Perspectives from a mid-VP who started as an analyst
Background: 1 yr boutique M&A, 7 yrs(currently at a BB). Couple hundred bn in txns executed across products. Top bucket most years.
Current work/life situation:
I empathize a lot w juniors right now, although this sentiment has been a thing pretty much forever. COVID has exacerbated it for sure, as there is no (1) physical co-mingling and (2) separation of workplace and home. But in terms of hours, general treatment, temperamental personalities, that's how it's always been. The obscene hours commensurate to hot markets will never go away. Regarding treatment of juniors and making senior-to-junior interactions less negatively frictional, that can be changed. But let's level-set things here, generally speaking. The lack of a light at the end of the tunnel is and has been a perpetual feeling, unfortunately.
The real question in my mind is "what's the impetus for change". I don't know what sort of meaningful change is likely to happen in this industry until boomers start retiring. My gut is that the millenial generation is more empathetic than those types, so any sort of long-lasting change is likely to be implemented once they are in power/in mgmt positions. But then again, money talks. I would not be surprised if the more empathetic types, including myself, lose empathy once our deferred stock packages reach significant scale. If IB mgmt can convince me that shareholders (i.e., myself) would substantially impact the bottom line by expanding the analyst pool by 50%, the cause is lost. To be clear, I think that such an argument is idiotic, but again once a significant part of my net worth is staked on that, the risk may be untenable. After all, "we all had to do suffer back in the day" right?
Tbh, I don't mind banking. Bilateral negotiation-driven M&A is pretty interesting, the rest mildly interesting. Definitely can get monotonous when processing financings for weeks straight, but the job ebbs and flows. Can't hope to be engaged 24/7, just asking for disappointment. That said, I do like sales, so if I can see myself as an MD, assuming I feel comfortable and excited about staying on to eat what I kill. From an exit perspective, based on what I've seen over the years, once you pass the ASO1 level, exits kind of blow until senior Director or so. Being a mid-VP, I could probably swing a senior corp dev job now. However, if I stick it out maybe 3 more years, I'm in contention for division leader or C-level spots. Obviously at smaller companies, but that fits my risk-reward profile anyway.
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