Alternative careers - Good alternatives to banking?

There've been a couple of posts on this board about good alternatives to banking. Some of you think consulting is better, or law school, or the Special Forces, or what have you.

Well, I want to put my two cents in. If I could go back in time and make all my choices again, I wouldn't be an analyst. I'd be a career criminal. Just think about it.

The benefits of doing time in jail instead of an analyst's cube:

In jail, you get to sleep. A lot. Probably at least double the hours that I get.
You get to read all the books you want. I haven't read a book since I started.
You get to make occasional private phone calls to your family. As for me, I can't remember the last time I talked to my mother without the whole floor being able to hear me.
You get to exercise on a daily basis. Analysts don't. I sure as hell don't.
Your cell is bigger than a cubicle, AND it contains a toilet -- no walking across the whole damn floor every time you need to pee.
You have the right to get laid. They even give you some time and privacy for your conjugal visit. In contrast, it's been forever since I had time to get laid.
You get haircuts in jail. I've been trying to find time to get one since December. My split ends have split ends.
If you're sick in jail, you get healthcare. As an analyst, good luck finding time.
If you get REALLY sick in jail, you get a doctor. As an analyst, you just keep putting it off until you get better on your own or end up in the hospital.
In jail you have the right to bathe and groom yourself every day. As an analyst, those things sometimes have to take a back seat.

Sure, in jail you may not have the freedom to go anywhere. Your social life is over. You may even only see sunlight once or twice a week. Your family and friends may give up on you. You become a social pariah, of course. People look down on you for screwing up your life so badly. And if you ever manage to get a parole, it can be very hard to make the transition back to life on the outside.

Seriously, though, how different is that from banking?

WSO Elite Modeling Package

  • 6 courses to mastery: Excel, Financial Statement, LBO, M&A, Valuation and DCF
  • Elite instructors from top BB investment banks and private equity megafunds
  • Includes Company DB + Video Library Access (1 year)

Comments (113)

Mar 31, 2007 - 11:12pm
nirav34:
Perfect example why women aren't making any strides in the world than men. Ya ya, don't give me all the bs about women in executive positions.

...

What are you talking about? Did you accidentally post in the wrong thread?

Apr 1, 2007 - 11:45am

Great post! Dunno about the benefit of having to carry a shank over having to have a lawyer for personal protection, but this venture guy from Boston has a similar "grass is always greener" post about startups, VC, PE and Hedgies. There's a running comp for guessing which one's better (well...not really...I made that up but check out the post anyway).

http://bostonvcblog.typepad.com/vc/2006/01/the_grass_is_al.html

Marijuana leads to Doritos, not harder drugs.
Apr 1, 2007 - 11:56am

btw: for those interested, the hot opportunities are in white collar crime...particularly in the Romanian mob...they're hiring for all sorts of online identity fraud scams

the benefits? travel (of course!), plus seriously impossible evidentiary burden of proof and jurisdictional issues - so in case you do get pinched, the prosecutors probably won't make it stick..and if they do, forget super max - you'll be doing minimum time in a nicely air conditioned, federal country club where the only things softer than the pillows are the guards

bankerella:
There've been a couple of posts on this board about good alternatives to banking. Some of you think consulting is better, or law school, or the Special Forces, or what have you.

Well, I want to put my two cents in. If I could go back in time and make all my choices again, I wouldn't be an analyst. I'd be a career criminal. Just think about it.

The benefits of doing time in jail instead of an analyst's cube:

In jail, you get to sleep. A lot. Probably at least double the hours that I get.
You get to read all the books you want. I haven't read a book since I started.
You get to make occasional private phone calls to your family. As for me, I can't remember the last time I talked to my mother without the whole floor being able to hear me.
You get to exercise on a daily basis. Analysts don't. I sure as hell don't.
Your cell is bigger than a cubicle, AND it contains a toilet -- no walking across the whole damn floor every time you need to pee.
You have the right to get laid. They even give you some time and privacy for your conjugal visit. In contrast, it's been forever since I had time to get laid.
You get haircuts in jail. I've been trying to find time to get one since December. My split ends have split ends.
If you're sick in jail, you get healthcare. As an analyst, good luck finding time.
If you get REALLY sick in jail, you get a doctor. As an analyst, you just keep putting it off until you get better on your own or end up in the hospital.
In jail you have the right to bathe and groom yourself every day. As an analyst, those things sometimes have to take a back seat.

