IB Sucks. I'm out

  • Mind-numbing work
  • Hours that frankly, are insane. This is your life. 
  • Exit ops include other finance jobs where either the hours are just as high, the work is more stressful, or other finance jobs you will take a pay cut and you could've obtained without killing yourself in your low 20s
  • Most girls literally don't know the difference between investment banking and operations analyst at Goldman 
  • Who gives a fuck about "prestige" when the only people you interact with 95% of the time are people who rank above you and tell you what to do? You are chasing a false idea of prestige while ironically spending your short life as an office bitch. How much is this so-called prestige materially increasing your quality of life?
  • The hours to pay ratio is not good
  • Getting to watch everyone around you live happier more fulfilling lives
  • The potential upside is nowhere near what it used to be
  • Very few people take this job for the right reasons. Almost all are motivated by a combination of money, perceived prestige, and social pressure

TLDR: I'm leaving banking. I can make a good living elsewhere without all the bullshit. I would bet the average happiness of someone making 40k a year is far better than the happiness of an analyst living alone working 100 hours a week remotely at a BB.

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Comments (171)

  • Analyst 1 in IB-M&A
Jan 24, 2021 - 8:18pm

I 100% agree with you, and I did the same as you're doing. I quit in December without much of a backup plan. IB sucks, and it's just not worth it at all if you're a decently smart college graduate. I have no regrets of quitting and urge my friends to reconsider what's best for them as well.

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Most Helpful
  • Associate 1 in IB - Ind
Jan 24, 2021 - 8:26pm

Honestly getting tired of this view that I'm seeing. Even today, in no other profession can you find the upward mobility and high starting salary that IB provides. Law and medicine require years and years of schooling (absolutely gargantuan opportunity cost) to start at only an ingratiating income that has similar levels of stress and hours once you hit the ground running - only at that point, it'll be in your 30's and you'll have to reconcile the high hours in your career along with a family life. Tech? Sure, enjoy 70%+ of your bonus being stock compensation that vests, ensuring that you'll be anchored to 1 company for the rest of your life.

Look at some of your reasons. Most girls don't know the difference between IB and operations analyst at GS? So a motivator for you at your job is how impressive it seems to girls? That seems like you care about the prestige, and yet the point directly after that is "who the fuck cares about prestige?" Well, it seems like you do, actually, which is why you don't have the balls and mental fortitude to push through when it gets hard. It's extremely fucking ironic for you to say "very few people take the job for the right reasons" when it doesn't seem like you even resonate with what those reasons are.

Of course everyone around you is getting to live more fulfilling lives - you work double their hours but when you're 30 and they're 30, you can be working at a LMM as a VP working 65 hours cleaning 400k+ a year while they're on the corporate ladder in a marketing job paying them 110. You don't like your firm? Then leave, go to a different city with a different COL, go try HFs, go corporate, do whatever the fuck you want. The profile and reputation you've built in your career are inelastic. 

As someone who probably worked one of the hardest hours on the Street last year, I wanted to quit at least 30 times last year. Every week in Q1 I dreamt of quitting. Not just every week, almost damn near every day. And looking back at it now, I am so glad I made the decision to push through as I personally feel extremely grateful that I have a cushy office job when tons of people's lives and incomes got erased by COVID. 

It's brave for you to value your immediate happiness and take the initiative to quit IB. It's not easy to make that move - I couldn't - and I am not shitting on you for that. I am however criticizing you for shitting on the industry as a whole. You say "if you like banking then more power to you" and yet your post implies significant disdain for those who are still in, or prospectively entering, the industry. That seems pretty hypocritical to me and IMO an overly biased message that can negatively influence the more malleable who have yet to have conviction in what they want to do

Controversial
  • Analyst 1 in IB - Gen
Jan 24, 2021 - 8:31pm

the thing about girls caring was just a joke to show how much of the prestige doesnt really exist, no need to read into it. I don't think you're realizing how many different ways there are to create wealth. it isn't just law, medicine, banking or you're gonna be below 100k your entire life. I know people in PWM pulling 600k+ a year working 40 hour weeks, people who have franchised restaurants making even more, the list really goes on. If you like banking then more power to you, but imo there are better ways to achieve my goals.

  • Associate 1 in IB - Ind
Jan 24, 2021 - 8:34pm

There are surely many ways to create wealth - absolutely no argument here - but there are very few ways that are as defined and virtually risk-free as IB is IMMEDIATELY after undergrad. You're citing people in PWM pulling 600K+ a year working 40 hour work weeks - but what type of comparison is that? They are for sure at least in their mid 30s, had some sort of nepotistic leverage to get that pull and/or worked their ass off to build those relationships. And for every PWM killing it like that, there's 100,000 that are making significantly, significantly less. And for every 1 IB Analyst 1 who is top-bucket at a Tier 0 firm who pulled in ~$200K, 90% of IB Analyst 1s (excluding the ones that got fired or quit...) made between 120-200. 

An entrepreneur who makes it big and got bought out no doubt had to hustle for years, bootstrapped and stressed for hours on end taking a risk, etc.

