1/5/17

The Truth About The Back Office

Hey guys, so I know there are a few posts about the back office (i.e Operations) on this site but I just thought I'd add my 2 cents as I recently left for another job after spending 1 year in BB Ops.

1. Pay:

I don't know about other banks or regions but in mine, the base starting salary (non-NYC) was around ~45k with a signing bonus of ~7.5k. During training in NYC, I learned that my NYC counterparts received a base of ~60k and signing bonus of ~10k.

This is actually not too bad, considering that I live in a VERY cheap area. Unless you are an idiot, you are able to save at least 1.5k EACH MONTH and even more if you're super frugal. Obviously it's not the same for NYC but where I live, this is not uncommon.

In addition to our base/bonus, we were paid overtime (again, in my region... not sure about NYC). Depending on your team you worked anywhere from 10-14 hours a day. We worked 10 hours each day (7am-5pm) and were paid half time for each hour over 40. This added up to about ~52k, plus ~7.5k means we made about ~60k our first year in a VERY LOW COL area!

2. Performance Bonus:

It seemed like the first year bonus was usually around 4-5k across the board since most of the analysts had only been working for a few months and were still learning. After that, it could go anywhere from 2k-20k. Despite the fact that these bonuses were "discretionary", I had a lot of alum just tell me flat out what their bonuses were. The top performers (yes, even in Ops..) received anywhere from 10k-16k. The average was around 6k-9k, and if you sucked then you can go as low as 3k.

Another cool thing was that our bonus was ADDED to our BASE and our OVERTIME pay was calculated with BASE+BONUS. Ex:

48k BASE + 10k BONUS = 58K
Hourly = 58K/52/40 = 27.80

Working 10 hours per day turns 58K into 65K.

Yes, I know this is still considered "low" at WSO but the average salary in my region is like 40k-45k.

3. Lifestyle:

We worked from 7am - 5pm, sometimes 6pm. Usually we were done by 5. 18 Vacation days that we were free to take whenever we wanted. Unlimited sick days (at least for my BB, as long as you didn't abuse it). Easy to work from home when feeling sick or have other obligations that required you to stay home. Work was EASY AS HELL and had zero pressure/stress.

4. Exit Opportunities:

This is where I feel most WSO users get misled. I know that BB Ops is not the best job, but if you are a hard worker and a good networker, it is VERY POSSIBLE to jump into FO or even move into management consulting. The BB brand name helps getting into industries outside of finance but your personal performance will help you get into FO (within the same BB).

I've seen people move to IB, S&T, ER, Credit Risk... etc. Another possible option is working for 3-5 years and getting your MBA. A lot of my connections moved on to M7 MBA programs (mostly Booth and some in MO at Wharton). It's not only about your job title but it's about leadership, work ethic, extracurricular activities, and telling your story! I also highly recommend you check out the Consulting Case Interview Pack from WSO in order to make sure when you do get your chance, you're ready to ace the interview. If you work hard, you will have plenty of opportunities to come up with "interesting" projects that can really make you attractive to bschools.

In conclusion:

Working in BB Ops isn't so bad unless you are deadset and gungho about going FO. Even then, you can definitely use this opportunity to lateral and network.

As for me, I got a job offer at a f500 large tech company, a boutique strategy consulting firm with managers from MBB, and a smaller tech company that just went public last year. I'll be joining the smaller tech company next week!

Hope this helps some future Ops monkeys as I know I was depressed as hell when it was the only offer I got from my crappy non-target. There will always be more opportunities so don't give up!

Mod Note (Andy) - Throwback Thursday, this was originally posted 7/21/2015.

Comments (68)

7/9/15

Any info on promotions and career growth? Ops isn't for me personally but I think that info would be nice for anyone reading

Financial Modeling

7/9/15

Promotions are pretty simple:

A0 > A1 > A2 > A3 (analyst > Associate 1 ... etc.

Opportunities to become Team Lead, Team Manager, later VP etc. It usually takes about 7-9 years to make VP at which point you should make around 110k+. Some associates I know however, already hit six figures.

3/4/16

Never Happened.

7/9/15

Is this GS SLC?

"I know you think you understand what you thought I said but I'm not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant."

