How tf do you know what you want to do?

First year analyst that joined around 6 months ago. I'm pretty sure banking isn't for me (hours, client BS, etc), but I also find myself not particularly interested or excited about any of the exits. PE? Pass. HF? The 2+2 route is probably not in my cards. Corporate finance? I guess better work life balance but doesn't seem like something that would get me out of bed every morning. 

I guess what I'm trying to get at is that I don't really know of anything that excites me, or anything I'm passionate about. My girlfriend is in marketing/press, and she likes it a lot. I'm not under the illusion that most people love what they do, but how I find something that excites me just a little bit? Does it come with age/experience? Or do I just need to make a leap of faith and hope it works out? I used to be all about just career progression and advancement, but now all I want is something that makes me believe it's worth working for. 

Most Helpful

PE might not seem like the right thing, but I’ve seen a couple analysts buying some businesses and doing their own personal LBOs. Buy a 250k business but only put up 60k in equity. Cool thing about some of the smaller businesses I’ve seen is they run super low EBITDA multiples like 2-4x or so, so you could hold for 5 years and be debt free. Sell it for double at 500k down the line and voila it’s all yours.

There are thousands of businesses for sale out there and I bet you could probably find one that interests you? Maybe finish up your IB years and build up the bank account and prepare for that? That will probably leave more open doors if you want to get back in finance down the road.


In an ideal world I'd be a park ranger in a national park out west but that doesn't pay the bills. Instead I just do the next best thing which is a career that I moderately enjoy that pays well so I can retire young and relax on 1,000 acres in the mountains of Montana. Figure out what you want long-term both professionally and personally and find the path that will get you there.


Here's the deal - most things, standalone, would not help you get out of bed. You will not feel a sudden jolt of excitement on doing most of the things. Even if you do, it may not last long enough for you to keep doing the grunt work. 

Most people who kill it in IB or law or any of the other verticals have an eye for being a killer at what they do. That is what pays off eventually. And that is generally a combination of what you are naturally good at, your grit, your proficiency, and demand for your vocation. So, as douchey as it sounds, they work to improve themselves.  

Some people are interested in an industry and will take up any role in any function to work there. Some people like the process, like investment research or writing, and want to perfect it to apply to a broad set of use-cases. You have to figure out your own thing. 

I don't know where you stand and what are the constraints in your life. But, if I were you, I would keep my mind open enough to save it from falling off, and meet a wide range of people. Talk to them about their work and examine if that is the kind of life you may desire later.

Build some general skills, grow your network, and try as many things as you can. Read more about this concept of 'Match Quality', propagated by David Epstein. Maybe, you'll find it interesting. 

And - feel free to ignore all of this and do your thing. 

Career Advancement Opportunities

April 2024 Investment Banking

  • Jefferies & Company 02 99.4%
  • Goldman Sachs 19 98.8%
  • Harris Williams & Co. New 98.3%
  • Lazard Freres 02 97.7%
  • JPMorgan Chase 03 97.1%

Overall Employee Satisfaction

April 2024 Investment Banking

  • Harris Williams & Co. 18 99.4%
  • JPMorgan Chase 10 98.8%
  • Lazard Freres 05 98.3%
  • Morgan Stanley 07 97.7%
  • William Blair 03 97.1%

Professional Growth Opportunities

April 2024 Investment Banking

  • Lazard Freres 01 99.4%
  • Jefferies & Company 02 98.8%
  • Goldman Sachs 17 98.3%
  • Moelis & Company 07 97.7%
  • JPMorgan Chase 05 97.1%

Total Avg Compensation

April 2024 Investment Banking

  • Director/MD (5) $648
  • Vice President (19) $385
  • Associates (86) $261
  • 3rd+ Year Analyst (14) $181
  • Intern/Summer Associate (33) $170
  • 2nd Year Analyst (66) $168
  • 1st Year Analyst (205) $159
  • Intern/Summer Analyst (146) $101
16 IB Interviews Notes

“... there’s no excuse to not take advantage of the resources out there available to you. Best value for your $ are the...”


redever's picture
BankonBanking's picture
Secyh62's picture
Betsy Massar's picture
Betsy Massar
kanon's picture
GameTheory's picture
dosk17's picture
CompBanker's picture
bolo up's picture
bolo up
Linda Abraham's picture
Linda Abraham
From 10 rejections to 1 dream investment banking internship

“... I believe it was the single biggest reason why I ended up with an offer...”