MBA necessary in ibanking CAREER?

So I've searched WSO and I can't come up with a clear answer. What if you want to stay in ibanking after your analyst stint? As in progress to associate, VP, MD.

If you don't start out as an analyst, you obviously need an MBA to break in as an associate. This is where my confusion is. It's my understanding you can advance from analyst to associate without an MBA. However, can you go from analyst to associate to VP and onward WITHOUT an MBA?

I know there are some people that are in these high positions without an MBA, but is this largely a thing of the past? Is an MBA kind of necessary regardless of your particular path? It would be nice to be able to save $100k+, but then again two years back in easy college doesn't seem bad either :P

Region: 
France

Comments (138)

Jul 29, 2014

Short answer: No

Jul 29, 2014

You do not need an MBA. All an MBA does is get you in at the Associate level. Once you are in, you are promoted / reviewed based on performance / politics / etc, not whether or not you have an MBA.

Jul 29, 2014

So what if you're an analyst at whichever bank and become an associate. Would you be a viable candidate at another bank for VP (or if you progress the timeline for MD) if you don't have an MBA compared to another person competing with an MBA? Or do they really just not care at that point?

Jul 29, 2014

They would hire you based on deal experience / ability to market with clients / etc. Look at any VP job posting - most say MBA with ~4 years of associate experience OR BA with ~7 years of analyst / associate experience. Getting promo'd direct to associate is the equivalent of an MBA (its actually probably much preferred to an MBA).

Jul 29, 2014

I think you are right but if you are at the same bank 5+ years and moving up the ranks most of them are going to want you to/pay for you to get an MBA. When reviewing other firms' RFPs I'm not sure I've seen a single Director/Managing Director without an MBA. It's not to move up within the firm it's just something to include on your client facing resume, which becomes more important at those levels.

Aug 7, 2014

Do you need an MBA to become management at a large bank? Eg higher than group head, things like Head of IB etc?

Aug 7, 2014

Yes

Aug 7, 2014

Depends on a lot of factors but yes you can get in with just economics.

Aug 7, 2014

It can be done, yes. There are people all across the Street who have econ, PPE, etc. degrees from the College at Penn, econ from CAS at NYU, econ from UVA (not McIntire), and the like. However, it unquestionably puts you at a disadvantage in recruiting for a couple reasons.

One, you may be precluded from OCR in some fashion. Sure, you can walk into the presentation like everyone else, meet and greet employees of the firms, and tell them about yourself, but you may not be able to apply online through the career system depending on the filters the employer sets.

Two, you're automatically going to be scrutinized by an interviewer. "Oh, you went to NYU/UVA/Michigan/Georgetown? How did you like Stern/McIntire/Ross/McDonough?" When you correct him to say that you're not in the business program, he's immediately wondering why you aren't in the business program at a school that has a good one.

Kids at the Ivies (except Penn and Cornell) and LACs don't have this problem because there isn't a business program available.

In short, it's possible but you're making it harder on yourself. It's like treading water with a 25-lb. chain around your neck. Sure, you can stay above water, but it's definitely harder to do.

Aug 7, 2014

Possible if you have a strong network within banking....

Aug 7, 2014

Firstly, an EMBA would not position you for entry as an associate. Executive MBAs are very different from traditional MBAs, and generally not intended for career switchers or junior levels, which an associate is.

It is possible to make a transition to banking without being a banker/lawyer previously. Accountants may be picked up occasionally due to requirements, but that is fairly rare. An actuary is a looser fit, but probably still conceivable. The more common thing I have actually seen, and what I think you might want to consider, particularly if you want to avoid a junior role, is that entrepreneurs/CEOs who sell their businesses find they enjoy the sale process more than running the business, and consequently move in to banking, generally around VP level. Of course, that requires you to be fairly high in a business, but if you're completely opposed to an MBA, it may be the best bet you have.

Aug 7, 2014

Very positive responses. Thank you so much guys !

Aug 7, 2014

It depends on the bank and on the person. I actually know a VP at a good MM who didn't go to Bschool.

Aug 7, 2014

key words MM

Based on few friends at BB:
you don't need on to make it onto associate or director

vp and above is usually a tipping point

Aug 7, 2014

You can certainly climb the ladder in banking without an MBA. I've seen it many times, and if you're definitely a career banker, it's probably the best way to go. But if you want to upgrade banks bw analyst and associate or if you ever plan on working in PE, it definitely makes sense to get the MBA.

Aug 7, 2014

I don't see myself being in PE/VC in the future. So far, my intention is to get a FT offer in IBD and stay in the industry all the way.

Have you seen MDs without MBA degrees though?

Aug 7, 2014
LondonE1:

I don't see myself being in PE/VC in the future. So far, my intention is to get a FT offer in IBD and stay in the industry all the way.

Have you seen MDs without MBA degrees though?

I don't mean to be rude, but this is quite laughable. How can you know you want to be a lifer if you haven't even put in some time yet? Give it a couple years and then re-evaluate.

