How are other first-years feeling right now?

Like many of you, I started late summer and it's since been a few months and has gone through the whole range of IB emotions: burnout, depression, competence, indifference. Now it just feels like every week is a game to manage up so my friday night/weekend doesn't get blown up. I'm not even working particularly long hours these days (end on 11-1am most days) but a part of me feels like I lost a lot of the drive I had coming into this role. 

How are the rest of you feeling, still motivated to aim for top bucket or are we all in the exit opp waiting room?

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Comments (37)

  • Analyst 1 in IB - Gen
Nov 22, 2021 - 10:55am

Honestly, you're not alone at all, I've only been on two live processes and only one where I did any significant lift on. Been pitching bullshit the rest of the time. Have friends who have done nothing but pitch bullshit this whole time lol.

  • Analyst 1 in IB - Cov
Nov 22, 2021 - 11:00am

General recommendation is to stick it out through the holidays and try to make it through your first year. If you're looking for exit opps by this point make sure ur hard searching and once you secure it just do enough to get by. No point in being a top bucket analyst (ur looking at a few thousand post taxes only) for mindnumbing more hours ever week.

  • Analyst 1 in IB - Gen
Nov 22, 2021 - 11:03am

By exit opp waiting room I didn't mean I was gonna leave anytime soon. I can see myself sticking through the two years. Moreso that I just feel checked out interest-wise

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  • Analyst 1 in IB - Cov
Nov 22, 2021 - 11:08am

I feel pretty shitty. I've been making a ton of stupid errors and have gotten reamed a couple times. I can't tell if this is natural for a fresh 1st year, but i guess that's because there's never any other analysts or associates that go into the office and can teach me. I'm starting the manage the WLB aspect pretty well but man does this job suck compared to partying in college. Hoping I get better so im not as stressed all the time. Then I'll be aight. If not, I have no clue what's next

Nov 22, 2021 - 1:02pm

I mean most careers are going to be more boring than the college lifestyle.  It is just what it is.  You will have to just figure it out over time, but I would recommend trying to find one night a week and just walk away from the desk and enjoy the outside world.  

  • Analyst 1 in IB - Cov
Nov 24, 2021 - 4:55pm

Pretty lame to ream a first year a few months on the desk. Sorry you had to deal with that (unless justified because of repeat errors on repeat comments)

  • Associate 2 in IB-M&A
Nov 22, 2021 - 12:01pm

Serious question. I assume if you're on here now you have been around WSO for some time. When you saw all the negativity posted over the last year did you just assume it wouldn't be the same for you when you started?

  • Analyst 1 in IB - Gen
Nov 22, 2021 - 12:30pm

It's a fair question- I don't think I expected it not to suck but I guess one facet I didn't consider would be how boring the work is. Sounds kinda dumb but I imagined working hard on cool deals and seeing some sort of impact in the work I do, not endless churning of bullshit pitches. 

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  • Analyst 1 in IB - Cov
Nov 22, 2021 - 12:52pm

Not sure if it was covid and getting lazier through the end of college, but I don't really feel the drive I did earlier in college when I was gunning for this job. I just can't get myself to care and stress over this job that much and don't really care about this whole career driven aspirations thing. I don't want top bucket but I don't want to stand out in a negative way either, completely fine being the most middling analyst in my group. I only care about making money to the point of having a good safety net (which I already got by through some lucky trades in college which might've added to the lack of drive). My hours been pretty manageable so far but the unpredictability and always feeling "on" is pretty annoying. Been thinking about exit ops at the one year mark (corp dev?) because I don't really see the point in this if I'm not trying for PE or something afterwards. No shade to my firm or group because it's nothing they do in particular, just don't think this is the job or career trajectory for me.

Nov 23, 2021 - 10:27pm

Wholeheartedly agree with this sentiment. I think COVID gave a lot of people, including myself, the opportunity to think about and prioritize what in life is really important and fulfilling. I've always thought America's cultural attitude toward work is pretty retarded, especially considering how many other countries with considerably higher level of happiness view it (ex. Scandinavia, Spain, etc.). That being said, I think a lot of people are starting to realize that there is more to life than sitting in an office chair 40+ hours a week -- and we can still be a productive society without sacrificing all of the little (and significant) moments of life that amount to happiness. This is a really long winded way of saying that I think loss of drive / indifference towards your job IB is a completely natural reaction to which many people in the industry can relate. 

My approach to the job has always been to learn as much as possible, be a good teammate but never at the expense of my mental health / well-being -- of course, finding this balance is a lot easier said than done and sometimes there are aspects of the job that are simply out of your control. I always try to seek motivation from interesting parts of the job rather than being a top bucket analyst. The work-life balance difference between a top bucket analyst and a low-mid bucket analyst is significant and you still get paid an obscene amount of money as a bottom-bucket analyst for being a glorified powerpoint / excel monkey. 

