyst y'all are doing fine. We didn't  have protected weekends 

 

I think you and other commenters on this thread come off as super insecure and jealous.. like yeah you served in the military and made no money, why are you holding up 100k for a graduate when that’s what they worked hard and sacrificed many aspects of their youth like it’s such a big deal.

And it also seems hypocritical to criticise those who want meaning from their jobs, when most who join the military do so for meaning (or are in such a desperate position that it would make sense you would berate 22 year olds who have worked their asses off and sacrificed to get into banking for wanting the best for their their circumstances).

Also almost everyone on WSO who wants to be a banker actually likes doing deals and like analysing companies. And they like it so much they don’t mind sacrificing long working hours. What they don’t like is assholes who create unnecessary bs work that doesn’t add value for the client and ruins weekends for no reason. You say get meaning outside of work, but how is anyone supposed to do that if they can’t even spare one or two evenings a week to spend with a partner or with a friend.

It really is people who get no joy out of life and have a slave mentality that make investment banking a worse place to work. Make your healthy colleagues look bad by eating too many assess for no good reason. Create try hard 40 page appendices with irrelevant analysis that ruins weekends and no one will ever read. Then become senior and hand the same shit back down to juniors and then wonder why all your brightest people leave to the buy side. Well no surprises the people who leave are the ones who really enjoy the work.

 

I hate it when people say "stop complaining it's just a desk job and you make x times median household income". If you've ever heard of the "Nirvana fallacy" (e.g., providing outlandish idealistic solutions to problems), this stupid comment is just the opposite idea of it.

Call it the "comparison-to-hell" fallacy - none of your concerns matter and you shouldn't complain because your situation could be so much worse (which is also an outlandish assumption). No one here has only two employment options consisting of I.) working a cushy M&A job and II.) fighting as a child soldier in South Sudan.  

 

One thing that might be different with younger generations is our inherent distrust of corporations and large institutions. I’m 22-24 and some of my earlier memories are of the 08’ crisis.

While the last ten years have been relatively breezy with low rates, job switching has become more common culturally. Nobody wants to be a company man, and people are skeptical about the motives of the companies we work for.

One thing that accompanies this is the mindset that our current roles are always a stepping stone for whatever is next.

People want wealth, but don’t want to necessarily endure what your generation went through to accrue it. Some might say this is a lazy mindset, while others would argue that your generation failed to capture much of the value you provided to corporations in the early parts of your career.

 

One thing to add:

I think that growing up while seeing zucc and other young entrepreneurs strike it big taught us that success isn’t necessarily tied to age. While banking is certainly an apprenticeship, and part of being a successful MD is building a quality personal brand and network, I believe that many young analysts believe they could do the job at a younger age.

There is an absolute hellish grind to moving through the ranks, and much of the process work done at some of the younger levels appears to be busywork that doesn’t provide an opportunity to grow.

 

What his generation went through? It was multiples easier to build wealth for someone his age than it is for someone of ours. It’s not like there’s some laziness gene that started to materialize in recent generations only (although circumstances may have contributed to it .) Point being that the difficulty part is not a factor 

 

That's a lot of confidence being shown by the younger generation, which grew up at a time of 2-3% GDP growth.  Older generations grew up in times of much higher growth.  When they took their first job, they didn't have to worry about competing with the guy next to them for the promotion; because when they're up for promotion 4-5 yrs later, the economy has doubled in size and there's now two midlevel jobs for those two guys to take.

So I guess my question is, which one is it?  On the one hand I hear a lot of "OK Boomer" which is to mean that the older generation had it easy.  Now I'm hearing "we don't want to grind like you did, because we dont' have to".  Those seem conflicting to me.

 
Most Helpful

Congrats on MD by 40. 

Personally, I have no desire to travel that same path. IB is a miserable existence and doesn't deserve 20 years of my time (I value it too much). I could mindlessly drone my way to the VP level and have enough EQ to make it Director. I dislike how much of your identity that work becomes.

I joined IB to pick up the requisite skillset to become an operator and work for myself. I can't fathom the thought being someone else's errand boy for the rest of my life. 

 

Respect the view

I’m interested though when people say “I want to learn how to operate my own business” or “work for myself” by working in IB.

What parts of the analyst/associate years actually help you operate your own small business from the ground up? What tangible operational skills do you get?