The fact is - if you want to be successful in anything, you have to work hard. The question is - do you want to work hard now or later? I am personally attracted to a job where the payoff for hard work is essentially "locked in" via a bonus and/or promotion/lateral opportunities. If you want to make a killing day trading or investing in crypto, or taking the risk franchising a string of restaurants together like you mentioned, then that's fine. But let's not conflate doing so as being any easier mentally than getting pushed straightforward work onto you by a VP/MD 

  • Analyst 1 in IB - Gen
Jan 25, 2021 - 12:04pm

Second this, I personally know someone pulling in 2.5 mil a year in PWM. People can say this is bullshit but I know it for a fact as I'm very close to this person. Granted they've been in the business for 30 years and built a very large client base, but work at one of the bullshit life insurance firms everyone here shits on (NWM, Mass mutual, etc) and have never worked an 80 hour week in their life and are making more than what the majority of anyone in IB will ever make in a year. Plenty of ways to make money in this world, fuck prestige. All this being said I'm still in IB now lol but definitely plenty of other ways to make great money in finance outside IB

Jan 24, 2021 - 9:12pm

You're wrong to think that a VP at a LMM will still be clearing 400k+ gross a year with the given trend in finance bro, maybe if they're doing super niche shit but even then that takes years and a specific type of person. In fact there are way better sales jobs that are far more fun than working as a IB VP. Tech Sales by far. Literally same job except you're selling a different service/product.

Also it's total bullshit with respect to painting a negative picture of finance to those who don't know what to do because how are you gonna post that shit when banks are literally recruiting SOPHOMORES and targeting FRESHMAN. GTFOH with that bullshit when they're trying to rush the best and the brightest and trying to make banking an awesome job when it's one of the most boring and miserable jobs on this planet that they try to justify with high compensation and supposed prestige.

Jan 25, 2021 - 5:45pm

You're wrong to think that a VP at a LMM will still be clearing 400k+ gross a year with the given trend in finance bro, maybe if they're doing super niche shit but even then that takes years and a specific type of person.

Hahaha,  At any semi Decent LMM shop 400K is 100% in the realm of possibility. I have multiple sources that say do get paid this.   Maybe some no name boutique pays way less.   

Jan 25, 2021 - 11:03am

Great post! I think it's worth mentioning that much of the immediate gratification people accuse millennials of looking for in entry level work apply not only to comp, but also to obtaining the lifestyle perks that experience and a long career can usually provide. Many college grads now expect to make bank and have cushy hours right off the bat.

Personally, I wouldn't do ib, but the tradeoffs are too well known for kids to whine about hours after starting the job!

  • Analyst 1 in IB - Gen
Jan 25, 2021 - 12:58pm

Sure, enjoy 70%+ of your bonus being stock compensation that vests, ensuring that you'll be anchored to 1 company for the rest of your life.

That's... not how tech comp works..

Your annual comp in tech is a combo of 2-3 factors: base salary, annual bonus and annual vesting stock. Nobody counts unvested stock in any year but the current as part of your yearly comp. It's not like banking where you get a bonus for a given year which then gets deferred. Nope. Your stock component of your yearly compensation is designed to be the combination of all tranches of stock set to vest in that year. So it doesn't matter how much you were granted only how much is vesting.

When you move from one company to another they will design any offers to match or exceed the yearly comp figure you are currently getting (sans stock appreciation - i.e. only the target $ figure) from base + bonus + vesting stock. That is to say, you're never truly tied down to any tech company. Stock comp that you haven't been paid yet is just like a salary that hasn't been paid as opposed to a bonus that you were awarded that has been witheld from you.

A lot of folks on here don't seem to get this.

  • Associate 1 in IB - Ind
Jan 26, 2021 - 11:18am

No, you misread. I said 70% of your BONUS being tied up in stock compensation. So you mentioning base salary isn't even relevant. I know how tech comp works - have been subscribed to Jomatech for a while now and also have friends in the industry. But even if you look at Levels for a comparable position in all-in comp around 400-500k - say L6 at Google, it clearly says "$223k in base, $200k in stock, $50k in bonus." To look at it apples to apples, anything more than base is bonus from the perspective of either finance or tech. So therefore 80% of $250k is tied up in stock - no disinformation here

Jan 26, 2021 - 6:01pm

I think biggest thing is just that vesting doesn't take that long, regardless of the accounting behind how the comp works. Being tied down to one company for your entire career because of stock vesting? yeah right, I haven't seen vesting schedules of anything beyond 5 years, and that's hardly your whole life lol. 

Jan 25, 2021 - 11:23pm

Disagree with the take on tech. FANG companies are paying $200K+ to new grad software engineers and there are plenty of opportunities to switch to other tech companies as well. That said, tech does have higher barriers to entry (e.g. knowing how to code) vs. banking.

Jan 26, 2021 - 6:50am

The discussion between these two people really sums it up.

There's a "type" of person who thrives in IB. And plenty of people who join, and realize it's not for them. Guess who's who here. And they're both right - for people like them. 

The person who thrives in IB is aware that there's plenty of nonsense in it, and consistently reevaluates whether it's worth staying, while - and this is important - simultaneously still playing the game, to move up the ladder. Very smart move; speaks really well of their ability to juggle conflicting sentiments/priorities. Often, they're a natural born fit for IB: 3rd year Analysts/1st year Associates who already have the body language of an MD; a little taller than average, keep their shirts and suits clean and well-pressed; don't seem to gain weight no matter how many hours they work; and have fully mastered the art of the crisp, soulless email that deflects work efficiently. And they deliver. Ultimately, this kind of person is primarily money-oriented; very, very few jobs provide a better 20 year NPV than IB (massive projected cashflows, and the discount rate is moderate). And awareness of this basic calculation, and a significant personal attachment to financial growth and security, keeps this person in banking, year after year. 

