Underemployed, impatient or arrogant?

The best advice that I ever received from this community was along the lines of “Go talk to an adult”, hence I am here asking all of you to share your opinion on my situation.
I am 22 years old and I am an immigrant (soon to naturalise) recent graduate with a related degree and best-possible grades from a UK lower end semi-target uni (think Bayes/QMUL). What’s even less favourable I am originally from a non-EU Eastern European country, with a second EU passport. Since I started uni, I actively began to learn about potential careers in finance, and like many others I discovered IB/PE/VC through information channels such as WSO. Thankfully, my degree helped me grasp a lot of technicals such as financial modelling and accounting, which was genuinely interesting to me throughout my studies, reinforcing my desire to break into the aforementioned sectors.
So far, I have the following work experience:
1) A corporate development intern at a small real estate developer in my country of origin.
2) Wealth (portfolio) manager at the largest WM in my country of origin.
3) Bunch of meaningless social mobility work placements in UK’s leading banks (think Barclays/HSBC).
4) And my current position working remotely at a really small top-down approach boutique real estate IB in Luxembourg, doing mostly really basic financial metric analysis, PowerPoints, and investor relations-type work.
My current job is very non-traditional, yet it taught me a lot about working with high-profile clients ranging from global institutional investors to UHNWIs from around Europe. It’s worth noting that: 1) I fully networked to get on the team MYSELF; 2) I do not earn a salary but rather a certain share of the fees on any project that I work on; 3) the firm has no reputation whatsoever due to its top-down specialty approach of fulfilling its clients’ needs whenever they arise. In essence, it is mostly a hustling job in the realm of finance with high risks, high uncertainty, but it has a potential of incredible returns in terms of fees.
The unconventional nature of my current “job” is not particularly satisfactory to me, as I feel like I am not gaining any high quality professional expertise due to the “hustle” nature of the company and I am not really making any money from it at the moment either. It is rewarding in terms of limited opportunities to work on medium-ish transactions in Europe without being chained to a computer 24/7, as well as potentially becoming a rainmaker in my 20s, but I feel like it’s not beneficial to me from a career standpoint right now, and most importantly it does not contribute to my legal immigration status in the UK (thanks Brexit).
As a result, I have kept grinding the job applications and interviews on the side, and polishing my technicals to perfection in search of various IB/PE/VC roles in the UK, driven by my ambitions and my genuine enjoyment of working on transactions that take place in the aforementioned areas. However, like many other immigrants from B-tier Unis, despite my best efforts to sell myself during interviews (which I was getting quite a bit of, surprisingly enough) I always ran into issues of either requiring a Visa sponsorship being a problem or because of my inferior pedigree.
It’s not all doom and gloom, as I managed to get a job offer and visa sponsorship within a top-10 accounting firm in the UK in audit, for which I applied because of the opportunity to receive an ACA qualification in three years’ time, which is allegedly highly valued in the UK financial services sector. It is not below me to work in audit by any means and I am grateful to have received the job offer. Plus, there are many precedents of the company hiring for its corporate finance roles internally directly from its audit teams. Funny enough, I have already networked my way to being introduced to the partner overseeing CF in the UK, so my chances to move internally are not half-bad.
However, I cannot help but feel that this audit position is going to be a waste of the next three years of my life, because it’s neither the coveted Big 4 experience, nor is audit a good starting point to break into IB/PE/VC, according to a lot of people. To put it plainly - I am starting to have doubts and have a growing feeling that I “missed the train” to a high finance career, and now I am going to be stuck in an environment that won’t let me self-actualise in the best possible way.
I still have an option to pursue a master’s degree from tier 1 university, but it is a rather risky and expensive option, which may not pay off due to extremely competitive environment. And quite frankly, I would rather get it a post-experience, so I do not have to be a financial burden on my family.
In essence, I do not know what to do. Should I go proudly into audit and hope for the best over the next three years? Should I attempt to jump ship as soon as humanely possible through recruiters/master’s degrees, or should I just yolo and keep hustling, rather than pursuing a more traditional career?
I ask you WSO community to consider my current situation and offer any criticism/advice/support to help me reflect on it, and make a reasonable decision on how to best move forward.


Minus vel ipsam reprehenderit numquam sint sequi. Esse aut fugiat et odio fugiat dolorem.

Aliquid eos odit accusamus sint vitae. Consectetur et omnis officiis eum maxime.

Numquam eius et necessitatibus quis ab. Nemo qui qui autem unde eos autem ut. Laudantium vel et est quibusdam.

I'm an AI bot trained on the most helpful WSO content across 17+ years.

Career Advancement Opportunities

June 2024 Investment Banking

  • Jefferies & Company 02 99.4%
  • Perella Weinberg Partners New 98.9%
  • Lazard Freres 01 98.3%
  • Harris Williams & Co. 24 97.7%
  • Goldman Sachs 16 97.1%

Overall Employee Satisfaction

June 2024 Investment Banking

  • Harris Williams & Co. 19 99.4%
  • Lazard Freres 06 98.9%
  • JPMorgan Chase 09 98.3%
  • William Blair 03 97.7%
  • Morgan Stanley 04 97.1%

Professional Growth Opportunities

June 2024 Investment Banking

  • Lazard Freres 01 99.4%
  • Jefferies & Company 02 98.9%
  • Perella Weinberg Partners 18 98.3%
  • Goldman Sachs 16 97.7%
  • Moelis & Company 05 97.1%

Total Avg Compensation

June 2024 Investment Banking

  • Director/MD (5) $648
  • Vice President (22) $375
  • Associates (94) $260
  • 3rd+ Year Analyst (14) $181
  • Intern/Summer Associate (33) $170
  • 2nd Year Analyst (69) $168
  • 1st Year Analyst (207) $159
  • Intern/Summer Analyst (151) $101
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...”


redever's picture
BankonBanking's picture
Betsy Massar's picture
Betsy Massar
Secyh62's picture
CompBanker's picture
kanon's picture
dosk17's picture
GameTheory's picture
bolo up's picture
bolo up
DrApeman's picture
From 10 rejections to 1 dream investment banking internship

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