Sure, you might see a lot of companies in X coverage area - but from a pretty high level.

 

For me personally it's less about "oh look the things I do show me how to run a business" and more along the lines of "I get to be a generalist that sees all parts of a business and some interesting financial lifecycle moments (IPO, seed capital, acquisition, etc.)" which I think provides a foundation that optimizes your potential as an operator / entrepreneur.

Will many fail? Absolutely.

Will I fail? Yeah, most likely.

Is there another job that I think minimizes my chances at failing as much as banking? No. There really aren't many other gigs that provide as much educational value and breadth of exposure as IB.

 

Some notes...

First, let's stop pretending that the grass is greener on the other side (i.e. entrepreneurship). You're 22 years old making six figures, getting bi-weekly paychecks without ever thinking twice about getting paid on time, in full. Which leads me to...

Good luck walking away from a stable/solid six figure salary AND taking on substantial personal liability just to make around the same (if that?) money. Business ownership isn't as sexy as standing around and giving other people orders-- you will be breaking fingernails, princess.

Oh and here's the best part; you can can quit IB and even the finance industry, but you can't quit or slack off (quiet quit) on your own business. I hear economic downturns and other "black swan" events are a bitch. 

Sure you can make it BIG, but when you come from luxury/privilege, it's hard to walk away (and stay away) from certainty. Yeah, you can lose your job, but rarely does someone lose their entire career.
 

There's a reason why so many immigrants start a business; they come from nothing, have no opportunity cost and no career opportunities, period. That kind of hunger, ambition and hustle can't exist without those circumstances. 

Source: parents are business owners, and looking for a buyer. 
 

 

Just look around you, how life changed in 20 years and how IB changed meanwhile. That basically sums up the answer. Why work in a toxic and rigid environment in IB with same values as 20 years ago, when you can go work for one of these fancy new companies/startups that are more adapted to the new world/culture. Then people of 30+ years ask why the new generation Z bitch around to work in the same old values. Bitching is because the olds are rigid and not open to change, hard to adapt to changes. Not even discriminating you, because that's how life is, we will be in your place in 20 years, asking why generations born during COVID bitch around.

Peace.

 

In my experience, IB is definitively not toxic. Don’t think it’s rigid either, but granted we are not where innovation takes place.

For what is worth, very few of people my age is thrilled about their jobs, across industries. Friends at tech (Twitter, Google, Amazon, Facebook) all bitching about the same things (hard to move up the chain, unhappy with comp, even at some firms bitching about culture, WLB, etc.). Friends at MBB for the most part exit to corporate because they couldn’t handle travel and family. The ones that stayed are happy, but make less than IB and travel more, but feel they are less at risk of getting fired, have more transferable skills, and more exit opportunities. The few close friends in PE (at good shops) are making way more than IB, but also work way more.

 

Back in the day if you wanted to make a lot of money out of undergrad you had to go to Wall Street and eat shit. And you got paid a lot more than any other alternative at 22 years old to eat shit. Now we eat shit and see our tech friends make very similar money and not eat shit. Naturally, we don’t want to eat shit if we don’t get paid a premium for it.

 

Inflation is devouring the pay edge. 20 years ago, 150k was real money. 150k could buy you fancy watches and luxurious suits.150k for college new grad was unheard of and people would drop their jaws hearing it. One in a thousand jobs paid 150k. It was an absolute badge of honor marking the top 1% elite.

Nowadays, 150k is poverty line. It could barely afford rent and food in HCOL areas. Average Joe on the street are getting 150k offer. Even trade support at Jane Street get 150k base first year. And they just do trade reconciliations working 8-5.

College kids are playing cards with decks of 250k offers and they throw away 300k offers just for remote work. The world has changed.

People have never changed. The new generation are still greedy, ambitious, and money-chasing like the older generations were. But new generations have more leverage and bargain, that’s all. 

 

Mind sharing what companies / roles provide $250/300k starting comp? And how does that evolve over 5 years? I'm genuinely curious.Most of my friends in corporate (FAANG, large CPG) are capping out at $300k in their late 30s. Same with others at startups (plus I saw the comp packages of clients, so I know how much many C-level or SVP folks made at startups… not a lot unless you get a great exit…)

 

That guy is talking out of his ass. Outside of trading, banking, hedge funds, private equity, and a select few tech roles, making over $150k straight out of undergrad is unheard of. I’d like to hear how much that guy makes - it seems everyone saying how easy it is to get these massive comp packages are never the ones receiving them.

