Hate banking, don't know what to do.

Apologies in advance for the rant/woe is me, but I'm looking for some advice from hopefully someone who has been in a similar situation.

First year analyst here. I hate my job and I'm very miserable. I definitely did banking for all the wrong reasons (I thought "prestige" and money would make me happy) and am very much regretting it. While I'm currently in the process of networking and learning about different roles, I'm starting to think none of the common exit ops are appealing. 

I realized this due to the reasons I hate my current job. Yeah the hours are brutal, but the real reasons I dislike my job are because I'm just not interested in the work. I hate modeling, I hate making slides, I hate reading equity research reports, I hate looking at CIMs, etc. Basically I'm just not that interested in finance.

In terms of the exit ops, I know for a fact I wouldn't make it in HF/public markets. I just don't have that mindset and I'm not interested in that type of work. PE seems like banking 2.0. I don't like performing due diligence, I don't like deep diving into different industries, and I don't like doing valuation/modeling work. The only part that seems somewhat interesting is the hands on/operational improvement work. Private credit seems like PE-lite, so doubt I would enjoy that. I thought about corporate dev, but I don't think there is a single company/industry that I could see myself spending all of my time/focusing on. That is one of the things I appreciate about banking- I can work with a new company/industry after a deal/pitch is over.

I'm worried that I won't enjoy my next role and I don't want my resume to show me jumping ship from company to company after only working there for a year or two. So I really want to make sure my next role is something that I am truly passionate about. 

Really looking for advice from someone who was in similar shoes and what they ended up doing. To be honest, I don't think I can make it two years in banking and would like to quit sooner rather than later. However, I want to make sure I am thinking clearly about this and I make the right decision. 

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Comments (62)

  • Prospect in IB-M&A
May 4, 2021 - 11:28pm

Hey, I hate to take up your thread but would you mind expanding on what about modeling and diving deep into industries/companies is boring? I'm a college student and I'm coming to a point where I want to decide what I want to do. What kind of person enjoys this stuff?

  • Analyst 1 in IB - Cov
May 4, 2021 - 11:41pm

Sure. I don't like the time spent (or the process) of coming up with assumptions. I hate getting on the phone with my associate to talk about whether we should be showing 3% growth or 3.5% growth for revenue after 2022. I hate making stupid models where we are projecting out accounts receivable/accounts payable/inventory days all so we can make our net working capital change from 20 million to 22 million. I find it boring discussing what we should price the debt at and how much leverage is appropriate. 

In terms of deep diving into industries/companies, I am not interested in reading about industry tailwinds and drivers. I'm not interested in learning about the end markets of a company or how concentrated its suppliers/customers are. I don't enjoy learning how the price of raw materials is increasing and therefore a lot of players in the space are facing difficulty passing off costs to customers. I don't enjoy researching how much M&A activity has been going on and why that is indicative of high valuation prices. Etc.

May 6, 2021 - 2:28am

Haha this did a really great job articulating some particularly shitty parts of banking. If I were you and decided I hate finance, definitely pivot asap. There is no point in wasting energy thinking about why you'll hate PE/PC as an exit opp. Think about what you want to do instead of this and make the change. Given you are early in your career, you won't really be looked down upon unfavorably as long as you craft your story properly. But make sure wherever you do go next, you intend on spending more than a couple years there.

  • 2
May 7, 2021 - 3:27pm

Thank you very much for articulating what it is about banking you hate and explaining to me how PE is pretty much the same. I had no real interest in any of the IB exit opps in the first place but was considering a stint in IB for the CV. Now I'm not even going to apply. I'll go for risk or asset management roles or maybe even fintech startups if I get accepted for a master's degree in fintech.

Thank you very much for making your post. I know you didn't intend to help others but you have. And I'm sorry but I've no advice for you, I'm only a 21yr old twat.

All the best and good luck!

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  • Analyst 1 in IB - Gen
May 4, 2021 - 11:54pm

you should look into M&A Consulting. As in, seperation / integration work. You get to work in different industries, isn't as intense hours wise as banking, and heavy focus on the operational side of the deal process. Firms like S&, EYParthenon, and KPMG Deal Advisory all have groups doing this. 

May 6, 2021 - 2:41am

If he doesn't like diving into minute detail and modeling things out, I am not sure he'll get much more enjoyment poring over the 100 day integration plan, capex schedule etc. He might also feel burnt out from transaction oriented work where you need to pick up from scratch, care a lot about a project, and then it's over and on to the next one.

Honestly it feels like a total change to like Corporate Strategy at a F500 would be more suitable, you can focus on a tangible product or business segment and get your hands into actual operations. You would also feel more connected to one company and its mission vs. processing a bunch of transactions or projects.

Be excellent to each other, and party on, dudes.
  • 3
  • Analyst 1 in IB - Cov
May 6, 2021 - 9:01am

Agreeing with this post. I have some friends at KPMG Deals and I really don't think I would enjoy that work. While I agree Corp dev/strategy might be interesting. I'm just not sure there is a single company I would want to spend all my time around. Maybe if the company had a lot of different segments? I'll have to look into this more and reconsider some stuff. Thanks.

