Anyone was aiming for IB and suddenly lost interest?

Hey guys, anyone felt this way before? You were super ambitious about IB and did all the networking and read cover to cover the WSO Guides, WSP, Breaking into WS, Vault stuff? But..suddenly during the recruitment process you just lost interest in it completely, maybe due to stress of the applications, or someone telling you something terrible about the role? 

I'm not sure if it's just me being jaded and if I should turn back now. I think I'm falling trap to the sunk cost fallacy and feeling like it's a waste to not continue in the recruiting cycle and try to break into IB at a BB. I have gotten invitations to attend interviews and suddenly, I'm just not motivated and also fearful of the whole process (not knowing my technicals well). 

I'm thinking of walking away now in case I start wasting even more time, and energy doing all these interviews and superdays. It's just not exciting to me. The only thing I'm scared of is that is a temporary feeling that's driven more by fear, and that I'm just trying to justify to myself why I should give up now. 

I've always looked forward to the day I would get interview invites for IB but once that happened, I just felt a very deep sense of sadness. It's a complicated feeling and I'm not sure why I'm feeling this way. I guess shitting on IB would make me feel a lot better for pulling out of the game right now..

Comments (47)

Dec 17, 2021 - 10:16am
DevGru23, what's your opinion? Comment below:

These are very valid feelings to have as you face the interview process. It can seem very daunting. Not knowing anything further, I do think you're correct in that you have a temporary fearfulness now and are looking for reasons to quit. I think quitting is just a temporary fix. You've put in the effort, I'd recommend you see it through.

I felt the same way as far as technicals go. I actually was certain no bank would take me to the next round, after screening me for technicals. But I used that fear to prep really hard for the interviews. Think of it as a 10+ year investment. Don't waste that at the very end, at least see it through. If you don't get IB, that's fine, there are plenty of other great jobs out there, but at least you put your best effort forward.

Just my 2 cents. Good luck!

  • 6
  • Intern in IB - Gen
Dec 17, 2021 - 7:52pm

Unless you have another plan with what to do with your career, I say stick with it and see where it takes you. Say you get an offer and go and work and you hate it. Well then you just quit and now, with that experience interviewing and working you're better equipped to go find another career that suits you better. If you regret doing the interviews and IB its an easy fix, but if you give everything up to this newfound anxiety about the whole thing and quit then there's no easy way to get back in. If you're working some job in 2 years and decide you hate it and want IB then there's no easy way to break in, it'll only get harder.

I say stick with it. Doing challenging things makes you better.

  • Prospect in IB-M&A
Dec 18, 2021 - 12:42am

omg im in the exact same situation too. i did not study technicals but somehow I'm getting invited to all the interviews probably based on my strong internship experience (which by and large did not really involve pure IB work) . yeah i get the same feeling on how i don't know if i should be trying to cram the technicals. or the fact that I'm so underprepared means i was not meant for IB in the first place LOL

  • Associate 1 in PE - LBOs
Dec 18, 2021 - 2:04am

Three weeks is plenty of time. Just use the time as best you can to re-iterate all your learning. Sounds like you have a lot of interviews so you'll get better as they go on and be able to reflect on each one to better position yourself for the next. You got this. Good luck.

Dec 18, 2021 - 12:54am
TexasIBYehaw, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Was in a similar boat during my SA recruiting season. I come from a non-target was able to make it to a top BB. I'll give you the same advice one of my mentors gave me. 

If you don't have an alternative, you don't have a choice. It's tough to hear but coming from a non-target with the hopes of breaking into IB I didn't really have the luxury of sitting back and waiting to see what would happen. If you are at a target, then maybe you do have that luxury, but I wouldn't settle into that mindset. Maybe this is a good opportunity to learn about other industries (Tech, Consulting) but I would still strap in and focus on grinding away. It's going to suck for sure but the great thing about IB is the job security and the mobility post-grad. If you get in and you hate it, then you can exit easily. If not, then you will always have the "what if" feeling in your mind.

If you or anyone needs help studying for technicals send me a PM, happy to send you some solid resources or help in any way I can.