Sure, in jail you may not have the freedom to go anywhere. Your social life is over. You may even only see sunlight once or twice a week. Your family and friends may give up on you. You become a social pariah, of course. People look down on you for screwing up your life so badly. And if you ever manage to get a parole, it can be very hard to make the transition back to life on the outside.

Seriously, though, how different is that from banking?

Marijuana leads to Doritos, not harder drugs.
Learn More

300+ video lessons across 6 modeling courses taught by elite practitioners at the top investment banks and private equity funds -- Excel Modeling -- Financial Statement Modeling -- M&A Modeling -- LBO Modeling -- DCF and Valuation Modeling -- ALL INCLUDED + 2 Huge Bonuses.

Learn more
May 30, 2007 - 12:37pm

Err...They money is a BIG factor. I prison your trading soap for a pack of ciggs or a POT NOODLE for a porno.

In Ibanker world your thinking about your Porsche Turbo parked up gathering dust and wife cheating on you because your never there. The money is what makes you happy.

Money - The root to all happiness.

Its a better life when you hit partner. If your still around.

And Im sure you guys in the States work your proverbial asses off for the same salary we Brits get her in London, and the Ibankers here get time to see their wives/gf and drive their SUV trucks over the weekend simply because after 9pm we all switch off (mentally).

Jun 17, 2007 - 6:21pm

Haha you Ibankers whine way too much...

I mean good God, you ACTUALLY have to walk to the bathroom?!? You poooor thing.

Hopefully that juicy bonus will make you feel better about your split ends...

:P

  • Anonymous Monkey's picture
  • Anonymous Monkey
  • Rank: Chimp
Apr 17, 2016 - 8:43pm

Alternative careers - Consulting seems to be better (Originally Posted: 03/13/2007)

There've been a couple of posts on this board about good alternatives to banking. Some of you think consulting is better, or law school, or what have you.

Well, I want to put my two cents in. If I could go back in time and make all my choices again, I wouldn't be an analyst. I'd be a career criminal.

Just think about it. The benefits of doing time in jail instead of an analyst's cube:

In jail, you get to sleep. A lot. Probably at least double the hours that I get.
You get to read all the books you want. I haven't read a book since I started.
You get to make occasional private phone calls to your family. As for me, I can't remember the last time I talked to my mother without the whole floor being able to hear me.
You get to exercise on a daily basis. Analysts don't. I sure as hell don't.
Your cell is bigger than a cubicle, AND it contains a toilet -- no walking across the whole damn floor every time you need to pee.
You have the right to get laid. They even give you some time and privacy for your conjugal visit. In contrast, it's been forever since I had time to get laid.
You get haircuts in jail. I've been trying to find time to get one since December. My split ends have split ends.
If you're sick in jail, you get healthcare. As an analyst, good luck finding time.
If you get REALLY sick in jail, you get a doctor. As an analyst, you just keep putting it off until you get better on your own or end up in the hospital.
In jail you have the right to bathe and groom yourself every day. As an analyst, those things sometimes have to take a back seat.

Sure, in jail you may not have the freedom to go anywhere. Your social life is over. You may even only see sunlight once or twice a week. Your family and friends may give up on you. You become a social pariah, of course. People look down on you for screwing up your life so badly. And if you ever manage to get a parole, it can be very hard to make the transition back to life on the outside.

Seriously, though, how different is that from banking?

Apr 17, 2016 - 8:44pm

It may be bad, but I've yet to be analy assaulted at the office. Figuratively, sure, but not literally.

-------------- Either you sling crack rock or you got a wicked jump shot
Apr 17, 2016 - 8:49pm

Wait... we get a Saturday off every two months? Did my staffer get this memo? Except for Christmas Day, I haven't had a day off since November. I would kill for a Saturday off every two months.

Apr 17, 2016 - 8:50pm

For guys, I imagine prison would be very traumatic.

I would just be a bum.

Nobody expects you to bathe, so you don't have to.
You get to drink all day and then pass out wherever you want.
You have no obligations.
You can find a shelter and get free food.

Apr 17, 2016 - 8:51pm

As some of you may recall, this notion's been considered before, by greater minds than ours. I believe a famous colleague of ours said it best:

"Would not do well in prison, to good looking"

<><><><><><><><><><><><><><>Once more into the breach, dear friends.
Apr 17, 2016 - 8:55pm

off topic, but is that you in your pic?

anyways, i would pick analyst slave than jail or bum. both are way to degrading. jail would be fine if it wasn't on my record and it didn't involve me being someones girlfriend and forced to wear wigs and suck dick for a pack of cigarettes for my pimp....you get the point...

