Silicon Valley vs. Wall Street: Working at Google vs. Goldman Sachs

mike50's picture
Rank: Senior Baboon | 188

Which worker would have the more luxurious lifestyle? Many investment bankers today turned to Wall Street for one reason. I think we all know what that one reason is. A ''few'' others though did it through love and passion for finance [and for the exit opportunities]. But do they really live a rich lifestyle?

Comparing Wall Street and Silicon Valley

Let's do a general comparison between a Goldman Sachs IB analyst and a Google software engineer (I have personal contacts giving me this information; please correct me if I'm wrong).

Wall Street Salary and Lifestyle

Wall Street is known for offering high salaries in exchange for demanding work hours. We review the salary and hour details for Wall Street below.

Goldman Sachs 3rd year Analyst

  • Location: New York City
  • Salary + Bonus: $165,000
  • Hours/Week: 80-90+
  • Benefits: Prestige, significant pay increases

Check out more detail about Wall Street Salaries in the WSO Investment Banking Industry Report.

Software Engineer Google Salary and Lifestyle

While tech jobs are known for paying well, they are better known for having more comfortable lifestyles and having a better focus on employee happiness.

Google Software Engineer II (~3rd year)

  • Location: San Jose, California
  • Salary + Bonus: $130,000
  • Hours/Week: 60+
  • Benefits: Free food, free electric car, laidback and "fun" environment
  • Cost of Living Difference Between NYC and Silicon Valley

    The GS employee makes quite a bit more. Now let's run the figures on a cost of living calculator.

    http://money.cnn.com/calculator/pf/cost-of-living/

    According to the calculator, $130,000 in San Jose is like making nearly $200,000 in Manhattan!

    The Google employee may get paid less, but he works less, has much more perks, and is actually living a higher quality lifestyle. Silicon Valley firms believe that making the workplace environment enjoyable leads to better work performance, regardless of the hours worked.

    Skill Difference Between Wall Street and Technology Jobs

    While the OP makes a solid point about the pay disparity and lifestyle differences, our users shared a few other factors that separate these two different paths.

    From a pay perspective, users shared:

    • Much of your bonus pay at tech firms will be paid in restricted stock options that vest over time
    • Pay in wall street careers goes up more quickly than it tends to in tech

    From a work perspective:

    • Several users pointed out that working in computer science requires knowledge of programming
    • Another user pointed out that the work is appropriate for different personalities (IE someone who may do well at Google may not do as well at GS)

    You can check out a video about the war between Silicon Valley and Wall Street for talent below:

    Read More About Silicon Valley and Wall Street on WSO

    Preparing for Investment Banking Interviews?

    The WSO investment banking interview course is designed by countless professionals with real world experience, tailored to people aspiring to break into the industry. This guide will help you learn how to answer these questions and many, many more.

    Investment Banking Interview Course Here

    Comments (131)

    Oct 22, 2013

    first of all, there is a specific type of person that does software engineering at google vs being a banker at goldman (more diverse set of ppl). i dont think this choice is often made...

    finance pay can go up quite fast with experience, not as much in software .but it's not just abt pay, depends on interests and desired lifestyle

      • 1
    Oct 22, 2013

    I think you need some actual talent/skills to work at Google. Not so in Finance/IB.

      • 1
    Oct 22, 2013
    mongoose:

    I think you need some actual talent/skills to work at Google. Not so in Finance/IB.

    This. You can't compare the two jobs because, A) there is a huge difference in the skill and preparation involved in being a software engineer at Google and knowing enough to skate by your technical interviews at a BB; and B) there are far more GS substitutes (other banks) than Google substitutes, meaning it's likely harder to be a seasoned software engineer than to be a 2nd or 3rd year analyst at a bank.

    None of this based on hard evidence, but in my opinion it stands to reason.

    Oct 25, 2013
    mongoose:

    I think you need some actual talent/skills to work at Google. Not so in Finance/IB.

    This. CS is not an easy skill that everyone can truly master.

      • 3
    Sep 2, 2017
    mongoose:

    I think you need some actual talent/skills to work at Google. Not so in Finance/IB.

    I can't wait to see you become a Partner at Goldman!

    When I pull a deal off the table, I leave Nagasaki behind

      • 2
    Oct 22, 2013

    Awesome post dude. I think you'd feel more relaxed as a Google employee. Unfortunately GS has a reputation for really doing some harsh hours. You can't beat a casual atmosphere and high pay with prestige. My two cents at least.

    Oct 22, 2013

    What's the male:female ratio in New York vs Silicon Valley?

    And you still think the San Jose guy has a better lifestyle?

    Oct 22, 2013

    P.S. - Fair assumption that GS has more "prestige" than Google... if your audience is restricted to WSO. Go ask Joe Six-Pack what he thinks of Goldman Sachs vs Google, and see which one gets you a better response.

      • 4
    Oct 23, 2013

    Do the COL calc again based on living in SF. I certainly hope a Google engineer wouldn't willingly live in San Jose, especially with the free commuter buses they offer from the city

    Oct 23, 2013

    as someone who works in tech, one thing to note on the comp. side for most of the big "sexy" tech firms (goog, dropbox, box, linkedin, airbnb, square, facebook, etc.) is that a large % of your comp comes in the form of restricted stock.

    I know at my tech company this year new UNDERGRAD software engineer hires are getting $105K base + 0-20% cash bonus + $200K in signing stock that vests over four years...

    Oct 23, 2013
    harvardgrad08:

    as someone who works in tech, one thing to note on the comp. side for most of the big "sexy" tech firms (goog, dropbox, box, linkedin, airbnb, square, facebook, etc.) is that a large % of your comp comes in the form of restricted stock.

    I know at my tech company this year new UNDERGRAD software engineer hires are getting $105K base + 0-20% cash bonus + $200K in signing stock that vests over four years...

    Fck deferred comp, acquire cash bonuses in hedge funds.

    speed boost blaze

    Oct 23, 2013

    I've always been skeptical of those cost of living calculators, especially regarding NYC. Anyone else feel this way? Rent and food are more expensive, what else?

    "My dear, descended from the apes! Let us hope it is not true, but if it is, let us pray that it will not become generally known."

    Oct 23, 2013

    Will that engineer be at $250k+ though in 2 years? The banker will....

    Additionally, cost of living is based off averages for those locations. If you spend $65,000 a year in San Jose, it does not mean you are guaranteed to spend $100,000 in NYC. Example, you can stay in an apartment that costs $2000/month in BOTH places, same total cost in BOTH places but the NYC one will not be as nice. Yet, you are making more in NYC, thus more cash moniessssssssssss.

    Also, a free electric car sounds more like a con than a pro.

