I Love Investment Banking

Not a day goes by that I'm not happy I broke into this industry, which allows me to be fully financially secure and live a relatively luxurious lifestyle in my early 20s, with guarantees of advancement and huge increases in compensation ahead of me (or endless opportunities to exit if I want to), as long as I just keep doing what I'm doing and don't suck at it. 

And all at the cost of a little sweat and tears and having to work late nights sometimes. Guess what? There are thousands of jobs that require the same level of commitment but for a fraction of the pay and without the exponential increase in compensation (and that's just in your 20s!)

Just thought I'd provide an alternative point of view to everyone on here b*tching and crying because banking ruined their dinner plans. You guys need a reality check and maybe you should pause for a second and consider the amazing opportunity you have. Cause the alternative is a lot worse. 

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Comments (116)

Funniest
  • Analyst 1 in IB - Cov
Aug 19, 2021 - 4:24am

Nobody:

Juniors On WSO With No SA : "Okay fuck you tool have fun wasting your life in IB while FAANG engineers win international math competitions and make $780k out of college (with stock appreciation) and consultants fly first class all around the world (Wisconsin M-Th). Let me know how you feel after your 2nd fire drill and also please let me know if your bank is hiring my resume is attached."

Aug 19, 2021 - 4:53am

Bro this post is so refreshing - Tired of all those weak people / daddy kid crying all day long. Most people crying about investment banking broke into because the system got them there. There parents were rich, they bought a top business school diploma etc. These guys are there but they don't know why. Just because of the way the system is built. My parents are poor and I get a lot of motivation from it and I am actually proud of it, helps me realize the chance I have

Most Helpful
Aug 19, 2021 - 5:10am

True.

Being in your 20s and helping your parents pay their mortgage, buying your dad his dream car, helping your brothers and sisters get out from a shitty country and study in better universities, helping family members with their finances, etc. are pleasures which all those privileged Ivy children won't understand. 

All those shitty posts: Getting fat in IB, bad mental health, IB is not meaningful, I want intellectual stimulation, I want to Live Love and Laugh, are from people who didn't saw financial struggle in their life and their only problem is "What haircut is more prestigious?" (Real topic in WSO)

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Aug 19, 2021 - 5:17pm

Honestly I cannot understand how people get fat in any job. Literally just manage your calorie intake based on your activity level and take walks around your workplace during down time between tasks, which everybody including Investment Bankers has.

Now, muscle loss, I understand that a bit more.

Aug 20, 2021 - 4:10pm

I'm in ER, not banking, but this is exactly how I feel. Went to non-target & fought thru so much negativity to make it to where I am. So many get it borderline handed to them & genuinely think they're better than you because they went to a "more prestigious" undergrad (although not all are like this)... but I wasn't raised w/ a silver spoon & will outwork tf out of anyone b/c these jobs pay a multiple of my combined family income growing up, and I couldn't be more fortunate to end up here than on probation like my high school friends are right now.

Half joking / half srs but can we start a group for people who broke into the Street from middle / lower class?

I will say I don't think health should ever be sacrificed though, everyone should have 60-90min a day to hit the gym or w/e floats your boat. There should never be a day where one isn't permitted to take for their health no matter how busy (even though we often don't during EPS szn etc at times in ER).

  • Analyst 1 in IB - Cov
Aug 19, 2021 - 9:00am

I actually woke up this morning thinking, "when's the point where I start to hate this job like everyone else?"

I'm still considered new to the industry so I thought maybe I was naive for loving the job.

It's good to hear that other people genuinely like the work, maybe I'll continue to love this job as well.

  • Analyst 2 in IB-M&A
Aug 19, 2021 - 9:24am

I agree, so much negativity on here and it's not all that bad...sure you work extremely hard but a lot of people in law and med school are doing the same hours and not making IB money, they're just taking out loans. One of my friends got out of his residency just got a job and he's 29 and just making his first paycheck that's equivalent to my all-in comp...and I'm 22. I also hate just talking about it from the comp perspective- I think it's really cool to sit in on meetings with executives at such a young age. So much upward career mobility after you do your analyst stint. I'll probably stay on as an associate (if I get the promotion) and not leave to buyside, where the grass is always greener. 

