What will being an MD look like in 20 years?

Do we think travel will still be as common? Will companies finally learn to cut out unnecessary real estate costs in-favor of work from home rather than extend their long-term building leases? All in all - do you think the job will be more manageable or the same in say 15 - 20 years? I personally think travel will still be a thing but to a lesser extent as the younger generation becomes the clients and care less about face-to-face business / would rather do their work from home too. Obviously would still need diligence and occasional lunches, outings etc. given the relationship heavy nature of it.

I think for competitive situations, you'll still want to meet in person. When developing a relationship, clients don't just want a big name logo or a whackload of services, they need to trust the person. This is why a lot of BD almost feels like social events. So sure the frequency might dip but on the origination side, think clients will still want to shake hands and look you in the eye. 

That’s fair - do you see any other substantial changes in MD life over the next 20 years? Curious if you see the career becoming more manageable or family-friendly

I don't think so, not unless you're at a "lifestyle" group, def not at the top tier firms. It's too competitive at that level and lots of politics. 

Most of my MDs are former BB / EB who wanted more time with their families. They took a pay cut to have a life where they can dip out during the day for piano recitals, and disconnect for the kids sports teams and shit like that. So it exists today, just with a pay cut. 

Looking forward to seeing a few weird progressive minded Gen Z MDs.

Most Helpful

To estimate what being an MD would look like in the future, we shall look at what our industry might look like.

- More technology within IB. We have some technology innovation now, but nowhere near the level we will have 20 years from now
- More automation - need a slide deck for a certain pitch? That could be largely automated with internal and external data sources. Analysts just program the AI to fine-tune the outcome. Same for modeling, valuation, and anything that is often created in semi-automatic form now. Many data sources will be more connected as well, with more predictive features. A manufacturing environment could use more IoT-enabled features to feed the entire AI model in real-time (Tesla is already there).
I think we would still need humans to build cross-cultural relationships and understand the human element in corporations.
- Before companies go public, merge, divest or do anything at all, there may be investors who believe in the founders, mission and a smaller company (not all companies need investors). This market could move onto a global, standardized platform where possible and legally permitted. A place where this kind of equity ownership can be invested in, traded or combined. Potential for DLT?
- If the metaverse takes off as hoped by some, we might have immersive digital experiences at the workplace. You have some form of a headset which brings you into the office regardless of your location. These headsets might even have some portions of technology implanted to help colleagues, especially the ones with disabilities or visual impairments. Diversity might have a different meaning as colleagues may select an alternative avatar to attend these meetings. Colleagues can also use any language as they want, the conference AI can translate in real time with in/outputs towards any language/braille/sign language.
- We have all tried ChatGPT by now, but you know what? That technology will also be useful to communicate automatically between teams, departments, entire business groups and even companies. All the conference calls to clarify something, explain something else and write stuff down? A thing of the past.
- The colleagues who really want to commute to the office will do so with autonomous vehicles which collect the teams at their homes. Our intelligent homes know when each person is ready and automatically arranges the most efficient timely pick-up. Instead of having one, big central office - there may be many smaller and local office parks around the nation. People may select their local office park based on local culture, climate and interests/hobbies.
- The most progressive investment bank might have one of these immersive meeting with a human on Mars. In order to explore our final frontier, we also look for investment opportunities beyond our earthly borders. Moving to, terra-forming on and eventually building a colony on Mars requires a huge amount of investment and global coordination. These will be among the first large-scale securities issued by a bank which are for assets not within our atmosphere. The only thing more profitable than building something new on Earth, is building an entirely new world on a new planet.

- Hardware is too expensive and not subsidized by companies or medical firms yet. Also too heavy/clunky.
- Software isn't ready to implement fully immersive solutions yet, let alone the AI part.
- Clients/companies aren't ready to pull the trigger on "remote first" work styles yet; maybe a trust issue, maybe a compensation issue, maybe a cultural thing.  It will change in 20 years.

20 years is a long time. There will be entirely different business models and strategies by then. Look at how big social media got from the early days of facebook to the distribution model and market size of affiliate marketing in under 15 years.


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