The person who realizes it's not for them would be wise to leave within 2-5 years. Any more, and you start to become too expensive for the portion of your IB skills that are transferable at your seniority level. Any less, and you come off as flaky (this is especially true for UG analysts; if you're an MBA Associate, your pre-MBA longevity/loyalty can somewhat balance out the equation for you). This kind of person has more of a "life's too short for this shit" POV; they're aware of the NPV proposition, but value other things. Some are buyside/Corp Dev material, others are better suited for a career outside finance. They tend to struggle with maintaining appearances in IB; unlike their "lifer" counterpart, the physical and psychological toll is much more acute for them. They gain weight, struggle to wake up in the morning, have terrible hangovers when they actually manage to get a night out, always find themselves unable to make time for friends, etc. Except for the star analysts exiting to PE/HF, or rich-family MBA associates with a massive safety net, most of them are suffering some kind of career angst. We get it: get out of IB already. 

On a 2nd order insight level, since IB usually selects for high achievers with some decent pre-IB prestige on their resumes, and IB also selects, the average incoming class has a pretty high sense of self. I won't go as far as to call it inflated, but it's fair to say that as a class, they have lofty ambitions of what they're meant to accomplish. And since IB itself does the Hogwarts sorting hat thing for the above two categories on a very, very frequent basis (most infrequent: every bonus season to most frequent: every day), and for 95%+ of bankers, it's always a personal decision, I find that bankers end up heavily justifying why they stay, or why they quit.

My advice to both camps, as a matter of personal dignity, is to just carry on with your decision and don't make such a big deal out of it.

You quit banking and still have your youth ahead of you? Great, join a massive alumni network of ex-bankers glad to be out. Among us, we can have a beer and a laugh about the bullshit we put up with for some spare change. But when sharing our stories with people who don't know us well, keep it short and sweet. My blurb is simply "I enjoyed the modeling experience the first few months, and I made some friends, but very soon I found it about as interesting as watching paint dry, and only stayed for the easy money, until even that wasn't enough anymore." Chuckle. Wink. Move on. Not much else to say. Any more and you come off as a brat who is clamoring for recognition as a special snowflake for quitting IB, which is a pretty well trod path. The sooner you move on, the sooner you'll actually be doing all those things you felt IB didn't allow you to do: travel to Argentina, learn a language, lose 20lbs, get laid, see your family and friends, ski in the Pyrenees/Alps for New Years, etc. 

You've stayed in banking and made VP/Director etc? Great. You can stomach some serious work volume. You've got great attention to detail, and have found a sponsor internally. You're making more money than almost all of us do. If you've done particularly well, you even have some time and friends to enjoy it too. But please, don't actually start drinking the Kool-Aid. We all know the guy who actually starts to love the job. The one who points to deals reported in the papers/Bloomberg and says "we were on that" with a shit-eating grin. The one who thinks the models actually mean something. The one who talks about "adding value" while merely redistributing it and then taking a cut. The one who wishes younger people had more "attention to detail/stamina/sense of perspective" etc. Don't be that guy. No one likes you. The pool boy's probably giving your wife a foot massage after getting head from her. 

The truth is you're the weak. And I'm the tyranny of evil men. But I'm tryin', Ringo. I'm tryin' real hard to be the shepherd.
  • 32
Jan 26, 2021 - 7:01am

That's exactly what struck me. The training behind this guy's while post, reveals he does indeed care about prestige. In fact it looks like that's all he cared about, and he realised the job wasn't worth prestige alone. You won't survive any challenge that you undertake for the wrong reasons.

  • Analyst 1 in IB-M&A
Jan 26, 2021 - 8:45am

thanks bro

i'm starting in a couple weeks and this made me feel immeasurably more secure

  • Associate 1 in IB - Ind
Jan 26, 2021 - 5:45pm

If you look at the 2019 GoBuySide PE report for 1st year PE VPs across all geographies, comp based on base + cash comp WITHOUT carry ranges from $270k (0-$250M funds) to $405k (1.5-$2B funds).  

Using this link to back up the math (https://www.wallstreetoasis.com/forums/vice-president-fund-carryequity) as an example on average carry expected, it's clear that even with the most conservative estimations - $250M fund size, 2x return = $50M fund carry, assuming VP carry participation of 1.5% (average between 1-2%) is equivalent to $750k. Say a 6 year (average between 5 and 7) holding period for an annualized carry payout of $125k. Obviously it's a lump sum at the end but it equates to $395k annually all-in for the $250M fund VP1. 

