Finding Your Passion & Career Pathway

I have been networking quite a bit (students, analysts, associates, VP's+) and a common theme that comes up is 'reading/researching in your free time'. Many of the people I have spoken to read financial market books, invest in stocks in their free time, know a lot about what's happening in the financial markets etc and seem to be on ball with exactly they want to do with their life.

I sometimes look at them and think 'oh crap I see why I'm not landing interviews - I probably am doing 30% of what they are'. Does anyone else feel this way?

Does anyone feel like the recruiting system doesn't really give you time to seriously think about what you want to do with your life and you are categorized/pressurized to choose early?

How do you truly decide what you want to do - at least short term in your life - when the level of competition for a role is so high that you stand a very little chance of even experiencing the type of work that you may enjoy?

Would love to heard your thoughts. :)

Comments (66)

Feb 11, 2013 - 8:36am
Waymon3x6, what's your opinion? Comment below:

I am only a college student, but for me, I started to read about the financial markets in high school and investing became a hobby for me. That hobby lead me to a business school, which in turn lead me to learning about the different paths in finance to choose one that interests me the most.

I think you need to know what you want to do before you start the recruiting system so your point about how it doesn't give you enough time to think about what you want to do is invalid in my opinion.

Everyone else will tell you to follow what you enjoy and money will come. If you don't think you're good enough for high finance and don't believe you would be happy doing it, then maybe you should look into other areas that interest you. Good luck.

Array
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Feb 11, 2013 - 9:28am
SPBW, what's your opinion? Comment below:

I see what you're saying and I think the key words in your post are "short term". No one expects you to find the type of work you really enjoy on your first job. If you do, that's awesome. But the point of internships is to test the waters. Even with you're first couple years out of college you can move around and try new things. If after that it doesn't work out, you can go to grad school and change it up again!

But once you do decide what you want to do short term, you have to put everything into it. No matter what you want to do and no matter how many times that changes, if you don't give it 110% you're not going to get very far. I decided I wanted to do finance sophomore year of college, before that I had no experience. I threw myself into it (read want I could, joined clubs, etc) for a year and half and just landed a BB internship from a non-target.

Side note, I guarantee that all of these people who you think are so sure of themselves, aren't.

Feb 11, 2013 - 10:18am
nontarget kid, what's your opinion? Comment below:
Small Pond Big Whale:
But once you do decide what you want to do short term, you have to put everything into it. No matter what you want to do and no matter how many times that changes, if you don't give it 110% you're not going to get very far. I decided I wanted to do finance sophomore year of college, before that I had no experience. I threw myself into it (read want I could, joined clubs, etc) for a year and half and just landed a BB internship from a non-target.

I have literally the same story. Decided on finance during sophomore year, read books, networked, got some work experience, and now I'm looking forward to a BB internship as well.

Feb 11, 2013 - 10:49am
rufiolove, what's your opinion? Comment below:

OP - I have no idea what I want to be when I grow up if that helps assuage your worries at all... I'm just faking it until I make it. Realistically, if you aren't sure what you want to do, you might as well do something that challenges you and helps you develop some analytical and people skills. You can do this in numerous industries so don't think it has to be finance / banking / mkts... My ultimate goal long term is to be my own boss, but I wanted to learn what distinguishes successful businesses from unsuccessful ones and this career path provides a way to develop the analytical skills to perceive those distinctions.

Don't worry too much, just be willing to work hard and keep an open mind. If you are teachable, have a positive attitude, and are willing to work hard, you will be ready when you find what you want to do.

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Feb 11, 2013 - 11:02am
Viktri, what's your opinion? Comment below:
rufiolove:
OP - I have no idea what I want to be when I grow up if that helps assuage your worries at all... I'm just faking it until I make it. Realistically, if you aren't sure what you want to do, you might as well do something that challenges you and helps you develop some analytical and people skills. You can do this in numerous industries so don't think it has to be finance / banking / mkts... My ultimate goal long term is to be my own boss, but I wanted to learn what distinguishes successful businesses from unsuccessful ones and this career path provides a way to develop the analytical skills to perceive those distinctions.

Don't worry too much, just be willing to work hard and keep an open mind. If you are teachable, have a positive attitude, and are willing to work hard, you will be ready when you find what you want to do.

I agree with rufio but I'd like to add that not knowing what you want to become doesn't = not knowing what you like/dislike - you should like some part about your job, aside from the paycheck, or you'll be miserable.

- V
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Feb 11, 2013 - 11:12am
GoodBread, what's your opinion? Comment below:

I agree with this to a large extent. I hadn't even heard of investment banking until I was going into my senior year in college (I was 19) and it was basically too late. Then again, the only banks that came to my school were Lehman and Bear so I guess that wasn't necessarily a bad thing (I was talking to Bear equities people in early Feb '08).

But since then, I've worked three years in a garbage back office job and am now finishing an Msc. in Finance in Europe. It's taken me that entire time to get a good idea of what I really want to do and that wasn't without putting a lot of effort into learning as much as I could about IBD, markets, hedge funds, commodity trading, etc...