Aug 7, 2014

http://www.moelis.com/team/index.php

You should spend a few minutes on the websites at some of the smaller (but elite) banks that have profiles of their MD's:
http://www.moelis.com/team/index.php
(Moelis: 10 MD's without MBA's, 12 with MBA's, 3 with only JD's)

You will find that many have MBAs, many don't, and some have JD's. My opinion is that those that have MBAs are those that started out doing something else (before B-school) or started at lame banks and wanted to upgrade. Those that have gone straight through have the advantages of continous work in a sector that they can develop genuine expertise and begin to develop relationships at an early level. You can be making millions in your early to mid-30s if you don't stop for B-school. That said, you limit yourself the longer you do one thing, and you're stuck once you've passed the point where b-school is a realistic option. So don't make up your mind before you actually do the work and see what's out there.

Aug 7, 2014

it helps the transition process, plus nothing wrong with a little more education.

Aug 7, 2014

What if you want to come back to the same bank? Can you reserve your spot and come back to your bank/position after you complete your MBA program?

Aug 7, 2014

From what I've been told, most do.

Reason being, as an MD, a lot of your work is sourcing or maintaining deals. Connections are everything, and having an MBA is a huge advantage there.

Aug 7, 2014

Some banks will sponsor employees for MBA and as a result of that, they will have you to sign a contract/agreement to stay with the firm once you get your degree. But under the current market, I can easily see this sponsorship gone as part of cost saving strategy.. and I doubt if that will come back again ever...

Aug 7, 2014

But not to put an end to this thread, I think the question of an MBA is still a good one.

I don't think the MBA is necessary for IB. And from an ROI perspective, it's hard to justify. But I will be getting my MBA for reasons that also include non-quantifiable benefits: future career flexibility/insurance, and also simply the life experience of taking 2 years off to attend a top grad school, make new friends, etc.

Yes, the explicit and opportunity costs of an MBA are very high. But I expect to eventually do quite well and have more than I need, so pausing for the 2 years is more a matter of patience.

Aug 7, 2014

From a pure ROI standpoint assuming you want to stay in IBD in the medium-term, then an MBA won't be worth it. As mentioned by various people here already, there are plenty of folks at the VP levels and above who don't have an MBA - some firms may be more MBA heavy than others perhaps, but as a whole IB isn't really gung ho about the credential compared to management consulting. Each MD, director, VP, etc. will have differing opinions, but there's a good chance most will have a neutral to a slight positive view of the MBA if you've already been an analyst. If anything, bankers value the analyst experience more than anything else.

Having said that, there are people who will still go back to do an MBA -- and not entirely purely for career reasons. While 2 years in b-school isn't exactly a holiday (you still have to go to class, do homework, etc.) but compared to the analyst life it can certainly feel like a much needed sabbatical. You get two years away from work where you can clear your head, have some fun, and just unwind -- even if you're pretty sure you want to head back to banking (and as some said here already, to upgrade banks in the process, from MM to BB, or even within BB and getting that Goldman job). For some analysts/PE types, 3+ years living a banker lifestyle can take its toll on people - it's easy to just burn out to the point where you're so exhausted you have no energy or gumption to want to do anything outside of work. And going back to school can help rejuvenate your willingness to enjoy life again.

But again, if you're a banker who is looking to stay in banking (or for that matter, staying in finance altogether), it's really a personal decision as to whether you think it's worth it.

Aug 7, 2014

in london most dont.
in the states most do.

Aug 7, 2014

Honestly, there is nothing that you will learn in B School that is important that you don't already know (if you are serious about banking and not one of those english majors that attended an ivy and decided one day you will apply to a place called Goldman Sachs). Its mainly for the purpose of being able to say that you went to B School, and frankly I wouldn't want to work at a place where that was a necessity anyways.

Aug 7, 2014

earning an MBA from a top 10 program after not having entered IB, perhaps from another field including engineering, consulting, and science related avenues typically means the individual is blatantly "money hungry."

An MBA for the purpose of entering banking virtually means this individual wants to spend the rest of their career in the arena of banking and for some, private equity.

IMHO, it's a power ideology.

Aug 7, 2014

IBD, no. HFs and PE, maybe.

    • 1
Aug 7, 2014

HFs definitely not, IB no, PE maybe.

    • 1
Aug 7, 2014

Firms prefer homegrown talent (undergraduates who start out as analysts and move their way up) at least in IB. So no you don't need an MBA to become an associate but I don't know anyone (or of anyone) at the director level or beyond without postgraduate studies. HF and PE structures are very different, buy-side firms vary a lot more from firm to firm than in IB so depends on the firm I suppose.

Aug 7, 2014

A hole in the logic / rant I presented is the reality that after time we can all be in the role of decision maker that these cases provide

Aug 7, 2014

Agreed. Unfortunately, many want the security of a large (albeit limited) paycheck + bonus rather than the volatility but unpredictability of the 'eat what you kill' nature of entrepreneurship. It all boils down to your own level of risk aversion, and most people are not real risk takers.