So $400k is really not a far stretch to expect. This is all in USD btw

  • Associate 1 in IB - Ind
Jan 26, 2021 - 4:35pm

VPs in LMMs in my hometown barely work weekends, are at the office at 8, leave at 5, and do more work at night obviously but at least around their family. They manage to make near every dinner and everyone of their kid's important events. Obviously it's never going to be as relaxing as spending 25 hours golfing, 10 hours in the office, and 5 hours at the bar like PWM but still. You spend 40-45 hours either in the office or travelling, make phone calls or draft up some thoughts / circulate model while you're back home. It's really not that unusual. You make it seem like you have to sacrifice everything to make $400k when you're 30, much less THIRTIES like you're saying  

  • Analyst 1 in IB - Gen
Jan 24, 2021 - 8:48pm

warning the college kids on this site (of which there are a ton), to reevaluate if they actually want to pursue IB before making the same mistake I and tons of other people have made. seems like a good reason to post something to me

Jan 26, 2021 - 1:01am

Don't forget that this is just your opinion, your perception of reality. The truth is that for every person who comes out of the industry feeling bitter and burnt out, there is one or two or three who are perfectly happy and enjoying their lives, careers and the even the day-to-day grind!

  • Analyst 2 in S&T - Other
Jan 24, 2021 - 8:50pm

A job that college kids fawn over and make the sole focus of their lives - which it shouldn't be. "It's just a job." I think what OP is saying is very fair. In my opinion it definitely does not deserve all the hype and admiration in most cases

Jan 24, 2021 - 9:14pm
  • "most girls literally don't know the difference between investment banking and operations analyst at Goldman"

LOL. I bet every BO/MO guy plays up the impact they have at the firm on Tinder, "I'm an analyst at GS" "I work on projects that are critical to the firms future"

Jan 25, 2021 - 10:57am

I'm really sorry to have to break this to anyone who seriously thinks girls who want money go for finance or even tech bros. They don't. They go for founders and heirs.

The girls who go after you (unless you are also an a heir) at most just want an internship or FT offer at your firm

Jan 25, 2021 - 1:27pm

Girl: So what do you do?

Me: I work on Wall St (Oasis)

WSO's COO (Chief Operating Orangutan) | My Linkedin

  • 18
  • Analyst 1 in IB - Ind
Jan 24, 2021 - 9:35pm

At the end of the day, I think all of us realized we were selling time for money - but when we signed the contract, we didn't realize the extent of what that contract meant.

As other users have said, its a risk-free career path which pays very well. For me, these are the main benefits which are completely valid and its clear why some people want them. Personally, I've realized I want my career path to be a bit more exciting and unpredictable. I want to fail trying new things and succeed doing others. I want to carve out a path thats unique to me and has meaning. More meaning than facilitating transactions - I want to build something that makes me proud. I also want some semblance of balance in my life. Time to sit back and relax. Time to think without being stressed. Time to enjoy a coffee with my S/O in the morning. Frankly, I just want time that's mine. I'm glad banking (worsened through COVID) has led to this realization because finding out what I want early will allow me to make career decisions and life choices with less regret.

At the end of the day, banking isn't for everyone. The people that stay in it will make out very well financially. The people that don't will have other opportunities. End of the discussion.

  • Analyst 1 in IB - Gen
Jan 24, 2021 - 10:33pm

Facts, you don't truly appreciate a 40-hour workweek without having experienced a 90-hour workweek. I remember my internships in CS and hating how bureaucratic and boring things were and while I don't necessarily wanna go back to something like that, I think it was important for me to experience both ends of the spectrum. 

Jan 26, 2021 - 1:48pm

I think this is the correct take. Everyone knows going into banking, consulting, etc. that they're trading time for money and/or career acceleration. Besides the fact that these careers are objectively a grind/difficult in terms of lifestyle, I think the other reason people complain a lot about them is they realize how painful the trading for time for money can be and that it frankly isn't for them. For example, I went into Big 4 audit knowing I'd be working crazy hours for shit pay. The plan was to do Audit --> TS --> IB, since I desperately wanted to do PE at that time.

I successfully transitioned from Audit --> TS, but after seeing how much Bankers/PE guys work to earn their keep and how much I hated constantly being on-call while on deals, despite working less than they did most likely, I decided to bail from that path because it just isn't a trade-off I'm willing to make personally. Instead, I'm looking to pivot into operational finance for fast-growing, venture-backed companies or PE portfolio companies because they offer the right balance for me between career challenge, pay, and lifestyle. Just as I'm not cut out for IB/MBB/PE hours, I also know that I'd personally get bored being a middle manager at a cushy F500 company with little upward mobility or actual say in how things ought to be done at a company. 

It took years for me to realize this and frankly, I'd probably still have more options had I started off in IB/MBB right away, which is why I think this forum still errs toward those paths if at all possible. Even if you realize it's not for you, which is fine, those jobs open a ton of doors and at least pay you quite well for your misery till you mature and figure out exactly what you're willing and not willing to do. Not all jobs do that, which is also why it's still so coveted, despite people knowing how much it can suck.

Jan 24, 2021 - 11:28pm

College kids -- take this dudes post with a grain of salt. COVID makes the experience a lot shittier than it was pre-covid. Not saying it was great but once COVID is over, you'll see less "I quit" threads on here.

Jan 24, 2021 - 11:47pm

Bankerconsu

College kids -- take this dudes post with a grain of salt. COVID makes the experience a lot shittier than it was pre-covid. Not saying it was great but once COVID is over, you'll see less "I quit" threads on here.

This is actually pretty healthy. Have talented people pursue stuff they actually have interest in vs chasing presitge or whatever.