Feb 12, 2013 - 3:36am
triplectz, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Some of what they're saying (especially at the analyst level) is, well, kinda bullshit. Worked at a BB over the summer, and I can say for certain that the FT guys there definitely weren't keeping copies of Liars Poker at their desk, and I really doubt that they could even tell you what happened in the stock market that day. Bankers are removed from the day-to-day goings on in finance. Like, I definitely read fewer articles in the Journal and NYT than I did before I started. (This is completely different from S&T obviously, since you leave and breathe market minutiae.)

I'd focus on getting the job first. Prepping for interviews, networking, nailing the techs, etc. You can go more high level from there. (That being said, I think A Random Walk Down Wall Street should be mandatory reading for everyone entering the finance profession.)

Feb 12, 2013 - 3:57am
jntheriot504, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Having spent nine years in the militarty and coming up on the last year of my enlistment it has taken a great deal of time to figure out what I have wanted to do. During my time in I completed two graduate degrees in international relations and applied economics. Obviously, they were from non-target but I made the best of my situiation; which is must as excuses are lame and no one will respect them. Another thing I have done (on my own dime) was travel. Traveling from Iceland to the Ukraine, Turkey to Neapl (this May). Doing this gives you better persepctive of the world and a deeper understanding of who you are.

It has been through reading books and articles/blogs on this website that I decided a career in finance was not for me. I have decided on a career in international development, as it truly incorporates what I enjoy doing; even if the pay is substantially lower. I did learn early on as I accpeted a $60,000 re-enlistment bonus to continue doing air traffic control for another four years (even though I hated the job) that money will not lead to happiness. I would bet that most people don't have a true understanding of what they want out of life until they are in their late 20s early 30s. Even then they are probably still unsure as life continues to teach you new things and open new doors you were unaware before.

“I am always saying "Glad to've met you" to somebody I'm not at all glad I met. If you want to stay alive, you have to say that stuff, though.” ― J.D. Salinger, The Catcher in the Rye

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Feb 12, 2013 - 4:15am
FPM31, what's your opinion? Comment below:

I completely agree with this; I felt like many of the options I had for summers after freshman/sophomore year that would have allowed me to "test the waters" would have made me less competitive for IBD and top management consulting jobs (for example, internships in the nonprofit space, or time spent aimlessly wandering around Europe). Instead, I busted my ass to get an IBD internship sophomore year, and am reaping the benefits now as a junior. I'd do it all over again the exact same way as I had to, but the pressure to get competitive before you have fully figured yourself and your career trajectory out is definitely there, in my opinion. It doesn't need to be this way, by any means, but when the competition is so on top of their stuff from such an early time, you sort of have to be as well.

Feb 12, 2013 - 5:35am
Sandhurst, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Pretty much everything that's been said has been good.

I'll add the following observation: it's really impossible to know your "passion" until you're knee deep in it. Sure, you might be interested in "business" or "markets" or whatever, but at age 22 there's no way you can anybody can honestly say that "I know that banking is my ideal career." It's just not realistic. You're still young enough that this "passion" might just be a novelty that will eventually wear off. What is realistic, however, is chasing whatever does turn you on, as far as you can tell today.

Ultimately, you're not going to "go anywhere" with your life unless you pick a direction and start moving. If finance seems best now, embrace that. And also embrace the reality that with new information, you may realize something else is superior. So long as you're prepared to jump when this moment presents itself (obviously after appropriate consideration), what's the downside?

"There are three ways to make a living in this business: be first, be smarter, or cheat."
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Feb 12, 2013 - 8:15am
SirTradesaLot, what's your opinion? Comment below:
Sandhurst:
Ultimately, you're not going to "go anywhere" with your life unless you pick a direction and start moving.
well said.
Feb 12, 2013 - 8:39am
TheSquale, what's your opinion? Comment below:

If you find a job you are passionate about that's great. If you don't, well you don't. There is a lot more people doing something they dislike than people doing something they enjoy doing. Not everybody find hapiness in their job and you know what that's great because there are a hell lot of other opportunities to enjoy yourself out there you will for sure find one that will please you. Just keep your eyes open and get ready for any opportunity.

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Feb 12, 2013 - 8:30am
PCSC, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Just finished going through SA recruiting and a common interview question was "If you had enough money to never work, what would you do?" The point of the question was it should be something related to finance because work is so brutal and competitive that if you aren't truly passionate about it you'll be left behind. That is what leads people to read about it in their free time. That being said, most people embellish about how much they read/research/invest etc. and about how sure they are regarding their future.

Feb 12, 2013 - 8:45am
Sandhurst, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Note: this post is off topic, and not helpful. Unless you believe humor is helpful (as I do).

rpc:
Just finished going through SA recruiting and a common interview question was "If you had enough money to never work, what would you do?" The point of the question was it should be something related to finance because work is so brutal and competitive that if you aren't truly passionate about it you'll be left behind. That is what leads people to read about it in their free time. That being said, most people embellish about how much they read/research/invest etc. and about how sure they are regarding their future.

