"If you're 25+ you won't be able to become an IB analyst unless you get into a top MBA and break in as an IB Associate" - True?

ketch00's picture
Rank: Monkey | banana points 40

Was reading about people in my position (late 20's, non-finance degree) and ran across this post on another forum. Just curious if it's true and if so, perhaps I'm wasting my time doing anything other than an MBA at a top school.

What say you?

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Comments (66)

Feb 2, 2016

I'm in my mid-twenties and im currently in my penultimate year of my undergrad degree and will be working as an SA in London in IBD, I had to wait around 3 years before I went to university as my country had mandatory conscription hence why I'm quite "old" going into IBD but its definitely doable though I am a finance major

Feb 2, 2016
mrvoodoo1:

I'm in my mid-twenties and im currently in my penultimate year of my undergrad degree and will be working as an SA in London in IBD, I had to wait around 3 years before I went to university as my country had mandatory conscription hence why I'm quite "old" going into IBD but its definitely doable though I am a finance major

Your anecdotal experience is irrelevant because you're still in school.

To answer the OP: why would you want to go into IBD as an analyst in your late 20s when you can go to B school for the 2 years you'd be working to get an associate promote and go right in as an associate?

Analyst and associate are totally different in how you are perceived. Do you really want to be a 29-year old analyst being treated like a 21/22-year old?

Regardless, the short answer is "True," caveated with the usual "everything is possible..."

Feb 2, 2016
mrb87:

mrvoodoo1:I'm in my mid-twenties and im currently in my penultimate year of my undergrad degree and will be working as an SA in London in IBD, I had to wait around 3 years before I went to university as my country had mandatory conscription hence why I'm quite "old" going into IBD but its definitely doable though I am a finance major

Your anecdotal experience is irrelevant because you're still in school.

To answer the OP: why would you want to go into IBD as an analyst in your late 20s when you can go to B school for the 2 years you'd be working to get an associate promote and go right in as an associate?

Analyst and associate are totally different in how you are perceived. Do you really want to be a 29-year old analyst being treated like a 21/22-year old?

Regardless, the short answer is "True," caveated with the usual "everything is possible..."

Because he may want to transition into PE afterwards, which is more difficult from associate onwards?

Feb 2, 2016
mrb87:

To answer the OP: why would you want to go into IBD as an analyst in your late 20s when you can go to B school for the 2 years you'd be working to get an associate promote and go right in as an associate?

Analyst and associate are totally different in how you are perceived. Do you really want to be a 29-year old analyst being treated like a 21/22-year old?

My only question (before dropping the money on a B school) is what are the chances that I actually get in an associate? I just thought there may have been a way for me to learn on-the-job so to speak as an analyst and then move

dzcelts:

I'm a mid-thirties analyst.

What was your story dzcelts? Career change?

mrb87:

If he already has 5-7 years of work experience there are other ways to transition into PE. (Though it would be helpful to know what OP currently does.)

I'm actually current in tech (I have a Bachelor of Science). It's totally different than finance but I'm trying to get into something I really enjoy which believe it or not is finance. I'm just researching as much as I can to generate the path.

NuclearPenguins:

Not true, one guy in my group at a MM is 26, know a couple current/ex analysts here that also jumped in at that age.

What would be your best advice for someone in IT to jump into this field? An MBA? Another path?

Feb 2, 2016

I'm a mid-thirties analyst.

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Feb 2, 2016

I received multiple offers from top bulges and elite boutiques in NYC. I am in my late 20's.

Age is just a number, how you present yourself in interviews dictates far more about getting a job as an analyst then your birthday. In many ways I think I was at an advantage being older, I believe I was viewed as more grounded and serious with my aspirations than someone who is in their early 20's and still trying to figure everything out.

Feb 2, 2016

Not true, one guy in my group at a MM is 26, know a couple current/ex analysts here that also jumped in at that age.

Feb 2, 2016

Without a finance background it's going to be tough. I did at 28, but I had a bachelors in finance and 3 years of public accounting experience.

Feb 2, 2016

Did your accounting experience allow you to jump straight to associate or did you do the standard 2-3 yrs at the analyst level? OP really didn't give much info about himself. We could be having a totally different discussion if he went to HYP and was in big law.

Feb 2, 2016

2 years as an analyst between the two banks I have worked for.

