The Hardest Pill to Swallow About Investment Banking

I was the kid in high school who read about the big salaries, the fast paced environment, the complexity of the work, the negotiation, the teamwork. I didn't need any convincing. Like Lil Baby with the street life, "I wasn't no tip toe, I jumped head first."

I dove deep. I perfected my interview questions and got the offer. In the days preceding the start of my internship I envisioned myself sitting at a large mahogany conference table, listening as my MD sold an acquisition to a client on the other side. I was giddy with anticipation.

But here we are. The internship is well underway now and I'm beginning to worry that investment banking isn't what I thought. There may be an ugly truth I'm not ready to accept.

The hardest pill to swallow about investment banking: It's just a job.

So I come to you, an aspiring chimp, seeking answers from those both new and seasoned. Is there more? Or is this just another job?

Setting aside the facts of outstanding pay and career progression, is there anything about the day to day of investment banking that materializes all of the prestige and importance that I read about? Do independent advisory firms live a life of prestige? Am I at the wrong bank? In the wrong group?

Or, have I pulled back the curtain and I'm left facing the reality that most MD's offices are smaller than Michael Scott's.

Edit: thank you for the responses. Even though they haven't given me much hope, they've given me things to think about. One last reach: Does the life I'm looking for come to fruition at the highest levels of banking? Meaning, if I become Jamie Dimon or Paul J. Taubman, will I experience anything I was hoping for? Golly-gee man, if a Don Draper / Chuck Rhoades sized office isn't even what awaits at the top of banking, where the hell does it await?

Comments (88)

  • Prospect in IB-M&A
Jun 27, 2022 - 9:49am

Seriously looking for answers. Is there a piece to the puzzle I'm missing? 

  • Intern in IB - Gen
Jun 27, 2022 - 10:04am

you read fiction and thought it was fact, you are now discovering that it was fiction, simple as

Jun 28, 2022 - 2:41pm
Burby, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Guys in IB are generally the most unhappy I know and our counting down the days to some imagined "grand exit"

Jun 27, 2022 - 10:03am
IncomingIBDreject, what's your opinion? Comment below:

I mentioned this in that incel thread but the piece of the puzzle is that with the semi-remote work environment it no longer has the lifestyle and experiences you were hoping for. A lot more company socials, client meetings, etc are still remote now, so instead of a mahogany table you're on a Zoom call. 

Array

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Jun 28, 2022 - 8:50am
Woods77, what's your opinion? Comment below:
IncomingIBDreject

I mentioned this in that incel thread but the piece of the puzzle is that with the semi-remote work environment it no longer has the lifestyle and experiences you were hoping for. A lot more company socials, client meetings, etc are still remote now, so instead of a mahogany table you're on a Zoom call. 

I work at a firm that's stayed almost entirely in-person Mon-Thu (though people have the flexibility to WFH then, they just choose to still come in) - thought that was the norm and then heard stories of friends at other firms where associates/VPs come in like once a week. Definitely makes for a tougher experience if you aren't building those relationships face-to-face. 

  • Analyst 1 in IB-M&A
Jun 27, 2022 - 10:15am

Bro i cant tell if this is a troll post or not. No shit it's just a job, and almost everyone in the industry knows that. It's the weird WSO college kids that idolize the job and fantasize about "prestige" that have this idea that working at a bank will suddenly make their lives perfect.  

If you're willing to sacrifice your time for money and a relatively reputable career, it's a good gig. Nothing more, nothing less.

There's more to life than your job. Just remember to get out of the bubble. Nowadays WSO is like the finance version of college confidential (where they think getting into some hypsmlgbtq is the end all be all)

Funniest
Jun 27, 2022 - 11:20am
Steam, what's your opinion? Comment below:

OP thought he'd be waving off paparazzi and being asked to do interviews for Bloomberg on the way into work. You work in banking, not the NBA.

You still can barely afford rent and have to miss 75% of the social activities with friends in an effort to be somewhat rich in 20 years. Sooner you realize that the better.

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  • Associate 1 in CorpDev
Jun 28, 2022 - 10:53am

See you say this calling out OP but this should be directed at 99% of IBD interns. They all talk about bottle service, gucci sleds, models and bottles, and the girls, yet most of them are just wandering around their office looking lost in their over-priced apparel praying their analyst will say "nice job" after they take hard coded 10-K figures and put them into Excel. Still 50-50 on the chances of the formatting being correct (I know I messed this up at least once or twice). 