Most Helpful
  • Intern in IB - Gen
May 5, 2021 - 12:13am

Unfortunately I don't have too much to add, but I think it's really good that you are being honest with yourself. 99% out there aren't and will never take any action out of fear. What I do know is that you managed to get into one of the most competitive jobs out of school and therefore you have the innate ability to succeed in whatever you set your efforts toward. Look outside the bubble, there's a lot of paths out there these days. I'd take a risk.

May 5, 2021 - 12:34am

Do you like following the transaction side? Do you like the face-time/relationship culture? 

if you care a lot of transactions maybe you would be better suited for Merger Arb. If you like the face-time/relationship culture you might consider Investor Relations or Business Development at a PE firm. 

Maybe if you feel lost and have this burn-out you can go to business school or try graduate school to re-find a pursuit.

Array

  • Analyst 1 in IB - Cov
May 5, 2021 - 1:12am

Thanks. I definitely like the relationship aspect more. One thing I do find interesting is when MDs are picking certain verbiage/connotations to express ideas to a client. In regards to investor relations, I've heard that can actually be an extremely stressful role. But maybe that incorrect?

Personally, I'm not interested in going back to school/getting my MBA. The only way it would make sense is if I went to PE and wanted to stay in PE, so I went to get my MBA to continue as a VP. But since, I'm not considering PE, I don't think it is in my future to go. 

May 5, 2021 - 1:40pm

Investor Relations isn't all that stressful (I help our IR team with random ad-hocs). You WILL however be stuck in PowerPoint 95% of the time, and may need to travel a good bit depending on how small the company is (usually just heads of IR traveling, but they'll want you on roadshows at some point).

May 5, 2021 - 2:48am

It was a common path not too long ago for ex-banking analysts to jump ship into Strategy & Ops at Uber along with other similar roles. I think it's understated how often I see bankers jump to some kind of business intelligence role at well-funded scaled "startups". However, the reality is that they funnel from bankers because you still need to create slide decks and figure out the feasibility of strategies/business units BUT it has a more...operational angle to it you might like. 

For companies with a lot of business units, strategic finance is key to figuring out resource/capital allocation. It's a bit tricky to search for this stuff but you'd be surprised how many ex-bankers jump ship to something pretty different yet builds on top of their old role; if you pay for LinkedIn Pro for a month and search for people who used to be banking analysts, might help to take a glimpse and get some inspiration

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  • 5
  • Analyst 1 in AM - Equities
May 5, 2021 - 9:57am

In a similar boat. Although AM is less intense than banking but considering leaving a $130k a year AM role for something i'm more passionate about. Want to go into Product Design (look it up), compensation ceiling is around what a BB VP/ED would make, but the cool thing is you are designing the products of the future like Macbook's, AirPods, AirBnB UI. Basically the opposite of banking slides because millions of people will interact with your work. 

Problem is I know I will take a $50k pay cut, and even then I am completely unqualified for these roles. Considering going into a master's program at like MIT or Northwestern to enter the field. Just wanted to let you know OP, you aren't alone. But I would urge you to explore career paths before you quit. 

  • Analyst 1 in Consulting
May 6, 2021 - 7:17pm

Not sure about design, but you could go into data / product / business / etc analytics and make a move into product down the line. PM doesn't have a well-defined entry path so just being around functions that support PMs is a great way to prove yourself and get familiar with products. All the skills you need to get past the filter are SQL, Python / R, and maybe some data visualization software - these are all simple to learn and you can teach yourself or find resources online.

Marketing, sales, customer success etc are other examples of functions that support PMs.

May 5, 2021 - 1:34pm

Curious your feelings about this & the associated pay cut because I know AM can be a pretty cushy role. I made a (somewhat) related jump from growth equity to operations at an in-house cannabis brand for a pretty significant pay cut due to passion, interest, etc. and while I can say my day-to-day feels much more fulfilling, the prospects of buying a house, a nicer car, or other significant financial benchmarks seem pretty out of reach (for now). 

DEFINITELY a grass-is-greener feeling right now but idk how I'll feel about being mid-30s doing what I like but not being on a similar financial footing as my friends. The reason I made the jump anyways is because I personally know I wouldn't give up the golden handcuffs if I stayed in finance for too long due to lifestyle creep and probably having a mortgage. 

