Want a chill exit from IB

Looking at exits from IB after a year and not really interested in the traditional PE exit. My main priorities are better work life balance(in terms of # of hours but also having a predictable schedule) and the goal would be low $100k comp if that is realistic. No real issues at my current firm but definitely realized I'm not as career focused and don't want to grind for years since most traditional exits can continue being pretty intense too. Would corp dev be what I'm looking for, some other types of "corporate" job titles, or in some other direction? Appreciate any advice.

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Comments (74)

Most Helpful
  • Analyst 1 in IB - Gen
Sep 19, 2021 - 3:49pm


Life is too fucking short, lowkey kind of wish I never found this site in the first place. Sometimes I just think about those dudes in South America who drink cheap beer and play cards outside all day and realize they are way happier than the type of "success" we are supposed to chase.

  • Analyst 2 in IB - Cov
Sep 19, 2021 - 4:32pm

I agree, looked up the chain and realized quickly how I didn't desire to have the lives of my senior people at all. I'm sure they have plenty of money and nice houses or whatever, but many of them were still in the office late at night even with families. I don't have that level of drive and just want to make decent money and have time to enjoy it. 

  • Analyst 1 in IB - Gen
Sep 19, 2021 - 5:47pm

It's just not healthy. Not even about time to enjoy for me. Humans were not designed to live such stationary lives indoors under fluorescent lights all day. Guarantee you those South American old ass dudes drinking cheap beer and smoking cigs in the sun everyday are way healthier than those type-A banking seniors who squeeze in cross fit, peletons, lifting, and sweetgreen salads everyday trying to maximize the efficiency of every hour they have. It's just our human biology that's all. 

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  • Analyst 2 in IB - Cov
Sep 19, 2021 - 3:58pm

Don't work in corpdev so cannot comment on it. Hopefully someone else can chime in regarding lifestyle and comp. $100K is really easy to clear after an investment banking stint. Maybe also consider:

1) LO AM: Around 50 hours a week without weekends. Interesting work and no busy work. Compensation is marginally less than IB but scales significantly.

2) Tech/startup: great culture and ability to wear many hats. Comp should be over $100K and equity potential

  • Analyst 1 in IB - Gen
Sep 19, 2021 - 4:02pm

OP said after just one year. Confirming you would have the same answer given you mentioned 100k is easy to clear after "analyst stint"? Or if anyone more experienced knows?

  • Analyst 2 in IB - Cov
Sep 19, 2021 - 4:06pm

Doesn't change answer. Especially after all the recent pay raises across the street. Starting salary in IB is that much higher than other comparable roles (tech, consulting, etc). Big difference is in how comp scales after the first few years.

  • Analyst 2 in IB - Cov
Sep 19, 2021 - 4:26pm

Thought the startup route would be something interesting, but not sure if my view of startups is too glamorized from reality, esp with comp dealing with equity. Haven't looked much into AM other than one very competitive program I had tried to get out of college (had solid comp + hours even at the most junior level) but unfortunately didn't move forward. 

  • Analyst 2 in IB - Cov
Sep 19, 2021 - 4:41pm

Your view might be glamorized, but startups can have great WLB and culture. Just speak to as many people as possible, do your diligence, and go in with realistic expectations. AM junior positions are very competitive, but the hours and pay are near impossible to beat.

Compared to IB, most jobs are pretty great.

  • Analyst 3+ in IB-M&A
Sep 28, 2021 - 9:06am

Corp Dev guy here. Can confirm that life style is not bad at all, there are weeks I probably clock 10 hours of actual work but on the flip side weeks I definitely clock closer to 80. Comp is solid I'm an analyst at around 125k. Still get to work with a lot of smart people and you get awesome exposure to the C-suite and other Senior Leadership.

Sep 28, 2021 - 9:53am

Market is HOT right now. I've had so many older peers from my BO days leave to make 100-125k+ in traditional corp fin budgeting / forecasting roles.

Corp dev varies a ton but honestly have heard good anecdotes from FAANG contacts that they don't really work a ton (MSFT doesn't need to go around buying companies they're a powerhouse at tech R&D already). All in manager comp will probably be north of $200k with RSUs and even if you land at a senior associate role out of IBD you can probably hit manager relatively quickly.

