IB chance VS Ops sure thing

Burner99's picture
Rank: Monkey | 34

Currently at a BB in Ops and been here for 2 years. There's an internal program to move to IBD for which I've made great connections and think I have a high probability (but certainly no guarantee) of making it. Process won't conclude for another 2 months. Meanwhile I've received an offer at an asset management firm in Ops at the associate level with a salary that would rival 1st and 2nd year IB analysts - for real, it's kind of crazy how much they are offering.

No way to put the offer off that long so I need to decide.

What would you do?

Comments (24)

Jul 15, 2019

Asset management Ops pays a lot better than IBD Ops and you're way closer with FO people.

I guess the decision is if you're super concerned about future earnings and if you're very eager to earn lots of money. If you're okay with a 6-figure job with good work-life balance but little chance of making enormous amounts of money, AM Ops isn't a bad way to go. IBD will (potentially, no guarantee) lead to the big bucks later down the road if you can grind it out.

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Jul 15, 2019

You've hit the nail on the head here. Of course I'm eager to earn lots of money, but also smart enough to recognize the long-term tradeoff. Perhaps some insight into AM long term salary would help. Could I expect 200+ as a VP, or would I need to be closer to a MD/Principal level for that range?

Jul 15, 2019

Unfortunately I can't help with exact figures here, especially as AM salaries vary a lot more than IBD depending on location, size/structure of shop, AUM, etc.

200k as VP Ops doesn't sound unreasonable though, don't IBD Ops VPs make like 140k all in?

Jul 15, 2019

fortune favors the bold

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Most Helpful
Jul 15, 2019

I was in BB ops, some of our grad programme moved after 1-2 years to IBD, quant strat, trading etc. they seem to enjoy it and it fitted their personalities well. this was no guarantee for them either, but I think they really made good cases to move and I know they had chats with HR in order to facilitate the pull factor. There was no official internal program per se. I don't hear from the guys that went to IBD. obviously they work all the time (and they had to take a step back to analyst 1).

I took a role in AM ops after 3 years of BB ops.. was also surprised by the salary offers as well... I had a few offers for niche 'middle office' roles in PE, Fintech etc which ranged from the equivalent of 100-125k USD (not in the US) for 50-60 hrs a week. I sit on the investment desk at a structured credit shop (next to the head PM) and amongst the other PMs, research and business development are also dotted around me... get treated and paid well considering the hours I do. the BO/FO lines really get blurred in AM/Hedge funds, I am also the treasury/finance function responsible for booking hedges etc..which typically wouldn't be tolerated in BB ops. And if you're looking for future numbers and progression, I just got offered a similar role at another shop (hedge fund) which was 80k base and 40k bonus GBP (so about 150k USD all-in [pound weak relvative to usd fyi]) - this is with 4.5 yrs relevant exp (Given that its a kind of niche knowledge and skillset i've developed). What I've seen in terms of career progression in AM ops is to COO (I think thats with 15yrs relevant exp) and at that point it's not really ops at all, its managing investors and marketing new funds etc.

it's a tough question to answer. maybe think about the probability of you getting this in 2 months and then what your plan is if you dont get it. you'll probably be able to get another AM ops role, but if you liked the firm and the people when interviewing then that makes it a bit more difficult.

'Security is mostly a superstition. It does not exist in nature, nor do the children of men as a whole experience it. Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. Life is either a daring adventure or nothing. - Helen Keller'

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Jul 15, 2019

This is great insight, thanks so much for sharing! In your time I'm AM Ops do you see folks leaving/getting into quality biz schools? Is that common or the exception?

Do you see any real exit ops outside of what you would see as essentially a move to a similar firm doing similar work?

Jul 15, 2019

there's only 5 people In our ops side and these guys probably don't even know what business school is. I don't say that flippantly, they've probably never been on WSO and have no desire to be 'better' professionally if you know what I mean (not judging, just an observation). They enjoy (like really enjoy) their roles, have incredible product knowledge and understanding of the business, but they're just happy to pick up the pay cheque (US - check) and steadily move up the corporate ladder. that might sound a bit harsh and not the reassuring reply you're looking for but it is the truth and it is just these guys personalities. to each their own.

That said, Euro MBAs are at a nascent stage... not nearly as popular as they are in the states. these guys have niche stories and have worked on some interesting projects, with a good GMAT score and the desire they could definitely get in to top 10 Euro MBAs. We work for a strong, well known brand, and these guys have inflated titles like 'Principal' etc. I've seen people with weaker stories get in to B-school. Basically, you could do B School if you wanted (I have also seen guys from BB ops to B school and move into FO BB after - from top 15 US MBA - and then on to more traditional exit ops like corp dev at a tech company after that). Remember that MBA programmes cant just be full of kids with 2 years IBD experience... they need diversity... and people that have added real value to businesses.

