I don't know if investment banking is right for me anymore

This is going to sound crazy to probably most of you, but just hear me out?

So I'm an IB Summer Analyst, and I basically didn't even start yet other than orientation, training, etc, and I honestly don't feel like I belong? The IB culture doesn't fit with me at all so far (ex. long hours).

I was going through some recruiting for non-IB middle office/back office roles within banks, and it just happened that I ended up in IB and it was my best offer.

My question is, after this summer, how easy would it be for me to leave IB and try to get into a more middle/back office role within a BB? (Like Risk Management, Finance, etc)

Comments (53)

Jun 11, 2017

You have to be trolling us...
If not, lots of concerns here. You didn't know your role was going to be IB? That's like nearly impossible. You don't just fall in to it. A bank doesn't offer you FO when you were recruiting for BO. Also, there's specific knowledge needed to land an IB gig. I just find this hard to believe.
All the interns on the street have really yet to do any work, it's okay. Relax. Most BB interns just spent a week in training. I know of some that had to go to a conference. It varies. Your job is to help and please, not structure groundbreaking deals.
Is your main issue really the long hours? Like what else is there to do? Go to museums and cruise the park? It's only 10 weeks. Sit at your desk and just work. The other stuff is not going anywhere.
Your name says Ella, so if you are a girl, then you may have legitimate issues with IB culture. It tends to be male-oriented and that's very understandable. All the girls I've worked with have had to be very tough to put up with the work. But long hours is honestly a poor excuse considering it's only a 10 week job...
Also, getting a BO role after IB is super easy. You don't need to know much for entry level BO. You should have no trouble getting a different role.

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Jun 11, 2017

I'm really not trolling anyone here, I promise.
The long hours are honestly my primary concern. I'm not sure if I can handle them, to be honest. The IB male dominated culture is a secondary concern.

Jun 11, 2017

That's sexist!

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Jun 11, 2017

The best way to figure out if you can handle the hours is by actually doing them. Worst case, you realise four weeks in that this is not for you and you only have to white-knuckle your way through six more weeks. I fucking hated my M&A internship at a BB, but it is a rare opportunity and you should be able to handle sitting at a desk for long hours given that it is ten weeks.

Like the above poster, I am curious how to rolled into a FO IBD internship (presumably at a big bank) and only realizing in training that the hours are long.

Jun 11, 2017

First question: were you a diversity candidate? I'm familiar with another type of (although less overpowered) diversity recruiting and what you are writing STRONGLY reminds me of what I've seen with other peers who broke into industries through that diversity recruiting. Since they hadn't actually been forced to learn well enough to know what they were doing (or been forced to try hard enough to test their motivation) they had fairly disastrous experiences.

Look.... my background is from another "male dominated" culture that was until recently 100% male by regulation.

There's two topics to address.

I'm only going to say this on here because it's a bit harder to find my real identity and thus paint a target on my back, but keep in mind that it's the helpful truth that current social dynamics make it impossible for me to give in real life. This trend of gender-warfare and the college feminist/identity based mindset simply is NOT conducive to success. It makes you throw up barriers when they don't need to exist.

Also keep in mind that PART of this isn't just "male dominated". It's that you're generally dealing with extroverted, competitive males and most shy guys will have a similar impression that you have had. Part of this will just go away over time as they learn to relax around you (a surprising amount of these guys will just not be sure what the "right" way to interact with women is), and I've written down some observations on what successful women in male dominated areas do elsewhere on this forum. Getting bent out of shape in the militant feminist mindset and trying to be more masculine themselves is generally NOT the answer: odds are you have some extremely important advantages such as greater awareness of body language so use it to your advantage.

Second thing: it's too early for you to be quitting.

If you quit, it sends a MASSIVE negative message to future employers and you have to explain why there's a fat gaping hole on your summer.

Hang on for ten weeks and it opens up a lot of doors to do other things. I know it's stupid, but most HR screeners and a good many hiring managers actually are so dumb as to assume that because you have X prestigious firm's name on your resume, that means you're better than every other candidate without that advantage.

I also had a horrible time when I went through boot camp, except it was arguably more mentally taxing than any IB internship(this was back when you actually did get smoked constantly, had no privileges, and slept very little). It's far too early for you to be thinking about quitting. Give it another shot once you're there a month and until then be as pleasant as possible and do everything asked of you as quickly as possible.

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Jun 11, 2017
andnad:

Is your main issue really the long hours? If you're in NYC, why do you care? Like what else is there to do?

There is literally so much else to do, especially in New York City.

Jun 11, 2017
NESCAC:
andnad:

Is your main issue really the long hours? If you're in NYC, why do you care? Like what else is there to do?

There is literally so much else to do, especially in New York City.

It says you're in IB Coverage/Industry, so do you have any general advice for me for this summer? What are the normal hours (Or at least in your experience)?