When you're doing monotonous, mundane tasks and getting worked to death 80+ hours a week I think it's easy to forget and overlook the genuinely interesting aspects of the job. I've always been interested in corporate finance and more broadly gaining an operational understanding of how businesses are run, so being staffed on a sell-side M&A deal and getting to see it through from inception to execution is pretty cool imo (even if I'm mainly doing administrative tasks). 

If the job genuinely doesn't interest you, then maybe it just wasn't the right role in the first place. Especially for the most recent analyst class, it was really hard to have realistic expectations of what the job would be like considering that our prior experience amounted to <10 weeks of a virtual internship. The good thing is that you are so well off with this job, especially compared to the majority of other entry level jobs in college. You can always pivot to other roles in finance / strategy if banking isn't for you (Corp Dev, Venture, Investing, Consulting, Biz Ops), go to graduate school, or get a non-finance job. Regardless, you'll have a ton of optionality. 

  • Analyst 1 in IB - Gen
Nov 23, 2021 - 10:31pm

I agree with a lot of what you say, and I don't want to be a pessimist but honestly on your last paragraph, how "easy" is it to actually just pivot to something else (not interested in any further schooling) coming from especially a lower tier bank LMM/MM bank? I feel like you have to take a pretty major pay cut either way especially for roles with good WLB. I just don't think there's any free lunch out there and the world is frankly rigged and bullshit, but I'm seriously open ears to hear something else.  

  • Analyst 1 in IB - Cov
Nov 24, 2021 - 3:52pm

Yeah it was a lot of time to reflect towards the tail end of college, unfortunately a bit too late from a recruiting standpoint to have changed anything and was not comfortable turning down my return and recruiting in the COVID times. Wanting more than sitting at a desk for literally the entire day is hitting hard now as I spend my first holiday doing just that without having the time to go back home, especially when I see other finance related roles still having much more flexibility with hours and remote working opportunities. I do find parts of the role interesting, and maybe its just my personality, but I cannot see that interest making coming even close to making this lifestyle sustainable for me. That's why I thought corp dev would have similar work but with a more manageable lifestyle but not sure what else to look into. Would be interested in leaving after a year, but I'm not sure if I'd be burning bridges leaving before the two year program is up. Have no desire to lateral or stay in IB after so not sure how much that matters either or if people in my group would be less upset if I leave early to leave IB altogether rather than lateraling banks. 

  • Analyst 1 in IB - Cov
Nov 22, 2021 - 12:55pm

Same boat man, 100%. Spoke to a few mentors and the reality is that it doesn't get materially better for another 5 or so years if we stay in front office high finance. We either adapt or leave, not sure which I'll end up doing.

  • Analyst 2 in IB-M&A
Nov 22, 2021 - 1:55pm

LMAO, Directors in my shop consistently work weekends and up until 1am on weekdays. Impossible for them to go on vacation because of endless client calls which they have no choice but to attend. It takes a lot longer than 5 years for this to get better, more like 10-15+ years...

  • Analyst 1 in IB-M&A
Nov 22, 2021 - 3:30pm

Anyone else feel like their messing up/getting chastised a lot?

I don't even hate the work and the hours are manageable, but I keep getting bitchy emails from my VP/MD (both direct to me and to junior team) about the stupidest things, from minor mistakes in deck to wording of emails to client.

Not sure if a natural part of being a first year or if I'm a dumbass, but I really hate being bitches at regularly.

  • Analyst 1 in IB - Cov
Nov 26, 2021 - 8:35pm

Completely feel this right scolded a couple times but I still feel the mistakes piling up. I feel like it's a combination of the naturally mind-numbing work and tight deadlines that are contributing to the errors I make. It's getting to the point where my confidence is being affected by it all and I'm beginning to overthink everything I submit. Really hoping things will turn around from here, will definitely not be the best analyst in my group but don't want to stand out negatively either. 

  • Analyst 1 in IB - Cov
Nov 23, 2021 - 10:05am

I oscillate between being incredibly grateful that I'm here and nihilistic that this is what I'm going to do for the time being - Like IB salary isn't bad and it has given a lot of optionality on how I can structure my life in the short term. I'm also living my university-self's dream, so that isn't bad at all either. 

I didnt anticipate how tedious and boring some of the work would be? I've given up weekends to do  basic analysis slides that have no real input in the deck, just validates what we already know. I also think its hard when you go from university (which is at least a little intellectually stimulating) to a job where you don't provide any of the thinking, just pull precedents to help prove the MD's thoughts - it's a lot more difficult than I initially thought. 

Its also a grind all the way up. the associates on our team put in hours and the MDs and directors are 'on' 24/7 - maybe not until like 1am in front of a screen but I've seen our MD answer calls from very odd places. overall takeaway, i don't hate it at all, the people really makes this place a cool place to be and learn, but i don't know if I'll stick around past associate 

Nov 23, 2021 - 8:25pm

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