I have only been on this forum a couple of times, but I formerly worked in M&A at a bulge bracket. I have been out of the business for a couple of years now (my choice) and I just wanted to give you guys some advice about the financial industry (this was inspired by Greg Smith)
I graduated from semi-target with a good GPA (3.4), but started networking freshman year. I always wanted to be a banker, the money, the girls....but most importantly the money. Eventually I landed a few random gigs and long story short I got into a SA spot, then FT offer.
I was the happiest person in the world.
I enjoyed it a lot simply put. The hours were long, but I didn't mind one bit...until I realized I would be doing this for the next years. I noticed briefly scanning over this forum that many people go from investment banking to private equity/corporate jobs. This may be a dose of reality, but it is not as easy as that. Many of the people I worked with (keep in mind during the boom) couldn't break into PE, the amount of candidates + the amount of spots open made it impossible (it is a lot about luck).
Anyways, once I was promoted to VP I started thinking about my job. Frankly I hated it, despised it. THE MONEY WASN'T WORTH IT. I was miserable as was everyone else on my team. We all did it for the money and we couldn't find a way out. PE wasn't fun, I didn't want to work at a HF (nearly impossible to get in there). One day I woke up after 24 hour+ day, looked at my clock and thought to myself, "I can't do this anymore, it is just not worth it." At that time I was making around 650K all in for my late 20's. I moved back home (parents live right outside the city), and started pondering what I was going to do next. I wanted to get into the energy sector, but doing what? Gas/oil/green energy! I called up my friend who I know was in the field and asked him for advice. Long story short he put me in contact with a guy, who put me in contact with another guy who gave me a job. I do natural gas sourcing now and I love my job!
**(I did not have a huge cushion to fall back on- this was not a retirement plan - my cushion lasted for only 6 months because I had various expenses to pay off (family sicknesses/debt etc))
Previously doing investment banking made me realize how much 1. Money doesn't buy happiness 2. Many people in IB are very insecure about themselves and try to make for it with money 3. IF YOU ARE GOOD AT WHAT YOU DO MONEY WILL COME.
I love my job now and honestly to me, it isn't even a job. I said this a ton of times, but I love it and I am damn good at it. Here is the kicker:
I make more than my friends who are still in investment banking (MD VP), I didn't think entering the job I would be making this much in a couple years, but I do. Also I work only 35-40 hours a week (at most 45). I feel bad for all of my friends in IB, they have no way out because they don't want to take the pay cut and have families to support. The tone is the same for all of them though and that is they hate it. I go to work in boots, jeans, a hat and make more money than them and even if I didn't make more money I would still be happier no doubt.
Here I am in the countryside (although I live in the NYC suburbs) sitting on a porch overlooking some mountains on the computer. Life can't be better.
I will be more than happy to answer questions