Anyone else just want out of this shit?

Came from an extreme non-target that had virtually no representation in IB (think: less than 5 people). Getting a FT offer was one of the greatest feelings knowing how much effort went into it after what seemed like years of networking, grinding, interviews, and constantly getting beat out at the superday stage by some MD's kid's best friend's cousin's brother who share an alma mater.

Now a 2nd year IB analyst in NYC and have been wanting out of the finance field entirely. It seems that the garbage culture and awful personalities have been fueled and magnified to the nth degree in the WFH era. I had always been the type to delay gratification, "put in my time, grind it out, etc. etc.", but it's gotten to a point where I'm asking myself what the fuck I'm doing with my life, and I know I can't be the only one.

I constantly debate whether the proverbial "exit ops" that are touted on this forum are even worth the stress and mental degradation you put yourself through. Even once you're at the holy land of PE/HF/whatever else you want to swing your dick at, there's never an off switch to the shitty culture and personalities you deal with. I see friends that work in comp sci, real estate, CPG-based companies making a decent amount of money, and see them having a fucking blast with their work-life balance, their happy hour events, company get-togethers, etc. and it just reminds me how fucking tapped finance culture is in general.

Can't help but wonder what would happen if the collective talent in IB / PE / HF decided to flip finance the bird and join different industries, make a splash and climb the ranks at an accelerated rate. Anyone else having the same thoughts or am I on an island on this one?

Also, to the insecure hardo 3rd year associates that will chime in with "WeLl qUiT iF yOu dOn'T lIkE tHe cUlTuRe / yOu kNoW wHaT yOu sIgNeD uP fOr / sOmEoNe wIlL gLaDlY tAkE yOuR sPoT". You're part of the fucking problem

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Comments (51)

Most Helpful
  • Analyst 2 in IB - Gen
Feb 25, 2021 - 9:17pm

The associates that think they're gods gift to the earth and look down upon anyone less senior than them, only to be a fucking simp to the VP's above them. It makes respecting them difficult when I see them as two-faced.

The VP's that create bullshit tasks for analysts to make it seem like they're adding value to the organization when in reality a good associate can do the job of quarterbacking a deal. 

The MD's that have no clue how to run a process and look to the people below them to hold their hand throughout. Might just be my group but one MD in particular literally backs his way into every mandate he's had and it's evident that he has no expertise in the sectors / deals he's trying to close. If you're an MD and your analyst / associate knows more than you about the sector your client is in and how to storyline a CIM, you've done something wrong. If you add arrogance on their behalf to the mix it makes me lose respect for you and makes me think of you as a shell of a human being whose life goal was to be a BSD but could never hack it, and is now projecting shortcomings onto the junior staff. 

The IB / finance culture just blows in general. Everyone is an asshole with a superiority complex (with the exception of a few great people I've met in the field). Like congrats, you went to an ivy, broke into IB at a good bank, and now you're king of the hill? Fuck off. You're literally pond scum in the greater scheme of things if you truly put things into perspective.

Feb 25, 2021 - 7:46pm

I am in the exact same position.  I worked my dick off to get an offer from a non target state school and when I did I thought I had officially made it just to realize I'm a complete bitch.  Brutal awakening and then you add the covid lockdowns where I haven't even met my owners in person yet so the entire relationship is transactional.  Can't wait to get out. Only benefit is I make 2-3x as much as my college friends but even that has caused resentment from them.  I'm moving into real estate as soon as I can. At least apartment buildings are cool to look at and most cre guys seem like they'd be fun to party with

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Mar 3, 2021 - 4:39pm

CRE is still a boys club, maybe not the same level of MD chip on the shoulder, 1/3 of the IS and Cap.Mkts. guys were bankers so there's still the underlying culture. MD's hiring clients kids to score an account, etc.

As the adage goes "the grass is always greener..."

And I Fking love it on this side."

Feb 25, 2021 - 7:52pm

Here's the answer: you need to figure out 2 things real fast as it pertains to marketable careers.

1. What do you enjoy doing?

2. What are you good at doing?

You need to list them out and find the overlaps and pursue those things. You'll end up making good money wherever it is but the more important thing is you'll be happier doing it such that the money is a by-product -- not the sole reason you're there. 

To answer your other question if buy-side is worth it. If you have being an IB analyst, you'll hate being in an upper MM to MF PE shop, 0 questions asked. You will feel the same instant gratification of updating linkedin which will wear off 6 months in as it always does.

