Best/Worst division to work in finance

Hey guys, I'm a budding propective candidate to jump into the financial world.

From experience and hearsay, which division do you guys think is the worst or most boring to work in finance? Likewise, which do you think is the best division?

From my impression so far, I receive IBD is most popular and operations is the most boring.

I guess below is a list of factors to be taken into consideration (although some may be mutually exclusive):

-pay
-bonus
-benefits
-staff turnover (the fewer the better I guess)
-career development (promotional opportunities)
-degree of responsibilities therefore the range of self-exposure to the seniors and bosses
-creativity involved/ intellectual learning vs repetitive work but not intellectually demanding (whichever you prefer)
-life/work balance
-travelling opportunities to major capital cities in the world
-# of qualifications required (CFA, series tests,etc)-amount of extra input outside workhours.

Appreciate your opinion/arguments.

WSO Elite Modeling Package

  • 6 courses to mastery: Excel, Financial Statement, LBO, M&A, Valuation and DCF
  • Elite instructors from top BB investment banks and private equity megafunds
  • Includes Company DB + Video Library Access (1 year)

Comments (31)

Jun 12, 2008 - 12:26am

What's exciting to one person could be boring to another. There's really no "best" division, things like that are subjective. One could make an argument for IBD or S&T, but if you're better suited to Ops or Compliance, then that's what's "best" for you.

Please, read your post over.

You might as well ask: "What's the best flavour of ice cream? From my impression so far, vanilla is the most popular and eggplant is the worst tasting."

Jun 12, 2008 - 1:12am

I asked for opinions(+ arguments) - which can be personal therefore subjective.

Generally hence objectively, it seems to be IBD, since it's most talked about.

Therefore both subjective and objectives are welcome, if this specification is expressly needed for anybody (I thought this could be implied!)

Jun 12, 2008 - 1:32am

You can say all you want about flavors of ice cream, but the best divisions for career progression are those that generate revenue and earnings for the firm.

Everyone else in the building, including Ops, Compliance, IT, HR is there so bankers and traders can make money for the firm.

Don't get me wrong, the computers have to work and the trades have to be cleared, but if you're planning on making a career in finance, you are well-advised to look into working for the firm's core businesses.

Learn More

300+ video lessons across 6 modeling courses taught by elite practitioners at the top investment banks and private equity funds -- Excel Modeling -- Financial Statement Modeling -- M&A Modeling -- LBO Modeling -- DCF and Valuation Modeling -- ALL INCLUDED + 2 Huge Bonuses.

Learn more
Jun 12, 2008 - 6:51pm

Facilities does seem pretty nice...But I don't know, I still like the security division - the guards in the lobby that make sure the bad guys don't come in.

--------------------------- BossMode
Jun 12, 2008 - 7:54pm

Has anyone ever attempted to rob an investment bank sometime in the last hundred years or so? I don't mean electronically but rather a classic stick-em-up.

Jun 12, 2008 - 10:02pm
nauru:
Has anyone ever attempted to rob an investment bank sometime in the last hundred years or so? I don't mean electronically but rather a classic stick-em-up.

that would be retarded as the first couple of floors are simply check-in filled with security guard and there's umm... no cash?

Jun 13, 2008 - 2:06pm
SFGIANT:
Equities in Dallas

haha, good answer.


Either you sling crack rock or you got a wicked jump shot

-------------- Either you sling crack rock or you got a wicked jump shot
Best Response
Nov 1, 2009 - 2:55pm
  1. Investment Banking: Amazing exit opps (best out of the divisions) as you can go into HF, PE, a top MBA, management consulting, etc. Also, the pay is second only to a great trader, and the work is harsh but fun. Who doesn't love free seamless web and red flashing blackberries? Probably the highest prestige among gold digging whores (some of whom think traders are the guys who sail on boats with huge boxes of merchandise). Prestige, money, exit opps, and relative security (compared to trading) makes this division #1. Ability to travel (depends on the bank/group) are also a plus, especially if on a road show. Also the fact that I know at least 3 SEO hires with crappy GPA's get into S&T and get stuck on a sales desk just so the firm doesn't get a lawsuit.

  2. Trading: I'm going to split up this "division" into two groups. Trading would be #1 if it weren't for the exit opps. Trading is a specialized skill, its not exactly going to launch you into PE or buy side as well as banking. However, you can make a lot if you are good. Basically its riskier and has the potential to make a lot whereas banking is the more "safe" route. The lack of exit opps however make this #2.