      • 2
      • 2
    Oct 23, 2013
    yeahright:

    Will that engineer be at $250k+ though in 2 years? The banker will....

    Additionally, cost of living is based off averages for those locations. If you spend $65,000 a year in San Jose, it does not mean you are guaranteed to spend $100,000 in NYC. Example, you can stay in an apartment that costs $2000/month in BOTH places, same total cost in BOTH places but the NYC one will not be as nice. Yet, you are making more in NYC, thus more cash moniessssssssssss.

    Also, a free electric car sounds more like a con than a pro.

    I don't buy that cost of living argument. In nyc, either your standard of living is lower, or you're spending more. Any way you look at it, the cost of living (at the same standard of living) is higher.

      • 1
    Oct 23, 2013

    On the engineering side (again at least at my company), someone 3 years out generally comes in at $150K base + 0-20% bonus + $350K in RSUs (4 year vest)...which basically means that assuming the stock price stay constant or if private the valuation stays constant you are making ~$260K per year. Obviously your equity value can fluctuate drastically given how much valuations have grown but if you are at a place like Google where the stock has nearly doubled in the past 2 years your $350K grant is now worth $700K.

    I personally am on the business side of one of these tech companies but have seen my last RSU grant more than triple. In terms of total comp I generally make more $ than most of my banking / finance friends...while working half the hours.

    Apr 2, 2015
    yeahright:

    Will that engineer be at $250k+ though in 2 years? The banker will....

    This. This is the hard statistical truth. Lol. Anyway, Mr. Google you are doomed should you realize in your 2nd year your love for money. Can't undo your paths... game over. Good bye.

    Apr 4, 2015

    I know a guy (32 years old) who is a programmer at Microsoft and earns 4-5 million a year in Seattle. More than most MDs would ever make in NYC. I know this is only one case, but this idea that tech is a dead end job is pure BS. On the other hand, only the best IB analysts make MD (500k-1.5 mil in NYC). Meanwhile, the best in tech can make much more (not necessarily as a employee). I know my comparisons aren't perfect, but people on here act as if going into tech is working at Mickey D's. Unlike most people on WSO, I think IB does not necessarily beat tech every time.

    Apr 3, 2015
    John-Johnson:

    My friend (32 years old) is a programmer at Microsoft and earns 4-5 million a year in Seattle. More than an IB MD would EVER make in NYC. I know this is only one case, but this idea that tech is a dead end job is pure BS. On the other hand, only the best IB analysts make MD (500k-1.5 mil in NYC). Meanwhile, the best in tech can make much more (not necessarily as a employee). I know my comparisons aren't perfect, but people on here act as if going into tech is working at Mickey D's. Unlike most people on WSO, I think IB does not necessarily beat tech every time.

    i don't believe this.

    Sep 2, 2017

    GS has the up or leave culture. The average employee at Google will earn more than the average GS employee over 6-10 years.

    Oct 24, 2013

    First year financial/business analysts at Google (who typically have experience) earn $100-$100k base and work 60+ hours. So I reckon a 3rd year analyst earns more. Comparing engineers to bankers is comparing apples to oranges. Use financial/business analyst salaries to compare.

    I wouldn't compare the hours though. I remember working till 2am for a few days to get a project completed because I 'wanted to' vs 'had to'. I didn't mind because it was worth it in the end.

    Oct 24, 2013

    Google is better for a quirky type who wants a job with good pay and decent hours.

    Anyone who is a hustler should go for the GS.

    "He that hath a beard is more than a youth, and he that hath no beard is less than a man." -- William Shakespeare, Much Ado About Nothing

    Oct 24, 2013

    Personally, I would hate the quirky corporate culture of tech firms.

    "He that hath a beard is more than a youth, and he that hath no beard is less than a man." -- William Shakespeare, Much Ado About Nothing

    Oct 25, 2013

    I don't think Googlers are particularly 'quirky' on the business side (I noticed this on the engineering side much more tbh). A lot of Googlers on the business side are ex-bankers/consultants FYI.

    Apr 2, 2015

    I think a 3rd year analyst at Goldman Sachs makes more than $165,000 all in. In any case, I think the compensation in banking long-term is higher, but the two industries are completely unrelated and therefore difficult to compare.

    Apr 2, 2015

    Of course LT comp in banking is higher, but that Google engineer has tangible skill that he/she can go and start the next Uber or Dropbox.

    That said, fuck banking.

    • Anonymous Monkey
    •  Feb 4, 2016

    Hey Buddy, Goldman Sachs provides you opportunity to work in London, Sydney, Hong Kong, Singapore, Paris and you name it. A GS employee works for 12 hours per day not because company forces him to do so. Its because this is a passion for him. 2 lines of bad code or bypassing one exception may move the Billions of USD's. I have worked both in the Silicon valley and for the Wall street. I can say that only 10-12 percent (or even less)of talented folks in silicon valley contributes to the actual revenue. But at firms like GS this is way too high. At GS you dont get a chance to create mistakes. Every single line of code push hits the market in real-time. Culture at GS make you smart (you are already intelligent if you are at GS), pro active and you helps overall growth. And when it comes to money, you can even get around 40-50 K USD's as a bonus even if you have a couple of years experience.

    If you are a GS employee, You can walk on the streets of Manhattan like a Prince.

    Apr 2, 2015

    Cost of living in NYC is not really that high unless you really want to stay in Manhattan. If you move to outer boroughs or Hoboken/Jersey City there are still good areas that are at least 40% cheaper than Manhattan and your commute is still less then 40 minutes door to door. I guess if you are living in SF the cost of living is quite comparable to Manhattan. However, I do agree the living in SF and Bay Area has its own advantages compared to Manhattan but that's a personal choice. Totally agree that a software engineer career in SF is completely different from a banker in NY..

    Feb 4, 2016

    Thanks for the great post.

    Feb 4, 2016

    good post. I was afraid this was going to be another one of those posts "why would anyone go to wall street lol?!" instead it was well thought out, kudos.

    I can't help but wonder what happens when we see a collapse in valuation in public markets (which tends to correlate nicely with private market valuation multiples). I wonder how many of these unicorns will have their wings clipped.

    Feb 4, 2016

    Why is every discussion, at least on this forum, regarding tech almost exclusively talk about the mythical start-up? The tech sector dwarfs the financial sector, and I assure you it isn't because of little 100 man companies. The reason this is an ongoing discussion are the hours, benefits (like healthcare, tuition), perks, flexible work environment, strong compensation and generally a lower cost of living than in NYC or London. You know, people considering a life outside the office before the age of 55 when they get their "inevitable" fuck you money.