Feb 26, 2021 - 11:01pm

Unless you're at one of the few large banks or in PE something like OTPP then you're basically working on dogshit glorified penny stock deals that are puBliC VeNTurE CaPiTal.

Feb 27, 2021 - 11:38am

It isn't better. In some ways it's worse because people are more willing to give into the shit because there's very few other high paying opportunities. This is the issue with hollowing out our actual industry over the last 20 years. 

  • Analyst 1 in IB - Ind
Feb 27, 2021 - 3:29am

Could anyone speak to the consequences of talking back to your Associate / VP? For reference, they tend to be sarcastic dickheads, and speak down to me. On top of it, my associate just sits there and says we should do ABC but then proceeds to make me do 100% of the deliverable. When he checks my work, he'll usually highlight minor mistakes, like commas, borders, etc. but will type out a full email and ask me to fix it, when it would've taken him less time to just fix it himself. Is this something I just have to deal with working in high finance, or is it just banking? I usually don't take shit from anyone, so I'm close to a breaking point.

Feb 27, 2021 - 4:00am

It depends a lot person to person but from my experience there are two main possibilities (weighted)

A) 30% of the time the guy will not take it personal and maybe even sees your point and things will get better.

B) 70% the guy will consider it to be a carnal sin and your chances of promotion are fucked given that you have higher ups against you. Your work will also get 10x as bad as they'll take any chance they can to get back at you.

FMO, not worth it to talk back unless the guy is pushing it too far.

To reply to OP, I believe that IB is indeed toxic. What works for me is to honestly not care. I know I am here because that's the type of job that I wanted and whatever clown show is happening around me is just part of it. I learnt the sooner you stop taking it personal/serious, the sooner you'll learnt to not care and see it as something else to deal with beyond the long hours you were expecting when you first started.

Feb 27, 2021 - 9:18am

Could you expand on why you choose to be in IB when you have to "disassociate" yourself from your work in order to keep going? Is it because the comp/exit opps are unmatched so you decided the culture is worth putting up with? I'd much rather take a pay cut (if not too significant), and be more engaged/thoughtful in my work, but it seems there really are no fields in finance that don't have a pay cut small enough for me to consider (think $100kish w/ 40-60hrs workload)

  • Analyst 1 in IB-M&A
Mar 1, 2021 - 9:42am

Are... are you me? I had to start saving threads of one Associate literally replying to every request email to higher ups "yes will do!" only to immediately dump 100% of the work and unable to give zero guidance or pointers or advice. I have no problem if the MBA Associate doesn't know shit since I like figuring stuff out especially with other people - I do have a problem when you refuse to acknowledge to yourself you don't know shit and give the analysts attitude, all the while taking credit for all the work. I sometimes check the work this Associate does on their own time to time only to see them make 3x the number of mistakes they like to point out, in addition to saving down files in the wrong place and obliterate excel backups that ends up taking up dozens of more gours to fix. Unbelievable.

  • Analyst 1 in IB - Ind
Mar 1, 2021 - 7:48pm

I'd be down to put together a Fight Night for Analysts vs. Shithead Associates across the street. Bet we'd make a shit ton of money.

Mar 3, 2021 - 5:09pm

On talking back -- If you don't plan to stay in banking you really only need 2-3 people to like you as a reference in the future. When I was an Analyst in banking I developed a solid relationship with a deal team in the group and would push back on others. That worked out fine for me.

On getting work dumped on you by the Associate -- this is something that's tough to deal with but usually gets exposed when you're flipping the deck with the MD and the Analyst is responding to all of the MDs questions. 

On highlighting minor mistakes and telling you to fix them rather than fixing themselves -- While this may seem annoying, it is because that is how Analysts learn not to miss that stuff. It's sort of like the kid whose mom always did his laundry that gets to college and now doesn't know how to do laundry. Gotta learn to do your own laundry.

Mar 5, 2021 - 4:04am

I was literally going to reply the same thing about comments, i literally can't understand why people complain so much about comments. How else are you going to learn the bigger things if you can't do the small things correctly? Wax on, wax off.

Mar 2, 2021 - 5:10pm

Always a choice between your money and your life. Most would agree that your younger single years are the best ones in which to "bank on tomorrow" and grind for financial stability and/or independence. Yes, staying in high finance forever may never allow you to fully shift the equation, but a move to F500 or tech might be ideal!

