IB Sucks. I'm out

  • Mind-numbing work
  • Hours that frankly, are insane. This is your life. 
  • Exit ops include other finance jobs where either the hours are just as high, the work is more stressful, or other finance jobs you will take a pay cut and you could've obtained without killing yourself in your low 20s
  • Most girls literally don't know the difference between investment banking and operations analyst at Goldman 
  • Who gives a fuck about "prestige" when the only people you interact with 95% of the time are people who rank above you and tell you what to do? You are chasing a false idea of prestige while ironically spending your short life as an office bitch. How much is this so-called prestige materially increasing your quality of life?
  • The hours to pay ratio is not good
  • Getting to watch everyone around you live happier more fulfilling lives
  • The potential upside is nowhere near what it used to be
  • Very few people take this job for the right reasons. Almost all are motivated by a combination of money, perceived prestige, and social pressure

TLDR: I'm leaving banking. I can make a good living elsewhere without all the bullshit. I would bet the average happiness of someone making 40k a year is far better than the happiness of an analyst living alone working 100 hours a week remotely at a BB.

 
Most Helpful

Honestly getting tired of this view that I'm seeing. Even today, in no other profession can you find the upward mobility and high starting salary that IB provides. Law and medicine require years and years of schooling (absolutely gargantuan opportunity cost) to start at only an ingratiating income that has similar levels of stress and hours once you hit the ground running - only at that point, it'll be in your 30's and you'll have to reconcile the high hours in your career along with a family life. Tech? Sure, enjoy 70%+ of your bonus being stock compensation that vests, ensuring that you'll be anchored to 1 company for the rest of your life.

Look at some of your reasons. Most girls don't know the difference between IB and operations analyst at GS? So a motivator for you at your job is how impressive it seems to girls? That seems like you care about the prestige, and yet the point directly after that is "who the fuck cares about prestige?" Well, it seems like you do, actually, which is why you don't have the balls and mental fortitude to push through when it gets hard. It's extremely fucking ironic for you to say "very few people take the job for the right reasons" when it doesn't seem like you even resonate with what those reasons are.

Of course everyone around you is getting to live more fulfilling lives - you work double their hours but when you're 30 and they're 30, you can be working at a LMM as a VP working 65 hours cleaning 400k+ a year while they're on the corporate ladder in a marketing job paying them 110. You don't like your firm? Then leave, go to a different city with a different COL, go try HFs, go corporate, do whatever the fuck you want. The profile and reputation you've built in your career are inelastic. 

As someone who probably worked one of the hardest hours on the Street last year, I wanted to quit at least 30 times last year. Every week in Q1 I dreamt of quitting. Not just every week, almost damn near every day. And looking back at it now, I am so glad I made the decision to push through as I personally feel extremely grateful that I have a cushy office job when tons of people's lives and incomes got erased by COVID. 

It's brave for you to value your immediate happiness and take the initiative to quit IB. It's not easy to make that move - I couldn't - and I am not shitting on you for that. I am however criticizing you for shitting on the industry as a whole. You say "if you like banking then more power to you" and yet your post implies significant disdain for those who are still in, or prospectively entering, the industry. That seems pretty hypocritical to me and IMO an overly biased message that can negatively influence the more malleable who have yet to have conviction in what they want to do

 
Controversial

the thing about girls caring was just a joke to show how much of the prestige doesnt really exist, no need to read into it. I don't think you're realizing how many different ways there are to create wealth. it isn't just law, medicine, banking or you're gonna be below 100k your entire life. I know people in PWM pulling 600k+ a year working 40 hour weeks, people who have franchised restaurants making even more, the list really goes on. If you like banking then more power to you, but imo there are better ways to achieve my goals.

 

There are surely many ways to create wealth - absolutely no argument here - but there are very few ways that are as defined and virtually risk-free as IB is IMMEDIATELY after undergrad. You're citing people in PWM pulling 600K+ a year working 40 hour work weeks - but what type of comparison is that? They are for sure at least in their mid 30s, had some sort of nepotistic leverage to get that pull and/or worked their ass off to build those relationships. And for every PWM killing it like that, there's 100,000 that are making significantly, significantly less. And for every 1 IB Analyst 1 who is top-bucket at a Tier 0 firm who pulled in ~$200K, 90% of IB Analyst 1s (excluding the ones that got fired or quit...) made between 120-200. 