Jan 5, 2022 - 1:06pm
ITNAmatter, what's your opinion? Comment below:

This^ is all there is to it 

path less traveled

Dec 18, 2021 - 1:52am
Kevin25, what's your opinion? Comment below:

I was aiming for IB, applied when I wasn't yet prepared properly (was sophomore and just learned about IB), but because I was from a very good school, I got the interviews but failed them all and even didn't show up for the last one because I realized I'm not prepared. And so the next year I prepared like crazy and applied again but didn't get any interviews. So I ended up in consulting. Now after a few years, I really like my team and my comp and happy with life, and I get headhunters offering me IB and PE every couple of days on LinkedIn, but I ghost them cause I don't wanna leave my place.

  • Prospect in IB-M&A
Dec 18, 2021 - 2:56am

wow i can imagine how that felt. its like such a bad timing ! you were the most prepared for ft recruiting and it just didn't go through. i would have been so upset. I'm glad you like it in consulting. at least the technicals are useful to some extent in consulting.

Dec 18, 2021 - 11:11am
Kevin25, what's your opinion? Comment below:

yeah I was crushed, but I think it worked out for the better - the Universe sometimes knows what you need better than you do. and yeah, I do a lot of financial modeling in my current role, so I actually do what I wanted to do but with great hours (~40h/week on average, no facetime) and great culture (most seniors that I work with are very nice, respectful, and caring), and still make great money ($150-170k all-in as an Associate).

Dec 19, 2021 - 3:56pm
Mumbles, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Funny how life works out, huh? Glad you found yourself where you were always meant to be (for however long.)

Most Helpful
Dec 18, 2021 - 11:31am
Kevin25, what's your opinion? Comment below:

it's just crazy that you're given only one chance and it has to be by the time you're ~19-20. there are a lot of smart and hard-working people out there who only learn about IB later on, and then it takes a bit of time to figure out how interviews work and prepare for fit and technical questions, but by the time you're prepared you're already too old - when you're just 21 lol. the industry is weird, and it feels like it's intentionally structured like that to mainly hire kids from wealthy families. cause if your dad is a Partner in high finance, you probably know about IB when you're 17-18 and can prepare for interviews by the time you're 19-20. but if your family makes minimal wage, and you come from a small town where high finance doesn't exist, you have no idea about IB. but at the same time you might be way smarter and more hard-working than the first kid (from high finance family). 

Dec 19, 2021 - 4:11am
sul3man33, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Yeah, its a huge dilemma. There are literally no work arounds to being a late comer either. But this structure is ripe to getting disrupted in this leftward heading society. And good ridance to the traditional structures. Sure prestige whores will be massively upset, but tons of smart/hard working older kids deserve a shot. Non-targets too. Someone just needs to figure out how to market financial skills without traditional pedigree such as school name. Analogous to coding bootcamp/tech interviews for big tech, a true meritocratic process.

Dec 18, 2021 - 12:44pm
Gucci Loafers, what's your opinion? Comment below:

We get more dopamine by pursuing a "reward" than by getting it. So that's what happens with everything you aim for, once you get it it doesn't seem to good as you portrayed it. So it's totally understandable why receiving an offer doesn't seem as good as you thought it.

Personaly, I was motivated to get into finance but I got some months ago a position as an Intern in IWM and I noticed that I only wanted to have a BB brand on my CV despite all the rational reasons that I had for pursuing finance.

So I assume that everyone first needs to get there and then he can understand mainly his reasons. 

Dec 18, 2021 - 1:14pm
CollierV, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Kinda in the same boat right now. Trying to teach myself how to code in order to get a SWE Internship in around 1.5 years. 

