Am I crazy to turn down IB offer?

As title says, recently received offer to join a lower BB bank as a "senior analyst" in M&A team, which I imagine just means analyst but up for associate promo after 1 year. This was once my dream but now that it's staring me in the face I'm having difficulty embarking on this path. For context I am ~4 years out of undergrad and a CFA holder.

Current position: Senior Analyst/Associate in Corp Dev/Corp Strat at a large CPG co. Work is interesting, hours are great (<40h on avg), 4 weeks PTO, small team including ex top PE shop and top consulting firm folk. Also, company is expanding into new areas so on the cusp of some interesting acquisitons/strategy work. Org is also going hybrid in the future, 2-3 days a week in the office. Downside is the usual corporate finance stuff - comp is fine but not great, path upwards is not so clear, but I still have a lot to learn at current level.

IB Job: Typical advantages would be the clear path upwards and ramp up in comp. However, I'm expecting to essentially double my hours to increase after-tax pay by ~50%, technically a title decrease as I'd be going back to Analyst, and I don't think the work would be more interesting than what I'm doing now. Supposed to go hybrid in the future but made it sound like that may be more like 1/day week WFH if anything, which reduces flexibility of course.

I do appreciate that the IB job has more prestige, and I do value that. I can also see the network may have value in the future. However, I have a hard time signing up for the sweat shop that is IB when I have such a flexible/high-WLB job - I would be earning more absolute dollars but my $/hour would decline. I'm also not jumping into more interesting work here like someone switching out of accounting/audit for example. Of course, this is still a material increase in comp, especially if I can by chance stick it out and make Associate +. However, I'm not sure if the incremental $ will truly be life changing (comes out to $35-40K a year after tax) whereas I'm sure working 75 hr weeks instead of 35 will, and I worry I may do my 1-3 years in IB only to exit right back out to Strat/CD anyway. 

Is there anything I'm missing here? It feels very strange to throw what was once my goal away but I can't help but feel like it looks a lot less appealing when it's in your grasp....

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Comments (18)

Nov 14, 2021 - 2:15am

Anonymous Monkey

As title says, recently received offer to join a lower BB bank as a "senior analyst" in M&A team, which I imagine just means analyst but up for associate promo after 1 year. This was once my dream but now that it's staring me in the face I'm having difficulty embarking on this path. For context I am ~4 years out of undergrad and a CFA holder.

Current position: Senior Analyst/Associate in Corp Dev/Corp Strat at a large CPG co. Work is interesting, hours are great (<40h on avg), 4 weeks PTO, small team including ex top PE shop and top consulting firm folk. Also, company is expanding into new areas so on the cusp of some interesting acquisitons/strategy work. Org is also going hybrid in the future, 2-3 days a week in the office. Downside is the usual corporate finance stuff - comp is fine but not great, path upwards is not so clear, but I still have a lot to learn at current level.

IB Job: Typical advantages would be the clear path upwards and ramp up in comp. However, I'm expecting to essentially double my hours to increase after-tax pay by ~50%, technically a title decrease as I'd be going back to Analyst, and I don't think the work would be more interesting than what I'm doing now. Supposed to go hybrid in the future but made it sound like that may be more like 1/day week WFH if anything, which reduces flexibility of course.

I do appreciate that the IB job has more prestige, and I do value that. I can also see the network may have value in the future. However, I have a hard time signing up for the sweat shop that is IB when I have such a flexible/high-WLB job - I would be earning more absolute dollars but my $/hour would decline. I'm also not jumping into more interesting work here like someone switching out of accounting/audit for example. Of course, this is still a material increase in comp, especially if I can by chance stick it out and make Associate +. However, I'm not sure if the incremental $ will truly be life changing (comes out to $35-40K a year after tax) whereas I'm sure working 75 hr weeks instead of 35 will, and I worry I may do my 1-3 years in IB only to exit right back out to Strat/CD anyway. 

Is there anything I'm missing here? It feels very strange to throw what was once my goal away but I can't help but feel like it looks a lot less appealing when it's in your grasp....

Most people exit out into corporate finance/development after a stint in IB. Are you willing to work those hours for the time and effort youll be putting in? That's really the question.

  • Partner in PE - LBOs
Nov 14, 2021 - 8:28am

If you dead set to hop into PE / HF, or stay in IB, hope on the IB train. Otherwise I'd stay put.

You mention 75 hours a week at the BB, which to me sounds light.

M&A is an extremely active group which gets absolutely crushed and 85-90+ hours workweeks would not surprise me at all.

The difference between 40hrs workweek and a 90hr/wk during live deals is mind-blowing. That means your sleep is likely to go down by a 16 hours a week, and your free time by 34 hours (which includes dates, dinners, friends, gym workouts, just everyday shit).

Why you would 2.5x your working hours from your current role is beyond me, unless MM/MF PE is your end goal. 

