Please stop wasting your life

Probably a bit of an outlier here but I just wanted to make a post to all the students out there who feel like their life depends on getting that IB/PE job. Please don't waste your life on this bullshit. Fine if you want to this job, but as someone who got overrun with this obsession of IB -> PE, it will never give you any meaning and you will just look back your youth feeling that you wasted all of it trying to attain a goal which is in itself meaningless.

Comments (86)

Mar 25, 2021 - 3:52pm
c-deez-nuts-96, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Have you considered that maybe, if you're having breakdowns just about recruiting, then IB might not be for you?

That doesn't translate well to dealing with 2am bake-offs and/or being chewed out for making formatting mistakes on a slide.  

  • Prospect in IB-M&A
Mar 25, 2021 - 4:05pm

It's more about the gloomy prospect of October coming around without any offers (I go to a non-target) rather than anxiety from the work itself (interviews...etc)

But yes it crosses my mind

  • Associate 3 in IB - CB
Mar 18, 2021 - 11:19pm

Plenty of other non banking options out there

  • Prospect in IB - Gen
Mar 19, 2021 - 2:24am

Easy for you to say as someone in IB

  • Analyst 2 in IB-M&A
Mar 19, 2021 - 3:06am

I regret everyday to choose this job over others when I was at school and the only reason I didn't quit and will probably go down the IB > PE path is because I spent hundreds of hours learning/networking/recruiting for "Finance". I never let that "college kid" truly enjoy his life during college. Might gonna quit my UMM PE (secured offer, but also know it's 2 years and out) after 3 months in but I just have to try the "investor mentality" at this point.

  • Analyst 1 in IB - Gen
Mar 19, 2021 - 3:53pm

yeah keep taking brutally honest advice like its bullshit as if the person could make any gain out of lying to you, that will get you far in life

  • Analyst 2 in IB-M&A
Mar 19, 2021 - 7:03am

Don't tell me what I can't do.

  • Prospect in IB-M&A
Mar 19, 2021 - 1:38pm

Yeahhhh buddy.

An insane comparison: Kid debating Special Ops military career has lunch with a SEAL, looks dope. Kid does research on SEALs, sees how hard it is, but pursues anyway. Kid goes to BUD/S, experiences hell on earth (at least as close as one can come to it). Kid keeps eye on the prize and deals with BUD/S for as long as he has to. Kid makes it through BUD/S, kid becomes a SEAL and balls out for his country.

Comparing a 1st year analyst to a Navy SEAL? Pretty fuckin' outrageous. But who doesn't like pretending they're a SEAL? Gotta know what you want and have the drive to get there.

Mar 19, 2021 - 1:57pm
Graham Cracker, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Pretty stupid on both sides. There are plenty of ex special ops and other military that are in IB. Did my MBA with one that could barely stand his summer, didnt get a return offer, and works in corp dev now. Some people handle different stressors differently. Shocker.

Most Helpful
Mar 19, 2021 - 10:08am
6969, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Someone in IB tells people not to work in IB because they're miserable and hate their life

Prospective students tells them to STFU

Prospective student gets a job in investment banking and is miserable and hates their life

The cycle never ends 

Mar 19, 2021 - 10:37am
nontarget hardo, what's your opinion? Comment below:

The only reason I said stfu is because he is just bitching. If OP gave an alternative(s) or actual helpful advice then I probably would've read it and moved on.

Edit: If you're gonna throw MS at least explain what's wrong with my comment

Mar 19, 2021 - 4:05pm
grieze, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Alternatives are for those to decide not the OP. Maybe some people want to go and be artists after leaving IB like anonymousman did. Not everyone wants to leave IB and go work at a corporation or med school or tech.

  • Intern in AM - Equities
Mar 19, 2021 - 10:56am

Please stop projecting your regrets onto others. 

EDIT: I'm seriously so fucking tired of these posts. Spending a few extra hours a week on recruiting, interviewing, studying harder didn't stop you from enjoying your youth. People just displace all their excuses into it to make themselves feel better for their high inhibitions/lack of initiative. Finance guys have zero self awareness I swear. 