Feb 23, 2016

are you a CPA? If yes, then (why) did it not allow you to leverage ur professional certification to get a job as an associate?

whatever takes us away, will be the same to drive us on
remember to find a new way to way to carry on.

Feb 2, 2016

It's simply not enough to start in an associate position. It did accelerate me somewhat though as the 2nd firm I moved to hired me as a 3rd year analyst with only 9 months in IB. I think most of the MBA crowd that pushes the reset button benefits from summer associate gigs. If a bank can try you out, they're much less worried about hiring you on as a full-time associate. Bad ft associate hires are extremely costly not in comp dollars, but it can really fuck up your analyst pool and cause unnecessary friction.

Feb 9, 2016

I'd say not having a finance background would actually might be better if its something great.
Think product management at Google or running the entire biz dev function for a startup to IPO.

I think if you want to break in non-traditionally then you have to either:
A. have the network
B. have great work experience

"It is better to have a friendship based on business, than a business based on friendship." - Rockefeller.

"Live fast, die hard. Leave a good looking body." - Navy SEAL

Feb 2, 2016

It would have to be a unicorn to even matter. Otherwise it won't really mean anything, based on interviews with EB's, etc. The job is X, you know how to do Y, they want plug and play for the role they're hiring for. Anecdotal maybe, but it's a pretty good data point.

Feb 2, 2016

I guess it really depends. You didn't give us any more info about you to give a clear answer. I know someone who is a soph and goes to a top target and has been an intern for a PE fund in a major (NYC, LA, SF) area for the past year or 2. He's like 33.

Feb 2, 2016

It doesn't matter. The other poster doesn't know anything. Over my summer at a large bank, there were a couple people who were 25 years old or older. I didn't intern in IB there, but worked with primarily MBB and former bankers, so it was a similarly intense environment. Regardless, most people didn't know they were that age or didn't care. If it means anything, all these guys and gals were good interns and recieved return offers.

A lot of people who find themselves in this situation are from military backgrounds, and it's unfortunate that some individuals have a bias against older analysts. These people have gone to war and have been through shittier things than being treated like 22 year olds. Even if a person isn't military, they usually have some unique circumstances and know what they are getting into. The bottom line is that any person who is willing to work 80 to 110 + hours a week for another person or company is going to a grinder, regardless of age.

Best Response
Feb 2, 2016

I'm glad everyone is using anecdotal evidence to encourage this guy to invest hope and time into getting an IBD job now when the odds would be multiple times better were he to take 2 years to go to a top business school.

It's actually mind-boggling that: a) anyone thinks this kind of anecdotal evidence is compelling, and b) doesn't recognize the inherent selection bias.

OBVIOUSLY there are exceptions, but you have to make these decisions on a balance of probabilities. Three things can happen here:

1) He spends lots of time -- 6-18 months -- trying to get an IBD job and fails. Now he applies to business school but has wasted 1-2 years of his life, and only ends up with an IBD job in 3-5 years.

2) He spends the same amount of time and succeeds in getting a job. 2-3 years later he makes associate.

3) He applies to B-school. In 2-3 years, he joins a bank as an associate.

Two of these three scenarios involve him having to go to business school, and I'd argue the third is a slim chance.

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Feb 2, 2016

He never asked which scenario yields a higher chance. He simply asked if it was possible. Anecdotal evidence may be just that, but I believe someone who comes here to ask is looking for such real world responses. Your assumption is also that B-school will land him an IBD associate gig. There is still no guarantee there. It will be very difficult either path he chooses, it will just come with a different set of challenges to overcome.

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Feb 9, 2016

,.................

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Feb 2, 2016
Mephistopheles:

He never asked which scenario yields a higher chance. He simply asked if it was possible. Anecdotal evidence may be just that, but I believe someone who comes here to ask is looking for such real world responses. Your assumption is also that B-school will land him an IBD associate gig. There is still no guarantee there. It will be very difficult either path he chooses, it will just come with a different set of challenges to overcome.

I really don't think OP was using "possible" in the sense that P>0. And again, you are ignoring the selection bias -- the only 26-30 year old banking analysts you meet ARE THE ONES WHO MADE IT IN.

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Feb 2, 2016

Made me laugh. Very true. There's the question "is it possible?" Yes, it's absolutely possible and everyone knows someone who's done it. "Is it likely?" No. The vast majority of IB analysts go in right out of undergrad and those that don't usually do something finance or consulting related for a couple of years then get into IB or they have something that precludes them from going right to work such as serving in the military (and even then most US guys who do that get an MBA then head into IB).

