We All Sound Stupid - a Manifesto

See title.

The prestige whoring perpetuated by this website is laughable and so are all of us for participating in it.

It's very strange and concerning that 18-26+ year olds have their entire identity and self-worth inextricably tied to their employer, title, and salary.

I used to be this way but I've seen that there is so much more to life.

I will no longer mask insecurity by chasing money and "impressive" titles just so that I can feel good about myself and appear "better" than my peers.

Life exists outside of the desk, WSO, and LinkedIn. Wealth is not monetary.

This is all a joke and there is more to life. Please find and chase your dreams. And trust me, banking, megafund PE, etc. is not a dream, it is a trap.

Signing off of WSO and IB for good,
Sincerely,

Analyst 2 in IB - Ind
 

WSO Elite Modeling Package

  • 6 courses to mastery: Excel, Financial Statement, LBO, M&A, Valuation and DCF
  • Elite instructors from top BB investment banks and private equity megafunds
  • Includes Company DB + Video Library Access (1 year)

Comments (114)

Learn More

300+ video lessons across 6 modeling courses taught by elite practitioners at the top investment banks and private equity funds -- Excel Modeling -- Financial Statement Modeling -- M&A Modeling -- LBO Modeling -- DCF and Valuation Modeling -- ALL INCLUDED + 2 Huge Bonuses.

Learn more
  • Incoming Analyst in IB - Cov
Jun 1, 2021 - 3:53pm

If you don't feel this in some way, you're prob compensating w money/career

Controversial
  • Analyst 1 in IB-M&A
Jun 2, 2021 - 10:55am

If you don't feel this in some way, you're prob compensating w money/career

Better than compensating with gay shit like poetry and travel. 

Jun 4, 2021 - 1:31pm

good point. I find on other forums, say entrepreneurial reddits that there are a lot of "you can do this!!!" types. Here you're much more likely to hear the reality, I've never thought about this contrast before.

Jun 4, 2021 - 1:36pm

Yes, I meant exactly that. It is kinda nice to hear nice things like "you can do it", "chase your dreams", "take care of your mental health". However, sometimes they sound very cliche and can be used as a potential excuse.

Jun 4, 2021 - 1:30am

Forreal haha. Having been on this site for quite some time now, and having progressed nicely so far in my career, I am always amazed at the shitposting which goes on from current working professionals - something I've seen since creating my account. I'm just curiously honestly as to what compels people to write mean shit on the internet. Like what does one get out of it? Worst case you get found out and you become that guy who was ridiculing someone younger than you online, best case is... what?

  • 3
Jun 1, 2021 - 6:04pm

I've no interest in IB/PE but I do want to work hard. What I like most about this website is I'm surrounded by people who want to put in the work and achieve their goals, whatever they may be. I didn't meet a single other person as ambitious as I in my undergraduate so it's great to meet them here. The reason I didn't is presumably because I want to a not top 1000 uni (could've gone to top 100 but didn't know shit about uni rankings when choosing). So now I'm stuck in my situation with plenty of obstacles and I fucking love it.

The satisfaction I'll have when I achieve financial success will be amazing. I'll be the first of 35k alumni to make it somewhere (or so I hope).That's why I use this website. I also see fuck all posts about prestige, I generally only see people concerned with salaries, which is all I'm concerned with. Nobody does finance for the intellectual satisfaction of it afterall.

Jun 19, 2021 - 11:21am

Totally me brother. I came on here once every so often, especially when I am too bogged down with life, and lose sight of what I came here for in the first place - the motivation, the desperation and the hunger. Hope you're all good in your path towards success, whatever that means to you, and above all, stay sane and healthy in view of the pandemic and all.

Jun 1, 2021 - 6:35pm

the grind ends at some point. I'm just setting myself up to do something in genuinely interested in one day.

path less traveled

  • 3
Jun 1, 2021 - 8:24pm

Please circle back @ 55 and let us know how much energy you really have. I can almost guarantee, sustained 80+ hour work weeks will eventually take a toll on your body. You can ignore the research, but that's your choice.