An entrepreneur who makes it big and got bought out no doubt had to hustle for years, bootstrapped and stressed for hours on end taking a risk, etc.

The fact is - if you want to be successful in anything, you have to work hard. The question is - do you want to work hard now or later? I am personally attracted to a job where the payoff for hard work is essentially "locked in" via a bonus and/or promotion/lateral opportunities. If you want to make a killing day trading or investing in crypto, or taking the risk franchising a string of restaurants together like you mentioned, then that's fine. But let's not conflate doing so as being any easier mentally than getting pushed straightforward work onto you by a VP/MD 

 

Second this, I personally know someone pulling in 2.5 mil a year in PWM. People can say this is bullshit but I know it for a fact as I’m very close to this person. Granted they’ve been in the business for 30 years and built a very large client base, but work at one of the bullshit life insurance firms everyone here shits on (NWM, Mass mutual, etc) and have never worked an 80 hour week in their life and are making more than what the majority of anyone in IB will ever make in a year. Plenty of ways to make money in this world, fuck prestige. All this being said I’m still in IB now lol but definitely plenty of other ways to make great money in finance outside IB

 

You're wrong to think that a VP at a LMM will still be clearing 400k+ gross a year with the given trend in finance bro, maybe if they're doing super niche shit but even then that takes years and a specific type of person. In fact there are way better sales jobs that are far more fun than working as a IB VP. Tech Sales by far. Literally same job except you're selling a different service/product.

Also it's total bullshit with respect to painting a negative picture of finance to those who don't know what to do because how are you gonna post that shit when banks are literally recruiting SOPHOMORES and targeting FRESHMAN. GTFOH with that bullshit when they're trying to rush the best and the brightest and trying to make banking an awesome job when it's one of the most boring and miserable jobs on this planet that they try to justify with high compensation and supposed prestige.

 

You're wrong to think that a VP at a LMM will still be clearing 400k+ gross a year with the given trend in finance bro, maybe if they're doing super niche shit but even then that takes years and a specific type of person.

Hahaha,  At any semi Decent LMM shop 400K is 100% in the realm of possibility. I have multiple sources that say do get paid this.   Maybe some no name boutique pays way less.   

 

Great post! I think it's worth mentioning that much of the immediate gratification people accuse millennials of looking for in entry level work apply not only to comp, but also to obtaining the lifestyle perks that experience and a long career can usually provide. Many college grads now expect to make bank and have cushy hours right off the bat.

Personally, I wouldn't do ib, but the tradeoffs are too well known for kids to whine about hours after starting the job!

 

Sure, enjoy 70%+ of your bonus being stock compensation that vests, ensuring that you'll be anchored to 1 company for the rest of your life.

That's... not how tech comp works..

Your annual comp in tech is a combo of 2-3 factors: base salary, annual bonus and annual vesting stock. Nobody counts unvested stock in any year but the current as part of your yearly comp. It's not like banking where you get a bonus for a given year which then gets deferred. Nope. Your stock component of your yearly compensation is designed to be the combination of all tranches of stock set to vest in that year. So it doesn't matter how much you were granted only how much is vesting.

When you move from one company to another they will design any offers to match or exceed the yearly comp figure you are currently getting (sans stock appreciation - i.e. only the target $ figure) from base + bonus + vesting stock. That is to say, you're never truly tied down to any tech company. Stock comp that you haven't been paid yet is just like a salary that hasn't been paid as opposed to a bonus that you were awarded that has been witheld from you.

A lot of folks on here don't seem to get this.