  3. Sales: Usually lumped in with trading. There's a pretty famous poster over on the xoxohth boards who was in sales and realized he had 0 exit opps and also didn't make enough money (unlike the traders) to support himself after he left the business. He is now a teacher, aka bothered.

  4. Research: Lackluster job but you learn a lot. I see it as the younger brother of banking. Good exit opps but less prestigious and showy name (as well as LESS pay/bonus). If you tell girls you're in research they don't jump your cock like they do for the bankers. Most girls assume you wear a lab coat to work everyday and study mice. However, you can definitely make a lot once your VP/senior researchers die off or retires.

  5. Private Wealth Management/Asset Management/Investment Management: Known as different names around the banks but you get the idea. Don't get me wrong, when you are a baller 40 year old with multiple clients, you can make a shitload while doing relatively no work. However, at the analyst level it means pushing around paper, transactional work, useless projects, and putting in trades. Basically operations but you get to talk to clients over the phone and put in trades. Ask Goldman's PWM team for example, they LOOK for people who don't know what they want to do yet and therefore almost no technical questions or skills required. Asset management is a bit different but it totally depends on the group. For groups like TPD or Sales, you have almost 0 exit opps and the "sales" division in Chicago are nothing more than cold calling monkeys with barely a college degree. However, PEG and hedge fund strategies are groups that are considered legit. It varies by bank and I only know Goldman's so take my review with a grain of salt.

  6. Compliance/Lawyers: I'm not talking about the loser analysts who sift through emails (cough I'm looking at you girl I met at Goldmancough*). The real "lawyers" of the firm that represent and draft the papers. Glorified paper pushers but can definitely make a lot. Biglaw would fit into this though its not a division of any bank (aka Cravath, Sullivan, Skadden, etc.)

  7. Finance(Controllers): Most controllers I met are insecure and constantly brag about how they turned down the Big4. They also talk a lot about how great their job is, so I guess given how back office all sucks, I would put these guys up next. Internal audit blows but at least you are still in "finance".

  8. Risk Management: Usually considered middle office. Some banks (aka Goldman) do not have a seperate division for this and it goes into "finance". Seems like boring work but at least you get some interaction with the front office. Some middle office have been able to transition to the front.

  9. Operations: Depends on the bank but can be middle office to back office. Definitely go for a middle office role or trade support so you can actually understand the trades/positions and talk to the traders/sales desks. Some middle office have been able to transition to the front.

  10. IT: Fat guy with ponytail in an unkempt collared wso/">shirt (only because he has to. Beneath it is a star wars t-wso/">shirt). Either that or some Indian guy in Bangalore trying to tell me that my computer registry is screwed up and I have to reinstall everything when in reality I just entered my password in wrong.

  11. Services/HR: Losers who hire people and occasionally fuck the front office for gifts/money/etc. If in services, I guess you make sure the air conditioning for our buildings are working correctly and pretend you are architects.

Nov 1, 2009 - 4:55pm
1styearBanker:
1. Investment Banking: Amazing exit opps (best out of the divisions) as you can go into HF, PE, a top MBA, management consulting, etc. Also, the pay is second only to a great trader, and the work is harsh but fun. Who doesn't love free seamless web and red flashing blackberries? Probably the highest prestige among gold digging whores (some of whom think traders are the guys who sail on boats with huge boxes of merchandise). Prestige, money, exit opps, and relative security (compared to trading) makes this division #1. Ability to travel (depends on the bank/group) are also a plus, especially if on a road show. Also the fact that I know at least 3 SEO hires with crappy GPA's get into S&T and get stuck on a sales desk just so the firm doesn't get a lawsuit.
  1. Trading: I'm going to split up this "division" into two groups. Trading would be #1 if it weren't for the exit opps. Trading is a specialized skill, its not exactly going to launch you into PE or buy side as well as banking. However, you can make a lot if you are good. Basically its riskier and has the potential to make a lot whereas banking is the more "safe" route. The lack of exit opps however make this #2.

  2. Sales: Usually lumped in with trading. There's a pretty famous poster over on the xoxohth boards who was in sales and realized he had 0 exit opps and also didn't make enough money (unlike the traders) to support himself after he left the business. He is now a teacher, aka bothered.

  3. Research: Lackluster job but you learn a lot. I see it as the younger brother of banking. Good exit opps but less prestigious and showy name (as well as LESS pay/bonus). If you tell girls you're in research they don't jump your cock like they do for the bankers. Most girls assume you wear a lab coat to work everyday and study mice. However, you can definitely make a lot once your VP/senior researchers die off or retires.