Sadly, in many ways most of us (certainly myself) were that way. I was excited about the best case scenario, praying that I would receive a FT offer, work on exciting deals, and get to go out and party late night with my colleagues. Find me someone who entered IBD who wasnt at least a little bit excited about the possibility of the best case. 

Jun 27, 2022 - 11:32am
Barney_Stinson, what's your opinion? Comment below:

I hope you're trolling bro. What did u expect exactly? You're told you work in an office for 80 hours a week on excel and PowerPoint. It's an office job except you're working on larger deals. Plus not be a dick but you're a freaking intern. Why would u be sitting in with an MD? Why would doing anything less than grunt work?

It get reiterated on here a lot but kids don't listen. It's just a job and there's more to life than your job title and LinkedIn title.

Most Helpful
  • Analyst 2 in IB - Gen
Jun 27, 2022 - 12:24pm

Think it's funny that a bunch of people that probably fetishized banking when they were in college are shitting on a kid that's still in that phase of life lol. The hard part is when you get to banking and realize it's just a job but all the banking analysts are fetishizing MF PE so you work hard and recruit for that and you get there and it's still just a job. Then all the MF PE associates fetishize getting the job at Tiger Global or Value Act or Pershing Square and you hop back on the hamster wheel again. 

At the end of the day, what one of the above commenters said was true -- you're never going to be in the NBA lol. Even Bill Ackman isn't chased by the paparazzi and doesn't capture the media interest that a five star high school quarterback prospect or teenage soundcloud rapper with a hit single does. Yes, this industry can make you rich, but no, it can't make you interesting. 

Controversial
Jun 27, 2022 - 9:46pm
Kevin25, what's your opinion? Comment below:

society is stupid. people idolize the ones who had genes to grow up to be 7ft and became a pro basketball player (how difficult is it to dunk and get rebounds when you're 7ft?) instead of people who possess the intellect, persistence, and hard-work ethics to reach top academic institutions of the world and some the most difficult to get jobs to eventually shape society/economy/business.

Jun 27, 2022 - 10:41pm
Barney_Stinson, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Kevin25

society is stupid. people idolize the ones who had genes to grow up to be 7ft and became a pro basketball player (how difficult is it to dunk and get rebounds when you're 7ft?) instead of people who possess the intellect, persistence, and hard-work ethics to reach top academic institutions of the world and some the most difficult to get jobs to eventually shape society/economy/business.

Nerd

  • Analyst 2 in IB - Gen
Jun 28, 2022 - 12:46am
Kevin25

society is stupid. people idolize the ones who had genes to grow up to be 7ft and became a pro basketball player (how difficult is it to dunk and get rebounds when you're 7ft?) instead of people who possess the intellect, persistence, and hard-work ethics to reach top academic institutions of the world and some the most difficult to get jobs to eventually shape society/economy/business.

Bruh this is exactly the kind of mentality I called out in my comment -- I disagree with literally every sentence of what you said lol. The 7 footers you mention are pretty much the equivalent of the kids who's parents were MDs or group heads -- sure, they have a leg up and maybe don't have to work as hard. But the average NBA player? They definitely have to (in your words) "possess the persistence, and hard-work ethics to reach" the "top [athletic] institutions of the world." (Power 5 D1 schools, top camps, AAU teams, etc.) I got a business degree at a semitarget D1 school -- I know several people that played a D1 sport in pursuit of a pro career, and several business students that got good finance jobs -- which group do you think worked harder during college? There's a reason finance professionals commonly refer to college as the best years of their life, while pro athletes spend as little possible time in the system and use it as a stepping stone to get drafted. 

Honestly though, the funniest thing you said was about the whole "jobs to eventually shape society/economy/business." Bruh do you, Associate Consultant 1, really feel you shape the economy? Or society? Or business? More than people whose name is stickered on the back of a jersey that millions of people in a city have in their closet? Your MD grovels for a few million in fees to "advise" the corp dev arm of Nike of which you take a meager fraction for your contribution of aligning the logos of the potential targets slide. Nike, Adidas, New Balance, and countless competitors grovel for the attention of the NBA pick, three years younger than you, offering tens of millions of dollars for the right to design to the shoes on his feet while he plays in front of Jay-Z, Beyonce, Mark Cuban, and the mayor sitting courtside. Whose job do you think shapes society, economy, and business more?

