IB vs S&T personality?

I know that this has been asked a million times but people always say that you should pick a job based on your personality. What personality suits IB better and personality suits S&T more?

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Comments (29)

  • Prospect in IB - Gen
May 28, 2020 - 11:23am

Personally, I interned on a trading floor and realized that I did not have the temperament and discipline for trading.

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  • Intern in IB-M&A
May 28, 2020 - 12:45pm

There are differences in product desks and groups within IB and S&T but in my observation IB is full of people that are polished, risk averse and conform to a specific type of culture while S&T is full of people that have raw intelligence, comfortable with risk and prioritize performance over conformity.

  • Analyst 1 in S&T - Other
May 28, 2020 - 10:30pm

So this is just my experiences and opinion, but this is what I felt I saw coming out of undergrad across S&T - ER - IB coming based on who I've met and who recruited for what at my school (I also interned in both IB / S&T - interviewed for ER).

The ones who went into IB were the most by the book kids I.e. high GPA, leadership positions, probably partially did it cause everyone else did, usually the most appealing students "on paper".

S&T seems the more raw intellect / problem solvers, many more with a more unorthodox resume, and lastly kids who seemed deterred by a fully "corporate" environment - probably the hungriest of group too.

Lastly, maybe it's just the sample of people I've met, but the ER kids seemed to be the most consistently finance competent / bookish - very financially savvy, difference here is not "by the book" like the IB kids or "intensive" as the S&T type.

  • Intern in IB - Gen
May 28, 2020 - 11:00pm

I want to caveat S&T kids having more raw intellect than IB kids. The S&T kids at my school definitely had more raw intellect regarding finance and the markets, but I found some of them to be not as overall well-rounded intellectual like I see with IB kids, who are generally more polished. Just my opinion from my interactions, others may disagree and I may be wrong.

  • Intern in IB - Restr
May 31, 2020 - 11:57am

My experience in my university was very different from yours. I also interned in S&T and IB. The S&T people, in general, were definitely not the "raw intellect" kids or more interested in finance than the IB kids. Those who were intelligent and passionate about finance tended to go to EB, HF, or PE, depending on their interests. Not to be insulting or anything, but a lot of those who ended up in ER or S&T at my school were those who applied to several divisions at BBs and didnt land an IB role. Many of them were not in the businesses school/studying finance, but wanted to work at a BB since they recruit heavily at my school and pay well. I dont know anyone who gunned for S&T as their primary choice, but I do know many people who pursued buyside research (at HF, mutual funds, etc.). Of course, it definitely varies by school, but I wanted to provide what Ive seen at mine

  • Analyst 1 in 
May 28, 2020 - 10:44pm

Thank you. So IB is more focused towards high achieving kids who perform well by the book and like to conform. S&T attracts slightly more unorthodox thinking and more unique backgrounds but has higher raw intelligence.

May 29, 2020 - 10:11am

This is a poorly worded question.

For S&T there is a huge difference between someone working in institutional sales and a desk quant.

Array

  • 1
May 31, 2020 - 10:54am

I think a few people here have largely hit the nail on the head (unfortunately they've posted anonymously, so sadly I can't give them direct credit). I'd also emphasise that one division is no better than the other just because of the allegedly distinct personalities each attracts - they're different, and that difference is precisely what makes the people in each department good at their specific role.

In IB, I find that people tend to be highly polished, relatively (albeit not totally) risk-averse, have a high EQ (e.g. can express problematic developments in such a way that soothes / mitigates the angst of clients), and tend to be the sort of people that were "good" at school (e.g. high-achieving academically, were given leadership positions like head boy / girl, and so on). I also agree with the previous post saying that people in IB tend to pursue that career because they generally feel they ought to (i.e. because of the prestige, exclusivity) rather than because, at least initially, they find it inherently interesting / stimulating.

In S&T, people certainly have more "edge" to their personality (e.g. tend to be blunter in terms of communication), are more results / performance driven (rather than spurred by conformity or "appearance"), are little less orthodox in their backgrounds / approaches, and - at least in my (undoubtedly biased) opinion - do tend to have a greater quota of "raw" intelligence. The people I've had the pleasure of working with in S&T have largely proven well-read with broad general knowledge and a greater curiosity about the world around them than the investment bankers I also know. This may well be because of the multi-faceted nature of public markets which demands a broad (albeit admittedly often shallow) knowledge base to interpret underlying developments...

I'd also re-emphasise the point previously raised by another (anonymous) user that personalities vary by team and even by bank: there are undoubtedly people working in, say, M&A that display traits you'd more commonly expect to see on a trading floor, and vice-versa. It's also worth saying that, within S&T, the type of personality working in spot FX is likely to be different from cash equities, is likely to be different from credit derivatives, etc.

"Work is the curse of the drinking classes" - Oscar Wilde
  • 10
May 31, 2020 - 2:52pm

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