2nd Year Analyst Lost at Sea

Longtime lurker, fresh account.

I'm a 2nd year analyst in BB coverage (mid-tier group at mid-tier bank). I'm not sure what I'm doing with my life. I kind of assumed Id go into PE like "everyone else", but I haven't gotten any great looks and not many analysts in my group placed in traditional PE last year or this year.

Sometimes I like the work, but most of the time I find myself doing nonsense drudgery at night and getting too many coffees during the day.

What should I be thinking about? I feel like I'm too young for b school... Corp Dev? Don't think I'm qualified for hedge funds...

Thanks for the help.

Comments (20)

Dec 10, 2018

Focus on what you really want to do and then think how you can get there. Start networking with people and keep yourself up whatever happens.

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Dec 10, 2018

No idea what I really want to do unfortunately, but pretty sure it's not making ppt slides for the next decade

Dec 18, 2018

Well what parts of your job do you like/dislike?

Also, start talking to people about what they do if it's something potentially interesting. Could be friends, family, etc.

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Dec 10, 2018

I like Corp Dev, but if you are really unhappy in banking, it might not be for you. It removes the painful part of IB (pitches, buyers lists, etc.), but at the end of the day you're still mostly in excel and PPT. A little bit more strategic though, which is good.

Maybe go work for an interesting company doing operational finance or strategy type stuff. You could go work for Top Golf to help them figure out their real estate strategy, or become the one finance guy at a 50 person brewery.

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Dec 10, 2018

Also feeling trapped b/c I dont want to take a massive pay cut, which limits options

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Dec 10, 2018

You can be comfortable while doing something you actually enjoy though. While the latter options might see all in comp quite a bit lower, in Corp Dev you might not take much of a paycut, although future comp growth will be much slower.

Dec 11, 2018

Do you have significant expenses hanging over your head? E.g. student loans, rent / mortgage, or other obligations? If not I don't think you shouldn't worry so much about the comp. You're young enough that you only have yourself to take care of and should be able to live fairly comfortably off a range of salaries

Dec 17, 2018

Limiting yourself by pay at this age is a big mistake in my opinion. Successful people in any field make plenty of money eventually. The key is to be successful and you have to be interested in the work to be successful. I suggest you lower the bar on pay (whatever covers your needs) and go for a job that at least seems like it will have some excitement for you. I understand you don't know what you want to do yet, which is fine. It's OK to take a gamble and see if it works. But gamble on something interesting, don't waste your precious 20's chasing an extra few bucks. The real money comes later.

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Dec 17, 2018

Limiting yourself by pay at this age is a big mistake in my opinion. Successful people in any field make plenty of money eventually. The key is to be successful and you have to be interested in the work to be successful. I suggest you lower the bar on pay (whatever covers your needs) and go for a job that at least seems like it will have some excitement for you. I understand you don't know what you want to do yet, which is fine. It's OK to take a gamble and see if it works. But gamble on something interesting, don't waste your precious 20's chasing an extra few bucks. The real money comes later.

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Dec 11, 2018

Move to a start up? a lot of them recruit bankers to help with roadshow pitches and stuff during series funding. Depending on money in the bank, some will pay competitively. Definitely a lot more fulfilling.

Dec 17, 2018

go do a start up. you will see and do everything

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Dec 17, 2018

Go to 80000hours.com and the WBW articles on the cook vs chef and careers

Running through all of the above on top of a banking job will probably take you 2-3 months not to mention that you will need to develop introspection and self-awareness on top of that...

However, you will have a much clearer idea of what you want to do and how you want to move forward from there

Dec 17, 2018

A little hard to offer you useful advice if you don't have any sense for anything that interests you, and you also don't want to take a pay cut, but I'd think broadly about what you might want to be doing 5, 10, 20 years out. Sometimes hard to think in those terms when you're still in your early 20s, but the years will pass by quickly, and it's not that hard to hang on to a banking job into the late VP years even if you aren't that great at it.

That's the problem though - at that point you'll have difficulty switching to PE (even if by then you've decided that it's exactly what you want to do) or anything else that will deliver the cash comp you'll have gotten used to.

But I can tell you that unless you are passionate about banking and coverage, there's almost no way you'll make director, let alone MD. And the senior associate through director years are kind of a dead zone for lateraling.