Jun 11, 2017

NESCAC: You're missing the point. When someone says that long hours are an issue, it's usually because they want to spend their time doing something else. Yes, there are plenty of things to do in NYC. But the point is that regardless of where you are doing an internship, you're there to work. The option to do "so much else" is not going anywhere. The option to do an outstanding job and perform well to impress and receive a return offer to a job that will provide you with a certain degree of success is limited. Undergrad flies by and all I'm saying is to make the most of that internship time and not worry about what else there is to do. That's just my mindset and opinion.

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Jun 11, 2017

Actually....now that I think about it, there is a way that someone would get in and not know anything about IB.

Saying directly will get enough shit thrown at me to fill the fuckin' Grand Canyon, but think about it. What type of hiring program would recruit so early that the candidates either don't know much about IB and/or works on a "placement" basis where they scatter applicants to different departments, and would be simultaneously open to hiring people who don't know much about the work?

I may be speaking about this type of recruiting from similar (although not quite comparable) observations.

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Jun 11, 2017

Maybe she works at GS/MS/Citi's HK desk and her dad is Fu Chengyu. There are thousands of ways someone can fall into a situation like this, funny that it happens so often in IB and usually the primary complaint is about culture and/or hours spent in the office.

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Jun 13, 2017

Something tells me shes hot asf... just based on how she received the FO offer.

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Jun 11, 2017

genuinely, our generation needs to buckle up. nothing in life comes for free. If you want to succeed at anything, you need to put the hours in. Decide what that is, then commit and just do it. You'll always doubt if what you're doing right now is the right thing to do, but as long as you have an idea where you want to end up and you're working towards that goal, just do it.

If you don't know where you want to go, it doesn't really matter what you do; you'll end up somewhere.

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Jun 11, 2017

You will probably get direct feedback regarding this Ella, but generally my stance is that you should give it until the halfway mark of your internship to see if it really fits you or not, and certainly work hard these 10 weeks and do your best to get a return offer. Back when I was a summer analyst and broadly during my internships I always disliked the first few weeks because it takes you out of comfort, which stabilizes after a few months. In terms of belonging, I don't think you should fear at all. Being an analyst in any industry is generally plain vanilla grunt work, but I think the merits of banking are that it's about as close to a meritocracy as you'll find (plus having all the analysts working long hours builds camaraderie :D)

It's usually a grass in greener type of situation, but I don't believe you will be happier moving over to middle or back office because I don't think it solves the underlying problem. You will still put in longer than normal hours from my experience in a bank vs. general industry (A few of my colleagues who work in Risk Mgmt/Finance functions at BB put in roughly 50-60 hours fluctuating over a given period, so certainly better than banking but worse than f500 finance). If this is really what you wish to do, then there's nothing wrong with this. You won't get the robust level of exit opportunities that banking affords, but you'll still make an above average income and set yourself up well for industry corp fin/strategy type roles with a good chance at a top 20 MBA. As with anything, there are opportunity costs with these types of decisions, so I think it's important for you to really think about whether you want to move on from banking. In the short term you will have a generally better work life balance, a good income, and interesting work depending on the type of coverage you have for risk mgmt or the type of group you work with in finance, but at the expense of artificially limiting potential career growth by a multiple.

First week intern blues are normal, so please don't fret by any means :). I can assure you that it will get better as you are staffed on some interesting deals. In the broader scheme of things, it's just 10 weeks, and only 2 years if you decide to return as an analyst. All will certainly be well :D

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Jun 11, 2017

You edited your original post, but I'm genuinely curious how you didn't know you were getting into an IB role. I guess you're not in standard deal execution / M&A and are working something like DCM or coverage groups....?

Jun 11, 2017

Probably a LevFin group

Jun 11, 2017
chicandtoughness:

You edited your original post, but I'm genuinely curious how you didn't know you were getting into an IB role. I guess you're not in standard deal execution / M&A and are working something like DCM or coverage groups....?

Yeah, I didn't know stuff like dcm, coverage, and lev fin are considered straight on IB too.

Thanks for the advice, everyone

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Best Response
Jun 11, 2017

No offense, but this is what happens when recruitment to prestigious FO roles are handed out like candy to target school students.

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Jun 11, 2017

That's not why.

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Jun 11, 2017

From a friend who had an accelerated BB superday for IBD coverage (Non-target student): **Columbia **student: "hey guys this is my first Finance interview". My intention isn't to demean target students, but there are plenty of interns that don't know what they are getting themselves into because they were handed the role due to school prestige. I'm currently interning at a top tier MM (MO role), and I spent the entire week networking with IBD interns who came from mostly Ivies or top 5 Finance schools. Some of these guys simply have no idea how lucky they are.

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Jun 13, 2017

Sounds like someone who couldn't get into a Target

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Jun 11, 2017

The problem for you with the hours is probably just that you don't want to be a career banker. If you don't, get out now. The above is right. If you want something, gotta put the hours in. Jump ship now and use your time more wisely for the things you really want out of life.