I once got a variant of this question, along the lines of: "if you today learned that you would never make it into banking, definitively, no matter how hard you tried, period, what would you do?" This begs a different sort of answer. What is it, you ask? Long story short, it's not following Barbara Streisand, concert to concert, across the country. I'll leave you all - feel free to think about it as you talk amongst ya'selves.

"There are three ways to make a living in this business: be first, be smarter, or cheat."
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Feb 12, 2013 - 8:46am
Caduceus, what's your opinion? Comment below:

If you want to be able to do something you actually have to want to do it. You have to be serious, and you have to be better than everyone else. Life has never been something you can just waltz through and expect to be succesful. Maybe 40 years ago the barrier for entry was lower but things have changed. You need to just jump into something with a positive attitude and work harder than everyone. From what I have talked to you about it seems you like the investing/hedge fund side of things. I reccomend you work your ass off to try to get there. Might be best to do something like IB first or go to a small fund like I said in PMs. Someone above me made a comment about people not actually researching a ton on their own time. Maybe most people don't but I can assure you that I do. As dumb as it may sound I spend a lot of time reading about finance related stuff, mostly because I am actually interested in it. It is something that I really reccomend if you want to be able to break in. My dad became succesful in his field by spending that extra time he had reading extra information and trying to soak up as much extra information as possible that the other people did not know. This went a long way for him and people can always tell who knows their stuff vs who does not.

Feb 12, 2013 - 8:59am
EH90, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Agree with Sandhurst. Move around to what excites you the most at that point. It's not impossible to be a late starter. I was in my MSc degree (European university) when I figured I'd try IBD at a BB. On the interview (after which I later got an internship offer) they asked me where I'd see myself in 10 years. My answer simply was "No clue, but for the next 2 to 3 years I know I want to be in IB". The reasons 'why IB for the next 2 - 3 years' are clear to me (and therefore easily and truthfully to explain in an interview), but I don't know whether the same reasons will motivate me after such a period. Hell, I don't even know how I will feel after my internship.

On the other hand, being interested and concerned with what happens in the financial world seems a natural by-product if you are truly motivated in a career in e.g. banking. That does NOT mean you have to be checking Bloomberg, WSJ and the stock markets and M&A news every hour of the day. Keeping track of the news (a newspaper, bloomberg app on your phone to check the highlights etc.) can help you though: by reading a lot you might come across something (an industry, type of work) which really attracts you, allowing yourself to develop an interest naturally. Secondly, when in an interview at a firm that connects with your interests, the part of talking about recent events in the area will feel very comfortable (not studied) and can even be fun if you got a professional (in the industry that interests you) on the other side of the table.

Finally, I'd say that, since e.g. banking is very demanding, it requires a huge load of motivation. This obviously expresses itself with a lot of people around you in keeping track of news and markets because they have an intrinsic motivation to do so. You should keep in mind you either need to have, or develop, such motivation, else chances are you will dislike your job from the outset.

Feb 12, 2013 - 8:28pm
Hayek, what's your opinion? Comment below:

I used to have this idea that there was a path for me, and that I had to figure out what I should ideally do, and then do it.

Now, a few months shy of my 27th birthday, I'm realizing that that's a load of crap. You can't just sit in your room in front of your computer trying to figure out your "ideal" path. There is no one path for most people. Instead, you take what you're interested in and then go after something in that direction. It's not until you actually start doing something--ANYTHING--that you're able to pick and choose what it is that you like about a certain profession.

This is a journey, and you need to look at each job/internship primarily as a way to learn more about what interests you and an opportunity to work hard and make the most of it. just my $0.02.

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Feb 12, 2013 - 8:29pm
cauchymonkey, what's your opinion? Comment below:

(Lack of) Passion (Originally Posted: 11/18/2012)

Alright I know nearly everyone in this industry or trying to break in is motivated in some part by money.

However, I also know a lot of people enter finance with non-traditional backgrounds (i.e not finance and econ).

For you guys that say, majored in the liberal arts, how was the transition into finance? Were you able to succeed even without much passion/interest in it? Did the passion come later as you worked more?

I've spent the last few months learning a bit about the markets. To be honest, I'm just not that interested in them. I do find it mildly interesting but most of my motivation for studying them at all comes from wanting to get an internship/job.

I know that life isn't supposed to be all fun and shit, but I'm a bit hesitant about trying to enter an industry without strong interest in it.

Back when I was interested in math, I remember being able to spend hours and hours just working on problems, with clearly no financial motivation. Now that I'm no longer interested in math, I'm a bit lost. Maybe I'm just too spoiled?

Feb 12, 2013 - 8:30pm
CallThatBond, what's your opinion? Comment below:

I can't even begin to describe to you how much you will suffer if you're not genuinely interested in finance. If/when you get an internship, you'll recognize that it's the allure of going to PE/HF/whatever exit that keeps most analysts going. If neither banking nor its exit opportunities interest you, you will go through 2 years of hell.

