How Old is Too Old

TheBuySideGirl's picture
Rank: Baboon | 162

I had an informational session and
had a chance to speak with a 28 year old entry level analyst.
I also heard that they have a 37-turned Associate (2nd year)

How can these crazy investment banks hire someone who they can
probably assume would die putting all-nighters?

Too old to get into investment banking...

Banks can't and won't ask you how old you are. They'll probably guess your age based off of your full-time work experience after graduation. The more full-time experience you have after graduation, the harder it becomes to break in at the junior level i.e. analyst level.

There is the potential for re-branding yourself if you have 5 to 7 years of full-time experience. This usually comes at the price of business school tuition.
Key Takeaways

  • Age does not matter. Years of full time work experience post graduation does.

from certified user @Banker88

I don't know how banks can find out your age until after they hire you and perform a background check.

Then you'll probably get asked about it, and as long as you have a reasonable story it shouldn't be a reason for them to rescind your offer.

But it's not like you can turn back the clock, so just have your story prepared for when the time comes.

Also don't make it obvious on your resume (only list your college graduation date, not start date).

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Comments (126)

Jan 8, 2010

Suzan

The vast majority of entry level analysts in Europe are around the age you mentioned and I can tell you that the number of reported deaths is relatively small. It seems that most analysts in this age group are able to cope by eating a lot of raw meat, especially that of wild felidae, practising a derivative of Krav Maga on their way to work, and being very awesome. Awesomeness is a key skill in finance, you know.

m2

Jan 8, 2010

^ That is rediculous. My friend got into a BB at London last year and
she said her class of analysts are all around our age 21~24.
Awesomeness will not help your body from falling apart. Old is Old IMO.
Hence the conclusion, again, they(banks) just need peons.

Jan 8, 2010

I think m2 was just being sarcastic...

Jan 8, 2010

suzan no longer sounds anonymously hot.

Jan 8, 2010
pawsoffmymoney:

suzan no longer sounds anonymously hot.

so true lol

Jan 8, 2010

My Bad, then.
I was just curious and confused after confronting a near-40 associate with an inflamed eye.

Jan 8, 2010
Suzan:

My Bad, then.
I was just curious and confused after confronting a near-40 associate with an inflamed eye.

holy fk did i lol when i read that

Jan 8, 2010

i guess by entry level analyst, you mean a first year.

the two oldest first years I knew were 24 and 26. Lateral / Masters Degree were their reasons.

I could see a 28 year old 3rd year happening, work in something other banking for 3 years out of college and then join as 2nd or 3rd year.

it doesn't matter what age some people are at the associate level. the youngest MD i ever had was 31. the oldest associate i ever knew was 40. Although he was promoted to "director" the year after, skipping the vp level.

I'm making it up as I go along.

Jan 8, 2010

You're too old. Get the fuck off my porch.

Jan 8, 2010

Someone in their mid 30's should be able to pull all night session without a problem. I can understand a 60 year old needing 12 hours of sleep, but I think the reason you don't see a lot of "older" people in IB is because as you get older you acquire kids and a family and don't want to sign your life away to a bank.

Jan 9, 2010

I cannot stress the importance of acquiring kids and a family enough.

Jan 9, 2010

Age is just a number ... like 100+ hours a week

If you can pull it off at 40, great

All that said, I'v seen 30 year old first year analysts who were awesome, and got promoted to Associate so quick it would make your head spin

#

I am the Man. I Have the Plan. Follow Me to the Promised Land.

Jan 9, 2010

My dad is over 50 and once every six months or so he is forced to pull an all-nighter to meet client deadlines. During my analyst years, we had a Director who had no problem pulling an all-nighter to assist in turning a draft to get the document out to the client on time.

The truth is -- you got to do what you got to do to get the job done. Sucks to be a 37-year old associate, but if you don't have a family to go home to, age becomes a lot less important.