    To be honest, the only reason Wall St. remains popular is the delusion of fuck you money. Look at the MBA reports out of Harvard over the last 10 years or however far back they go... Strange trend, when Wall St was offering MASSIVE outsized bonuses (like 2006) a helluva lot more grads took to IB. Basically, unless you're going to make obscene amounts of money, it isn't worth it. And to any m'fer (college kid) on this site that says otherwise... Look at the turnover in banking, the careers are absurdly short, a fact that doesn't escape intelligent people who are considering a 200k MBA degree. Your odds of getting serious cash in any business, in the tax brackets and COL that you'll have to live in.. is very small. You should probably take a huge look at the quality of life you're going to live over your approximate... 30yr career.

    Feb 4, 2016
    ArcherVice:

    Why is every discussion, at least on this forum, regarding tech almost exclusively talk about the mythical start-up? The tech sector dwarfs the financial sector, and I assure you it isn't because of little 100 man companies. The reason this is an ongoing discussion are the hours, benefits (like healthcare, tuition), perks, flexible work environment, strong compensation and generally a lower cost of living than in NYC or London. You know, people considering a life outside the office before the age of 55 when they get their "inevitable" fuck you money.

    To be honest, the only reason Wall St. remains popular is the delusion of fuck you money. Look at the MBA reports out of Harvard over the last 10 years or however far back they go... Strange trend, when Wall St was offering MASSIVE outsized bonuses (like 2006) a helluva lot more grads took to IB. Basically, unless you're going to make obscene amounts of money, it isn't worth it. And to any m'fer (college kid) on this site that says otherwise... Look at the turnover in banking, the careers are absurdly short, a fact that doesn't escape intelligent people who are considering a 200k MBA degree. Your odds of getting serious cash in any business, in the tax brackets and COL that you'll have to live in.. is very small. You should probably take a huge look at the quality of life you're going to live over your approximate... 30yr career.

    But what if you're purely interested in maximising your professional career ($$$) and are willing to sacrifice in order to do so? Should such a person choose the Street or the Valley?

    Feb 4, 2016

    For most of the people going into either, this isn't even a decision they will get to make. The majority of the people in finance (minus the quant/trading firms) have zero technical ability and would never even get a conversation with a recruiter at a west coast tech firm. The majority of the people doing dev work at those tech firms have abysmal social skills and awareness and would make even the smoothest salesman at a BB feel awkward. A few may slip through the cracks as quants or the nerdy IB summer analyst but they either get the memo quick or move to some quant firm. And no finance kid slips through the cracks at a Big 4 tech firm.

    I'm not talking about doing business dev at a tech firm or doing tech at a BB, I'm talking about being in the desirable (FO for finance, SDE for tech) positions. Only a tiny percentage of people will have the duality to be competitive for both. And for the most part, those people wouldn't have the desire to work at a bank nor a large tech firm, because they know those companies will never compensate them appropriately for the value they carry nor offer them the environment they'd likely want.

      • 5
    Feb 4, 2016
    lebron:

    For most of the people going into either, this isn't even a decision they will get to make. The majority of the people in finance (minus the quant/trading firms) have zero technical ability and would never even get a conversation with a recruiter at a west coast tech firm. The majority of the people doing dev work at those tech firms have abysmal social skills and awareness and would make even the smoothest salesman at a BB feel awkward. A few may slip through the cracks as quants or the nerdy IB summer analyst but they either get the memo quick or move to some quant firm. And no finance kid slips through the cracks at a Big 4 tech firm.

    I'm not talking about doing business dev at a tech firm or doing tech at a BB, I'm talking about being in the desirable (FO for finance, SDE for tech) positions. Only a tiny percentage of people will have the duality to be competitive for both. And for the most part, those people wouldn't have the desire to work at a bank nor a large tech firm, because they know those companies will never compensate them appropriately for the value they carry nor offer them the environment they'd likely want.

    This is a pretty erroneous generalization. You make so many false statements in this post, that I have to address them for the benefit of people reading this thread. I double majored in Computer Science and a business related field, and could have gone into either industry. So could basically anyone who majored in engineering or computer science. As such, this discussion comes up a lot more than you think. Even Stanford CS graduates with a guaranteed inroad to a $120k SV job gets tempted by the flashy $140k Wall St gig with the suits, private cars, and dreams of 7 figs on the buyside.

    To assume that all software engineers have abysmal social skills and awareness is severely underestimating your competition. Being quantitatively brilliant and a good networker/salesperson is not mutually exclusive. The best startup founders or cofounders are both. The best product managers are both. The opposite is also true. I honestly believe any investment banker could pick up programming within half a year alongside work hours. Programming is not hard, they teach you everything you need to know within the first 4 CS classes you take in college. The rest is depth education in networking/AI/security etc. If you were disciplined, you could attain a hire-able set of skills within a year of night time self-learning. There's some weird perception here that if you either haven't been programming since 12 or didn't study CS in college, you've missed the tech train forever. That's just a lazy excuse.

      • 6
    Best Response
    Feb 4, 2016

    The suits, private cars, and dreams of 7 figures? Who the hell over the age of 13 still thinks wearing a suit is cool? Companies tout a no dress code policy as a perk. Private cars? You mean because you're staying late at 200 West for the fifth night this week so you can take one of their town cars back to Stuy Town? You're comparing perceptions against reality here.

    I never said a two-sided person doesn't exist. I said they are rare. You just listed the "best startup founders and product managers" as examples... yes the best can do both, keyword being "best". That's like saying: "being able to drop 30 points in a night and still make All-Defensive First Team are not mutually exclusive, Kobe and Lebron did it". This isn't underestimating competition, it's calling a spade a spade. Go visit CS career fairs, hackathons, build nights and if you still don't believe the majority of strong developers aren't on the same page then we're done.

    Sure, any banker can pick up programming alongside work hours. Are they going to have the time and discipline to do so? You see posts on WSO talking about how they don't even have time do put in 30 minutes at the gym after work cause they're smoked, how's it going to go trying to learn OOP? It's also not about just picking it up, it's being good at it. I majored in Math but took the CS curriculum and it's not easy for a lot of people, even the CS majors. Don't even get me started on when Econ/business kids started panicking because they had to learn about pointers and memory addresses.

    The issue here isn't that you've missed the tech train, it's that if you're going to try and compete in the Olympics, you better be ready to put in the work. The other kids who have been programming since 12 and studied CS in college have so much more knowledge than you, and especially when the majority of technical interviews stress data structures and algorithms that are basically only taught in academia, you have a long road ahead of you. You don't just "learn coding" one weekend because you're bored and hop on Codecademy.

    Tl;dr: I didn't say being quantitatively brilliant and a good networker/salesperson were mutually exclusive. I said it was very rare and a special combination.

      • 9
    Apr 23, 2016

    +1

    I'm in the exact situation/dilemma that you painted, albeit in the UK.