 

No, you misread. I said 70% of your BONUS being tied up in stock compensation. So you mentioning base salary isn't even relevant. I know how tech comp works - have been subscribed to Jomatech for a while now and also have friends in the industry. But even if you look at Levels for a comparable position in all-in comp around 400-500k - say L6 at Google, it clearly says "$223k in base, $200k in stock, $50k in bonus." To look at it apples to apples, anything more than base is bonus from the perspective of either finance or tech. So therefore 80% of $250k is tied up in stock - no disinformation here

 

Disagree with the take on tech. FANG companies are paying $200K+ to new grad software engineers and there are plenty of opportunities to switch to other tech companies as well. That said, tech does have higher barriers to entry (e.g. knowing how to code) vs. banking.

 

The discussion between these two people really sums it up.

There's a "type" of person who thrives in IB. And plenty of people who join, and realize it's not for them. Guess who's who here. And they're both right - for people like them. 

The person who thrives in IB is aware that there's plenty of nonsense in it, and consistently reevaluates whether it's worth staying, while - and this is important - simultaneously still playing the game, to move up the ladder. Very smart move; speaks really well of their ability to juggle conflicting sentiments/priorities. Often, they're a natural born fit for IB: 3rd year Analysts/1st year Associates who already have the body language of an MD; a little taller than average, keep their shirts and suits clean and well-pressed; don't seem to gain weight no matter how many hours they work; and have fully mastered the art of the crisp, soulless email that deflects work efficiently. And they deliver. Ultimately, this kind of person is primarily money-oriented; very, very few jobs provide a better 20 year NPV than IB (massive projected cashflows, and the discount rate is moderate). And awareness of this basic calculation, and a significant personal attachment to financial growth and security, keeps this person in banking, year after year. 

The person who realizes it's not for them would be wise to leave within 2-5 years. Any more, and you start to become too expensive for the portion of your IB skills that are transferable at your seniority level. Any less, and you come off as flaky (this is especially true for UG analysts; if you're an MBA Associate, your pre-MBA longevity/loyalty can somewhat balance out the equation for you). This kind of person has more of a "life's too short for this shit" POV; they're aware of the NPV proposition, but value other things. Some are buyside/Corp Dev material, others are better suited for a career outside finance. They tend to struggle with maintaining appearances in IB; unlike their "lifer" counterpart, the physical and psychological toll is much more acute for them. They gain weight, struggle to wake up in the morning, have terrible hangovers when they actually manage to get a night out, always find themselves unable to make time for friends, etc. Except for the star analysts exiting to PE/HF, or rich-family MBA associates with a massive safety net, most of them are suffering some kind of career angst. We get it: get out of IB already. 

On a 2nd order insight level, since IB usually selects for high achievers with some decent pre-IB prestige on their resumes, and IB also selects, the average incoming class has a pretty high sense of self. I won't go as far as to call it inflated, but it's fair to say that as a class, they have lofty ambitions of what they're meant to accomplish. And since IB itself does the Hogwarts sorting hat thing for the above two categories on a very, very frequent basis (most infrequent: every bonus season to most frequent: every day), and for 95%+ of bankers, it's always a personal decision, I find that bankers end up heavily justifying why they stay, or why they quit.

My advice to both camps, as a matter of personal dignity, is to just carry on with your decision and don't make such a big deal out of it.

You quit banking and still have your youth ahead of you? Great, join a massive alumni network of ex-bankers glad to be out. Among us, we can have a beer and a laugh about the bullshit we put up with for some spare change. But when sharing our stories with people who don't know us well, keep it short and sweet. My blurb is simply "I enjoyed the modeling experience the first few months, and I made some friends, but very soon I found it about as interesting as watching paint dry, and only stayed for the easy money, until even that wasn't enough anymore." Chuckle. Wink. Move on. Not much else to say. Any more and you come off as a brat who is clamoring for recognition as a special snowflake for quitting IB, which is a pretty well trod path. The sooner you move on, the sooner you'll actually be doing all those things you felt IB didn't allow you to do: travel to Argentina, learn a language, lose 20lbs, get laid, see your family and friends, ski in the Pyrenees/Alps for New Years, etc. 