Mar 19, 2013

What is it with the age-hating? Age is one data point! If you're an MD recruiting at a target school and you're staring at a 38 yr old whose done all sorts of stuff in his life: a shaman priest in Brazil turned human rights lawyer in New Jersey etc. But the dude has a 750 GMAT and can do DCFs in his sleep and is an Excel Wizard and any accounting trick questions you throw at him he crushes and he spins a good yarn about how his tree-hugging experiences have taught him that capitalism is the way to develop the world, and he wants in.... and throws in how just last year he spent 42 hours awake hugging a tree... are you gonna ding the dude? Prolly not. You may not hire him on the spot, but at that point age becomes irrelevant.... If you are 26 and have 2 kids and a dog your chances are worse than a single 38 yr old with all day long.... Age is determinative if you are recruiting online and you are not a quant.... but other than that... they're thinking, "can he do the work? will he be a pain in the ass? can i bring him around clients? etc....." my 2 cents.....

    • 1
Mar 20, 2013

I know a 29 year old 1st year analyst, a 33 2nd year analyst, and a 31 year old first year analyst. All in BB and elite boutiques.

    • 1
Mar 20, 2013
Bluedevils1278:

I know a 29 year old 1st year analyst, a 33 2nd year analyst, and a 31 year old first year analyst. All in BB and elite boutiques.

Military?

I don't know anyone who ever became an analyst after their officer stints (though I do know it happens). Still, your ages are pretty out there.

Mar 21, 2013

2 are military, 1 just worked for a while ad didn't return to school until late 20's. I just mention they all began their banking roles directly after undergrad.

Mar 20, 2013

If you are good enough, you are young/old enough. Age is just a number.

Until recently, it was normal for German graduates to graduate in the mid-20s (especially for males who had to do mandatory military service/social service). 13 years of school, 1 year mandatory service, 4-5 years of university (bachelor/master system is rather new in Germany). There re still schools that require 13 years of school (instead of 12), there are people doing a volunteer service or just travelling the world before university and a lot of people do a Master degree here (since the bachelor is still regarded as "university light" by many people). So there are probably a lot of analyst in their mid to late 20s in Frankfurt and other European cities (outside the UK).

Business, always business.

Mar 21, 2013

I'm surprised this hasn't been mentioned yet....people actually need less sleep the older they get. medical fact buysidegirl. look it up.

"It's not that I'm so smart, it's just that I stay with problems longer." - Albert Einstein

Mar 31, 2013

Hope you are wrong Buysidegirl. I am aiming to get into finance with 31. In Spain until a few years ago university used to be 6 years, now I am doing a PhD (I know it is not worth it) but it is a real experience to live in China for 5 years.

Mar 31, 2013

they'll just stab them with adrenaline shots

Mar 31, 2013

Speaking from a US point of view, generally analysts are going to be fresh out of college kids. Most of the time, that means 22-23, If you went to the military before college or have some other compelling reason for going to college late like you played pro sports for a couple years or something, yeah the'll take you at 26-27, that's not really the norm though. I don't think it's a knock against you, haven't run across any pro athletes in my time reading resumes but I think military people who are a bit older have a leg up if anything, there's just not that many people in the world who do that kind of thing then turn around and earn the academic credentials necessary to work at a top level bank, so you don't see those resumes too often. Sometimes there's lateral hires who did accounting or something for a year or two and become an analyst at 24-25. Also not particularly common. Analyst is really a kid's game.

Associates have a lot more leeway as far as age is concerned. If you can give a compelling reason for why you want to do banking as an associate, and can prove you know what you're getting yourself into, I don't think age is that big of a deal (that's a big if btw). Obviously most are late '20s/early '30s, but that's really just a function of when people tend to go to b-school/end up at that point in their careers, not the preference of banks.

Apr 1, 2013

Too old. I agree with 1styearBanker, they should get the fuck off the porch and sit their asses in rocking chairs.

Apr 1, 2013

being older is better in banking, at the senior level anyway. No CEO takes a 35 year old MD seriously.

Apr 1, 2013

I would say that I have yet to speak with an associate over 32...Most of the older guys went to b-school late and switched to banking from a different pre-mba career. Trying to make the switch?