Re exit-ops - Honestly, I haven't really had a good look at other moves. Ive been here under 2 years, and only recently stuck my feelers out, just to look for more cash because I'm greedy and it's getting to the point in time where it's acceptable to change jobs (from potential employers perspective). I'm not in a rush to move personally - I'm just stacking chips at the moment and entrepreneurship is appealing to me.

One offer I had after BB ops stint was a PE firm that was launching a niche credit product, essentially fintech, it was Ops but not in the typical BB sense, the ops team managed clients which were other fintech and software companies, by managing I mean they'd be chatting with the CFO/CEO's of these firms and helping them build out their reporting which streamlined their data in to their product. hard to explain really. some other functions of that role were building out the software from scratch (so would have to learn a programming language), and also treasury, managing hedging etc. and also but it seemed a bit dysfunctional to didn't take it ultimately. So not really a similar firm or similar work but my personal experiences set me up for that move.

Jul 16, 2019

Decided since I've been studying for interviews anyway... I'll just run a DCF on myself in both situations

Jul 16, 2019

At the end of the day, ops is ops. If you want to do IB, then put everything you can into making this IB program. There will always be an opportunity to move to other ops roles and being shortsighted about making $85-95k now (assuming you were talking analyst base and not bonus) rather than do something that you actually want to do, seems like a no brainer to me.

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Jul 17, 2019

Offer is 100K+ with 20-30% bonus. Top of the line for Ops, but still I think I agree

Jul 17, 2019

Side note - in a similar situation to OP. Don't get us confused lol

Jul 17, 2019

there will always be lateral ops promotions available....go for the FO IBD role...

just google it...you're welcome

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Jul 17, 2019

a few things I forgot to mention last night.

yes there is internal mobility at AM as well. the firm i'm at are keen on it, I think they'd rather move peoples between positions and keep the persons business knowledge than lose them, AMs/Hedge funds are mostly lean. be open with the firm if you want to move to research or trading or something if you take it, at the interview stage say you want it in 1 or 2 years for instance. and a few of the other non-ops guys have top MBAs at my place, but the roles they're in, I've been told are possible to rotate in to from my role... albeit more junior. food for thought before getting up to your eyeballs in debt.

dont be fooled in to thinking the work is sexier in ibd or anywhere else btw. you get paid more but you have to work for it, which you pay for with your life. plugging numbers in to excel and making presentations look pretty isn't a million miles away from ops. the guys I know that have the golden exit ops in PE have hopeless social skills and are terrible with women which i'm guessing is due to the hours.

what's the % chance you'll get IBD? what is it you like about iBD by the way? thats the most important question to ask.

Jul 17, 2019
TommyGunn:

a few things I forgot to mention last night.

yes there is internal mobility at AM as well. the firm i'm at are keen on it, I think they'd rather move peoples between positions and keep the persons business knowledge than lose them, AMs/Hedge funds are mostly lean. be open with the firm if you want to move to research or trading or something if you take it, at the interview stage say you want it in 1 or 2 years for instance. and a few of the other non-ops guys have top MBAs at my place, but the roles they're in, I've been told are possible to rotate in to from my role... albeit more junior. food for thought before getting up to your eyeballs in debt.

what's the % chance you'll get IBD? what is it you like about iBD by the way? thats the most important question to ask.

This AM role did not seem keen on hiring someone looking to move internally. Mentioned they were looking for someone who loves Ops and wants to come in and be in this position for the foreseeable future. Nobody loves Ops but nonetheless I don't see that as a realistic possibility.

I've talked to probably 8-10 analysts and associates plus the recruiter, most of which agree I have a great story and I'm a good fit for this program. But I'm still a realist - I estimate ~40-50% of getting in. Probably about as good as anyone in my position could hope for. My reasoning for wanting the move is 3 fold:

1) In general the mindset of complacency in Operations drives me nuts. I want to be around people who are competitive and striving for success and have big goals. There are some of those in Ops but they are the exception rather than the rule.

2) I want to work on things that are important. I have no expectation of coming in and winning over some new client that brings in $1bn, but it can be extremely hard to get excited about initiatives in Ops. The reality is I don't really care how many cash breaks we have or what our risk associated with them is. But that's 1/2 of Ops jobs right there.

3) Self Satisfaction and Money - not that I want to show the world, although that's a nice perk, but I want to prove to myself that I am capable and I'm capable even from a non-traditional background. It would be a big personal win for me.

Jul 17, 2019

good stuff... you'll get this IBD role for sure. Let us know when the time comes!

Jul 17, 2019

Decision will be made by EOD tomorrow. I'm leaning toward declining the offer. If this position came around another one will too, but I can be pretty damn positive I'll never have another chance to get to FO

Jul 22, 2019

Wait for IBD. Duh. Or transfer to other BB IBD

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Jul 22, 2019
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