Getting talented folks out of financial engineering isn't a bad thing.

Jan 25, 2021 - 12:43am

Kids these days have no idea what they're interested in. In fact it's not limited to the up and coming class. It's hard for anyone to figure out what they're interested in. IB was and still is a great way to gain valuable skills while figuring out what you want to do.

If you know what you want to do and that's not IB, then don't do IB. Go straight to that. 

  • Intern in IB - Ind
Jan 25, 2021 - 1:39am

I feel like this post is actually true but it's the classic WSO bs where analysts shit on prospects or interns "cuz they don't know anything" and already regret their own choices for being in this shitty industry. Then they proceed to say how we don't deserve to complain about IB hours and shit like that cuz we're ungrateful. Then they say how tech is insanely hard to break into and it doesn't make sense to compare IB to it. Quite honestly, as an incoming IB analyst next summer, I'm already preparing for SWE/PM interviews. I feel like a lot of us are easily smart enough to break into FAANG if we grinded for IB. It's acutally not rocket science albiet takes a few more braincells than the braindead shit u do in IB. I don't know what upward mobility these guys are talking about but i'll take 375k at year 4 at FB as a SWE any day over IB. I'm ready for the monkey shit from these IB analysts that have spent the last 2 years working 90hours and not doing anything fun but while we have the chance, us ppl in college need to get the fuck out

  • Analyst 1 in IB-M&A
Jan 25, 2021 - 3:12am

At the end of the day, you'll be hard-pressed to find an industry that provides the pay, optionality, and exposure that banking does from undergrad. It's a tough job that requires trade-offs that you should think long and hard about, just like going to law or med school. Wish you the best in your future endeavors.

Jan 25, 2021 - 8:41am

As a banker currently in the industry, I commend this post. We need more individuals to start sending this message across so waves of juniors / post-covid millennials start re-evaluating what really matters in life given this last year we went through a brutal gauntlet of no social activities or outlet, depriving us of memorable life experiences in our 20's and 30's. 
 

This gives me hope that the lack of labor supply will cause banks to start focusing on work-life balance or bumping comp to pre-2008 recession levels. 

Jan 25, 2021 - 2:59pm

These cheap ass fucking banks just need to hire a ton more associates and analysts and take the hit on their margins. So the P&L suffers a little bit...but you don't need to recruit for half of your junior work force every 2 months. These boomers are fucking retarded. I'll take 30-40% less bonus if there are humane working expectations and hard senior to junior boundaries implemented.  

Jan 25, 2021 - 9:14am

I tell you though - having a Senior Banker always looking over the shoulder is also no fun. Just FYI for the juniors when you get back to the office. Enjoy this phase (with few extra hours of sleep) when you can! 

  • Analyst 1 in IB-M&A
Jan 25, 2021 - 9:30am

Agreed, but hard when the extra gain in time from not commuting = loss in time from more work

screw covid

  • Analyst 2 in IB - Ind
Jan 25, 2021 - 10:07am

The most resonating and scary part of ops post for people should be his part about corporate dev.  If you do banking only to move to corporate dev, you wasted yourself in the prime of your 20s FOR NO REASON. its very doable to enter corporate development from undergrad directly.  If you use banking to enter pe, well its banking 2.0 and you will get told to leave in 2 years.

If I'm in undergrad I'm switching majors to tech or trying to enter medical school (at least at the end of residency etc. You can control your day/immediately run your own practice if you want, also all those crazy hours benefit people so at least its not totally soulless)

  • Analyst 1 in IB - Gen
Jan 25, 2021 - 1:10pm

very doable to enter corporate development

in which universe?? 

not sure what planet you live on but most corp dev teams are staffed by former bankers..

Jan 25, 2021 - 2:22pm

Exactly. Maybe if you want to do CorpDev at some local MM firm you can manage to network your way in via school connections but 90% of F100 companies don't even have an entry level analyst role on their team - they are exclusively recruiting banking/PE associates. And if you're hoping to go somewhere like FAANG or other "exciting" companies (Disney, LVMH, Nike) you're going to see that their teams are almost exclusively filled out by a mix of Ex-GS/MS/JPM, Ex-MBB and a handful of people from PE.

Jan 25, 2021 - 11:36am

to be honest, while posts like this seem annoying, they are good. So many people try to get into banking for the stupidest reasons. Prestige doesn't make up for the lack of sleep if you are someone who needs 8 hours a night. Getting dinners paid off doesn't counteract the difficulty of maintaining relationships when you're working 80 hours a week. Banking isn't for everyone, but so many b school kids jack off to the prospect of being an investment banker without actually trying to learn what it would be like to be a banker or taking into account their own personality and interests.

Jan 25, 2021 - 11:58am

Anonymous Monkey

- mind numbing work

- hours that frankly, are insane. this is your life. 

- exit ops include other finance jobs where either the hours are just as high, the work is more stressful, or other finance jobs that you will take a pay cut and you could've obtained without killing yourself in your low 20s

- most girls literally don't know the difference between investment banking and operations analyst at Goldman 

- who gives a fuck about "prestige" when the only people you interact with 95% of the time are people who rank above you and tell you what to do? you are chasing a false idea of prestige while ironically spending your short life as an office bitch. how much is this so called prestige materially increasing your quality of life?