  • Analyst 2 in IB - Cov
Nov 14, 2021 - 12:13pm

Really depends on your current comp. Prestige is meaningless, don't let this forum brainwash you into caring about that shit. As an above poster mentioned, you are already where a lot of IB analysts exit to. If you're really only looking for a pay bump, why not just lateral into another CD/strat fin seat at another company?

If I were in your shoes and I was only taking the IB offer for "prestige" and comp increase, I wouldn't do it. Better off working those

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  • Associate 1 in CorpStrat
Nov 14, 2021 - 12:39pm

Current comp is a bit under $100K all-in, so you could certainly argue I'm under market at the moment and I have indeed had recruiters shoot me messages with opportunities to lateral for a pay bump. My understading is that this IB role would land around $150-170K based on bonus, which is a material step-up but as I mentioned in the OP after-taxes it's likely more like 35-40K a year, which isn't going to change my life, and you're correct that I could likely lateral to close that gap even more. 

The only thing I probably can't keep up with is the ramp-up in IB. You just don't see that in industry, the trade-off of course being great WLB. 

  • Analyst 2 in IB - Cov
Nov 14, 2021 - 1:52pm

Where are you located? COL factors into this equation. Yes you'll make more in IB but as you said you'll work twice as hard (maybe more as you'll need to ramp like you recognized).

Perhaps entertain these recruiters about lateraling and negotiate on comp. Sounds like you're getting some good experience so hopefully it won't be too hard.

Nov 15, 2021 - 1:04pm

I recently turned down an IB offer for something less traditional. Do what makes you happy.

Regardless of what everyone on this forum says, you can reach your career goals without killing yourself for 100 hours a week. Experience can be spun easily.

Sounds like your current gig is sweet.

  • Consultant in Consulting
Nov 16, 2021 - 3:16pm

I came here to say this as well. I did time in IB, left for consulting, and am now leaving for Corp Dev. I am chasing happiness, not prestige or all in comp. This is not a knock on anyone in IB, or those chasing comp / prestige. You need to figure out what matters most to you, and pick the career path that aligns most closely with that criteria. 

Most Helpful
Nov 16, 2021 - 3:28pm

This - I had a very non-traditional path into Corp Dev and battled with the whole "break into IB or bust" mentality earlier in my career. I won't lie it took a good amount of networking and busting my ass FAR MORE than any of my BO / MO peers at the time but I'm very happy having made it to where I'm at, have a supportive team, have gained immense deal experience, and am overall quite happy.

It is funny to look back and think about where my head was at a few years ago to now looking to hire a number of analysts / associates. Many of the applicants are current Consulting / IB analysts and associates and although many of them are sharp and capable it is clear that the skillset I've developed is different and tailored more towards "how things are done" in Corp Dev. 

Nov 15, 2021 - 2:23pm

I think it all boils down to which opportunity will help you achieve your longer term career goals. IB pays more, more "prestigious", and presumably has more exit options (PE, other funds, MBA, reso at Dorsia, etc.). But unless you see it tying directly to your career goals, personally I don't think it's worth it to chase short term incremental prestige/money just for the sake of it, especially if you'd be giving up WLB which you seem to value. 

Nov 15, 2021 - 2:52pm

You're doing cool work and working less than 40 hours a week. Sounds amazing. Unless you live in a tier 1 city, 100k goes a long way.

To give you perspective, I find it hard to exit. I feel like I am stuck in I banking because that's all I've ever done and I'm Vp/director level, so it's hard to lateral and hard to find something else.

I swear I would take a 50% pay cut for a 40 hour week immediately, no questions asked. It's not even the hours that suck for me, it's the constant stress and trepidation I feel every time an email comes in.

Nov 15, 2021 - 11:15pm

I'd stay in Corp Dev 

"If you always put limits on everything you do, physical or anything else, it will spread into your work and into your life. There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them." - Bruce Lee

  • Associate 1 in CorpStrat
Nov 16, 2021 - 12:59am

Thanks everyone - OP here and I've decided to turn down the offer. I do think this is a bit of a grass is greener thing I had going on but it would be really tough to imagine working 80h+ weeks for some more cash when my current set up gives me a comfortable living financially and great work life balance. 

  • Associate 3 in IB-M&A
Nov 16, 2021 - 2:29pm

Second all of the above advice. Your current job is clearly better and the hours increase is not worth it for the comp.

Just adding for future knowledge that most who lateral in at senior analyst have to do 2 full years as an analyst (2nd + 3rd year). Unless they'll guarantee the 1 year promote, this IB offer isn't worth much at your seniority level.

Nov 16, 2021 - 4:07pm

no, you're not crazy.

I always dreamed about IB and didn't break in when I was in school. I ended up in consulting. now, the last year and a half throughout pandemic I get HRs offering me IB positions on LinkedIn every week. I once dreamed about these positions but was ghosted by HRs, and now they reach out to me, and I ghost them, cause I make 70% of what bankers make while doing 2-3 times less work with 10 times less stress. fuck em.

Nov 20, 2021 - 7:36pm

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