  • Associate 3 in IB-M&A
Dec 18, 2021 - 1:28pm

Networking and interviewing SUCKS. I would take a few weeks off of applying, networking etc (you're good until after the New Year at least) and think about whether or not you would actually like the job, outside of putting all the work in to land it. Do you like what the role entails, optionality, are you interested in PE? You only have a few more months of interviewing left so I wouldn't give up IB just because you hate interviewing,

Dec 18, 2021 - 1:36pm
Dick Steele, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Happened to me over freshmen summer. I found out about IB in high school and wanted to be nothing but a banker. Then when time came to prep for interviews and network, I just didn't have the energy to put in much effort and realized I didn't want to do it as much as I thought I did.

  • Prospect in S&T - Other
Dec 18, 2021 - 4:55pm

damn lol how did u find out about IB in high school that's so early. I feel like i really heard about IB a lot 2nd year when all my friends started recruiting for it

Dec 18, 2021 - 7:41pm
NPV123, what's your opinion? Comment below:

I recruited for IB heavy and felt it was my dream job. As soon as I landed an offer I lost interest and declined. 😂

  • Prospect in IB-M&A
Dec 19, 2021 - 1:20am

yes exactly! this is something i sort of feel on a less direct basis, but i can foresee that happening to me as well. would you mind sharing more on the alternatives you had, and where you went in the end? you probably did so much cumulative work just for that offer, and to walk away takes a lot of courage !

Dec 19, 2021 - 12:18pm
NPV123, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Thanks for the kind words. I ended up accepting a role with a record label/publishing company doing investment analyses relating to record deals, publishing deals, and catalog acquisitions. I was able to leverage my IB offer in my negotiations so it all worked out fine! I'll work 45-50 hour weeks and make enough to live comfortably, albeit not glamorously.

Dec 21, 2021 - 4:18am
Kilo, what's your opinion? Comment below:

It seems to me that breaking into IB was only to prove to yourself that you could, which served as your only motivation whether you realized it or not. Once you proved to yourself that you could, you no longer wanted to pursue it.

  • Prospect in IB-M&A
Dec 21, 2021 - 6:30am

i love this comment! that may be very true for me. just wanted to prove to myself that i could if i wanted to. but no actual desire to take it up in reality.

  • Analyst 1 in CorpFin
Jan 5, 2022 - 4:51am

What did you end up doing after declining?

Jan 5, 2022 - 12:50pm
NPV123, what's your opinion? Comment below:

I accepted an investment analysis role at a music company (record deals, publishing deals, and catalog acquisitions).

Pay is more than enough to live comfortably, especially when combined with my wife's salary. Work is interesting. Great WLB.

Im happy with my choice so far.

Dec 19, 2021 - 6:55am
dojio, what's your opinion? Comment below:

I was in a similar position a half a year ago, applied to IBs and grinded interview questions etc. and got some interview invites. Realised shortly after that I actually wanted to do S&T instead, so I applied for SA positions that were still open and thankfully most of the questions I prepped for IB came up. Since you've already put in the effort, I reckon you should see it through and try to secure that offer (afterwards you can then think about whether you really want the job or not). GL

Dec 19, 2021 - 10:20pm
Incoming IB Intern, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Hey man, trust me I get exactly where you're coming from and its probably just that competitive nature in you that's starting to take away from the excitement now that you're so close to the end. But learn to not let that affect your performance and just keep up the same efforts you began with. If you made it this far then trust me they already believe in you, now it's just time to close out that fourth quarter and come back home with a W. Good luck on the interviews!

Also out of curiosity are you recruiting for summer analyst roles or associate positions. Just wondering since I know the majority of the banks are either hiring associates or full time applicants right now.

  • Prospect in IB-M&A
Dec 21, 2021 - 8:17am

Going through precisely the same thing right now. Not really sure what my next steps are yet. 

  • Analyst 1 in Consulting
Dec 22, 2021 - 10:19pm

Was very set on IB/finance early-mid college, decided halfway through that consulting fit my personality better. I've been working in the industry for 6 months and have zero regrets about not pursuing IB. It's totally okay to take a pause and rethink your options and actual interests.

Jan 5, 2022 - 1:52pm
outofpocketnontarget, what's your opinion? Comment below:

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Jan 5, 2022 - 4:58pm
ITNAmatter, what's your opinion? Comment below:

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path less traveled

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