Study #1 on long hours causing heart issues: https://www.npr.org/2021/05/17/997462169/thousands-of-people-are-dying-…

Study #2 on sleep duration : Sleep Duration as a Risk Factor for Cardiovascular Disease- a Review of the Recent Literature - https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2845795/

Summary: "The recent literatures confirms that sleep deprivation is associated with HT, CHD, and DM. Increased sympathetic nervous system activity is considered to serve as a common pathophysiology in sleep deprivation's relationships with these diseases. Especially, the relationship between sleep time and incidence of CHD or DM is U-shaped"

Study #3: Life, Stress and Illness - https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3341916/

"There is a growing concern about the increasing cost and prevalence of stress-related disorders; especially in relation to work place. "Worked to death, drop death, work until you drop" are highlighted "work-related death" in the 21st century."

"The morbidity and mortality due to stress-related illness is alarming. Emotional stress is a major contributing factor to the six leading causes of death in the United States: cancer, coronary heart disease, accidental injuries, respiratory disorders, cirrhosis of the liver and suicide. "

Study #4: The impact of stress on body function: A review

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5579396/

"Many disorders originate from stress, especially if the stress is severe and prolonged. The medical community needs to have a greater appreciation for the significant role that stress may play in various diseases and then treat the patient accordingly using both pharmacological (medications and/or nutraceuticals) and non-pharmacological (change in lifestyle, daily exercise, healthy nutrition, and stress reduction programs) therapeutic interventions"

Jun 2, 2021 - 5:07am

I understand where you're coming from. 

I'm a first year analyst myself and the physical toll of work have been a big shock to me as well. But honestly in the long run I see it as being worth it. No matter what you want to do in life whether its IB/finance related or not at all you're going to have to sacrifice and put in the work in order to achieve a certain level of success. It's about sacrificing today for a better tomorrow. You'll never be able to run away from it unless you're willing to sacrifice your future. 

I understand IB isn't for everyone but quitting won't get you anywhere. 

Jun 7, 2021 - 10:41am

Actually you saying that these are proof of long working hours and health problems is actually a joke.  You clearly didn't take the 15 minutes to read these. 

Overall, I think these are some pretty low quality studies. They do not count for certain lifestyles or exercise. The first article ( based on a study by the WHO) you cite actually say that long working hours and health problems are inconclusive. 

The other studies only look at the relationship that stress, sleep, and common health problems.  They do not look at exercise a an affect on people nor do they look at diets and other factors.  Which, there are studies showing that exercise can reduce stress.  We also know diet can lead to a healthier lifestyle.  

Overall these studies occurred in developed countries which are at the least healthiest they have ever been. 

Now I will agree with you working long ours with in stressful environments and then making poor life decision after that is most likely going to lead to health problems.  But, I find it hard if you actually took your health seriously that purely longer working hours is going to hurt you.  

  • Retired in VC
Jun 1, 2021 - 8:38pm

Yea you know, I want to get off the hamster wheel because I'm miserable, but I keep telling myself just one more go round

Alright, I'll grind hard during high school and get into a top school (this one was worth it)

Alright, I'll grind hard and get into a top banking group (hated it, but proud of my effort to get there)

Alright, I'll grind hard in banking just so I can get into PE (hated it, should have known better)

Alright, I'll grind hard in PE so I can get into MBA (in progress)

I don't know how to stop. I don't know what I'd do if I stopped. My circle of friends is all tech, law, IB, PE, VC, etc. Everyone's in some sort of rat race.

  • Retired in VC
Jun 1, 2021 - 9:29pm

Yea I know plenty of people who like it (just like there are plenty of people who like banking...). Liking banking is probably a good indicator of liking PE. However I think most people are just here because they got on a certain path and don't know how to get off (or still appreciate the allure of money and prestige, which is ok too)

  • Analyst 1 in IB-M&A
Jun 2, 2021 - 8:48pm

I had an internship at a PE shop and it was super chill. Bunch of dudes being dudes. No one was stuffy and everyone was just happy to be there. Granted, I only spent a summer there but damn I had a great time.

