Or did you go into the industry to pay off college debt quickly, get a fat pay check, live in NYC and think you were going to become a millionaire.
And for the college students: Did your parents make you choose the finance major, or did you actually want to study it because you enjoy it. (or are you solely doing it for the money)
Seems to me like everyone i have talked to (both student and in the industry) have entered the industry for the money or the possibility of becoming a millionaire.
Why did you pursue finance?
For students or those pursuing a change of career - this can be a serious question. Below is some commentary and advice from users who faced this same question.
Money Isn't Everything
While money is the first thing that jumps to minds of many users - some users caution against pursuing finance with money as your sole motivation.
User @BSDBANKER shared:
The "Money" incentive only goes so far...Yes, it will help you sleep at night and take a lot of financial stresses off your shoulders, however if you are not passionate and enjoy your day-to-day job you will quickly find yourself being miserable.
Granted a job in finance is one of the few jobs that will return the money spent on higher education. Be passionate and love what you do and the money will come. The money is nice, but is not the sole nor the primary reason for my decision to enter the world of finance.
Many Users Pursued Finance because they Enjoyed the Work....
User @D M, a real estate associate, explained:
I think it also depends on what you're doing. I can see someone (hypothetically) working 70 hours per week as a PM at a hedge fund and enjoying the hell out of it. The analytical nature of it is so intriguing, and that's what gets to me. Similarly, I could see the college athlete or poker playing type type loving the trading game, going for that adrenaline rush. You're also not working 100 hours per week 99% of the time unless you are in, say, one of the top IB groups in the world.
@SalGr, an equity research associate, likes the entrepreneurial nature:
If I wanted just money I would stay in the family business. Financial markets are my passion. Plus becoming a trader is like becoming an enterpreneuer,your pay is related to your performance (unlike many other fields). Oh, and you dont have to wait till you you get 50 to get paid well...
User @BSDBANKER shared:
Completely agree...its much more than the money for people who are passionate and successful. ITS ALL ABOUT PLAYING THE GAME.
@baddebt88, a sales and trading analyst, likes the meritocracy of finance / Wall Street based careers:
I have wanted to be a trader since freshman year of high school. I always thought I would be a chemistry researcher but then realized what a clusterf*ck the grant process was. After that I thought maybe being a lawyer would be sick. Law and Order looked pretty boss. I realized after a short internship at a law firm that most lawyers are miserable. Being on the math team, I came across a math problem that used an options based question. Googled it, got real interested, got an internship at a trading firm in high school, absolutely loved it, and haven't doubted my decision since.
The biggest draw about trading to me is that its the one thing (other than pro poker) where its about about performance. Your pay/rank is directly dependent on your production. Considering I am an immigrant with a chip on my shoulder, there is nothing else I would do.
I think there is a point (SVP/Director) [where you have fun as an investment banker]. Once you actually have clients of your own, and an team to run. Some people just love running and closing deals. The problem is not really that there is no rewarding components, it's that they come much later in your career and only accrue to the few that make it up a pyramid that doesn't really promote on merit.
... But for Some, the Money was Critical
While some users find some level of enjoyment in their work @TropicalFruit shared that their sole motivation was the money:
I was never passionate about anything (besides a generic interest in anything quantitative), but since I was a kid I've always wanted to be obscenely rich. I grew up in a frugal-ass household where my mom always complained about lack of money, and my dad prob makes less than a 1st year analyst on the street. I guess my mom's complaining instilled in me a strong desire to get rich. Sure I'll probably never be a multimillionaire, but it's the possibility that keeps me going. I couldn't work as an engineer knowing that the most I'll ever make is around $150k/year (unless I start my own business) while a dumber friend of mine is making millions b/c he chose finance.
I find finance interesting because of the money. If finance paid the same as engineering and engineering paid the same as finance, then I sure as hell wouldn't give a flying fuck about finance and would be on EngineeringOasis instead. If you're genuinely passionate about finance, good for you, but please spare me the "you shouldn't be in finance for the money" bullshit. If all jobs paid the same salary, I'd become a music producer or something.
Why Finance Interview Question?
While it is important to figure out why you are personally pursuing finance, sometimes that answer isn't what you should say if you are interviewing. Check out our guide to answering this question here.
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