Leave full time job for internship?

Would you leave a full time job (at a top company in industry not related to finance) for an internship in a BB IBD to reset your career?

1. You get to work in IBD, get relevant experience, and off-cycle interns are likely to convert (more time with the team etc).
2. The internship pay is better then what I get now, and full time will be even better.
3. I wouldn't need to complete a Masters etc which I cannot really afford anyway.
4. I really don't 'fit' in my current team/role/company and am struggling to find a fit here. May as well cut my losses now.

1. I am 2+ years into my career, I could stick it out (but am unhappy and finding it hard to find another job in the same industry) and wait till MBA level (2+ more years to go - earliest entry for me is 2018).
2. I may not convert full time or get the full-time offer for the following year. At this point I'm an old analyst (think 27+). In theory I would be an Associate by 30 which is kind of annoying as most of my friends are Associates by 25-26 ish.
3. I may hate it (loads of people here complain about it and perhaps the same things affect me - only way to know is to try) and then moving back to industry (or anything) will be a hard sell.
4. It just feels like too big of a risk. I am in a management position in industry - to leave to an internship / analyst role now may look terrible longer term (e.g. for MBA applications, in life generally).

What do you all think?

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Comments (33)

Sep 15, 2016 - 7:30am

Yes, if you're interested in IBD and pay is better than what you have now...then you are really not taking a risk at all if you think about it. You're only moving close towards your goal. Congrats. Get a FT offer, stick it out for two years or so and then decide if you want to switch careers by doing an MBA.

Sep 15, 2016 - 6:56pm

How did you get the internship offer';

**How is my grammar? Drop me a note with any errors you see!**
Sep 16, 2016 - 8:40am

Yes; through networking / having my CV pushed / interviews / offer.

My problem is if I take it:
1. I may not like it, and aside from the industry I'm in now there are not really other industries I would consider working in. Going 'back' will be hard (especially because I would leave a FT job for an internship, a FT job to a FT job would be an easier sell).
2. It feels like a mentally big step 'back' for me (I am a manager and going to intern level amongst people 3-4 years younger than me will feel weird).
3. It is actually be easier to move to a HF from my current position (as I know technicals / programming) vs going to banking for a research analyst type role. PE is off limits without IBD but VC isn't; and in all honestly I'm unlikely to get into a big fund so maybe a HF route is better anyway.

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Sep 16, 2016 - 10:49am

I can apply for Masters / MBA but it wouldn't start till the following year (September 2018). I would still need to do 'something' for 1 year. Also, if I get the FT offer, I would (in theory) be an analyst for only 1 year before doing the MBA. The Master's wouldn't add much value here if I got the FT offer and if I didn't get the FT offer again a Master's would not help much as what subject would I complete it in? I would likely have to intern again for a FT offer.

Sep 16, 2016 - 9:55pm

If you think you want to be in finance then go for it. I disagree that banking will make you less competitive for HF, at least for an analytical (non-trading) role. I would think HFs would value the breadth of experience within an industry and banking.

I left a completely unrelated industry after 11 years and management track (had responsibility for 25 when I left) to become an analyst, and I don't regret it. Banking is not always a great place to be, but it's a great place to be from. And I can think of worse things than having a year to travel with no responsibilities waiting for an MBA program.

Sep 16, 2016 - 1:12pm

careercareer I'm going to take the opposite viewpoint and say NO, its not a good idea. As you pointed out taking an internship when you have full-time experience under your belt is a step back (massive step backwards IMO). I can understand that an MBA may be financially prohibitive but even then, if IB is truly what you want to do coming in as an Associate + leveraging your full-time experience is worth far more than having an IB internship and coming in as an analyst.

I can imagine you will have a difficult time relating to your analyst peers plus at this stage in your life people are looking to or are currently in a management role and working on becoming a leader within their respective firm/company. Coming in as an analyst you are in a way, wiping your slate clean and your prior experience won't be counted for much (I could be wrong about this).

Whatever you end up doing, good luck and I wish you well!

  • 3
Sep 17, 2016 - 5:48am

@dzcelts - did you leave for a full time analyst role? I'm not sure the travel thing would work e.g. if I start an off-cycle internship early 2017, and get an offer, I would start full time in 2018 (at which point I'm 4 years into my current career). I would then complete an MBA until 2020-2022 most likely. Or do you mean do the internship in 2017, go traveling in 2017/2018, complete an MBA in 2018-2020? I thought only full-time experience really counts? Won't MBA admission tutors look at my unfavorably if I quit a full time good job for an internship just to try things out? All of this requires money which I'm struggling to obtain as I don't get a bonus and am paid less than a first year analyst. :(

Given I am in London though, I don't really see myself have a good career in tech, unless moving to SF works out (which may not at my current firm, and would take at least 3-4 years in banking before a potential US transfer happens). There is a lot of changes happening at the firm all the time so it could mean that I am not a manager anymore or it could mean I become head of something - I just have no clue.

