Tough decision - Take IB offer or stay in FP&A?
I'm a 3rd year FP&A analyst - landed a MM IB analyst interview through a referral and was offered the job. I'm completely torn because although I'm comfortable enough in my current situation, it's hard not to be allured by the comp, career acceleration, and exit opps of IB. My total comp in FP&A is $120k and I work ~50 hours per week + no weekends, with 2 days/week WFH. IB comp would be $115k base and ~100% bonus, with 70-80 hours/week on average and 90-100 at peak according to my friend.
I'm finding it hard to turn down such a substantial increase in comp. I'm in a pretty comfortable financial situation and can afford a nice lifestyle, but even just a few years in IB would be a substantial boost to net worth and those savings are compounded over time. However, it would also be difficult to trade in all my free time to work significantly more hours. I've enjoyed having time to hit the gym 4 days a week + play sports on the weekends, and obviously wouldn't have that luxury in IB. It's a very difficult trade-off and I'm going back and forth on whether the rewards are worth the cost.
Obviously have some soul-searching to do but any advice or perspective is greatly appreciated.
Stay in FP&A. You'll want to crawl back if you jump into IB. Speaking from experience.
That's what I'm afraid of. Hard to really know how you'd react in a 90 hour work week until you do it. Never done more than ~70
What do you want to do long term? Are you happy in FP&A and could you see yourself staying in that long term, or do you want to eventually go to MM PE / corp dev?
If you like FP&A and are just using IB to get ahead in that role / make some more money for a bit, don't bother. Not worth the effort, time, relationships etc. If you are just dying for a taste of PE (doesn't sound like it) that would be one thing. But the grass isn't greener and sounds like you have a pretty solid gig where you are. Maybe feel out corp dev roles if you ever get bored and want something in the middle.
Don't really love FP&A because it's a lot of repeating the same forecasting and reporting processes from quarter to quarter. Intrigued by the faster paced work in banking and challenging myself more but definitely can't see myself being a career banker and would most likely end up back in corporate finance after a few years to continue on the CFO track. The benefit of doing it would be the comp and any skill/career development. I've considered that corp dev could be a compromise solution - more interesting work but not as insane as IB in terms of hours.
I've merely completed an internship in IB but I think a wise man would tell you to stay in FP&A.
I also think you may be too focused on the comp. Sure compounding will make that 2x higher salary in IB even more into the future but if you stay in FP&A for the long haul there's no reason you can't get relatively rich compared to what any other average person is able to obtain.
You should only go into IB if you will forever regret not going for any reason, or if you are legitimately interested in banking, doing deals or the specific group you are in. If it's just comp you are thinking of then don't do it.
Thanks, helpful. I will admit I'm definitely tempted by the comp but turning down the opportunity to double your salary is easier said than done.
Don't do it. Full stop, you have no idea what you're walking away from and what you're walking into. You have a stable job with a good salary and time for your mental health, physical health, personal relationships, and hobbies. If you go to IB you're throwing all of that away in favor of being forced to work 80-100 hours weeks, while sleep deprived, under pressure from your superiors, with a constant fear of making mistakes. This is no joke brother, think twice. You have it all.
Thanks, I'm leaning towards this conclusion as well but needed to hear it from an unbiased third party.
I am genuinely interested in M&A but probably not to the point where I'm willing to sacrifice everything to do it. As I responded to someone else above, I'm going to look further into corp dev opportunities as a compromise solution.
I haven't read all of the comments, so sorry if I'm repeating anything. You have to think carefully on what you want your middle/long-term career to look at. I'll give you a few options, but know that there are obviously many more options.
I think people are quick to dismiss IB because of its hardships, but I would warn against downplaying its advantages. There is a reason it is such a sought after job. Look past the immediate pay-bump; IB can open many otherwise closed doors.
Before you decide on IB though, make sure your personality is the right fit. Make sure you're the type of person that doesn't take criticism personally; make sure you are able to handle multiple projects while keeping your stress level low. I had a great time in banking, and overall did really well. It wasn't because I was smarter/harder working than everyone else (far from it), but I was able to handle stress really well. It's just a job at the end of the day, don't let it get to you. There are far worse things in life than working in IB.
Greatly appreciate this perspective. Long term I see myself on the CFO track and have no interest in being a career banker or PE investor. I could probably only last 2-4 years in IB before exiting back to corporate due to WLB -- the question is whether that stint would offer more meaningful career development versus just staying where I am. I think it's possible that I could find a corp dev or strategy role without doing IB, but I also acknowledge that the experience is looked at very favorably and it really strengthens your skillset. My director came from banking and is an absolute wizard compared to those who came up through FP&A.
Absolute wizard in what sense?
I think it's pretty tough to land corporate development at a large company without a banking background. Also in general, people with banking and consulting backgrounds are looked at favorably within normal companies. I think 3 years of banking would give you a significant edge.
If you have a boss who has fantastic skills and you are in position to learn from him/her - then you are in a good spot!
Either way, hope it works out for you. I recently decided to shut the door for good on IB due to the fact that I make similar money to you in a role hardly working 40 hours a week, and 3 days WFH.
I decided not to go for IB because of two things:
1) I enjoy my life outside of work too much. Gym, sports, doing basically whatever I want whenever I want once work is over. Also have a girlfriend.
2) I likely couldn't come back to my current role if I decided I hated IB which ultimately was too much risk for me. You may be in a little different spot here since it appears you're still at the Analyst level.