Finance isn't everything. There are lots of other fulfilling (emotionally, financially, etc.) opportunities out there. Which of your classes are most interesting? Find a career that's related to them. You can make plenty of money in any field if you're really good at it, so if you're confident in your abilities, do what you love & everything will work out.

Feb 12, 2013 - 8:32pm
cauchymonkey, what's your opinion? Comment below:

@whatwhatwhat I guess partially because I've seen history, psychology, and science majors from my target go into ibanking. I find it a bit hard to believe that these guys, who suddenly decided to change trajectory junior or senior year, were that passionate about finance?

Feb 12, 2013 - 8:33pm
JDawg, what's your opinion? Comment below:

are you me? I'm wondering the same thing.

Feb 12, 2013 - 8:35pm
AQM, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Well I'm a middle eastern studies major from a target and I currently do equity research at a BB. (Think JP, GS, MS). I basically caught up to the business school students a month into the job. While I was behind the first month, I caught up relatively fast and read an accounting book that was highly rated on Amazon. If I had to go back and do it all over again, I would stick with my middle eastern studies major because I have all the business knowledge I need (at least for an analyst) but I also have my knowledge of the middle east which my coworkers don't have. I honestly don't think major matters too much, just pick something you're both successful and passionate in. (That's easier said than done...)

Feb 12, 2013 - 8:36pm
cauchymonkey, what's your opinion? Comment below:

@AQM : I'm not so much worried about being able to catch up. I know even art majors can catch up relatively quickly on the job. But, as an equity research associate who majored in middle eastern studies, do you think you were genuinely interested in the markets as an undergrad?

Feb 12, 2013 - 8:38pm
cauchymonkey, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Thanks AQM, that was a very helpful response.

I can for sure appreciate/understand why people would be passionate about the markets. But I honestly don't think I am. I would never do it for fun. I'm definitely more drawn by the money/prestige. However, as a student at a reputable school who's done well, sometimes I feel that it would be a mistake not to consider it though.

At one point, I really liked pure mathematics. I mean, I'm still majoring in it and have taken fair amt of courses. But in the end, I think it's too abstract...too detached from humanity. Also, I really don't like programming so I absolutely don't want to do any quant jobs.

As for other interests, I enjoy music very much (who doesn't?) and like literature. I enjoy following current events and reading publications. I've always enjoyed volunteering but I don't think I'm selfless enough to go into the nonprofit sector. At my current state, I'd probably much rather read a good book than do math, although my quantitative ability might be my strongest skillset.

Feb 12, 2013 - 8:39pm
SirTradesaLot, what's your opinion? Comment below:

I definitely did not have a passion for finance when I was in undergrad. I doubt I ever even read about it (can't remember, too long ago). I developed a passion pretty quickly when I was on the job. If I had gone into banking, I'm pretty sure I would have hated that and been out of the industry by now. If you have a passion for math, you should be able to find a lot of things in finance that interest you.

Feb 12, 2013 - 8:40pm
EBITDAXYZ, what's your opinion? Comment below:

you wouldnt be interested in riding the bike or swimming if you didnt know much about it or didnt actually know to ride a bike/swim

once you get good at something, it becomes fun, however, you should be motivated to do it and have some interest in it

your call.

Feb 12, 2013 - 8:44pm
chicandtoughness, what's your opinion? Comment below:

I was one of those people -- I was gunning for finance because it was the natural thing to do for business majors at my school (no one did a business major for the other tracks like marketing, lol). At the time, I didn't really have interest in the markets or investing, I just wanted to get a prestigious job and make money (yeah, I'll admit it).

After three internships in i-banking, though, I realized it is true: you will hate it unless you have some passion or interest in what you're doing. After you do company profiles for the umpteenth time for some shitty buy-side auction, or stay late for the fifth time that week to crank out sensitivity analyses... yeah, you'll hate it.

You don't need to be passionate about everything in finance - no one is. Or if they are, they're REALLY passionate. For me, I've had headhunters try to rope me into fixed income-focused jobs. I told them hell no, I hate fixed income and there's no way I'll do it. I'm also not going to do any sort of trading, or any kind of risk/ops. They're just not areas I like. Even within deals and equities, it took me about a year to figure out what niche I liked best.

Once I found that niche, though (M&A/Divestitures in entertainment/media), I started getting really into it. To be honest, reading the news was a chore during interview prep ("Oh shit, I'd better catch up on what's going on, just in case they ask me to explain the thing I found most interesting in the global macroeconomy this week"). But nowadays I find myself willingly reading articles in my sector of focus; I keep tabs on a few companies, I actively think about how the news would impact the markets and investor sentiment. It's just a matter of finding out what gets you riled up and excited.