Apr 1, 2013

I would say that I have yet to speak with an associate over 32...Most of the older guys went to b-school late and switched to banking from a different pre-mba career. Trying to make the switch?

Apr 1, 2013

I would say that I have yet to speak with an associate over 32...Most of the older guys went to b-school late and switched to banking from a different pre-mba career. Trying to make the switch?

Apr 1, 2013

That being said, because they were career switchers, with B-school and perhaps some military experience (really the only way to start at that level at that age). Also, at that point remember a switcher will have MDs, Directors, VPs and other associates who are younger than them. Although the bastards never looked like it, always looked mid-20s from their silly low stress jobs.

Apr 1, 2013

i have a guy at 34 in my associate class

Apr 1, 2013

i know someone who was 37/38 as first year associate at JPM. Career switch from healthcare to i-banking.

Apr 1, 2013

I've seen more than a few associates in their mid to late 30s. Frequently ex-military guys doing an MBA.

Apr 1, 2013

yeah I know quite a few associates who started in their late 30s. Some in their early 40s. gets awkward when 24-year old A-to-As get to manage ppl 15 years their senior but it happens.

it does take a uniquely motivated individual, but it can be done.

Apr 1, 2013

i'd add that these tend to be somewhat specialized people with a background in certain industry, ie healthcare, who then become healthcare bankers. this is where years of experience can REALLY help.

i see fewer generalists and product associates in their late 30s/early 40s.

Apr 1, 2013

At MM banks you have analyst who previous did consulting or other front-office finance jobs. So ages 24-27 2nd year analysts are around. At least in my group in NYC.

Maybe around 28 you're getting too old for an analyst gig -- maybe other people here will say 24/25 is already too old.

Apr 1, 2013

My best friend is turning 27 soon, and he is going for SA at BB this summer. In his case, He was in US army for 5 years. I just turned 25 and aiming for SA this summer. (I was away 3 years from college.) Another friend of mine is starting as FT at BB from this summer, and he turned 26 today. Enough as an answer?

Apr 1, 2013

You are not too old but you are getting screwed if you are applying for analyst roles. Nobody in my MBA class who got IB had banking experience. You don't need an MBA to go from analyst to associate anymore.

This is why you do full time or bust if you are trying to change careers.

Apr 1, 2013
ThirdCoastBorn:

You are not too old but you are getting screwed if you are applying for analyst roles. Nobody in my MBA class who got IB had banking experience. You don't need an MBA to go from analyst to associate anymore.

This is why you do full time or bust if you are trying to change careers.

I absolutely agree with him.

Apr 1, 2013

I worked as an analyst in IB for a little over a year and then changed career tracks. Can you speak a little bit more to the breadth of your career experience?

Your age may not be a blatant factor, but trust me, people use deductive reasoning all the time when looking at your resume'. Your face might say 25, but your undergrad degree year says c/o '93. Doesn't take a genius to figure that out. But what's your working background in up until this point?

"Cut the burger into thirds, place it on the fries, roll one up homey..." - Epic Meal Time

Apr 1, 2013

Background in IT and management consulting in healthcare. I was a Hospital CIO and now consulting in the healthcare industry (Payor/provider and Pharma). Have a degree in Cell Biology and MBA. I hope to leverage my industry and operational knowledge to get in with a BB IB and then move to PE shop that focuses on healthcare. Any comments would be appreciated.

Apr 1, 2013

We have an associate coming in that is like 35 from Wharton. However pedigree matters more than work experience.

i.e. top schools, top companies. most bulges won't go for a usc mba + hewitt associates

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Apr 1, 2013
fr:

I am currently an analyst at one of the top commodity shops (power) working in their origination group. I mostly work on pricing long-term structured products. I've been here about 2 years and, due to some recent changes and beating that power has taken recently, I'm looking to get out and do banking. Unfortunately, I am 25 soon to turn 26...would it be smarter to go a business school and try going in as an associate?

You are sort of sitting on a fence haha. You are in position to do either (you are not too old for analyst). But, I'd go for an MBA tbh. gd luck

Apr 1, 2013

I'd rather make the move now since you can. Getting an MBA is a one-time $200k+ payment so you can participate in campus recruiting. I wouldn't make that payment unless you were absolutely certain in what you want to do.