I started in FP&A and hated it - I only worked 9am - 6pm ish, never a weekend and never late nights but every day I went there it felt like I had worked for 15 hours because it was so boring and monotonous. My skillset also topped out very quickly (you simply don't get the same research, excel, PPT, communication, project management, etc. skills in FP&A that you do in banking).
Switched to IB after my first year and never looked back. Comp may seem mildly comparable now (though in your situation is doubling) but it will diverge very significantly to the point where in a few years you'll make as much in one IB year as you will in 4 in your FP&A role (and to your point early savings will compound exponentially into the future). Hours will definitely be longer but at least you are working on new companies and projects and not refreshing the same template every month/quarter.
Would strongly consider switching - your career trajectory and optionality (either into other fields, different finance jobs, or even early retirement) will be significantly enhanced in banking.
I completely relate to this comment and will definitely take your advice into consideration. Definitely feel like I'm capable of doing more than just FP&A and that I'm not challenging myself to the fullest extent in this role.
Think this person is on the money (no pun)…you could always go back to FP&A or even Corp Dev if you hate banking. If it's a legitimate bank, which is sounds like it is, you will be a hotter commodity from a hiring perspective in the future than you are now, that's just a fact.
Different opinion here. Do it. Do the 2 years and push yourself and see what your max is. It's easier to spin a story if you end up not liking it for a year and need to swap back to FP&A, but will you have a nagging voice in the back of your head if you turn down the MM offer? Only time can answer that.
If you are dedicated to working out, You can still go minimum 3x a week. Friday night, Saturday and Sunday. +1 other day if you're able to wake up at 7am on a day you're WFH.Ask yourself what you do with your free time. Gymming takes ~2 hours when you go from door to door, how much TV do you watch? Scrolling on your phone on weeknights?
Do you want to be comfortable?
I was in a unique situation where I started on a brand new team in the middle of covid. Only one person had prior experience. There were never any in-person interactions, no one to really mentor me, and it was tough for the 11 months i was in that role. But I've swapped banks now and joined a proper analyst cohort and it's great. As long are you like the team and peers around you, it will be alright. The people around you is the most important thing.
Ive always wondered, if you lateral into IB from something else like FP&A or Equity Research after a couple years, do you start of as AN1?
I just feel like it would be weird to be a 25 yr old 1st year analyst
Nah, not that weird. I'm in that age range and it's fine
I left FP&A after 2 yrs to go into IB. Work was much more exciting, thoroughly enjoy it more. While the hours kinda suck, it's worth it for me. At first it was definitely a hard adjustment though
Make the jump. Stack your money as much as possible.
I did 5 years of IB and banked so much money. I'm in FP&A now and treat it as my semi-retirement/part-time job (hours now are about half of my IB hours) while spinning up my online business.
Did you consider other roles post-IB? Did you leave as an associate (A2A) or VP(post-MBA)? Haven't seen many people in IB exit to fp&a specifically and normally have seen corp dev positions so curious how you thought about the decision.
Would you mind PMing? In a similar situation and would be happy to bounce my own ideas off of you and vice versa.
Think about this before jumping ship:
1. You can make head of FP&A or senior manager or whatever. Hopping around isn't so difficult I believe for FP&A folks?
2. This was me in a relatively chill healthcare coverage group, meaning 40%-50% weekend work: I was out Saturday night with my girlfriend. Was in a jazz bar and was all cozy. I got pinned and jumped on a call for 1 hour so she sat in the bar and listened to music on her own. I felt bad. She is a lawyer so she understands my schedule, but still I'm sure we all want to spend quality time with people we care about. After we said goodbye that night around 12:30am I went back and worked till 2:30am. I also spent 3-4 hours Sunday between actual work and work-related communication.
Again, I'm in a relatively chill coverage group.
This is a tricky one. If you choose to stay in FP&A you'll likely think "what could've been..." for a long time. On the other side of the coin, speaking from experience and having gone from 45-60 hour weeks in consulting to consistent 70-80 hour weeks (and many times more), it's very hard to give up the extra things in life outside of work and completely dive into a lifestyle where work dominates everything. The kids coming into IB right after college have nothing to compare the lifestyle to, so I would actually say it makes the job more palatable for them. You have something to compare to, and that makes the sacrifice/experience significantly more tough.
another point of view: think about your longevity. in FP&A you can stay for 30 years, and collect big checks with minimal effort in the later stage. in IB, they'll fuck up your health and shorten your life expectancy and fire you in like 5 years if you fail to bring business.
Really depends on how sweet your FP&A gig is mate. If you're at FAANG or some F50, stay where you are - opportunities to climb the corporate ladder are aplenty. Otherwise, i'd take the IB route, do 2 years and re-assess because this will give you branding / optionality if you lacked that in your current role.
I could type on but i'm time-poor. Feel free to PM
100% agree with this
I'll be a first year analyst coming this summer in FP&A and was wondering what your comp progression was like for your first two years? Also are you in a HCOL city?
(I'm just trying to gauge what my progression could potentially look like)
Total comp stats below - NYC
Y1: $72k (F100 company)
Y3: $130k - switched companies. I was able to negotiate a good offer but this is probably high compared to average. If I had stayed at old company I would still be around 90-100.
How did you feel lifestyle wise on those salaries in NYC? Thinking of taking the paycut to corporate for wlb
did OP end up taking ibd?
Sorry thought I updated but elected to stay in FP&A
Curious what type of company offered 130k for 3rd year FA analyst? Tech startup?
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