  • Intern in AM - Equities
Mar 19, 2021 - 1:24pm

He literally said in the above he missed out on college because he was too busy with recruiting/interviewing for IB. Everyone knows the only people who are truly hard-pressed in their studies in ugrad are pre-med and some engineers. 

Mar 19, 2021 - 4:08pm
grieze, what's your opinion? Comment below:


Mar 22, 2021 - 3:12pm
honeyroastedcashew, what's your opinion? Comment below:

You either listen to others in IB or just be quiet and enjoy your little AM comfort bubble that might give you the illusion of success and privilege to judge other hardworking individuals, neither of which are justified and could only be laughed at. 

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  • Anonymous Monkey
  • Rank: Chimp
Mar 19, 2021 - 11:30am
Anonymous Monkey, what's your opinion? Comment below:

As I have suggested on the off topic forum a while ago: lets open a subforum where people can collectively bitch and moan and talk about why they are leaving banking. 

See this:

Mar 19, 2021 - 1:48pm
Goya Beans, what's your opinion? Comment below:

I saw this post yesterday and didn't wanna say anything but what is even the point of this? I'm all for talking about your actual experiences so that prospects can make informed decisions but the gist of this post is "banking won't give your life ultimate fulfillment" which is trivial at best and misleading at worst. 

How about this? It's OKAY to go into the wrong field early on in your career and as far as bad mistakes go, going into IB is not that bad and you'll have plenty of options to leave. If you waste your "youth" aka more than a handful of years in a career that only makes you miserable you're probably too retarded to do anything else anyways.

To live is to suffer, to survive is to find some meaning in the suffering.

  • 2
Mar 19, 2021 - 3:18pm
Bankerconsu, what's your opinion? Comment below:

This is like the 10th post I've seen about this stuff. At some point it's getting old.  It's purely a function of supply and demand. Lots of people want the roles which makes them competitive to land. Things that are difficult to land are not meant to be a cake-walk to recruit for.

Mar 19, 2021 - 6:45pm
CanadianEnergyBanker, what's your opinion? Comment below:

IB is definitely rough but I wouldn't have the opportunity I'd have now if I didn't go through it. Slaving away turned to doing something I enjoy working reasonable hours for the sole reason that a head hunter recruited at my firm. Once you hit critical mass in IB you have unbelievable flexibility in where you can go (at least in my experience). IB puts many including myself in control of their own destiny (at least in the short term). If you didn't like the style of work and thus see no hope I'd question what even drew you in in the first place and to think about whether this is a "you issue". 

Lots of juniors are getting worked through COVID, I was one of them. Getting worked and being miserable does not in and of itself counteract the benefits IB can provide. 

Should you base your life off of getting IB? Certainly not; but people are losing site of a very real upside that exists for many on this site. Keep trucking young monkeys the land of milk and honey is just a few deck turns away!

Lastly, if you were trying to generate meaning from work (particularly in IB) you never stood a chance to start with. You don't need to achieve meaning whatever the fuck that means. All you need is pay that lets you live comfortably and work that's tolerable enough you don't go insane. If you happen to really enjoy it that's upside, but not the base case. 

  • Analyst 1 in IB - Gen
Mar 20, 2021 - 1:24pm


Once you hit critical mass in IB you have unbelievable flexibility in where you can go (at least in my experience).

Can you elaborate on this? Sometimes I feel the 2 main options are PE/HF where you continue to have no control over your life or moving to a corporate finance role that I could have just taken out of college.

Mar 20, 2021 - 6:36pm
CanadianEnergyBanker, what's your opinion? Comment below:

The idea that there are zero seats where you have "control over your life" in IB and more specifically in PE is not accurate. There are lighter IB groups and there are certainly a massive array of mandates in PE that can give you "control" whatever that may mean for you. You don't need to go GS TMT to KKR you can participate in different parts of the market. I went from IB analyst dying like yall, picked a firm that focusses more MM and cross cap structure doing infra for PE, probably avg 50-60 rn. Am I making MF level cash? Surely not. Am I comfortable and happy with the balance of comp and work life balance, absolutely. You have a ton of optionality once you do the IB track (this is what is a shame about posts like this) that you simply won't have after college. I know for a fact those lifestyle jobs come through recruiters after you've done your time (most of the positions are never posted anywhere). So you have to "lose control" if you want to gain control. That's what the tradeoff has always and will always be. 