The note about $150k being poverty in a HCOL is absolute nonsense. The amount of just straight trash posted on this site by people who aren’t even out of college yet is ridiculous

 

I have to believe this is a troll comment, because it's inconceivable to me that someone could compare $150k/yr out of school to poverty. And if you are being serious, I would recommend you expand your horizons slightly past Manhattan/SF/the inside of your colon.

 

As a now PE associate - i'll bite on why i went into banking and why i left

I went into banking to learn from the best, to progress my financial skills including modelling, cover clients, and understand corporate transactions. I kinda knew it would suck as far as work-life balance but I was ready to live with that in order to grow. I had a really smart, detail-oriented director who i worked with directly - was a bit of a dick sometimes and an almost robotic stickler for detail but i respected him immensely as a professional and learned a lot from him.

Why did I leave banking? My director moved to another city meaning he was replaced with somebody who despite being more pleasant to work with, meant I would not grow or develop as quickly (didn't care about the details, just getting deals done). I realised I wanted to be on the investors side and the skills I was building were capping out and it would be better for me to develop outside of banking. Whilst I was happy to have a bad work-life balance, I think i underestimated heading into it how hard directors and managing directors worked. My naive view heading in was that being an analyst - VP would be tough, but once you became a director / MD your life became much easier. I realised quickly that if anything they worked constantly, were constantly contactable, didn't properly take holidays, and heading at home at six didn't mean they weren't working. I do not want to work 70 hour weeks when I am a father and I am happy to sacrifice in my long-term career to be there for my future children, and as such I could not see myself as an MD.

Just my view - i'm still working a lot in PE and working hard but i'm hoping that it will be part of the path to that golden career where i can provide for a family and yet attend soccer practice.

 

Immigrated at 9 and grew up in pretty much the hood (south Asian). Lived in one bedroom and stilling living in one bedroom with parents while going to college nearby (non target) was able to make it this past summer and got my return. Personally being in the condition I am in where my parents barely make anything in a HCOL I don’t have the room to bitch, I just have to work hard until I make a name for myself. I don’t mind the endless hours of doing PowerPoints or bullshit work because I have experienced worst stuff in my life so, in a sense I appreciate high finance/banking. Although I don’t mind the hours I would be upset if I had to deal with disrespectful people in the industry which I have yet to deal with. From my

Experience this summer there were interns who complained about the hours than than got the return is is deciding to come back to complain more….and all those people grew up in a very privileged household so From their perspective this job isn’t a necessity for them to progress in life where for me it is so I am willing to take the shit at the early end of my career

 

Grew up similar to you in very high crime areas where a lot of kids who I used to kick it with from my childhood are now wannabe gangbangers.

Would love to chat, but that’s the drive that got me through my summer and everything in life. Being surrounded by a lot of bums definitely gives you another type of boost to put in the work and do whatever it takes to be on the top.

I think a lot of people here are oblivious to what the majority of the country and even world live like. Yes, the hours sometimes fucking suck and VPs that give unnecessary tasks should be sent to the gulag, but we have to make the most of the opportunities given to us and keep grinding towards some goal(s)

 

I hear a lot of MDs say things like this. I have a lot of MDs at my firm that are always talking about "back when I was an analyst…". The reality is this - banking culture has not changed much. Analysts still get brutally worked to no end and the hierarchy is more concrete than ever. Yes, I am grateful for being able to make a great salary and the opportunity my parents gave me by raising 4 kids with middle class salaries in, let's be honest, virtually two serious economic breakdowns in less than 2 decades. That being said, working 80-100 hour work weeks months on end is not something to scoff at. There are only very particular people that can do that for an extended period and who believe that is worth the money.

I can't speak for others but, my knees and back bother me now, there are days that I probably only eat 500-800 calories (I'm 6ft, 170lb), weekends that I'm spending hours putting 70 page pitch decks together in which we end up using 10 pages of, etc., etc., etc. There is a lot of avoidable pain in this industry and I don't see anyone making an effort to lessen it. Just because you went through the pain we did doesn't make our pain any less. I am sure you complained and griped as well because most people would. Yes, you can say we're lucky for the opportunity, lucky to be able to provide, but that doesn't mean we can't complain. Everyone complains, that's just human nature.

