If I don’t like IB...

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I tried really hard for a summer to enjoy my IB SA but I’m just not thrilled by the work (not enthusiastic about the slides or excel I’m putting together or the bigger picture of the deals) and I’m just disappointed that after all my prep and all my interview practice I just didn’t enjoy it at all. I think the benefit of virtual internship is that the fun stuff gets stripped away and you’re left with the raw work. No office hangout or break room chats or happy hours, just work and calling each other about edits to the deck.

It’s hard to feel office camaraderie at 2AM with just the Lync status box red for your team members. I, like many of my classmates, held the job in such high regard but we didn’t know what we would actually be doing. I just don’t mind the prestige or the money as much as I care about doing something I genuinely like because I desire to be top bucket at something somewhere just probably not possible here. I know long hours of this would be more miserable for me than others. Does this mean PE, HF aren’t right for me either? Anybody in this boat and where did you go instead? I’m hoping to find some inspiration for what general direction I should focus my attention next. Thanks for the help guys. The fact that I’m in this job right now is a large part scrolling through WSO and soaking up the stories and experiences of people who post. I’m grateful for the experience I got to have.

(I think I’d be able to stand it if it were Monday to Friday because I see all the inefficiencies that lead to the whole team clocking-in during the weekend. I honestly feel like there’s an argument to be made for transforming IB to weekdays only but I know nothing about the industry yet after just one summer and maybe that’s just wishful thinking. I’m just not a fan of signing up for active duty and being on call 15/6 (hospital staff are the real heroes doing 24/7))

(I’m reminded of the folks who work in restaurants who carry plates and take orders for nearly as many hours 7 days a week and I just don’t know why I can’t do it here. Are they passionate about waiting tables, probably not. But they manage and I thought I could manage too. I can’t help but think I’m just another entitled POS)

Sorry for the long post just wanted to write out my thoughts and please call me out on my bullshit as appropriate lol

Comments (63)

 
Controversial
Aug 7, 2020 - 6:09pm

Bruh, the world, everything we have, was built by people who dreaded the next morning, who hated their lord/boss, who suffererd day after day for their families, and if they were lucky, for their hobbies.
Stop being an entitled bitch. Life sucks and then you die, and work is responsible for most of that suck, basta.

EDIT: Downvote me all you want, little non-target hardinhos, ain´t gonna change the fact that life is mostly very, very shitty.

Array
 
  • Analyst 1 in IB-M&A
Aug 7, 2020 - 7:03pm

If I actually liked doing something, they wouldnt have to pay me to do it

Array
 
  • Prospect in Other
Aug 7, 2020 - 7:45pm

Finishing up my summer in IB as well and feeling pretty much the same way. Ive generally been a pretty competitive person and thought that nature would serve me well in banking, but I just can't stand always feeling like I have to be on and not being able to detach from work for even a little bit without worrying about getting an email notification on my phone. Not passionate enough or interested enough in a specific exit to really work this type of lifestyle for a few years first. Im sure plenty of people will be like just suck it up but I don't see a point in pursuing this further without having any particular reasons. Looking into consulting jobs(which at least have light weekends), asset management, and corporate finance/fldp programs. Not sure what else to look into either. Kinda worried about not being able to recruit for other stuff before the offer expires cause its just too risky to turn down in this economy without having an alternative.

Also I feel privileged to have been making ib summer intern money for the past few weeks while so many people are struggling and it feels unreal that I'm complaining about this while people can work crazy hours for a fraction of the pay, but I think its important to understand what you're actually trying to get out of IB and it has to be strong enough to keep you going for the 2+ years. I just don't think I have that reason.

 
  • Intern in IB-M&A
Aug 7, 2020 - 9:17pm

Totally agree, I think we’re all very fortunate but we also gotta be honest about whether or not it fits us well. It honestly does the teams a favor of not having juniors burnt out easily and becoming deadweight they have to deal with.

