I Knew Finance was for me When...

As the title says. When did you guys decide "yep, I wanna be banker, crunch numbers and have no sleep". Was there any moment that pushed you towards finance or did you come out of the womb spitting valuations in the maternity ward?

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Comments (61)

Sep 1, 2018

When I realized that I couldn't get girls if it weren't for me being rich.

*not my personal answer, as I'm not in banking, but I think that's why many people go into banking

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Sep 1, 2018

why is it that your main goal is to always get girls and not constantly learn and grow?

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Sep 1, 2018

There's only so much money you need.

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Sep 1, 2018

lol then you have obv. never been wealthy

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Sep 1, 2018

I'm a student lol. Honestly, I guess I'm just one of those weird people who values experiences and memories more than material goods.

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Sep 1, 2018

i mean or grown up w/ wealth same thing; lol yeah unfortunately it's more common among the millennial generation

Sep 1, 2018

When I realised that I couldn't get girls if it weren't for me being rich.

I was thinking of saying that at my interview but I didnt want my interviewer thinking I was a perv (which I am)

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Sep 4, 2018

I wonder how the Bn/MS ratio would have changed had you not included the footnote.

Sep 1, 2018

Combination of events. I'm still in UG and majoring in Computer Information Systems (IT business degree). My whole college UG has been a cluster fuck and I pretty much just chose this degree after deciding I wanted to work with programming/computers/tech but had already too many business courses to go to computer science (would have gone finance if I knew what I know now).

Skip to myself and my girlfriend in NOLA looking around in art galleries at things I now dream to be able to easily afford (an IT career wont earn you that much until you're decades on the job). Then skip to my Dad (whom is a very successful financial advisor) selling me on the idea of the CRE industry. After looking into it myself (browsing this website and networking with people in the business) I basically fell in love. And this industry is with out a doubt a better fit for me than being in IT/tech/programming/whatever job I would land.

Sep 1, 2018

I knew finance was for me when I saw smart upperclassmen ahead of me struggling to break into IB. I realized it was a competitive field, and that it'd be a good challenge for me. And I want to be comfortable, but didn't want to do law/medicine because of the crazy time commitment necessary after college.

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Sep 1, 2018

Not really in finance per se but I always liked how much room for creativity there is in deal structuring and using financial tools. It really is an art.

Sep 1, 2018

I knew finance was for me when I heard "those nerds" whose computers I was fixing were pulling in $100k+ annually. All they seemed to do was sit there, play with numbers, and go to meetings.

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Sep 1, 2018

there isn't really any other option. not techy/stem enough to go into tech, medicine is a massive commitment, and everyone says law is miserable.

Sep 1, 2018

And engineering seems boring/lame

Sep 1, 2018

I knew finance was for me when the fear of being pigeonholed in a cubicle farm as I await someone retiring kept me up all night.

Finance, particularly investment banking, provides me with constant challenge, transaction-focused work and a very high ceiling.

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Sep 7, 2018

off topic - wtf does a pink IB circle mean (next to your username)? The user link doesn't have any info on it.

Sep 7, 2018

Recruited into investment banking through my business school.

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Sep 1, 2018

I'd like to revise my answer to say, "after my dad made me watch Wall Street 1"

Sep 1, 2018

when i watched wolf of wall street the first time

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Sep 1, 2018

When I saw the income from options trading

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Sep 4, 2018

I watched American Psycho and was like "yeah, that is going to be me"

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Sep 4, 2018

Very niche for my field (pharma consulting), but mine was when I realised 'damn, a lot of these biomedical scientists are geniuses in labs but have no idea about business. I bet helping the business side whilst proving I have scientific knowledge can be a lucrative field'. Started as I entered UG and haven't regretted it ever since.

Sep 5, 2018

your inner voice uses the word "whilst"?

JM28

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Sep 4, 2018

My family runs a small business, and back during my freshman year of college they hired a bank to help sell it. He bought it when he was in his late 20's with a buddy, and grew it to becoming a $50mm+ revenue business with over 20 locations in a bunch of different states. Now he's selling it and to see how his incredible hard work over 3 financial crises and 1 recession has paid off is pretty cool. He wouldn't have been able to do that w/o the support of an investment bank.

I know a lot of people might cringe at the story but investment banks really do facilitate the growth and accumulation of business and capitalism. Being a part of those sorts of deals and initiatives within companies is quite the experience, regardless of size or industry.

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Sep 4, 2018

When I realize I could make $150k adding numbers togethers on Excel and aligning logos on PowerPoint

Real answer: I started off wanting to be a doctor and then law school but really didnt want to go through another 3-4 years of school. My parents could've probably afford it, but didnt want them to after already paying for 4 years of undergrad. Banking seemed to be a good choice considering it paid well without needing more school and close to home.

