Should I pursue tech or IB

I've been reading up on all the tech vs ib articles on WSO and have almost come to a conclusion. Figured I should post this since each field is unique to the person.

A little about me:

I am 17, and graduated high school a few months ago with a 3.8 GPA. When I was younger, all I wanted to do was work at google or another company like it, as a swe. Then about about 2 years ago, I heard about investment banking and have been trying to compare the two. Note;
I don't have much passion for anything. As shitty as this sounds, I just want to make as much money as possible until I can hopefully find passion for something.

Both of these fields pay well and I have always liked the idea of becoming a banker. I wish I could say I had passion for investment banking, but how can I, with absolutely no job experience. I don't know if I'll love it or hate it. I know there is a major WLB difference between tech and ib.

Anyway, after taking coding courses for years I have found that I don't find it rewarding or stimulating. I sit there and stare at the color coded IDE trying to make some subpar application.

If tech is that much better than banking, I am willing to force a cs degree down my throat and grind leet code until I get a job offer. I myself am leaning towards the economics and business degree at Brown.

I don't like math and the technicals of computer science also bore me. I'm ok with doing repetitive monkey work on a spreadsheet for a few years until I can level up to a better position in banking.

In the long run, what do you guys think I should do? I want to pursue something with scalability.

Comments (41)

Oct 14, 2021 - 6:53pm

Sounds like youre a drone like the rest of us so

maybe banking

path less traveled

  • 4
Nov 8, 2021 - 6:00pm

Angus Macgyver

If all you want to do is be a drone, better to be an SWE drone than an IB drone IMO

I'd much rather do IB than SWE.

"If you always put limits on everything you do, physical or anything else, it will spread into your work and into your life. There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them." - Bruce Lee

  • Associate 3 in IB-M&A
Oct 14, 2021 - 8:16pm

Your long term earning prospects in banking far exceed being in CS, if that's the answer you're looking for.

That said, IB is also not stimulating in the slightest, hours are about double CS, and you're stuck as a junior drone doing boring work for at least 4-5 years. If you don't like coding, seems silly to do it - go with the business degree and try to land a finance internship after freshman year. If you hate it, you still have plenty of time to switch majors. Liking what you do is 1000x more important than prestige

Oct 14, 2021 - 10:24pm

I agree. My main goal at the moment is to build wealth for myself. The way the world is going, having assets is a must. My goal is to bring clients in as I feel I should be on the relationship side if things. I think high level deals appeal to me. I know it's going to be a slow grind up, but I am willing to do it. That might change as well. Knowing what comes with the job and experiencing it are two different things.

  • Associate 3 in IB-M&A
Oct 15, 2021 - 12:31am

Short answer: Inertia

Long answer: The job gets much more interesting - discussing strategy and building relationships at VP+. PE has a long tail of doing junior work (no analysts = associates are doing all of the analyst work, VPs do a lot of associate work). Too early to take a big step down in comp, so haven't seriously considered any other fields.

IB isn't that awful but the smart kids who come in every year expecting the job to be fun and exciting burn out the quickest

  • Intern in IB-M&A
Oct 14, 2021 - 8:22pm

Try different internships, talk to people in the industry and see what resonates with you the most. I don't think you have to make a decision at 17. Even if you do, you certainly have the time to change your mind.

Oct 14, 2021 - 9:15pm

You're so young dude you don't have to have it all figured it out yet. Once you get to brown you'll get exposed to a lot of different people who all have different interests. Absorb as much as you can and just kick ass at school, soon enough you'll discover what actually interests you. You're gonna love brown, I grew up in Rhode Island pretty close to Providence

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  • Analyst 2 in IB-M&A
Oct 14, 2021 - 10:46pm

Bro do tech and don't look back. Cant wait till I fucking leave. Wished I never found this toxic forum or went to my toxic biz school that glorified IB.

Oct 17, 2021 - 2:25am

If you're even remotely interested in PM and are capable of passing coding interviews, work as SWE for a few years and hop over. If you have good social skills and SWE experience cracking PM is a joke - they make less level to level compared to SWE so really it will be like they are trying to entice you over to a PM role once you have SWE experience 

Oct 16, 2021 - 11:28pm

Correct me if I'm wrong but it seems like you can land a pm role relatively easy after biz school. Op could follow a path in finance in college and if they don't like it, it would be semi easy to switch to tech.

  • Intern in PE - LBOs
Oct 17, 2021 - 1:40am

That's true -- much easier post MBA than pre MBA. Have seen several people from non-M7 MBA schools break into Google PM whereas they almost never take any people without prior SWE experience in their APM role (only guy from finance I have seen break in as an intern had experience working at BX in PE). It does help if you are diversity though as they have several diversity specific programs and events especially for freshmen and sophomores.

Oct 17, 2021 - 2:22am

This is a brain dead take. IQ and EQ are positively correlated. Most rockstar coders are socially inept for the same reason most hot movie stars can't act - it's an order of magnitude more unlikely to find a rockstar in two domains, coding and social skills, than a person who is really good at one and average at the other 

Oct 17, 2021 - 9:29am

If IQ (= coding ability) and EQ (= social skills) were completely uncorrelated, given that there are more socially average people than socially awkward people (bell curve), it should be easier to find someone who's a coding rockstar and socially average, than it would be to find someone who's a coding rockstar and socially awkward.

If IQ and EQ are positively correlated, then rockstar coders should be even more likely to have good social skills.

Oct 16, 2021 - 10:13pm

Double major in CS and Econ, do a SWE internship freshman / sophomore year, and if you still hate coding try for a tech IB internship Junior year.

If you realize you don't mind technical stuff after all go for quant / dev role at a quant firm and make 3x first year IB pay for 1/2 the hours while staying close to finance.

IMO IB only makes sense if your comparative advantage is heavily weighted towards EQ and political acumen. But still, if you're smart enough to pass an FB/G coding interview you might be better off in tech since having IB social skills and tech IQ means it's incredibly likely you can shoot up the ladder at Facebook, XYZ unicorn, or a quant trading firm. First year devs/quants/traders in quant finance can clear 400k and then 1M+ after a half decade or so while working 40 hours a week - if you can stomach the technical work there is a lot of upside 

Oct 17, 2021 - 3:46pm

That sounds really enticing. I could try some tech internships and Ib internships to see which one I liked more. Plus having a degree in econ and cs will give me more choices. Maybe I would feel different about cs in a different environment. Also I want the scalability of finance. The chances of getting up to 500k plus with finance would be easier then in tech and faster. It's possible to do that with software and PM but it's less likely. Think about all of the competition now. Everywhere you look on social media tech is glorified and advertised. You don't hear anything about banking. I think a quant roll sounds the most appealing to me personally.

Nov 8, 2021 - 3:56pm

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