Most "Cerebral" Area of Finance

What is the most "cerebral" area of finance?


Undergrad: Econ & Finance

Grad: Ms Finance (STEM heavy program)

Ideally, I'd do my PhD in Econ or Fin and become a research professor. But I am not in a position to spend 3-4 years on more school and professorship doesn't pay enough. 


What area of finance+ is most akin to professorship; i.e., involves the most intellectual curiosity, learning, thinking, processing, creativity, etc.?

Alternatively: what area involves the least administrative bs (checking boxes, filing forms no one will ever see, etc.)

I get that I am probably describing everyone's ideal job. No one wants to file forms, and everyone wants to be Father Milt (-on Friedman). But I am asking anyway. 

I know it is probably Quant, but what about for someone without the math/CS background?

Thanks All!


What is the career trajectory like for becoming / getting into these roles on the buy-side?

Assuming it could tacitly require a pre-requisite of doing 2 years in banking or am I wrong - could you just try break into ER and go from there?


You could find a good shop to join straight out of undergrad. Also consider asset allocators (that have enough AUM/scale to manage at least most of their public assets internally) in addition to asset managers. Being honest, given what you stated, I think you’d be better off at a smaller shop than a large one.

Your experience in sell-side ER will depend on sector and the analyst you assist as a junior. FICC trading could also be another option that fits the bill.


Any more insight on distressed debt? I know DIP and distressed financing print money, and I have now read about the strategic nature of DD. Is there real opportunity for some analytic creativity/econometric innovation?

What can I google (besides "distressed debt investing") to learn more?

An aside: I worked in a corp. restructuring finance adjacent role (legal/administrative consulting for large corp. bankruptcies), and found it full of red tape, zero intellectualism, and admittedly pretty sad constantly dealing with dead companies that were about to F their creditors, employees, and customers. This was more on the legal side so perhaps it's very different. 


Distress debt analysis, distressed debt investing, (books) those are basically there to introduce you to the topic. Learning about it more in-depth just comes with working on deals, understanding credit docs and where leakage is or where debt can be added and at what legal capacity. There’s also more intensive things like loan-to-own where you’re finding a fulcrum in a cap structure but not as common nowadays.


Ut tempora recusandae eos velit est quis. Explicabo et libero omnis tempore ipsam beatae voluptas. Distinctio asperiores at commodi et voluptas facere dolor. Delectus et dignissimos illum error quis provident aut.

Dolor omnis sed rerum explicabo dolorum. Quis veniam eum tenetur harum incidunt. Eos quod repudiandae et nesciunt et.

Quia hic suscipit modi nihil sint molestiae corrupti. Sit aut debitis tempore qui laborum. Velit laudantium animi ullam.

Velit aut soluta officiis exercitationem ullam saepe. Rerum quae molestiae quae voluptatem accusantium. Voluptas ut nihil vel aut voluptatem placeat aut. Maxime fugit quasi et quisquam delectus illo velit. Molestiae deserunt quis corporis.

Career Advancement Opportunities

November 2023 Investment Banking

  • Lincoln International 01 99.6%
  • Lazard Freres (++) 99.1%
  • Jefferies & Company 02 98.7%
  • William Blair 12 98.3%
  • Financial Technology Partners 02 97.8%

Overall Employee Satisfaction

November 2023 Investment Banking

  • William Blair 04 99.6%
  • Lincoln International 10 99.1%
  • Moelis & Company 25 98.7%
  • Stephens Inc 11 98.3%
  • Jefferies & Company 08 97.8%

Professional Growth Opportunities

November 2023 Investment Banking

  • Lincoln International 01 99.6%
  • Lazard Freres 17 99.1%
  • Jefferies & Company 02 98.7%
  • Financial Technology Partners 06 98.3%
  • UBS AG 16 97.8%

Total Avg Compensation

November 2023 Investment Banking

  • Director/MD (6) $592
  • Vice President (34) $390
  • Associates (167) $258
  • 3rd+ Year Analyst (15) $187
  • 2nd Year Analyst (106) $168
  • Intern/Summer Associate (48) $167
  • 1st Year Analyst (322) $166
  • Intern/Summer Analyst (234) $95
16 IB Interviews Notes

“... there’s no excuse to not take advantage of the resources out there available to you. Best value for your $ are the...”


From 10 rejections to 1 dream investment banking internship

“... I believe it was the single biggest reason why I ended up with an offer...”