  • Anonymous Monkey
  •  10/24/15

guaranteed. i work there.

10/24/15

yes - very accurate .i work there

10/19/16

Sure sounds like it. Not too different btw from middle office/risk at GS SLC btw

7/9/15

good story, thanks for sharing

WSO's COO (Chief Operating Orangutan) | My story | My Linkedin

7/9/15

man when i get a new job imma tell u how shitty my job is lol

7/9/15

An offer in Ops is better than no offers anywhere; if more people had your mindset we would have less people complaining about not getting FO despite not putting in the work.

A lot of monkeys aren't aiming for tech companies though so what was the motivator?

7/9/15

I was actually gunning for management consulting but after I got the offer, I realized that Ididn't want to be traveling every week. Later for an interview at the smaller tech company and will be doing corporate strategy work. Main motivators were interesting work, good lifestyle, early exposure to leadership (CEO, CFO, AND COO offices are 10-20 ft away from me), and decent pay. Free catered lunch everyday doesn't hurt either ;)

7/9/15

If you do not mind me asking, where did you move to?

7/9/15

sent pm.

7/9/15

Interesting and a much needed perspective to those eager prospective monkeys here on WSO. I feel like @Flake scared the living crap out of most users several years ago talking about his experience in a back office role...at least I think it was Flake...

7/9/15

WSO's COO (Chief Operating Orangutan) | My story | My Linkedin

Best Response
7/10/15
WallStreetOasis.com:

Interesting and a much needed perspective to those eager prospective monkeys here on WSO. I feel like @Flake scared the living crap out of most users several years ago talking about his experience in a back office role...at least I think it was Flake...

Thank you, Patrick.

I do have a few comments/questions:

  • Isn't it strange that every one of these BO-ain't-so-bad threads always include how you can get into a top b-school, network, and/or take any other number of steps to...get out of BO?
  • Where are all the posts titled "Some more truth about BB Ops and how I've been there for 10 years and still loving it"? How about "AMA: VP in BB Ops with no ulterior motives to move to FO whatsoever who doesn't cry himself to sleep every night"? I haven't seen too many of these pop up...I'm sure it's because they exceed WSO's thread title character limits.
  • This is Wall Street Oasis not Mediocrity Oasis. Most of us here have greater aspirations than to out earn a middle America forklift driver.

The point of my old post wasn't to scare anyone but rather to remind people in similar situations to focus on the ultimate end-goal and to be relentless. I mean...I could have just talked about how working in ops wasn't THAT bad, how the pay wasn't THAT low, and how the work wasn't THAT boring but I had a different audience in mind while doing that Q&A.

BO can be a great stepping stone for driven recent undergrads who didn't have the opportunity to do what they really wanted...but why waste so much time talking about something so temporary and trying to justify it?

Under my tutelage, you will grow from boys to men. From men into gladiators. And from gladiators into SWANSONS.

7/10/15

I am a current Summer Analyst in a BB Markets Operations team. While this internship wasn't my ultimate end goal, I feel that I have been able to gain more exposure to Middle office positions than I was initially expecting.

I have been able to network fairly heavily through many opportunities offered by the firm, and I hope to use this as leverage to secure something in corporate banking.

Ops is not first choice for many of us, but it is also the only way in the door for a lot of us who are not attending target schools/markets.

10/5/15
Flake:

WallStreetOasis.com:Interesting and a much needed perspective to those eager prospective monkeys here on WSO. I feel like @Flake scared the living crap out of most users several years ago talking about his experience in a back office role...at least I think it was Flake...

Thank you, Patrick.

I do have a few comments/questions:

- Isn't it strange that every one of these BO-ain't-so-bad threads always include how you can get into a top b-school, network, and/or take any other number of steps to...get out of BO?

- Where are all the posts titled "Some more truth about BB Ops and how I've been there for 10 years and still loving it"? How about "AMA: VP in BB Ops with no ulterior motives to move to FO whatsoever who doesn't cry himself to sleep every night"? I haven't seen too many of these pop up...I'm sure it's because they exceed WSO's thread title character limits.

- This is Wall Street Oasis not Mediocrity Oasis. Most of us here have greater aspirations than to out earn a middle America forklift driver.

