Rank: Best to Worst Finance Positions FROM YOUR EXPERIENCE

isa2130953's picture
Rank: Neanderthal | 2,368

Update: Before you throw MS please read this to see where I was coming from when writing this:

Examples of what I meant using sports:

Example 1) "Running is 1 for me because its a solo sport and football last because I don't like contact sports"

OR

Example 2) "Basketball because it's a team sport and xyz and golf last bc there is not enough action"

Maybe I worded it wrong but I just want individual inputs. Feel free to give your input on anything like hour, comp, bonus, work, load, interests, etc.

Any type of experience you've had whether its IB PE HF ACC etc.

Comments (68)

May 15, 2019

Really at the end of the day, you can't rank them. The individual that likes IB may be terrible at trading strategies and may never want to work at an HF.

Also, we are assuming that everyone has the ability to comment on all the different work fields. ( I can't judge VC or RE because I have never worked in either of these positions). I would just take what is said with a grain of salt.

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May 15, 2019

Thanks for the feedback! I asked considering that so I wanted to hear why each individual had their rank including their personal interests/strengths and weaknesses. I also included all the listed industries to encourage everyone to answer. I do not expect everyone to have experience in all of them.

This was more just to get everyones individual feedback

The truth is like poetry, and most people fucking hate poetry.

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May 16, 2019

If you don't like the question how about just don't answer it?

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May 15, 2019

This is the equivalent of "what's the best sport?" - there is none. Everyone enjoys playing different sports for different reasons, and different sports have positives and negatives. To another comment, you can't objectively rank something if you haven't worked in that role, and nobody has done every single role in finance.

TL;DR - learn general facts about each career (easy), and then pursue what you think is your best fit.

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May 15, 2019

I meant that people should comment on what they have done, not take any guesses. I just listed the fields so everyone could put why.

If this was sports and I asked people to rank I would expect "running bc its a solo sport and football last bc I don't like contact sports" or "basketball because it's a team sport and xyz and golf last bc there is not enough action"

Maybe I worded it wrong but I just wanted individual inputs, Thank you for sharing though, and yes there definitly is no way for everyone to do all positions

The truth is like poetry, and most people fucking hate poetry.

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Funniest
May 20, 2019

nonsense everyone knows that bowling is the best sport

lebowski

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May 20, 2019

You are absolutely right. how could I have forgotten

The truth is like poetry, and most people fucking hate poetry.

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May 15, 2019

Seems like this is being taken pretty out of context but its not worded that well in all honesty...... Any how this is my own personal list based on experience. I can't speak for anyone else

Best

1 Private Equity (Pre MBA Associate)

2 PE Analyst

3 PE Intern

4 Elite Boutique IB

5 Fake finance position (think insurance/sales position)

PE has definitly been the best for me so far. Even with a lot of hours my first yr IB is not for me. I used it to get in PE (or tried to) but it only landed me a PE internship since my undergrad was not from a target school and my IB experience was not BB. Eventually I went up within the same firm and the work I'm doing is the best I've done.

I don't have enough experience in the other areas to give an opinion but VC would have been another option if PE didn't work out

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May 15, 2019

YES thank you. I honestly just liked hearing people with experience ranking what they enjoyed most and why. But apparently I did not ask the best way. Anyhow, I appreciate your response. What do you think was the most fair in terms of comp hours etc.

The truth is like poetry, and most people fucking hate poetry.

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May 15, 2019

It's not a bad question! But as far as comp nothing in my experience beats PE. My IB paid better than my PE internship just bc it WAS an internship afterall. As I moved up to associate the pay has gotten better for sure and hours r always going to be hefty at least in my experience

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Most Helpful
May 16, 2019

I'll take a crack. This is my ranking based on compensation, exit opportunities, career trajectory and work/life balance:

  1. LBO PE
  2. Growth PE
  3. VC
  4. HF
  5. IB - M&A
  6. Long Only AM
  7. Strategy Consulting (still consider it to be a finance function, though debatable)
  8. ER
  9. IB - LevFin
  10. IB - DCM/ECM
  11. Corporate Development
  12. IB - Financial Sponsors
  13. Corporate Banking
  14. Business Valuation
  15. Other TAS (FDD/Carve-out)
  16. Other Advisory (AERS/FLC/Economics)
  17. PWM
  18. Risk Management
  19. Transfer Pricing
  20. FP&A
  21. Investor Relations
  22. IB - Middle Office (all MO functions)
  23. Private Banking
  24. Audit
  25. Insurance / Sales / Brokerage

Included a few accounting functions because there's a clear overlap between accounting, finance and economics. In other words, someone in audit can transition into a more pure finance role.

