Should I recruit for buyside even if I think I prefer IB?

3rd year analyst in IB at a solid group. I realize after reaching associate it becomes significantly harder to recruit to the buyside, so my question is given the window to go to the buyside is closing, should I attempt to recruit even if I think I would prefer my job in IB? I have pretty reasonable hours, comp is great, culturally I like my firm and I've already been told I'm up for associate promote next year. I don't feel like I have a particular passion for investing, but I don't necessarily know since I've never tried it out. Just wondering if it's worth even taking the plunge. I know it's easier to come back to IB from buyside than it is to go to buyside after staying longer term in IB so I suppose that's the main driver of the question.

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Comments (7)

Most Helpful
  • Analyst 1 in IB-M&A
Sep 14, 2021 - 12:44pm

Second year analyst here in top BB coverage. I had many of these same thoughts during my first few months of banking. Advice I was given by mentors in PE was that if I still liked banking as a second / third year (i.e. when you truly get a sense of the job), that I should actually just stay. If you end up strongly disliking PE, there's just too high of an opportunity cost in terms of time lost if you were to come back to banking.

Yes, the jump to buyside gets harder the more you wait, but there definetly is not a huge barrier if you were to want to make that move eventually, especially given that headhunters would know that you never even tried to recruit before (i.e. you didn't become an associate because you couldn't place into PE). 

If you generally like the work and like your group, not a bad idea to stay on until the situation changes, or until you have a lot more clarity on what you want.

  • Analyst 3+ in IB - Restr
Sep 20, 2021 - 3:51pm

Appreciate this feedback and all the other input from others. I think this path makes sense for me so am probably going to stay until the situation changes. Not really sure what the job landscape would look like when that happens but will revisit that if/when I get there.

Sep 14, 2021 - 1:17pm

If you like your group, comp, and culture then don't risk a move just because that's what the "typical path" is. The grass isn't always greener on the other side. At this point, your comp is likely better than a 1st year PE associate, and you risk sweaty hours depending on where you go. 

  • Prospect in IB - Gen
Sep 14, 2021 - 5:49pm

Just a college student so take with a grain of salt but this quote from David Solomon feels somewhat relevant: 

Recently a young Goldman employee sought Solomon's career advice. "She'd been at the firm three years," he recalled, "and asked, 'Where should I go next?'"

When Solomon asked how she liked the work, her boss, and colleagues, she said she loved it.

"My advice?" he said. "Go back to work. Why does there have to be a 'something next?' Enjoy it because it's not always going to be this way."


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Sep 14, 2021 - 6:13pm

Why does it become harder to recruit for the buyside after making associate? I feel like that's possibly true for MF PE, but for the other funds? Would having that promotion to associate theoretically make you a better candidate and make you highly competitive in off-cycle recruiting?

Sep 16, 2021 - 4:55am

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