Should you say you want to start your own thing down the road in analyst interviews

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Comments (13)

 
Funniest
Dec 29, 2020 - 10:30pm

TLDR; it depends

I had coffee with an executive VP at a large national bank and did just this and they gave me feedback at the end of our talk and said he'd never put me in a position of leadership under his organization because he knows I'd just leverage it to leave the bank.

Never responded to any of my future emails/texts/etc.

Conversely i also had coffee with one of their peers (reported on the same level of the hierarchy but different LOB) said that this person was a huge toolbag and had a reputation for flexing their job title everywhere and had failed at launching their own startup years before and came back to the bank bitter.

She also said she hoped me the best in my future startup journey if i ever decided to leave banking.

 
Jan 1, 2021 - 10:45pm

sc17395

TLDR; it depends

I had coffee with an executive VP at a large national bank and did just this and they gave me feedback at the end of our talk and said he'd never put me in a position of leadership under his organization because he knows I'd just leverage it to leave the bank.

Never responded to any of my future emails/texts/etc.

Conversely i also had coffee with one of their peers (reported on the same level of the hierarchy but different LOB) said that this person was a huge toolbag and had a reputation for flexing their job title everywhere and had failed at launching their own startup years before and came back to the bank bitter.

She also said she hoped me the best in my future startup journey if i ever decided to leave banking.

Holy fuck what a great explanation.  If I fail god please at least don't let me become one of these bitter faggots

 
  • Associate 1 in AM - Other
Dec 30, 2020 - 12:53am

IMO no. I've found that if I ever make any sort of statement that could potentially lead them to believe that I would ever leave for something else, it reflects negatively on my candidacy (just don't bring it up!). If you really want the job, tell them you have aspirations of moving up to the highest possible position within the company. Whether you believe that or not... that will leave them with a positive feeling about what kind of employee you would be.

 
Dec 30, 2020 - 1:33am

I don't think the distinction that you want to go on your own is necessary. You can express your interest in wanting to control your own deal flow or manage projects in a way that is respectful to the company and it's culture. For example, in investment sales you can speak on wanting to become a producer and creating your own deal flow. I think this shows a similar desire for independence.

 
Dec 30, 2020 - 1:57am

I'll go against the consensus here and say YES, especially if you are in an analyst/associate role. Being someone with aspirations of building your own firm will make you look driven, goal-oriented, and truly invested in your career. My line is always, "I'm here to learn, the way I see it I'll either be putting in the hours and learning the business now at [XYZ firm] or I'll be failing to start up my own venture later in life." Immediately you've established the traits above and also spoken with great candor - authenticity scores you a lot of points with interviewers. Just make sure to emphasize the time table to make such a move is 4-5+ years out, anyone assuming they wouldn't lose somebody in said position after that long to normal attrition is just being a douche.

 
Dec 30, 2020 - 5:08am

Personally I think it would be unwise to talk about the thing you want to do after the position you're interviewing for currently. Yeah it might take 5 years for you to get to your own thing, but there's a chance you might jump ship next month. Why would a company bother with hiring someone like that?

Array
 
Most Helpful
Dec 30, 2020 - 9:43am

So, and I really think this is obvious, but context and timing matters a lot on what you should/shouldn't say. That said, I'll give my take which is purely under the context of someone interviewing for an analyst role (so generic entry level post UG/Grad sort)....

I'd generally say, NO, do not drop the "I'd like to start my own thing" in an analyst interview, but not because you will make the interviewing firm stop and think... "well shit, if we hire this guy, we will be training our competition!". In fact, my reasoning for avoiding such a topic is more the opposite.... 

When someone brand new to the industry (which is the context of the question), says that to someone experienced, it may not be taken as "wow what great ambition", but more often going to sound a bit arrogant/naïve and signal that you may not understand the industry/job/role as well as you should. Why?? Because if you actually had the plan, drive, and ability to do this, you 1. Wouldn't just be telling random people your plans and 2. Interviewing for entry level positions. Essentially, you are telling someone you want to be a Michelin Star chef and you just learned how to boil an egg. 

In my own experience (and this includes reading/responding to WSO posts, but also convos in real life, back when networking events happened...), the young student/analyst saying this line really has no idea what it takes to actually "strike out on their own", and are really meaning to say "I want to have FU money". If you are not ready to actually do what you are saying, then bringing this up has more risks than downsides. Trust me, I wish you could hear how it sounds when you talk to someone. If you are barely competent (which is where EVERYONE starts), saying you want to do it all reeks of a lack of self awareness and self mastery, not rabid ambition. 

Now, the major exception, IF you are talking about your long-term career progress, and you lay out the plan on how you will work hard, master each skill, build networks, move upward, and then the pinnacle of all that leads you to a top executive position and/or part of an entrepreneurial endeavor, then it is perfectly fine! That shows awareness of the path ahead, and humbleness about what it really takes. 

Bottom line, having ambitions and dreams to be part of or lead a new venture is totally fine and awesome! But, talking about it (especially in an interview) ahead of implementation doesn't make much sense. Better to focus on the immediate to 5 year out plan for yourself, that is as far as anyone could possibly plan. 

Get the job, gain the skills/experiences/reputation that gives you the option start out on your own, then make the call when timing is right, but seriously, you have not even come close to making that decision if you are interviewing for analyst roles (so, don't engage in the speculation with an interviewer, some may love it, but it really isn't likely to advance your current situation). 

 

 
Dec 30, 2020 - 10:02am

In early interviews I disclosed previous business endeavors and plans to go bigger at some point - none of them hired me. Generally, it is a bad idea to explore these thoughts in a job interview. It may come across as "I only need this job between my own gigs". Don't forget - hiring a candidate, no matter how small or big, is an investment on behalf of the company. someone who eventually wants to strike out on his own is a risk. And we all know how risk averse bankers are...

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline  1-800-273-8255

 
  • Analyst 3+ in HF - Other
Jan 1, 2021 - 10:59pm

I can tell you from personal experience the answer is NO. I repeat NO. You'll probably hear somewhere that people like that answer because it shows you have the ambition; that person is an idiot.

You're telling the person that you're too good for their firm, and it's just a stepping stone for you. Therefore, you're arrogant, thankless, and naive; you know all the attributes you look for in a new hire. 

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