Currently: future neurologist, current psychotherapist Previously: investor relations (top consulting firm), M&A consulting (Big 4), M&A banking (MM)
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Feb 12, 2013 - 8:43pm
hopesanddreams, what's your opinion? Comment below:

chicandtoughness honest post!

Similar situation here really. I didn't like following the markets when I started as an undergrad... I found it boring. As I learnt more about finance, I'm now actually wanting to open Bloomberg now and again to read what's happening. I still prefer to follow the general news and still don't like the 'economic stuff' but I love reading about M&A deals, what's happening to big companies and so on.

OP - read something you are interested in!!! Eventually your brain will reject information and tell you what you are interested in. don't block it out otherwise you will be unhappy in life. I know 'read something you're interested in' doesn't help much at this stage as you need to be a 'markets master' for interviews but seriously follow the advice. I used to read fitness magazines, researched protein powders, then started reading up about the companies that manufactured the powders, then followed it in the financial news and so on... literally anything can get you there! lol

Feb 12, 2013 - 8:45pm
oreos, what's your opinion? Comment below:

there are many deep and varied paths in finance. i for one find your standard equity markets and M&A (often peoples' first exposure to finance) mindbogglingly boring, but find credit and restructuring fascinating. may just need some time to find your niche.

"After you work on Wall Street it’s a choice, would you rather work at McDonalds or on the sell-side? I would choose McDonalds over the sell-side.” - David Tepper
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Feb 12, 2013 - 8:46pm
urgh2014, what's your opinion? Comment below:

how do you maintain/regain your passion? (Originally Posted: 05/15/2015)

hi guys,

how do you regain or maintain your passion? have you ever had a point where your passion for your job just suddenly disappears due to work circumstances (bad fit for team culture, unmotivating management, etc)? Have the environment and people at work ever affected how passionate you feel?

Thanks!

Feb 12, 2013 - 8:47pm
david wilson123, what's your opinion? Comment below:

The environment has important affects on you like you are working in a good office environment for some time and suddenly you transferred to another office where the environment is not good according to you then you cannot work properly and you will lose your passion for work.

David Wilson Criminal Defense Lawyer Indio Personal Injury Lawyer Indio http://cabreralawoffices.com/
Feb 12, 2013 - 8:49pm
Zatopek, what's your opinion? Comment below:

I think you need to ask yourself why you have lost the passion? Is it a shitty role? Bad colleagues? poor work environment or is it something more fundamental?

I definitely feel I have lost a lot of my passion for the job. When I started out succeeding in finance seemed like the greatest thing in the world. I could not wait to learn modelling and work on big transactions. I must say as the years have gone on my priorities have really shifted....it doesn't seem all that great any more earning big bucks and to me even though the big picture of deals is interesting (what you read in the papers) the day to day nitty gritty detail can range from boring to soul destroying.

It is interesting that I more I progress the more I realize that the people who succeed in finance are not necessarily the best and brightest or even the hardest working, they are the guys who have a real passion for it. To succeed in this field you need to live and breath it 24/7.

One of the nice things about finance though is that it does give you options. I am now in a position where I could go into a corporate role, earn 6 figures in a low cost of living area, finish at 6 every day and work out, cook dinner with my girl friend, play golf, go sailing or meet friends for a meal..to be honest right now that sounds about a million times more appealing to me than being an MD at KKR where the work is your life...that would not have been the case 3, 4, 5 years ago.

Feb 12, 2013 - 8:50pm
Getintheholetiger, what's your opinion? Comment below:

How important is passion for IB? (Originally Posted: 01/07/2010)

Hey guys, serious question here I'd appreciate any input. I'm a sophomore fin/acct major and have been really interested in pursuing IB out of college for about a year now but am starting to question my ambitions. I didn't know what IB was until late in my freshman year and pretty soon after decided it was what I would shoot for, not out of any real appreciation/understanding of what IBankers actually do on a daily basis but more of the salary,prestige, and lifestyle benefits that came with the job. I landed a solid pwm internship last summer and I go to a good enough school to have a chance at an IB int, but over the last few months I've seriously began to question whether or not IB is for me and if the substantial amount of effort that I'd have to apply in order to even land an interview is worth it.

I've heard alot of people say that it really becomes a grind and that the hours are just brutal. Is the work that bankers do really enjoyable enough to sustain that kind of work environment? Is the money enough, or do you have to love what you're doing? Economics and the stock market interest me, but not to the degree where I read the WSJ daily or have a investment portfolio.I guess what I'm asking is if I don't really love finance, should I choose something else? Thanks

Feb 12, 2013 - 8:51pm
RKBanker, what's your opinion? Comment below:

If you don't like finance, then you have acct to fall back on. I'm a finance/accounting major as well, and I find finance to be a lot more attractive than accounting. You go three routes in acct: audit, tax, advisory. Sure you might find your way into the finance industry, but the work in acct sucks. You don't get paid OT, and the salary gap between finance and accounting just gets bigger and bigger with experience.