 
  • Intern in IB - Ind
Aug 8, 2020 - 3:30pm

This is exactly how I feel. After working so hard the past few years to get this summer internship at a BB I really don’t know what I thought i wasn’t getting into (everyone knows about the type of people, hours, etc.). But after only 5 weeks of working I realized how hard it is to make time for friends and family and how hard it is to feel like I have a life away from the office.
Literally to the point where when I hear a Skype ping or my outlook go off I get anxiety for what the next ask is/how long the night will be...
But truly I know how fortunate we are to be given the opportunity to work in IB — just scary thinking what the next two years would be like (hopefully the office is better)

 
  • Prospect in Other
Aug 8, 2020 - 3:38pm

Yeah I'm not sure if being at home has made it worse too. I'm at home with my family but still rarely hang out with them and sometimes I've gone to the gym early in the morning and get anxious that there'll be a notification to do something quickly that I need my laptop for. Maybe being surrounded in the environment in an office makes it better, but at home im comparing this life to everyone else who's living a normal life around me and its really made me question if its worth it and what the end goal really is. Its been bearable the past few weeks only because it is more of a sprint. I know that it was gonna be over is a few weeks, but I'm not sure how I would handle it knowing I have 2+ years to go. Even getting my first paycheck I realized how privileged I am especially given our current economy but its definitely made me start considering other FT options. Like you said, we all knew what the hours were like when we planned for IB summer recruiting for like two years, but its completely different actually going through it and trying to figure out what im even doing this for now that I'm here.

 
  • Prospect in Other
Aug 8, 2020 - 10:41pm

Yeah I'm only considering applying to non-IB positions for FT. I get what you're saying, but I really don't like the idea of reneging. I was also a generalist for the summer so its not like I'm letting down a particular group that chose me which I think would make it easier, but its still a tough thing to think about.

 
  • Intern in IB-M&A
Aug 7, 2020 - 7:57pm

Honestly, the kinds of people who enjoy spending all day working in Excel are the kinds of people that make IB miserable.

Array
 
  • Analyst 1 in IB - Gen
Aug 7, 2020 - 8:12pm

I'm so glad there's at least one kid on here who doesn't jack off to the thought of being in IB. I do think being back in office will be better for morale, but if you're already feeling this way, I'd seriously do some introspection and think about what really interests you. Yes, those two years in IB will open a lot of doors for you, but you don't have to white-knuckle it through your early twenties because you hate your job so much.

Array
 
  • Intern in IB-M&A
Aug 7, 2020 - 9:19pm

Definitely don’t feel comfortable having to “white knuckle” my way thru the two year program as you said but also feel uneasy being that guy who ditches a high paying stable and prestigious job in a covid economy. At least that’s what I’ve been talking about with family and close friends and whatnot

 
Most Helpful
Aug 8, 2020 - 4:03pm

Two cents from someone pretty salty and burnt out since COVID WFH started.

If you are not 100% sold on doing this for two years and you don't absolutely need the money, don't do it. This is not a job you take just to have job security - even the dedicated people that come in thinking they'll love it and just suck it up for two years end up getting beaten up pretty bad, even if it's only once or twice during the analyst years. It's hard to overstate just how much you sacrifice to take this job and that's only learned after you go through a few rounds of getting kicked in the teeth by your team to jam through something for a tough, unforgiving client.

Yes, the fact that you and the rest of us still working these high-paying jobs even have the option to complain about how tough they are while still cashing a paycheck while so many suffer is a blessing. It truly is, and things could always be worse. However, the prevalent idea that anyone who has a paycheck and especially those that make a lot of money don't have a right to complain or go through mental and personal stress is incredibly reductive and ignores the fact that even those who are so fortunate like myself are people too who struggle through tough times. Even though they may be "problems of privilege", that doesn't mean they are any less real to those experiencing them.

Since COVID started 5 months ago, myself and the rest of the analysts have worked harder, more stressful, and more abusive hours. The workload increased, the stress of not knowing if you'll be let go for lack of dealflow suddenly appeared, and the mindset of the senior team shifted dramatically towards "well, what else are they doing besides sitting at their computers? If we can't see them suffer in person, might as well not think about it!". That has made an already INCREDIBLY stressful and emotionally difficult job magnitudes worse, to the point that it personally has made me question why I'm even doing this in the first place. At a certain point, every person has to make a value judgement about how much money they are willing to sacrifice their mental well being for and I have reached that point during quarantine. This job just isn't worth it to me anymore.

Every single analyst on my team is in the same boat and we all want out. Yes, this is largely due to a culture issue in my group, but as anyone in this industry knows this is not an edge case. It is more the norm than it is the exception, and anywhere you go in Finance and especially banking, you are going to encounter the same "win at all costs - fuck the analysts" mindset to some degree. It is an industry of simulated stress, crushing the spirit of 20 somethings to make some billionaire a few extra Bs just so the MDs and the bank can go back and add an extra Rolex to the collection. If that's what you're in it for long term, hats off to you. It's not for me and it's not for the majority of people who go into IB, hence the nearly 100% turnover at the analyst level.