Aug 7, 2014

Yea def risk aversion has a lot to do w this. Thx for the post. I just re-read the post and I cannot apologize enough for sounding like a DB/arm-chair quarterback. Just trying to hear others' thoughts on this.

Edit: just found another hole in my rant - product management (albeit in a niche/narrow) may provide you automatic decision-maker status

Aug 7, 2014

Age is probably a factor too. I think many people do it while they can...as it isn't likely something you would decide to do when you are 50 and feel secure enough financial to start your own venture. You could always find a school that would admit you regardless of your age, but the ability to go to a top notch school is going to be restricted, to some extent, because of your age.

It's a small factor, but it's like going into the military or backpacking through Europe, these are things that you tend to do when you are young because they lose their luster or aren't feasible as you grow older.

This is actually a subject that I've thought about before. I'm current working in PE, but at a smaller, boutique, which I think limits my future employment opportunities...so I've thought about doing IB after bschool (assuming I end up going) as a way to gain more credibility in the industry and earn a paycheck. Ultimately I would like to be an entrepreneur but I haven't discovered anything I'm truly passionate about...so I wouldn't dare risk my future (and potential failure) on what would amount to a hobby. What I'm getting at, and what you alluded to, is that once you've gone to that school, the knowledge is there...even if you don't use it for another 20 years (though it may be a bit rusty).

Plus you have to factor in all the intangibles like the credibility it gives your resume and how having a network of top notch professional could help you in IB, or whatever else you decided to do.

Regards

Aug 7, 2014

I think there's a large handful of people who don't necessarily care about the whole case study format of HBS, rather they want the name to ensure their golden ticket to PE/HF/IB/whatever that HBS gives. A lot of these people have had this idea since they were juniors in college--SA IBD, serve my 2 years, go to HBS, and make the trip to the "greener pastures" of the buyside. I would say a large portion of the future-IBDers go there just for the name, recruiting, and prestige of HBS rather than even caring about exactly how the classes are run...

Aug 7, 2014

Honestly, the HBS case-study model needs an overhaul. The idea that "management" can be taught in a classroom setting is ridiculous. This is even moreso the case for finance-oriented individuals.

Given the choice (fingers-crossed), I would definitely choose Stanford over HBS, probably Wharton > HBS, and maybe even Chicago > HBS if I knew I wanted to move into finance.

Aug 7, 2014

As an HBS student, I can attest that the case method does have a decreasing marginal utility (the 200th case isn't as good as the first 10). That said, the idea that "management" can be taught in a classroom setting isn't as ridiculous as you may think.

Many of us come into the school with some iteration of management experience, and much of the learning happens not just from the case, but from the discussion that we have in which we all teach each other through the socratic method. Not a day has gone by where I haven't had an "aha" moment in a class because a section-mate brought something up I never would have thought of.

Besides, after having to confront hundreds of different managerial scenarios, we start to see patterns and develop strong instincts into what choices to make when we're actually starting up or running businesses. It's cute that you think it's "ridiculous" - but HBS is a CEO-factory for a reason and our alumni swear by the pedagogy of the school.

That said, there is a lot of innovation going on in the curriculum, and next year's students will have to do a field-based course in which they have to apply their management skills in a developing country by actually going to the country and working with a business. I'm pretty excited for them.

On the IBD note, the big banks actually have a pretty hard time recruiting at our school. A lot of people go into PE, HF, management, start-ups and (of course) consulting, but I know very few people who want to go into investment banking.

Aug 7, 2014
redninja:

As an HBS student, I can attest that the case method does have a decreasing marginal utility (the 200th case isn't as good as the first 10). That said, the idea that "management" can be taught in a classroom setting isn't as ridiculous as you may think.

Many of us come into the school with some iteration of management experience, and much of the learning happens not just from the case, but from the discussion that we have in which we all teach each other through the socratic method. Not a day has gone by where I haven't had an "aha" moment in a class because a section-mate brought something up I never would have thought of.

Besides, after having to confront hundreds of different managerial scenarios, we start to see patterns and develop strong instincts into what choices to make when we're actually starting up or running businesses. It's cute that you think it's "ridiculous" - but HBS is a CEO-factory for a reason and our alumni swear by the pedagogy of the school.

That said, there is a lot of innovation going on in the curriculum, and next year's students will have to do a field-based course in which they have to apply their management skills in a developing country by actually going to the country and working with a business. I'm pretty excited for them.

On the IBD note, the big banks actually have a pretty hard time recruiting at our school. A lot of people go into PE, HF, management, start-ups and (of course) consulting, but I know very few people who want to go into investment banking.

Thanks for sharing redninja - just curious what kind of work background you hail from?

Aug 7, 2014

I've met at least one MBA that went the IB route, did that for 4-6 yrs and then ended up starting his own business with some contacts he made from work. He now runs a small but successful PE shop. For him it was getting experience, learning 'best practices', and building networks (and credibility), and finally figuring out what he wanted to do from an entrepreneurial standpoint.