The point of my old post wasn't to scare anyone but rather to remind people in similar situations to focus on the ultimate end-goal and to be relentless. I mean...I could have just talked about how working in ops wasn't THAT bad, how the pay wasn't THAT low, and how the work wasn't THAT boring but I had a different audience in mind while doing that Q&A.

BO can be a great stepping stone for driven recent undergrads who didn't have the opportunity to do what they really wanted...but why waste so much time talking about something so temporary and trying to justify it?

It's all about exit opps. 95% of front-office IB analysts will leave IB, most as early as 2 years in. You see almost no posts from front office IB VP's and directors talking about how awesome it is either - and the handful that believe this, are almost all post-mba hires.

For a 21-22 year old, exit opps are key, and I don't know why you devalue them so much. Likewise, most IB people go to business school, so again don't know why you act like this isn't important either.

I spent 5 years in BB Ops...and got the same consulting job out of MBA that many of the former BB IB and PE people at my school got. Only difference being I had a ton of fun in my early 20's.

7/9/15

You're a baller way to use your resources.

Financial Modeling

7/9/15

Great write up! To share another data point:

I did NYC ops...Salary was higher, no over-time, lower bonus than you were getting. Promotion path was a bit quicker...usually VP at around 29 (I know a girl that did it at 25 by jumping around firms, definitely an outlier though).

  • Pay...started at $60k + no bonus ($10k signing though) in 2009 (its at $70k now at both my firms)...was making $90k + 10k bonus when I left 4.5 years later. Pay would've been lower if I didn't change companies though.
  • Hours were great, generally 40-50 hours a week.
  • Work was somewhat interesting, but I was doing project work, not BAU ops work. Still pretty boring.
  • In hindsight, stress was actually fairly high, but I think that's NYC and a few shitty managers I had. I'm doing MC now, and work twice as much, but feel less stressed.
  • Quite a few ops people at the M7, including myself. Lots of success too - my friend went from back back office operations to McKinsey this year.
  • I saw less exit opportunity (outside of bschool) than you...but I think that's an artifact of me being an analyst during the peak of the great recession. I started to get consulting reach outs around the same I was applying to bschool, which wasn't the case my first few years.
7/9/15

Nice one. This is a great insight, thanks for the write up!

+SB'D

7/10/15

Great post, what area were you living in?

7/10/15

I started in the most back office of back offices as a temp filing trade tickets, and I agree that it's not a bad place to start if you know how to work hard, move up and sell your value to "better" opportunities. Two of my best friends to this day ~13 years later were guys I started with in the back/middle office. We ended up as the head of global credit trading for a top IB, founder of a commodities trading firm, and a VC backed tech startup founder...not too bad for a bunch of back office monkeys.

7/11/15

Good to hear, I've been in a very similar temp position for a couple weeks and I am already planning my escape.

7/10/15

Besides lateraling from BO to FO within the same company, has anyone ever made that jump from different companies ? And I'm really thinking like from one BB to another, not so much BB ops to a boutique which happens fairly often

7/10/15
NYCslick:

Besides lateraling from BO to FO within the same company, has anyone ever made that jump from different companies ? And I'm really thinking like from one BB to another, not so much BB ops to a boutique which happens fairly often

In times when there are a good amount of lateral positions available, it's not uncommon for a handful of people to jump from Ops at one BB to IB at another bank, particularly when there was a rough economy recently and a lot of solid kids end up in Ops.

My personal progression was BB Temp BO -> MO -> FO (all in the same FI product group) -> IB at different BB. That whole process took about 2.5 years.

7/10/15

Great stuff! @opsdude1" thought of you as soon as I saw this!

Metal. Music. Life. www.headofmetal.com

7/10/15

Interesting post! Is it possible to go from BO at a BB to FO as an analyst at a boutique? (perhaps BB buts lets be more realistic) Also I have noticed that there is a huge discrepancy in salaries. From what I've seen on glassdoor and here is that IB analysts usually make 130-160k gross (base+bonuses), are those numbers for FO only and what ball park would MO and BO pay be for an area like SF, LA, or NYC? How does work/life balance of MO/BO compare to private banking?

