Quit IB and become a Cowboy? Thoughts?

Currently an analyst at a boutique investment bank in NYC with solid deal flow, mainly consisting of capital raising and a recent sell-side.

I like my job, and I worked hard to get where I am, from getting into a solid school and doing well, building a solid network, to landing competitive internships. Still, ever since I was 4 years old, I always wanted to work at a ranch and live that cowboy lifestyle. I became interested in finance at 18 when I found out that one of my grandfather's ranches/properties was getting acquired back in Ecuador. I was curious about the process, and as I learned more, it led me to M&A.

Now, however, I feel like I am not living my dream life; I know it's a job many college kids would kill for and all, and I don't mean to sound ungrateful, but sometimes I question if it's really my passion anymore and feel like I need to start all over at some ranch and live that lifestyle.


Comments (29)

Most Helpful
poppycock, what's your opinion? Comment below:

I mean, I wouldn't do it but I also have little desire to live the homestead/ranching life. If you seriously want that for yourself, you might want to spend a few days/weeks vacation at a working dude ranch or a working cultural exchange (like workaway). Or ask your grandpa's family if they know anyone still in the business who would let you help out on their property to get a feel for it.

Obviously you won't get a sense of everything that goes into it, but you can at least find out if scooping horseshit is what you want to spend the rest of your weekends on before you quit your current job rather than after.

To me, the worst part of being a rancher/farmer is that you have no days off, because of the animals, and on top of that it seems some part of the business is always either broken, being revamped, or failing. There's a reason farmers have such a high suicide rate. That said, someone's gotta do it and if ranching is what calls you, I say it's worth seriously exploring whether it's right for you in the long term.

  • 10
QuiltEmerson, what's your opinion? Comment below:

I don't know... Yeah. Almost definitely yes.

  • 7
Joey Gabagool, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Don't glorify the old country. I used to think something similar, as my grandparents & great-uncles all used to tell me nostalgic stories about the old country and how happy it made them to work directly with the soil/earth and feel the Sicilian sun above them. They made it sound like our family had glorious acres and acres of golden vineyards that produced some of the best wine in Italy. 

Anyways, I finally took a visit to my roots, when I was 18 and it was horrible. Think 20 people in a five bedroom, decrepit house with dirt floors. Moreover, of the 20 people in the house, at least 4 or so give the distinct impression that they're fucking each other, and they're all cousins/siblings. The food wasn't even that good. It was all very makeshift and they tended to just eat stew with whatever veggies/fruits/meats they happened to have laying around at the time. Got a few moldy tomatoes and some spoiled pork? Toss it all in some chicken broth and let it soak, it'll be fine. 

Made me realize, as sentimental as the old timers are about the "old country", at the end of the day they still said F that and moved to America.

TechBanking, what's your opinion? Comment below:

I grew up on a large farm and think about this a lot. There is something to be said for being outside everyday and working the land. I have a cousin who left a PM job at Citadel to go back to his family farm. They also trade a ton of derivatives to hedge their crops/livestock so it actually makes sense. 

  • 1
  • Analyst 1 in IB - CB

I grew up on a farm with a ton of animals and I can confidently say that it sucks ass. It's a bottomless pit that destroys your body and well-being. No days off, hard manual labor everyday, endless water/feed/veterinarian bills. Animals destroying the barn that you have to constantly rebuild, cleaning the barn, building and maintaining fencing to protect against predators. Can't have a nice car in a real farm because it will get filthy, you can't store one on your property either because mice will ruin it. You'll always smell horrible. It is not what any media makes it out to be. I never want to own any animals ever again apart from a cat/dog.

It sounds like you just need a long vacation and a break from the city life because trust me, you don't want to actually be responsible for a ranch/farm.

  • Analyst 1 in IB - Restr

nah, you'll regret it

you'll be better off moving into CorpDev in a city that has some cowboy culture. on the weekends and after work you could visit friends/ranches/events and feel the cowboy culture without getting your hands dirty

  • 5
Pizz, what's your opinion? Comment below:

You're going to smell cow shit all day 

  • 1
  • 1
Daemon145, what's your opinion? Comment below:

I'm not american (or am a citizen now but wasn't for the longest time), so I don't understand the over glorification of the rural lifestyle at all.  There is a reason why people, when presented with the opportunity throughout history, fucking bolted for the cities to work in shitty conditions, over running a farm.  I suppose if you're a landowner with significant holdings it might be different, but just some regular ranch?  Nah, not for me.  Glorifying nothing but misery and difficulty.  

Incoming IB SA, what's your opinion? Comment below:

I've worked at a ranch for a few summers and it was the best experiences of my life by far

  • 1
Incoming IB SA, what's your opinion? Comment below:

To clarify, this was a dude ranch (hospitality) so it was different than a cattle ranch

  • 1
GratefulBread69, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Worked as a hand on a 2000 acre ~200 head cow/calf operation in the Midwest for a little over a month this year before starting a new gig, and I did it for similar reasons as you've outlined. 

I got to know the family I stayed with very well, and I can tell you that while it's difficult work and there are essentially no days off (dependent on what you grow/raise, however), the pride in the land and the ability to pass something so meaningful down to the next generations makes it worthwhile for them (I was told this directly). It's a duty, and it's a very difficult duty, but a very worthwhile and selfless one. 

My parents, even with the creature comforts of the new world, always talk about their home and that agriculture-based living with reverence, and my mom always wonders why they left that behind. The $$$ in America comes with many more strings attached than most families understand when they decide to make the move from the motherland. 

  • 3
Ion26, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Why not just save and buy a small ranch/cabin out in Montana or Wyoming? Vacation there and it'll fulfill your cowboying needs.

AlexCook, what's your opinion? Comment below:

I mean I left finance to join the Army, granted I wasn't in IB but probably would have still joined even if I was

My advice, for what it's worth which isn't much since I'm just some guy on the internet, consider doing your 2 years as an analyst so in case you want to pivot back to finance later on, you've got a resume and could apply to MBA as a way to transition

This is a pretty extreme move, and granted the rural lifestyle just isn't for me personally, but do you just need a vacation from burnout maybe or do you see this as a true calling? Not trying to call you out here if you have a genuine desire, and you don't need to answer that question to me, but just something to consider for yourself as you make your decision

How I passed all the CFA Program exams: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2DUdnYkojtk&t=37s
  • 4
  • Analyst 2 in IB-M&A

Considered a similar move but surprised no one has mentioned $. Cowboys / farm hands make like 40k / year, which is a pretty drastic change. Also add living in a bunkhouse with 8 other dudes

Angus Macgyver, what's your opinion? Comment below:

You would not be the first, and won't be the last, IB Analyst to find out that this is not the life for you. Think long and hard before you actually quit, but don't feel like you have to stay in IB if you really don't want to.

Know a couple guys who were in IB/S&T for < a year and then quit to join the Army and USMC. Figured out they wanted a different life. You could feel the same way. I have met a ton of people who are really happy with their lives working sub-$100k jobs with no chance of ever earning more. And met plenty of bankers, consultants, doctors, lawyers who hate their lives.

reader16, what's your opinion? Comment below:

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  • Analyst 1 in IB - CB

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