  • Intern in IB-M&A
Aug 21, 2021 - 4:01pm

I need to ask this in sincere faith, as an incoming off-cycle intern

Is investment banking intellectually demanding?

I mean I'm dying to get in, and there is nothing wrong with working too many hours for decent cash and rewarding exists. But I just see this point regurgitated all the time, especially in comparison to law and medicine. Not that I actually care if IB is or isn't intellectually demanding, that's irrelevant, but would love to hear your thoughts

Aug 25, 2021 - 12:52pm

I need to ask this in sincere faith, as an incoming off-cycle intern

Is investment banking intellectually demanding?

I mean I'm dying to get in, and there is nothing wrong with working too many hours for decent cash and rewarding exists. But I just see this point regurgitated all the time, especially in comparison to law and medicine. Not that I actually care if IB is or isn't intellectually demanding, that's irrelevant, but would love to hear your thoughts

It is not intellectually demanding in the sense that you are constantly being challenged but most of it is learning how to manage multiple tasks, manage time, stress, people, your attitude etc. There is an intellectual learning curve after which you get a baseline comfort (but still have to learn / refresh on new concepts) and mostly have to just keep a good attitude. At the analyst level you will likely spend less than half (and way less in your first 6 months) of your time doing complex things that require hard thought. The hard thing is keeping a good attitude and staying sharp when you are exhausted.

  • Analyst 1 in IB - CB
Aug 19, 2021 - 10:11am

Totally agree with you bro. We are so lucky and literally everyone on this forum just complains. The challenges of the job are completely worth it to feel financially secure and live a great lifestyle in NYC

Aug 19, 2021 - 10:18am

Yes - it is. This job is amazing but it can have a toll on you after your first two to three years. I was extremely happy the first month I got in and I only had to stay like 20 or 15 late nights or something. When this accrues and you are 3 years in and no life at all, that is when things get complicated

Enjoy the journey - it is for sure worth it 

Controversial
Aug 19, 2021 - 10:50am

Cause the alternative is a lot worse. 

Really? Is the alternative worse?  My alternative was working a nice cushy middle class job at $85K per year at 40 hours per week. With a wife earning the near same amount, that's $170K per year.....fucking terrible alternative.

Also side note, this sort of attitude in the post hurts and helps in a career. Yes, you need a little perspective and realize that there are literally kids working in sweatshops around the world at 70 hours a week. That should keep you humble.

At the same time, you need to stand up for yourself and know your self worth. Don't keep telling yourself that it's ok to work 100 hours per week because some people may have it worse. Someone will always have it worse. Be a little pissed and find a better situation. Otherwise, you will spend your entire career as someone's happy slave.

EDIT: Don't think you guys are getting my comments. The most successful people in finance that I've seen are not the ones who work the hardest and keep their heads down. It's the ones who work hard and throw a fit when their bonus isn't half a mil this year (squeaky wheel always gets the grease).

It's the people who said "screw working 100 hours a week, what's an easier and better way to make that cash?" By being super grateful, at a certain point, you begin to screw yourself and you let people walk all over you.  

Aug 19, 2021 - 3:33pm

Not necessarily right off the bat, but if you have a business degree and a little talent, there are about a hundred different industries where you can achieve a financially secure middle class lifestyle with minimum effort. If you have SO earning the same amount, you will be able to afford a occassional luxurious trips and living.

OP notes that there are tons of people who work really hard and get nothing.  He forgets that there are a lot of people who work much much less and stil live pretty good. So there's another side to that coin.

EDIT: Here's another scenario that no one talks about much on here.  Get out of school, get a job that earns $50K. If you found someone early, your spouse or perhaps gf makes $50K per year.  Together, you're almost earning IB analyst money at 40 hours per week.  Not a bad life which will only get better as you slowly progress in pay.

