My son interested in S&T over IB (your advise Please)


Friends...My son is undergrad Junior in a semi-target Business school with Finance Major. He got 2020 SA offers in both IB and S&T from few BB Banks in NYC(same tier)

But he recently accepted S&T offer....He is very clear and felt very happy about his decision. I am also happy for him..

But when i see around , IB seems little more prestigious than S&T.
Not sure why my son going that path even though he got IB offer too..He told me S&T role suits for his personality and that role excite him more than IB.

Can anyone give your frank opinion about my son decision? I know he already accepted S&T SA but would like to know your opinions. Is it good decision?

Friends...please note that i am not trying to influence my son decision...I respect his a conservative parent just wanted to be sure my little one going in right path (I know he is far more smarter than me)

P.S: Sorry for my English...I know it's not good :-)

Comments (67)

Sep 30, 2019 - 2:18am

IB isn't very commoditized. If you're a client CEO you'll shell out for big IB advisory fees because the transaction is usually something very important and the banker you hired is one of only a handful of guys that you trust to advise on it. If he wants $50m to guide you through the deal, you're not choosing another bank because they only want $40m. The deal may be the future of your company and career.

Not nearly the same for an S&T client. If you're the PM at a multibillion dollar fund you're mostly just looking for which bank will give you the best commission/spread on a large block. That's a bit oversimplified and there is of course some relationship component, but the S&T MD doesn't have nearly the power over his clients that an IB MD does.

This trickles down to the IB midlevels and juniors also being somewhat less commoditized in terms of their value to the bank, compared to S&T midlevels/juniors. Ultimately I think it leads to a feeling in S&T folks that their future success will be more random and less tied to their smarts/skills, as compared to IB folks. Being very general here, obviously every situation is different.

Sep 29, 2019 - 10:16pm

I can't offer much advice but assuming this isn't a troll congrats for being a good parent ....I wish my parents took more interest in my career like this.

Sep 29, 2019 - 11:12pm

Assuming you're not a troll, there are too many parameters to consider to give you a good answer as to whether this was a good move for your Son - e.g. Reputation of firm, team culture, specific team / sector / product etc.

But I will say this: if your Son received both IB / S&T offers, he's a smart kid - and if you're absolutely unfamiliar with finance, the odds of you giving him good advice are very Low. I'd let him do his thing.

Edit: Agree with other posters, the worst thing you can do is make him second guess himself. You're a caring parent, I get that, but right now - the only thing in order is a celebration of his new role (for both of you)

Sep 29, 2019 - 11:20pm

Thanks for the are knowledge is very limited in this topic...

As a parent i am happy for his progress...I am not at all trying to give any advise to him.

But i still not convinced why he chose S&T over IB...

Ofcourse he said few reasons like he like S&T environment and nature of work and he said IB is boring for him etc..

Sep 30, 2019 - 2:40am

It's a trade off.

Advantage of IB is that you are guaranteed to build a very clearly defined and marketable skill set: valuation, modeling and deal process. That skill set is valued by PE firms, VC firms, corporate development departments and some hedge funds.

S&T builds a skill set that's less clearly defined and isn't always valued by a lot of employers. That's not to say S&T folks don't often go on to do great things. It's just that the takeaway from S&T is more iffy. The work is sometimes less intellectually demanding and analytical. But don't worry, good news in a minute.

Say your son is working on the rates desk and his job is to monitor daily order flows of sovereign bonds and report on any trends he sees. On the one hand, this could lead to poor skill development because this can potentially be a very easy and repetitive task. On the other hand, S&T offers much better hours than IB so if he wants to use his free time to learn more about why these trades are made (e.g. some clients may have interesting views on what drives rates and credit risk in each country), he could develop that learning experience into being an attractive skillset for a global macro hedge fund.

That's not to imply exits are everything. He also may just want to stay in S&T and build client relationships.

So I would say its really about how proactive and creative he wants to be with his career and how wisely he uses his spare time. If he's good at using his spare time in a disciplined way to build his knowledge, I think he'll come out better as a result of choosing S&T over IB

Sep 29, 2019 - 11:36pm

Part of me wishes my parents had given enough fucks to post on a forum about my decision making - although it probably would have been on some yahoo “is smoking weed bad for you” thread.

Sounds like he’s got a good head on his shoulders. The worst thing you can do is to not back him/her 100% and make them second guess themself.

Give the kid a fat hug and let him/her know how proud you are. They’ll be fine.

