Career Banker?????

Okay - Currently a senior about to graduate college. Will start in July in a coverage group at a mid-tier BB.

I thought about going to HF after IB because I majored in a very quantitative subject (which sets me up well for admissions to a 1-year quant finance master's).

But I've been asking myself: Would I rather be an MD at a bank or a PM at an HF in 15 years? And I'm leaning toward IB because I'm a really personable individual and love the idea of client service. I do love math as well, but focusing my career on a P&L sheet doesn't seem that appealing...

I'm 21 and my thoughts will certainly change. Would love to hear from anyone who'd like to chime in.


Comments (17)

Most Helpful
  • Associate 3 in IB-M&A
Apr 27, 2022 - 11:25am

Almost any MD level job is really about sales, so if you like working with clients that shouldn't be a problem. Most HF PMs aren't arms deep in a model 9 hours a day, they are talking with clients a lot of their day.

IB is a LONG grind to get to MD and while your career is pretty "safe" in that you aren't likely to get laid off a few times like you are in HF, there is still an extreme rate of attrition from burnout. You will be in your mid-30s as a VP or director still working 80 hour weeks, expected to answer calls on weekends, and your vacation is gone if a deal is getting hot. Even once you make it to MD, the above is still true, you're under real pressure to generate fees, and you will lose deals over silly things like the company decided to go with a lesser bank because the MD belongs to the same tennis club.

HF is absolutely stressful in a million different ways, just giving you some color on the IB path. There's no right answer, and no one can really predict their exact path

  • Associate 2 in IB - Gen
Apr 27, 2022 - 2:52pm

Don't take offense, but I always find it interesting when people just assume they will be a MD in IB. The path is very long and relatively straightforward, but I guarantee you after working a few years in IB, you will have second thoughts about being a career banker. 

  • Intern in IB-M&A
Apr 27, 2022 - 3:10pm

I always advise people to take a risk, unlike most of the people on WSO because after your 2 years in IB, you can always go back to IB. Whether it's through connections or b-school, IB will always be there.

Do your 2 years in IB, try your hand at a HF, then if you suck, go back to IB. They will be glad to take you.

  • Intern in IB - Gen
Apr 27, 2022 - 7:20pm

You could consider doing IB for a number of years and then going to corporate banking under a CIB umbrella. That way you're a career banker without hating your life since clients tend to come to you for financing (making revenue stickier) and have a strong skill set

Apr 27, 2022 - 8:29pm
chromium73, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Why are you trying to plan your whole life out now. For gods sake live a little and take a risk. Banks aren't going anywhere 

  • 1
  • Prospect in IB - Cov
Apr 27, 2022 - 10:08pm

why did wso move this away from the IB thread cmon

Apr 29, 2022 - 10:19pm
GoingToBeAnMD, what's your opinion? Comment below:

How about you get a couple work years under you and then decide? To be sure, I commend you for thinking ahead - that's good - but you haven't had any substantial experience in any work environment, so just chill! Start your career by working hard, put in a couple of years and then start thinking ahead. It's simply too early now - you're working yourself up over nothing. 

  • 1
Apr 29, 2022 - 11:09pm
jmw5510, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Where you go or where you stay will have a lot to do with culture, mentors/support system, and your network. You develop that on the job. Agree with the comments on it being a grind and not guaranteed. I've known a lot of career directors who are great at their job and great people but the dice just didn't roll in their favor. You have to be willing to make decisions over the long run that are the best for you and consider all the factors. I never thought I'd stay in banking as long as I have but that's just been what worked out for me. A lot of peers moved around and did other things. At a certain point you are making enough money no matter what you do in the finance field that it becomes less about being a gazillionaire and more about what is right for you and your family. And burnout is a real thing, it can often be a big factor in deciding what's next. Where you end up vs where you think you will end up will almost certainly be very different.

May 7, 2022 - 12:49am
Tunnel Vision Goggles, what's your opinion? Comment below:

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