Jun 29, 2022 - 2:25pm
tall_investor, what's your opinion? Comment below:

As someone who is very, very tall (I'm not talking classic 6'3" guy shit, I'm talking taller than average NBA player height), let me tell you that so much more goes into playing in the NBA than born height.

It's an advantage, but there are what, 300 active NBA players in the entire world? I think there've been like 3-4,000 players in the NBA all time. How many 6'8"+ guys have there been all time? Far, far more.

Also, who gives a fuck about adulation. What are you interested in in finance? I'm passionate about investing in stocks and I want to run my own fund one day investing in distressed securities. I want to be respected in the field but unknown to the layman, but when I mention finance have them impressed. Don't you want to by mysterious? I guarantee every person who is idolized wishes they weren't. Do you know how fucking annoying it would be, every day having people coming up and asking you questions? picking at you? You always have to be "on", you can never have a lazy fat day where you go out looking like shit.

Finance and the other professions are the best way to live great lifestyles but fly under the radar which as you get older, you'll realize is the best scenario. Rich and not famous.

Jun 29, 2022 - 2:56am
PianistMonkey, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Just sharing a take on the NBA comparison. I've played D1 level sports in Europe and even went pro for a couple of years in Italy tier 1 league. The athlete life it's super high risk and super high reward (won't talk about IB since I'm not part of the industry yet), one bad year and your career could seriously take a hit. You tear your Achilles and everything could be over just like that. Not to mention when you think of glamours life style, paparazzi and all of that you are thinking about what 10% of the NBA is really experiencing. Furthermore there is a huge amount of really good players that just play overseas in really shitty places and are always on the move (literally every year). Oftentimes the comparison which is made between a business related job and athlete is like comparing an Analyst or even an Intern to top athlete like LeBron…. Whereas if you compare the best in class in both industries like LeBron and Jamie Dimon let's say, things start to get a lot different.

Jun 29, 2022 - 7:43am
DealsOnWheels, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Why even Dave Solomon, maybe much less wealthy than Ackman but certainly a bigger name, wants to DJ and hangout w celebs all the time!

  • Intern in IB - Restr
Jul 3, 2022 - 4:22pm

It can make me incredibly interesting to a circle of underclassmen for one or two days per year 

  • Analyst 1 in IB - Gen
Jun 27, 2022 - 1:02pm

And you are from the generation that got into finance because of the movie Wall Street. What's your point ?

Jun 29, 2022 - 2:26pm
tall_investor, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Which is funny to because there's no mention of investment banking in the movie. 

The only "financiers" are a bunch of uneducated, scrappy scam artists. 

Jun 27, 2022 - 1:24pm
OverpoweredChimp, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Not sure if the post is serious, but I will give a serious answer based on the very limited experience I have from my internship and plenty of friends in the industry.

1. The prestige isn't as high as I thought it was. No one outside of investment banking knows or even cares what it is. The only people who will be impressed by you working in investment banking are finance students. 

2. Objectively, the job should be similar to going to heaven. You are better paid than pretty much anyone else your age, your wage development will be superior to pretty much any other industry, your exit opps are incredible, you're working on deals which will end up on the front page of the newspapers etc. In reality, you're feeling like you hit the bottom. Even though you made it into one of the most prestigious industries on earth, you will be working on tasks that feel totally meaningless most of the time. Moreover, your mental wellness will take a hard hit, unless you're a total freak or work at a shitty bank where you don't put in a lot of hours. The most surprising thing for me though was that most of the tasks are completely braindead. I did not feel very stimulated at all in IB as you're most often given very clear directions from seniors on what should be done, and your only job is to figure out how to get the information onto a slide. Also felt meaningless to spend lots of time formatting stuff in excel that would only be used as an internal source for a few graphs. Obviously, you're going to be doing more and more meaningful stuff the more senior you get. 

