2/16/17

A question to all IBD analysts - do you feel fulfilled with your job? Does it give you meaning and a purpose?

Comments (24)

2/16/17

Why does this question come up so often for you IB guys? I'm legitimately curious... The RE, WM, HF and consultant folks don't seem to bring this up, at least in my experience. It seems IB causes an existential crisis of sorts by the 2nd year. Not trying to hijack your thread, I'm looking forward to the responses.

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2/16/17

Because a bunch of betas try to get into IB thinking it will give them that feeling of self-worth they've been missing.

2/16/17

Haha +1

2/16/17
Xiiixiii:

Why does this question come up so often for you IB guys? I'm legitimately curious... The RE, WM, HF and consultant folks don't seem to bring this up, at least in my experience. It seems IB causes an existential crisis of sorts by the 2nd year. Not trying to hijack your thread, I'm looking forward to the responses.

Because 90 hour workweeks with no weekends suck. Any sane person would suffer an existential crisis after a few years of that.

Glad I'm a quant. It's 60 degrees in Chicago, and we have a three day weekend. :-)

The good news: everyone who's worked long enough has a tough job, boss, whatever. Escaping that situation is an awesome feeling. Getting that situation out of the way early is smart, and that two week, six week, whatever vacation between your old tough job and your new better job is the best feeling in the world.

2/16/17

I cannot remember where I read this (might have been even been on WSO), but if you stop viewing your job as a central part of your happiness, you will be a much happier person. The more you depend on your job to give meaning and purpose to your life, the less happy you will be, unless of course you just live to work.

2/16/17

I honestly don't know what to say to you if you find your life fulfilled from IB analyst stint.

2/18/17

+1 SB

Overwhelming grasp of the obvious.

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2/16/17

You realize most IB analysts are under 30.
I hope your life isn't fulfilled by 25 or 30.

Seriously dude you can't save the world out of college. Wtf

2/16/17

No. But I didn't expect to. You shouldn't expect it to. I don't think anyone I know who works in any field who feels like their life is fulfilled by their job.

Best Response
2/16/17

Not to put down on anyone. Just trying to make a point. I have a good friend that I went to the same school (undergraduate). We met in 2007 so this year marks our 10th year of our friendship. Right after school, we took a total different part. And fast forward 10 years, our lives are totally far apart based on the priority that we set on our lives.

Let's highlight a few things about him. My friend is super charming and super friendly - like the guy that you would actually want to hang out with. He likes to party and enjoy a good time. He works for the UN and part time professional photographer. He travel more countries than I did and probably bang more chicks than I did as well. He is also an extremely social person.

The only challenge that he has is he has absolutely no ambition and no consistency to get things done. Every time I see him, he always have an idea of a new business but never follow though. He tried going to graduate school to re-brand but dropped out without finishing the program. He tried going into management consulting, which I helped him with technical interviews and introduced him to the right hiring managers - but he never took that seriously either.

On the other hand, right after college, I did BO/MO roles at several BBs (started as an intern). Finished my graduate program. Did IBD internships. Re-branded myself. Did consulting for a startup. Moved into investment banking. Launched my own firm - failed - moved on. Did corporate strategy for a major bank in Asia. Moved into a family office. Launched my initiative affiliated with the family and now working as an operating executive as well as a IBD VP - coverage group. Looking to get promoted to SVP before the end of this year. A few of my clients had asked me to take CEO/COO/CFO roles. A few regional funds had asked me to manage their Asia-focused funds (i.e TPG, KKR).

And my friend is still working in the low paid job at the UN, still banging chicks and having a mid-life crisis on what he has been doing for the last decade. He works for UN but it is not as fulfilling as many people would think.

In the end, what I am trying to say is that everyone has to put in the hours and grind through life to get what they want in life. There is no cure all solutions. Everything is equivalent of exchange - you reap what you sow.

So stop looking for meaning in life and fucking get on with this.

2/17/17

thank you

We're not lawyers. We're investment bankers. We didn't go to Harvard. We Went to Wharton!

2/18/17

"everyone has to put in the hours and grind through life to get what they want in life"

"stop looking for meaning in life"

Isn't it necessary to first find the meaning? Otherwise how do they know what they want in life?