I thought about IB as well, but I feel it's not worth the salary and prestige (my opinion). You're gonna have a shitty lifestyle for the first couple of years you won't see the light of day until you're 24/25. So if you don't like IB, don't do it. There are plenty of other careers for you to choose: consulting, research, trading, pe, investment, etc...

Feb 12, 2013 - 8:52pm
TigerWoods, what's your opinion? Comment below:

There are plenty of superficial bankers who likely had your views and landed jobs. It is likely, however, that many were not good at their job as a result of their lack of interest and exited after a year or two. If you want money, it is here, but I would never suggest you do anything that you do not having a strong interest in. Have you ever met anybody successful and genuinely happy who was not passionate about what they did?

Feb 12, 2013 - 8:53pm
moochies, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Take Tiger Woods for instance he dominates everything. Golfmodels and bottlesmore models and more models with a super hot wife thrown in

I don't think he could do all those woman without a little passion.

Feb 12, 2013 - 8:54pm
RKBanker, what's your opinion? Comment below:

I would say passion for IB is very important. You will have to dedicate the next 2-3 years of your life to work that you probably won't see the light of day till you're 24/25. The salary is great, very prestigious, but kiss your life goodbye, until you're done with the analyst program of course. If you don't feel that it's right for you, I would suggest you start thinking about another career, maybe consulting, or trading, or investment. It's really up to you and what you would like to do.

Best Response
Feb 12, 2013 - 8:55pm
numi, what's your opinion? Comment below:

As with most things in life, it all depends on how you value the trade-off between doing something that will really jump-start your career, vs. doing something that you're intrinsically passionate about. Investment banking is an excellent place to start your career when you're not sure what else might interest you, as it's generally regarded as a prestigious job and a good way to learn basic skills. The work-life balance is unenviable, but at least it'll hopefully pave the way to other career opportunities with a better lifestyle or help you get into business school.

But this is where I'll be providing an opinion that's probably different from many others on this forum. Read on.

In my case, I can totally resonate with your point where you wrote: "Economics and the stock market interest me, but not to the degree where I read the WSJ daily or have a investment portfolio." I agree with you 100%, which may be a strange thing for me to say given that I had three years of experience in equity research and two years in private equity. True, it was a good way for me to build my career and gain some useful insights into the finance world, but it's not something I was passionate about.

It took me a while to realize this, but fortunately I didn't need to be passionate about things at a junior level. I was able to get by because I worked hard and because I saw the job as a means to an end. But am I passionate about it the way that some of the senior professionals are? Do I love it the way that the most successful financiers do? No. I could go an entire week, and probably two weeks, without opening the Wall Street Journal or checking my stock portfolio at this time, and my life wouldn't change. I already know the kind of person that I am, and now that I'm several years out of graduation and getting into my late 20's, I know what really matters to me.

Why am I posting on this forum still? Well, it's because I still work in finance, I like what I do for the most part, and I've met a lot of interesting people. As well, I enjoy sharing my little snippets of knowledge with people here and learning from others. It's terrific that people like you are thinking critically about your life goals, even while you're just a sophomore in college. I find a lot of people that tend to be introspective and very thoughtful about what matters to them in fields like investment banking and private equity. In fact, you'll occasionally hear that someone in finance can learn more in two years than someone else can learn in four years in another field -- that's not necessarily because you work twice as many hours than they do (though that's partially true), but one of the nice things about the field is that it does provide you with a basic foundation for other careers, and it attracts a certain group of individuals who, for the most part, do think about what matters most to them in life.

Just to clarify, I say what I'm saying not because I dislike finance, but rather because I'm not excited by it the way I used to. I thought that working at an investment bank or private equity firm would somehow transform my life. In some ways it did, in terms of the people I met, where I moved in my career, and just being challenged and stimulated every day.

However, in other ways the job did not transform my life. Although I earn roughly double what I did during my first job out of undergrad, there are certain things that haven't changed about me. I don't do valet parking, I don't buy bottle service, I still purchase most if not all my groceries on sale, and I still go for the girls next door with good family values that money can't buy. So, why do I keep grinding out the 70 hour work weeks? Well, I don't know, but it won't be for much longer -- and that's my personal choice.

As for what I'll be doing in the next few months, I guess I'll keep doing the finance thing...I still have to put food on the table. But mostly, I'm looking forward to traveling abroad for several months, volunteering in some third world countries, and heading off to business school. I'm not certain what I'll be doing after graduation -- hopefully it'll be strategy consulting or business development, but it could be private equity again -- who knows? But the way I see it, I've done my time and I want to find something I'm more passionate about. And that's when the real fun will begin!

At the junior ranks, it's not necessary to be passionate about what you do; it's possible to get by just through grinding, because you don't have that much accountability and most of the time you're paid to just grind. But, in the long run, I genuinely believe it's essential to love what you do, or you'll constantly be spinning your wheels.

Best of luck to you and keep asking the right questions -- your curiosity will help prepare you well for whatever career you choose to embark upon.