I think people either lack ideas on what they want to pursue... or if they have ideas, they don't know how to execute and actually run the day to day operations of their business. IB doesn't exactly help someone in this aspect (and depending on how operationally focused a PE shop is, PE may not help much more either), but it does help somewhat for networking and adding a name to a resume. And of course, the steady paycheck - working in IB/finance for awhile to build up enough of a cushion to start a business, or to pay for your general living expenses if you business doesn't take off right away.

Aug 7, 2014

redninja - I was hoping you would contribute. Thx. Do HBS students feel any of what I described - that you get so used to constantly being challenged to think about awesome strategic issues as a decision maker and then come to find that there are actually very few jobs in the world that will provide that other than (1) starting your firm (2) climbing decade-long corporate ladders. What are your thoughts? Is it a downer to think that after HBS you could literally be back adjusting font sizes and color hues for higher rank individuals w less capabilities?

Cph - all you're saying is true but that's not really the point i was making. HBS lowers a ton of barriers to entry and doing IB solely to get further "looks" from recruiters is kind of crazy right? I sure as hell hope that we haven't saturated the finance labor market to such an incestuous shithole that an HBS grad "has to" do IB to be a valid candidate. I was mainly saying that you learn a lot of shit and are constantly challenged to think about (A) broad strategic issues as a (B) decision maker in HBS and that IB isn't the venue for either (A) or (B) after MBA.

LeveRage - true, prestige is again again and again a differentiating qualifier of potential performance, of utmost importance and again a reflection of the oversupply in the US finance labor market. I know a dude thats a bit older,left the US right after UG to join a PE firm in SE Asia is now a partner (6 yrs) - he's exceptional but this isn't totally unique. Yet here we are in the US, spending 1 month on what would prove to be a very lucrative idea, not having it get executed, and then being told "that's ok buddy just come up with another one" all the while looking at a minimum a 5yrs/decade for decision making opportunities. I'm hearing this alot from other people, the reality that the US labor market is too saturated to provide the kind of progression we all want.

ibhopeful - what are your thots on Stanford GSB really positioning itself as an MPA/MBA hybrid/Social entre incubator or something (website student profiles). Not that there's anything wrong with that. The VC network is obvious but not exclusive to GSB imho.

Kanon - same comment I made to cph, my post was more about finding the low probability of truly finding a role that will enable you to deploy your skillset in its entirety right away vs. the timing of launching your own entre venture

Aug 7, 2014

I understand the spirit of the original post, but I also think that the answer to the question is clear... and could be seen as 3 fold

(1) Even if you start in IB or Megafund PE where your primary responsibilities are typically going to be "menial" analysis / computation for the next few years, eventually, you're bound to move up and you'll need more knowledge about strategic and tactical issues to properly advise clients or effectively gauge the risks of an acquisition, etc.... As you move even higher up, you'll need to know how to manage a larger and larger team of bankers bellow you.

(2) As a senior professional in banking, even only 4-5 years after your MBA, you'll start to transition towards becoming a rainmaker. Your network from HBS or whatever top MBA program you graduated from will undoubtedly be critical to your success. The client facing and relationship buildings skills you develop during your MBA will also be helpful (presumably).

(3) If you start your own business one day (say a boutique IB focused on a particular industry or a small PE shop), then you'll again need to draw on your general management training... you'll need to know how to properly build your organization (business development), how to sell your product to clients/investors (marketing) and all the rest of it... certainly if you start a PE firm or HF, it's ideal to have gone to H/S/W because so many of the people controlling large pools of institutional capital (your customers) went to these schools and you NEED them to trust and believe in you if you're going to have success.

Aug 7, 2014

True
I guess it isn't hard out here for a Pymp

Aug 7, 2014

I'm sorry but wtf kind of questions are these? Do you even know what investment banking is?

Aug 7, 2014

To clear things up, if you're graduating from undergrad, you will be entering banking as an analyst. If this is B-school as an MBA, then you'll almost always be entering as an associate. Sound good?

Aug 7, 2014

How about those graduate students with Master Degrees? Should they apply analyst positions in the campus recruitment?

Aug 7, 2014

haha

Aug 7, 2014

Additionally, from what I have read and seen, Masters degrees don't qualify you for associate positions either, so anything less than a JD, MD, PhD and MBA will leave you at the analyst level.

Regards

Aug 7, 2014
cphbravo96:

Additionally, from what I have read and seen, Masters degrees don't qualify you for associate positions either, so anything less than a JD, MD, PhD and MBA will leave you at the analyst level.

Regards

I agree with your assessment, but find the situation amusing since MBA = Master of Business Administration.

Aug 7, 2014

I think people mostly go to b school for a career changer. If I can advance then I think it might be unlikely I will do b school unless it benefits my technical knowledge at work tremendously.