3. With that said, IB has its benefits too. There were times when I got to listen in on calls with very senior MDs hammering out the equity story together with the CEO. There were times where I got to see my work getting reviewed by management in drafting sessions and hearing their view on the company and its strategy. There were times where I got to participate in meetings with MDs determining the negotiating strategy for a M&A deal. While these moments probably made up less than 5% of my internship, those moments is what made IB worth it for me. The senior exposure you get towards MDs, CEOs, senior consultants, senior lawyers etc is incredible. Moreover, the people in IB are extremely dedicated. You truly have the feeling of being in the trenches with your team. Everyone is working extremely hard and people are often very helpful. I can't think of any other industry where you can ask your seniors a question at 2am on a holiday and get a response within 5 mins. 

  • Prospect in IB-M&A
Jun 27, 2022 - 2:00pm

The senior exposure you get towards MDs, CEOs, senior consultants, senior lawyers etc is incredible.

Here's my problem with the hype about senior exposure. It's not real man😭! It means nothing! These "seniors" only have as much importance as we put upon them. They're just people. They're just everyday guys you see on the street. There really is very little difference in the real world between a finance manager at Apple and an MD at a bank. One gets paid more, but that's about it. All of the prestige of seniority that we place upon them is only due to us placing it upon them. It's not backed by anything. I don't see any point anymore in even trying to become an MD if it takes 10 years in the sea of cubicles. It's sad really. I didn't expect wolf of Wall Street at all. But I did anticipate something more than your average F500 corporate finance role for how much this site shits on them. 

Jun 27, 2022 - 2:05pm
OverpoweredChimp, what's your opinion? Comment below:

You are correct in that they are just regular people like everyone else. I'm not fascinated by being in the same meeting as a CEO or a MD. What I am fascinated by is getting insight into their decision process and their reasoning, given that they possess an extreme amount of knowledge. 

Jun 28, 2022 - 9:10pm
streetstreeter33, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Stopped reading at "internship". I mean cmon man, you're not gonna be running deal as an intern of course it doesn't feel important.

Jun 29, 2022 - 1:40am
OverpoweredChimp, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Exactly my point. You won't be doing that as an analyst either. Hence, your work is not going to feel very meaningful until you've put in the years. 

Jun 27, 2022 - 2:22pm
Texas Tea, what's your opinion? Comment below:

"High finance" is a job not a personality.  It's PART of a personality, just like a plumber's job is, but just a part.  The echo chamber that is NYC can be brutal and pretty negative.  Social media makes it worse.  People need to get outside and touch some grass.  I think a lot of twenty somethings eventually realize that on their own timeline, which is natural, and good.  Some don't though, and often times they're the loudest.

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Jun 27, 2022 - 2:47pm
lbourbon, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Some good thoughts in this thread but mostly its sad to see people thinking this is just a job; and that is the reason so many people are unhappy in this industry. Any job is just a job.  How about a little perspective?  If I'm working at Subway making sandwiches I'm going to be the person studying every single detail of the business. Shipping, opening, closing, process, systems, hours, staff, margins, peak times, seasonality, Point of Sale systems, operations, supply chain, inventory, etc... By the time I'm done I'll probably know more about the business that the owner. Apply that same logic to Banking. But now we're talking about real businesses and opportunities to create generational wealth. No other "job" gives you this sort of access.  So you can sit there and make the next turkey club down the line or soak up every single shred of glorious insight you can get your grubby hands on when working on deals and with some of the smartest people in the world.  Good luck and hope you find a "job" where you can thrive! :-)

Jun 27, 2022 - 3:05pm
BrohanSantana, what's your opinion? Comment below:

I'm not sure this will answer your question, but I will throw out some items to think about. It also feels like you're trolling a bit based on that last sentence, but i'll respond either way.

  • Yes, it is just a job. However, it's a pretty good one that allows you to learn a good bit and, most importantly, provides you with a wide array of exit opportunities that would be harder to achieve otherwise. For example, I work in corp dev and really enjoy it. I get to work on deals / it's intellectually stimulating, I like the people at my company and have plenty of free time to enjoy my hobbies
  • Prestige is highly overrated and, as someone else mentioned, most people won't really care that you are in investment banking, private equity or whatever else. You know who's cool in those conversation? The person that took a really odd path or is doing something impactful - started a business, was a pilot in the air force, etc. - and this isn't that
  • Determine what your goals and priorities are in life, because that will drive how you spend your time. My job is cool and all and it pays the bills, but my hobbies / passions are way more interesting and provide me with a lot more satisfaction 
  • Analyst 1 in IB - Gen
Jun 27, 2022 - 10:50pm

Exactly. If u like finance it's a cool gig and a great opportunity but there's more to life than finance and work. The interesting guy in a group conversation is the guy who's in a band playing at different bars in different cities, or the guy who is a professional poker player or whatever, not the guy who works at a bank

  • Analyst 2 in IB - Cov
Jun 29, 2022 - 7:20pm

Also nobody gives a sh*t about you until you're on track to bring in big fees

Jun 27, 2022 - 4:08pm
i.can.make.it, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Hardest pill for me to swallow was the first time walking into the toilet at a BB during my internship on the first day, feeling like the most prestigious guy in NYC and hearing a chorus of different people shitting and farting aggressively.

