Life after BB Private Banking... need advice

bankerburner's picture
Rank: Chimp | 5

I'm a second/third year analyst at a BB Private Bank in the Southeast US, and need advice on where to take my career from here. The way I see it these are my options at the moment:

  • Climb the ladder at my current bank and try to move internally
  • Go to business school (would only go to top 15)
  • Find a job elsewhere doing something I enjoy

The pay is great and all, but the it's not the path I want my career trajectory to take. The technical aspect just isn't there, lots of mundane administrative duties, old/bad technology, and I'm afraid continuing in PB/PWM will hinder my future career opportunities. I won't bore you with more details, but would be happy to answer any questions later. Right now I need some advice on where to go from here.

I love finance and really want to pursue something more markets-focused. The investment side of the PB/PWM really interests me and would strongly consider staying at my for the right spot (very competitive). The areas I'm really interested in and want to learn more about include trading, macro research/strategy, equity research (to PM hopefully), Hedge Funds (reach), and institutional AM. I would say my best traits are being analytical, logical, personable, curious, and great with computers.

Clearly I could use a mentor but my network here isn't the best yet and it's not a huge money center, so it will be harder to find people in my specific interest areas. The goal right now is to expand my network and talk to people in roles that interest me. Single and willing to relocate to where the best opportunity lies. To fund my current lifestyle and meet saving goals, making over $90+ a year all-in is the range I'd expect from here.

I'm here for your help WSO... what do I do? Thanks for reading and would love to hear your thoughts.

Comments (21)

Jan 15, 2016

What city do you live in now? And would you be willing to relocate?

Feb 3, 2016

Jake, is that you? I can't wait till our boss sees this.

Jan 16, 2016
FinanceGuy15:

What city do you live in now? And would you be willing to relocate?

I'd rather not say what city, but it is a relatively low cost of living. I'm willing to relocate for sure. Only time to do it is while I'm young and single...

Jan 16, 2016

It's tough, but I'd say Bschool- mostly because I have Bschool motives. You'd get to move to a new location, and if you go M7 you practically have the pick of careers outside of PE.

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Feb 3, 2016

I think you found your way out of private banking Jake.

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We are excited to formally extend to you an offer to join Bank of Ameria

Jan 16, 2016

Figure out what you want to do long term and go from there. You've listed a huge range of possibilities, so you really need to narrow it down. Be honest with yourself and ask: 1) what am I good at? 2) what do I want to do? 3) how much risk am I willing to take?

I would not apply to MBA programs assuming you'll get in and figure it out from there. For one thing, all top MBA programs are extremely competitive to get into, and frankly working in private banking at a BB isn't going to distinguish you much. These MBA programs are also going to want to know your long-term career plan, which you don't know yet. Even if you get in, recruiting at the schools starts from almost day one, so you don't have time to "figure things out." You need a plan first.

You should try talking to people in each of these roles to see what they like/dislike about their roles. You might learn some interesting things.

    • 2
Feb 3, 2016

lol is this real? did jake just get busted?

Best Response
Jan 17, 2016

You need to choose what you want to do, so you can narrow your search and actually make progress for that goal. Be realistic though, unless you had a strong math/stats/CS background, you're probably not going to be doing algo trading, but S&T is possible with just strong quantitative skills. Those are also in a completely different world than banking.

Though you said computer wiz- are we talking like high school tech savvy (can torrent, file conversion, can print hello world in python, etc) or running linux servers from a command line, coding in multiple languages, built programs and have a solid github portfolio?

    • 2
Feb 3, 2016

....
FAIL

I hope for his sake, it's really not him. Seriously, I doubt anyone would be dumb enough(?) to use a name similar to his/hers.

And why in the world did SarahP point this out on public forum, couldn't you PM him or tell him to delete this thread and change his name.

Feb 2, 2016
The Real Max:

You need to choose what you want to do, so you can narrow your search and actually make progress for that goal. Be realistic though, unless you had a strong math/stats/CS background, you're probably not going to be doing algo trading, but S&T is possible with just strong quantitative skills. Those are also in a completely different world than banking.

Though you said computer wiz- are we talking like high school tech savvy (can torrent, file conversion, can print hello world in python, etc) or running linux servers from a command line, coding in multiple languages, built programs and have a solid github portfolio?

