Does anyone actually enjoy IB?

I was recently admitted to a top 10 MBA program, but I'm yet to figure out what it is I want to do afterwards. Up until this point, my "plan" was to pursue IB and just stick with it long term; however, after reading countless posts and speaking to folks in the industry, I'm starting to think that might not be a great idea after all. Almost everyone I spoke with seemed to hate their job and it's very discouraging.

That said, I wanted to ask everyone here to get a larger sample size/ hear different perspectives. I mainly want to know whether any of you truly enjoys the work and sees themselves sticking it out for the next 5-10 years. Your input is appreciated.

Comments (24)

May 10, 2022 - 2:33pm
KRMcNamee, what's your opinion? Comment below:

I like it. I went to business school a bit older than the median of my class and did a year and half in valuation before moving to a MM M&A shop. I prefer this to any other job I've had...the pay is good, the people are generally cool, and I like the clients. Given that we are a MM shop, I get to interact with C-suite people almost daily and given I am a bit older than most associates flex up to do VP level work. 

Long term I'd like to move up-market and work on some bigger deals, but I can see myself staying in banking for the next 15-20 years and retiring in my 50s.

  • Analyst 2 in CorpStrat
May 10, 2022 - 2:37pm

This is great, thanks. May I know how old you were when you joined as an associate (post-MBA). Might be on the same boat here. How are the hours at MM shops vs EB/BBs?

May 10, 2022 - 2:57pm
KRMcNamee, what's your opinion? Comment below:

I was 36 when I started business school and 40 when I joined my current firm as an associate.

Hours fluctuate. Between actual work and waiting for work I'm probably around 60-65 hours/week. I have some times where I am grinding on a pitch or a CIM until midnight or turning multiple rounds of comments over a weekend, but it's pretty rare. 

My understanding is that BBs have pretty rough hours, and a lot of that is work that goes nowhere, i.e. pitching for pitching's sake. EB hours are also tough, but from freidns that are at EBs, they are typically on live deals or pitching and winning mandates.

May 10, 2022 - 3:16pm
PeRmAnEnTiNtErN, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Do you mind me asking how many hours you work? and if you have a family how you balance that?  - I imagine at the associate level still work quite a bit.

  • Prospect in RE - Comm
May 12, 2022 - 1:00pm

What is your associate/VP/Director relationship like since you are most likely older?

May 10, 2022 - 4:29pm
Abusement Park, what's your opinion? Comment below:

So far, I love it. I'm on a pretty lean team, so from what I gather I have the opportunity to get involved a little more than the average analyst. I love modeling, making things look good in PPT isn't so bad, and I don't mind long hours, as it makes my free time feel a lot more special. The only thing I absolutely despise is reading any sort of legal document because the language is so foreign.

I also know that I'm Type A as fuck, and an outlier when it comes to discipline and work ethic, so take all of this with a grain of salt.

  • Associate 3 in IB-M&A
May 10, 2022 - 5:53pm

IB is a cool job from a 30,000 ft view - I like the type of work I do (don't mind grinding in Excel/ppt), M&A is interesting, and no deal is the same.

That said most people agree with this and the lifestyle is why they leave. It's one thing for a 23 year old to work ridiculous hours for a few years, but doing it long-term has a serious impact on your family and social life. Most MDs I know work at least 70 hour weeks, including weekends, vacations, late late nights etc - you are at beck and call of your clients. From the people I've interacted with, a lot of people who stay for the long haul have mental illness or are an extremely intense personality.

  • Analyst 1 in IB - Cov
May 10, 2022 - 6:29pm

Mental illness thing is so true. I truly believe that all of my VPs-MDs are not normal people, which makes sense. You can't be a normal person to succumb yourself to a decade+ of shit eating for a fat paycheck 

Most Helpful
May 10, 2022 - 6:58pm
MasaSon, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Not sure where you work, but the MDs I knew were always first out the office. There's also an immeasurable difference between spending 4 hours at Nobu with a client and spending 4 hours staring at a screen grinding out a model/slide deck. As a senior banker, there's no doubt that you're still married to your work, but it's very different from the type of labor you put in as a junior.

Edit: to add, I left for venture for better hours and career fit, but banking is what allowed me to make that transition in the first place. To the original poster, you can always try IB for a couple years and make your exit if you don't like it, it's why many people join the industry to begin with.

  • Analyst 2 in CorpStrat
May 10, 2022 - 7:38pm

I hear exiting as a post-MBA associate is not as simple. Has this been your experience moving to VC?

  • Intern in IB - Cov
May 12, 2022 - 7:59am

Yes, people that do IB because they are good at the job, not everyone gets into IB for money like you

May 13, 2022 - 9:41am
throwaway909101, what's your opinion? Comment below:

I enjoy it. Most posts around how much they hate it are from analysts who have never held any other job before and don't realize how insane it is to be working with C-suite in your 20s; and that all jobs suck way more than being in school (obviously this doesn't apply to everyone, but a generalization). I left IBD to go to Corporate because everyone said the grass was greener and was immeasurably bored, went back to IBD. Many people I know who left IBD feel the same but don't want to admit it.

The lifestyle can be brutal at times. It does get significantly better each year, not just because seniority but because you work with same people more, know what you're doing, etc. 

  • Analyst 1 in IB - Cov
May 17, 2022 - 12:46am

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