I couldn't believe this was happening in a BB for some reason (happened at every company i've worked for since), out of one of the stalls came a semi popular guy that has a wikipedia page about him, whom most of you probably know or have heard of, and I used to look at like some sort of legend with his lips pursed and avoiding eye contact while he washed his hands and other people were still shitting hard in the background. 

Thats when it dawned on me that it was just a job and we're all just people and prestige is barely a real thing, its all gritty office work.

Jun 27, 2022 - 8:57pm
ironman32, what's your opinion? Comment below:

I'd say that's with any job, the biggest problem is people fantasize that this job is "way" better than this job, or this job is perfect and the one you have is completely horrible. 

It's like pro sports, a lot of people look at pro golfers and say "must be nice playing golf for a living", but they say that because they think guys on tour play basically the same way you play on saturday with your buddies. In reality, that couldn't be further from the truth, you're sleeping in you bed every week and drunk by the turn, where as, pros shoot -20 for the week and lose by 1 stroke, then have to go hit wedge shots for 10 hours a day to find a way to pick up one stroke. 

Point is, everyone thinks bankers show up on day 1 and they give you a yacht and country club membership, then Jordan Belfort makes you his best friend. As said above, at the end of the day, its really just a business. When things are just a business, you hear about the crazy things that happen one time, or once every 3 years, but you don't hear about the mundane 18 hour days. 

Jun 28, 2022 - 7:40am
NahFAM69, what's your opinion? Comment below:

I'm still confused why dudes joined banking after watching a movie based on a Sales role. 🙃

Nah
Jun 27, 2022 - 9:54pm
bhejafried, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Welcome to reality :) It is just another job. And no one outside of your immediate family really cares about where you work and what you do. Like any other job, it comes with its own pros and cons. The biggest pro being that investment banking is one of the highest paying jobs in the current job market which if you keep at it will put you in the top 1% of income earners globally. The biggest con being that you really have no work life balance to speak of. You have to ask yourself why you would want to personally do this. Is this to provide for a family that you love (gf/ wife/parents/ siblings), enjoy a certain minimum lifestyle that the pay provides (maybe stay in fancier hotels on vacation, buy nice clothes and shoes) or maybe get the attention of girls working in the corporate world who actually have heard about investment banking and know the higher potential pay of a man working in this space (this would probably be 10% of the women population).

If it helps, I can speak about myself as to why I chose to NOT pursue investment banking when I got a chance to do so and instead chose corporate banking where I work on an average 40-50 hours a week and have much lower pay but better WLB. In my 20's I had cancer so I have to focus much more on health and ensure that there are no relapses in the near future. I have many hobbies and not limited to travel, reading, writing, working out, singing, watching and critiquing movies. I connect with friends and family at every chance that I get and am focussed on mentoring my brother to achieve his true potential. Most of these things are not really compatible with a hectic lifestyle that investment banking entails.

So I hope this helps you in sorting out the reasons of why you should or should not pursue investment banking as a career now that you have begun to understand that its just another job :)

Good Luck

  • Analyst 1 in IB - Gen
Jun 28, 2022 - 10:09am

Bro I'm sorry to burst your bubble but IB is not prestigious. Personally I'm more impressed with a unicorn entrepreneur, superstar VC investor or bestselling writer than a good banker. 
 

Sure, there are certainly certain qualities you need to develop in order to provide ("hopefully") fullproof work produducts and be able to communicate in an articulated manner with C-suite of F500 companies before potentially at 21 years old. Sure, some of your transactions will end up on the front page of the Financial Times (while most of the others will be on topics so obscure your parents will have no clue what you worked on). 
 

That said it's just a (high-paying) job and you'd better have other things that you enjoy in life than banking. 
 