[EDIT] Forgot the following functions: S&T, Credit Research & Restructuring.

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May 16, 2019

Interesting as I weighted going corporate banking (JPM/Citi) vs Valuation/FDD 1 year ago as all 3 seem very similar when all things are considered. Your post confirms my thought.

Corporate banking pays better, has better hours, and the JPM/Citi brands are better than Big 4 (imo) but in the end I picked Valuation since the skillset is transferable to IB, not to mention I got to practice a lot of modeling and get exposure to many industries. Not regretting my choice. Even got a double promotion which is sweet.

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May 16, 2019

I'm trying to move from F500 FP&A to Bval. Any tips? Currently going through an online Bval course to get a refresher. Will have around a year experience when I start applying. Didn't go to a good school. Should I target smaller firms?

May 16, 2019

Nice detailed list but you really seem to be ranking these position on prestige rather than any of your listed categories.

Everything with an awesome work/life balance is at the bottom of your list. Also, positions with terrible exit-ops like HF and long only AM are nearly at the top of your list...just a thought but thanks for taking a crack at it

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May 16, 2019

Okay, great. So where's your list? It's easy to poke holes. There will necessarily be a subjective element to this sort of list, especially when you're doing it off the cuff.

Where would you put HF?

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May 16, 2019

Thank you!! Really great answer including everything. Not sure why anyone would throw MS your way. Everyone is after this post lol.

Out of these which positions have you done personally ?

The truth is like poetry, and most people fucking hate poetry.

May 16, 2019

Any particular reason why you have IB - Financial Sponsors as the lowest IB position?

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May 16, 2019

Exit opps. I know theoretically, it should have an advantage is buy-side recruiting, but I personally haven't seen that.

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May 16, 2019

where would you put S&T and credit research?

May 17, 2019

made a post below

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May 17, 2019

Curious to the difference between PWM and private banking? I thought it was just a semantic difference between firms?

May 18, 2019

PB clients tend to have a higher net worth than PWM clients. At least that's how it's used at the BB's who have both (e.g. JPM).

Currently: future psychiatrist (med school =P)
Previously: investor relations (top consulting firm), M&A consulting (Big 4), M&A banking (MM)

May 20, 2019

Wouldn't Corp Dev would beat IB ECM/DCM both from an exit opp (working on deals, modelling etc) and work/life perspective?

From a compensation stand point can't imagine it would be too far behind either

May 20, 2019

Corp dev has worse exit opportunities (typically into FP&A or other corp dev. PE/VC is a long shot, depending on background) and a typical corporate development manager can expect to make what an IB analyst makes. Of course, the trade off is that the work might be more interesting and there's a significant improvement in in W/L balance.

May 16, 2019

Any ranking that doesn't have risk/compliance at the bottom is total bullshit. They're the hall monitors of the adult world.

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May 16, 2019

never thought about it like that but wow that makes perfect sense LOL

The truth is like poetry, and most people fucking hate poetry.

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May 18, 2019

As a compliance analyst at a BB, I agree with you that we sit at the bottom of the finance hierarchy. But it's important to remember that us junior compliance folks aren't like the associates and VPs. Most of us have high GPAs from top schools and are just biding time before attending a top law school. My group has analysts leaving for Harvard, Yale, Stanford, Columbia, Chicago, NYU etc... every year. I actually just accepted a spot at one of the above and am leaving in two months. Personally, IB was never the goal. Boies Schiller or Cravath have always been.

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May 18, 2019

Good for you for getting into a top school and not becoming a hall monitor. Curious why law instead of finance?

BTW - if Boeis doesn't start choosing its clients better (Theranos, Herbalife) maybe cross them off your list. Lot of great firms out there.

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May 16, 2019

Any type of AM has the best pay-hours ratio imo.

May 17, 2019

Best job I ever had was as a banker at a casino in the Bay Area.
(To be clear, you're banking a dealing table, not a real banker. Basically you play cards for a living.)
I got to sit at the tables bullsh&ting with cuties and random customers, got 2 drinks (non alcoholic, cause we workin) and a meal comped, and fast-paced action.
Got to do a lot of mental math.
Lots of stories to tell my friends later too.
Like the chick fight at the table, the time one of the clients was caught for replenishing his stacks by going out and robbing small banks, etc.
Good times, good job.
Responsibilities amounted to being able to count to 21 a bunch of times.

