As I am spending some time on my vacation and feel bored to death (please don't judge), I wanted to share something that I think might be important to you guys. Although this thread will cause a lot of controversy, I have nevertheless decided to give in to my temptations and write a counterintuitive approach to thinking about IB. Before digging into more controversial topics, a few facts should be made clear:
- IB is arguably the most competitive job out of school (both undegrad & MBA)
- It consists of one of the most ambitious, driven and intelligent class of people in the world
- It often serves as a sound jumping point to higher-paid positions such as HF, PE, etc.
- While possible for everyone in theory, only an extremely small percentage of people gets selected/lucky
Finding your true calling
So far, so good. Now we're going to get into the ugly part and I will take counterarguments and criticism from here. Based on my small yet useful experience, I believe that IB offers little upside when it comes to money, meaningful work & great relationships. This is not to say that there aren't people with some or all three but, generally speaking, this is not something very common in the industry. If I didn't try that hard to be modest, I would basically say that the industry is full of assholes. But today isn't about that - it is rather about finding your true calling. It brings me back to that story of an old fisherman and Harvard MBA - we keep chasing something we already have and often the things we own end up owning us.
We live in a different era
Most of us keep chasing and following the same trend, because of our innate tendency to think short-term (e.g. getting highest paid job out of school), the same way Homo Sapiens use to think what actions would bring him dinner to the table. But nowadays, we live in a different era; it is a world that rewards hard-working, disciplined people with good temperament and ability to think long-term; those are usually the people who are able to think for themselves, go against the crowd and see things below the surface. The same way someone may envy an analyst from a top-tier firm, someone may also neglect the consequences that the job brings (stress, politics, lifestyle, etc.).
Waste of life/time
Having $1M in the bank after the age of 50 without having experienced the things you wanted to experience is a waste of life/time. We tend to compare ourselves to others instead of trying to be the best version of ourselves, and I am saying this not as a cliche but as a reminder that there will always be somebody better than us - it is just the truth and anybody who thinks differently is insane. And this is not to say that IB is useless, boring, humiliating or anything alike, but rather to say that many people here end up living a life they don't want with people they don't like.
Time is precious
In the end, the only thing we really have is our time and, based on the quality of our experiences, we tend to feel this time. Monotony shortens time; novelty extends it. You can workout daily and eat healthy and live a long life, while experiencing a short one. If you spend your life sitting in a cubicle, crunching numbers and passing papers, one day is bound to blend unmemorably into the next - and evaporates. This is why it's important to change routines regularly, and take vacations to exotic locales, and have as many new experiences as possible that can serve to anchor our memories. Creating new memories stretches out psychological time and lengthens our perception of our lives. For people who really understand the factors that come with IB, I wish the best of luck in finding their true calling, but the truth is that IB is not a thing that most of the people really want.
People really want something that they believe IB will bring to them and, as long as there isn't a clear connection between the two, please don't be living the life you don't want or pursuing the path you don't even know what it's like. Time is a precious thing, make sure you spend it the way you really want.