Mar 3, 2021 - 10:42am

Of course it's awful - if you didn't read this forum and realize the culture sucks before joining then that's kinda on you. I understand saying this means I'm theoretically "part of the problem" but high paying industries are always going to attract overachieving assholes. If you think that tech culture is all beanbags and ping pong tables, go read about some people's stress and WLB over on (granted their pay is way higher than most finance folks now). Put in your 2-3 years - if you hate the culture go to an industry group and work at an internal M&A / Corp Dev group. The work is similar but more interesting and has a way higher hit rate, and the pay at the associate level is probably 65-80% of what you would make in banking depending on the group, with probably only 60% of the hours. If you can tolerate similarly shitty hours then go to PE for another 5-8 years and you'll be making enough to have a very nice nest egg. Personally I couldn't stand the hours and industry pay was enough for me - I like having my evenings and weekends back.

Mar 3, 2021 - 11:58am

Everyday I wake up I have to convince myself not to send in my resignation that day. It blows and if I had ANY other job lined up I'd take it. But at least my dads proud that I work hard amirite

Mar 4, 2021 - 3:54am

Bro are you sure you're not having a grass is greener on the other side? Yes work at different industries tend of have a much fairer work life balance where most roles are 9h00 to 18h00/19h00 but very few firms will pay you like they pay at  a bank. Also sometimes the culture of such big companies are completely opposite where it can be a slog to get things done and if you're a go getter this can frustrate you as other people may not share your work ethic.

Moreover I think it is a fallacy if you think that if people suddenly left finance and joined other industries they would climb the rank at an accelerated pace. Consulting and banking have some of the most accelerated promotion cycles where as in other industries its a more long term process.

Also if you see from a role stand point in a bank you might be making excel files all the time but you do understand the financial aspects. At most large scale firms finance = accounting. There are very few roles that are more investment oriented.

Ultimately I guess at a bank you're trading time for money and as you said the question is if that is worth it.

Mar 4, 2021 - 10:38am

Don't think that RE has better hours, especially brokerage or REPE. I'm currently on the debt side with one of the top shops and the hours are 9AM -12AM every weekday with 8-10 hours of work on the weekend .

Seriously tired of all of the IB folks bitching about their lives when CRE cap markets makes half the pay, same hours and at 2 years you are either booted or going full commission.

  • Analyst 2 in RE - Comm
Mar 5, 2021 - 2:10pm

Yeah..... in my experience you're an outlier, unless you're working at a huge megafund. Most people I know in CRE are averaging 60 or less per week (less pay than banking of course).

Mar 5, 2021 - 1:07pm

I've been at that major life decision point you're at now. In my opinion it's worth it to leave. Other industries will treat you much better. I work in tech now and it's great. Maybe in IB you can after many years climb the ladder to end up making a lot of money, but you're going to pay a steep mental health price for it. I wonder if WFH makes it easier to be mean to coworkers in this field, sort of like what happened in the Milgram experiment.

Mar 5, 2021 - 1:11pm

I completely see your point. I moved over to a boutique and love it now. Hours are not that bad anymore and senior bankers don't waste your time with nonsense not needed because they are all also here for the work life balance. Regarding other industries yes I have a friend in fin tech working as a swe and makes $350k base after 3 years of exp and bonus from my understanding is about $75k which isn't bad overall comp compared to that he leaves the office at 5pm and rarely works weekends. 

Mar 7, 2021 - 3:10am

Your point makes total sense but here's the reality. You are in this job because you probably wanted to set yourself up for something better down the road whether it was a job on the buyside or industry (staying in banking for you is clearly not of interest). I can understand hitting a lull where you're feeling burnt out and questioning whether the brutality is worth sticking through, especially now with working from home and not having that proximity/relationship with your colleagues. So I'd recommend making sure you're sticking to the original goal of why you bothered trying so hard and succeeding getting into investment banking. If you're on the way to getting to your goals via this job, just power through as the rewards will far outweigh the pain you're likely going through.

Mar 7, 2021 - 3:13pm

I never worked in IB but I just accepted a role with a non profit. I feel kind of like Marshall in How I Met Your Mother. Going from working for the evil corporations to defending the little guys. I like to tell myself this is going to be great but part of me also thinks I am just telling myself that so I don't feel like a loser for not being able to get a job with the big guys

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