- the hours to pay ratio is not good

- getting to watch everyone around you live happier more fulfilling lives

- the potential upside is nowhere near what it used to be

- very few people take this job for the right reasons. almost all are motivated by a combination of money, perceived prestige, and social pressure

TLDR: im leaving banking. I can make a good living elsewhere without all the bullshit. i would bet the average happiness of someone making 40k a year is far better than the happiness of an analyst living alone working 100 hours a week remotely at a BB

Yay, another that has seen the light and is to deciding to chase their passion and not just $$$. Well done!

SafariJoe, wins again!
  • Intern in IB - Ind
Jan 25, 2021 - 12:21pm

2 years in the grand scheme of things is not your entire 20s, and the exit opps trade off is more than worth it. I understand this argument against career banking for sure but for TWO YEARS you can't suck it up? Really?

Jan 25, 2021 - 12:36pm

Genuine question for OP: do you feel like, knowing what you knew when you were in college, you made the right call to go for IB? I agree with a lot of what you said but also feel like its one thing to do IB and leave because you don't like it, but completely different to never go for IB. I hear so many people leave IB and say that its not worth the pay/prestige/exits, but don't you also feel a lot more confident in yourself knowing that you LEFT IB instead of never pursuing it or never breaking in?

  • Analyst 1 in IB-M&A
Jan 25, 2021 - 1:50pm

Love how the only pushback on this post is some form of "BuT yOu MaKe So MuCh MoNeY". Newsflash, there is more to life than money. I will likely be leaving after 1 year on the job because I value family and friends more than money. Seniors in this job have had to make sacrifices with friends / family that I am not willing to make. People don't realize the amount of paths out there that can lead to a cushy life (making mid six figures without killing yourself). 

Jan 25, 2021 - 3:30pm

It sucks because I think all of this has been exacerbated by WFH. Whereas there used to be some realization that you couldn't live in the office 24x7, shitty senior bankers view is you now live in the office so you should be productive and available 24x7. Honestly think it may create a lack of supply for buyside if it gets bad enough. Then you have shitty senior bankers saying "well how do we make it better?". Here's a hint, absolutely none of your bs corporate initiatives and fuckspeak will mean anything until you start valuing junior staff as humans. Humans who you owe career development to as part of the implicit employer/employee contract. Humans, not disposable pieces of equipment like laptops. Pre-covid, I think the trend was whinier spoiled candidates, but now the issue has flipped. For the OP, I think you are making the right decision. Who knows when this toxic death spiral will begin to reverse itself. If this becomes the new normal due to WFH...this career doesn't really make sense. 

  • VP in IB - Gen
Jan 25, 2021 - 4:05pm

Been in this industry over a decade and COVID is the absolute worse thing to happen.

Banking was always a time sacrifice but the expectations now are psychotic 

  • Prospect in IB - Gen
Jan 25, 2021 - 4:36pm

Its funny how everyone is trying to defend IB and finance...! Why would you defend it? Sign of insecurity imo. Let the guy quit, no need to add any comments.

Jan 25, 2021 - 6:26pm

Your health and time are your most valuable commodities, and being stuck in a position that brings down your psyche to a lower state, as well as drains all your time will ruin your health and not bring you happiness. If this is how you feel you're making the right choice

Jan 25, 2021 - 7:14pm

I feel like IB is a weed-out program for people who say that they're into finance. Most of the people who are in it for the money are probably going to quit after 6 months - 1 year and transition into a cushy job at a F500/FAANG company. But for those who are truly passionate about finance, it's akin to medical or law school in the sense that you have to grind it out to enter your desired field with the exception that IB pays while the latter only give you student debt. Once you're out of it, you can do whatever the heck you want whether it be PE/HF/anything else that truly called out to you when you were first interested in it. If you're in it for the dough, try tech. I hear that it's a relaxed way to make 400-500k a year. However if you truly are in it, don't be a quitter. Will yourself to do it, and it will feel quite good once you're in your dream job.

  • Associate 1 in IB-M&A
Jan 25, 2021 - 9:35pm

would just like to put out that my girlfriend is making 220K in data science (90% cash, 10% equity split) barely a year out of college for a decently funded start up in the bay. what i'd do to have taken stats classes more seriously

Jan 25, 2021 - 10:19pm

would just like to put out that my girlfriend is making 220K in data science (90% cash, 10% equity split) barely a year out of college for a decently funded start up in the bay. what i'd do to have taken stats classes more seriously

That's not the norm for data science, she's definitely at the top end for the field.

https://www.indeed.com/career/data-scientist/salaries/San-Francisco-Bay…

Average base out of undergrad = $113K for the bay area. That said if you scroll down you can see the highest paying firms which aligns with your gf's comp (but that comp doesn't factor in years of experience, so your gf is really one of the brightest direct graduates in her field). 

That said the upward potential seems low. $113K base with less than 1 year and then $155K 3 - 5 years in. 3- 5 years in to IB, the average associate would be clearing well over $155K.

Not that $150K comp is bad by any means, but I think it's important to make a fair comparison about long-term earnings potential if you are going to directly compare salaries. 

Array

Jan 27, 2021 - 8:55am

Big Tech (FAANG and comparable companies) starting pay are insane.  It's about just under 200k starting out for technical roles (SWE, product manager, data science). Income progression is good too - it's pretty doable to hit 400-500k by 30.