Dec 18, 2018

To provide another perspective to the ones above:
1. PE/CorpDev/IBD are essentially the same job, if you don't like one it is quite difficult to like the other. I wouldn't change unless it is a salary upgrade or if you hate your team in IBD
2. IBD has the most comp and weakest competition for someone who is mildly interested in their job on junior levels
3. "Do a startup" or "join a startup" don't do anything for you unless there's a specific change vs banking, but I'm not sure you even know what it is that you'd like to change
4. "Don't want to do ppt slides for next 10 years", working in a non-sweatshop group in IBD doing slides is a very nice pay check and although it is comforting to think that you will go do something you're passionate about and will become a decamillionaire so this early comp doesn't matter, I think the actual statistics are greatly against this logic. I know quite a few people who say their highest ever salary in life was when they were IBD asssociates at a bb/eb and are now in their 40s. Usually this is followed up by how their job is better now because of xyz and I'm not saying it isn't it is just that one should be conscious about this.

I'd say carry on in IBD, use the extra time to do smth on the side and maybe something starts interesting you, especially use the time you spend now with PE recruiting. Always produce.

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Most Helpful
Dec 18, 2018

I feel compelled to drop my 2 cents here. Like your self, I had doubts sorrounding my career choice going as early as my first summer analyst stint. In fact, I didn't click with the team or the requirements of the job at that stage - and I blame my immaturity and emotional impediments for that first and foremost - to the extent that, like your self, I felt a sense of boredom and dread about continuing in the industry and I looked elsewhere at the time.

But, nothing outside of banking really worked out and so I ended up at a lower tier shop which I absolutely hated; left a few months in to launch a start up with some friends and we failed miserably - frankly, the whole start up experience and scene is much over hyped and the ecosystem is far more attractive looking in from the outside that when one experiences the people, stakeholders and community upfront and close; there is a palpable sense of elitism that is mostly unfounded, I think. And honestly, the quality of people on average is lower than in IB/consulting/law unless you run into the people that started in one of those fields and later transitioned into a tech outfit.

So I found my self back in banking at a BB, and spent a few years in the game before experiencing the feelings you have right now - I viewed the job as a long series of presentations, politics and insignificant work; I looked at the Uber's of the world with admiration and I wanted to be somewhere significant and doing something significant. My outlook was laced with a misguided idealism, looking back now in hindsight.

I left and set out to start anew and find a fit, but my background was more international and there were practical realities that I had to face which made things a lot more difficult than had I started in NYC or was an American citizen for that matter.

But beyond that, my experience taught me a ton about the different career options and the limitations and opportunities that come with each path. Above all, you need to understand who you are as a person and what your strengths are: self awareness is the foundation to stability because it allows you to make choices which hopefully yield outcomes favourable to your situation and personality and strengths.

If you thrive on developing social relationships and winning business excites you, you're a business development guy - and banking is amongst the more interesting options down the line. If you're a more introverted and geeky guy that likes numbers and due diligence and modelling 13 scenarios, you're a buy side guy and should work to transition there because long term you won't be a bread winner in IB. These are examples.

But anything you choose you just simply need to accept that the junior years will suck to a degree and you'll be doing the mundane tasks and taking orders from people that you may not even respect. This is all the cost to advancing to the more interesting levels.

You need to accept the system; if you do and you manage to play the game, it'll be to your massive advantage. But if you fight it or rebel against it, it'll crush you. No matter how good a player you are, every video game puts in place pre-set conditions for you to advance to the next level and life and your job is very much the same in this respect.

Don't bet your self down and hang a negative cloud over the very positives positon you're in; people will notice. You need to own it, learn to it unconditionally well, and stay positive and vigilant. Do some reflective thinking and due diligence and experiment, within reason, without derailing your career path. It's okay to try things, but do it with conviction.

Good luck and stay positive!

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Funniest
Dec 18, 2018

I keep a running list of backup options in case I ever get fed up with banking/finance and just say fuck it. Here are my current top 3:
1. Move to Alaska and live off the land "Into the Wild" style
2. Join and military and try to go Tier 1 special forces
3. Train for a few years and then try to join Cirque du Soleil

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Dec 18, 2018

Why this hasn't gotten more bananas Im not sure...

Add 4. yearlong backpacking tour of the world

Dec 18, 2018

Hey dude, CHILL the fuck out.

I think the common denominator among all the replies here is that you need to first figure out what it is that you WANT out of life. What do you thrive at? What do you suck at? Where do you want to see yourself in 5 years? 10 years? 20 years? What are your PASSIONS and hobbies? Don't have any? Develop them! Get curious! It might not be now, but if you continue to work, collect your paychecks, and develop your passion, you might stumble upon an idea worth exploring. Or you might quit your job and find satisfaction working somewhere that doesn't even feel like work. It all depends on what your goals are monetarily, materialistically, spiritually, physically, emotionally, etc. You have to define those first to be able to set course for where you want to sail.

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