​* http://www.linkedin.com/in/numicareerconsulting
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Feb 12, 2013 - 8:56pm
Mayor Quimby, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Great post. I think he perfectly put into words the attitude and mindset that many in the finance world share.

Feb 12, 2013 - 8:57pm
superconnard, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Most bankers do not read the economist cover to cover coz they dont have time for that. It's normal that you find the ibd world quite weird from the outside; but once you're in, you'll adapt to it and you'll stay on if you really are career focused. you dont need to be passionate abt deals etc to succeed as ib analyst

"What we can, we must; and because we can, we must"
Feb 12, 2013 - 8:58pm
weeds499, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Definitley do not need passion, but it certainly helps. I think a lot of the "passion" people have for IB burns out pretty quickly in the first few months. I know I'm burned out 7 months in.

There are definitley kids who are very passionate about banking though, who literally enjoy getting horrendous turns, coming in early Sat morning, etc. Nothing wrong with that, while they might be annoying, you have to give them credit for really being passionate about this stuff.

Feb 12, 2013 - 9:00pm
Eddie Braverman, what's your opinion? Comment below:

You can do it for the money even if you hate the job (I did), but it's a slog, brother. Think long and hard before you commit to something you're not passionate about. Again, it can be done, and it opened up a wealth of opportunities down the line for me, but I can't say I'd recommend it.

Feb 12, 2013 - 9:01pm
MrDouche, what's your opinion? Comment below:

The money is weak. If you think 90k your first year (or 150 your 3rd year) is good in New York, you won't have enough to afford a decent place, pay for expenses and put away substantial savings.

The most redeeming aspect about banking is that you work with intelligent people. The second is that you learn very basic skills that you can use elsewhere. A summer internship will be enough, however.

Go hang out with a few young bankers. You'll see that the majority of them are proud of making a mediocre income at first and blowing it on crap living paycheck to paycheck. (Some rookie will probably just attack this idea rather than by providing a substantive argument or example, which only shows that it is true.)

There are easier ways to make more money, especially if you have an aptitude for finance. It is so cheap to borrow right now and so much is discounted that you'd be crazy to miss the opportunities out there. Many already missed buying options with the recent run up. Don't make the same mistake again.

In other words, if you want to make a substantial amount of money, banking is NOT a good option until you are at the top.

I rich, smarts, and totally in debt.
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Feb 12, 2013 - 9:02pm
sparticus, what's your opinion? Comment below:

It's not about having a passion for your first job out of undergrad, it'a about having a long-term passion for something and working towards that. I found that my short-term plans changed significantly during my undergrad years, but my long-term goals are still the same. I started out set on med school, and then moving up academically to work at a high-level in healthcare administration, and have since changed to going to MBB and following a different path but with the same end goal. Honestly, a lack of IB passion is probably to be expected for most undergrads first going to the street, but a passion for other things (PE, HF) can overcome the short-term dislike of the job. Unless IB is your ultimate goal, treat it as a stepping stone to greener pastures. As long as you have a long-term passion for something, don't worry too much about how crappy some of the first steps to get there are.

Feb 12, 2013 - 9:03pm
and7av, what's your opinion? Comment below:

IB is probably the best way to get into the world of finance with a huge career advantage. Once you finish your first three years you have a lot of exit points and good money earned to that point.

Feb 12, 2013 - 9:04pm
grrr911, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Finance for people only with passion for it? (Originally Posted: 08/31/2013)

Hello,

I'm currently in difficult situation in my life in whether should i pursue my career in finance

I did my bachelors degree in business administration finance branch, (a lot of emphasis was on accounting), and i got really bored in my internship since the job was merely numbers and using Ms Excel. Accounting seems extremely boring and I also dislike the nature of market player as buy, buy, buy, sell, sell sell, and always competing with others seems very stressful.(Or maybe i'm just a child like and don't understand that work is work and it's not supposed to be fun) I don't have personal passion for buying and selling shares neither.Just bought some for long term, to counter the inflation.

Do i have chances in the finance sector without having love for it? If it's competing between other traders in selling and buying financial instruments in financial markets really have doubts that i will make it... (Since i already have bachelors thinking of doing masters and/or adding CFA or ACCA for a start)

I'm 27 stuck in miserable customer service job without having idea what to do with my life.Time is running out...

Anyone have been in similar situation? Thanks for your advice in advance.

Feb 12, 2013 - 9:06pm
Alexander Hamilton, what's your opinion? Comment below:

If you don't like accounting and competition seems stressful then finance is definitely not for you.