Aug 7, 2014

I do think the career ladder/progression factor is a big consideration in whether someone in this position should or shouldn't go to b-school. However, there are other things to think about. When I did my MBA, there were plenty of former analysts were just "burned out" by the IB lifestyle (it can leave you pretty disillusioned in some cases) and welcomed the break even if they were set to go back to IB. It was essentially a chance to "recharge their batteries" and do some things they wouldn't get the chance to do otherwise (e.g. a month-long vacation in Asia).

Aug 7, 2014

That's an interesting perspective!

"I do not think that there is any other quality so essential to success of any kind as the quality of perseverance. It overcomes almost everything, even nature."

Aug 7, 2014

Also, if you're an analyst, that doesn't necessarily mean you can just move from analyst to associate at the end of your 2-3 year commitment. Some firms/groups adhere to the 2-3 years and then you're out policy. In that case, if you want to continue working in banking (and not going to PE, VC, Corporate, etc.), you may need to go and get an MBA (unless you move to another firm that is willing to hire you of course).

Aug 7, 2014

bump

Aug 7, 2014

It is exceptionally difficult to get into a top MBA with less than 3 years experience. Reason being - you do not have much to contribute to the rest of the class. No offense, but being an IB analyst for 2 years provides for few skills / life learning opportunities. While you may be top notch at excel, you have never managed anyone and you're not likely to have been in a position to personally make an important decision.

Earliest top schools will allow you in is essentially 3 years (and those spots are more often filled by women). I want to a top-5 MBA with three years experience, but had an interesting story (1.5 years of work overseas) and had managed folks on consulting engagements.

Hopefully this helps.

Array

    • 1
Aug 7, 2014

I think most of those with 2 years experience or less are consultants or bankers. It may not be as common as consulting, but I know a few who will be going to an MBA program after 2-3 years in banking. You will need to have a good reason for why now and even why an MBA. Along with that will be your goals and how everything ties together. If you're at a BB, the brand name will certainly help.

I wouldn't be too concerned, they accept people from all walk of life, and high finance is one of their most preferred demographics. Having said that, it is also one of the most competitive buckets.

Aug 7, 2014

H/S will be very tough without some time spent in PE/HF/VC after your BB stint. Wharton could be doable assuming a competitive gpa/GMAT.

Aug 7, 2014

You probably do have less MBAs going into IB, but you also have more math and computer science engineering grads going into finance too I think. On the buyside they are typically the ones with better job security if they land a position in a HFT fund. I think the scope of IB has changed where it doesn't appeal to MBA grads like it used to. Combine the financial crisis with big tech startups and more rewarding not for profits and you can understand why you'd see less MBA grads in IB.

Aug 7, 2014

Booth is still like 40% into IB, which is stronger than UChicago's undergrad body, which is heavily heavily IB-oriented. I think the IB target schools are still going to be drawing IB-focused candidates, while non-targets might have dropped their IB focus.

There are also alternative graduate programs to MBAs nowadays, which might skew things.

Aug 7, 2014
leland14:

I read a Poets and Quants' article about less MBA grads entering I-banking. Are there less I-banking jobs available for MBA candidates, are MBA candidates looking elsewhere for employment, or is there a combination of factors?

Most of the P&Q stuff is garbage. I stopped reading when I left a negative comment on this terrible article http://poetsandquants.com/2015/04/24/are-the-best-... and the author/owner deleted it.

Sandy Kreisberg's "chances" articles are really the only thing worth going there for.

Aug 7, 2014

I am a 2014 MBA grad. From my experience, there are definitely much less people wanting to go in IB than before. Pretty much everyone who wanted a banking job got one with a BB or EB (almost all got multiple offers, plenty of lower ranked BB had multiple offers turned down). I think it's driven by the perceived extremely poor culture and lower potential reward from IB (due to much lower comp than pre-crisis and lack of exit opportunities) and interest in tech and other things.

Aug 7, 2014

I'm wondering this myself. The opportunity cost of getting your MBA is so high if you plan on staying in banking and secure an associate position after a few years. Perhaps the real value is that it helps with your professional network?

Aug 7, 2014

yeah i want to go to b school but i got an analyst gig at a BB so is there even any pt anymore?

Aug 7, 2014

Typically you get an MBA to go to PE. The traditional route is IB analyst-->PE pre-MBA-->MBA-->post MBA PE. Most Analysts do not want to stay in Banking. If you really just want to stay in banking, and do a 3rd year with a direct promote to associate, then more power to you.

The MBA, in the particular case of going back into investment banking, after already being an analyst, is supposed to help you build your professional network, increase your pedigree, and help you transition from being an excel monkey to more of a manager/leader and strategic thinker (though as an associate you will still have your share of bitch work).--the real benefit would be reaped as a VP/MD--but by then you probably will have learned more on the job than as a business school student. Here is something to consider though--I have heard that there is more of a ceiling for senior bankers without MBAs getting promoted.

