Deciding major - average IB compensation

I am currently a college freshman deciding to major in either finance or engineering. Assuming I get an IB analyst position at a BB and am an average performer throughout (I am really ambitious so I am confident I will be able to deal with the long hours, but then again, so can any IB analyst who is equally ambitious), what can I expect my compensation and net worth to be when I hit 30? What about 40? If I am average, will I lose out on lucrative exit opportunities? Or will I struggle to move from VP to MD? Will I hit a compensation ceiling if I am an average performer who works decently hard?

Sorry if these are naive questions but I am a college freshman figuring out the best way to maximize my compensation and net worth. I am not super passionate about finance or engineering, and I don't think I have the brains to become a rockstar in engineering and land the most lucrative software engineering roles, but I think in IB I at least can count on my ambitious nature to progress.

Comments (10)

  • Analyst 2 in IB-M&A
Nov 29, 2021 - 6:57pm

Analyst (2 yrs): $150-200k

Associate (3 yrs): $200-300k 

VP (3-5 yrs): $300-500k

Director (5+): $500-750k

MD: $750k-$2.5M (could be more, just depends on the bank and $ of fees generated for the firm) 

Hard to determine net worth as it will depend on savings schedule, lifestyle creep, wife, kids, etc. 

Nov 29, 2021 - 7:11pm

Which of these would you say the average IB analyst at a BB will fall into given that they are ambitious and work hard, but are not the cream of the crop in their analyst class? Because it seems too good to be true for the average analyst to be able to advance all the way up to MD or exit into those lucrative PE jobs. I am willing to work as hard as I can to reach MD/partner or recruit for PE, but at the end of the day, I acknowledge that I am quite average in terms of intelligence, EQ, etc. Just trying to figure out where middle bucket analysts would end up.

  • Analyst 2 in IB-M&A
Nov 29, 2021 - 7:16pm

Middle bucket analysts will make around $150-175k. Given you're 4 years away from receiving a first paycheck, those numbers will probably change depending on market conditions at that time. Compensation on Wall Street is fairly standard apart from a few outliers that either pay more or less. You also don't need to be at a BB to make $150k - you can do that from a MM firm as well, just an FYI.   

  • Analyst 2 in IB-M&A
Nov 29, 2021 - 7:24pm

Just depends. After working in the industry your thoughts / ambitions / passions may change. You can rise the ranks within IB, go to Corp Dev, pursue a finance role in a start-up, PE, VC, etc. The options are endless and that's one of the benefits of grinding it out for a few years. Being middle-bucket is the best kept secret in IB -- less hours with almost the same pay.     

Edit: Banking isn't full of geniuses - I just misspelled your with you're...

  • Analyst 2 in IB-M&A
Nov 29, 2021 - 7:36pm

Don't just assume you will get an IB job, it's a grind all of college to break in.. (assuming you're not at HYSP). 

Nov 29, 2021 - 9:08pm

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