20 Year Old... Career/Life Advice

acmilan496's picture
Rank: Chimp | banana points 9

What's up guys, would really appreciate your help on the following dilemma:

I'm currently a junior at a US college deciding between two internship offers for this coming summer. I've outlined some pros and cons of each opportunity below and welcome any advice.

* Fixed income asset manager based in southern California
o Pros:
* Buyside role right out of college - something I've always strived for
* Very laid back firm culture with intelligent and chill people, accessible senior management
* Favorable work/life balance
* Have worked within this sphere of fixed income in prior internships and it's interesting and I think I can become good at it
* Awesome weather and beaches
* Hot girls
o Cons
* Small firm with very niche focus - potentially pigeonholing myself in a singular asset class early on in career
* East coast hours - in the office at 6AM... not ideal for social life
* Don't have any friends/know anybody in the area
* Flight + rent + rental car expenses + taxes will essentially eat up my wages, I'll breakeven roughly
* Studying abroad in Australia next semester - not sure if I will want to be across the country for three months after being across the world for five

* Middle market (specializing in one specific sector) investment bank
o Pros:
* Lean deal teams mean more hands-on responsibility
* Smart and driven people
* Promising exit opps
* Financially superior (on total basis... on an hourly basis the california job pays higher assuming 80 hour weeks in IB)
* I'm from right outside NYC and have many friends and connections there
o Cons:
* Not necessarily that interested in doing deals
* Specific sector seems dry at the surface and might constrict exit opps to firms that operate in the space
* Don't want to run the same M&A process over an over again
* Very little time to sleep/exercise/socialize/enjoy being young

Comments (4)

Nov 4, 2016

I say New York no question about it. Unless you plan on moving out to California after graduation, what is the point in doing an internship there? Your connections and network you build while interning across the country will do little good when searching for FT in NY. It all depends on where you ultimately want to be, but since you have family and friends in NYC I am assuming you would prefer that location.

You have plenty of time for buy-side later in life. I would take the IB job and then network my ass off to ensure I had the ability to get a FT offer from a firm the following year. Going abroad senior year is always tricky with respect to recruiting.

Nov 4, 2016

Thanks dude. I'm not fully sure where I want to live after I graduate. I've been in New York for my entire life and know it pretty well. For some reason I'm sort of yearning to have a West Coast experience to see if it's for me. The company flew me out last week to interview there and I loved the atmosphere. I get the sense that if I don't go for it I'll always think "what if..." I'm pretty confident that if I don't like the gig out in Cali I could network for a FT position in New York (not saying it would be easy).

Also just to clarify, it's my junior year and going abroad in the spring semester doesn't necessarily conflict with recruiting as firms have moved their recruitment processes a lot earlier.

Best Response
Nov 4, 2016

I would take the MM IB role without question and here is why:

  • IB is a much more versatile skills set to have for the future such that you option include staying in banking, PE, VC, Corp Dev, Corp Fin, etc whereas Fixed Income does not translate well to other areas of finance very well
  • Starting your career in the NYC area will be an easy transition and will help you build your network early in your career
  • The pay is better now and that trend will most likely continue throughout your career in the tracks I mentioned above
  • Don't worry about the quality of chicks, there are smokes in every city
  • You can always take a job on the west coast or another area of the country for your IB exit (by that time you'll prob have a better idea what works for you)
  • I worked at a lean MM bank and the hours were not as bad as advertised on this site (<80 hours), I went to the gym before work in the morning BC people in IB start late for the most part

Also, no two M&A processes are the same

Disclaimer: I am biased towards IB because I used to do it

    • 2
Nov 7, 2016