Aug 7, 2014

In my opinion, the reason one goes back for an mba is to network, return to a college lifestyle for a short respite, get a different brand that might be represented more in the financial industry, and in order to reflect on the business experience that you've picked up in your work experience. An MBA allows you to learn from your experiences, the experiences of classmates, and the lectures and readings. Also it's hard to compete for a single position with mba's if you yourself have only a Bachelors degree.

That's just my 2 cents

Aug 7, 2014

MBA is usually post PE

Aug 7, 2014

Does it make any sense doing an MBA while already at Associate level?

Aug 7, 2014

what type of shops are pre-mba PE?

Aug 7, 2014

It's my understanding that many of the best shops have both pre and most mba associates... they like the pre-mba associates because they're still young / can burn the midnight oil and their modeling skills are very fresh having just been in banking for 2ish years... While their pay is high, they're still a lot cheaper than post-mba associates. The post mba associates are more of training to become VP's and move on from there --- they're generally 30ish years old and perhaps wiser, etc... they get paid substantially more and aren't expected to stay up till 4am finishing "the memo" because they've got family and are "real people" to some degree.

Not sure about all firms, but it's like that at my firm (granted we only have a small handful of analysts and associates total), and I'm also familiar with the way it works at the Carlyle and I gather it to be similar.... if you are asked to move up from associate without going to MBA at a place like Carlyle / KKR then you're clearly a rockstar / partner potential type guy - it doesn't happen too often (as far as I know)

Aug 7, 2014

because while you may think that you want to do a banking gig for the rest of your life now (without having worked a single day in banking thus far), you might change your mind later on. at some point, you might realize that working 80-100 hour weeks into your 40's and 50's might just not be worth any amount of money.

A top-notch MBA will stay with you for a lifetime. It gives you the credibility to switch jobs if you want, or if its necessary (see barcap layoffs). In the grand scheme, either way, the 150k and 2 years you invest into an MBA will not account for any material proportion of your lifetime earnings if you stick with a good job like finance/consulting. On the other hand, the experience you get at a top MBA, the friends you meet, and the opportunities you are exposed to might change your life forever.

Aug 7, 2014
ibhopeful532:

you might realize that working 80-100 hour weeks into your 40's and 50's might just not be worth any amount of money.

que?

Aug 7, 2014

^. Enough said.

Still I Rise

Aug 7, 2014

Yeah, if you are able to get admission into Top 5 MBA, you should not be too concerned about the $150 K price tag.

Aug 7, 2014

thanks for your insights. i agree that i am currently very short-sighted and have no idea what it feels like to be an ibanker when im still stuck at work 3AM.

i think the reason why im asking is that if i decide to pursue an MBA degree, it doesnt hurt to start preparation early, e.g. taking GMAT in my senior year etc.

i guess we will see how it goes in the future. there is still too much uncertainty for me to make a definite decision.

Aug 7, 2014

Take that 150K, go buy two properties for pennies on the dollar, rent them out, and call me in 10 years.

You're welcome...

"Cut the burger into thirds, place it on the fries, roll one up homey..." - Epic Meal Time

Aug 7, 2014

Take the GMAT in your senior year to have the option.. Decide 3 years down the line if you want to walk the MBA path..If you decide not to, you have lost $250 and 1-2 months of prep time.. r u willing to risk that much?

Aug 7, 2014

Actually the "cost" of a top 5 MBA program is more like $400k-$500k, not $150k...so consider that. Something similar to this thread was discussed recently, so it might be worth searching to see if there is some additional insight on the topic that was discussed here. Anyways, part of the reason people leave and do business school, even though they are in the career they want to stay in can because these schools and their programs might not be available to them later on in life. I'm not in an MBA program, but my guess is there aren't too many 45+ year old students in the classes. . Granted there are lots of top notch E-MBA programs you can probably get in at 45, but for some people it just isn't the same.

So, as mentioned above, people do it as a safety net (just in case they ever want to leave), for the experience (because they always wanted to go to xyz), the resume point, for the network, for the future doors that may be opened and in some cases, just to unwind after years of hell.

Regards

Aug 7, 2014

While it's true that a banking career does not require the MBA degree, if you take a look around at the bankers you work for I would venture to guess that more than half would have that MBA, and some from a top program.

Aug 7, 2014

How are you starting as an Analyst I with all of this experience?

Aug 7, 2014

Quite standard in my country for people to transfer from law, accounting, corporate finance, science or engineering with 2-4 years of experience into Analyst 1 or Analyst 2 roles. Recruitment practices vary in other markets!

Aug 7, 2014

Is it a support role your in at the moment?

Aug 7, 2014

No. I am not in a support role.

I have been working in a front office "transaction advisory services" role at a Big 4 and going into a front office role in IB.