You make some great points. Just edited the first post to remove some of the unrealistic goals such as algo trading (normal trading will do!). As far as computer skills, I would say I'm in between the two levels you mention - programming is very rusty now (was never that good anyways), familiar with Linux, comfortable with with basic shell commands, very good with hardware/repair, etc. I see your point though; it may be time to accept that that level of skills isn't enough to build a career on, just supplement any other job.

Feb 3, 2016

That's about what I figured for tech experience -- definitely capable but not fluent enough to get a job that requires any dev work on that side. Like others have said, Trading/Equity Research/IB/Asset Management/etc roles all sound like a good fit. I think you just need to pick one or two and start developing your profile as much as possible. Whether that's CFA, networking, GMAT prep to use Bschool as a transition will depend on what you choose.

Jan 22, 2016

This is a dilemma I've seen a few people I know, face. Only take on the debt of B-School if you know it's what you want to do and you have a post-MBA career plan.

Have you considered doing the CFA and potentially going to a HF?

Feb 3, 2016

well you see Sarah wants to eliminate the competition... bigger bonus for her.

=========================================
We are excited to formally extend to you an offer to join Bank of Ameria

Jan 22, 2016

I'll offer my take because I was in your position a couple years back. I felt PB/PWM was mundane and, as you've discovered, significantly skewed toward the administrative side at the junior level. I wanted a more challenging and financially intensive role as well so hopefully this will be of some use to you.

First, as many above have advised, you need to figure out what you truly want to do. The areas you've listed cover a wide range and are very unique. Narrow it down to one path: if this is sell side S&T or IBD or Research, doesn't matter but you need to figure this out first and foremost.

After you've set the path, do the research. You need to learn everything about the role you've decided to pursue. Learn the language, learn the day-to-day, learn critical skills associated with it, learn it all. One of the best ways to do this is, again as mentioned above, is through informational interviews. This leads to the next step in the process.

Email people in the role. This part has been discussed at length on this site and there are numerous ways to go about it. I personally found that short and sweet emails offering to buy the person a cup of coffee and sitting down to pick their brain and learn their path to their current role worked well. Persistence is key here. Multiple emails might need to be sent. I found more often than not people aren't ignoring you, they are just incredibly busy so popping an email every 10 ish days was a helpful reminder for them.

From there, it's on you. Keep researching, keep reading, keep talking with people and building your network, keep learning and honing skills. Don;t get wrapped up in designations or grad programs right now. The CFA means next to nothing in banking but is highly regarding in research, once you've picked a path then pursue things of that nature if it will help set you apart and add to your skill set.

Best of luck.

    • 2
Feb 3, 2016

I hope it's just a joke by SarahP

Feb 2, 2016

Thank you for this fantastic advice (and thanks to everyone else that has chimed in as well). Trusted people in my life have given similar guidance. I have spent a lot of time lately thinking about narrowing down to a few top career paths, but still need more time to decide. informational interviews are a great idea and I plan on doing more of them, although not being in a big city does hinder my options.

From here I am going to focus on building my network, talking to the right people, drilling down on interest areas, forget about the CFA, and put the GMAT/Bschool thoughts on the backburner for a bit.

Feb 2, 2016

An MBA would open up a lot of the wide ranging options you list. I went from a couple of years in BB S&T to a niche group in a BB Private Bank, and am now heading back for my MBA. Exit opps from both S&T and PWM/PB are extremely limited, and I found the work mundane in both (S&T way more execution-oriented and less analytical than I thought it would be, PWM/PB just plain boring althoguh maybe if you're 40 with kids its the perfect job), so I know where you're coming from. Given you list everything from IBD to S&T (two completely different jobs) to FinTech, I know that like me you have zero idea what you want to do other than you have a slight interest in finance. For me, an MBA was the best way to open up the doors I wanted, and it may be the best shot for you as well but it's obviously a personal decision with a lot of factors. I would a) try to network into a bigger city in a more investments-related role while b) studying for the GMAT and seeing where you can get into school. My 2 cents.

    • 1
Feb 3, 2016

Stop creating fake accounts Sarah. You show cleavage, get hired and then....screw others to get a higher bonus??
Bad girl.

Feb 3, 2016
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