@RedRage - the first paragraph is exactly what my friends in IBD said (to stick to industry and move over after an MBA). I guess where I am stuck is the following - could do an MBA, could do an internship (Associate level) in IBD, hate it, and then I'm stuck again (as typically firms hire people from their intern pool). The MBA is the 'last chance' as such to swap. It may be that my programming skills are never strong enough, in which case, the IBD --> PE route is better (but PE is less likely after an MBA right?)

Ultimately, a career on the buyside is what I want. IBD is certainly one of the most popular options to get there. However there are other ways in too e.g. Point72 have their own programme for students so perhaps a Masters is the best option here. Maybe I should aim for a full time role in S&T instead at a BB to learn asset classes given I already have the programming skills. Maybe I should stay here and up my technical skills (which is not hard to do as I'm often working with engineers). I wouldn't say IBD is the only option - I'm just trying to determine if is the best option given my current status.

Would you guys leave for a full-time IBD role out of interest (starting August/Sept 2017)?

Sep 19, 2016 - 10:24pm

I left for an IBD internship, which I converted to a corporate banking I'll time role and then lateraled to a full time IBD analyst role.

I sat next to a 29 year old analyst in my internship. We have a 30 year old 1st year associate. Age is not a constant and not everyone follows the cookie cutter path.

If money is the issue, you're not going to find many paths paying better than IB. It's not always worth it given the hours, but you'll have time to decide that.

Yes there are other ways to the buy side, but do some linked in research, and figure out what your chances are of making it via sell side vs any other way. How many applications do you think point 72 gets?

If you were happy with the role in tech and only lukewarm about IB, I think the status quo and or direct shift to MBA makes more sense. Given you don't want to do tech and you have an opportunity many would kill for at little cost, I think you should take it.

Sep 21, 2016 - 3:39pm

Money is a big issue for me. The problem is not that I can't make good money in tech, it's that I don't. If I could move to SF, my salary would be adjusted well, and then leaving wouldn't make sense, but this isn't the case. To live in London comfortably, you really need to just be in finance. I am also looking at 5-10 years into the future. I don't want to be on a mediocre salary for life and have no issues "burning the midnight oil" now. I've been on roughly the same salary in tech for the past 2 years and the maximum increase per year I have seen are 3-5% if I'm lucky. This honestly just sucks. Even if I had rich parents, and 200k in savings, I would still aim for a high paying job as I just don't want a "normal 9-5" job.

For me there are a few routes to get into the buyside from what I have seen.

a) Given trading will mostly be developer focused / algorithmic in the future (I think) I could stay here, strengthen my technical skills, and then move over. Recruiters have said this is a solid option given my background. It will take a bit of time to ramp up though.

b) It may be better to get into S&T while continuing to work on technical skills/projects on the side. I will learn about the various products and have the technical skills so therefore more valuable. Surprisingly, recruiters / people I speak to tend to have extreme views on this. Some firms prefer tech/other guys i.e. never been in finance before. Some want the product knowledge. So it depends.

c) IBD is great to get into PE / corp dev but I think corp dev isn't really for me (exposed to that division here in tech and surprisingly wasn't that interested) but its hard to know for sure. To get to a HF I would need to look for a special situations / research / similar type role which are more competitive and are very limited in general (at least in the UK). Given I struggled to get into IBD until now, I doubt I would be a super competitive candidate vs a first class Oxbridge GS person for example (just trying to be realistic not dismissive). I think - for me - IBD internship makes more sense if I see myself there for the next 5 years at least. I'm just unsure how to make that decision.

Age aside - theres more longer term things I'm thinking about making this difficult. Any thoughts are welcome!

Feb 18, 2018 - 3:16pm

Quit full time back office role and pursue PE internship to better position for b-school (Originally Posted: 10/24/2012)

So currently a mid tier BB doing back office work. Previously I was at a top BB in a finance rotational program in Asia, but I moved since this job paid more and comes with more responsibility.

I have an opportunity to do an internship at a boutique PE fund but it is unpaid. Do you think that it will look bad if I quit a full time job and do the internship while I apply to b-schools?

I am currently bored out of my mind at my current role and i hate the people i work with (mostly 40+ yr old women).

Please advise.


Feb 18, 2018 - 3:17pm
(mostly 40+ yr old women).

Oh god

Feb 18, 2018 - 3:18pm


[quote]The HBS guys have MAD SWAGGER. They frequently wear their class jackets to boston bars, strutting and acting like they own the joint. They just ooze success, confidence, swagger, basically attributes of alpha males.[/quote]
Feb 18, 2018 - 3:19pm

Ok basically I haven't seen anyone leave a paid job to pursue an internship but then your situation is quite special and it may make sense. I know quite a lot of people that were employed fulltime, got an MBA spot, and then did extended internships prior to their degrees. You could tell people later-on that that's what you did but obivously you'll need an explanation now - if I was interviewing you I definitely wouldn't call you insane for having made this move, but not really sure what other people think.