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Jun 11, 2017

Hahaha not right for me "anymore", and she hasn't even had her first day as an intern. Jesus Christ you'd think you were a veteran of the industry.

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Jun 11, 2017

Also if you hate it because there's other things you want to be doing, then you're in the wrong job.

I had a similar experience in the military as I got rotated around different officer positions. Some positions were inane busywork with a team I didn't care much for, and I absolutely hated that position despite it being relatively mild hours. In another position the schedule was brutal in austere conditions and I had a great time because I was in charge of an entire fucking command center, leading a team that I respected enormously and enjoyed the company of. Sure there were a few points where I wanted to be able to just decompress but for the most part it was a great time.

The "right" job is one where you find yourself almost doing some of the work on your own time or are headed in that direction. Sure most of the guys on here hate building excel models and pitchbooks (I actually like the analytical deep dive portion where you're trying to answer any one of the big questions that companies go to an IB to solve), but for those guys they would love to be traveling around making deals with clients and that analyst job is taking them in that direction.

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Jun 13, 2017

No offense to the author, but I am really amazed by how little some diversity/target school applicants know about the roles that they end up getting.

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Jun 13, 2017

If you really hate it, just suck it up for the
Summer. The good news is, it's just a summer internship. Whatever you want to pursue after, having a SA gig on resume will help tremendously.

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Jun 13, 2017

PM me your number, and we can grab a coffee ;-)

Jun 13, 2017

First things first, RIP Ella Fitzgerald.

This advice has been said in various ways in this thread, but I will repeat in a different way in the hopes you will take it close to heart. There are only two options ahead of you: work hard and earn a return offer, or give up and do not earn a return offer.

The first option presents a great opportunity to set up your career - even if what you want to do in the future is not FO IBD. It will open up doors to virtually any job going forward and will provide a rock-solid start to your resume. What you will need to do over the next 10 weeks will likely be the most challenging experience you have ever undergone. There's no getting around it. But let me explain why the alternative is so much worse.

The second option, hitting the ejector seat, will immediately cause a lot of harm. Right off the bat, it puts a large gap in your summer, which is a crucial time to be gaining experience. Secondly, it burns all of the bridges at your bank, and likely other banks, even for back office roles. You as a work candidate would take a deserved hit to your reputation. There was a particular summer analyst that worked at my bank seven years ago who slacked off and didn't get a return offer - and his story is still told to new joiners. Bankers have a long, long memory for negative experiences.

Let's say for some reason you take option 2 anyway and somehow land another good job and continue on your career. No harm done, right? Well, consider the opportunity lost. Losing the chance to have that name, gain that experience and meet those people during your 10 week internship would cause a significant shift in your career trajectory. What could you have done had you completed what you started? What doors would have opened? What doors are now shut?

In short, this decision should not come lightly. You will have many more 10-week periods, but potentially few as important to your career as this one. Make a good decision and be good to your future self by sacrificing in the present.

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Jun 13, 2017

I know how you feel. I applied to DeVry University and ended up being accepted to HBS...terrible

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Jun 17, 2017

Priceless!

Jun 13, 2017

Take it from someone in their thirties.....do the ten week internship. It will look good on your resume. It doesn't mean you have to do it for a career. But look, would you rather spend ten hours a day behind a desk or ten hours a day scooping ice cream? I've done both and ate too much ice cream and preferred the desk. I barely even remember my summer internship (summer of 07!!) other than the innumerable amount of pitchbooks I put together and excel spreadsheets I did. Oh I think there might have been bagels on Friday.

You can always do something else when you graduate next year if you don't like it.

********"Babies don't cost money, they MAKE money." - Jerri Blank********

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Jun 13, 2017

Do the internship, get an offer, leverage that offer into something that you want more

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Jun 17, 2017

All these serious replies yet he is a troll

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Jun 21, 2017

My gut tells me you're just nervous because you're new. You're going to question lots of things in life when you first get started and it's all weird, but I'd suggest you think long and hard before going to any other jobs that will leave you with less long term options. At a time in history when the middle class is shrinking, you have to ask yourself if you would look back on your life at 40 when you have a wife, kids, mortgage....and honestly say you set yourself up for the best possible life.

IB is only one way to get ahead, but if you're 20 and thinking about work/life balance you're kidding yourself. There's work, and it's part of life. You have guys your age putting in 18 hour days in military hot zones making less than a McDonald's cashier, and you have people with years of experience who are unemployed...consider how fortunate you are to have an opportunity like this. Take a drive through the crappiest parts of your city and honestly ask yourself what anyone you see there would do given the opportunity you have: they'd ride that wave for all it's worth.

Unless you come from wealth and have lots of other options, get used to the fact that the adult world, aka the real world, generally sucks hardcore, so the more you can insulate yourself from hardship the better off you will be.

My suggestion: put in enough time to have the experience count on your resume and THEN look for another job.

TLDR version: watch "Trading Places" and then think about your own future.

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