Prep On Cycle or Travel

Hey guys,

Incoming analyst in a group that historically places umm/mf (mid bulge top group). I’m home right now after graduation and am debating. Do I travel with my buddies from school for two weeks or use that time to prep for on cycle? Would love to hear from some of you that placed and if it is worth it. On one hand, a book like “Die with Zero” by Bill Perkins emphasizes how delayed gratification is overemphasized and he wishes he traveled while he was 20. On the other hand, I think of the butterfly effect phenomenon and think that landing at a top shop could have compounding effects on my career. Would really appreciate any advice. I also need to find an apartment in NYC and travel would hurt that search.

Most Helpful

This might be your last chance to travel/freely hang with your buddies for the next two years — would def go for it


What I did was travel for a few weeks after the end of my senior year and prep after. I ended up getting a UMM PE offer that I am pretty happy with, so I think it can work out. I would say go for the travel and just be ready to put your nose down and study after traveling for a while.


Please ask questions here, I would guess other people have similar questions and want to helpful to as many people as possible.


Graduated 3 weeks ago, have been traveling since the day after I graduated haha! Bank is upset bc they want me to take licenses ( SIE and Series) before start date and I declined due to traveling. They said it’s gonna delay me getting the desk I said I’m fine with that.

This might be last time you get to travel freely, don’t get hung up on work


I respectfully disagree with the “last chance to travel” comments. I think it’s a dangerous limiting belief that if you don’t do XYZ thing when you’re young you’ll miss your chance.  Maybe that’s the case for most people, but strive to be better than that.  Assume that there will be future opportunities to travel because you’re going to be successful and in a position to demand that time when it makes sense. With that assumption, you don’t travel at a unique time when it could cost you a big opportunity that only comes around at that particular time.


As someone who didn't travel and chose to stay home and study - please go travel.

Target, top BB - prepped like crazy, got deep in multiple oncycle processes, and didn't end up placing during the first week of madness. A few months later on the desk and ended up signing NY MF.

Outcome may have been the same either way and I missed out on traveling with my best friends. Maybe I am jaded already but nearly a year on the desk and have great regrets. Trust me you will not get that time or opportunity back. Everyone is busy, clocking crazy hours, and tough to see them these days. I don't think a few weeks of prep is going to change much outcome-wise so take the travel.


Graduated during CV-19 so didn't get the chance to travel, but ended up being a blessing in disguised. Used the time to prep for on-cycle + knock out deferred MBA applications instead, and while it absolutely sucked in the moment, was the best choice I ever made. Landed MF PE seat in NYC on-cycle from my BB team, and  got in to H/S MBA. Might have still happened if I had travelled for a few months, but odds most certainly would have been lower.

At the end of the day - just depends on how badly you want it. If the difference between MM vs. UMM vs. MF or SF vs. NYC PE doesn't matter to you, then would definitely travel. If you'd be just as happy in Mainsail Partners SF as you would be in Blackstone PE NYC, then definitely go travel and have as much fun as possible in the near-term.


Travel. Go as hard as you can for those few weeks and do as much dumb shit as you can. This is your last chance.


This is your last chance to touch grass and get laid. When you’re on your death bed, you’re going to wish you went on that trip with your boys. Don’t be a geed.


Associate 1 in IB - Cov:

This is your last chance to touch grass and get laid. When you’re on your death bed, you’re going to wish you went on that trip with your boys. Don’t be a geed.

As someone who went through this process last year, I honestly regret not having taken the time to travel with friends/ family, given how many opportunities there are off-cycle


I picked travel and did not regret at all. By the way, they’re not mutually exclusive. I’m sure you’ll have some down time where you can crack open a laptop or iPad and do some light reading on sectors of interest or reading through a couple guides of FAQ. When I traveled, I had a lot of time commuting by train or air in between locations that I utilized, which helped me lay some groundwork before I did more intense prep after my travel. Ended up with great offer and knowing that I spent as much time as I could relaxing before starting a job as tough as IB.


On-cycle is highly overhyped these days. Participation (by both firms and candidates) is down ~70-80% vs. the last year it was on a semi-sane timeline (March 2021). Lot of funds/HHs now run a "off-on cycle" in November, and I haven't heard of a single MF that doesn't hold at least one spot for off-cycle.

For the love of God, please, go travel/do something fun with the brief window of time you have between grad and starting. I promise you, you are in a good group at a good bank (yes, even a "mid" BB is a fantastic role out of undergrad) – you will be ok. Take the time you have to do something you won't have a chance to do over the next couple of years.


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