TL;DR if you need the money, like I did when I took the offer, then it is undoubtedly a ticket to some meaningful level of financial security at a young age which is definitely something to consider. However, the job will take a guaranteed KO punch to your emotional and physical health without exception. It is brutal, unforgiving, and mind-numbing work. Do not take the job lightly.

 
  • Intern in IB-M&A
Aug 8, 2020 - 5:34pm

Really happy I found this thread, I can relate to pretty much all the comments. In fact I've been more surprised that there weren't more threads of post-internship realizations of people realizing they didn't actually like the industry and weren't as passionate about finance as they first thought.

For some years now, everything's been about getting the IB offer and finally breaking in. Genuinely thought it was my "dream". Now after having completed an internship and getting the offer, I've realized I didn't actually enjoy what I was doing, and definitely won't enjoy the job.

I posted this sentiment on another thread but yeah it is a weird sort of privileged 1st world quarter-life crisis, to finally achieve your goal and then realize you don't actually want it and then deal with the guilt of deciding whether to reject an offer that others would kill for.

But honestly, what would be the point of the privilege if you couldn't use it to make intentional decisions on what you want to do in your life. Very toxic to say that you should just suck it up and grit your teeth through years of something you absolutely hate just because there's people out there who'd love the opportunity. If you were able to get this far, you should be able to succeed in whatever lane you do choose to eventually take.

 
  • Intern in IB-M&A
Aug 8, 2020 - 8:13pm

I am also very glad I found this thread and that I am not alone in feeling concerned for the next 2 years after the past few weeks. I also noticed that this feeling of dread was shared throughout my summer class, but it was not really expressed as strongly by my friends who interned in IB in previous years. I really hope that this is due to simply the WFH set-up sapping up our energy and making us realize how much we're giving up when we're working at home next to our parents or significant others. Maybe being in the office will make it more bearable..

 
  • Intern in IB - Gen
Aug 9, 2020 - 8:09am

In the same boat - dedicated so much time to getting in and now that I'm in, the job isn't what I thought it'd be. I'm in a sweatshop team too so sure that isn't the easiest but giving up now seems a bit of a waste. Wouldn't bat an eyelid if I got another job offer in a different industry but with Covid, it seems very difficult to not turn down a good job.

 
  • Analyst 1 in S&T - Equities
Aug 9, 2020 - 8:29am

Felt the same way.... now am looking to move to S&T after having done a rotation there during a previous SA and enjoyed it far more but decided to try out IB given the prestige etc.

For me the thrill of the markets, reading analyst reports etc meeting company CEO at investor days (and directly questioning them on their strategy) is far greater than doing pptx and excel all day just to sit in a meeting with a client and not even contribute beyond the odd question here and there.

 
  • Prospect in AM - Equities
Aug 11, 2020 - 1:22am

Had previously interned in S&T as well and did not share this experience. Although there is a focus on the markets, the work I did still seemed mundane as it was task-based executions. To me, you describe a buyside gig.

 
Aug 9, 2020 - 2:22pm

Just a few thoughts on this from someone who has been in banking a while now.

  1. This summer experience is one of the weirdest situations i've ever seen for a work environment, so I wouldn't use it as a benchmark for what banking is like (while this doesn't give you good guidance it's a good perspective). The things I enjoy about banking are nearly impossible for an intern to experience over a virtual internship. You're probably not going to be involved min the high-level strategy discussions (which you could have easily been pulled into in the office), buyer interactions or other parts of banking that I find interesting. I'm saying all of this because it's important to note that this summer is an odd time
  2. Banking is not a great career (or two year job) choice for everyone. It's the same with private equity and hedge funds; they aren't for everyone and that's completely fine. It would be good for you to explore other potential careers (both within and outside of finance), but keep in mind that banking is often a great stepping stone to do something else. Ultimately, if you don't enjoy anything about working in finance then you should explore other paths
 
Aug 9, 2020 - 10:38pm

Hey, appreciate everyone's thoughts and comments on this thread. I feel similar to the OP - worked hard to get the summer gig and am grateful for the experience but in contrast I was at a bank that barely gave interns real work. Hours were capped, couldn't see live stuff - everyone was super nice but basically the experience wasn't representative of life as an analyst at all. I was at a place that's regularly ridiculed on this site too so to some extent the setup also makes me question the quality of the analyst training program.