Apr 17, 2016 - 8:56pm

Alternative Careers - Well paid alternative careers? (Originally Posted: 11/30/2012)

Anyone know what the well paid alternative careers are to IBD? Been focusing all my efforts on banking for the past few years, but have come to terms that I'm not going to get in regardless of what I do, so its time to move on.

Looking for something I can do which has a good salary/perks (I know nothing probably matches IBD but close enough is fine). And not medicine/something which requires 100 more years of learning haha. Anything else is welcome. :D

Apr 17, 2016 - 8:57pm

Renowned investment management firm > BB, at least IMO.

[quote]The HBS guys have MAD SWAGGER. They frequently wear their class jackets to boston bars, strutting and acting like they own the joint. They just ooze success, confidence, swagger, basically attributes of alpha males.[/quote]
Apr 17, 2016 - 9:03pm

SonnyZH:
Renowned investment management firm > BB, at least IMO.

which firms fit that category? 10 top names in random order would be nice :)

what is your opinion on Fidelity and M&G for example?

Apr 17, 2016 - 8:58pm

Well I would say start your own company but with the attitude presented in your original post I would also say that is out the window. Way to sell yourself short bro.

Frank Sinatra - "Alcohol may be man's worst enemy, but the bible says love your enemy."
Apr 17, 2016 - 9:01pm

Engineering/Technology is always a good field, but you need to be handy with numbers.

If you are struggling in Calculus, don't bother with engineering or tech. You've got several tough years of math ahead of you otherwise.

Yes, there is some competition, but the *good* programmers in Mumbai and Beijing have even better lives, PPP-adjusted, than the good programmers in New York/California.

Apr 17, 2016 - 9:04pm

SonnyZH - yea please tell us what firms fit into this category :)

Yeahright - I already own a business ;)

Rothyman - thanks for the recommendation!

IlliniProgrammer - I'm good at Calculus. Will PM you for more info...

Apr 17, 2016 - 9:09pm

Private Wealth Management, Institutional Investment Management, Trading, Consulting, Independent Research, there's a ton of alternatives to banking. While they might not all pay as well, if you find the area you enjoy the most success will follow. The best part about this type of success is that it's material and psychological.

Talent is hitting a target no one can hit. Genius is hitting a target no one can see.
Apr 17, 2016 - 9:10pm

Other interesting positions after banking? (Originally Posted: 11/24/2009)

Has anyone gone to a non-traditional PE/HF position after one or two years of banking? Or gone onto found their own company/etc?

I know guys do this, just looking to see what other non-traditional paths are out there.

I'm a first year, and though I'm pretty fortunate to have a job, I'm really not enjoying banking, largely bc I think I'm getting a bad experience. Regardless, I'm aiming to leave in a year, and haven't thought about what to consider (obv wouldn't leave without something secured). I know that PE is not for me (though I was really interested when I first started banking)

Just curious what else is out there

Apr 17, 2016 - 9:12pm

Solid position to get into post IBD is development in the firm who's industry group is specific to your product group--Development is essentially just M&A except company specific. Pretty phenomenal job, but obviously requires prior experience

Apr 17, 2016 - 9:17pm
Directour:
Solid position to get into post IBD is development in the firm who's industry group is specific to your product group--Development is essentially just M&A except company specific. Pretty phenomenal job, but obviously requires prior experience

hey Directour...are you talking abut something like corporate development??

Apr 17, 2016 - 9:13pm

Think first about the things you really like and don't like about your job. Are you considering only finance-related options or looking to cast a broader net? You have lots of options after 2 years at an IB, but it's difficult to give you any guidance without knowing the things you like and really don't like.

Gotta Mentor Connect to the Advice & People You Need to Achieve Your Career Goals
Apr 17, 2016 - 9:15pm

Real estate--lots of different things in real estate. You'll take a fairly decent pay cut coming from investment banking, but you'll eventually make up for it if you learn, learn, a thousand times learn. So much money in this industry. Real estate isn't intellectually challenging, however--that is, until you get a major project (maybe it's a project with your own money), then you realize how challenging and demanding it is.

Array

Apr 17, 2016 - 9:22pm

Thanks guys -

I'm probably more interested in a strategy type role, whether it be in F500 or startup. I realize not doing 2 full years in banking is a hindrance though to a lot of positions.

formerMD - I'm not focused on finance only roles, and am very open. I do like the technical side of finance, but would be interested in roles in startups, or in positions that deal with markets to a certain extend (asset management, hedge funds).

Any advice you can give would be helpful - basically I just want to be proactive but under the radar about it right now - since quite frankly I'm pretty miserable, and would rather change it than just suck it up.

