Best Entry Level Positions

Wanted to post in the investment banking forum because it's the forum that gets the most traction. Everyone in their moms goes into undergrad if you're a business major aiming for IB. Assuming more than half of those people that gun for those spots don't get it, what other entry-level roles do you guys think are on par or even better than IB straight out of college? Obviously, PE or VC are some answers that come to mind, but most of those people that get those spots are qualified or even more than qualified for IB. Would love to hear your thoughts on this

Comments (8)

Jan 11, 2022 - 6:35pm

I went IB>corp dev>FP&A>corp dev. While I think starting in IB was the greatest career decision I made because of the attention to detail, modeling, presentation, etc. skills it teaches you, as well as the stamp of approval having it on your resume is, if a successful career in finance is what you're after, there are a million ways to skin the cat, so to speak.

Financial consulting (BRG, A&M, FTI, Big Four), restructuring (A&M, FTI, AlixPartners), Big Four auditing (great way to lateral to FP&A roles), F100 financial rotation programs (GE, Walmart, etc.), real estate asset management (not as familiar with this space, but the skillset is very's just a different type of asset), FP&A, strategic finance, analytics (casino operators, health insurance companies, healthcare IT providers), and corporate development/internal M&A are some that come to mind.

Jan 11, 2022 - 7:31pm

Equity research and S&T are fine career paths, but I think if you are trying to mimic IB, you will miss out on some of the operations component that you will be exposed to in IB. Equity research might do a somewhat decent job at forcing you to really understand the nuts and bolts of a business (so, similar to IB in that regard), but in my albeit limited experience, I have seen most equity research folks exit to investor relations or something similar; not to IB, PE, corp dev, or strategic finance; which I assume would be the end goal given OP's request for roles similar to IB.

Most Helpful
Jan 11, 2022 - 7:55pm

Equity research, asset management, portfolio manager, management consulting MBB, business consulting in Big4 & other shops, corporate finance advisory at securities firms, M&A advisory consulting at Big4 shops or boutique shops. IB for boutique banks (out of BB). VC. Boutique PE. Mid-tier PE. Growth equity PE.

As with atypical answers, people just love to generalise IB as pitch perfect starting point because well, wide entry point into everything else with those skill sets.

You could get similar wide entry point from Big4 audit. The problem is people prefer to hear the IB than the Big4 name ever since the scandals, & also the fact that people think the PESTEL analysis done by IBs are > robust than ones documented in an audit. For the mere fact that an audit reviews more or less historical information.

Things may be moving in a more dynamic situation now, given that alot of future gets reflected back into what is recorded as part of an audit to justify if those values should be what they are on the financial statements.

But judging by the lens, you can already observe that people care about a PESTEL discussion & market entry options & upside. N usually people don't like to talk about the downside & if the numbers are right. Nobody likes proving their numbers hence the slightly down vibe for Big4 audit. But its just a different perspective to work.

You'll gain similar grit through work culture, with the exception of not having securities commission checking with every transaction done as an IB professional, but PCAOB on the back of every audit project done. Suffice to say, Big4 audit = work like an IB professional (the hours), for 50% of the pay. Market still thinks its overpayment for a compliance work like audit no matter what is said or done, simply because auditors are not the ones presenting about expansion or acquisition prospects (usually expansionism gives happiness/excitement). Auditors are seen asking questions (which normally no business likes to be questioned/interrogated). xD

The reaction & response to these career profiles are simple, as a business owner, would u prefer someone coming up to you recommending you options of target companies for investments or how you want to fund your upcoming & new business plans when u are expanding your business or someone knocking your door to ask u about all the documentations that you had about a transaction u done maybe 1 year ago. Which discussion you find more rather intellectually stimulating & value adding XD

Every role has its ups & downs though. Even consulting, its a mixed bag of chips even if you at top-tier firms because it all depends on the projects that you get staffed on. Bad relationship with the resource management team? Don't even dream of coming out alive. Particular firm u at has no new project pipelines & you are not willing to take a plane to fly to other countries for those projects? Oops, missed the best project now u get staffed for a nearby project which nobody cares about. Make 1 small mistake, if the senior staffs start perceiving this new consultant as an average character with average performance & ethics? Words travel fast, you don't get staffed on most projects anymore & before you know it, they call it under-utilisation & out you go. The opposite can be true, no manpower. Send 1 person or 2 to handle a 5-man job. Or better yet, everybody on the team is new & nobody knows what they are doing xD. All kinds of wrong could happen.

Guess you just have to pick 1 with the maximum upside because every 1 of them comes with their own unique challenges.

  • Analyst 1 in IB - Cov
Jan 11, 2022 - 8:13pm

The big meme is that starting even at middle office roles start you off better than where 70% of Americans are in their 30s, but we all forget it because of our educational backgrounds.

Jan 14, 2022 - 6:24pm

Sint iste velit sit sint reprehenderit ipsum corrupti ea. Rerum voluptatum quidem cupiditate. Commodi enim illo incidunt aut aut.


Start Discussion

Total Avg Compensation

January 2022 Investment Banking

  • Director/MD (7) $1,977
  • Vice President (24) $388
  • Associates (153) $243
  • 2nd Year Analyst (87) $156
  • 3rd+ Year Analyst (15) $150
  • Intern/Summer Associate (65) $144
  • 1st Year Analyst (297) $142
  • Intern/Summer Analyst (226) $90