Nonetheless I was fortunate to receive a return offer and I'm grateful for it especially given the comments I've seen on this site. I don't know what I would do if I didn't accept but I don't even know if I should because all I did was research some companies and align some PPTs. I thought I'd just accept and try it for a while and move if I didn't like it but I'm not even sure of that given some of the comments I've seen. Also thought if I was at a higher-tier bank I would feel better because if my life is going to suck I could at least get better exit ops but don't generally consider myself a prestige whore so not sure if that's it; don't really know what my chances at re-recruiting now would be anyway. Not even sure why I'm writing this since I've only got a couple weeks to accept and knowing myself I'm too risk-averse to not but guess I just wanted to put it out there.

Array
 
  • Intern in PE - Other
Aug 13, 2020 - 1:05pm

Sometimes you just have to put it out there and see how it feels. Posts above made a good point. If you think you might not want to do IB, accept the offer, and then go search around for something in Corp Dev or Consulting that you might like more. If you find something, reneg, and go for a job that will make you happy. If not, you have the IB path to fall back on. Hope this helps.

Also, congrats on the return offer to DB.

Array
 
  • Intern in IB-M&A
Aug 10, 2020 - 1:37am

Felt this way last summer when I interned, ended up turning down the offer and recruiting for consulting and tech. It all worked out fine - I had many interviews and opportunities (people in consulting for example were quite understanding of the realization that the banking life was not for me). Ended up getting a software-lite role at a F100, passing a technical interview just off what I learned on Coursera and Udemy courses.

Be advised though, recruiting sucks as is, but even more when you don't quite exactly know what you want to do. Apply to everything that seems interesting, you never know what opportunities you might enjoy that you had no idea about.

My advice would be to take some time to be introspective and think about what you really care about in life. Money? Power? Meaning? Challenge? All of these are valid reasons! It's one of the toughest questions to answer, but ultimately one that's better answered now when you can still course correct, rather than 5 years into the future when you realize you had been lying to yourself all along.

 
  • Prospect in Other
Aug 10, 2020 - 9:54am

Hey, I'm in a very similar position this year and was wondering if you can speak to more about your recruiting process. I interned in IB as well and am now considering applying to consulting and corporate FLDPs for full time. I think I would certainly enjoy these more, so my main considerations would be pay and setting me up afterwards. Looking towards corporate strategy/development in the longer term. Im not sure if I have the balls to flat out reject a return especially in this economy but I'm hoping to get some looks before it expires.

 
  • Intern in IB-M&A
Aug 11, 2020 - 12:29am

I basically just applied to a bunch of stuff through OCR. Networking isn't as important for other industries, although it obviously always helps (and is pretty much needed if you want MBB, from what I've heard). Consulting is a whole beast on its own, with case interviews being arguably more challenging than IB interviews. But for any finance related jobs (ie. FLDP's) you will receive plenty of interest. The biggest challenge will be in crafting a narrative as to why you want to leave IB and why this new job makes sense for you. Obviously don't bad mouth your old firm; just say that you became interested in a new challenge, or wanted more WLB (which is surprisingly something that many companies actually value / is part of their culture).

I will say though that I probably should've just taken the return offer and then reneged. That would be my advice for you as well - especially in this economy. I would not worry about burning bridges, because once you make the decision to leave IB, chances are you'll never ever go back.

But really think about the decision though. If you still want something finance related, chances are that staying in IB will eventually lead you to it (even if you have to put up with 2 years of bs). the positions you are interested in sound like pretty common exit opps

 
Aug 10, 2020 - 6:59am

Sucks to hear. I hope you find something that fuels you buddy. Good luck on your journey. Cheers!

"Full speed ahead, damn the torpedoes." -U.S. Navy General Farragut
 
  • Prospect in 
Aug 11, 2020 - 11:05am

I feel the same way (albeit in S&T) -- wrapping up the final few weeks of my internship and have no drive or motivation and do not enjoy the work at all. Hearing the Bloomberg chat or Outlook sound makes me physically cringe at what the next task will be. I agree WFH has stripped the job down to its bare bones, making it way easier to see the unsavoury parts. I'm jealous of all my friends who have had an actual summer, even if they've been working, while I've been stuck at a desk for 4 months over 12 hours a day. I'm very grateful for the money and opportunity, especially in these times, but will be looking at a totally different industry for FT

 
  • Intern in IB-M&A
Aug 11, 2020 - 2:50pm

Prospect in :

I agree WFH has stripped the job down to its bare bones, making it way easier to see the unsavoury parts. FT

This is really it. When it's just you, the work and the four walls of your room, you get the most sober view of the work in its pure form. With such a vantage point, I don't think those of us who aren't genuinely interested in the work can lie to ourselves, which would've probably been possible in the office where your attitude may have been lifted by the "camaraderie" or the vibe of being in a big NYC office.