...sorry about the rant...it's been a long few weeks

Apr 17, 2016 - 9:23pm

What other careers did you consider? (Originally Posted: 01/07/2010)

For those of you in the industry, and banker wannabes alike, what other careers did you consider in your quest?

Apart from trading, I never gave any other careers much thought but decided I would use this year to get a taste of what else is out there. Currently have an offer for a 2 week vacation scheme (spring internship) at a top 5 US law firm and am wondering why not many people outside of those studying law degrees consider law (upside: more certainty in pay as comp is mostly made up of salary, more job security in economic downturns, lockstep bonuses so less pressure to outperform peers etc)

I know there are already threads on law, but am wondering what other careers [consulting, law, f500, trading, IBD, Asset Management, civil service, NGO etc) you guys considered and perhaps worked in, why you wrote them off, and what you finally decided on.

Apr 17, 2016 - 9:26pm

I wanted to be a history professor when I was younger until I realized it would be better to just have it as a hobby rather than a paying career.

Apr 17, 2016 - 9:27pm

Seriously, working for CSIS (the Canadian CIA equivalent...I was halfway through the job app before I got my FT offer), going to law school, or being a movie or sports agent.

So basically, the choice was make a shitload doing something I like or do something I might love and not make as much. I think it's a fair tradeoff.

Apr 17, 2016 - 9:30pm

When I was a Junior in college, I had two internship offers. One was to work in the IT division of a financial services firm, the other was to be a "video game tester" for a online RPG start-up. I ended up choosing the tech job, which led to exploring IB, and now here I am today working in PE.

Every now and then I wonder what would happen if I had worked at the video game company. In fact, when I was looking at PE opportunities, I also considered working in biz. dev. for the same video game company.

CompBanker

Apr 17, 2016 - 9:31pm

I have considered being a lawyer before and did several internships in different law firms but I really didn't feel like it.

I remember doing one in a small shop specialized in penal law (making sure that every druken ass or drug dealer has a legal defense) and I still clearly remember real pictures from crime scenes (dead bodies, broken faces, beaten child and all this crap).

> The whole law thing is very far from "Law and Order" and "CSI" (didn't exist at that time though).

Apr 17, 2016 - 9:32pm

Thought about law in hs, but decided business was a better fit. Started out with an internship in commercial banking, found that boring. Did an internship at F100 and found that stimulating but not as impacting enough. Takes forever to see an idea go through, so IB it is.

Apr 17, 2016 - 9:36pm

Fighter pilot from age of 12 to 17. Had the grades/courses/on the right track. Middle of military college application process when I severely dislocated a shoulder during wrestling match. Recruiter told me chances are "much slimmer" of ever flying (almost fell into depression, btw). Decided not to sign away almost a decade of my life to the military if I wasnt going to fly.

First settled for an accounting career (aka, had no ambition). 1.5 years into college, I learned about IB, and since then, haven't looked back.

Apr 17, 2016 - 10:13pm
Mezz:
Fighter pilot from age of 12 to 17. Had the grades/courses/on the right track. Middle of military college application process when I severely dislocated a shoulder during wrestling match. Recruiter told me chances are "much slimmer" of ever flying (almost fell into depression, btw). Decided not to sign away almost a decade of my life to the military if I wasnt going to fly.

First settled for an accounting career (aka, had no ambition). 1.5 years into college, I learned about IB, and since then, haven't looked back.

Reminds me of Little Miss Sunshine when the son can't be a pilot because he's color blind. Some things were never meant to be.

Since visiting France I've been dreaming of running my own vineyard. Check back with me in 5 years.

Apr 17, 2016 - 9:37pm

Wanted to be a surgeon when I was younger, then got to ap's in hs and realized science and I hate each other. Interned at a law firm for a few summers, which turned me off completely to big law. Contemplated (still contemplating, though further down the line) trying to do something with econommic development somewheres in the third world. Applied to State Department, got dinged.

Apr 17, 2016 - 9:38pm

all the things i really want to do don't make money or if they do have a very low success rate. so i will do those after i have money. i do enjoy finance, but do see it as a means and not the end. still thinking about law though.

Apr 17, 2016 - 9:40pm

Professional baseball player. Seriously. Drafted in the 48th round.

Apr 17, 2016 - 9:42pm

Funny, shoulder problems derailed me as well (tore my rotator cuff in my freshman year and again in my sopohmore year) I exaggerated about being drafted out of HS, but was offered a FA minor league contract, but when you're as good as a last pick in a ~50 round draft and your probability of making it to the show is about .01%, they don't really feel the need to pay you more than $10,000 per season... Which is absurd.