You may be able to show off in front of drunk college chicks though. 

Jun 28, 2022 - 10:58am
Basil Hayden, what's your opinion? Comment below:

I'll bite. I was in a similar situation as you when I was in college. Growing up in a middle class family where vacations were non-existent, I thought finance was the golden ticket / NBA draft. Now in my late 20s, I still feel this way albeit coming from a more experienced viewpoint. The job takes so much of your time, especially when you're at the bottom of the totem pole. Everyone jokes about it & you don't really understand until you hit full time. You will miss out on social events and see your friends traveling the world (not sure how most people fund these extravagant trips to this day) while at the desk for the 80th hour of the week working on a deal that very well not make it to the finish line. This is where you have to sit back and think about your own values and meaning to a fulfilling life. Money is not everything but for me, the main goal is reaching a nice upper class life for my future family, being able to give back to my parents for all the sacrifices they've made, and enjoying myself along the way with experiences that I wouldn't have otherwise been able to afford. I consider myself lucky to be able to work at a job that I find interesting (70% of the time) and being able to learn about a variety of different sectors and businesses I had no idea existed while being paid an exorbitant amount compared to a lot of people working demanding hours for much less. Now on the PE side, I am enjoying the day to day work more than when I was in banking but there is a trade off on a variety of things career wise which can be found on the forum pretty easily. Hope this perspective helps & best of luck!

Jun 28, 2022 - 1:55pm
Robot., what's your opinion? Comment below:

Am I the only one that thought investment banking was going to be similar to Office Space just with excel sheets?

Jun 28, 2022 - 2:38pm
Risk Weighted Ass, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Most people I tell that I do banking, respond by asking if they can get a loan.

They don't know your prestigious, and they don't think Gordon Gekko or Wolf of Wall St. They think all banks are like retail banks, only slightly above an insurance salesman, and think you hate your life for being stuck in an office being someone's bitch all day. I told one friend I do IB at [BB name], and they responded "one day I see you making it to Chase Manhattan" as words of encouragement.

Nothing is as good as it sounds in a movie or book, but just make sure you enjoy what you do day-to-day and don't set expectations too high. You switch jobs and it will be the same thing at your new one, but with less pay. IB is a pretty good gig man, but it's not paradise for everyone like these almost interns write in their cringy posts.

Jun 28, 2022 - 8:38pm
DealsOnWheels, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Okay listen. We build this idea up of investment banking as if it's a workplace filled with the yuppies of the '80s. As if everyone's talking snow and wearing suits.

Used to be "you don't wear gucci loafers unless you're a VP at least" and now it's just polos and sneakers.

If prestige is a number then sure you're in the right place- maybe the tech guys, tik tokers, YouTubers, and many other industries have you beat but you're still top of the food chain.

If prestige is a yuppie wasp nest then you're late, it's been transformed into something unrecognizable.

You have an amazing opportunity to make a lot of money. Love how you want in a few years - but don't think investment banking is more of an aesthetic than it is work.

Jun 29, 2022 - 9:09am
NPV, what's your opinion? Comment below:

OP is shocked to learn a job he idolized is still just a job lol

maybe it's because I grew up poor but I always saw a job as a means to an end. I never understood why people have this delusion that a job is some grand journey to self fulfillment. We do this for the paycheck, let's not pretend we'd align logos and take our clients and MDs bullshit if we didn't need the money. Just like I highly doubt the guy who gets paid to haul away trash or fix my plumbing problem (and gets paid well to perform a damn essential service mind you) is doing it because he's just super passionate about literal shit. Money makes the world go round, and it's called work for a reason. I work in IB because I have bills to pay and this job helps me pay them a lot easier than the shitty back office jobs I used to have and once I've accumulated enough money that I don't have to do this any more I'm not going to, I suggest you monkeys do the same 

Jun 29, 2022 - 11:53am
falconeagle, what's your opinion? Comment below:

OP, as someone 10yrs into banking/PE I was in exactly your shoes when I first started out. The posts above have described it perfectly - at the end of the day it's just a job (albeit a good one).