You've stayed in banking and made VP/Director etc? Great. You can stomach some serious work volume. You've got great attention to detail, and have found a sponsor internally. You're making more money than almost all of us do. If you've done particularly well, you even have some time and friends to enjoy it too. But please, don't actually start drinking the Kool-Aid. We all know the guy who actually starts to love the job. The one who points to deals reported in the papers/Bloomberg and says "we were on that" with a shit-eating grin. The one who thinks the models actually mean something. The one who talks about "adding value" while merely redistributing it and then taking a cut. The one who wishes younger people had more "attention to detail/stamina/sense of perspective" etc. Don't be that guy. No one likes you. The pool boy's probably giving your wife a foot massage after getting head from her. 

The truth is you're the weak. And I'm the tyranny of evil men. But I'm tryin', Ringo. I'm tryin' real hard to be the shepherd.
 

Great post, I heartily agree with everything save the last paragraph. If one has made it to the VP/Director-stage, I almost hope they've "drank the kool-aid" for their own sake. How could one invest the thousands of stress-filled hours without finding the work, or at least the results, worthwhile and deserving of pride?

 

That's exactly what struck me. The training behind this guy's while post, reveals he does indeed care about prestige. In fact it looks like that's all he cared about, and he realised the job wasn't worth prestige alone. You won't survive any challenge that you undertake for the wrong reasons.

 

If you look at the 2019 GoBuySide PE report for 1st year PE VPs across all geographies, comp based on base + cash comp WITHOUT carry ranges from $270k (0-$250M funds) to $405k (1.5-$2B funds).  

Using this link to back up the math (https://www.wallstreetoasis.com/forums/vice-president-fund-carryequity) as an example on average carry expected, it's clear that even with the most conservative estimations - $250M fund size, 2x return = $50M fund carry, assuming VP carry participation of 1.5% (average between 1-2%) is equivalent to $750k. Say a 6 year (average between 5 and 7) holding period for an annualized carry payout of $125k. Obviously it's a lump sum at the end but it equates to $395k annually all-in for the $250M fund VP1. 

So $400k is really not a far stretch to expect. This is all in USD btw

 

VPs in LMMs in my hometown barely work weekends, are at the office at 8, leave at 5, and do more work at night obviously but at least around their family. They manage to make near every dinner and everyone of their kid's important events. Obviously it's never going to be as relaxing as spending 25 hours golfing, 10 hours in the office, and 5 hours at the bar like PWM but still. You spend 40-45 hours either in the office or travelling, make phone calls or draft up some thoughts / circulate model while you're back home. It's really not that unusual. You make it seem like you have to sacrifice everything to make $400k when you're 30, much less THIRTIES like you're saying  

 

I +1 the Associate. Exit ops are endless in IB.

But in the first place u should love that IB job. But ppl say it too often & somehow ppl bought it, if u dnt even love it, love the exit ops at least.

Look that's said, with a pinch of salt because we assume you're some dude majoring in some risk return analysis theory at least in the concept of how one operates. Not some literature of liberal arts major (sorry). I'm just talking about risk & return here.

See, even if u FAILED & CRASHED & BURNED. Look at where IB takes u. BUT WHY YES OF COURSE if u did it FOR THE SOLE REASON TO EXIT, why do it anyway? Dude nobody goes & dates the girl they think they wnt even get laid with right? xD

There's nth comparable alternative as to what u can get, the exposure, the things & people you do in IB vs some engineering or law or science background & for those same reasons, at what age, & by when? After slogging at lower salaries than IB for how long? Just do a cash flow risk return benefit analysis & the outcome of that analysis is VERY CLEAR. IB beats it all. Don't believe Associate 1 in IB who made this post? Believe at least in your EXCEL skills then. Plot it out compare. Don't deny maths & come up with all that qualitative BS. U see human brains are fascinating. We make up for the hole & gaps in logical reasoning.

Dude don't shame effort & ppl fighting hard in IB like Associate 1 just cuz u wanna quit. U love IB more to u? More like U quit IB, more to you man. Associate 1 isn't even biased. Look at how well balanced his response is. So which role u feel, on a lateral benchmarking basis clears that level of $$ given the exact same risk profiles? Please don't MEDICINE, LIFE SCIENCE sh1t me. Dude u're dealing with lives THERE. Don't TELL ME THE RISKS IS LOWER. IB what, u gonna get a breach of trust by pocketing underwritten IPO funds & running away to St. Lucia island? Lol if u can even pull that off man, u're worth worshipping, given the US laws & the ways the market moves those funds around.