I think about leaving my non tech CD role almost weekly to get a nice comp raise and lesser workload in FAANG but right now I'm still soaking in all the deal activity and am learning a ton.

Oct 6, 2021 - 6:19pm

Don't work in corpdev so cannot comment on it. Hopefully someone else can chime in regarding lifestyle and comp. $100K is really easy to clear after an investment banking stint. Maybe also consider:

1) LO AM: Around 50 hours a week without weekends. Interesting work and no busy work. Compensation is marginally less than IB but scales significantly.

2) Tech/startup: great culture and ability to wear many hats. Comp should be over $100K and equity potential

Finance at a startup is not a chill experience. If your startup is high growth expect to work at least 60 hours a week, often more. I am currently a Finance Manager at a start up.


  • Analyst 1 in RE - Comm
Sep 19, 2021 - 4:15pm

Commercial real estate at the some of the life cos or Private credit at life cos great lifestyle and Como is pretty good 40-50 hours

  • Analyst 1 in IB - Cov
Sep 24, 2021 - 2:12pm

Is IB 1-2 years in to commercial real estate possible? Haven't seen anyone switch to CRE and its prob just self selection but would be interested. Had a REPE internship in college and thought it was interesting but wanted to do something a bit broader for my first job. 

  • Analyst 1 in IB - Gen
Sep 19, 2021 - 5:49pm

Sounds like AM is the golden exit here but therefore must be pretty competitive. I don't think I have a shot coming from my "tier" of bank. Any hope out there?

  • Analyst 2 in IB - Cov
Sep 20, 2021 - 8:13pm

There are very few seats in LO AM and turnover is really low. People don't leave given the comp, WLB and fairly stimulating work. You have to have a passion for investing though, otherwise you still probably won't enjoy it. The hours might be light relative to other finance jobs and the comp, but still long relative to most traditional corporate jobs. 

I wouldn't worry too much about the tier of your bank. Recruiting is far less structured given the small class sizes and infrequent openings. 

Sep 19, 2021 - 6:03pm

Consider FP&A or strategic finance at an F100.  Where I work, our senior analysts clear over 100K in cash, we're in a cheap part of the country, and you rarely work more than 40 hours / week (often less).  Not sure where you could come in exactly with your IB background, but if you can swing a manager title, you'll look at 150+ TC.

  • Analyst 1 in IB - Cov
Sep 24, 2021 - 2:14pm

Forgot to add in my original post, but I also don't really want to be in a VHCOL area long term, so a cheaper city would not just be ok but maybe even preferable for me, especially to make the lower salaries go a lot farther. Manager sounds pretty high though? Not sure of the naming of different levels but expected to be the equivalent of an analyst if I'm only one year out and maybe an associate type level if after 2 years. 

Sep 28, 2021 - 4:36pm

I'm a strategic finance SA at a F500 firm in a MCOL area and I'll clear just north of $100 in cash base (bonus TBD) while participating in a great ESPP program...All in Y1 comp likely ~$120 -- ~$130, next promo grants stock based comp so I'd expect a decently meaningful bump (this would be an L4 role). I'll very rarely ever spend <40hrs per week but I'll also very rarely be pulling more than 60, I'd bet I average between 50 and 55. The work is very interesting and I get the best of both worlds of not being a client slave but also having pretty engaging and cerebral work.

Sep 23, 2021 - 12:02pm

Corp dev associate here. I think if you can land on a good active team (not all corp dev roles end up the same), it's a great relatively chill exit. Schedule is predictable and only truly busy period is around closing. Even then, nothing bad. There's a lot of potential to do good work and get front-line deal reps. Low 100k is a reasonable expectation. Feel I'm paid pretty darn well for my lifestyle. 

One thing I will caution that could just be personal experience... it can be "too chill." I'm in the process of thinking about + looking for the next step as I have, in part, reached a ceiling in my current role, but also just think I have more potential that isn't being used. Think I would look back with regret if I just did this for the rest of my life and didn't take a bigger swing of the bat

TLDR, if you want a little break but still be engaged in doing deals, corp dev is solid. W/L balance is good enough that you will have plenty of time to work on a side hustle / other pursuits if you decide it isn't for you.