Seeing that the OP is coming from a completely non-finance background, tech, and assuming later 20's doesn't mean 25 but more like 28 seems to indicate a pretty typical MBA profile who would then get into IB post bschool. Call me insane but isn't that exactly the purpose of getting an MBA for career changers? If, OP, you can get into a top MBA (and there are plenty of threads on here about the programs you need to be in with the highest odds of getting into IB) there's a pretty high chance you could get an associate gig after bschool.

Feb 3, 2016

mr87,

I really like your insight on this. I actually have an interview tomorrow with a M&A Firm for an Analyst role at the age of 29. My friend who teaches at a top ranked University as a Finance professor actually encouraged me to pursue a variety of work experience (if I get denied) --> B School then get in as an Associate.

3 is the best outcome scenario. However, depending on career goals, adding a #4 would be interesting -

4) The OP works non-profits, or attends a certificate program at a local university, gets a job and has a profile that fits the ideal match for B school then attends.

Overall, regardless of the actions, it is all about attitude and how motivated one can be.

I'd apply and work in sales until then, WE EAT WHAT WE KILL!

Hiten

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Feb 2, 2016

The real answer with regards to your specific needs is go get an MBA. There are exceptions but most hiring at investment banking firms is done via university recruiting.

Feb 2, 2016

First off, thank you all for your answers.

I'm not looking for the "easy" route, I think people may be misinterpreting my intentions ala "Who does this guy think he is trying to squeeze in this late in the game?". I'm not against business school and it looks like if I'm interested in a chance >1% I need to attend one. I got that now. The reason I was asking about that quote in particular is because in the tech field, it's completely different....whether it be Google or Apple or any high-paying tech job, they care far, far more about your qualifications than they do what school you went to or what qualifications you have. I've learned a very important lesson here, 'Finance' takes your pedigree very, very seriously.

For me, and perhaps you can relate to my thought process, was I was hoping I could break into something like an IB/HF by grinding it out and learning as much as I can without spending $150k+ on a general MBA. I was wrong when I try to relate these fields to something like programming...when I wanted to learn how to code I never once considered going into some Computer Science field but rather spend as much time as I could, sometimes in upwards of 16 hours a day, just digesting the information.

This is why I was asking if there was another route. It looks like all the people who said there were are the extremely rare exceptions and not the rule. I assumed I could get some other job to learn as much as I can, or even travel overseas to get a job for the specific purpose of building up my skills and using them when I travel back to Canada/USA, but I realize that's not how it works.

Thank you guys. This is by far the best forum on finance, period.

Feb 9, 2016

..........................

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Feb 2, 2016
CorK2016:

You are not showing up at Google or Apple without some decent PEDIGREED experience.

Not sure why I'm bothering to reply to this, and I could give you all my anecdotal experiences, but perhaps you could listen to what Laszlo Bock has said about this very topic...including things like the "proportion of people without any college education at Google has increased over time" and "test scores are worthless". Although Bock works at Google, he may not know as much as you. That being said, let's not hijack this thread.

Feb 2, 2016

its hard to get into any training program in your mid 20s. even for retail mgmt

Feb 2, 2016

This doesn't help OP but I'm in the same boat (currently 25). I have a Finance and Supply Chain Management degree from a non-target and went to work for a F500 O&G company as part of a Leadership Development Program.

In my current role which involved sourcing and analyzing potential M&A targets, I decided that I wanted to do this as a full time job and researched investment banking and found it appealing (also for other reasons too long to write out).

I've talked to quite a few people and even at the age of 25 I was basically told to try and lateral into a BB and gain experience or go get an MBA. It seems that industry knowledge doesn't mean squat if a firm can hire someone straight from an undergrad program and mold them into whatever it is they want rather than hire someone from industry.

I'm sure there are exceptions to the rule but it becomes progressively more difficult to move into IB after working X years. You can also get your MBA but IB would only be an option if you wanted to make that you career as I assume you are placed in an Associate role to be groomed for management (VP, MD, etc).

Feb 2, 2016

If you're simply an old undergraduate, then no. They don't know your age and will assume you're early-20's like everybody else. If you've been out of school a few years, then it's difficult even if your experience is relevant (e.g., Big 4 accounting) and are probably better off going for the MBA.