Do the math....same money...more time....meaningful relationship which you probably won't have in IB.

Aug 19, 2021 - 7:15pm

No the alternative is working in tech and making 200K as a fresh grad.

If you're actually somewhat talented and have good communication skills then join Databricks, Brex, Stripe or Rubrik and make millions in the IPO.

Aug 20, 2021 - 3:16pm

I really don't get people who want some normal schmuck life that come here to rant about people working to hard. I feel like it's all salty people who couldn't break in. So they came here wanting to break in (why they know about it at all) and then end up trying to convince themselves that their failure is actually the superior path. What a joke.

Aug 19, 2021 - 12:18pm

Because not everyone saw their parents working for 80-100 hours in manual jobs without any advancement for a little pay over years just to be able to maintain a family.

The ones who know/understand how mud tastes understand the value of water, not the ones who only drank luxury wine for their entire life.

  • Research Analyst in HF - Event
Aug 19, 2021 - 1:07pm

I think a lot of people lack grit, and I personally didn't think IB was that bad (more like annoying). That being said, I feel like a lot of the complaining has more to do with aspects of the job that are unnecessary hardships. The mentality that "I went through this, so so should you" is plainly inefficient, and just because something "isn't that bad" doesn't mean it can't be better.

  • Associate 3 in IB-M&A
Aug 19, 2021 - 1:46pm

Very true, definitely a lot of unnecessary and pointless work that never sees the light of day in IB, but I also think you can find similar unnecessary hardships and d-bags with the "I went through this, so should you" mentality in just about any job, we just happen to have a forum to voice our displeasures, which subsequently turns into an echo chamber. Most industries can probably be better but at least in IB when things get really bad our salaries go up. I definitely carry the same mentality that IB really isn't that bad, just annoying at times.

Aug 19, 2021 - 2:17pm

Often times people do not see nor appreciate parents working 2-3 jobs with monstrous hours on below/above minimum wage just to help raise a family.  Breaking into IB (any other high paying career field in general) is something people ought to be grateful for.  This is a highly respected field, and the earnings are reflective of that.  This goes for BigLaw and Medicine as well.  We received an opportunity to live a better life, and generally speaking, pay it forward to help others and those who helped raised us is something I strive for when the opportunity arises.  

No pain no game.

  • 3
Aug 19, 2021 - 3:48pm

I guarantee you that the people who complain about IB are those who have never had to work a service job in their life. Imagine working like a dog for minimum wage, no respect, little to no chance for upward mobility, rude/entitled customers, and uneducated/annoying and lazy coworkers. That experience sure taught me one of the most valuable lessons; be appreciative of what you have because there are dozens of guys out there just like you who would love to take your IB job and abandon their shitty jobs at the drop of a hat.

Aug 19, 2021 - 4:41pm

Not even mentioned in the post, but if you get off on consuming information for a living, being the most knowledgable person at non-IB parties and gatherings, can talk about almost any topic because you get paid buckets to learn about about them, this is a great fucking job.

Good work monkeys!

Aug 19, 2021 - 5:22pm

People taking the attitude that they hate banking are in it for the wrong reasons. You have to love it and not just love the salary. It is more than just loving money, it's about loving to be involved with the flow of money.

Aug 19, 2021 - 5:24pm

Just wanna add that in alternative paths your boss will always think you got free time, and they never have to pay you for working overtime.

In IB you're already compensated, so boss is not taking "unexploited" advantage from you.

Aug 19, 2021 - 5:50pm

This shit right here. Treated my family of 8 to a fucking lobster dinner last weekend with some of my sign on bonus money. Felt good knowing that my parents knew I was going to take care of the check. 

