Leaving After a Year - Is it Bad?

All - I am wrapping up my first year at a MM bank, and I am considering jumping ship after the bonus hits. I always assumed I would stick out the full 2 years, but am now starting to think otherwise. 

I recently started looking for new positions, but was wondering what everyone's thoughts were on this. Is it going to be hard to find another role? Just starting to network and seek out roles this week, but I'm interested in corp dev and asset management roles. Got a strong academic background (3.9 GPA, 720 GMAT), but was wondering if leaving after a year in banking is a bad look. Will only staying a year be limiting for me going forward? 

Thanks everyone! 

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Comments (25)

  • Analyst 1 in IB-M&A
Jul 19, 2021 - 1:55pm

Depends where you go and what you want to do. Is it bad? No, if you want to leave leave. Will there be consequences? Potentially. 

A better question is why you are leaving and what you plan to exit to. 

  • Analyst 1 in IB - Cov
Jul 19, 2021 - 2:41pm

What consequences could there be, potentially? I'm beginning to look at AM, PWM, and Corp Dev. roles now. I have no interest in PE and am looking to head to a new city (NYC --> DC) to be closer with my family. 

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Jul 19, 2021 - 5:39pm

It's fine - your first job or two you get a pass for leaving super early. I left my banking stint after 6 months for a corp dev. role. People outside of banking (especially those who have done it) know it sucks and don't pass as much judgement as you think.

Jul 19, 2021 - 7:12pm

Depends on where you are going and why. Does it look like you are upgrading when somebody looks at your resume for 30 seconds? If not, do you have a good story if you make it to the interview step? Both top performers AND bottom performers switch quite a bit at the beginning of their careers, so on its own it's not necessarily bad imo.

Most Helpful
  • Analyst 2 in IB - Cov
Jul 19, 2021 - 9:38pm

It is absolutely fine. People on this forum think there is only a linear path and anything otherwise will be a death sentence. Not the case whatsoever, even if you are moving within "high" finance. Most people pass no judgement and understand how atrocious investment banking is, especially after GS survey. If you have the skillset and did well, no one cares this early in your career. In 20+ interviews at top HFs/PE shops, I have not gotten any pushback whatsoever or been cut in an early round. With the awareness of how awful IB is + logical story + good reviews, I don't think it is a negative.

  • Research Analyst in HF - Event
Jul 20, 2021 - 12:46am

Left banking after <1 year - I would recommend trying to actively recruit / land a spot prior to quitting. Makes it easier to explain story in interviews and doesn't set a time limit on how long you have to recruit before it gets harder to explain unemployment period. It becomes easier to recruit if you push back against workload - huge incremental difference in amount of effort between mid bucket and top. Additionally, take all your vacation days and/or claim that you're sick. Doesn't matter if you don't plan on coming back. Networking will also take you way further than you think. Ignore what others tell you is prestigious and delineate your priorities whether that is lifestyle, comp, exits, etc. and try to get within a range of each category.

  • Analyst 1 in IB-M&A
Jul 20, 2021 - 1:10am

If you don't mind me asking, what did you leave banking in under a year for? Curious as I am in a similar position wanting to exit after ~1 year but not too sure what I could realistically exit to. Many thanks

  • Research Analyst in HF - Event
Jul 20, 2021 - 1:42am

I also used to think about what is a realistic exit - in retrospect, I think that when you browse WSO or talk to peers you end up with a really warped sense of what is "realistic". Finance is filled with people that will tell you utter bullshit about their ideas of comp or prestige, and if you wade through that and start talking to people much later in their careers or founded small shops, they'll give you more honest advice on finding opportunities better tailored to your goals. For example, I've worked with some family offices that have the hedge fund feel and a more flexible mandate but still keep the lifestyle balance. It might even help to aggressively seek people whose life choices are aligned with yours over simply top down approach of evaluating the biggest funds or going down league tables. I actively tried to network with people that prioritized learning over ego, and I left banking because I found an opportunity that had great comp, way better lifestyle, and ambitious people - a combination that I would have considered unrealistic a few years ago. I guess the flipside is you won't ever see my firm listed on WSO, and college kids will write it off since it's not BX - but I didn't mind giving that up haha.

  • Analyst 1 in IB - Cov
Jul 20, 2021 - 1:39am

Headed to corp dev after my first year bonus in August. No need to stick to something just for the sake of sticking to it if other opportunities you want appear. 

Jul 20, 2021 - 1:45am

In your opinion and experience, does corp dev / strategic finance roles push you away or not give you interviews since the majority of corp dev and strategic finance roles descriptions say they want somebody with 2+ years of banking experience? Honestly trying to get out after a year

  • Analyst 1 in IB - Cov
Jul 20, 2021 - 2:08am

Nope. Plenty of interviews at various years of experience requirements. Obviously its a factor, but a lot of the times firms are willing to at least have a first round.

Jul 20, 2021 - 1:26pm

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