  4. Private Wealth Management/Asset Management/Investment Management: Known as different names around the banks but you get the idea. Don't get me wrong, when you are a baller 40 year old with multiple clients, you can make a shitload while doing relatively no work. However, at the analyst level it means pushing around paper, transactional work, useless projects, and putting in trades. Basically operations but you get to talk to clients over the phone and put in trades. Ask Goldman's PWM team for example, they LOOK for people who don't know what they want to do yet and therefore almost no technical questions or skills required. Asset management is a bit different but it totally depends on the group. For groups like TPD or Sales, you have almost 0 exit opps and the "sales" division in Chicago are nothing more than cold calling monkeys with barely a college degree. However, PEG and hedge fund strategies are groups that are considered legit. It varies by bank and I only know Goldman's so take my review with a grain of salt.

  5. Compliance/Lawyers: I'm not talking about the loser analysts who sift through emails (cough I'm looking at you girl I met at Goldmancough*). The real "lawyers" of the firm that represent and draft the papers. Glorified paper pushers but can definitely make a lot. Biglaw would fit into this though its not a division of any bank (aka Cravath, Sullivan, Skadden, etc.)

  6. Finance(Controllers): Most controllers I met are insecure and constantly brag about how they turned down the Big4. They also talk a lot about how great their job is, so I guess given how back office all sucks, I would put these guys up next. Internal audit blows but at least you are still in "finance".

  7. Risk Management: Usually considered middle office. Some banks (aka Goldman) do not have a seperate division for this and it goes into "finance". Seems like boring work but at least you get some interaction with the front office. Some middle office have been able to transition to the front.

  8. Operations: Depends on the bank but can be middle office to back office. Definitely go for a middle office role or trade support so you can actually understand the trades/positions and talk to the traders/sales desks. Some middle office have been able to transition to the front.

  9. IT: Fat guy with ponytail in an unkempt collared wso/">shirt (only because he has to. Beneath it is a star wars t-wso/">shirt). Either that or some Indian guy in Bangalore trying to tell me that my computer registry is screwed up and I have to reinstall everything when in reality I just entered my password in wrong.

  10. Services/HR: Losers who hire people and occasionally fuck the front office for gifts/money/etc. If in services, I guess you make sure the air conditioning for our buildings are working correctly and pretend you are architects.

this is pretty funny. I dont agree but funny

Nov 1, 2009 - 4:31pm

When starting out...I would definitely rank research above sales for just overall learning opps...a lot of the best researchers view sales as the best exit opp. The thing with research is that you learn a ton - but who knows if what you know is relevant 10 years from now, and you have to really drive yourself to separate yourself. I'd argue traders (the good ones) are by far the most intelligent, and bankers have the most tangible, transferable skillsets.

Nov 1, 2009 - 4:52pm

How good at golf does one have to be to get high up in PWM? I heard you can't make it past the VP-level without having a sub-5 handicap.

Nov 1, 2009 - 7:03pm

...I wouldnt dog sales so much. I am not a salesman, but I think i am only barely exagerating when i say that never has their been a profession in the history of mankind where one can be a complete and total moron, put in very little actual effort side from being sociable, and yet make millions of dollars. If you can be a succesful salesman it is really 0 stress and can make well into 7 figures per year. Being a succesful trader can make you even more money, but the stress is far far greater.

Nov 1, 2009 - 7:05pm

Temporibus magni voluptates temporibus molestias dolorem recusandae. Quibusdam omnis dignissimos ea quis ut vel fugiat. Natus nostrum excepturi a. Incidunt quam dolore et odio aliquam adipisci voluptas. Qui eum velit voluptas recusandae. Molestiae ratione deleniti minima architecto et.

Eaque tenetur doloribus nostrum ut non et. Nisi porro cum quibusdam omnis. Non deleniti vel reprehenderit cum ducimus aliquid. Voluptatem consequatur et autem dignissimos.

Start Discussion

Total Avg Compensation

September 2021 Investment Banking

  • Director/MD (10) $853
  • Vice President (38) $367
  • Associates (218) $232
  • 2nd Year Analyst (130) $153
  • 3rd+ Year Analyst (30) $147
  • Intern/Summer Associate (102) $144
  • 1st Year Analyst (478) $135
  • Intern/Summer Analyst (375) $82