Jun 2, 2021 - 11:18am

My thought process was very similar, the major difference being I bit the bullet and jumped off the hamster wheel after my analyst years were up. FWIW, the experiences that you slogged through and hated (IB, PE, possibly MBA), were not a waste of time. These are highly sought-after qualifications that don't go away even if you decide that grinding until you're a PE partner isn't worth it. 

It takes some balls to escape the rat race and pursue work-life balance instead, but you should rest assured that you'll figure out how to be successful no matter what path you choose. 

Jun 5, 2021 - 1:28am

Definitely feel this.

My opinion: You can't escape the fact that work gives you purpose and that a sense of purpose drives a lot of your satisfaction in life.

  • You work too little, you sacrifice purpose, satisfaction, wealth, etc.
  • You work too much, your health suffers and your relationships deteriorate.

I think I'd rather look back having gone down your road, than have taking a chill 9-5 corporate finance/accounting gig right out of college. Opportunity costs are easy to overanalyze in the moment AND in retrospect.

Most Helpful
  • Intern in IB - Cov
Jun 2, 2021 - 12:21am

Dude if you guys only knew how regular people reacted to finding out that our base salary alone: $85k, is higher than what the average family makes in America and more than double what 99% of the global population makes (not an exaggeration, but rather a statistical reality). We make that much at 21/22. Just think about that... If the average person discovered this site and browsed through it for just 20 minutes they would: laugh because we are very funny but also be amazed at how ungrateful we are. OP, you're a bit dumb for not taking advantage of the incredible blessing that is IB and continuing in the industry and I will assume that you, much like the rest of the American population, think that life is "hArD" because you have to work 80 hours a week working what's essentially a luxury job (you type on keyboards and fix logos) and you're getting paid not as much as you think "you should" (like literally everyone). I'm sure you've been told to "gain perspective" before, but as someone who literally grew up dirt poor, I fucking love investment banking because while it's competitive and tiring and "hard", I promise you that it is nowhere near as bad as what my life was 10 years ago. I promise you that much like the average American, and especially the average American elitist (i.e. most IBankers whose biggest life struggle has been choosing either Yale or Williams), your largest problem is how naive you are.

Jun 2, 2021 - 12:41am

IB pays a lot true, but think the discussion imo centres is that most people catch up at the base salary level fairly quickly and work 40 hours / week.

If you work 80 hours / week and earn 200K are you really better off than the individual working 40 hours / week earning 100K. And keep in mind the A2A promote is very difficult to do. After 2 years IB, you probably want PE

But yes IB pays above average

Jun 2, 2021 - 3:56pm

100k in a tier 1 city isn't enough to have the luxury lifestyle many aspire on this site to have. And who is making 100k 40 hours straight out of school save for a few special SWE jobs?

Array

  • 1
  • Prospect in IB - Cov
Jun 3, 2021 - 3:16pm

do people actually struggle between choosing Yale and Williams? Yale is a clear cut winner if we're all being honest

Jun 4, 2021 - 12:27pm

Exactly - gratitude/happiness is derived from looking at shittier situations.

Example: Do I like being thrusted by my VP all day in my dumptruck? No, but I would take that any day to an African elephant from behind. 

Jun 2, 2021 - 7:03am

VP in shitposting.

My pronouns are ''your imperial majesty''.

Don't you dare question my status.

Never discuss with idiots, first they drag you at their level, then they beat you with experience.

  • 2
Jun 2, 2021 - 7:05am

On a side note, the CEO of non-profitable shitposting hasn't been much active. Sad.

Never discuss with idiots, first they drag you at their level, then they beat you with experience.

  • 1
Jun 2, 2021 - 11:12am

I agree with you 100% on an emotional level. I recently completed my 2 years in IB and jumped ship for a CD role. The difference it has made in my personal wellbeing and happiness is insane. The security of knowing that people respect my time and, more often than not, I have a structured, predictable schedule has been incredible. 