I'm fairly certain I'll make more in my first year of banking than I would have made in total over the past five years.

Apr 17, 2016 - 9:45pm

Considered being a hitman

################################################# I am the Man. I Have the Plan. Follow Me to the Promised Land.
Apr 17, 2016 - 9:46pm
BBMMBoutique:
Considered being a hitman

Might be awkward when having to talk about your successful projects during interviews or on your MBA application...

CompBanker

Apr 17, 2016 - 9:47pm

Worked for Dexter

################################################# I am the Man. I Have the Plan. Follow Me to the Promised Land.
Apr 17, 2016 - 9:49pm

Genuinely surprised by the scope of careers considered above. Before university, I also considered playing basketball professionally (had trials for the UK team) but I decided my height would hinder me (only 6"0). Also considered pharmacy, but worked in a pharmacy for two years prior to university and got sick of seeing sick people all the time. I did enjoy the chicks coming in for morning after pills though.

Apr 17, 2016 - 9:55pm

Initially seriously considered doing a career as a military officer--ideally some sort of special forces (lots of family background in that). Was talked out of that and set my sights on S&T. Somehow ended up in ib though...

Apr 17, 2016 - 9:56pm

wanted to be in SWAT team or Navy Seals.. I think I must have been way too exposed to such movies..
but found out that was impossible so here i am working in the bank..
but till today I have always wanted to be a food critic.. man who doesnt want to be paid just to eat??!!

Apr 17, 2016 - 9:57pm

Just going into college.

Other than finance (not even sure what kind I like yet) I would like being:

A professional chef, but the pay is bad and only a few make any money
A food critic, but journalism is extremely hard to rank up in and the pay starts low
A patent lawyer, but I don't like engineering enough to do it

Apr 17, 2016 - 10:02pm

Cop...

If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses - Henry Ford
Apr 17, 2016 - 10:06pm

Professional basketball player until 10th grade or so when I realized I was white. Then professional soccer player till I realized I was still white again in 11th grade.

Realistically though --- IBD, PE, Real Estate, Law and Entrepreneurship. I want to start my own REPE shop focused on investments here in China one day... and get a JD/MBA first to help me do that... it's a long term goal, admittedly.

Apr 17, 2016 - 10:08pm

F500 Company, (mostly electronics)
Computer Game Company
Marketing
Marine-tine Lawyer
Entrepreneur (still might)

Never learned about consulting until late junior year. IBD roughly the same time.

----------------------------------------------------------------- Hug It Out
Apr 17, 2016 - 10:14pm

Age range: Career
4-6: Batman
7-9: Air Force Pilot
10-12: Video Game developer
13-14: Accountant/ Marketing/ Economist/ Engineer
15-16: Equity Trader
16-18: Hedge Fund Manager

I win here, I win there...
Apr 17, 2016 - 10:11pm

Hrm let's see:

Finance (currently)
Law (was kinda going back and forth between Finance and law, it's definitely on the backburner)
Military or CIA (last resort if no job, Intel for any branch, really)
Politics (working for CATO or Reason or something like that, realized I think people are too stupid)

When I was younger I was always interested in the military, I just can't get my mind around being told what to do 24/7/365 for 4 years.

"You stop being an asshole when it sucks to be you." -IlliniProgrammer "Your grammar made me wish I'd been aborted." -happypantsmcgee
Apr 17, 2016 - 10:12pm
Denver Monkeyannabe:
Military or CIA (last resort if no job, Intel for any branch, really)

LOL CIA as a last resort is ridiculous beyond words...

If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses - Henry Ford
Apr 17, 2016 - 10:15pm

Other Careers other than Trading (Originally Posted: 01/26/2011)

So I have a question. What are other careers you can achieve with a heavy markets education. Lets say Options, Futures, portfolio management, Investments and Technical Analysis. Other than being a trader or a broker (lets say you never make it to S&T) what else can you do? Or are you just S.O.L. ?

Apr 17, 2016 - 10:19pm
If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses - Henry Ford
Start Discussion

Total Avg Compensation

May 2021 Investment Banking

  • Director/MD (9) $911
  • Vice President (35) $364
  • Associates (194) $234
  • 2nd Year Analyst (110) $151
  • Intern/Summer Associate (96) $145
  • 3rd+ Year Analyst (26) $145
  • 1st Year Analyst (404) $131
  • Intern/Summer Analyst (329) $82