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May 17, 2019

Follow up to @Esuric ranking which I think is good, added some names here and there, moved stuff around.

1.) VC

2.) Growth PE

3.) LBO PE

4.) HF

5.) Infrastructure PE

6.) Long only AM: Mutual Fund

7.) Long only AM: SWF

8.) REPE

9.) IB - M&A

10.) IB - Restructuring

11.) Long only AM: Insurance

12.) RE Development

13.) Strategy Consulting

14.) IB - LevFin

15.) IB - DCM/ECM

16.) Credit Research

17.) ER

18.) Long only AM: Endowment

19.) Long only AM: Pension

20.) Corporate Development

21.) IB - Financial Sponsors

22.) Long only AM: fund of funds

23.) Corporate Banking

24.) S&T

25.) Business Valuation

26.) Commercial Real Estate (investment sales/ equity or debt placement)

27.) Other TAS (FDD/Carve-out)

28.) Other Advisory (AERS/FLC/Economics)

29.) FP&A

30.) PWM

Some of these are not really finance

  • Risk Management
  • Transfer Pricing
  • Investor Relations
  • IB - Middle Office (all MO functions)
  • Private Banking
  • Audit
  • Insurance / Sales / Brokerage
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May 17, 2019

Good list.

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May 17, 2019

Nice list, but...

The insurance and brokerage guys with stock ticker cover pictures on linked and facebook would disagree with you.

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May 17, 2019

Great list! May I ask why you moved VC up to # 1? What specifically makes you think its best

The truth is like poetry, and most people fucking hate poetry.

May 17, 2019
isa2130953:

Great list! May I ask why you moved VC up to # 1? What specifically makes you think its best

Simple, we live in the tech age and they are the closest to it in finance. The work-life balance seems generally much better than PE and better than HF too. Additionally, there is always the chance of an exit to a startup at a high-level, with equity. If I could choose where to be in finance it would easily be VC.

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May 18, 2019

Since you've included long only SWF, endowments, and pensions, what about alternatives (PE, private credit, HF) coverage across any of them?

May 18, 2019

looks good, just wondering: whats the experience behind putting PWM on 30?

May 20, 2019

I worked in PWM, most good PWM analysts that don't become advisors (a very rare few) end up looking for exits to positions that I listed above PWM.

May 19, 2019

would have just bucketed SWFs, E&Fs, Insurance, Pension, FoFs etc under "asset owner/allocator" instead of "Long Only AM".

May 19, 2019

Good list. Interested in hearing your rationale on RE Dev. position. Also, Corporate Banking over S&T is a hot take.

May 20, 2019

RE Dev has some of the best w/l balance combined with earnings upside/ entry-level earnings of any position in finance. Sure, there are a broader set of exits from IB/Credit Research/ER but RE Dev is almost the exit opp in and of itself. S&T is dying.

May 17, 2019

Based on jobs I've held:

L/S HF

LBO PE

IB

CB

FoF (Internship)

PWM (Internship)

I actually didn't mind IB at all and woud've been fine staying on to become an associate, but I did what most others in my class did and went for PE after my two years were up. IB is a lot of hard work, but if you're working with people you like and respect, it's really not that bad.

PE was pretty similar to IB, just less stressful. As an associate, I enjoyed the modeling, diligence, and digging in on targets. However, as a VP / Principal it seems like most of your time is just spent managing a process, which is super boring to me (though definitely important). After a while, I decided I didn't want to spend the next 6+ years of my life doing that.

Right now I work at a hedge fund where I can just focus on researching companies, conducting different analyses, and making investment decisions without all the formality of an investment committee. It's cliche, but every single day is different and exciting and I can see myself doing this for a long time. Also, I haven't experienced anything as rewarding (career-wise) than seeing a call play out exactly as you thought it should after realizing something the rest of the market missed. Much better than closing a deal after a long process, in my opinion.

At the end of the day, it's a personal decision, but you wanted answers based on experience so thought I'd share.

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May 19, 2019

decent effort for our reference

May 19, 2019

Where does quant trading rank in here? Aren't the money, hours, and opportunities all really good?

May 19, 2019

Not really "finance" in the traditional sense.

Quant finance is pretty much just applied STEM (really, M/T) and should only really be compared to SWE, CS/Math/Physics R&D or Data Science/Analytics. Totally different skillsets to even just standard S&T desks talk of IB or PE.

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May 20, 2019
Comment
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May 20, 2019
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The truth is like poetry, and most people fucking hate poetry.

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