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  • 3
  • Anonymous Monkey's picture
  • Anonymous Monkey
  • Rank: Chimp
May 5, 2021 - 1:10pm

The grass may be always greener but the more we can appreciate the blessings we have today, to the extent we can even when it is not always so easy, the better and happier we may be

May 5, 2021 - 3:19pm

Hi friend. Take my advice with a grain of salt because I will reflect based upon my own thoughts. Firstly, stop panicking, and stop being emotional for a moment. Take a breathe, make your brain cool down, relax a bit. Secondly, start thinking logically and coldly. Why do you want to quit? What is the real reasons? Yes, you said that you hate all the aspects of banking. But consider the fact that it is a job. Jobs are not funny things. You do the hard work and get your paycheck. Also, you may consider things like hours and etc. But even no-financial people are aware of the level of brutality. Thirdly, the things covered in banking are finance related. So, I wonder what is your study major was. If it was finance, then you should have know what it is all about. Assuming that, you had some sort of quant major, then your other career opportunities will not be less technical than banking. If it was in liberal arts, you may find nice job but I doubt that it will have good salary. Besides banking, you can consider consulting if you want. But at the end, don't forget that it is a job like any others. No jobs are engaging, we just pick the ones which we can at the minimum bare.

My final suggestion would be just relax a little bit and you will make good decision. Good luck!

May 5, 2021 - 3:23pm

How did you actually get into the industry in the first place if you don't like what you are doing? No offense just curious

Array

May 6, 2021 - 3:01am

I personally don't think these types of posts should be frowned upon - this is Wall Street Oasis, we're all here because we want to read and write about people's experiences on Wall Street. That includes perspectives like this. OP should not have to preface their post with a qualifier about it being a "rant/woe is me" post.

  • Investment Analyst in PE - LBOs
May 6, 2021 - 6:46am

Try FoF, more relationship-based and still you'll be able to utilise some of the skills you have developed in banking

  • Associate 2 in PE - LBOs
May 7, 2021 - 3:13pm

Current FoF Associate here and based on your post I would say that while the WLB is better the work is not interest/very similar to PE. Idt you would enjoy it.

I spend most of my time reviewing pitch decks and in 3-5 hr meetings transcribing EVERY F*$CKING WORD only to upload it in our CRM never to be used again. Most of the meetings are a chance for the PE fund to flex with BS and for the FoF to flex with more BS in return. On the deal side, I am reviewing banking pitch books and models created by PE funds, then reorganizing / reformatting them into a new pitch book, and writing unnecessarily long memos with 90% fluff.

It's only fun if you are at a senior level and you don't have to take notes or recreate slides. At a senior level, you travel, drink and network, and delegate work.

  • Analyst 1 in IB - Cov
May 6, 2021 - 9:09am

Agree with you on the senseless modeling. I guess my issue right now is I would need to find a company I am truly passionate about to spend all my time around. Will definitely look more to see what's out there. Although that is one thing I did like about banking was after a pitch/deal is done and I was tired of working with a company, I could basically clean my hands and start fresh on something else/a different company.

  • Analyst 1 in IB - Cov
May 7, 2021 - 8:24pm

What do you do in your free time when you don't have work? That'll tell you what you should do or at least point you in the right direction 

May 13, 2021 - 9:50am

I'm in a Strategic Product role, specializing in CRM applications which supports front office users at a top tier bank. You could easily pivot, into this type of position with your background / business knowledge. To get there you'd need to highlight applications you work with, take an Agile course, some have guaranteed certs. That should be enough to get your foot in the door in a pretty good role. Pros- I enjoy owning my Product and vision for my product and having a decent amount of impact on the firm.

May 13, 2021 - 4:44pm

OP, as others have said, kudos for being honest with yourself. Finance appears to not be your niche, but with that said you need to find out what you enjoy. Here are some thoughts. 

Maybe it's medicine. This may be hard for money-hungry finance guys to understand, but a lot of people enjoy helping others and working with their hands. Oh and they pay doctors pretty well, and it garners prestige (both of which you said are important to you, but not your top priorities). You won't be a billionaire, but you'll heavily respected, have a lot of autonomy (way more than finance), and potentially earn enough for a country club membership and a second home. May need to take re-take some core science classes, but you're still young enough to go back to school. Plus med schools really love matriculating candidates that are older and know they want to do medicine. 

Take a year off and go be a fishing guide or travel the world now that it's reopen, and think about what you really want in life and go from there. 

Suck it up for 2-3 more years, save as much money as you can, learn as much business skills as you can, and research as much as you can about industries you like. You can get up to $5mm for an SBA loan and go and buy a business and be your own boss. The modeling, creating slides, and industry research is a lot more fun when it's on your terms and not for some sycophant VP or loser MD.

Just some thoughts, and they may not be the right answer for you.  

  • Analyst 1 in IB-M&A
May 17, 2021 - 4:25pm

Feels like this post came straight from my brain. I'm bouncing after the bonus hits, probably to corp strat. 

May 17, 2021 - 5:18pm

MBA. Or, maybe if you get lucky you can work in a non CD role at a fintech. Since large fintech co's (Stripe, Square, PayPal) generally pay high in the tech world and inline with most FAANG. 

You could also exit to corporate development. Work in CD for 1-2 years and then transfer internally to a different role. Make sure it's a sector you are passionate about though. 

May 17, 2021 - 10:29pm

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