7/10/15

You can always wonder and ask if it is possible to go here or there.. but to be honest, there is always a possibility to make the move in my opinion as long as you 1. Network like a madman, 2. Prepare 110% for the interview, and 3. Are able to prove that you are more than qualified for the job.

People say you can't get a Harvard MBA without IBD>PE or MBB experience, one of my Alums (again, from my super non-target) worked at KPMG as an auditor and just finished up his MBA at Harvard (he is at Bain now).

There is always a chance as long as you work for it and are qualified for it. You just gotta let the right people know!

7/10/15

I have come from the depths of BB Ops and I must say, I think it wasn't a very good idea for me to take that position right out of college, whilst setting me back a few years.

Although, I did land a few boutique Ibank (through networking) and corp dev/strategy interviews they were far and few between (coupled with the fact that the job market was pretty bad). That being said, for anyone who has aspirations to move to a front office type role from ops, I'd suggest exiting ASAP.

7/10/15

Yeah I did ops to investment banking. It's not common, but it's doable.

7/10/15

A solid post with some great info.

I worked in a BB ops role as an associate coming out of B-school. The above information is spot on for the analysts. For the associates not so much. Associates are not paid overtime. The salary is not that much better, and in fact it was a step down in pay from my career as a Naval Officer. I took the job largely for the brand name and hopes that I could network around the firm during an absolutely horrible time in the markets.

Personally, I would run away from a BO associate position as fast as possible. Analysts are able to make transitions either through B-school, or their network within the bank, for an associate, this is much harder to do and much more rare. An analyst colleague of mine went from SLC BO to the FO in NYC based in his relationships. I saw several other folks leverage the role into better jobs outside the firm, or in other industries.

For me personally, I was able to use a solid "Gold" brand name to get a job as a commodities analyst at a F500 oil company, which I have in turn leveraged into a power and nat gas trader role.

Remember, it doesn't matter where you start, only where you finish...

7/10/15

Since we're on this topic... I just received a recruiting email for a GS Associate Ops role in Change Mgmt/Project Mgmt. I'm currently in Big 4 consulting (finance strategy, non-accounting).

Think thats a good move?

My goal is either an M7 MBA or strategy/biz-ops at a startup.

7/10/15
mazman:

Since we're on this topic... I just received a recruiting email for a GS Associate Ops role in Change Mgmt/Project Mgmt. I'm currently in Big 4 consulting (finance strategy, non-accounting).

Think thats a good move?

My goal is either an M7 MBA or strategy/biz-ops at a startup.

Mazman, you'll be able to get into M7 MBA/strategy/startup experience with either positions because it really all depends on your GMAT/networking efforts. I'd take whichever job that fits your personality/interests/location/pay. Really can't go wrong with either and a lot of the Change Management Associates and VP's in my BB were previously consultants like yourself that were just sick of the travel.

7/10/15

Just curious, what types of gmat scores were your colleagues who went M7 looking at? And did they do this after their 2-years were up?

7/10/15
Sten_Biller:

Just curious, what types of gmat scores were your colleagues who went M7 looking at? And did they do this after their 2-years were up?

Most had gmat scores that were between 700-750 which is expected for anyone shooting for M7. They did this after about 4-5 years of working in Ops.

7/10/15

Does it depend on the BB if you're trying to internal transfer from BO to FO? Honestly it seems like my BB it is very possible.

It matters if you get offered a BO position at a GS/MS BB and would have to leave a lower tier BB BO. If the lower tier BB is more open to internal transfers, then you may be better off not taking the better BB offer and staying out at your current BB

Any insight?

7/10/15
theebreadwinner:

Does it depend on the BB if you're trying to internal transfer from BO to FO? Honestly it seems like my BB it is very possible.

It matters if you get offered a BO position at a GS/MS BB and would have to leave a lower tier BB BO. If the lower tier BB is more open to internal transfers, then you may be better off not taking the better BB offer and staying out at your current BB

Any insight?

I don't quite understand your second question but for your first, I think it's always a possibility to move as long as you make the right connections. All it takes is one VP to send off your resume or give a good word and you should get an interview right away. (At least that was the case for me)

Just a few weeks ago, a buddy of mine was able to move from GS Ops to GS TMT :) He did work his butt off and had built a really tight network with a bunch of upper level managers though.