    Maths&CS Major with solid social chops here :)

    Array

    Feb 4, 2016

    The fact that the non-technical (developer/ product manager) positions at startups have become attractive enough to lure away a huge amount of business (consulting/wall street) talent in the last few years is one of the things I see as a sign of a bubble. Once it blows I'm guessing most of these people will find themselves in similar roles at big tech cos. These positions will probably be both lower financial EV than finance and less fulfilling than 'change the world' startups

    I've been shocked by the number of my non-technical peers leaving business to move West IN 2015, when it should be obvious most of the bubble money has already been made.

    Feb 4, 2016

    Why do people on this site characterize Silicon Valley as just startups? The type of money you can make at a Facebook or a Google as a Quantitative Analyst/Data Scientist or Software Engineer is really good too. In fact the type of money you can make at any solid, venture-backed company in those positions can also be good.

    You shouldn't choose working in the Silicon Valley for the money, especially if you have 0 technical ability.

    Feb 4, 2016

    I think overall for young professionals coming out of school there really isn't much of a decision..

    Typical F500 Company:
    -Bosses and 90%+ of employees are 30+ years old
    -Structured roles, large hierarchical teams
    -Mentality that you have to earn your right to work on interesting projects (often takes years)
    -Maximum pay ceiling = Salary + Bonus
    -Boring corporate surroundings, Mundane small talk about kids / wife / vacation
    -Often located in smaller, regional skills
    -CEO doesn't know your first name even after 5+ years of working at the company
    -Little to no perks outside of basics like health insurance

    Startup:
    -90% of employees are in their 20's
    -Broad roles where you get to work in multiple functions
    -High level of responsibility immediately
    -Equity that could be worth millions
    -Cool offices with ping pong tables, XBOX, standing desk, beer, exposed brick
    -Usually in SF or NYC
    -CEO sits in the desk next to you
    -Free beer, catered lunches, swag, fun events

    Only con of the startup is job security and you can move to another startup pretty easily until you hit one where your equity is worth something. Not like your job is guaranteed at the F500 anyway.

      • 2
    Feb 4, 2016

    As someone who left finance to work as a developer at the top tech companies & startups in SF, I'm going to have to strongly disagree with the below:

    "if you want to make money you go to Wall Street. If you want to make a fortune you go to Silicon Valley. Equity makes up a huge component of the start-up compensation package and the earlier you get in the better it is."

    This is entirely untrue UNLESS you are a founder. You go on to talk about earning equity/percentage points, and what those relative values are on high valuations, but you miss two key points.

    First, if you ever leave your company, in 99.999% of startups you have 90 days to exercise your stock options (this means literally forking out $100ks+ to become an investor in the company.

    Second. you also will have no idea what the financing round terms were for your companies investors, who may have preferences of 2-3x return before any shareholders see a penny. Your valuation assume a pari passu preference which is not always the case.

    You can see more here (Sam Altman is a well known investor):
    http://zachholman.com/posts/fuck-your-90-day-exerc... http://blog.samaltman.com/employee-equity

    Since the 2000s, option grants for employees have gone considerably down, as funding has become easier. The old adage about giving up salary to join a startup and getting equity on the upside is just not true. Salaries at most startups are in line with top tech companies (sometimes higher). Its the equity packages where these differ. Google/facebook offers tangible stock options (my brother got $200k+) which you can sell after they vest( typically 10%, 30% each year thereafter) , vs a similar absolute value in stock options for the startup he is at now which is completely illiquid, and will vanish in 90 days if he every leaves.

    If you are interested in joining a startup, you do it for the rewarding work. This sounds cliche, but I'm referring to having more responsibilities than you would as an employee in a hierarchical corporate structure, and also being able to work on newer products. Startups are also more of meritocracy and you deal with less corporate b.s.

    All the above is reversed if you're a founder, where you have the opportunity to make more money while burning less personal cash as fundraising is generally easier.

      • 7
    Feb 4, 2016

    I actually agree with you. I oversimplified the equity compensation for employees. However when it goes to early hire (talking the first 20 people) you are given substantial equity comparative to most. One of the best examples is to look at some of the larger IPO's for Google and Facebook where several employees become multi-millionaires and billionaires.

    Obviously that has to do with once in a life time (or a least a handful of times) opportunities and companies, but it can use in smaller doses and proportion with less disruptive but still successful companies.

    I agree the best reason to do it is for rewarding work. The second is if you have an entrepreneurial bone in your body it will amplify it 1000X more. Example, before I came out here I didn't know how to program at all and now I've completed the entire front end development freecodecamp courses and planning on launching a web service pretty soon (i.e. when I finish the website's front end and buddy / co-founder is able to integrate the back end).

    Early key hires (not only founders) are who I am referring to in my post. Not exactly the 1000th many like myself. In other words I got negligible equity which unless we triple our valuation over the next 2-3 years isn't worth the paper its written on.

    "It is better to have a friendship based on business, than a business based on friendship." - Rockefeller.

    "Live fast, die hard. Leave a good looking body." - Navy SEAL

      • 1
    Feb 4, 2016

    The "it's great to work at a start-up" (1000 employees is not a start-up though) bubble is bursting. Down-rounds are happening. Options are underwater. Perks will go next. There are a lot of unicorns with unsustainable unit economics. If you come to SV, work for Google, FB, AAPL, or in enterprise software.

    Feb 4, 2016

    Guys,

    Please don't be blindsided by the supposed compensation at the startups. When he cites the example of 1% of equity leading to a cool $1mn, what OP forgets here is the Liquidation Preference. As an employee you get common shares and if sh!t hits the fan, the VCs and growth investors will get their money back first as they are preference share holders. IF there is anything left, you will get your money.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2015/12/27/technology/when-...
    A must read for anyone dreaming of startup millions.

      • 1
    Feb 4, 2016

    Good point. +1.

    Feb 4, 2016

    In my humble opinion, compare two companies not two industries
    i would choose to work for Google but they give much importance to engineers, and my technical skills are getting rusty in this fast paced world

    Feb 4, 2016

    Regardless of whether there is liq. pref. above you or not, chances are, when you're referring to high valuations and 0.1% ownership stake, you're referring to theoretical valuations - i.e. the company has NOT been transacted (liquidation event such as M&A or IPO) at such a valuation and therefore it's a made up number.

    The episodes of start-ups making non-founders filthy rich are far and few between; the majority of start-ups fail.

    Note: I worked in growth equity investing for 2 years and dealt with these types of companies and their capital structures on a daily basis so I think I have sound judgement on this topic.

      • 1
    Feb 4, 2016

    so I guess this means I should stop holding off from starting SiliconValleyOasis.com? or is SVOasis.com a better name?

    Anyone want to manage it / run it day to day? not joking.

