If you could start over, would you still be in Finance?

M-V's picture
Rank: Monkey | 58

I was discussing this with a few colleagues and a lot of them said they would be in tech or became a Quant if they could start over. What about your guys? What would your guys do knowing what you know now.

Comments (47)

  • Analyst 2 in IB - Ind
Dec 1, 2019

No, but this is something that I would have never known if I hadn't done it. When you realize that the majority of people are in it for the money and that many times, senior people might make BS assumptions about things or cut corners just to get deals closed (without actually caring about the client's outcome), it becomes less and less like you're doing meaningful work and actually helping companies.

Lots of other things I could mention but I've found that this industry works well for people who are good at coming up with reasonable BS and are really good at sales.

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Dec 1, 2019

Its hard to find meaning aside from money in this industry. I actually never met someone who actually loved their job and not just the pay out. Also being a good salesman is the heart of the business, you gotta be able to close deals.

  • Intern in IB-M&A
Dec 2, 2019

I would've studied CS or tried to recruit for business roles at Big Tech.

Most Helpful
Dec 2, 2019

There seems to be a handful of these posts every week, that can all be boiled down to one issue: "I am unhappy in this industry and I want to quit to do more meaningful work and/or less hours."

With the amount of information regarding IB, I find it fascinating that so many people still seem to go "wrong" with IB. It may be hard to fathom just how exhausting a 100-hour work week really is, especially if there are several back to back, but this can hardly be a surprise to anyone coming into the industry now.

To answer your question: Would I do IB again? Fck yes.
I'll pick IB over other white-collar jobs 8/7 days a week. I'm not saying that this industry is fantastic or that you'll only produce meaningful work (you won't), but what makes you think that this is the case in other industries?

"I wanna do tech". Okay, cool. Some of the jobs may be fulfilling and create meaningful work, but don't come here and tell me that creating snapchat filters or coding AI to identify the most hilarious cat-fails-video is meaningful. From my anecdotal experience I feel like the tech-industry is just a circle-jerk of Kombucha drinking libwokes doing Ted talks and listening to Gary V podcasts. The hard truth is, very few of them succeed in creating a revenue-generating business and even fewer create profit-generating businesses.

Most jobs are not that meaningful, but why can't there be meaning in providing for yourself and your family?

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Funniest
Dec 2, 2019

We've found the adult in the room. Good take.

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Dec 2, 2019
QuiltEmerson:

Most jobs are not that meaningful, but why can't there be meaning in providing for yourself and your family?

Finally. Everyone is trying to find a well-paid job that's seen as prestigious by the general public and pays well.

The reality is that almost all jobs straight out of university/college seem a bit dull. You are at the bottom of the totem, and its your job to just execute and absorb information. If you want to be a blacksmith, you don't start by making swords. You start by being an apprentice. Helping with the most basic things and observing.

A job is just something you do, it shouldn't define the core of you (e.g. Im a banker, I have to wear patagonia, cashmere sweaters, and have my holidays in Courchevel). Over time it gets better because you have more contacts and experience.

If you think about the future and you don't see yourself in the industry then its fine to go for a career change. But don't do it just because you "think" its better on the other side.

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  • Prospect in IB - Ind
Dec 2, 2019

I don't think IB is seen as prestigious by the general public. I would never tell anyone. Too much stigma.

Dec 2, 2019

As someone who have experienced both IB and Tech at Faang in SF I can tell you the biggest difference for me besides the obvious WLB was the people you work with. Tech is literally the most boring place to work ever, everyone is either a huge geek or is 35+ years old constantly talking about their kids. Being a "Bro" is literally a toxic behavior in tech, they even have a term for it "Brogrammer" and they will literally hate anyone who do anything outside of tech, you like to party? Drink? Get laid? Toxic! Maybe because most of them are antisocial but I have absolutely no idea wtf was with that. There are a few companies like Uber and Netflix that has a better culture but Google and Facebook culture is extremely tamed.

I used to work 80/week as a IB but I absolutely loved my colleagues, we used to do a 12/h day work then go to the bar and just hangout.

Its why I came back to new york from SF to be a Quant dev. But I miss my IB days, the grass is always greener on the other side, remember that.

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Dec 2, 2019

I completely agree. I have a CS degree from a top 3 engineering school and I recruited for IB after I realized how horrendous that culture of SF tech companies were. Everyone and their mother is trying to leave SWE and do PM anyway.

  • Prospect in IB-M&A
Dec 2, 2019

for a sophomore in college just trying to optimize for money, which route would you recommend?

Dec 3, 2019

Would you say this is true for tech VC as well?