Aug 19, 2021 - 6:17pm

As someone who almost had to work in audit at a big 4 (maybe 80% as much work as IB, 10% as interesting, for $60k per year with no signing bonus and no annual bonus, and exit opps consisting of industry accounting and maybe FP&A), I count my lucky stars every day that I got this job. I worked my ass off to make it here and avoid the aforementioned fate. "Out of touch" doesn't even begin to encapsulate those who complain about their jobs in IB

Aug 19, 2021 - 7:01pm

I'll probably get a lot of shit thrown at me for this, but my 2 cents:

It feels like a lot of those who complain or gripe about IB on WSO are likely those who were able to break in with ease and also grew up relatively well off. To these folks, the job was always "expected" so it's easy for them to overlook the opportunity. This is also the first time many of these people are doing something that is truly uncomfortable/hard/challenging.

The "underdogs" who break in seem to appreciate how hard it truly is to land these opportunities and cherish them much more. Grinding out a few years of IB in your early 20s can set the foundation for your financial future. If you're someone who grew up poor or middle class, this is HUGE. With the recent pay bumps, in just 2 years a decent analyst can make close to (or over) $500k! Half a million bucks. That's literally a decade of work for someone with median earnings. Insane. If you're diligent with your money and save/invest aggressively, becoming a millionaire is inevitable.

Aug 19, 2021 - 7:19pm

I agree with this perspective - I noticed those who were most successful were either:1) poor kids who had a chip on their shoulder and needed a safe way to "make it".2) rich white kids who went to Choate and Brown and whose dad runs M&A at Centerview and it was "expected" this was going to be their life.I didn't fit either of those buckets as an Asian kid who grew up in the West Coast and saw relatives net 40+ million by joining Apple and Google in the early 2000s. Pretty awe inspiring to see Asian parents who were penniless coming to the US buying $8M houses in Atherton without ever wearing a tie.But yeah - you're absolutely right your assessment.

  • Analyst 1 in IB - Gen
Aug 19, 2021 - 10:49pm

Oh I most certainly agree that becoming a millionaire working in banking for several years is inevitable even before the pay bumps. Those seniors who enjoyed the last several years of market returns are certainly set. My only worry is market returns going forward for us new guys. Put all my bonus money into a market fund and now am getting the feeling shit could fall hard. Hope I'm being paranoid though.

Aug 19, 2021 - 7:12pm

Working in a restaurant in freshman year of college motivated me to pursue IB. $14/h, 10 hour shifts with 15min break on your feet, no respect from customers... puts working late nights in a sleek skyscraper for a big check at 22 in perspective for how lucky I am...

Aug 19, 2021 - 9:13pm

Was talking to an old military buddy today. He find's his sweatshop pretty cushy compared to our old unit that had a high OPTEMPO and back to back training/deployment cycles. 

Array
Aug 19, 2021 - 11:34pm

Facts!! Finance is definitely a great field for Vets to transition to, especially if they were within a Combat Arms MOS. 

Array
Aug 19, 2021 - 9:56pm

Refreshing to this perspective on the forum. Recent posts have been comically negative. I just signed to come back for full time and I'm stoked. If I'm gonna work in a corporate environment I might as well work hard and get compensated for it. There are far worse places to be. My dad was in the Army running around in the desert at my age, there's no comparison.

  • Analyst 1 in IB - Gen
Aug 19, 2021 - 10:44pm

I honestly think if you live in lowish cost of living area and do banking without falling for the NYC hype, it can be an extremely lucrative path and worth the late nights and grind for sure. The differences get especially larger the more senior you get as more of your income falls in the top marginal tax brackets and housing/mortgage becomes your largest fixed cost.

  • Intern in IB - Restr
Aug 20, 2021 - 8:20am

The average investment banker comes from a strongly upper class background compared to the rest of the country (check *average* parental incomes at targets, almost top 1%). For many people they are now just working 100 hours a week to live even shittier than they did before they even started working. For middle class (real middle class, not parents making 400k 'middle class'), the work is still hard but the reward is enjoyed a lot more.

I feel like this is why we have people in this thread pretending that this job is anything like most other jobs, because they truly don't understand what regular jobs are like. If you don't come from the top 5% then this job is like hitting the lottery. 