    Feb 4, 2016
    WallStreetOasis.com:

    so I guess this means I should stop holding off from starting SiliconValleyOasis.com? or is SVOasis.com a better name?

    Anyone want to manage it / run it day to day? not joking.

    I did some market sizing for my own tech careers forum, but it looks like it's pretty heated already. Namely, https://www.reddit.com/r/cscareerquestions has developed a really strong presence with 60k subscribers, and it's in an environment that college CS kids are already very comfortable and familiar with (reddit). I think Reddit basically disrupted the standalone message board website - and they don't even make money from it. WSO has thrived because fortunately there's little overlap between Reddit's hyper liberal userbase with that of the demographic of people interested in careers on Wall Street. A "Silicon Valley Oasis" probably wouldn't enjoy the same immunity.

    Engineering students are also really resourceful but don't have to go as far out of their way to acquire materials that would help their job search as finance kids. Your revenue model in selling interview/modeling training etc. wouldn't be as effective when these kids can go look up answers to common interview questions on Quora, or download Crack the Coding Interview which is basically the only thing you will ever need to prepare for software engineering interviews.

    Any entrepreneur knows to not let existing competition deter you though, so give it a shot! Just pointing out reasons why it might not catch on. P.S. I owe a lot to this community and you for starting it, so I wouldn't mind helping out.

      • 2
    Feb 4, 2016

    That would be brilliant haha. If you could generate enough interest. Quora has it pretty locked up, but overall I think it'd work well. MDOasis should a thing one day.

    Honestly speaking, if you were offered an IBD position at a decent middle market, would you hesitate even for a second before accepting?

    Probably not honestly. Software sales > IBD for entrepreneurial ventures. Really in start-ups and entrepreneurship you have to have one of three types of skills: sales, product or capital. I like to think I'd rather be a Mark Cuban than a Ken Griffith.

    "It is better to have a friendship based on business, than a business based on friendship." - Rockefeller.

    "Live fast, die hard. Leave a good looking body." - Navy SEAL

    Feb 4, 2016

    I'd have to highly disagree with the OP's post regarding becoming wealthy from the unicorns of the world.

    There are only two things that matter in tech wealth - capital structure and liquidity; paper valuations are close to irrelevant. SF landlords do not accept RSUs for rent, but I know a lot of people who wish they did.

    Search for DoorDash, FourSquare, and Guilt in regards to their valuations.

    I work as a product manager at one of the three companies listed above. My shares, which I have worked extremely hard for, are about to be devalued, or have been devalued to the point that they might be worth $0.

    Everything is great until you take a down-round and watch your net worth vanish in a day.

      • 3
    Feb 4, 2016
    SFtoMarin:

    Everything is great until you take a down-round and watch your net worth vanish in a day.

    This is such an important point. I hope it works out for you.

    Feb 4, 2016

    Not to derail the thread, but somewhat related - what is the demand like for non-tech personnel at startups generally? How easy is it to transfer from one startup to another as a business employee rather than an engineer, etc.?

    Feb 4, 2016
    paperorplastic:

    Not to derail the thread, but somewhat related - what is the demand like for non-tech personnel at startups generally? How easy is it to transfer from one startup to another as a business employee rather than an engineer, etc.?

    What's your beard length to pants tightness ratio?

      • 3
    Feb 4, 2016

    No doubt that startups aren't the best path to wealth. That said, it's only one form of tech entrepreneurship. There are tons of small business software companies out there raking in the dough solving real business problems for the many real companies out there that are far behind the curve of all the latest frameworks and tools.

    If you like tech, like entrepreneurship, want to make good money without killing yourself as an owner, and have a business or engineering background -- worth considering.

      • 1
    Feb 4, 2016
    moneymogul:

    No doubt that startups aren't the best path to wealth. That said, it's only one form of tech entrepreneurship.

    Also worth noting is that "startup" does not inherently mean "tech startup" or "IT startup"

    Feb 4, 2016

    blackthorne is 100% right on the money.

    Feb 4, 2016

    Not to interrupt the tech-fellatio, but since the awesomeness of the guys going to startups is so self evident, why the need to grudgefuck i-banking on this site every 2-3 months? And yes I'd prefer a (successful) startup to banking, but tap the brakes a little.

    Feb 4, 2016

    Just did a stock options valuation where the value declined by 90% because of financing rounds where significant liquidation preference and dividend rights were granted. A problem with those OPM models is that they don't consider future rounds of financing.

      • 1
    Feb 4, 2016

    I am. The next wave of growth equity rounds are very bleak with regard to valuation and squeezing out earlier pref and liquidation rights for the next guy who's going to step in is going to create drama on a down round that's going to happen. I'm in PE that concentrates on growth rather than pure LBO financial engineering (not really growth equity like me title says) but we're in for a tech adjustment.

    I conjure something that my late grandfather used to say, a guy who lived through the Depression and fought in WWII, and said that when the shoe shine guy starts giving you stock tips it's time to sell. When SV is so cool, or when everyone wants to work on Wall Street, it's time to sell and it's the top of the market.

    Feb 4, 2016

    I agree with DingDong. I think everyone in tech knows it. I believe Fidelity is reassessing the value of their investments (http://fortune.com/2015/11/13/why-fidelitys-markdo...). There are posts all over hacker news about how employee stock options aren't a reason to take a smaller salary. They are just compensating you for the risk that the company could go under rather quickly.

    Twitter and Yelp are great examples of companies riding high off of no profits it just took people some time to realize the level of growth to justify their valuation wasn't possible and it went pop.

    At least FB, Google and Amazon etc do make real money with real products/services.

    When it all happens I will be laughing my way to the bank.

    Feb 4, 2016

    @UTDFinanceGuy" Let's say you're someone with an excellent and technically rigorous idea, who decides to create a startup straight out of university. What happens if after a number of years, things just don't work out? What generally happens to these startup founders (assuming the possess genuine skills)? Is their experience looked upon favourably? Can they leverage that experience into great positions? Or are they screwed?

    Feb 4, 2016

    Arguably the best position to be in as a founder. A technical person working on a deeply technical product with your technical friends / hires is as antifragile as it gets. Even if you're not an engineer, you get product management experience which is valuable at big tech cos.

    I forgot the name of the internet company that some liberal arts major at Princeton dropped out to found with investment from his wealthy extended network. Anyways, it was pretty stupid, but he got a product out and ended up with a cushy PM gig at Facebook I believe in a talent acquisition.

    Feb 4, 2016

    Thanks for the interesting post.

    Apr 3, 2015

    I think tech is a really strong option especially as a software engineer. But one thing and old CS person told me is that CS can change and it requires you to always learn or be replaced.

