Is IB Fun?

Rising junior who landed my dream job/role at boutique in NYC(don't like using term EB but it is one of those) and I'm feeling really excited for next summer. The overwhelming feedback I got from alum was to enjoy college while I can which I completely understand and will do, but am I completely naive for looking forward to the job? I never thought I could land a role like I did and the firm is known for having a good culture (and I loved the people I met). Comments/thoughts appreciated either way.

Comments (42)

  • Prospect in IB - Gen
May 18, 2022 - 5:00pm

in exact same position as you, I think it is a common feeling especially if you are in a great group 

  • Intern in IB-M&A
May 18, 2022 - 5:09pm

Have not worked FT in IB yet but I think a lot of it has to do with expectations and how hard you worked in HS and college. After speaking to a lot of people who spent several years in IB, a big thing they said was trying to keep your ego in check and know precisely what you are getting yourself into (in terms of sacrifices you will have to make). If you understand that and worked hard in college and were used to making those sacrifices there is no reason why IB should be a shock. Not to say it won't be difficult but it won't be as mentally challenging as it is for others. There are some people who do truly enjoy IB, your internship next summer will be the exact experience required to fully understand whether it is something you will enjoy. 

For now enjoy the rest of college. 

  • Intern in IB-M&A
May 18, 2022 - 6:31pm

No it's not fun lol nobody gets up in the morning jumping up and down excited for work.

IB is fine and it's interesting in some aspects but by no means is it "fun"

Most Helpful
  • Intern in IB - Gen
May 18, 2022 - 11:20pm

This. I hate when society says you have to love what do you do. No you fucking don't. These bullshit fairy tale cliches are what cause people to pursue useless degrees like gender studies and philosophy and then wonder why they're unemployed and sitting with loads of debt. I would say you can't hate what you do, but you certainly don't need to love or enjoy it. Discipline is way more important than motivation. Nobody is motivated to do shit all the time. Motivation is temporary. Discipline is doing what you need to regardless of whether you feel like it or not. That's my mindset of work. I just see a job as a means to an end but not anything intrinsically valuable. 

  • Analyst 1 in PE - LBOs
May 19, 2022 - 7:56am

I'm very anti all the leftist sociological/ gender studies type stuff, but the comment is unfair on philosophy.

I agree proper philosophy doesn't really exist much these days, and it's become at most places an opportunity for further sharing of radical marxist opinions, but understanding Ancient Philosophy is something of deep beauty -- and it probably has some useful 'soft skills' for life too.

  • Analyst 2 in CorpStrat
May 19, 2022 - 9:12am

It's much easier to excel in your career if you love/enjoy the work. For context, I was fascinated by the marketing profession growing up and worked in the space for a while. During this time, it was very easy for me to outperform my coworkers and go above and beyond on every task - reason being that it didn't really feel like work to me, and instead felt like a great learning opportunity (and pay was just the cherry on top). On my free time, I'd continue reading about different strategies that I could implement at work, create surveys to gather feedback from potential customers, etc.

Then I moved to Finance (wanted higher $$) and could instantly feel the difference. While I don't necessarily hate the work, it started to feel like a job and my ability to soak up information and put in the extra effort declined significantly. Most days, I'm just staring at the clock waiting for the day to end, and when I'm home, I'm too drained to do anything else.

So while I agree with you that you don't necessarily need to love/enjoy your job, it certainly does help. Your professional and personal life will always be better when you're spending the majority of your time doing something you're excited about.

May 19, 2022 - 5:01pm
bankeeng, what's your opinion? Comment below:

This is a peak IB intern comment.

I've been at a BB for 2 years now. It's not fun, very few people are genuinely happy. 

This mindset is why people end up trapped in a corporate job for their entire life - making good money but never free. Want to make great money? Go off and find your passion and apply yourself - every person I know who is driven, smart enough to work in IB, and works in their dream niche is worth more than my IB friends. Granted these tend to be fewer and far between because people like the certainty / lack of risk in IB, but don't end up unstimulated and unhappy.

  • Analyst 1 in IB - Cov
May 18, 2022 - 6:35pm

Nothing fun about being tired all the time, stressed out, having no schedule and getting yelled at by sleep deprived associates. Is it interesting? Yes, at times, but a lot of times it's just soul sucking. Also lol why are there only interns/incoming interns on this thread talking about an IB experience.

  • Analyst 2 in IB-M&A
May 18, 2022 - 10:08pm

Love getting told by a bunch of college kids how fun my job is when I haven't gone to bed before 2am in months…

Parts of this job are interesting and it would maybe be fun if it was a 9-5. Hanging out with other analysts in the bullpen or sneaking in a happy hour is fun.

90% of the time you will be hunched over your keyboard stressed out about a ridiculous deadline while frantically aligning a PowerPoint slide or formatting an excel sheet. That is not fun at all.

