WARNING : Do NOT enter IB (coming from a VP at a BB)
For the past 7 years, I have been working in M&A at aand can tell you this; it is never going to get better, not even senior banking. When I entered the industry as an analyst in 2013 many of the MDs and Directors were leaving the firm to go work at a young and growing fintech firm. This was undoubtedly the right decision since most of them are now clearing 500k, are working half the hours, and have an actual life(something no one in IB has).
Your life is going to suck
Back then, I thought that once I get to VP, the hours will get better and the pay will be better than any other industry, I couldn't have been any more wrong. Most people will not get past the director, and everyone who is a director and below regularly works 80 hours a week. Even my MD was clocking in 80 hours a week, 30% of the time. When you are working this type of hours, you are not going to have a life outside of the office, and combined with the extremely high-stress nature of the job, your life is going to suck. Half of my coworkers are depressed and the others aren't doing too much better.
Most people enter IB thinking that they are going to be making more money than they can anywhere else. This is what I thought too, but was dead wrong. A lot of my friends who entered tech after college are all making 400k-800k and are working 40 hours a week in a fun, low-stress environment where they are actually making things that matter. This is better than IB in every way.
Theis a great alternative
If you have a strong passion for the markets, then going down the HF route is a great alternative as well since you are having fun and making more money than IB. Young companies that are rapidly growing are a great choice too because you enter with a relatively low salary (100k-200k) but this comes with work that is actually interesting and very low hours. If you are able to choose the right firm then picking up that job can even eventually become a 5M check. Just keep in mind that you probably will not make that much money but as the industry is growing, the 200k salaries will grow as well. I am going to be starting a job at a growing fintech firm that specializes in asset management (has grown rapidly over the past few years and has a couple of hundred employees) this year as a machine learning engineer where I will be working half the hours and being paid around 200k with the chance(its a slim chance) of making potentially much more.
If for some crazy reason you do enter IB...
For anyone trying to enter IB or currently in a junior position, I strongly recommend that you do not join IB since you will not have a life and there are much better options where you will be making just as much(if not more) money while working half the hours in a low-stress environment. If you are still in college then there is still hope for you to be able to break into big tech and get a high-paying job with amazing WLB. If for some crazy reason you do enter IB, then just know that you are making the worst decision of your life, because that is what it turned out to be for all my coworkers and me. Don't fall into the false reality that "senior banking is not that bad" or "PE is better" because both of these are nothing more than myths.