However, 400-500k tends to be the ceiling for post people in FAANG and it's difficult to get promoted beyond that point.  That being said, the real pay has ended up being much, much higher for most people with stock appreciation.  The 400-500k total comp (with most of it weighted in stock) ended up being 1M+/year for most people over the past few years. In addition, if you take a risky bet like joining SNAP, which had to pay a premium and give a ton of equity to compete with FAANG when it's stock price was in the dumps, you easily cleared 500k+/year even with a junior role. Especially with heavy stock-based compensation, even a fairly mid level job (under 30 years old) would have you netting 1M+/year with stock appreciation

As sources, you can use Levels, Reddit, and Blind.  Using indeed is a horrible source.  Also, have several friends in this field and I've been interviewing for FAANG type companies for non-technical roles, which pay a lot less, but still have you hitting 150k+ in about 3 years of experience with pretty reasonable work hours.

  • Research Analyst in AM - Equities
Jan 26, 2021 - 12:37am

hey op have you ever thought about a job thats like:
1 quite challenging work, you don't know how to fix a process
2 sometimes very long hours, yep it's 12:30am and I'm still working
3 pay is quite low, often 2/3 of IBD
4 no exit ops cuz your skills are not transferrable to basically anywhere
Just enjoy your decent pay from this mind numbing job, I wish I was in your shoes.

Jan 28, 2021 - 4:26pm

Being someone similarly unhappy in your position (AM Analyst who works about 70 hours a week with worse pay than an IB Analyst and limited exit opportunities), there's a lot to be happy about an IB job. You do have a lot of options outside of this job, you have exit opportunities both inside and outside of finance. The hours are insane, people care way too much about prestige, many people working the job constantly feel stressed out. 

That said, I'd like to suggest you leave. Yes seriously. Just leave. Many might see this as shortsighted or brave, but I think it simply makes sense to do what makes you happiest. 

You're unhappy. Clearly nothing in the job itself will change that according to the post you've made. However, I urge you take a step back and think about where you are now. You're working a job that provides a level of upward mobility with limited risk. This is an extremely fortunate position to be in considering how unhappy you are. You actually have a lot of options, far more than I do for example. You can go into a lot of different areas that pay just as well as IB including in tech and consulting. I know IB people who have made switches into those areas. 

But doing what makes you happy does not mean you have to be irrational and make somewhat contradictory claims about why you don't like the job. I don't think it matters why you don't like the job and based on your post I believe that you yourself are not fully aware of the issues. It seems like you are pointing at common issues that lots of IB Analysts complain about, including some that I would consider quite irrational, and putting them into one huge post. I also want to add that I'm not saying that you shouldn't evaluate those issues, but I do think that you should leave regardless of what those issues are. 

I suggest you try to find another job that might make you feel happier and take it as quick as you can. This will give you the ability to reflect on the issues that plagued you most during the job and be able to proceed more calmly and rationally as your career progresses. You do deserve to be happy and you it is up to you to figure out how to get there. If you don't like the job you just took, you'll be able to move into a job that you think you might truly enjoy (that said be careful with such a move, since it's unlikely you'll be able to get a job that exits to other jobs as well as the one you have). 

TLDR: Look into yourself and figure out what the big, true problems are, and then figure out what you want to do with your career. Do what you want to do and do what makes you happy. I hope you are able to find some contentment in a future job and in your career overall. 

  • Research Analyst in AM - Equities
Jan 29, 2021 - 4:09pm

Thanks buddy, I wish I could just leave, but I'm applying to b-school so will have to suffer another year. Total comp about the same as back office devs who works 10am-5pm everyday. Maybe I should just cherish this job as many have already been fired.  

EDIT: this is different from common IB analyst complains, in terms of:

1, my job's more tilted to the quant side, so it's truly not transferable unless I become a real quant or softdev. 

2, I study for CFA while working 2/3x-1x IB hours, this is really exhausting and useless since I'm semi-quant. 

3, no means to offend, but IB work is way easier than code-debugging and machine-learning-model-tuning at midnight. I'm not against tons of work, I'm against tons of difficult work (sometimes quant phd level) + lots of pressure + very little pay. 

Why not to leave? Visa issues and b-school applications.

Just wanted to shed some light on a corner of AM so OP could feel better. 

Jan 26, 2021 - 10:41am

1) Are you actually leaving?
2) Do you think there is a reason to be surprised by these dynamics after navigating the recruiting process, presumably going through an internship, having even peeked at this website / talked to a person in finance and noticed how miserable they are?

I've noticed, and no attack to you OP the items you listed are all very valid and understandable, that people who decide to quit / get really really annoyed at banking are annoyed at the value of banking in terms of ratios/opportunity costs (hourly pay, lost social life, external acknowledgement of prestige). I personally was fine with it, but I looked at everything in its entirety so, total comp, long term NPV (if you wanted a good hourly wage right now, then maybe take a 85k/yr consulting gig and find a way to stay on the bench, otherwise there's no denying the "hours to pay ratio" gets substantially better as you move up), and a personal sense of accomplishment (personal prestige?). 

