I’ll be a 36 yr old IB Associate. Worth it? Doable?

I’ll be a 36 year old IB Associate. I’m weighing the option of going for my MBA and transition to IB. But I’ll be 36-37 when I graduate from my MBA. Will ageism affect me? Is it even worth it at this age? Will I be able to keep up with the demands of being an Associate in IB at 36?

 

Doesn’t matter, but think consulting there’s a much wider age gap

 

Do you really want to be an IB associate at 36? What is the rest of your life like? Why would it be worth it for you?

I’ve seen associates on the older side but they are few and far between for good reason. I would recommend thinking about what the position really means to you, especially in comparison to other opportunities from your MBA program. It is often harder to make the trade-off worth it at older ages. Best of luck!

 

So I’ve had a fairly successful career in program management / big4 change management consulting(VP) since undergrad but I hate my field/job. I did it after undergrad because I needed a job and liked the money. At this point I feel like I could continue in my PM career path and have no interest in my career or I can pivot to IB and like it more/get more fulfillment out of my career. I’ve always liked analyzing businesses and understanding what makes them tick, figured IB could be a good place for this.

 
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 I’ve always liked analyzing businesses and understanding what makes them tick, figured IB could be a good place for this.

That’s nice. Have you also always liked applying hockey stick growth projections, slapping on aggressive FY2 EBITDA multiples, jurryrigging a model to spit out whatever the client or your MD needs it to spit out, working for 20+ days in a row without a weekend, finishing work at 2-3 AM multiple nights in a row, updating the same stock slides and models over and over and over, working for private equity firms with impossible demands on humane timelines, and reviewing and redoing the work of fresh and incompetent juniors?

 
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So I’ve had a fairly successful career in program management / big4 change management consulting(VP) since undergrad but I hate my field/job. I did it after undergrad because I needed a job and liked the money. At this point I feel like I could continue in my PM career path and have no interest in my career or I can pivot to IB and like it more/get more fulfillment out of my career. I’ve always liked analyzing businesses and understanding what makes them tick, figured IB could be a good place for this.

You won't get fulfillment in IB. This screams "bad decision". 

 

No, you can not do that. You can only have an associate job when you’re between the ages of 23 to 35. After that, you should be a VP or higher 

 

An associate is someone who is a manager. If you’re older you should be taken more seriously by the analysts working for you than an a2a who is 23 as long as you’re competent 

 

Don’t overthink the age stuff, people don’t really consider your age or treat you worse because of it 

 

I doubt anyone thinks about your age during work if you’re competent at your job and behaving maturely, and there seems to be tons of people who graduate MBA in their mid 30s. I’ve met at least 7 within my first few months of working FT

 

Certainly doable, but it's rare. I'm at an EB and I haven't met a single associate who started out over the age of 33. I started full time as a 31 year-old; I def skewed on the older side, but there were a couple people like a year older than me out of a class of ~12 or so. As a 37 year-old you'll be the same age as directors/junior MDs, so it'll be a bit of a humbling experience. In the end though do whatever makes you happy and block out the outside noise

 
Most Helpful

I started as a stub associate at 32, finished associate at 35.  No one ever really gave me a shot at IB so it took years of networking to even get interviews, once I got interviews, I got to final rounds/offers easily.  Coming in older and wiser (compared to my younger self) has meant that I've literally never gotten anything other than top bucket for 5 years running and my managers have proactive retention discussions with me often to make sure I don't leave/get poached.  As a result, they've thrown a number of benefits my way and have tried to make sure my workload is very manageable.  I feel like if I started right out of school, I'd not have it as easy and maybe would've churned out.

 

Entered MBA at 35, Started as an associate at 37. The truth is no one cares, but it is a young industry. It is helpful if you can blend in the culture. 

You have to bite your tongue a lot of times and you will be taking orders for 24 year olds. You should be able to bring a real world perspective to content creation. 24 year olds are great at slides and modeling, but I found the great balancer was writing/forming a punchy narrative, being able to relate with clients more.  

An MD once told me something that I have found extremely enduring and I like to pass along: When you first join, no one will give you respect. But next year, the new analysts will automatically respect you as an As2. Also, some of the seasoned teammates may leave. The following year, those analysts will further respect you. Before long, if you can endure it, you'll be one of the most respected in your group. It is a game of attrition and as long as you know what you're doing and don't give you, you can succeed.

 

Are you single or married? And if you are single, are you looking to find someone to settle down with post MBA?

If you are single and looking to settle down, skip IB - I do not think it's worth it. Do consulting instead maybe since it's more lifestyle friendly and if you are traveling to different cities for client engagements - it may increase your options if you search out weeknight dates in those cities.

I know someone who I think is single and 35+, went into IB post MBA and made it his whole personality. Such a weird hardo.

 

We kind of need to know a little bit more about your situation before we can tell you its a good or bad idea. Do you want to become a career banker or are you open to switching jobs again down the line to Corp Dev or something? If its the latter and doing IB is temporary I think it makes more sense to me.

If you are making very little $, ie less than six figures Id say it could be worth it to jump well into 6 figures (but then any post-MBA job can offer this).

If you are in good shape (mentally and physically) and willing/able (able being a big one here) to grind it out into the outer years of your career 6 days a week, only to then deal with the stress of being an MD whose almost 50, it could be worth it. When you join as an Associate your MD could feasibly be the same age as you and going home at 6pm while you are grinding till midnight or later turning his/her comments. Taking direction from a VP who could be as young as 30.

If you are single or at least dont plan on having kids and dont mind the additional challenges this will create to start a family, could be worth it.

If you are married and your spouse is not willing to make huge sacrifices (ie putting the kids to bed every night, doing most or all of the household chores, eating dinner alone Monday-Friday, only spending quality time with you on Saturday) it just feasibly wont work. 

 

Not uncommon for post-military MBA associates. Age discrimination is illegal so if you want to do it then go for it.

Well, no one is going to say that they're not going to hire you because you're too old (not that I think 37 is too old but doubt people are hiring 50 year old associates).  They'll just find another reason.  You also technically can't discriminate against someone with a disability like blindness but how often you see a banker cruising around with a cane and a golden retriever?  It's not fair but it is reality.

 

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