    For example, iOS was nonexistent at some point, and now people code Swift and Xcode religiously. But I'm sure there were many CSers that didn't learn or were simply replaced by new college graduates.

    So I feel that since CS can change so quickly, it is a con. But overall, I would say tech lifestyle to money is much better.

    May 3, 2015

    Untrue, or true only for commodity positions you don't care about anyway in shops where it sucks to work.

    Computer science is a large and deep field. If you have sound mathematical bases, and you have covered the principles, everything else is a matter of learning a new syntax for it.

    For example, if you acquire sound bases in logic, learn what the relational model is and learn how to design relational databases, in the 1990s you might have been working on Oracle, in the 2000s MySQL or MS, today PostgreSQL. They're all syntactically slightly different and you need to watch out for some specific things (e.g. the weaker type system in MySQL vs Postgres), but the way you architecture your database, your schemas, etc. will always be the same.

    Another example is programming language families. If you master object oriented programming, Ruby, Python, PHP and Java are quite similar (in your example, Objective C is similar to Java, C and C++; Swift is a crossover between that and Haskell). If you master functional programming, you might have used Lisps in the 80s, but that knowledge is applicable in Scala or Haskell today, Clojure if you want to stick to Lisps, or even Python or Javascript where more and more FP features are crossing over.

    If you produce genuinely good work, particularly if open source, you can then access the better positions. I think 4-5m/year is a LOT, definitely something that means the developer has contributed to a major revenue source for the company. But a few hundred thousand a year is the market rate for a serious programmer with sound theoretical bases doing non-trivial things. Even someone with a decent understanding of databases can clear 200k/year at somewhere like IBM, with a fraction of the work hours of banking and flexibility options like remote work.

    Unfortunately the industry, particularly the visible part, is overrun with bad management and bad practices like Agile which encourage building fast and cheap things that break (as opposed to, say, TeX which is still used decades later). It takes a while to learn to navigate around these things and have a productive career instead of job hopping 100k/year startup jobs.

    May 3, 2015

    @EURCHF parity" That makes a lot of sense! Thanks for clarifying that up for me. I only wish I had the CS skills haha

    May 3, 2015
    EURCHF parity:

    Untrue, or true only for commodity positions you don't care about anyway in shops where it sucks to work.

    Computer science is a large and deep field. If you have sound mathematical bases, and you have covered the principles, everything else is a matter of learning a new syntax for it.

    For example, if you acquire sound bases in logic, learn what the relational model is and learn how to design relational databases, in the 1990s you might have been working on Oracle, in the 2000s MySQL or MS, today PostgreSQL. They're all syntactically slightly different and you need to watch out for some specific things (e.g. the weaker type system in MySQL vs Postgres), but the way you architecture your database, your schemas, etc. will always be the same.

    Another example is programming language families. If you master object oriented programming, Ruby, Python, PHP and Java are quite similar (in your example, Objective C is similar to Java, C and C++; Swift is a crossover between that and Haskell). If you master functional programming, you might have used Lisps in the 80s, but that knowledge is applicable in Scala or Haskell today, Clojure if you want to stick to Lisps, or even Python or Javascript where more and more FP features are crossing over.

    If you produce genuinely good work, particularly if open source, you can then access the better positions. I think 4-5m/year is a LOT, definitely something that means the developer has contributed to a major revenue source for the company. But a few hundred thousand a year is the market rate for a serious programmer with sound theoretical bases doing non-trivial things. Even someone with a decent understanding of databases can clear 200k/year at somewhere like IBM, with a fraction of the work hours of banking and flexibility options like remote work.

    Unfortunately the industry, particularly the visible part, is overrun with bad management and bad practices like Agile which encourage building fast and cheap things that break (as opposed to, say, TeX which is still used decades later). It takes a while to learn to navigate around these things and have a productive career instead of job hopping 100k/year startup jobs.

    This guy seems to know what he's talking about. In addition to Agile, I'd also add the entire PMBOK in that pile. This is something I'd only say under cover of anonymity but I believe the entire PMP certification aspect is a borderline scam.

    The textbook material has all of jack shit in common with how you manage projects in real world situations(Who the fuck runs a delay through a longass"integrated change management process" instead of just presenting the request for a calendar/budget adjustement through the stakeholders?) and staying certified requires a constant stream of payments to PMBOK....and despite the requirements for "experience" they post it's not uncommon to see offices full of people in clerical roles who are "Project Management Professionals".

    It also tends to lead to an environment where having an alphabet soup of certifications is valued more than the actual experience and skills an employee has, but anyway...

    There's also one thing I would share from family members who are in STEM(Engineering at a top 5 school to be more specific). Although demand is still relatively high, there is starting to be some significant downwards pressure on salaries due to the increasing availability of and preference to use cheaper Indian and Chinese immigrants in entry level engineering positions. Even at top 5 schools post median engineering undergrad salaries in the 70-80k range.

    Feb 4, 2016

    Finance hardly has a staid or "bro" culture, most financiers went to top schools and are more cultured I've found than techies. People in finance also tend not to be boring, a lot of people have interesting hobbies outside of work. Finance is often very cutting edge, rewards novel ideas (buy side in particular) and is much more merit based. Hours vary and aren't necessarily that bad, traders aren't killing themselves with the hours, ER can be not too bad.

      • 3
    Feb 4, 2016

    Go for finance, you can always head into tech if you really want to. Even better, get that computer science degree and take it to a quant firm on wall street. The real tech talent is at hedge funds, not silicon valley. Your actual salary and not stock int he valley caps at around 200k. Top phds at Amazon/google only make around 300k + stock. Which sounds nice, but isnt really that great.

    Feb 4, 2016

    There is much more of a "bro" culture in tech than in finance. (Though you will find it in both places.) You won't regret grinding out a couple of years in finance to learn the ropes before leaping to tech.

    And of course the preftige.

    Feb 4, 2016

    OP, I am in a really similar situation. The previous posts make great points but they are only talking about the business roles in the tech firms. If you want to be a PM, I think the experience in IB won't help a lot. You more or less need some real coding experience. Personally, I think what makes a tech firm attractive is its product. And you want to be the person who generates the idea and builds it up. My concern of pursuing tech is more about the quick die out of coder. Not everybody is going to become a PM. And since tech is growing so fast, what you learn in college might be irrelevant 5-10 years down the road.

    Feb 4, 2016
    SOmonkeyyy:

    OP, I am in a really similar situation. The previous posts make great points but they are only talking about the business roles in the tech firms. If you want to be a PM, I think the experience in IB won't help a lot. You more or less need some real coding experience. Personally, I think what makes a tech firm attractive is its product. And you want to be the person who generates the idea and builds it up. My concern of pursuing tech is more about the quick die out of coder. Not everybody is going to become a PM. And since tech is growing so fast, what you learn in college might be irrelevant 5-10 years down the road.