  • 2
  • Analyst 1 in IB - Gen
Sep 23, 2021 - 12:11pm

Thank you for the insight. Is it hard to find such a role after only 1 year of banking experience at even a "lower tier" bank that doesn't do a ton of M&A? Also assuming the low 100k is in a lower COL or at least WFH?

Sep 23, 2021 - 12:16pm

Middle of the road COL I'd say. Big-ish city, but not a major like NY or Chi. Imo any banking experience will get you on the radar for corp dev roles. 1 year experience is a bit early, but you can sell yourself into just about anything if you do it right. 





Sep 24, 2021 - 10:51am

A good question that I do not yet have the answer to. I started in public equities and think it's moreso my thing. That's likely the direction I will look to move in





  • Analyst 1 in IB - Cov
Sep 24, 2021 - 2:19pm

From what I've read yeah the progression can be very slow and might require job hopping to progress in terms of title since it'll depend on if the ppl above you leave for there to be space for your promotion. I can see myself enjoying having the short bursts and then a relatively "too chill" time around that. Didn't see myself in "high finance" because I don't want career to take over my life for the foreseeable future but I can see how you don't want to be bored al the time either. Great suggestion that it could be a "break" and then go back into something more intense if desired. Do you have any suggestions on going about the recruiting process? It seems like theres no structured process and on an "as needed" basis for hiring. Also have heard very varied experiences in terms of comp, lifestyle, and culture and definitely want to take all of those into account during the process too. I'm used to fairly structured processes for internships and then IB of course so I've set up linkedin alerts to see what the general market is like for openings but not much else. 

  • Analyst 1 in IB - Gen
Sep 27, 2021 - 12:33am

Mrdistatty had a few questions for you:

1) How did you figure out that the hours are pretty good? Feels like M&A can be such a mixed bag just by nature of M&A

2) How active is your company?

3) What is the progression like?

Sep 25, 2021 - 8:52am

I spent my early twenties obsessing about getting into IB. When I finally got there, I realized the job was awful and plotted my exit almost immediately.

I eventually transitioned over to Corp Dev and I couldn't be happier. Work is immensely more interesting which was a big bonus for me. Plus the hours in most roles are quite reasonable - typically 35-40 hours and highly predictable.

Finally, once you work your way up the comp can be quite attractive, with all-in base/bonus/equity potential in the seven figures. Just like anything you'll want to find your niche, but for me I couldn't be happier in PE-backed Corp Dev.

  • Analyst 1 in IB - Cov
Sep 29, 2021 - 11:12pm

Congrats! Can you speak a bit more to your process transitioning over with applying and interviews? How long did you stay in IB and how long did it take to secure your job? 

  • Associate 1 in CorpDev
Oct 4, 2021 - 10:03am

This is awesome to hear. If you dont mind, whats your all in comp currently? How do you think that will progress over time? How many years of experience did you have prior to making the swtich? 

Oct 4, 2021 - 9:16pm

All-in annual comp is around $1.3-1.5M including estimated equity. After several years in CF I now lead my group, so I wouldn't expect comp to go up much more than this unless I level up to a CEO role in the future, but not sure I even want to deal with all the drama that comes with that seat.

I love my role now and I have a feeling more comp would come with a greater workload / less autonomy which is not an attractive trade off to me.

  • Analyst 2 in IB - Cov
Sep 26, 2021 - 8:02pm

You're right, sometimes I do get the sense of accomplishment when something goes really well at work so I guess there has to be some sort of drive there, maybe the hours have me jaded and I'm looking for too much of an extreme on the other end now.

Sep 25, 2021 - 12:59pm

I saw a few mentions above about LO AM. Currently working in that space in a LCOL city. I make roughly what I made at a well known MM (Jeff/Roth/GHL) at my current shop, working half the hours and doing work that is genuinely value accretive and impactful to those around me. I would argue that the space is the best in finance for comp vs. hours worked and the best part is that LO companies love hiring people with IB experience looking for a lifestyle shift. 

