RE: 7 Reasons You Shouldn’t Work In The Back Office

I've read this piece not too long ago when I was still a college student. But now more carefully at it (Especially now through the eyes of someone with real industry experience), I have to say there seems to be a lot of misleading information here. I wonder if anyone else here thinks similarly?

1. The Front Office Doesn't Care

If the FO follks really "don't care" then how would they like it if those people weren't there to begin with? The majority of employees in any investment bank and possibly Wall Street in general actually fit into the BO category.

2. Top Business Schools Don't Care

So banking and consulting are automatically superior to accounting, IT, and basically every other job? Of course having a career in banking or consulting is respectable, but shouldn't you also respect that not everyone is interested in following that same path?

3. The Buy-Side Doesn't Care Either

Seems rather presumptous to assume people in the BO all want to break into the buyside.

4. Goodbye, models and bottles, We Hardly Knew Ye

"You'll likely be earning slightly less than what investment banking analysts make as base salary ($60K), so probably $40-50K in your first year with a very small bonus (5-15% of base salary)."

Again, given that BO people comprise the majority of employees within an investment bank, it seems really unfeasible that any firm would pay the majority of employees that little in cities with high cost of living. Granted this article is rather outdated, as costs of living have changed, but BO or not, investmnent banks don't achieve the reputations they currently have as employers by underpaying their employees when the costs of living are known to be high.

5. Respect, I Never Get Any Respect Around Here

Sure go yell at the IT or Ops people. See how that reflects in your performance review.

6. It's A 9 To 5 Job

A good portion of all people would value work-life balance. Plus the author even contradicts himself by first stating that "Yes. This is a bad thing" and then stating, "If you value peace of mind and a stress-free environment more than the potential to advance, then back office work might be for you."

7. The Work Itself

The author's just straight-out states that BO work is boring without considering that not everyone holds the same interests and goals, even just within the realm of the finance industry.

Also, the author's main support for the FO being superior is that they generate revenue. First of all, the author states "One exception: equity research is still 'front office' even though it doesn't directly bring in revenue." You can't estalblish parameters for a definition if you know beforehand there will be exceptions to that definition. By that statement, every division could be FO because they also help generate revenue, but not directly. Secondly, this whole article is more or less contradicted by another article posted on the same forum, where it stated "there is no such thing as a 'front office analyst.' It's an oxymoron."

"Busting the Front Office Analyst Myth: Three Unexpected Truths You Need to Move from Admin to Analyst"

Here's an excerpt from that article:

"The IT guys that make sure the computers and networks function properly?

They're also making sure that deals get out the door.

Even the janitors can make that claim - they make sure the place is clean enough that business can be done, making it possible to bring clients in.

The presentations center? They might be more useful than analysts at some places..."

Comments (8)

Aug 10, 2015

Are you in BO and trying to justify that your job is awesome?

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Aug 10, 2015
Skinnayyy:

Are you in BO and trying to justify that your job is awesome?

Yeah seriously, that or you sound like you've never worked in a real bank before. If you have, you're shockingly naive.

Aug 10, 2015

I worked in BO, and most of that list is true, the only thing I'd argue against is b-school, except at HSW and then only because of the competition not because of an inherent bias, and buy-side that is too broad of a generalization. Honestly, with the resumes that some of the FO people have we have absolutely nothing to complain about. Just do your time and move to b-school. It's the price to pay of living a carefree life from 0-22, or whenever you graduate. Also, you pretty much get to continue that carefree life until b-school starts. So, yea nothing to complain about.

Aug 10, 2015

If you work in BO (I don't) and you're this upset over FO perceptions of BO people (which are pretty non-existent) then you should really re-evaluate your priorities.

Aug 10, 2015
  1. Numbers do not mean you have power within the firm. Do you think the CTO of GS will ever become the next Lloyd Blankfein? No, the fact that I doubt anyone can even name the guy should tell you something.
  2. I despise the whole "pedigree" thing so I will refrain from commenting on this.
  3. That is fine if you don't want to, but using that as a justification for why your job is just as important is ridiculous.
  4. BO doesn't make shit, I promise you this. Why do you think most JPM and GS BO functions are outsourced to the suburbs of Dallas? Lower cost of living.
  5. No one in BO ever gets to submit a performance review for FO. If some new kumbaya HR head wants to implement a program where BO can give feedback to make them feel better that's a brilliant idea to keep people happy. However, I promise you this, that feedback will never make any difference in the FO's compensation.
  6. That is great for you, if that is who you are and what you want out of life. Self-awareness is priceless in this world. However, if you want the rewards of FO work but are not willing to do what it takes to attain the position you need to have said rewards then I have nothing for you.
  7. That is totally acceptable if BO is intellectually satisfying for you, nothing wrong with that. Please though, do not try and convince yourself that you will ever be considered anything other than a cost center.
Aug 11, 2015
Mephistopheles:

7. That is totally acceptable if BO is intellectually satisfying for you, nothing wrong with that. Please though, do not try and convince yourself that you will ever be considered anything other than a cost center.

sweet burn bro. brofist

Best Response
Aug 11, 2015

Dear OP,

It is okay. There is nothing wrong with working in back office. Thank you for taking your time in always cleaning the toilets; I think of you every time I take a dump.

With Love,
Harvey

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Aug 11, 2015
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