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Sep 4, 2018

It occurred to me that the guaranteed careers that would lead me to my own subjective financial freedom like being a doctor, researcher, lawyer, etc. would all take a substantial amount of time to attain and that in my mind were always just paths to capital accumulation and eventually owning my own business. That idea combined with the knowledge of opportunity cost and compound interest led me explore business as a career. I found that I could start out with or progress to the type of compensation in finance over these other fields - with more risks of course. I was always genuinely interested in understanding the world in the broadest, most connected way and economics/finance provided that view where those other careers did not. Hence, I decided broadly that I would pursue finance and economics and supplement my education and career with self-study of politics and science.

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Sep 4, 2018

To excel at anything accounting/finance related, you need to work a lot of hours and work very hard. Might as well choose the career path that pays you the most for doing it.

For the record, currently an MBA pursuing investment banking opportunities. Started in Big 4 audit and transferred to Big 4 consulting pre-MBA.

Sep 4, 2018

Very good looks on transferring out of audit. It's not the easiest thing to position yourself out of.

Sep 5, 2018

True story. I'm also ex-Big 4 audit. I took the "move to NYC, pass all three CFA exams, learn everything possible about markets, and network your ass off" approach. It is no cakewalk getting out of audit. Recruiters still hit me up for accounting jobs offering "$110K plus generous PTO." They even list the salary in the subject line, which lets you know it's the only reason you'd ever want a job that boring. Do they think I moved across the country and got a CFA/CPA combo so I could have a "safe" job as assistant controller doing the monthly close process alongside Barb and Pam?

I don't mean to come off like too much of an a-hole. Accounting is a great job for people with a certain personality, but that is NOT my personality. I'm glad I had a few years of public accounting because it gave me a solid foundation, but I'm glad I got out early and started making chess moves (first was a valuation/consulting role then CFA) towards asset management early. It's way too easy to get trapped in financial reporting forever.

"From now on, I want you to put an equal amount of blueberries in each muffin." -Sam "Ace" Rothstein

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Sep 5, 2018

I was in a similar position to you so I can relate. Getting out was difficult but it's a lot more exciting.

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Sep 5, 2018

I have the final round interview for my first buy-side job (high-yield muni fund) coming up in a couple weeks and couldn't be more excited. The transition will be complete if I land it, and I had to fight for this for years. but it's absolutely worth it.

Accounting is no place for a guy like me, both in terms of the work being done and culture being so mousy and docile. You don't directly add any value or tak any risk, you're just a scorekeeper and/or referee. I want to be on the field playing, just like in my football days. The world needs good accountants, but I'm not meant to be one of them. I'm thankful I've audited public companies, earned my CPA, and understand accounting, but I'm not meant to be an accountant.

I'm really hoping to land this job with the high-yield shop. But even if this one doesn't work out, I'm pretty encouraged since receiving my "pass" result on CFA Level III. The recruiters I've already been working with all seemed really impressed when I shared the CFA news, and once I get through the application process and can officially make it "*Sam Rothstein, CFA, CPA" at the top of my resume in big bold letters, anyone recruiting for finance will at least review my resume rather than going "Oh, CPA, he's an accountant..." and moving on.

*Obviously not my real name, just a great Robert De Niro character I chose to embody on this forum. But I thought I'd make the disclosure in any of the crazy young kids start digging around LinkedIn looking to reach out to a mob-affiliated, detail-oriented Casino boss who chose the wrong girl to marry.

"From now on, I want you to put an equal amount of blueberries in each muffin." -Sam "Ace" Rothstein

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Sep 7, 2018

Varsity?

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Sep 7, 2018
KyleDThomas7:

Varsity?

Ha! Check this out, I've been discovered/outed on WSO by my old pal Kyle! Yes, this is indeed "Mr. Varsity" himself, but please keep my government name anonymous. Idk how you knew it was me; I didn't even use the Varsity/JV distinction in this post, and there are plenty of guys in finance who played football. I actually considered incorporating "Varsity" into my username on this forum but there are probably at least a hundred people in this industry who would see it and go "Oh, I know who that crazy bastard is..."

I was thinking of hitting you up the other day, actually. About to text you now.

"From now on, I want you to put an equal amount of blueberries in each muffin." -Sam "Ace" Rothstein

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Sep 4, 2018

When I first saw a company with a 60%+ EBITDA margin and 20%+ annual CAGR. My massive half chub confirmed finance was for me.

Sep 4, 2018

1999 - when I was in 9th grade (age 14), we had a stock market stimulation in my macroeconomic class.

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Sep 5, 2018
Naoki Hanzawa:

1999 - when I was in 9th grade (age 14), we had a stock market stimulation in my macroeconomic class.