  • Intern in IB - Gen
Aug 20, 2021 - 8:46am

roughly what income brackets would you consider lower-lowermiddle-middle-uppermiddle-upperclass income earners be in?

Aug 20, 2021 - 8:57am

We make 100k+ sitting in an air conditioned room typing on a computer for 10h. As an immigrant I feel like I grabbed God by the ankles. When I told my auntie who's a big 4 director back in the old country how much I make as 1st year analyst her reaction was "holy fuck", my salary is higher than that country's president's. Even ignoring overseas, in NYC you have millions of people who do hard physical labor with similar hours and quarter of the pay and consider themselves lucky for it.

We are blessed with that opportunity and anyone who thinks otherwise just doesn't understand how average people live.

Aug 20, 2021 - 12:36pm

If they work at a PE backed company it means they've failed no offense. 
 

A decent engineer could leetcode their way into Snap, Google, Robinhood, Brex, Databricks, Rubrik, Stripe, Pinterest etc. 

I used to be in PE and switched to FB as an SWE - I work way less now (20-30 hours) and make about ~500K. Ceiling isn't as high as PE for sure but I genuinely enjoy the work and if I switch to management - M1s will make about 700-800. 
 

Also the added benefit of no iterations on CIMs, no running coordination calls with a bunch of third parties and no fire drills. My life is incredibly peaceful and it's awesome knowing that changing a couple of lines of code on my end could affect billions of users.

Aug 20, 2021 - 11:35am

Very refreshing perspective - I like it. When I'm feeling overwhelmed, I remind myself how hard I had to work to get here and the sacrifices my family had to make for me. For all of IBs faults, it is still an incredibly privileged position to be in. The fact I'm learning so much while also being able to take care of myself and family is amazing. I also wonder if people researched IB before they decided to get into it - were the long hours shocking to you? It's as if people don't Google things, lol. Know what you're getting into. 

Aug 20, 2021 - 2:03pm

Nobody:

Absolutely Nobody:

Not a single fucking a soul:

First Year IB Analyst: OMG GUYZZZZ I LOVE IB SO MUCH! I'M SO GRATEFUL THAT I GET TO LIVE THIS "LUXURIOUS" LIFESTYLE AND FINALLY BROKE IN!!! I'M LIVING LIFE BETTER THAN SO MANY PEOPLE THAT HAVE TO WORK SHITTIER JOBS THAN ME! STAY HUNGRY AND POSITIVE GUYZZZ! GET THAT MONEY HAHA! SPREADING GOOD VIBES ABOUT THIS INDUSTRY! IGNORE THE BLATANT TOXICITY AND ABUSE JUNIORS RECEIVE ALL FOR THAT YEAR END BONUS!

That's what you and your post sound like. Please just fuck off, I give it a year and your love for the job will be gone because you'll get accustomed to it and realize that you're just an overpaid secretary. So shut the fuck up and go run the numbers again for your MD and get the fuck out of here with your fake positivity post you banana craving whore.

Aug 20, 2021 - 10:32pm

What you say is very true. I burnt out very quickly but looking back it wasn't that bad. As I got older I realised many people work very hard, maybe not as hard as bb banking, but for much less pay.
 

That said you just got to do what you're capable of. I wasn't capable of working til 3 in the morning everyday and I think that's equally fine too. 

At the end of the day we all do this for money, and these days I've made money that most MDs can prob only dream of but that's a different story at same age unless you're in prop trading. Just do what you're comfortable with

Aug 21, 2021 - 12:25am

Good for you OP. You have realized that you value money over anything else. If that is the case, IB is one of the best places to make a career. As long as you are a good soldier and always put work first, you will be paid handsomely. 
 

A lot of people value work / life balance instead or they find other work to be more interesting / fulfilling. 
 

Nobody is right or wrong. If IB makes you happy keep at it. Great way to guarantee yourself a lot of $. 

Aug 21, 2021 - 10:39am

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