Feb 3, 2016

It's possible, but hard if you don't have at least some finance experience. I transferred from wealth management to IB within a large bank in my mid twenties by networking within the firm.

Feb 3, 2016

In some European countries it's common to get a 2 years master straight out of undergrad, so most of the time you graduate at 24. Considering a couple of years at a Big4/MBB, i've seen 28 y.o. analysts.

Feb 5, 2016

I started from 22 and did four years in IBD. If I could do it all again I'd probably make that three years. If you told me I couldn't have got it at 22 but I could get it at 25+, I wouldn't even take it - the pay really is not worth the bs anymore.

Feb 5, 2016

Not true at all!! I am 31, and I just finished up as a SA at a top BB this last summer (received full-time offer). I decided to switch careers when I was in my late 20's, go back to school (non-target), and shoot for the stars with IBD. It just comes down to a lot of networking and selling yourself and your life experiences you've had while everyone else that you're recruiting against was in high school and college.

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Feb 5, 2016

Not true. Last night I was out having drinks with an analyst who is north of 30, and working for a very prestigious firm.

Feb 6, 2016

Complete bs. I was 26 when I made the move from Big Four into IB.

Feb 6, 2016

just claim employer discrimination

sue

start a hedge fund

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Feb 6, 2016

I'm in a similar but different situation. Anyway some of your guys could help me out? I created a thread in "New User Forums" but it hasn't gotten any traction yet.

I'm still a new monkey so I can't post any links but the title of my thread is:

advice-for-a-29-yo-looking-to-break-into-high-finance

Thanks in advance for any help!

Feb 8, 2016

It's not impossible. BB training programs definitely target those right out of undergrad though. I'm a 26 year old first year analyst.

Feb 2, 2016

@saw23 and others can you share your story of how you were able to get into BB at a later stage than those who are coming in straight from undergrad? I think this would be helpful to the rest of us.

Feb 8, 2016

I'm currently at an industry focused boutique. I had a fair amount of difficulty trying to networking into BB at my age, but will probably try to after a couple years in regard to associate roles.

Going the CFA route and coming from a investment research role with that industry focus is what got me in.

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Feb 2, 2016

I'm OP, so for those who care, after researching this extensively I've decided to learn as much as I possibly can (on my own) about finance and what people do/know on-the-job. I've started with books like Investment Banking by Rosenbaum & Pearl (as an intro) as well as learning about financial modeling.

I have no experience I'm going to show dedication by learning what I can, and after hustling a bit many in the financial industry (basically, decision makers) have agreed to meet with me. I offered to buy them coffee just to talk, and I've already explained my situation.

So....maybe I'm wrong. Maybe this is all a waste of time. Maybe in the time I'm spending doing this I could be out studying for my CFA, studying for the GMAT, getting into B school, and crossing my fingers for a job when I'm done. We'll see....

Feb 2, 2016

I don't know that it's a waste of time. Building a broader network will help you regardless of what route you go. Good luck to you.

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Feb 9, 2016

I'm a 28 year old analyst, who didn't study finance or anything remotely close by the way, and the only reason I was able to break into the front office of a bank is because I went to a target. Let me paraphrase this. For investment banking recruiting, branding (school) and presentation (interview polish) is 98% of the battle.

If you're polished and have a brand, you could know fuck-all about finance and learn some technicals reasonably well enough to get hired. If you do not have the brand or the polish, getting a job is basically impossible, and no amount of networking will place you in a statistically favorable position to get hired.

You will be Sisyphus eternally pushing that boulder up a hill, just to have it roll back.

So in short, yes, you are wasting your time doing anything but getting an MBA from a reasonably well-regarded school.

Feb 2, 2016

I appreciate the candor but what you've stated is frustrating for non-targets who DID major in finance and or had relevant experience in finance (not necessarily IB).

Why take someone who goes to an Ivy school, majored in History or 17th Century Philosophy, and will more than likely leave the IB world after a two year stint VS someone who went to a non-target but majored in finance and wants to STAY in IB?

I know the answer but its frustrating and depressing at times to see the above repeatedly take place in front of you simply because you went to a non-target.

Guess its better to focus on the GMAT and getting into a Top 10 MBA program otherwise kiss IB goodbye...

Mar 3, 2016

.............

Jun 16, 2016

Never Happened.