I think this would be quite a risky move but if you think about it, what's really your downside scenario? If you don't get a job out of the internship you can still go back to your BO job or do something completely different. You may not have an income for a while so make sure you can afford this. I think I'd take the risk if I was in your shoes.

  • 4
Feb 18, 2018 - 3:20pm

the biggest risk is not getting into B-School.

"After you work on Wall Street it’s a choice, would you rather work at McDonalds or on the sell-side? I would choose McDonalds over the sell-side.” - David Tepper
Feb 18, 2018 - 3:21pm

Ok but that's not relevant in the decision here because out of BO I presume the B-School chances are slim anyways, no?

Feb 18, 2018 - 3:22pm
Ok but that's not relevant in the decision here because out of BO I presume the B-School chances are slim anyways, no?

Depends how competitive the rest of your application is and the types of schools you are targeting.

I considered doing a similar move when I was working a BO job, but the economics just couldn't work for me. Eventually I landed a full time gig, but I can completely understand where you are coming from wanting to make the jump ASAP.

I think if you take the internship, your goal needs to be to land full time, front office employment before heading to b-school. I would talk to your contact at the firm and see what type of help they will be able to give you in that regard.

"For I am a sinner in the hands of an angry God. Bloody Mary full of vodka, blessed are you among cocktails. Pray for me now and at the hour of my death, which I hope is soon. Amen."
  • 2
Feb 18, 2018 - 3:25pm

Ok but why would a business school not support the decision the OP would make here? I think this would be seen as a risk-seeking career strategy with major upside, or not? I guess the problem is that if OP doesn't score an FT offer, adcom may assume this implies he wasn't cut for PE FO, with obvious negative consequences?

Also careful with your anecdotes - knowing two people who made it out of BO doesn't suggest anything in terms of probability of making that move.

  • 1
Feb 18, 2018 - 3:26pm
Ok but why would a business school not support the decision the OP would make here? I think this would be seen as a risk-seeking career strategy with major upside, or not? I guess the problem is that if OP doesn't score an FT offer, adcom may assume this implies he wasn't cut for PE FO, with obvious negative consequences?

Also careful with your anecdotes - knowing two people who made it out of BO doesn't suggest anything in terms of probability of making that move.

I'l be applying while doing the internship so adcoms won't know that I have a FT offer or not - also the main purpose of the internship is to gain relevant experience before attending the mba program (to better position me for my summer internship search during my first yr at b-school).
Feb 18, 2018 - 3:28pm

I did this. It is very tough, but worth it. Was in Big4 back office and left for IB internship unpaid. Things will work out if you really want them to. You just have to be ready to work your ass off networking etc

Feb 18, 2018 - 3:30pm
I did this. It is very tough, but worth it. Was in Big4 back office and left for IB internship unpaid. Things will work out if you really want them to. You just have to be ready to work your ass off networking etc

BB? MM? Boutique?

Feb 18, 2018 - 3:33pm

Leave FT position at 350M RIA for Internship at firm like PIMCO? (Originally Posted: 02/05/2018)

So I am in an interesting position and would like some of your thoughts...

26 y/o, Marine Veteran, Financial Management major, non-target, undergrad Dec 2018.

I interned at a 350M RIA in the summer of 2016 and at the end, accepted a FT offer. So I have been FT for about 17 months now. There are 2 partners, myself and 3 admin support staff. My role has evolved from just research, modeling etc. to monitoring (don't say manage because I don't actually have discretion) the 10M worth of mutual fund portfolios (performance, asset allocation, rebalancing, fund research). I also advise 6 clients on their retirement accounts with their current employers (accounts ranging from 1M to 11M). To make this even more interesting, the firm is in talks to acquire a 150M firm which would bring us to 500M. Not so concerned with salary right now still being a student but for the sake of a thorough post ill include that I started FT at 40K and am now around 50K with average of 10% EOY bonus. Im assuming the low salary is due to me still being in school and would expect a decent bump upon graduation.

This is my last summer to do an internship and I applied to a few of the big AM firms (Blackrock, PIMCO etc) and am starting to get emails about scheduling phone interviews now. The positions I applied for were summer portfolio analyst.

Which finally leads me to my question...Should I leave a sure thing at my current firm for an internship at somewhere like PIMCO which could lead to a FT offer? And worst case it can add depth to my resume? I know its risky as I am not guaranteed I will get a return offer and since I graduate in December, I will obviously forego the salary I would be getting during my final semester.

I know this is a unique situation and may be difficult to relate to but I would love to hear from people in the industry think. What would you do?

If theres something I left out that would help let me know...

Thanks in advance!

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Feb 18, 2018 - 3:34pm

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