I would start recruiting hard. If you end up with an offer you can start negotiating with other firms to let you start as an associate. It's been done before since you probably have a more relevant background than most b-school hires.

Apr 1, 2013

bro, you're never too old to bang freshman

Apr 1, 2013

Sometimes I wonder if I'm too old to be an analyst. My Grandfather told me it's never too late to chase your dreams, unless you're dead.

Apr 1, 2013

This is it! This is the time to choose! Die and be free of pain, or live and fight your sorrow! Now is the time to shape your stories! Your fate is in your hands!

Apr 1, 2013

If you want to just do an analyst stint as a training/recruiting platform to PE/HF/whatever buyside then just go now. If you do MBA, you're locking yourself into a career track that's more difficult to get out of, ie MBA -> IBDassoc -> harder to break into buyside. Analyst over 30 aren't uncommon, especially outside of the US, and it depends on your carer goal....do you want to work on the sell side forever or transition to the buy side?

And like user above said, you can only use the MBA silver bullet once so make it count.

Apr 1, 2013

I don't know how banks can find out your age until after they hire you and perform a background check. Then you'll probably get asked about it, and as long as you have a reasonable story it shouldn't be a reason for them to rescind your offer.

But it's not like you can turn back the clock, so just have your story prepared for when the time comes. Also don't make it obvious on your resume (only list your college graduation date, not start date).

Apr 1, 2013

They wouldn't care as long as you're a junior. 22 isn't all that old anyways.

Apr 1, 2013

This happens all the time. Lots of people take more time to finish school - some purposely delay their graduation in order to go through another round of recruiting. You're eligible to apply for internships as long as you're not graduating this year.

Apr 1, 2013

This happens more frequently thank you think. Some international students serve their mandatory 2-3 years in the army after high school before even applying to US schools. Don't worry about it.

Apr 1, 2013

I was 22 when I interned - no one asks, nor does anyone care.

Apr 1, 2013
<span class=keyword_link><a href=/company/sac-capital target=_blank rel=nofollow>SAC</a></span>:

This happens more frequently thank you think. Some international students serve their mandatory 2-3 years in the army after high school before even applying to US schools. Don't worry about it.

international students
gap years-- to travel or to intern
other reasons (i.e. 5 year college programs?)

don't worry too much-- no one cares, and you probably won't even be the oldest

Apr 1, 2013

no one cares how old you are

BossMode

Apr 1, 2013

They legally cant ask about that stuff either.

Apr 1, 2013

yeah, no one will care that you're 22 (if they somehow figured it out).

but the year plus off might raise a few questions.

Apr 1, 2013

They'll notice it if they request and review your transcript. I suggest you have a good response lined up in the event this happens. It may or may not make getting the position more difficult. However, the mere fact that you're older won't have any impact.

Apr 1, 2013

You're fine. They're not going to ask you your age. As long as you're in school you're good to go!

Apr 1, 2013

Plenty of kids also PG, for example, many athletes will go to prep school for a few years or go play junior league sports before college. I had a friend in college on the hockey team who was 21. Not a big deal.

Apr 1, 2013

Would you guys say there is an age limit for becoming an analyst?

Apr 1, 2013

you are totally fine. one of my friends whom did a SA had a 28 year old in his class.

Apr 1, 2013

I would be more worried about explaining the year off (As long as you have a good reason or can give it a good spin, this should be fine too). The age thing doesn't matter.

Apr 1, 2013

yup, like what others mentioned, be prepared to answer qns like why you took one year off your studies and stuffs like that. and yar some students have to do their military service stuffs like that. And if you are good, why wont they hire you

Apr 1, 2013

think of all those international kids who break into i-banking or consulting.
Koreans and Taiwanese, for example, have their 3-year-mandatory military service.
They start their internships around 25~26 and even 28+ !!
Age is never a problem as long as your not over 30!

Apr 1, 2013

We had a couple of 30+'s at training...

...never understood what they were going for...