Sounds very stimulating.

"If you always put limits on everything you do, physical or anything else, it will spread into your work and into your life. There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them." - Bruce Lee

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Sep 4, 2018

2011 - read the Million Dollar Careers WetFeet guide.

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Sep 4, 2018

I knew finance was for me when I visited the NYSE on a school trip. I was instantly hooked by all the screens and prices. It just felt right to me, I can't be thankful enough that I discovered my passion for markets.

Sep 4, 2018

I knew finance was for me when I read about Carl Icahn's exploit.

Sep 4, 2018

when i failed all the other interviews

You killed the Greece spread goes up, spread goes down, from Wall Street they all play like a freak, Goldman Sachs 'o beat.

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Funniest
Sep 4, 2018

When I looked at the Occupy Wall Street crowd and decided "fuck those people."

"Work ethic, work ethic" - Vince Vaughn
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Sep 4, 2018

another non-target who wanted to play the lottery

What concert costs 45 cents? 50 Cent feat. Nickelback.

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Sep 4, 2018

2008: Dad tells me markets are bad and family will have to make sacrifices. We make it through alright but decided I never want that for my family so start to read about what happened and try to learn from it. Get hooked on finance.

Sep 4, 2018

Met a couple alumni who worked on Wall Street...they impressed me way more than any lawyer, medical or big 4 person from my school. It wasn't necessarily about the money or anything, I just knew that of most the professionals I met from my undergrad they were the ones I wanted to most emulate and become like

Sep 4, 2018

Saw this NY Times on a roommate's bed: https://www.nytimes.com/2007/04/24/business/24hedg...

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Sep 4, 2018

...I realized a big bonus was the only way to get out of my insane student debt.

Sep 5, 2018

Started making good money in a sales and strategy type role. Was spending all my free time researching the best investments for my money. Left to go back to school to get a degree in finance. Never looked back - hope to end up in IB/ER and then PE/HF. Different roles, both very interesting for different reasons. Based on my experience thus far my skill-set is probably most applicable to PE but I don't mind doing the in-depth individual research for ER/AM/HF

just a monkey trying to find his way in the finance jungle

Sep 5, 2018

When I realized that I hate myself more than a staffer / manager ever could

JM28

Sep 5, 2018

As an engineering student, I don't wanna wack off my whole life

Sep 5, 2018

on the trading side.... i did an internship and my first day on a desk - the energy, the speed of the morning and the overall youth of everyone - was all i needed. i was hooked

Sep 5, 2018

What I think a lot of people overlook is that once everything is said and done with a deal, if it succeeds, you've just successfully transformed the market, and as a result you get the brag rags to all of your non-banking friends that you, for example, 'helped BP purchase oil rights in Canada' or 'worked on issuing debt for Intel.'

It's one of the only jobs out there where you can immediately see the impact that you've made in the world, which is ultimately part of why the job is such a rewarding experience.

Garrett E Kindle

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Sep 5, 2018

I knew that IB would be the right path for someone like me because I lacked the raw intelligence necessary to excel in a more technical field like software development, where merit and merit alone determines your career trajectory, and despite being an introvert, I was enough of a social climber to be an effective networker. In banking, your intelligence is not that important beyond a certain baseline - it's more about avoiding mistakes and fitting in with your team. During my summer at an EB I found that people will forgive many shortcomings as long as they like your attitude and you as a person. Everyone who was confident in their social skills but not necessarily their technical knowledge ultimately won the return offer. It was the people for whom the opposite was true who ran into concerns about their enthusiasm and dedication to the job.

Sep 6, 2018

Did a google search on "finance salaries" and the rest is history...

Sep 7, 2018

When I lost $80k in highly leveraged trading.

Startup Hedge Fund. Reply for consulting on starting a fund or partnering in a fund.

Sep 7, 2018

When my mom's friend told me how much money he made in 08'. I started driving him around and he quasi-became my first real estate investing mentor. Then realized I could retire in my 30s if I executed properly.

Sep 7, 2018

When, straight out of school, my dad told me to become a doctor.

Sep 14, 2018

When I was born into parents who were artists. My mom makes decent business out of her creativity, but I always resented why they couldn't just think with more.... capitalist values.

Sep 15, 2018

"If you always put limits on everything you do, physical or anything else, it will spread into your work and into your life. There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them." - Bruce Lee

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Sep 15, 2018

"If you always put limits on everything you do, physical or anything else, it will spread into your work and into your life. There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them." - Bruce Lee

Sep 15, 2018

"If you always put limits on everything you do, physical or anything else, it will spread into your work and into your life. There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them." - Bruce Lee

    • 1
Sep 16, 2018