7/10/15

Thanks for the insightful post!!
I just received an Analyst role offer from GS Ops and was debating it. Your opinions gave me a lot of clarity.

One question though - as an Analyst in Ops, I assume most of the work you do be processing trades, etc aka back of the back work? What kind of "skills" were you able to speak about to your new employer in the interview stage, that you gained from Ops?

7/10/15
lolcatsloll:

Thanks for the insightful post!!
I just received an Analyst role offer from GS Ops and was debating it. Your opinions gave me a lot of clarity.

One question though - as an Analyst in Ops, I assume most of the work you do be processing trades, etc aka back of the back work? What kind of "skills" were you able to speak about to your new employer in the interview stage, that you gained from Ops?

I mostly talked about some projects that I worked on where we streamlined certain processes and made something more efficient. I also spoke a lot about having opportunities to give a monthly report to our MD (sort of a mini presentation) with a financial model that is updated each month showing the results of our products and how it is performing. I tied this closely with data analysis, modeling, and presentation skills etc..

No matter what you do, you can easily make it flashier than it really is. As long as you are not lying, I think it is okay :)

7/11/15

Thanks wannabeconsultant999 !

7/10/15

@Flake hit the nail on the head. Until I see the post that says 'I work in ops and don't plan on leaving, AMA' people can't really say "ops ain't too bad".

7/10/15
NESCAC:

@Flake hit the nail on the head. Until I see the post that says 'I work in ops and don't plan on leaving, AMA' people can't really say "ops ain't too bad".

I think it's okay to say "ops ain't too bad", but wrong to say (at least for me), "ops is GREAT!"

There are plenty of people that love their careers in Ops and move on to become VP's and MD's. However, they probably won't be found browsing this site because they're not looking to go anywhere. Most people in WSO are always looking for their next move whether it be MBA/MSF/FO/MO/Consulting or whatever.

7/10/15

To preface, I am one of the "success stories" referenced in this post. I started out as GS SLC (120 employees at that time, grew to 1700 ish by the time I left) and consider myself a "pioneer" of the office (if you know SLC, you get the reference). After 5 really tough years, I moved on the FO SLC. I worked there for 2 years and now work at a top 5 asset manager out on the east coast. The team I work on manages 10 digits.

That being said, some of my hardest years were in ops. This is because it is really hard to differentiate yourself through skill. Basically, your only avenue to advance is to work harder. So 40-5 hours is not quite right. I regularly put in 70-80 hours. Oddly some of these practices were forced out as some analysts were booking too much overtime. So we would work 70 hours and book 50.

Happy to help share my experiences with those in GS SLC that are interested in my experience. Just send me a note. I like to mentor.

10/24/15

i am in GS SLC and looking for a mentor. I have been there for 2 yrs and im getting worried that if i stay too long it will be hard to move on. did you do the ER 2 yr program at GS SLC? Id love to go to an AM. I would like to be your mentee

3/4/16

I sent you a PM!

7/11/15

I did a two year stint in BO before landing a gig in MM PE. Like AspiringSage said, sometimes you just need to take what you can get out of undergrad and go from there. That being said, my recommendation is to avoid ops if possible unless you have an affinity for it as a long-term career path. I'll summarize:

  1. The work. This is just my opinion from my own experience but the work itself is quite mechanical and rather mind-numbing. You will not be stimulated, and if you are an intellectually curious person, will find it hard to accept the monotony of day to day.
  2. Exit Ops. Exiting can be challenging. Yes, it CAN be done, but why make your career path any harder than it has to be? I attribute my move into PE to a combination of sheer perseverance/grit and a lot of luck. Pursuing the CFA Charter helped grease the skids a bit but wasn't a golden ticket by any means. Btw, even when you do exit, your ops background comes up in conversation for years to follow. Even though I've been with my firm 7+ years and am relatively young, people always ask what I did previously as nearly everyone in my industry transitioned into it from somewhere else (typically iBanking).
  3. Opportunity Cost. The work you perform in operations does not translate whatsoever to an investment oriented role. Therefore, time spent in ops is wasted time and experience that could have been used to build some prescious intellectual capital in the nascent stage of your career. In this sense, I at times I have felt as if I'm a couple years behind from where I "should be". Although I've gotten over this (mostly).