There's a reason nearly every experienced poster on this website tells people to tough it out if you aren't going to kill yourself/have major negative health consequences. I can't stress enough how worth it it is. In the middle of a global pandemic to have dozens of firms wanting to interview you is a luxury reserved for very few industries. IBD to --> Corp Fin/PE etc was one of them for many experienced analysts. That's an amazing and privileged place to be.

Finance is an apprenticeship profession and you really only become somewhat "valuable" to more lifestyle jobs ones you've gone through some repetitions.  

  • Analyst 1 in AM - Other
Mar 19, 2021 - 9:22pm

replies to this post made me realize that yeah, you might be motivated, driven individuals, but the majority of prospects on this site are total fucking losers. 

Mar 22, 2021 - 9:23pm
elmadrileño, what's your opinion? Comment below:

That's bc most people are in it for the money. They hate finance, they hate whichever industry group they are on, they hate anything that has numbers on it except for a 6 figure check. Not that I think everybody in banking loves the industry, but if you are pursuing something for the money that's the textbook definition of one-and-out. You may fake it the first year or so, but when you collect your third check (aka when the rush isn't there anymore) you'll probably ask yourself what you are working for at that point.

The people who are able to work in IB for some time have two common traits: 1) they enjoy finance (even if your work has little to do with it at the analyst level) 2) they know no one will pay them that much at that point in their careers.

Mar 19, 2021 - 10:56pm
IncomingIBDreject, what's your opinion? Comment below:

I actually quit recruiting for IB after reading your guys posts (about a year ago when the WFH madness started). Just want you to know some prospects are reflecting on what you all write.


  • 1
Mar 20, 2021 - 1:40pm
dutchduke, what's your opinion? Comment below:

15 years in and can say that the people who choose to be happy are happy and those who are not, are not and it doesn't matter if they succeeded at the highest levels in undergrad/postgrad/ just doesn't matter.  And once you have kids, you really will be more focused on them being healthy, happy and keeping your household in some kind of decent order if you have your priorities straight. Meaning, your job and prestige of the job then takes a backseat.  I know some will say well that's easy for you to say you make X and achieved it - fair, but trust me, it just becomes way less meaningful over time. I never thought I would reach a point where I'm getting tired of the markets - its def starting to happen.  

Mar 20, 2021 - 10:51pm
dutchduke, what's your opinion? Comment below:

at what level of compensation did money stop making you happier? $250k? 300? 500?

I'm going to call it satisfaction with the earnings vs happiness. Regarding happiness, I was enjoying myself more while making $150k in industry (down south) early on and I was single prior to joining the sell-side and then buy-side in MF Credit - but I too had a burning desire to make more and see more while I was in industry. I totally understand the feeling of wanting more, so I was going to amend my earlier post to make sure that folks didn't think I was discounting that feeling of absolute passion many motivated folks on this site have bc that is a real emotion as well that left unfulfilled I know can pull at you. 

Regarding earnings satisfaction -  I would say after $450-$500 it didn't change my outlook or much of anything other than shifting dollars around. That's a married guy with kids talking , not a single guy.    My last three years I've made double that roughly (not counting longer term incentives) but even I emailed a WSO member I admire last year and was like hey man, I'm fucking burnt out  can I bounce some things off of you?!  I'm late 30s and like I said 15 years in, but we still have these feelings of maybe I should do xyz. 

Anyway, hope that gives some perspective. 

Sep 16, 2021 - 11:16am
Kurk, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Correct, which is why I don't associate myself with people who have kids. It alters their mentality and I no-longer trust them as their only priority becomes their offspring. Fun fact: (I can't find it right now) most of world's most significant contributors (science, arts, business, even criminal masterminds) achieved their biggest accomplishments prior to marriage (and hence children). This is even when adjusted for age. It's like procreation triggers something which signals the end of growth and the beginning of a long-slow decline. This is why I refuse to marry---I fear losing my ambition more than anything. I choose to be stressed and unhappy as it propels me towards my goals.