Aug 7, 2014
WalkToBank:

Hi all.
Long time reader, first time poster.
I have secured a role at a Euro BB IB (Deutsche, UBS, Credit Suisse) - a career switch for me. I'm 28 years old and will be starting at Analyst 1. I have two months off between jobs and I am thinking about whether it would be worth taking a GMAT with a view towards doing an MBA / M.Sc (Finance) at some stage in the next five years.
I have three years of work experience in corporate finance (Big 4) and a strong degree from a recognised university in my country. I am confident that if I took the GMAT during this job break I would get a decent score (720+). Based on the rest of my CV, I think I would have strong prospects for admission into a Top 10 MBA program if I applied in the next few years.
But the question is - would an MBA be advantageous to a career in IB? Helpful for a switch into PE/HF later on? Valuable network and brand prestige? I feel like I already know a lot of the business fundamentals (undergraduate business, corporate finance background) and there are easier ways to learn the material in the MBA (ie, MOOCs). I also think I have reasonably strong branding already through my past role and this next role. Is the network worth it? Would an MBA help my career?
Assuming I went to do the MBA in a couple of years, the cost of studies plus opportunity cost would be getting close to $500k. Plus, I already have a job in IB (which is the reason a lot of people go to do their MBA).
I don't want to waste two months studying for the GMAT if once I start in IB there will be no benefit in doing an MBA. I might as well just go on holidays if that's the case!
Any thoughts / comments appreciated!
Many thanks.

*Business School; mba

I don't see any reason of you going to business school. You're already in IB, and because you're coming in as an analyst, you are eligible to recruit for PE/HF opportunities. Staying in IB does not require an MBA these days.

Aug 7, 2014
JustADude:

I don't see any reason of you going to business school. You're already in IB, and because you're coming in as an analyst, you are eligible to recruit for PE opportunities. Staying in IB does not require an MBA these days.

Thanks for that input, that was the type of response I was looking for!

Anybody else agree/disagree? (would greatly appreciate a couple of responses one way or the other!)

Aug 7, 2014

Potentially. I guess it really comes down to the essays and the recommendations. All about differentiating yourself i guess from the other people applying from BB's, pe and hf. I would think any GMAT from 700 and above is fine. If your GPA is not that high then a higher GMAT would likely be required from what I've heard, but a good GPA from a good school does mean a significant amount, probably even more than your GMAT score since it details your performance over time in a variety of areas. Just my take, I might be wrong here or there.

Aug 7, 2014

What the previous poster said.

So long as your GPA isn't horrible (i.e. below 3.2) then a 700 or above is fine. If your GPA sucks, shoot for 740+ to be safer.

What makes or breaks finance applicants (IB/PE/HF/VC/IM/whatever) isn't the GMAT or GPA so long as it's in range. It's the whole package; it's about showing to the adcom through your experiences that "finance" is your job, not your "identity" -- being able to piece together a set of examples to suggest that you are much, much more than just your job - which is harder for some individuals than others.

Alex Chu

Aug 7, 2014

Hey Alex, it's obviously not as cut-and-dry as I'm making it seem, but do you think that 740 is the critical point? I think we can agree that 700+ makes you competitive at any school, but would you say that 740 and up is pretty much the same?

And in terms of the "whole package," when you're working 100 hours a week, finance might not be your identity, but it's a bit more than a job. Do other analysts really have time to work 100 hrs, go out/hang out with friends, and pursue whatever they're passionate about?

Thanks for your response.
-bp

Aug 7, 2014

This is not Alex, its Barbara. I would think the higher the score the better, but it is probably important not to simply ride a high score thinking that it alone will gain you admission, nor is it the sole reason for applying to business school. Having done some preliminary research on business school it seems as though a good GMAT score is a way to show the admissions people that you are cut out to handle the work. A GPA will signal how you handle a class load of varying subjects and your tendency for intellectual curiosity and challenge.

Having been in finance for almost a couple of years it is indeed a challenge to pursue other interests outside of work. However there are avenues within your job that you can look into. For instance recruiting was always a passion/interest of mine since I enjoyed helping others in school and career decision making. I had done some teaching and tutoring while in college and high school. Also getting involved in your alumni network/community is another avenue as well. It is important to be creative as trying to pursue an interest or two might make working 100 hour weeks a bit less stressful and monotonous. Just my take on it. However, I have exited the finance world and am about to pursue an opportunity overseas.

Aug 7, 2014

You've got assume that everyone one else trying to get in has BB experience, a 3.7 GPA from a target, and 740 GMAT. For finance people getting their MBA thats not what separates you, just gets your foot in the door. Our neighbor had a small m&a advisory firm, actually just put it together for a two or three deals, and hired a kid from a non target (my school actually) with a good GPA. The guy worked on the two of the deals, which were actually pretty big (total deal size was like 120 MM I think), and left and fought forest fires in Arizona for a year. He applied to Wharton, got an interview, flew him out to PA and he said they talked 60% of the time about fighting forest fires! Get your credentials but make sure you can stand out.

Aug 7, 2014

I worked in a bb s&t job and also started a business. During my mba interview we only briefly talked about my bb exp and more about how I started up my biz.

Aug 7, 2014

I'm decently confused right now.

Barbara, "preliminary research on business school?" Are you saying a 740 is good enough, or not. And what are you basing this on-- google?