Look at that perfect 30 vs 30 example. Or whatever age man. At whatever level, u just do a simple comparison vs the kind of work they do, vs the kind of work you do & the pressure & the pay off. You will see for every bump or return u get in IB, it comes with a compensating risk or additional sh1t u gotta take. N if u dnt get that, then its hard to say why we're not like u know, financey about this. Finance 101, high risk high return. IF u get compesated for more sh1t, u expected to be okay with it. If u like risk & dnt get compensated, thats called gambling. If u ask me, the pressure of dealing with some1's lives in medicine in an operating theater is definitely higher than me vs the compensation in IB vs the compensation in medicine. I could feel some1 lives ain't worth risking, no matter how much they compensate u. You fail 1 surgery & then what, u think u could live with yourself & that family who may sue you & cry & curse you & all that drama? Come on, say yes to this & know u lie to yourself but u can't lie to every1 else around here.

U can't do IB for girls. Heck don't do anything for girls. U should let girls do things for you. U blow her or she blows u man? So who's doing the things? You know the things u should do? Stay in IB. U gotta earn stuff. They don't come for free.

So + 1 to associate 1, have the balls & FORTITUDE to push through man & stop blaming. Or maybe get a surgery done & go trans. If u like doing the things for some1. Whats your reason? what you wanna do with your life? If you got 1, I trust every1's happy for ya. But it just seems from your post, we can't readily read it. Other than I wanna quit. So your ultimate ambition in life is to quit?

N look at Associate 1 he wanted to quit 30 times. Every god damn week man. N he made it & no regrets. This is the hallmark of fortitude.

What u wanna be, quitter or u know at 1 point, u imagine its christmas. You're on your couch, the kids are asleep, your wife's with you.

Dog by the fireside. U both watching TV. U breathe in  breathe out for the first time knowings ur bank account's ok. Your children's funds are okay. Heck u got extra if ur parents need medical costs assistance. What u wanna do? U want this or u wanna just quit now. Its like junk food vs exercise.

Instant gratification vs ULTIMATE move man. But hey, what do I know right, im that id10t nobody likes. So u do u, go take your instant gratification.

N yea don't sh1t on the entire industry man. If u have a sh1tty homet0wn u dnt sh1t on the entire United States of America do ya?

N heck even if u have a sh1tty hometown. Usually ppl are still proud to be tell the world where they came from. Its like I'm from this shite of a place, but look at what I did. I bring fame & prestige to my shite pigsty hometown. What u rather be, some pessimistic, quitter who hates the whole world, or the dude that brings success to your work? Easy pick man. Rmb nth gets GIVEN until its deliberately EARNED. WE ARE ENTITLED TO NOTHING IN THIS LIFE. WE'RE BORN NAKED.
SO kudos to you Associate 1, & yea every1 WORK HARD & know you're not alone.

 

Not sure if you're gonna see this since it's been a while since you wrote it, but thanks a ton for taking the time to write it.

It's interesting because oftentimes I wonder on online forums why people disagree with each other, because it seems so pointless and trivial, but here your reply is literally giving me the devil's advocate POV I'm looking for as I try to navigate what I do next.

Cheers

 

I see you! Glad it helped a fellow monkey. My perspective remains the same as when I wrote it 2 years ago. Not trying to be pointed in any direction but my life is significantly better now than it was when I wrote it, and when I started my career. I am the most satisfied I have ever been from a career POV and have the opportunity to work with great people on really interesting deals

Best of luck

 

What’s the point of this post? You made your decision. Good for you. IB was not your thing. No need to be bitter about it, or call it dumb. It’s just a job.

 

warning the college kids on this site (of which there are a ton), to reevaluate if they actually want to pursue IB before making the same mistake I and tons of other people have made. seems like a good reason to post something to me