Sep 16, 2021 - 11:08pm
dutchduke, what's your opinion? Comment below:

That's pretty interesting. You have to do what works for you.  But I'll say while I did quite a bit of achieving before kids, I've accomplished some of my biggest  milestones since having kids. For instance, I completely turned a company around and sourced a buyer when no one else could have pulled it off. That comes with experience, connections, and bonding with people who many times also have kids. 

Mar 20, 2021 - 3:14pm
D.O.U.G., what's your opinion? Comment below:


Amen, brother.  Amen.



Mar 23, 2021 - 1:52pm
ITNAmatter, what's your opinion? Comment below:

great thread

path less traveled

  • Intern in IB - Cov
Mar 23, 2021 - 4:04pm

dude fuck off alright? I'm not "wasting my life" I'm grinding because I'm broke as fuck and this is literally the only thing I'm even semi-good at and my family needs money and I have no hands on talent because all I know is white collar shit. Stop being a fucking fanny, you live in the richest country in the world, you stupid fucking Amerifats think that because you don't get paid $500k for 60 hours you're being paid "slave labor" have you ever bothered to leave the US for longer than two weeks and outside of a resort? Fuck off.

Mar 24, 2021 - 7:26am
tackytech, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Take it or leave it, but my advise is that if you're smart and ambitious enough to get into IB, then you're likely good enough to succeed almost everywhere else. Finance is not the only place to make good money - and frankly, making money while doing something you love / you're very passionate about, is infinitely more rewarding than toiling away doing something you hate or feel completely indifferent about. Of course, there are risks - and alternative sectors / careers might not be as predictable or proven as the well-trodden path of finance, but that's life. No risk, no reward. Prestige wears off real quick, so think real hard about you reasons to join. It's easy to get tunnel vision. 

  • 2
Mar 25, 2021 - 2:07pm
angelosgeorgakis, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Interns and prospects, you have to understand that WSO is a place for people to vent and let out their emotions. Personally, I'm not against this. This industry can be tough and everyone-not only analysts-often go through tough times. The current Covid WFH period is a tough one for a lot of people. The fact that 1 out of 5 posts on this forum is another "this is no life/I'm out/I'm off to tech" post doesn't mean that all these people are going to act on what they say. Some do and that's great. But most people just talk and this is a way to discharge and feel better after another 14 hr day. That's okay too. We all do it. It's the same as meeting a friend for drinks after work and they start.... "Fuck, I'm sick of my boss, I need to get the fuck out of that place etc." That's okay. No big deal.

You are young and you have to try stuff and IB/finance is a cool thing to try. I did and I don't regret a single minute of that 5-year experience. I learned about myself, people, finance, business, communication, politics... Excel! lol I'm grateful for that experience. Whatever way you're considering to follow in your lives, there will be people who will say go left and people who will say go right. You have to pick a way. You may end up liking that way, you may not. And then if you decide to choose a totally different way, it doesn't mean that you wasted your time. It doesn't mean you will always be behind those who took that way earlier than you in their careers. No, no, no! You will be UNIQUE. You can kick their ass thanks to your unique mindset, experiences and skills. You will be the VC, entrepreneur, asset manager, who before did M&A's, PE, tech, consulting, and knows all sorts of people in different industries and is a great manager and has worked internationally and and and...Whatever you do, your experiences, the skills you build, the human capital, the lessons, everything makes you UNIQUE in whatever you decide to pursue next in your career.

So, allow yourself to explore, experiment, and try different stuff. Again, IB is a cool thing to try for whatever reasons you may have right now... even money. Why not? Each one has different values/dreams/criteria and those change during our lives anyway. OK. Rant is over. You see? Knowing that someone may read this and get some value made me feel better. Everyone has their reasons-and that's okay. Go enjoy IB and anything else you wish to try. Much love, Angelos.

  • Prospect in IB - Cov
Mar 25, 2021 - 2:35pm

This is exactly right - so glad you posted it for younger people to read!

Mar 25, 2021 - 2:41pm
angelosgeorgakis, what's your opinion? Comment below:

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Mar 25, 2021 - 3:43pm
Unaccretive, what's your opinion? Comment below:

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May 27, 2021 - 9:27pm
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