AMA: Mid-career professional to top-bucket VP @ BB BO, thanks WSO!

GoingToBeAnMD's picture
Rank: King Kong | 1,450

I've debated writing a short or long post here. I initially chose the long option but it became way too long, no one would read it. So, I'll just give the short version: Yes, WSO has a lot of people that want to do the Analyst > Associate > MBA > Whatever dance. But I represent a mid-career professional that was able to move into a VP role at a BB. I had no banking experience - just a degree from a top 50 school and people able/willing to give me good recommendations. Basically, you can't have any "dead bodies" in your past and you must be able to present yourself and your skills well. I was fortunate to land this position and I am having an amazing time.

I just finished my yearly review process and I was given top-bucket ratings. I'm hoping that my experience will help those of you that don't end up in finance immediately after college - there is always hope that you can get there and still excel in your position.

Yes, this is BO so I'm not going to regale you with tales of fat bonuses. But my yearly raise was more than 4% and my bonus was 10%. In addition to that, the PTO offering is very generous and I never have to work more than 40 hours/week if I don't want to and I've only had to work 1 Saturday. For only 40 hours/week, you can do quite a bit worse than six-figure salary with a 10% bonus.

I am also willing to turn this into an AMA because so many people have approached me with questions about working in BO. I promise to answer as many question as I can. Here's some things I've learned in order to kick off the AMA.

  1. Sure, I don't make nearly as much as my IB counterparts. But how many vacation hours do you get in IB? Guess what - I get the same in BO! We both get the same benefits and I actually get to use mine!
  2. I was given 3 summer analysts last year and I will do the same this year, including OCR. This is something that I enjoy quite a bit and maybe I'll get to meet some of you at some point
  3. It took me a long time to understand this - don't do things for money, do things because you love them. My role is a specialty role (I'm being intentionally vague here) and that shows in my work ethic. When you love what you do, everything else (including the top bucket ratings) will come naturally to you. It's only when you do things that you don't like that you will struggle to impress others.

How I found WSO

Finally, I do want to share how I first came across WSO because I think it's amusing. I was doing a search one day about high end men's shoes and Google led me to the Fashion forum on WSO, talking about AE Park Aves and I explored the site from there. I think it's quite funny that that's the section of the site that I came through since it's visited so infrequently. I started to understand the entire "sub-culture" of finance that exists out there and reading through all the postings helped me prepare a bit for my interviews at the BB. I graduated from school just as the internet was becoming a "thing", I'm positive WSO didn't exist and information like this simply wasn't readily available. But it can still be helpful to people like me, in the middle of their careers, that somehow find themselves as a VP at a great BB :-)

Comments (10)

Jan 14, 2019

Here's the AMA I did on managing summer analysts: https://www.wallstreetoasis.com/forums/ama-just-fi...

Jan 14, 2019

thanks for posting!

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Jan 14, 2019

Thanks for posting! im currently in the junior year of my finance BA working in commercial banking. Not going to a target school but fortunate enough to already have my foot in the door of a bulge bracket. Although im happy within the company, im not currently happy with my department and im currently scheduled for a few job shadows in IB and the asset management group in the coming months. Any advice on potential departments that would interest me that are similar to IB or the role youre currently in?

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Jan 14, 2019

When you say mid-career....how long ago did you graduate from college?

Jan 14, 2019

15 years (or so)

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Jan 17, 2019
GoingToBeAnMD:
  1. It took me a long time to understand this - don't do things for money, do things because you love them.

This. Luckily it only took me a year to realize IB made me fucking miserable, but damn people there's more to life than working 80 hours a week and dying by the age of 60 due to lack of sleep / personal care. The money isn't worth it unless you TRULY love it

Jan 20, 2019

If you don't love something equally always take the one that pays more.

Jan 18, 2019

What are your general thoughts on small community banks vs. bulge bracket banks? More specifically, I feel the community bank I am a part of has a very vague idea of when to promote people. You have to show "certain characteristics and skills" prior to being promoted. For example, I have been told you need to show the bank you have the skills required for the job above yours, prior to actually receiving the promotion. Does this make sense to everyone else? Why not promote based on employees having a minimum amount of skills needed for the next job AND having potential, and let the employee grow in the job they just were promoted to? I guess I appreciate promotion points more than a vague idea of promotion points.

Do you think people respond to different questions based on who is asking the question? I see people all the time either agreeing or disagreeing with people based on what level the person asking the question is at in the company. Would you say this is an intelligence thing? i.e. the persona responding to a certain question in a certain way based off of WHO is asking the questions, probably isn't that smart. As they should be answering questions based on a thoughtful answer, and not just who is asking the question. I am guessing this is common phenomena in all industries, but I tend to see it more in banking, as banking can be more ambiguous.

Thanks for doing this,

Jan 20, 2019

If you aren't resentful already it sound like you may be going down that path. Find a job at a different place and apply for the type of job you are hoping to get promoted to.

Jan 20, 2019
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