Apr 1, 2013

I think it depends on how old we're talking about. I've heard of people as old as 30 starting out at a BB.

Apr 1, 2013

Don't worry about age man. In Europe, a lot of Analysts are older than usual. I personally know a guy who's starting at a top Boutique in September and he's 26. I'll be 25 when I graduate and I'm planning on doing some off-cycle internships too.

Apr 1, 2013

When you're 75. Your body might not be able to handle the stress.

25-early 30s is fine for associate with MBA, but I don't see too many older analysts. Vast majority of analysts are recruited via targets.

Apr 1, 2013

But 25 is OK for starting as an analyst..???

Does it make a difference if you have a MSc in Finance
when you are 25???

Apr 1, 2013

As long as you can explain what you've been doing and why you've waited until now to try to get into banking, it shouldn't count against you. This is all of course assuming that you get interviews

Apr 1, 2013

I start in a week and I turn 25 this month.

Apr 1, 2013

thatA's good to hear I start in august and iA'm already 25, I wasnA't sure if 25 ws too old to be a first year analyst..

Apr 1, 2013

I am sure it is on the higher side, but that is fine. You have 4 more years of life/work experience to guide your decisions.

Apr 1, 2013

what about age for an associate then? is it the same for BB and MM?

Apr 1, 2013

There is no official age for any of these things... People graduate business school at all different times in their lives. If someone graduates at 32 and decides they want to go into banking, nobody is going to hold it against them. Yes, you may be older than most, and possibly even older than some of your bosses, but it won't kill your chances

Apr 1, 2013

If you are closer to 40 than 30, you MUST address the age issue directly... they want to know that you will be available 90 hours a week. so say I got no kids, no dog, not cat... I got all day long to make you money. If you do online applications, HR will prolly ding you just for being old. But if you can get in front of real bankers and talk with them and let them get a feel for you, even 40 for an associate is possible. Age is just one data point. If you can explain it, then they will blink.

Apr 1, 2013

nah just dont tell anyone and nobody will care or notice..

Apr 1, 2013

You don't have to disclose your age so I would not worry about that.

Apr 1, 2013

I hear people saying it's a young man's world but if what your saying is true I have very little to worry about, so long as my work speaks for itself.

Apr 1, 2013

Make sure you hit the books seriously and get the grades. You should be fine.

Apr 1, 2013

I'm 25 and finishing up my bachelor's after a long hiatus (worked for Fedex as a translator). I'm not too worried about it, the life experience makes this go around at school a lot easier. I'm more disciplined and I've done enough partying for a lifetime when I first went when I was 18. Just work hard and try to get a good lead in every way possible. Network, start a paper trading account, finish your CFA level ones senior year, and get any certifications that can give you an edge. I'm working on getting my master's MOS Excel certification. Sure some people think its not worth shit, but it wont do any harm and I can give my employers reassurance that I'm not a n00b with pivot tables and macros. I'm also doing a WallStreetPrep package on Financial Modeling. I wouldn't worry about age, if you take school seriously and feel confident that you've tasted enough of the temptations of undergrad life, then your age can work to your advantage as long as you don't lose perspective on why you are paying your hard earned cash to go to school again (to study hard and apply those skills)

Apr 1, 2013

Your not too old, make your expirence count

Apr 1, 2013

Ancient.

Apr 1, 2013

Definitely not. An analyst in our group started at age 29. Great work ethic and is now at respectable PE shop.

Apr 1, 2013

I know someone who went to a target late and got a BB FT offer graduating this year. Just don't tell anyone and no one will know. Most people just look at years out of school to determine if you're too old.

Apr 1, 2013

Agreed, not too old. I know someone who finished engineering, went into consulting, did an MBA, and then swapped into IB at associate level and he is kicking goals now. He's prob 3-4 yrs older than others at the same level, but the experience and maturity helps him too.

Apr 1, 2013

Not sure about 'hiding' your age - you can use it to your advantage by showing how your experience makes you more mature, differentiating you form younger analysts. If your references echoed those thoughts then you're all set whether you want to stay or move to the buyside / b-school.