Dec 2, 2019

It's a classic first world problem. Most people who've broken into this industry realize that they're not going to make enough to live a wealthy lifestyle without completely throwing themselves into it, but there are also dozens of jobs that pay well enough to live comfortably that are not finance-related.

I think it's natural to look for intrinsic satisfaction in your work, because money gets old real quick.

Dec 3, 2019
QuiltEmerson:

Most jobs are not that meaningful, but why can't there be meaning in providing for yourself and your family?

Echoes your comments to my thread here. Good take.

I think people assume everyone in tech is working on the latest Machine Learning that diagnoses skin cancer better than the most experienced doctors, when in reality most SWEs are web developers optimizing how long it takes for a website nobody visits to load. Similar to people going into IB thinking they'll be jetting off to France to wine and dine a high profile client representing a company everyone recognizes, when in reality it's a lot of changing PowerPoint. Even extends to professional sports, most envision the party after winning the Superbowl but don't envision the brutal practice it takes. Human nature.

"The three most harmful addictions are heroin, carbohydrates, and a monthly salary." - Nassim Taleb

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Dec 6, 2019

As a veteran recently transitioned and out of his MBA looking to break into the industry I've been skeptical about it because of discussions like these.

Big thanks for breaking it down like this. I witnessed similar discussions around job satisfaction when I was an infantry officer in the Marine Corps, which is probably one of the most meaningful jobs in the world.

People just lose sight of the reason they are in a position when they grow comfortable. They begin to assume the grass is always greener on the other side when it isn't, it's just a different shade of green. We can find meaning in everything as long as we have the right lens to view it through.

Providing for your family should be enough meaning for any man who cares about those that he loves. Thanks a lot brother.

Best,
John N. McCarthy

  • Prospect in IB - Ind
Dec 2, 2019
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Dec 2, 2019

I probably would not be in finance, but then again, grass is always greener. If I had managed to become a doctor, or something different, it's almost certain that I would still find the 'promised land' vastly different than my expectations.

Dec 2, 2019

Having 5 years of experience before joining a big bank in IB definitely gave me some perspective: worked in jobs I hated (internal audit) and in some others I somewhat enjoyed (corporate development), so I can say the fast paced environment in IB and generally ambitious people you work with are the main differentiators vs other jobs. Is that something you can find in tech jobs? Maybe, but what I'm trying to say is people always think of the best case scenario (ie. a better job). My brother used to tell me "don't move jobs because of the hours or the people". The more senior you become, the more hours you'll spend at work, regardless of the industry (assuming you want career progression) - marketing, sales, operations, it's all the same. And if you move jobs because you hate (or love) your colleagues, chances are you will also hate (or love) your colleagues in your new job. I only moved jobs when I was certain I would get better a salary or would learn more (regardless of people or hours)

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Dec 2, 2019

LAUGH

What concert costs 45 cents? 50 Cent feat. Nickelback.

  • Analyst 1 in IB - Restr
Dec 2, 2019

Yes - not in investment banking, though.

  • Prospect in IB - Ind
Dec 2, 2019

How do you feel about other common entry level roles such as s&t or consulting?

Dec 4, 2019

For those who say/think you want to work as a software engineer:

I was a CS major in my freshman year before switching to math + econ double major. I like math, always do. Surprisingly, I'm Chinese :)

I hated coding, just hated it. I used to sit the whole weekend coding my lab assignments. I was devastated.

Now I work in finance, and sometimes I come during the weekends and sit for a whole day too. I do not feel devastated, maybe a little bit upset, but that's it.

Do you really like coding? I like finance. I can get paid 40k a year doing it --- not for long, just for a year becuz I'd like to make more money. But the point is I like finance.

Does SnapChat really create that much value? Or, let me ask this way: is its marginal value higher than its marginal detriment to people? I do not think so. I do not use social media at all, except WSO. I feel better off not using shit like snapchat or insta.

Yeah tech people are getting paid a lot and not work much...let the tech bubble burst !

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  • Prospect in Other
Dec 4, 2019

Are you Chinese American or an actual Chinese?

Dec 5, 2019

An actual Chinese.

Dec 4, 2019

Finance is all that there has ever been, all that currently is and all that there ever will be.

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  • Intern in IB-M&A
Dec 4, 2019

When people say tech do they always mean software developing or rather being a quant? I don't really see many people wanting to be a quant on this thread

Dec 4, 2019

Tech is software dev, engineering, website, etc. Quant while in tech is all about math. So it doesn't really get placed together. Quants are mostly applied math and physics PHDs, so I don't think you will find someone like that around here. In my firm they are all physics phd who done some serious math research and published some papers.

Dec 4, 2019
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