I'll end with this. For those of you who currently feel stuck in ops, keep your head up and just keep grinding until you end up in a career path that you truly want. The cream tends to rise to the top eventually, just recognize you are playing from behind and will have to work extra hard to get there.

7/12/15

Definitely agree that pursuing the CFA can make the transition much easier. You'll learn plenty of useful, applicable concepts and it demonstrates your willingness to work hard at something for an extended period of time...especially if you pass multiple levels.

7/12/15
Mezz_Star:

I did a two year stint in BO before landing a gig in MM PE. Like AspiringSage said, sometimes you just need to take what you can get out of undergrad and go from there. That being said, my recommendation is to avoid ops if possible unless you have an affinity for it as a long-term career path. I'll summarize:

1. The work. This is just my opinion from my own experience but the work itself is quite mechanical and rather mind-numbing. You will not be stimulated, and if you are an intellectually curious person, will find it hard to accept the monotony of day to day.

2. Exit Ops. Exiting can be challenging. Yes, it CAN be done, but why make your career path any harder than it has to be? I attribute my move into PE to a combination of sheer perseverance/grit and a lot of luck. Pursuing the CFA Charter helped grease the skids a bit but wasn't a golden ticket by any means. Btw, even when you do exit, your ops background comes up in conversation for years to follow. Even though I've been with my firm 7+ years and am relatively young, people always ask what I did previously as nearly everyone in my industry transitioned into it from somewhere else (typically iBanking).

3. Opportunity Cost. The work you perform in operations does not translate whatsoever to an investment oriented role. Therefore, time spent in ops is wasted time and experience that could have been used to build some prescious intellectual capital in the nascent stage of your career. In this sense, I at times I have felt as if I'm a couple years behind from where I "should be". Although I've gotten over this (mostly).

I'll end with this. For those of you who currently feel stuck in ops, keep your head up and just keep grinding until you end up in a career path that you truly want. The cream tends to rise to the top eventually, just recognize you are playing from behind and will have to work extra hard to get there.

This is more like it...

Under my tutelage, you will grow from boys to men. From men into gladiators. And from gladiators into SWANSONS.

7/12/15

I'm currently interning at GS MRMA. Anyone have any personal experiences on the exit ops for someone in this position? I'll be a rising senior this fall.

7/24/15

Agreed. I really liked this post. Thank you for the insight!

7/11/15

I hope that people do not read this and expect this to be the case for them. I work in operations in NYC for one of the biggest BBs and a signing bonus is unheard of. ANY bonus is unheard of for ops because ops is an expense not a revenue generator. We did get half pay over 40 hours until this January when we started getting overtime then were promptly told to limit our overtime to just about zero.

Also, it's very hard to get out of the back office here. The one thing that I really agree with you about is the easy work. Since we're very limited in our overtime, there's also easy hours and great work/life balance.

7/11/15

I agree with most of what the OP is saying, but exit ops really depend on the bank and the current headcount situation (in the group you're trying to move to and the group you're leaving). At my BB, I've personally seen an analyst bust his ass networking and got nowhere. He developed some contacts on the sales desk and woke up super early to sit in on their morning meetings before the market opened each day. Then he would get back to his desk and start his normal BO day. He made a great impression on the FO guys and the head of the desk even put in a good word for him, but someone somewhere stonewalled him. I'm not sure if it was his current manager or HR, but we're just guessing whoever it was was trying to squash a potential peasant uprising before it could gather any momentum. Really just a shitty situation and I'd imagine it'd be hard to keep the frustration in check after something like that, but just got to keep grinding...

7/11/15

Thanks @wannabeconsultant999! I agree 100% of what you said.