I only joined this industry for the money and the ability to give myself the opportunity to be part of something more (whether a small startup, my own business, etc.). I don't have an interest in realigning PPT logos, turning models, and doing mindless industry research for an ungrateful shithead who has no respect for my time or frankly, his time either. This industry is an incredible stepping stone to many great things. Most times you have to go through pain to get to great things and that's a reality everyone in IB lives with. I am thankful for what this industry has given me, everyone involved in giving the opportunity to me but not quite as thankful for what the industry has done and will do to me. I can't exactly say it's been fun…

 

I'm 29 (millennial) and an As2, but going to bite here anywaysGrew up super middle class in the rust belt. Both of my parents had back office operational type roles at F500 companies and together made ~$100k per year.

They worked hard and me and my brothers never wanted for anything. A few small vacations a year (amusement parks, Florida type stuff). They also were pretty frugal and prioritized saving. They're your typical "millionaire next door type". Well off but not rich. I wanted to be rich.

Thriftiness and diligence were passed down to me. I have been working as much as possible and saving as much as possible ever since I was 14. One day when I was a teenager I stumbled across a compound interest calculator…typical financial advice tells most people stuff like "hey save $10k a year and you can retire when you're 60".

The concept of compounding hit me hard. I realized that sure, you can become a millionaire by saving a little bit each year over a long period of time….but I thought, what if I saved $100k/year? $200k/year? $300k/year?

After this epiphany I prioritized maximizing my personal FCF to investments. This is how I made every major decision in my life when I was young.

I lived at home and commuted to a state school for college

I worked Full Time through college in a back office job at a BB

All said and done I was able to graduate from UG at 22, no student loans and on top of that saved up $100k. With this alone I had already beat the game.

I wanted to keep the snowball rolling, so decided to pursue IB after graduation with the BB I was already at. IB was the perfect fit for me. With the skill set I have it would allow me (personally) to maximize my earnings at a young age. All other traditional high paying careers were not a fit for me and also not aligned with my skill set.

Anyways, it took a couple of years and I had to move to a new city and take a few different roles along the way, but I eventually slotted into a 1st year analyst spot in a product group when I was 25.

I've been with the group ~3.5 years now and have been top bucket every year. Current NW is just a smidge under $1mm. I like the group and plan to keep at it as long as I can. Now that I've built up a substantial net worth at a young age I've learned to be a little looser with the purse strings as well as compounding should do most of the work for me from here.

Exec Sum on why banking for me: I'm a pretty average middle class dude with a killer work ethic. Banking was my chance to get rich in my own relative terms. For me a life changing opportunity and I wouldn't change a thing, and I'm glad I've made the sacrifices that I have. I realize money doesn't motivate as many people as it used to, but it still motivates me. Even if I never invest a single dollar again I'm going to become a decamillionaire. There are no other paths that I am aware of or that were available to me that would allow me to do this.

 

A few more thoughts from me now that I’m reflecting on this:

1) while I’ve summarized my story in a few paragraphs, and on the surface it looks like “easy and straightforward” I think it is worth noting that it was extremely difficult and challenging. Many ups and downs. Specifically the 3 years it took me post graduation to get a front office job. I honestly attribute the majority of my “success” to the simple fact that I had conviction in myself and never gave up. Too many people now throw in the towel on everything at the first sight of hardship or as soon there are any bumps in the road. Keep pushing, believe in yourself, and have conviction. Momentum is real. Sometimes it is at your favor and other times it is not. Take advantage of it when it is and keep your head down and keep working when it’s not.

2) Take the long view, things take time. I see/hear about a lot of first years who want to quit banking 6 months, 1 year in, etc. I’m not saying everyone should be a lifer. That’s unrealistic and obviously it wouldn’t work. But think about how hard someone has to work to get a job in banking, and think about how silly it is to throw it all away so early on. In my opinion anyone who gets a seat at the table should do everything in their power to finish their analyst stint the whole way through. If banking is not for you, then pivot elsewhere after your analyst gig. If you like it go A2A and keep plugging away. To me personally it looks much better to formally complete an analyst program and then pivot as opposed to only doing 6 months and then leaving. To me that’s a red flag.