It's liberating and frightening at the same time, to feel relief that you've escaped committing to something you would've ended up hating, but also being lost in not knowing what your next step is after having spent so much time focusing on this career path.

 
  • Prospect in 
Aug 13, 2020 - 12:55pm

Yeah there was PPT work with aligning boxes, making sure text is the right size, following the right colour codes etc., but not nearly as much as I've heard in IB. Mind that I'm on a sales desk, trading desk is probably a different experience (i.e. little/no deck-making). A lot of tasks were pricing trades, keeping up with client documentation/needs, note-taking on calls, writing market updates and A LOT of ad-hoc stuff in Excel (e.g. trade analysis). Hours aren't as bad as IB but its not a 9-5 job either, and can be pretty stressful when it's busy. I personally found it generally boring but I'm not a finance/business/econ major; I think for someone that is the job would be really interesting.

 
Aug 12, 2020 - 12:59am

Feel completely the same. got my offer very early on and stopped thinking about what I want in life/out of a job. Now feeling completely lost after my summer has ended, but also feel stranded in the sense that how are we suppose to "try" other things as rising seniors? What if we turn down the in offer and recruit elsewhere, and either 1) don't get a job 2) get a job and realize we don't like it either?

I am now thinking that leaving the aspect of whether we like IB alone, it's just a trade-off of sacrificing "passion/interest/enthusiasm" for work ethic training + credibility as a college grad for future jobs. And perhaps, it's worth it for 2 years?

For those of you who are thinking of either turning down the offer or current analysts who would suggest otherwise, what are your advice on how to "find" what we truly want if we do re-recruit, or how to have the right mentality to power through the 2 years? The last thing I want is to mindlessly spend the 2 years and jump to something else, still unsure of what I want.

 
Aug 12, 2020 - 2:09am

As someone who tried desperately to break in from a non-target and failed, and who genuinely gets excited by the idea of sitting in Excel and PowerPoint all day, this thread sucked to read. That being said, I took a FT with a F500 in an FLDP and this thread made me happy about the WLB I’ll get that I would not have had if I had managed to break into banking.

Best of luck to everyone in this thread who came to this realization. It’s good that you guys are self-aware enough to state how blessed you are to have gotten these positions. There are a lot of people who would have killed for these positions, even despite the issues I’ve seen brought up here. Just wanted to utilize this comment to reiterate how lucky you all are to have gotten these experiences.

 
Aug 12, 2020 - 9:26pm

I don’t think PE or investing is like that.

There’s a lot of process / annoying shit but that’s in every job and if you’re doing that 2x as much (in volume or hours wise) in IB or PE then it feels 4x worse e.g. the more you work the more additionally stressful each marginal hour is.

What I can say is that I love my job, love the people (there are legit cool people and not finance nerds, just cool people who are really smart). I think it’s the case that intelligent people are funny and have good perspectives on life and work also, but you also have psychopaths who are on a warpath on weird priorities but if you find good people stick by them.

The comment with a bunch of downvotes about life being shitty is correct. You have to reframe things in a way that makes it manageable, that way you can actually go beyond and do things above and beyond and be creative. It’s actually exponential that way, and people who are like this are the ones who actually succeed.

 
Aug 13, 2020 - 1:40pm

If you are interested in finance and want to a career in business, then an IB analyst position is one of the best (if not the best) training grounds for personal and professional development right out of school. If you don't end up wanting to do IB long term, then at least you have a leg up on the competition in other fields from 2-3 years of 80+ hour weeks learning a diverse set of skills - modeling, data manipulation, PowerPoint slides, email communication, verbal presenting, working with executives and in a team, selling / marketing, etc.

Also, you really shouldn't "enjoy" an intern position. Most analysts and associates only give SAs the most seemingly menial tasks, because they don't trust them yet. Most SAs, even if you are at Harvard, Stanford or wherever, will spend the summer doing the worst tasks that analysts don't want to do. You have to prove you can do the easy stuff before you can do the more difficult, and typically more interesting work.

If you don't want to work in business / finance, then feel free to pursue a different path. If i were you and received an offer for an IB position, I would take it and grit it out for a couple of years because it can be a force multiplier for career trajectory.

Obsessed is a word the lazy use to describe those who are dedicated.
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