"It's very easy to have too many goals and be overwhelmed by them... The trick is to find the one thing you can focus on that represents every other single thing you want in life." -- @"Edmundo Braverman"
Feb 12, 2013 - 9:07pm
Royal Monkey, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Finance can be for you, depending on what job in finance. It seems as if you have an idea that finance is all about equity trading, however, this is not the case. There are 100's of different finance jobs: personal financial planning? corporate finance? insurance? real estate? ..... Open your mind and explore ALL opportunities =)

Feb 12, 2013 - 9:08pm
UFOinsider, what's your opinion? Comment below:
Royal Monkey:

Finance can be for you, depending on what job in finance. It seems as if you have an idea that finance is all about equity trading, however, this is not the case. There are 100's of different finance jobs: personal financial planning? corporate finance? insurance? real estate? ..... Open your mind and explore ALL opportunities =)

THIS. OP needs to see where in this industry they fit. A trader might die of boredom doing research and a banker might balk at talking to average people about their financial decisions....there's pretty much something for everyone in this industry.

also: 27 isn't that old. If you really don't like numbers or finance, look at the gazillion other careers out there. Grad schools, don't much care what your degree is in, you can change directions at any point in life.

If Grandma Moses can become a world famous painter at 80, you can find a job you like. No excuses, just put your thinking cap on and figure out a direction. .....and then actually go do it

Get busy living
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Feb 12, 2013 - 9:09pm
Darkshore, what's your opinion? Comment below:

How did you find your extra-curricular 'cause' or 'passion'? (Originally Posted: 05/20/2013)

Hey guys,

So asking this question with a couple of upfront assumptions

1) That it is looked upon more favourably by ad comms for a candidate to really get involved in one charity/cause/community rather than to have been involved very slightly in several.

2) That for time-poor candidates (e.g., those from MBB consulting or BB banker) investing significantly in one cause vs several is probably a matter of necessity

....so I'm wondering, for those who invested significant amounts of weekend time in an activity for B School....how did you find your cause?

Did you do a lot of soul searching to find a cause you wanted to make a difference in? Did you always have something you wanted to do outside of work? Did something fall in your lap?

More cynically, do you even need to get heavily involved to be able to spin something to seem 'significant' in your application?

*particularly interested in post-university activities, stuff you did at uni doesn't count as much cause you had all the time in the world (well.. theoretically...)

Would be great to hear your stories :)

Feb 12, 2013 - 9:10pm
Cookies With Milken, what's your opinion? Comment below:

"More cynically, do you even need to get heavily involved to be able to spin something to seem 'significant' in your application?"

No. You just need to sell it.

"*particularly interested in post-university activities, stuff you did at uni doesn't count as much cause you had all the time in the world (well.. theoretically...)"

Your first step should be to reflect on the ECs you participated in during school and find a similar cause to commit to. Your track record of UD EC and Post-UD EC will do all the "spinning" for you.

Feb 12, 2013 - 9:11pm
ReluctantMBA, what's your opinion? Comment below:
Cookies With Milken:

"More cynically, do you even need to get heavily involved to be able to spin something to seem 'significant' in your application?"

No. You just need to sell it.

"*particularly interested in post-university activities, stuff you did at uni doesn't count as much cause you had all the time in the world (well.. theoretically...)"

Your first step should be to reflect on the ECs you participated in during school and find a similar cause to commit to. Your track record of UD EC and Post-UD EC will do all the "spinning" for you.

Yep! This.

Plus I will add that you should already know what you like, what you care about, and what interests you. If you do what you like you're likely to develop a pattern of commitment and achievement in that area so there will be no need for spin (just a cohesive story) when application time comes around.

Feb 12, 2013 - 9:12pm
CompBanker, what's your opinion? Comment below:

I participated in Boston Cares, which is basically an organization that connects volunteers with other organizations (typically non-profits) that need volunteer labor. This lets you dabble in a bunch of different areas of community service to find which type you enjoy most. I tried everything from light labor to administrative work to tutoring and eventually found an area that I could become much more involved in. If you're unsure as to what your passion is, consider joining the "Cares" organization in your local city (New York Cares, Philadelphia Cares, etc.) to find it. Note that I wouldn't consider Boston Cares itself sufficient for a b-school application; you should really be seeking more substance than that.

CompBanker’s Career Guidance Services: https://www.rossettiadvisors.com/

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Feb 12, 2013 - 9:13pm
Darkshore, what's your opinion? Comment below:

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Feb 12, 2013 - 9:14pm
Admissionado, what's your opinion? Comment below:

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Ea hic quidem ea nam vel doloribus cumque aspernatur. Molestiae natus quod corporis mollitia. Consequatur aut perferendis quas id aperiam fugiat odit. Adipisci et et praesentium ab fugiat sed quas. Repudiandae consequatur exercitationem aliquid iste. Omnis sint pariatur illum dolores qui perferendis. Reprehenderit natus eum voluptatum voluptatem dolores quidem veniam.

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Feb 12, 2013 - 9:15pm
highwyre237, what's your opinion? Comment below:

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Quibusdam et maiores sit. Accusantium vel laborum totam excepturi sunt maiores aut. Ipsam id sed quo ipsam voluptatem iste.

Feb 12, 2013 - 9:16pm
peter1, what's your opinion? Comment below:

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Nihil aliquid laboriosam nihil alias. Et vel corrupti aut dolor numquam. Et est omnis doloremque enim doloribus. Maxime neque aut quo.

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