Are hours of my life my only value-add in this space?
Pretty pessimistic post here, but currently working as a Summer Analyst at a boutique bank and starting to actually get a feel for what banking truly is as opposed to the superficial narrative everyone inside and outside of the industry submits to. With that, it's starting to feel like most of the work, specifically at the junior level, is less about critical thinking skills, intelligence, and financial acumen, and more so just about collecting and consolidating information for presentations and models. As a matter of fact, it seems like the only place that requires finesse in this industry is your people skills- looking good in front of the client, seeming intelligible, getting the client to bite on certain opportunities, etc. But, once again, you really don't have many opportunities to exercise that finesse as a junior person because you aren't front and center with the client. So given the relatively average talent required to do the work, it seems like the only real way to differentiate yourself from the competition is by putting in more time doing this cumbersome consolidation day in and day out so that your presentations and models come out crisp and you don't mess anything up. And this seems to make a lot of intuitive sense- since no bank can really offer a better product for their clients, the only thing they can do to compete is work their people until midnight frequently to get a slightly faster turnaround with a slightly more refined powerpoint deck.
So is that all this business comes down to? Are the "best and brightest" fighting their way to Wall Street just to compete on the basis of how much of their life they're willing to sacrifice to their work? The salary is certainly an incentive as is the prestige and "how much you learn," but I (naively) thought you would have to bring more to the table in these roles than just giving up your 20s.
Interested to hear A) if you agree with my thoughts or if I'm just a nihilistic incel and B) if I am a nihilistic incel- what do you bring to the table other than just your willingness to devote your time and energy to the deal process, more so than anybody else. Also, if you agree with my reckless analysis, but have some nuance to add, would be super happy to read about it.