Post-MBA Bankers - What's the plan

Hey Post-MBA Bankers, 

I am curious what's your guys game plan? Are you planning on being long-time bankers, quitting in 1 year, transitioning to corp-dev, etc? 

Last year all the MBAs who went to tech banking ended up quitting within a year so I am wondering if the attrition is so high, is it even worth doing banking?

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Comments (28)

  • Associate 3 in IB-M&A
Nov 25, 2021 - 12:14am

Interesting topic. I've seen probably 60% of associates leave banking even before VP, 80%+ before director, most often for corp dev. I don't think anyone can really 100% plan on being a long-term banker these days with turnover and WLB the way they are. The last 2 years have been brutal, especially for tech, and the attrition has been all the way from analyst to MD.

What role are you coming from? If the sexier MBA exits like VC/GE are open to you, they are obviously pretty solid gigs. Consulting and tech, the other two main paths for people without a charmed pre-MBA background, have their own problems but I'd still consider them over banking unless you are interested in corp dev. People end up with IB because it pays great and has decent optionality for a mid-level professional, but hardly a long term bet even for the most hardcore out there.

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  • Intern in IB-M&A
Nov 25, 2021 - 1:34am

Stub associate here. The job is unsustainable long-term, I can barely work out, talk to my wife and my parents, hang out with friends etc. And it just doesn't get better, what happens is that you become more efficient so you can take on more work, but the lifestyle doesn't really improve. You still need to be "on" all the time. 

My plan is to lateral to a group that I'm more interested in, then switch over after a year or so to a role in the industry I was working in before my MBA (I'd rather not disclose, but it's not corp dev, tech or consulting).

Maybe this job was more manageable prior to covid, but I really don't see how someone can look at their seniors' lifestyle and still desire to pursue this career path.

  • Prospect in IB-M&A
Nov 29, 2021 - 10:04am

If you plan to switch back to the industry you were in pre-MBA then what was the point of doing an MBA/do you regret it? 

  • Intern in IB-M&A
Nov 29, 2021 - 2:07pm

No I don't regret getting an MBA. I went to a top 5 school and I'm an international student, so getting that stamp of approval on my resume for US employers was important for me.

And going back to the same industry doesn't mean doing the same job. I was in a role that didn't interest me, and switching to the one I would like to do required me to either have an MBA or to have started in IB as analyst to begin with.

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  • Associate 1 in IB - Cov
Nov 28, 2021 - 1:20pm

Like what? Isn't it hard to walk away from the pay at that level?

  • Associate 1 in IB - Gen
Nov 28, 2021 - 5:50pm

Found a group within an EB where I like the senior people and have the ability to dictate schedule (mostly as it relates to any weekend work/WFH etc.). Will probably ride this for a until VP 2+ where I'll have to make the decision on whether or not to gun for MD or just collect the VP paychecks and exit.

  • Summer Associate in Consulting
Nov 28, 2021 - 6:13pm

What group is it? -- it's still relatively anonymous if you don't name the firm

Nov 29, 2021 - 12:37am

I would quit but I'm not sure what other options are open where I can clear $500k+ in a few years time.

i think PE and VC exit is unrealistic as a post MBA associate unless you're a HSW grad and even then chances are slim after an IB stint.

Honestly I've thought about this a lot and if I get to VP level and become a middling VP who isn't alpha everythingx, middle bucket and hence doesn't have as much on his plate then why isn't that a bad option? 

  • Associate 1 in IB - Cov
Nov 29, 2021 - 1:44am

Great minds think alike...this is more or less my plan. Hope it's possible to be a decent VP and not make my juniors' lives (more) miserable. 

Nov 29, 2021 - 2:13am

I'm undoubtedly biased, but from what I've seen, the most successful MBA associates are the one who thought this out ahead of time. For many of them thinking of a mid-to-long term banking life, that meant not accepting the BB job in NYC because that's what you thought was the "best" option heading to school at 26. Instead, it meant looking into the strong MM players in regional locations with low COL and cultures that matched a long-term environment.

Peers who have gone to Blair / Baird / HW and others seem both happier and more purposeful. There is a mistaken notion that folks end up at these places because they struck out elsewhere. While there may be an element of truth to that at the analyst level, post-MBA associates often self-select for these places *because* of what they offer from a career banking or lifestyle perspective.

I'm only a year and a half in, but after the initial FOMO wore off I'm more confident than ever that I made the right choice. While the job is still demanding, the people are great, and I've eliminated much of the outside stresses that come with NYC. I'm making at least the same amount of money nominally, but FAR more after considering taxes and COL differences. I feel comfortable and less anxious and that allows me to focus on my job without fretting over unnecessary things.

TLDR: it's impossible to plan for a career in banking, but if you think that's an option, consider carefully what type of bank and location would be most conducive to achieving that, and don't just get caught up in the recruiting environment.

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  • Associate 1 in IB - Cov
Nov 29, 2021 - 9:01am

What city are you in? Is the lifestyle that much better in mm? I've seen threads recently from Baird and Blair saying the lifestyle is awful. What are your hours like and how much weekend work do you have?

  • Associate 1 in IB - Cov
Nov 29, 2021 - 1:02pm

Exited banking after 2 years in tech coverage group. Initially thought I'd stick it out until VP even Director but just hated the nature of being "on" all the time and continuously checking email etc. I went to a tech company and got a base salary that was a slight pay cut to banking and got decent equity package vesting over 4 years so my all-in is similar to a normal year in banking (2021 is outlier and will probably see outsized bonuses). My life has SIGNIFICANTLY improved, no one emails past 6 pm, people respect weekends and vacation, people around me are smart (former bankers and PE) and for me the work is more meaningful as you see impact of work as company continues to grow. 

  • Associate 1 in IB - Cov
Nov 29, 2021 - 1:14pm

What role did you switch to? Were you in a tech coverage group?

  • Associate 1 in IB - Cov
Nov 29, 2021 - 1:18pm

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