To those saying it's a super competitive place to enter: you're right. It's a hard space to get, I can agree. However, I think that the difficulty of entering the space is somewhat overblown. If you have a deep passion for markets and investing, cast a wide net of applications, and know how to properly interview (specific LO AM companies are looking for certain responses sometimes) you'll be able to get yourself a spot. 

If you want some suggestions of what kinds of roles in LO AM can be attained, feel free to send me a DM. Roles like Associate Analyst are often filled by IB analysts, but they do not open very often.

Sep 28, 2021 - 12:04am

Corporate Finance is the way to go if you're looking to maximize comp, hours, and trajectory. I think the key is joining an organization with a culture that you mesh which allows you to thrive. It's a lot easier to ingrain yourself in the company and slowly, but steadily, climb the ladder when you enjoy the people you're working with/for.

Sep 28, 2021 - 2:16pm

A solid PE-backed portco is not a bad route.

The key, in my opinion, is to find a GOOD company, a healthy company, a somewhat sophisticated company and one that has a future.  You can work up to a Director/VP level and make $200,000-$250,000 cash comp plus whatever your equity is worth (could be zero, could be $2mm, could be somewhere in between - this is why it's important to try to find a quality company with quality people and quality processes).

Let's say you do that for 5 years and on average make $200k/yr.  Then your equity is worth $600k.  So you averaged ~$320k/yr and had a very nice work life balance, NOT BAD!  (despite what people say on here)

You are then in a position to do it over again at a higher level (could start at VP and end up at SVP or CFO or something) -- and you are given more equity this time.  So if that company is successful, maybe you were there for 7 years and makd an average $225k/yr and get paid $1.5mm on monetization -- works out to an average ~$440k/yr, again not bad despite what people say on here.

  • 7
Sep 29, 2021 - 1:10am

I wouldn't classify PE Portco jobs as chill exits. Those sponsors need to hit those ROIs and aren't handing out million dollar equity packages for 30 hour work weeks. 

"I don't know how to explain to you that you should care about other people."

Sep 29, 2021 - 10:02am

Of course not.  But here's a few thoughts:

-Let's not confuse hours worked with value added, that's investment banking speak

-A normal and flexible 40-50 hour work week is normal, not to say there aren't sprints

-How do I know?  I'm doing it right now

  • Analyst 1 in IB - Gen
Sep 29, 2021 - 3:29pm

Can you comment on pay and progression for someone with 5-6 years of IB experience and is a 3rd year associate straight from undergrad? I imagine it is probably Manager at minimum and Director at high end. 

Sep 29, 2021 - 3:35pm

I think you're probably on it.  I think "Manager" and "Director" are pretty similar at a PE portco (unless we're talking about a huge company).  So start there at Manager/Director, then, depending on performance, perhaps a promotion to VP after 2-3 years.

  • Associate 1 in CorpDev
Sep 29, 2021 - 4:40pm

Wanted to second all the comments about working for a PE portfolio company. It is a great mix of interesting work / deals, WLB and comp. Do I miss the large IB bonuses sure but I average about 40 hours of work a week and rarely work Friday afternoons unless we have a live deal going on.

The career trajectory is great as well. This is especially true if you can find a PE firm that has a reputation for "reinvesting" in high performing talent by moving them to another port co within their portfolio after exit.

  • Associate 1 in CorpDev
Oct 4, 2021 - 5:06pm

In my experience most of the PE backed CD roles come through recruiters. Similar to buyside recruiting PE firms hire recruiting firms to work on CD opportunities for portfolio companies. The process is less structured as roles are on as need basis vs. a typical cycle.

Some of the national recruiting firms I have received inbounds from are - Variner, Brainworks, Permanent Solutions Group. I am in a tier 2/3 city and sometimes the local finance recruiters will have decent CD roles.

In terms of LinkedIn searches, I would start with "PE backed Corporate Development" or "Sponsor backed". 

  • Analyst 1 in IB - Gen
Oct 7, 2021 - 11:39am

Wow, this almost sounds to good to be true? Was this difficult to land or did you have some unique background?

Oct 7, 2021 - 11:50am

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