Should I take a gap year before as an IBD analyst at MS?

I am fortunate enough to have a FT IBD offer from MS to start in July 2019, only two weeks after my university course ends. I have always had in the back of my mind that I would like to take a year off and travel the world and it seems that once the 'rat-race' starts, it's very difficult to step back from it and take some proper time off, at least until retirement ( minus a potential short period of gardening leave here and there and maybe a summer during an MBA) .

I would really appreciate any advice or opinions on whether I should take a year off and in particular, will it affect my career? Will it be frowned upon or seen as a lack of commitment ? Moreover, if anyone has done it, I would love to hear from you. Equally, if you decided against it, do you now regret taking a year off?

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Comments (11)

Nov 8, 2018 - 12:26pm

They most likely won't allow it. At least in London, the smallest mention of a gap year or extra master's etc can get your offer rescinded real quick (speaking from personal experience).

Most Helpful
Nov 8, 2018 - 12:35pm

If it's in your heart to live and explore a bit, you should do it.

Some people are very okay with wading immediately into work, never really taking extended periods of time off during their career, and cranking all the way until retirement. Other people prefer a less pedal-to-the-metal approach and do prefer time off between positions.

Neither is wrong. The most common issue I see is when someone from either camp operates against their nature and feels unfulfilled.

I watched a guy switching between hedge funds ask the new firm for a start date six months away, then grow increasingly restless to the point that two months into his break he made some pretty poor life decisions (very expensive impulse purchases, harm some relationships, and a few other things that are hard to unwind). It turns out that he didn't need time off work, he needed the mental space to resolve an unhealthy romantic relationship that clouded his mind. With that fixed, he's able to work like a slave (and happily does to this day).

I have also seen countless guys both older and younger than me who clearly put a high value on life outside of the office who are walking drones because they consistently ignore how much that matters to them. If seeing sunshine on a daily basis, regular vacations, and the opportunity for extended travel matters to you, remaining in a job that routinely keeps you past dusk and does not allow real time away from the office is going to keep you pretty unhappy.

The caveat I'll leave you with is that I don't know how the European market works (which I get the sense you're in), so if mentioning your gap year could somehow lead to the loss of the offer, weigh what I said with the probability you think you have of securing another offer elsewhere for a later start date.

Basically, don't live out of alignment with what you know to be true about yourself. It will leave you discontented, resentful, and ultimately less productive in whatever role you do obtain.

I am permanently behind on PMs, it's not personal.

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Nov 9, 2018 - 10:56am

Thanks for your advice. You put in words many of the thoughts that have been weighing on my mind recently. I don't have a problem with working extremely long hours, however I see this gap year as an opportunity for personal development in a way that I might not have for the rest of my career.

Nov 9, 2018 - 1:53pm

From reading your 10:53am reply, I can tell you more emphatically to take the gap year. If you are guaranteed your offer with no issue and your only outstanding concern is optics in the long run, this is a no-brainer.

What you'll find is that few people will notice the misalignment between "Class of 2018" on your resume and 2019-2021 for your analyst entry. Of the few who do, most will ask what you used the year for not to try and trip you up but because they genuinely want to hear something interesting.

Be that interesting person. Go explore, learn, expand your mind. You'll have great stories to share, you can keep that spark in your soul alive (this industry will do everything possible to crush it), and you can avoid that nagging "what if I had ever...".

People tend to regret the things they didn't do, not the things they did do.

I am permanently behind on PMs, it's not personal.

  • 6
Dec 12, 2018 - 12:07pm

Hi, I am very curious on how you decided. I am in a similar situation and I was able to secure a FT M&A position starting in the summer of 2019. Now with having a little bit of 6 months left until I start FT and having recently finished another internship in IB I thought cannot afford to chill for 6 months and started another industry-unrelated internship.

Being in this internship now I realize that there won't be a lot to learn for me and it feels a bit more like my first internship when I was 16 :)

I would also really appreciate your your advice on whether it makes sense to take a few months off and focus on other topics like learning a new language, taking a few online classes etc. or stick it through

Dec 3, 2019 - 1:21pm

By all means, DO IT … you have the remainder of your life to be bound up in Corporate America (if that's where you are). Plus, the adventure with actually be "mind refreshing experience" … like a "reboot" … The experience will give you a refreshing outlook and more clear vision. DO IT …. ENJOY IT …. Namaste

Dec 3, 2019 - 6:10pm

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