Operations - Good & Bad

My first of several planned posts regarding Operations roles at an investment bank So you want to work at an investment bank seems to have become fairly controversial, but I think it's important that you understand what you are getting into if pursuing a role in Operations, and to that end - the discussion continues.

TLDR Working in Ops
- Work/Life balance good
- Tremendous learning opportunities
- Overall comp is decent
- Most outside the industry don't realize you're "only" in ops
- Smart Colleagues
- Defined Career Path
- Not especially fulfilling and repetitive
- Easy to get pigeon-holed as an Ops person
- Still stressful
- Still competitive
- Comp at analyst/associate levels below average

Operations roles can be a good place to start a career, particularly for non-target grads or non-finance (related) majors. It's at least slightly easier to secure one of these roles as opposed to front-office which gives those accepting offers a chance to learn the industry. It should be obvious that the work/life balance is better than FO roles, probably 40-60 hours, as opposed to 60-100. The pay can be pretty decent and is commonly referred to as a long hockey stick - gets a little better each year early in careers and then much larger increases once you hit VP. Most of my colleagues are extremely smart which makes for a pleasant working environment and keeps you competitive. Maybe one of the biggest advantages of getting an Ops role is that outside the industry of finance, many don't really know or care about the difference between BO/MO and FO. If you wanted to transition to FP&A or you name it, the brand names still carry quite a lot of weight.

Day-to-day work in Ops kinda sucks. Its repetitive and sometimes you wonder why a computer isn't already doing your job. Many days are boring and there are relatively few changes, though this can vary by role. Within the industry, the BO/MO vs FO roles are well understood. It can be incredibly difficult to rebrand yourself if you are in Ops for more than 2-3 years. FO folks commonly don't take you seriously (read the comments in my last post). Additionally, the work can still be very stressful compared to other jobs. It's still finance and shit still needs to get done - now. Fire drills are prevalent. Lastly, while you are competing for the thin comp increases the competition can be pretty fierce. Is it the same as FO? No, but compared to non-finance positions there are lots of smart people and the politics are more real.

What else do you want to know? Thoughts?

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Nov 23, 2018