"Out the garage is how you end up in charge It's how you end up in penthouses, end up in cars, it's how you Start off a curb servin', end up a boss"
Sep 30, 2019 - 12:23am

Respectfully, don't think that it is fair to gauge his decision on how "prestigious" one is over the other. S&T and IB require different skillsets and personalities.

It is all relative. For example, I find S&T work far more interesting and dynamic. I would even argue that getting a seat as a trader is less likely than landing one as an IB analyst. But that doesn't matter. It is all about fit.

Maybe he's a star and makes $1m bonus before he's 30 (unlikely but technically possible). I would just be happy for him and not second guess his decision. Whatever answers you get from us won't change the fact that he's going into S&T.

Sep 30, 2019 - 1:40am

Lol @ prestige. If he takes real interest in s&t & is any good at it, he will make a fuck ton of money. If he's an eat what you kill type of guy, then you're good.

Being an S&T guy is very much so baked into someone's personality fwiw. I'm sure anyone on this forum will agree that you can tell someone is in it within 10 min of speaking to them.

Sep 30, 2019 - 9:10am

It's also the difference between a 40-hour per week job versus an 80-hour per week job. I'm sure that your son probably knows this and chose life balance over prestige.

I think it says a lot about his maturity. Most people on here would simply go for the IB job even if they knew it was going to make them miserable.

Sep 30, 2019 - 11:41am

On the one hand its nice to see a parent involved - on the other hand this seems like a bit much.

Just gotta let your kid do what he wants - he might learn to hate finance, might love it, who knows but analyzing why you kid picked a prestigious path vs another vs not is a bit of a parental overreach in my view. At some point you're going to have to let go and now seems about that time.

Sep 30, 2019 - 4:31pm

OP - congrats on the kid. He/she is smart. He/she will figure it out (or he/she won't since most of us never really figure it out anyway).

Prestige... Finance doesn't, in general, have the sheen (nor the pay) it used to. That is not to say that it is not very well paying, especially considering what we do (across functions) is not the most intellectually challenging. However, it is fast moving, pressure-packed and full of smart/driven/accomplished people. You kid will meet lots of people, be exposed to a lot and probably won't be doing the job forever (changing interests, life getting in the way, bear markets, politics etc).

Different personality types will thrive in IB vs S&T. I now understand that given my personality, that I would have absolutely hated every minute of IB, had I done it (or gotten in). The nature of the work, the people and (what I believe to be meaningless) nonstop minutia that the sell side seems to spend way too much time focusing on (formatting a pitch, 100 page decks that clients don't look at), random little model inputs etc.

I can't say I would have loved S&T but I'd enjoy the whole open desk thing (which is how my previous fund was set up), and constant personal interactions, and markets moving. Would I hate the politics and constant cutthroat nature of it? Probably, but hey, it's financial services and politics/cutthroatness are often the name of the game.

Likewise I have a number of friends who would hate markets moving everyday, sitting on the phone with clients, taking them out and in general doing people stuff and making significant decisions on not a ton of information on a daily basis.

In other words, kiddo will do just fine. Just make your kid buy you dinner when he/she gets that first bonus check :)

Good Luck

I used to do Asia-Pacific PE (kind of like FoF). Now I do something else but happy to try and answer questions on that stuff.
Sep 30, 2019 - 5:29pm

This forum is always going to lean towards IB over S&T, but you should be really proud of your kid. He's in a better position than 99.9% of kids his age in the world and he's going to do just fine. I was in a similar position and trust me, your kid probably agonized over this decision and it probably will be the right thing for him.

Sep 30, 2019 - 6:22pm

Not going to lie, IB has a "prestige" that certain people will consider you to be a person of prestige but unfortunately, sometimes, it's goes to people's head. You should be proud that your son had a choice of choosing IB or or S&T. Believe me, many S&T people are incredibly successful. Congratulations :)

"It's okay, I'll see you on the other side"
Sep 30, 2019 - 10:03pm

I agree with majority here, I think it boils down to personality. I am sure your son chose S&T because he sees that it's where he thrives the most - this is extremely important in the long term, there is no point if he chooses IB in the short-term for its prestige but does ok with it, when he can be in the top bucket in S&T!
Personally I also think that it has to do with interest in the markets, those who are tend to go into S&T and those that are not very much bothered by it choose IB.