So what does this mean for you? Well a few things:

- Firstly the good - as others have said, the pay is much better than the majority of other careers/industries. Also whilst there are more than a few super-frustrating moments in banking (eg having to mindlessly churn out a pointless deck at 2am) it can also be a pretty interesting/varied job at times. It's a cliche but every day is different, and even 10yrs in I feel I'm still learning stuff (though clearly the learning curve flattens significantly compared to your first few years). So that combination of good pay + (relatively) interesting means it's automatically better than 90% of careers.

Ok now the bad:

- Being just a job means it won't magically solve all your problems/issues - "being a banker" won't suddenly give you an amazing love-life, make you super-confident etc, you'll still be the same person as before you started. If anything you'll probably pick up a few negative traits over time - eg irritability, being cynical (there are quite a few threads on WSO covering this).

- No-one outside banking really cares - unlike medicine & law where people think they know what goes on (even if they're completely wrong) due to the plethora of movies and TV shows, I guarantee you almost everyone outside finance will have no idea of what the difference is between banking vs trading vs PE. To most people it's just generic "Wall Street."

Of course girls will likely be impressed that you have a decent job, live in a nice place, have money to spend on dates etc - but beyond that they won't care if you work in Wells Fargo or Goldman or KKR, I guarantee it (unless they work in finance). So don't expect girls in clubs to fall at your feet when you say "I'm working at GS" (as I promise you it won't happen).

Equally your friends etc won't care, and why should they? They have their own lives and jobs, so beyond the fact you're doing well in their job they won't be interested in that mega-deal you're working on.

- The money is good but it won't make you a mega-baller - after taxes and the cost of living in a city, your money won't go nearly as far as you think. Of course it will still give you a great lifestyle compared to most people - speaking for myself I'm in MM PE, make $300k+ at 30 - I'm not buying Dom P and "making it rain" in clubs, but I do live in a nice apartment, take nice holidays etc. But yeah if you're picturing a Jordan Belfort lifestyle you're likely to end up disappointed.

Having said all that, any job is likely to be less glamorous than you pictured in college - think being a corporate lawyer is like Suits? Hell no - it's like banking but 10x worse. Big Tech? As a junior developer you won't be creating some amazing new app, but be spending hours fixing bugs or adding in features/minutiae no-one ceres about.

Not meaning to be downbeat, but this is also part of your rite of passage into full adulthood/the working world (don't mean to sound patronizing here, as I said I was in your shoes a few years back). The question you have to ask yourself is whether banking is for you long-term - again bearing in mind that the grass is not always greener.

  • Prospect in IB-M&A
Jun 29, 2022 - 3:29pm

Do you think reaching David Solomon level would bring me what I'm looking for? My problem is that I need to be able to see a light at the end of the tunnel, having a good why for my actions helps me in the present. Putting feasibility aside, do you think David Solomon lives this life? 

Jun 29, 2022 - 3:06pm
BreadCo, what's your opinion? Comment below:

I am still always blown away that any kid in high school could possibly ever know what investment banking is, and then want to be a part of it. The only exception would be growing up around it.

But I also know plenty of engineers, doctors, and lawyers that always "knew" they wanted to have that profession, only to get the job and realize they don't want it anymore.

My personal take is that you HAVE to want to do the hard work, no matter the profession or role. You have to enjoy the work to enjoy the result. Enough so that, even if you don't get the proverbial 1st place, you enjoyed what you did along the way.

If I could motivate you, I would encourage you to find what sort of personal growth in yourself you are achieving through the work. Maybe it is mental endurance, or learning to balance your life out, or finding how much joy you can squeeze out of the little things in life. Keep positive, because negative feelings and attitude are like a bad habit hard to break and they don't just come from a lucrative career path.

Jun 30, 2022 - 12:02am
IntlBaller, what's your opinion? Comment below:

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  • Intern in IB - Cov
Jun 30, 2022 - 7:29am

Et voluptas consequatur voluptates dolores ut. Nesciunt consequatur veritatis praesentium sit numquam rerum nemo accusamus. Fugit accusamus dignissimos optio ducimus laudantium est.

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Asperiores ullam consequatur molestias assumenda dicta necessitatibus. Illum illo eos doloribus laborum voluptate. Placeat ut nihil qui sed. Consectetur error perferendis quia dignissimos. Dolor eius provident ducimus ullam quis excepturi.

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  • Analyst 2 in IB - Cov
Jun 30, 2022 - 10:58pm

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Jul 2, 2022 - 3:29pm
DTA, what's your opinion? Comment below:

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