Westfald, that's kind of my question. Is it fair to assume every BB analyst is a 3.7+, 740+? Obviously some analysts go straight from BB to a top MBA without having worked with smokey the bear. Does that mean that they either destroyed the GMAT (770-800) or took time off in between to do have done something extremely interesting? I don't see how one can fight forest fires while working.

Monty, how did you possibly work BB S&T and start a business? Usually start-ups are a huge time commitment...is this a legitimate comment? What were your hours/weeks like, and where did you do your MBA? Any level of detail would be helpful.

Sorry if I'm cynical, but I'm extremely curious and feel like I'm getting nothing specific. Thanks.

-bp

Aug 7, 2014

It was not an IT start up. I helped to launch a small clothing line that also had a store front as well as some event planning. I was one of three partners and we have been in business going on four years. Two of the partners work regular corp jobs and one partner works full time on our business. I work 7-4 m-f and choose not to take the mba route as I was promoted on my desk. I however went through the whole mba application process and applied to four schools and got into two.

Aug 7, 2014

I also 2nd the comment on total application. I started a small business in college, played baseball, had avg grades, interned and did some mentoring at my high school. I did a lot of the same once I started working. Not so much for mba application but because I enjoyed giving back. My mba interviews were reflection of that and while I had the work exp of many of my peers I had a lot of extras. Its tough if your in banking but my hours were never that bad.

Aug 7, 2014

Another way to put it is this.

Get 10 IB analysts with identical resumes in a room. Have each one of them talk about themselves.

5 of them will drone on and on about their deals, finance geek speak, etc and sound like a walking deal sheet.

The other 5 will each come across as real individuals. They may still talk about work, but they do it in a way that conveys who they are as a person, and not just a finance widget in an MD's machine.

Yes, having unique experiences helps (another job post-analyst, interesting extracurriculars in college, etc.), but it's more than that. It's how you express yourself. Not every single ex-analyst at a top b-school necessarily had a unique resume, but they were likely more successful at getting the adcom to see them as individuals.

Alex Chu

Aug 7, 2014

Alex, I was trying to say that. Thanks for the help. Good examples

Aug 7, 2014

god all this jumping through hoops really makes me wonder about the value of bschool...

Aug 7, 2014

if your doing something simply to apply to b school..rethink your plan

I sat in on class during a campus visit and person behind me was a school teacher, to my left was a trust officer to my right was someone in software and in front of me was someone in oil/gas.

The b school community is not filled with bankers and traders. AD really push for a mixed class.

Aug 7, 2014

agreed, admissions will see right through you if you are doing something just for business school. apply if you think you need and mba and have a strong application, which includes a good story and people to go to bat for you (recommendations).

i think banking has to be one of the most inefficient uses of one's working hours during the day. try to get out of banking and do something more interesting that makes more efficient use of your time before applying to business school

Aug 7, 2014

if you are the best not that hard to get that associate...but keep this in mind about 20% make it thru to year 3. So I imagine thru associate level even fewer get thru.

no clue about the changing banks with associate experience.

Aug 8, 2014

Fuck getting an MBA.

Aug 8, 2014
Monopolisf:

Fuck getting an MBA.

That's what I'm saying, they're absolutely worthless and it

Aug 8, 2014

if you get the associate promotion its useless, if not its a good way to get back in the game on associate level

Aug 8, 2014

This is worth a duplicate post...

FUCK GETTING AN MBA!!!!!

8)

Aug 8, 2014

i already posted this about 2 or 3 weeks ago. it was entitled fuck the MBA

Aug 8, 2014

Is 2 years of ibanking enough work experience for bschool?

Aug 8, 2014

very

Aug 8, 2014

i got an MBA and am now in banking

i would say that some use an mba as a tool to make a career change...

if you spend 2-3 years as an analyst at a top BB then you won't need an mba from a technical skills point of view... but it would definitely broaden your network and give you an additional framework from which to make decisions in the future.... and it would be a great 2 year booze fest shit show of a vacation

it just depends on where you are in life after a couple years as an analyst and what you want to do down the road

Aug 8, 2014

i've talked to a VP at barclays w/o any advanced degree. coming from a target school.

Aug 8, 2014

You can get a direct promote from analyst to associate, how often that happens depends on the bank. Usually if you're asked to stay on you will do another year as a 3rd year analyst, then be promoted to associate. From there everything works the same. Keep in mind that you will be working your ass off, not as much as a first year analyst, but only slightly better than a second year. A lot of people go the MBA (those who choose to, some go to buyside and then to get an MBA, some leave the business altogether) route because it's essentially a two year break from the hell they've just endured.

I know that JPM, for one, really works hard to develop talent that they've attracted.

(Disclaimer: I'm a student and this is information that I've found on this site and from people I've spoken with)

Aug 8, 2014

No. I've spoken to a few VPs and an MD without an MBA

Aug 8, 2014
Comment
Aug 8, 2014
Aug 8, 2014
Aug 8, 2014
Aug 8, 2014
Aug 8, 2014