  • Intern in IB-M&A
May 18, 2022 - 11:31pm

So just because I only was an intern I can't comment on this lol? Still did the job for 8 weeks. Granted, it doesn't compare to a year of being an analyst but I'd say the sample size is big enough. My 2¢

  • Analyst 1 in IB - Cov
May 19, 2022 - 7:50am

Your intern experience won't come near your full time experience. I guess just wait till you start and see how the job is when you are an actual analyst instead of an intern.

  • Analyst 1 in IB-M&A
May 19, 2022 - 11:12am

Is it true no one uses their brain in IBD? Also what is the point of IBD even? Look at iPo prices fluctuating dramatically after initial pricing. Most mergers don't create value and waste money. 

  • Prospect in IB - Gen
May 18, 2022 - 6:51pm

The culture and camaraderie are legitimately fun if you're at a good bank, fucking around with the other analysts and people at work who you see all the time is reminiscent of college in that way and is truly enjoyable. People aren't lying when they say they met some of their closest friends during their IB stints.

The job though is just as awful as people say, Your creativity is told to go away and you just need to grind grind grind for hours on stuff nobody cares about. Some people actually thrive in this environment and like it, but most are extremely miserable. You'll find out which you are in the summer. Personally, as much as I loved my fellow analysts, the mind-numbing nature of the job made me pretty depressed and I'm extremely grateful I'm out. By contrast one of my buddies loves it and is getting more and more set on going A2A. Just go in with an open mind and be honest with yourself.

May 19, 2022 - 8:19pm
jay_ay_why, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Worth emphasizing: "The culture and camaraderie are legitimately fun if you're at a good bank, fucking around with the other analysts and people at work who you see all the time is reminiscent of college in that way and is truly enjoyable. People aren't lying when they say they met some of their closest friends during their IB stints."

There arent many careers where you will be surrounded by ppl your own age in an industry that's known for going out and networking. You can make some good friends and have plenty of good nights out

The work can be tough and there are certain groups where the soul crushing gets to the point where all the other benefits are outweighed by the work but in my experience that has not been the case

Join a good group, work hard and make friends and these could be really great years

  • Analyst 1 in IB - Gen
May 18, 2022 - 7:50pm

NOT HAVING ENOUGH MONEY IS NOT FUN

May 19, 2022 - 4:15am
kodi, what's your opinion? Comment below:

I worked and lived in eight countries, mostly around IB, PE, VC, and "finance roles". The people I met, the deals I worked on, the languages, cultures, and clients was able to to experience... - yes, I'd say it was fun.

If I had to make a living with a 9-5 office job, I would pick this again.

Luckily, once you hit your number you don't necessarily have to do be in such a job, so ask yourself what you really want to do eventually.

  • Prospect in PE - Other
May 19, 2022 - 4:41am

Wow. Any country in particular you would recommend working in?

May 19, 2022 - 5:04am
kodi, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Best for nature/beauty: Canada (but US is also great)
Best for income/building wealth: USA
Best for women: Scandinavia, Sweden
High standard of living: Switzerland
Best for making international friends: both NYC and London. I preferred NYC, but it was easier to make a living in London.

Work culture is very different in each location, so this would be too much to explain here.

  • Associate 2 in PE - Growth
May 19, 2022 - 9:20am

It's all relative. It depends how you define fun. As other mentioned, almost any step of IB the role is very painful, so it's hard to describe it as "fun" in the way that like a party with friends is. But, as others mentioned it can be very very interesting and some people really enjoy the fast paced environment. My two cents:

I found the job pretty stressful, but also fun for the first 8 months. When you haven't ever seen someone buy or sell a company there is so much to learn and you can tell you are seeing things most people in the world would never get exposure to. Eventually however, the job loses its novelty and it becomes frustrating as you begin recognizing that you are trading other areas of your life for a job that you now aren't learning as much in. Put another way, staying up late and working some weekends for the first several months as you learn the job doesn't feel too bad since you are new and motivated to break into the industry, but once you've been there for 6 months you start to look around and think, "wtf am I doing". This is when most people start thinking about exiting.

No job can really be categorized as fun where 90% leave in 2 years, but did I have fun at different times during IB? Absolutely. 

May 19, 2022 - 2:53pm
3rdFloor, what's your opinion? Comment below:

TL;DR: no it's not fun. Yes, you can be excited. Fun =/= excitement.

Nope not fun at all. If you're on WSO, you've heard the stories and should know what you're getting into. I won't rehash, but when you start out as a first year analyst, IMO you are basically paid for your time and ability to grind on whatever the seniors want (from complex financial analyses to arranging logos in alphabetical order on slide 56 of the pitch deck appendix). Yet even with all the menial tasks, at an EB you will still learn a lot (I wouldn't know, was at a LMM shop so just guessing). It's going to be brutal for at least 6-8 months and probably doesn't really get better unless you are at a truly good group from a culture standpoint (rare at an NYC bank from my understanding) and are able to move up the ladder (again, wouldn't know, left after 2 yrs). But, you're not going to this job to 'have fun' (whatever you want to define fun as, I'm not going to try to define it here). It's an investment in your future. I'm now in real estate and 3 years removed from my time as an analyst at a non-real estate boutique bank, and have real estate firms I speak w/ about new opportunities tell me that they like my banking background. If you crush your internship, get the FT offer, and ride it out for even just two years, it will pay dividends I promise.