Apr 1, 2013

It might be hard to get into I-banking at this age, mainly because you are competing with aggressive youngsters. Coming from consulting, I would rather try a job in PE or VC. Cause finally, one might wonder whether you are ready to make 80-100 hrs/week at 38.

Apr 1, 2013

It is unlikely that a firm will be able to see past your age and bring you on as a jr. banker. As you would likely be working for people who are younger than you, I would imagine most firms would tend to shy away because of your age. However, if you have good industry contacts from your previous experiece and believe that you may be able to bring in some business within the next few years, some firms may be willing to take a chance. Good luck.

Apr 1, 2013

I'm 34 and have been in the law for 9 years and am considering the same question. Banks seem game. Not certain I am . . .

Apr 1, 2013

.............................................................

Apr 1, 2013

We just hired an associate who was about 35-36 and used to be a partner at a law firm. I think if you can sell your motivation right places will take you. It might be hard to get into a bulge bracket firm.

Apr 1, 2013

So what are the age ranges?

I guess you can start as an analyst at 21 or so out of college?

Associates are then generally 25-? coming from analyst or MBA or other?
This makes VPs 28 at the younger end, up to ...???

Or did I get something wrong. I think that some consulting companies have a cutoff that if you are not on track to make partner by a certain age then you are too old.

Cheers

Apr 1, 2013

A partner from a law firm wanted to become an associate at an i-bank?

Just wondering if this guy ever had any clients or even client skills.

Apr 1, 2013

A partner from a law firm wanted to become an associate at an i-bank?

Just wondering if this guy ever had any clients or even client skills.

Apr 1, 2013

A partner from a law firm wanted to become an associate at an i-bank?

Just wondering if this guy ever had any clients or even client skills.

Apr 1, 2013

A partner from a law firm wanted to become an associate at an i-bank?

Just wondering if this guy ever had any clients or even client skills.

Apr 1, 2013

...barrier exist (age diff to colleagues/boss, lifestyle, family reqs), (perceived) failure rate by employers is thus higher, and you need to work harder at convincing them

Apr 1, 2013

I work we have a 1st year analyst who recenlty turned 28. That's horrible.

  •  Apr 1, 2013

Average associate with MBA is 28 or 29 starting out

Apr 1, 2013

Any data points from Europe here? We have alot of countries with 13 yrs high school ed, compulsory military service and slower public university systems.

I'm sure the avg 1st year analyst over here isnt 21. (My guess would be more like 24-25)

Apr 1, 2013

Analyst age 23-26
Associate 25 - 32
VPs 27 - 38
Ds 28 - X

These are typical ranges Ive heard of

Apr 1, 2013

The question isn't so much will they hire you as, Do you really want to work as an associate? I mean, it's a very, very grueling job. As a 38 yr old with kids, what is the appeal? I'd try to find something that gives you a better work-life balance, and also a job with more dignity.

Apr 1, 2013

That's a good point...pretty much for a level as low as Associate, you don't have the ability to manage anything beyond the world of Ibanking.

Expect to lose the kids and wife with the hours you'll be forced to work. It's no joke.

Apr 1, 2013

I've seen people become Associate after less than a year and a half at Analyst level, age ~23

Apr 1, 2013

That's a good point...pretty much for a level as low as Associate, you don't have the ability to manage anything beyond the world of Ibanking.

Expect to lose the kids and wife with the hours you'll be forced to work. It's no joke.

Apr 1, 2013

Europeans tend to be older. On my grad class there were guys between 21 and 31. On average, Brits were usually circa 23, while Europeans were 3-4 years older. Just a product of the many years they spend studying. >30 might raise some eyebrows, but if you're keen...

Apr 1, 2013

do you want to know your kids?

Apr 1, 2013

Stay with the kids! The money is good but you wont see anything worth the sacrifice until you are at least a VP and even then you will miss the kids growing up and be bossed around by younger Managing Directors. But if you insist you can definetly get in as a Vp ou Md especially if you bring clients with you from consulting and if you have specific market knowledge.

Goodluck!!

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