Is the upside not as good as it is? Perhaps not from that relative sense, but talk to anyone who grew up broke and ask them if they wont take a $150k job out of college because in the past you could make tens of millions a year if you survived to the top and now you can only make millions and cause the hourly isnt good and cause a VP with an MBA is going to yell at them while that same kid gets yelled at Karens before their coffee every morning at 6:30am on the weekends at their job.

So I think it's all relative, all things you listed are true, but from a different POV they arent drawbacks to many, so it's all personal. I did it for the money, got the money, am still doing it for the money, and it all went according to my expectations in my book, just happy to have money and an actual professional future now, dont worry much about prestige, grew up working class so my parents and I just happy to not be there anymore lol thats my "prestige" I assign to myself." Just my $0.02. 

Jan 27, 2021 - 12:03am

All true but you're only approaching this from a comp standpoint. Plenty of people only care about NPV and that's fine. Lots of other people would rather have a "good" job that's gets you to an upper-middle class life with reasonable hours (instead of the 1% life of an MD). Neither path is inherently right, people value different things. 

Jan 27, 2021 - 12:27pm

Analyst 1 in IB - Gen

  • Mind-numbing work
  • Hours that frankly, are insane. This is your life. 
  • Exit ops include other finance jobs where either the hours are just as high, the work is more stressful, or other finance jobs you will take a pay cut and you could've obtained without killing yourself in your low 20s
  • Most girls literally don't know the difference between investment banking and operations analyst at Goldman 
  • Who gives a fuck about "prestige" when the only people you interact with 95% of the time are people who rank above you and tell you what to do? You are chasing a false idea of prestige while ironically spending your short life as an office bitch. How much is this so-called prestige materially increasing your quality of life?
  • The hours to pay ratio is not good
  • Getting to watch everyone around you live happier more fulfilling lives
  • The potential upside is nowhere near what it used to be
  • Very few people take this job for the right reasons. Almost all are motivated by a combination of money, perceived prestige, and social pressure

TLDR: I'm leaving banking. I can make a good living elsewhere without all the bullshit. I would bet the average happiness of someone making 40k a year is far better than the happiness of an analyst living alone working 100 hours a week remotely at a BB.

agreed

Jan 27, 2021 - 1:13pm

The issue is that IB has low barriers to entry which would otherwise prevent those who are only lukewarm about IB from joining.

Take medicine for example. You complete your undergrad just like the IB analyst, but then you need four years of medical school which puts you in $200K-$500K in debt depending on where you go. That alone will deter over 50% of would-be doctors. After that, you spend three to five years making $50K a year and working 80-100 hours every week as a resident. If you plan to go into any subspecialty, expect another one to three years as a fellow making $100K and once again working 80-100 hours a week. All of these steps act as deterrents to would-be lukewarm doctors. IB has no such deterrent, and the end result is that you have many go into IB having no idea what type of commitment it really is.

  • Analyst 2 in IB - Ind
Jan 27, 2021 - 7:33pm

Not everyone has to take enormous student debt if they get into medical school (go to the in state school).

Doctors make similar pay, but their job is WAY more fulfilling, you actually help people, they are far more respected by society, have impenetrable job security, can work anywhere they want in the usa(as opposed to just nyc and sf, and Greenwich ct), have the ability to be their own boss very early on, can work deep into the 60 and 70s if they so choose without ageism issues, and don't stare at screens 15 hrs a day (underrated advantage).

I know its not all roses and lolipops in Doctor land, but Id tell my 18 year self to study and prep for med school vs being a wallstreet screen staring drone.

Jan 28, 2021 - 12:54pm

Sil

The issue is that IB has low barriers to entry which would otherwise prevent those who are only lukewarm about IB from joining.

Take medicine for example. You complete your undergrad just like the IB analyst, but then you need four years of medical school which puts you in $200K-$500K in debt depending on where you go. That alone will deter over 50% of would-be doctors. After that, you spend three to five years making $50K a year and working 80-100 hours every week as a resident. If you plan to go into any subspecialty, expect another one to three years as a fellow making $100K and once again working 80-100 hours a week. All of these steps act as deterrents to would-be lukewarm doctors. IB has no such deterrent, and the end result is that you have many go into IB having no idea what type of commitment it really is.

This is all correct.  Commentors below brought up law.  You have to be willfully ignorant or delusional to prefer law over IB for the reasons described above, and because IB has more interesting day-to-day responsibilities and exit ops.  Most law grads based on released statistics are in six figures of debt.  They start their careers in their late 20s/early 30s on average.  After 2-6 years at a big firm, they receive a 50% paycut when forced out and they move in-house; many do not pay off their debt by this time (unthinkable in the 2000s, and they'd be in a 1BR then too rather than having roommates cramped).  The associate role filled upon graduation is the highest paying job for most attorneys taking that track, most of those high-paying general counsel positions are taken by big law partners who move over.  The reason I am describing this path in this level of detail is to show that OP did not blunder with three years of schooling and debt  He put in some time out of college in finance, realized it was not for him, and can walk away with his hands clean.  Likewise with medicine, there are plenty of doctors who realize medicine is not their calling during the residency years, after the debt and the pre-med courses and four years of medical school.  It is taboo for them to confess this realization except to close friends and gets swept under the rug.  The blow to one's trajectory by going to professional school cannot be understated and that path is littered with hard-working, talented people who got sucked in.

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