Again, banking is far from fun - might actually be the opposite of fun unless you like being tired and stressed. However, at times it can be very interesting and will have an significant impact (+ optionality) on your career that I doubt many other corporate jobs can provide. Especially at an EB. So, please don't go into this thinking it's going to be a joy ride, and even if you think the group/culture/people are great, just know that you won't actually know for sure until you spend time there (banking is a sales job after all). But yes be proud of yourself for landing this role and be excited for the experience, even if you know it's going to be a grind. Remember, you're allowed to be excited for something that will allow you to push your limits and be outside of your comfort zone.

If you're excited about this opportunity for the right reasons then you're not being naive. Congrats and best of luck.

May 19, 2022 - 5:00pm
SPYShorts, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Seconding / slightly amending this ^. I feel like a lot of these comments are discussing if IB is "meaningful", which it most certainly is not. But compared to accounting or law or medicine or science -- heck yeah it's fun! Something about a bunch of 25 year old's hanging out in confined spaces late into the night yields some pretty good shenanigans. I guarantee some of the funniest moments in your life will be in banking.    

May 20, 2022 - 8:05am
throwaway909101, what's your opinion? Comment below:

No job is genuinely "fun". A lot of people who complain about IBD have never worked anywhere else, and are shocked to learn when they exit their IBD role that it's equally if not even less "fun". Law is not fun, medicine is not fun, working at a corporate is not fun.

IBD is exciting and interesting (significantly moreso compared to other careers), and gets a lot more fun as you get more senior (true of most careers).

Having worked a variety of jobs, IMO if you can find a group that actually tries to respect WLB and works on cool deals, it will be the most "fun" out of most careers. However, other jobs will be much more boring but give you more personal free time to fill with actual fun, which is ultimately the trade off. 

May 20, 2022 - 8:09am
elenoreweight05, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Yet even with all the menial tasks, at an EB you will still learn a lot (I wouldn't know, was at a LMM shop so just guessing). It's going to be brutal for at least 6-8 months and probably doesn't really get better unless you are at a truly good group from a culture standpoint (rare at an NYC bank from my understanding) and are able to move up the ladder (again, wouldn't know, left after 2 yrs).

May 20, 2022 - 6:23pm
unknownmonkey37, what's your opinion? Comment below:

The IB work is not fun. Call me when someone says they love arranging sponsor logos alphabetically, then by fund size and then changing it to profiles or re-running comps for the nth time. I won't hold my breath.

THAT SAID, the comradery you feel with your fellow analysts against the associates, or the bullpen vs MDs and VPs makes it bearable and dare I say fun. When it's midnight, and it's just the bullpen and people play music and have the dumbest or, hell, even meaningful conversations. It doesn't suck so much - from my perspective burn-out factor is truly tied to this, and why there was so much more during CV-19 then there was before.

So as a intern, pay attention to the analysts, are they friends or do they hate each other? Do you get along with the other interns - is the MBA intern a good person or a cunt (you'll be stuck with them for 2 years)? Are the MDs, Ds and VPs cool or all they all divorced and paying alimony. That will truly determine how much you like it vs hate IB if you decided to do it for 2 years, trust me.

May 20, 2022 - 10:21pm
Synergy_or_Syzygy, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Ut sit ea fuga at. Unde voluptatem velit iste est. Tempora modi quibusdam adipisci voluptatem a. Quibusdam sit accusantium voluptas occaecati aspernatur minima est.

Be excellent to each other, and party on, dudes.
Start Discussion

Career Advancement Opportunities

June 2022 Investment Banking

  • Jefferies & Company (▲03) 99.6%
  • Lincoln International (= =) 99.2%
  • RBC Capital Markets (▲07) 98.8%
  • Bank of America Merrill Lynch (▲02) 98.4%
  • Houlihan Lokey (▲06) 98.0%

Overall Employee Satisfaction

June 2022 Investment Banking

  • Lincoln International (▲06) 99.6%
  • Jefferies & Company (▲11) 99.2%
  • Greenhill (▲07) 98.8%
  • Rothschild (= =) 98.3%
  • Evercore (= =) 97.9%

Professional Growth Opportunities

June 2022 Investment Banking

  • Jefferies & Company (▲04) 99.6%
  • Lincoln International (▲04) 99.2%
  • RBC Capital Markets (▲09) 98.8%
  • Houlihan Lokey (▲07) 98.4%
  • William Blair (▽01) 98.0%

Total Avg Compensation

June 2022 Investment Banking

  • Director/MD (9) $661
  • Vice President (37) $394
  • Associates (188) $246
  • 2nd Year Analyst (115) $162
  • 3rd+ Year Analyst (17) $156
  • 1st Year Analyst (363) $149
  • Intern/Summer Associate (75) $147
  • Intern/Summer Analyst (286) $91