Congratulations to your son, he is in a position that many would kill to be in :)

Oct 1, 2019 - 3:38am

I would advise you to let your son make his own decisions. Otherwise if things go badly in his career, or if he encounters difficulties in his path (which are inevitable) he will blame you. Leave him to make his own mistakes and successes. Also he likely knows way more about his capabilities and the paths before him than you do, at this point.

Oct 1, 2019 - 6:37am

I disagree with the above posters actually. You aren’t forcing him down one path or the other but you’re just gathering info. If you present it to him in an unbiased way - he might rethink his decision.

I wrote a post on S&T vs IB - you can loom it up by going through my post history. Seemed to resonate with a lot of people given the banana count. Hopefully it helps here. Good luck

Oct 3, 2019 - 5:48pm

Sounds more Indian from the way he writes tbh, but damn, I wish my parents gave such a damn about my career. It was only after I got a fancy job that they thought it would be spiffy to give me some helpful contacts.

To OP, prestige is a lame ass measure of success, especially early on in the career. If your son's the competitive type, S&T. If he likes stability and a relatively more secure career, IB.

GoldenCinderblock: "I keep spending all my money on exotic fish so my armor sucks. Is it possible to romance multiple females? I got with the blue chick so far but I am also interested in the electronic chick and the face mask chick."
Oct 1, 2019 - 6:34pm

The fact of the matter is most people talking here about "prestige" will never end up in a BB S&T or IB role. Both are very prestigious (from the prestige point) and your son getting into either has him in a good shape. Attempting to compare the two on a prestige level is like arguing whether Stanford, MIT or Harvard is the best school to attend. As you can see, quite silly. Just be happy for him and what he has achieved.

Oct 3, 2019 - 10:34am

If you want him to grow up to be the sort of person that goes around saying stuff like "IB seems a little more prestigious than S&T ", by all means keep pressuring him to go into IBD.

I'm biased as I've only ever done ST, although I am about to start an IBD role soon. The people in ST are way more fun to be around in general from my experience, I remember going to IBD houseparties as an analyst, Christ those people were depressed. On the plus side though, the IB girls were very easy, having very little free time to hook up with guys. Honest advise for other ST guys: get yourself invited to IBD nights out.

In all seriousness though: this forum is obsessed with IBD, but ST develops your people skills and gives you a large network, both are valuable in business in the long run and both can be hard to develop if you are stuck staring at Excel for 16+ hours a day as a junior.

Oct 4, 2019 - 7:39pm

Echoing others above, impressed by your level of parental care. Also agree with the guys that said let him make his own decision. If you have to look for confirmation on a forum you probably aren't well positioned to give him any advice anyways.

As for IB over S&T, I'm also going to echo that its a personality thing. I used to be in S&T, those that prefer S&T are always going to be a different type to the IB kids. In IB you have to do a tremendous amount of mind-numbing work before you even come close to doing anything interesting like closing deals. If i had to work on pitchbooks through the night I'm gonna lose my shit.

In S&T, depending on your desk there is a lot more "substance" and technical requirements. I'm going to assume and hope your son is technically orientated because markets are becoming increasingly electronic and algo based and its the only way human's are going to be able to add value to the business line.

That being said, technical doesn't equal profitable. If the end goal is to remain in the "finance" world your probably better off being a smooth talker and working in IBD. I have a college friend who was a great communicator (uni english, chinese, and cantonese debate team) who was no where near as technically proficient as me. He did IBD for a few years, went to mainland china for a few years to join some random PE, met a lot of the right people along the way, and now runs his own boutique investment bank. The actual "skills" in IBD doesn't seem to be that difficult once you know the process, the value you add is being able to schmooze with potential clients and get people together to make deals from which you charge a commission.

As for me, I quit S&T around 2 years ago because it got boring and I had terrible bosses and it is in general a sunset industry. Traders aren't making as much in general as the old days (which was completely out of whack) and markets are a lot more efficient now (look at the number of hedge funds shutting down). I spent a bit more than a year trying to start my own business based on deep learning, didn't really make much money, but now I'm in an AI PhD program which I think turned out okish. Plus my startup might just come back from the dead since one of the large clients that initially turned us down came back to us to discuss a pilot program last month.

So in the end it depends on his personality and what he wants. If he likes strutting around in a suit and talking and networking with people and doesn't mind doing stupid work in exchange for a good payday, IB suits him and probably offers more opportunities down the road. If likes technical stuff than he's probably not going to be happy doing that anyways even if it offers more opportunities for him career wise.

Either way its going to turn out fine

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