Regarding exit opportunity for BB Ops, I can also shed some lights:

  1. It depends on what position/team you are in Ops. MO and BO are both Ops; however, MO book trades and get more exposure in front of traders; BO, on the other hand, can be the settlement guy who try to source the shares so the firm can meet its obligation, or can be the client on-boarding team to prepare all documents to get client to sign so the account can be opened. Some BO teams are to setup street products and answer product inquiry. GS Ops has a Change Delivery team that @mazman is going to. That is a team doing consulting work for Ops Division. Their lateral are pretty much all ex-Deloitte, Booz, EY and their undergrad. target school are Berkeley and Michigan with sorts of programming backgroud (not like Computer Science, MIS is good enough.)
  2. In context of the first one, the intimacy with FO, is the key driver of how Ops can climb up the ladder. FO has many different roles as well. Some are relationship manager/client services and others might focus on investment side. Traders, for example, are another kind of animal that deal with MO guy about booking a 2bps trade in a timely manner all the time. In the back office of BO, such as settlement or answer product inquiry, it is naturally harder to move in FO because you don't get to talk to FO people every day and you are clearing up the mess by your upstream which is still back office. If you are in such position, then 1. move to other team by shining up your performance; 2. get another degree and leverage BB brand name in campus recruiting. If you are in a position that is close to FO, use it. Visit the office. Chat non-work related with them. You will find it is less harder than you think.

Seems this is Food Chain of Public Market: (Starting from BB) - Correct me if I'm wrong.
HF/HNW client - BB Equity/FI/FX/PB clearing desk/investment advisor - BB Client rep. - BB Ops (on-boarding, funding, trading, reporting) - BB BO (asset serving, product setup)

7/12/15
lincolnbjgs:

Thanks @wannabeconsultant999! I agree 100% of what you said.

Regarding exit opportunity for BB Ops, I can also shed some lights:

1. It depends on what position/team you are in Ops. MO and BO are both Ops; however, MO book trades and get more exposure in front of traders; BO, on the other hand, can be the settlement guy who try to source the shares so the firm can meet its obligation, or can be the client on-boarding team to prepare all documents to get client to sign so the account can be opened. Some BO teams are to setup street products and answer product inquiry. GS Ops has a Change Delivery team that @mazman is going to. That is a team doing consulting work for Ops Division. Their lateral are pretty much all ex-Deloitte, Booz, EY and their undergrad. target school are Berkeley and Michigan with sorts of programming backgroud (not like Computer Science, MIS is good enough.)

2. In context of the first one, the intimacy with FO, is the key driver of how Ops can climb up the ladder. FO has many different roles as well. Some are relationship manager/client services and others might focus on investment side. Traders, for example, are another kind of animal that deal with MO guy about booking a 2bps trade in a timely manner all the time. In the back office of BO, such as settlement or answer product inquiry, it is naturally harder to move in FO because you don't get to talk to FO people every day and you are clearing up the mess by your upstream which is still back office. If you are in such position, then 1. move to other team by shining up your performance; 2. get another degree and leverage BB brand name in campus recruiting. If you are in a position that is close to FO, use it. Visit the office. Chat non-work related with them. You will find it is less harder than you think.

Seems this is Food Chain of Public Market: (Starting from BB) - Correct me if I'm wrong.HF/HNW client - BB Equity/FI/FX/PB clearing desk/investment advisor - BB Client rep. - BB Ops (on-boarding, funding, trading, reporting) - BB BO (asset serving, product setup)

Terrible post.

Under my tutelage, you will grow from boys to men. From men into gladiators. And from gladiators into SWANSONS.

7/11/15

How does BB ops compare to BB finance or accounting? (Not corpfin, but maybe a cost cutting type division that takes on long term cost cutting projects)

In terms of exit ops, would a project management type finance group at BB have better exits than ops?

7/16/15

Thanks for sharing. Good story.

12/31/15

Will respond to this over the weekend. Commenting now as a reminder... Can give some perspective from someone with an Ops background out of school.

10/19/16

Remind!

1/5/17

a sign on bonus that is 20% of your base? That's pretty high, is it not?

1/5/17
Brosef Stalin17:

a sign on bonus that is 20% of your base? That's pretty high, is it not?

Yeah it is, but when the base is so low the signing bonus is more of a $ amount than % of.