    Your mileage may vary by company, but when you are early on in your career the paths are much more fluid. I have seen people transition from engineering to corp dev/ marketing to product management etc.

    You also don't need "real coding experience" to be a PM. Intuit has a neat rotational program for example that can help you get that role. Associate product managers at Google also come from a bunch of different backgrounds.

    I worked strategy at a (Google/Square etc.) and now am back on the buy-side. Feel free to reach out if you have any specific questions.

    But generally speaking, I think you should talk to people in those industries. You are basing your decisions on some serious misconceptions.

    Feb 4, 2016

    These days, I'm finding it harder and harder to say no to tech. If lifestyle is more important to you than guaranteed cash and you haven an interest in tech, the value is compelling. Many of my coworkers / fellow grindmonkeys can't wait to exit to VC or a tech company. And on a monetary basis, if you're a risk taker and lucky, the payoff is incredible as well. I can't begin to tell you how many cap tables I've looked at during processes and seen the names of friends / acquaintances that have joined the right firms at the right time [stuff like 2 years of options vesting from a 100k/200k base to a 500k+/1MM+ deal exit value].

    There's a real difference between life in finance and life in tech. I think you've laid out a lot of the right factors although it is a bit more nuanced than prestige and pay vs lifestyle. Lifestyle is #1 difference of course though - 2 completely different working environments...

    Apr 3, 2015

    The jobs are too different to compare, same with the persons working there.

    If you're really, REALLY good at Engineering/CS/IT/etc. you actually have a viable shot at Google, no mater where you are from or what your background is. As long as you have something really interesting to show for, you have a chance. Not so much with GS. (FWIW, I know a guy that works for google as an Engineer, he graduated from a bumfuck college, but is a total wizard at what he's doing, and impressed the recruiters at google with his side projects).

    If you have a background from google, and worked on some pretty important projects, you can charge whatever you want.
    And lastly, let's not forget that working at google can be really interesting, if you have the chops. Some of their more futuristic and ambitious projects are mind-blowing.

    Feb 4, 2016

    That article sucked. My $0.02 would be for people that went and joined Facebook, google, etc are fine, but your friend who disappeared after he joined that pre revenue start up probably (i.e. 99% chance) isn't doing so good.

    Feb 4, 2016
    CountryUnderdog:

    That article sucked. My $0.02 would be for people that went and joined Facebook, google, etc are fine, but your friend who disappeared after he joined that pre revenue start up probably (i.e. 99% chance) isn't doing so good.

    The problem with your logic is that almost all of the Facebook/Google IPO millionaires joined when they were pre-revenue startups.

    When a startup has established itself as an IPO candidate, the chance to get any meaningful equity in a rank-and-file position has long since passed.

    Feb 4, 2016
    CountryUnderdog:

    That article sucked. My $0.02 would be for people that went and joined Facebook, google, etc are fine, but your friend who disappeared after he joined that pre revenue start up probably (i.e. 99% chance) isn't doing so good.

    The problem with your logic is that almost all of the Facebook/Google IPO millionaires joined when they were pre-revenue startups.

    When a startup has established itself as an IPO candidate, the chance to get any meaningful equity in a rank-and-file position has long since passed.

    Feb 4, 2016
    000000:

    If you go work at Snapchat/Uber/et al for a few years and the Web 2.0 bubble pops, and you suddenly decide you'd rather be a banking analyst, it's not really possible to make that transition because big banks only recruit on campus for entry-level positions.

    I'd rather work in the area that I enjoy.

    If you go into banking or tech driven entirely by the money and without an interest and enjoyment of your career, then you're in for an empty, shallow life. Burn out in your 30s and at least one mid-life crisis are likely too.

      • 3
    Feb 4, 2016

    +1 to this.

    Also it's not like tech just died after the bubble burst, there was just less jobs available than before. Kind of like when the financial crisis hit... Bubbles are going to happen, but doing what you love will make it all irrelevant in the end.

    Feb 4, 2016
    SSits:
    000000:

    If you go work at Snapchat/Uber/et al for a few years and the Web 2.0 bubble pops, and you suddenly decide you'd rather be a banking analyst, it's not really possible to make that transition because big banks only recruit on campus for entry-level positions.

    I'd rather work in the area that I enjoy.

    If you go into banking or tech driven entirely by the money and without an interest and enjoyment of your career, then you're in for an empty, shallow life. Burn out in your 30s and at least one mid-life crisis are likely too.

    Feb 4, 2016
    SSits:
    000000:

    If you go work at Snapchat/Uber/et al for a few years and the Web 2.0 bubble pops, and you suddenly decide you'd rather be a banking analyst, it's not really possible to make that transition because big banks only recruit on campus for entry-level positions.

    I'd rather work in the area that I enjoy.

    If you go into banking or tech driven entirely by the money and without an interest and enjoyment of your career, then you're in for an empty, shallow life. Burn out in your 30s and at least one mid-life crisis are likely too.

    Ideally yes. But if you track CS 101 (or its equivalent) enrollment over time at any top engineering university, it's almost a direct 1:1 correlation with the NASDAQ index. Like it or not, people are driven by money, and top talent (who have the most options) tends to flock towards where the money is at the given moment.

    Feb 4, 2016

    I did and I have no regrets. Interned in banking and jumped to Silicon Valley post grad to work in Finance at a big tech company. It really depends on what you want to do with your life, I understand that I'll probably never have the chance to go back into banking/PE(unless I go post-MBA) but that doesn't really bother me.

    I'm 21, making a pretty good salary, and most importantly I get to feel like I'm living my life. I workout everyday, have time for my side projects, get to see friends/family on the weekends, and my banker mentality makes me an all-star at work. I can put in 60 hours a week and people think I'm a workaholic. Oh and its 75 and sunny all the time.

    Maybe I'll be lucky and make it big at a startup, but even if I just establish my career in a Finance/Corp Dev/ Strat/PM etc at a big company, I'll be pulling down 200-300k plus awesome benefits by my late 20s early 30s. Honestly its not a bad place to be and its suited me perfectly.

      • 2
    Oct 1, 2018

    Will working as a technology analyst at Accenture help me become a software developer at the big tech firms (Google, Amazon, Microsoft, etc.)? Or should I take time off (not working) to gain software development skills?

    Feb 4, 2016

    Technology just started, and it's already part of everything. the tech bubble wasn't really a bubble, it's just that
    the market wasn't prepared yet, but it's changing, Silicon valley is in the center of all this

      • 1
    Feb 4, 2016
    wilhug:

    Technology just started, and it's already part of everything. the tech bubble wasn't really a bubble, it's just that

    the market wasn't prepared yet, but it's changing, Silicon valley is in the center of all this

    I don't think you understand what technology is, or what economic bubbles are.