2/18/17

want = usually it is a mixed of making money, staying healthy, and having good relationship with friends and family

we can spend days and days debating what constitute a good life but in the end it all comes down to three that i mentioned above. here is a study being done to support my point:

https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2017/02/what-makes-...

happiness

meaning = there is no meaning in life

https://youtu.be/Ra1Dmz-5HjU

2/18/17

I agree with you but just want to nuance the UN point. I have multiple friends who work/have worked there and it is really not glamorous. On top of rarely having the impact you expect joining such an organization, the pay is horrendous, opportunities at junior level are rare at best, and the culture is cut-throat and very political. From what I have heard, it tends to be a frustrating and disillusioning experience for those who have studied international affairs and similar fields.

2/18/17

That was exactly my point. My friends at UN and various NGOs complain the same thing - they lie to young people that what their job can help our world to make a better place (and for that you should be willing to accept a low salary). One of my mentee was tricked into that and had to work in UN for 6 years before he applied for Yale MBA and moved to a corporate finance program at a regional bank.

On the other hand, I have a bunch of Malaysian friends who went to UC Berkeley > went and did IBD at BB > felt very sick and tired of banking that they are applying to get into UN and other NGOs > thinking that such jobs will give meaning to their lives.

Net net, I have seen both sides o the coins > and getting paid very low salary while not teaching you transferable skills especially at the beginning of your career is > essential sabotaging your future career growth potentials. In the end, a job is a job > office politics will always be there > I have worked at various firms/ departments/ functions > office politics will always be there > the more money you make > the more you will have to deal with it.

2/20/17

Thank you for this answer. Will be getting back to it from time to time.

2/17/17

Yeah, I think people who work in IB (at least the majority) understand the nature of the job and the opportunities it offers going forward. It's why the analyst position are mainly consisted of young 20 and mid-20 years old.

Just my personal opinion here, all have to sacrifice or go through some tough times to enjoy the good, so fuck getting fulfilled in your early 20s, it's not the time. I'd rather enjoy my life later than suffer.

Also, just putting thing in perspective, IB jobs aren't the toughest jobs in the world. There are much shittier job - no disrespect, but I'd fuck hate my life if I were to work in coal mines for instance (I think you would too) and getting paid for nothing.

So just suck it up. IB jobs are pretty good and if the job also interests you somewhat, then you're fucking golden.

2/18/17

If you do work in DCM then you get a solid 7/8 hours sleep with weekends to look forward. I do wonder if you would say the same if you work in, say, M&A or TMT. There is a huge difference between DCM (v. little weekend work and leave at 10pm ish during weekdays) and M&A (regular weekend work and regular 1am to late finishes during weekdays).

It is a completely different area.

2/18/17

I work in Lev Fin so I know what I'm talking about here. Yeah, I agree. If I were to work in investment grade, then yes, lots of free time and good weekends to look forward to. However, my area is exactly the same area you've alluded to, if not busier especially in this interest rate rising environment. We've just had one of our busiest quarters since 2011.

2/18/17

Tell me about it....experienced some nasty hours recently.

2/18/17

I'll actually differ with most of the crowd here on some points, but a lot of great points have been made.

On expectations: absolutely you shouldn't expect your job to provide meaning in your life compared to leisure, hobbies, friends, family, etc., but I think having an expectation that your time at work is a source of some happiness is reasonable. On some level, we all believe part of the interview BS about the steep learning curve, situations needing to be tackled on a case-by-case basis, learning about business strategy, etc, and a lot of the lack of fulfillment occurs when those factors fade more quickly or never come up like we thought they would. IB isn't trash compacting, and even the "hardest" individual who expects to put in the mechanical work and exit would probably still expect some level of cool / intellectual challenges.

Therefore, I think it's not just that the hours are long, but that they are often monotonous past a certain point. Processes blend together, logos get moved, datarooms are managed, but the idea that there's incremental dopamine hits throughout as you learn more every day about valuation or business strategy or how deals are won just doesn't pan out in the vast majority of IB roles that are out there. That's what I think causes the "fulfillment" / "happiness" gap--analysts and associates are challenged as much as they thought or slightly more on the mechanical side of things (hours, process-running, etc.) but significantly less on the mind-expanding side.

Of course, there are other factors that can make or break an experience: culture (intra-class / personality-based and facetime / senior-facing), sheer volume of work, access to senior people,, pitch vs. deal, inclusion in process, exit prospects, staffing, etc. that intersect somewhat with each other and the above, but I've tried to highlight the nature of the malaise I see most often.

2/18/17

I think it's more about being fulfilled by the paycheck

Overwhelming grasp of the obvious.

2/18/17
2/22/17
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