I know this is an old post but I will add a few points because I am in "middle office"

  • Pay in middle office is not bad, on an hourly rate I generally beat out my FO counter parts. The hours worked, and salary vary by city. In a primary market, like NYC, a middle office guy 3-4 years out of undergrad can clear around 140-150K base+bonus, but work an average of 50-55 hours a week.
  • We get a ton of slack and can focus on other skills/side hustles/and family. I get to take multiple week+ long vacations a year and that does not affect my bonus or promotion potential
  • Reading the reply from @Flake, I will say I agree with him 100%. However, many people that go into FO IB aren't even there for FO IB, they are using that as a stepping stone to PE/HF. So using BO/MO as a stepping stone to FO is no different than using FO IB as a stepping stone to PE/HF. Maybe it is one extra step but it can still land in the same place, if that is a persons goal.
  • Last note I will make is the benefit of most BO/MO positions is that finance companies are continually moving them to lower COL area's. I live in a 1200 Sq/Ft 3 BR apartment for $1800 a month, that is $600 a person for rent, $1400 less than the average 2 bedroom in manhattan.

The idea of people going into IB -> PE/HF only works if they make it to a PE/HF and are successful at it. Even then you can use the search functionality to see how poorly that has worked out for some people. It is not black and white on going into IB will guarantee you a ton of money. What I like most about my MO role, aside from the freedom of not working 100 hour weeks, is that my net of living expenses take home pay is pretty comparable to an Associate 1. After you include the significantly lower amount of hours I put in, I would say that it's almost a better choice.

That being said if the ultimate goal is PE then IB is the best path. I do get job solicitations to work at BIG4 consulting firms, Fortune 100 companies, and commercial finance firms.

Learn more about crypto currencies and ask all your questions at www.thecoinboard.com - I check and reply to questions multiple times a day.
1/6/17

"3-4 years out of undergrad can clear around 140-150K base+bonus"

If you are starting around $60k all-in, $140k 3-4 years out seems a little aggressive. That's a CAGR between of like 30%. I can't imagine that rate of pay increase is necessary to maintain someone working a 9-5. Additionally, I cant think of an industry where there is that steep of a learning curve where it makes sense to increase comp that rapidly.

if this is real life, there are probably some crazy inefficiencies happening in the BO/MO

1/8/17
Brosef Stalin17:

"3-4 years out of undergrad can clear around 140-150K base+bonus"

If you are starting around $60k all-in, $140k 3-4 years out seems a little aggressive. That's a CAGR between of like 30%. I can't imagine that rate of pay increase is necessary to maintain someone working a 9-5. Additionally, I cant think of an industry where there is that steep of a learning curve where it makes sense to increase comp that rapidly.

if this is real life, there are probably some crazy inefficiencies happening in the BO/MO

Few points-

  1. Not sure where your 60K starting number comes from, I know I did not give it to you. Also I apologize 140-150K is the all in (Not Just Base) miss typed when I was making the post you quoted.
  2. Keeping some anonymity here, my firm starts undergrads off around 70-75K + a 20% bonus. This is in a city that has a COL of half of NYC
  3. The technical skills needed in my positions are fairly valuable. These skills include SQL, Python, VBA, and a list of other skills. Also the average person has at least an FRM or CFA by year 3-4. Those skills are worth a very pretty penny. Not that we are comparing/contrasting but a 3rd year IB analyst or 1st year associate can make some pretty good power point slides and plug numbers into a nice somewhat recycled excel document.

I definitely understand the skepticism behind what I am saying, it is well deserved. However, if you would like to PM me your e-mail, I can send over some recent solicitations I have received. This will help keep my anonymity but provide you with a sense of what market comp is for someone with 3/4 years of MO work experience. Lastly, this is exactly my point when I make posts in threads about how the MO/BO is not as bad as people think. I actually get to have a life, work on a side hustle, go on vacation, and my dinner is still paid for if I work late enough (never happens).

Learn more about crypto currencies and ask all your questions at www.thecoinboard.com - I check and reply to questions multiple times a day.
1/9/17

to OP gave the $60k figure. If I could be guaranteed $140k per year working a 9-5 just 4 years out of undergrad, I would take it every time, zero hesitation. I would scoop dog shit for that level of comp and work/life balance.

1/11/17
Learn more about crypto currencies and ask all your questions at www.thecoinboard.com - I check and reply to questions multiple times a day.
1/9/17
1/11/17
Learn more about crypto currencies and ask all your questions at www.thecoinboard.com - I check and reply to questions multiple times a day.
1/11/17
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