    Technology did not "just start" - it's literally prehistoric - and it is certainly not part of everything.

    The last tech bubble was a textbook example of an economic bubble, where asset prices had nothing to do with intrinsic value.

    What you might be trying to say is that the rate of technological change is itself accelerating (and I would agree), but your statements in their current form are completely false.

    Feb 4, 2016

    I went Tech > Finance and don't regret a single minute of it.

    Feb 4, 2016

    My anecdotal observation from working as a junior at a VC firm.

    Everyone idealizes joining at a start-up, doing "meaningful work", and cashing your equity stake when the company makes an exit. Great in concept, and top talent deserves the compensation for joining an unknown brand. It goes without saying, that we all know the odds/difficulty of finding that big break start-up.

    But another factor stands in the way of your success. As soon as any tech firm raises funding - you have some of the most savvy/relentless shareholders in the form of VC's. They make big money engineering these financial exits. And when it is coming time for IPO or Acquisition by a strategic - they groom every senior/executive manager and every public facing loose end. Unless you are a brilliant engineer/coder (the role they least understand) - no job is safe. Marketing, Sales, Management, Legal, and Especially Accounting/Finance (because they most understand that role).

    So they force/dilute you out - ultimately making much less than if you got to attend the big party. And guess who gets parachuted into the firm with a nice option package - that high-powered/high-performing big-banking, big-consulting, or big law professional. These are the calibre of people they leverage for the final leg before the big exit. Not "fair", not necessarily a "meritocracy". But it makes sense and you cant blame them - all of their return is dependant upon engineering a strong financial exit.

    Sorry kids. But atleast you got a hoodie.

      • 2
    Feb 4, 2016

    which VC you're in?

    Feb 4, 2016

    In the scenario you described you would get more than a hoodie. Sure, you get diluted down at each round but you continue to get a smaller piece of a much bigger and more valuable pie and if they force you out (terminated without cause) you would generally fully vest and proceed to head to the beach or on to the next project while the company heads for an exit. If you were really valuable early on you could have potentially also negotiated full ratchet or anti dilution provisions.

    Feb 4, 2016

    I was thinking about joining finance after undergraduate, but decided to go the tech route. I joined my company about 6 months after it proved itself and was seen as a player in the market. Been here 2.5 years and so far the options have gone up enough to make it worth it.

    As the company grows though, I do see myself liking my role less and less (responsibilities get diluted, beauracracy grows). I knew this would eventually happen, but in about 1-2 years, I'll need to make a decision on where to go next. Another start up or an MBA to eventually get into finance (preferably VC).

    All in all, I don't regret it because I've learned a lot of valuable information regarding these types of companies, and hopefully I'll be able to position myself to get into a finance field that interests me.

    May 3, 2015

    good luck getting laid in an electric car

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      • 1
    May 3, 2015
    theebreadwinner:

    good luck getting laid in an electric car

    Most people don't need a specific type of car to get laid.

      • 1
    May 3, 2015

    you may be right, but ever since I bought the toyota prius the girls have been DROPPIN their drawers. why buy a ferrari? models care more about whether or not you're eco friendly

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    Feb 4, 2016

    I would find a new mentor... Maybe transfer schools if this is someone your school supports...
    When he flies, does he also ask the pilots why they didn't get become a history professor instead?
    Two retively unrelated careers.

    Array

    Feb 4, 2016

    tbf quite a few people have asked that.

    a friend was asked this same question at a BB.

    'You seem a smart guy who has a handle on math and show himself to be creative enough and savvy enough with tech. Why not Silicon valley?'

    Array

    Feb 4, 2016

    Because a lot of the guys that go into IB (and finance in general) enjoy well-defined and less risky career paths. Having experience from a BB on your resume will also work as a great springboard for future jobs, especially compared to the startup route.

    I really admire the guys that go all in on startups though. It's fuck or walk, and many of them (especially those without any decent technical expertise) have absolutely NO backup plans.

    If you want best of both, work 2-3 years in IB and then move to tech. If you've got the intellectual horsepower to get into a target school, and a prestigious bank, you should be more than capable to pick up some relevant skills in your free time. If that doesn't work out, you could always get your MBA and move on as planed.

    But in short: It's a risk:reward thing. If you want to hit it big in the startup scene, you'll either have to be
    A) One of the founders in a decent startup.
    B) A relatively early member in some unicorn.

    Feb 4, 2016
    tackytech:

    Because a lot of the guys that go into IB (and finance in general) enjoy well-defined and less risky career paths. Having experience from a BB on your resume will also work as a great springboard for future jobs, especially compared to the startup route.

    I really admire the guys that go all in on startups though. It's fuck or walk, and many of them (especially those without any decent technical expertise) have absolutely NO backup plans.

    If you want best of both, work 2-3 years in IB and then move to tech. If you've got the intellectual horsepower to get into a target school, and a prestigious bank, you should be more than capable to pick up some relevant skills in your free time. If that doesn't work out, you could always get your MBA and move on as planed.

    But in short: It's a risk:reward thing. If you want to hit it big in the startup scene, you'll either have to beA) One of the founders in a decent startup.B) A relatively early member in some unicorn.

    A and B 100%.

    So many pre & post MBAs don't realize this. You're either the 1st 3-5 in a startup that goes through a couple of successful rounds or your miniscule equity stake @ a more mature unicorn is worth something when institutional investors step in for the round before IPO.

    In conclusion, you aren't getting rich in tech contrary to belief. However, it's cool to say you work in tech...

    Feb 4, 2016

    Maybe you shouldn't be trying to get into investment banking if you don't know why you want to enter the industry/aren't actually interested in the work...this question should be extremely simple if you actually want to work in IB as IB vs. silicon valley/entrepreneurship are not even close to the same thing.

    Feb 4, 2016
    notthehospitalER:

    Maybe you shouldn't be trying to get into investment banking if you don't know why you want to enter the industry/aren't actually interested in the work...this question should be extremely simple if you actually want to work in IB as IB vs. silicon valley/entrepreneurship are not even close to the same thing.

    Well, in all fairness, shit loads of grads go into IB with little to no knowledge of the job or industry. They will only stay for 1 to 3 years, before moving on to something different. Just like mgmt consulting. They know the money and experience is great.

    Tech on the other hand, seems to have a lot more enthusiasts. The kind of people that are really, REALLY passionate about their fields. So I won't lie, it's really hard to compete against people like that. especially it's something technical (Engineering, Data Analysis, Design). I don't know any junior bankers that spend all their spare time on financial pet projects. Entrepreneurs, on the other hand....

    May 3, 2015
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