That said, I try not to judge people who go A2A and/or stick it out in IB for the long run. My upbringing and temperament makes IB a horrible fit in the long run, but kudos to those who are wired differently. The basic truth about life is that you must find your own purpose. If that means devoting yourself to the IB grind, there's nothing wrong with that. The one group of people I have true pity for, are the ones stuck with no long-term future in it. I've seen more than a few people trapped by the bonus cycle in a job that is, quite literally, ruining their life. That's truly sad. I would encourage them to get the hell out as soon as feasible, because once goals no longer align with IB, the sacrifices become almost unbearable.

  • Incoming Analyst in IB-M&A
Jun 4, 2021 - 3:29pm

I'm the same guy that asked a question to u above so apologies for the repetition - but something else I wanted to gauge your opinion on.

Do you think Corp Dev provides a meaningful path of career progression (both in responsibility and comp)?

Jun 5, 2021 - 3:34pm

I think it can be highly variable depending on the firm you're at. Some companies are risk averse when thinking about M&A and therefore may only do one deal a decade. Obviously that leaves the Corp Dev team struggling to create value and justify it's own existence, so would avoid joining a team like that. My company is large but always working on multiple smaller acquisitions at any given moment, so there is plenty of opportunity to gain reps / progress up the ladder. Basically busy = better from what I can tell. 

Jun 2, 2021 - 12:57pm

Great for you, man! After some years in finance, I've also figured that it really isn't all about prestige, titles, employer, or what your total salary is. What really matters is what your relative salary is, in comparison to your peers. 

I don't know... Yeah. Almost definitely yes.

Jun 2, 2021 - 1:34pm

as someone else posted here, this site is good for the motivation, the shit talk, the work ethic, and the sheer ignorant display of prestige. im not even on the finance career track. im literally going to be a dentist lmao. ive simply learned alot about the world through WSO, and that doesnt mean im now a prestige whore. this site opens my eyes to important things such as "golden handcuffs", striving for a good worklife balance, and more. Im thankful for you prestige whoring fucks lmao

oh and im also thankful that in the midst of my own brutal grind in the sciences, i take comfort in knowing there are stories of ambitious monkeys all across different fields striving for their own piece of the pie!

Jun 3, 2021 - 8:12am

Nothing wrong with grinding and chasing. Just make sure you enjoy the big picture (the actual work, impact, etc. - not just the income). At some level, the income won't be the motivator because you won't need anymore money. Then it's about truly enjoying what you do and making a difference. 

The people I know (several) who made a fortune in high octane careers (IB, PE/HF, MBB, Corp Fin, CEOs) could have retired many yrs ago. However, one common issue they have is they don't know how to stop. I'm talking about 8 and 9 figure guys who still do because it's all they know. To them, it's become a game. Takes a certain type of person to maintain the grind for 30+ yrs. Mostly it requires you to be really invested in your work, actually like it, because after you have enough, the grind wins.

  • Incoming Analyst in IB - Cov
Jun 3, 2021 - 8:42am

Good points but staying in the game doesn't mean you enjoy the work. What truly motivates these successful long-term grinders? I would bet for many it's still ego and wealth. Wealth/status is always contextualized - what's 7-8 figures worth if your neighbor, college bud, boss have 9-10 figures? Same point as golden handcuffs, moving goalpost of wealth/success.

Just think if these people are happy. Of course some might be, but majority? Doubtful

Jun 3, 2021 - 11:04am

I wonder how much lifestyle creep plays into this. "if I just have another 10M, then I can set up a trust fund, or buy that 2nd penthouse in New York" 

You often see in Corporate America, CEOs who were ex-C-Suite of major publicly listed companies, meaning they've already made bank, and instead of retiring want to leverage their success in a higher role.

But I don't see CEOs working their employees 100 hours / week, this is more a IB/PE phenomenon 

Jun 3, 2021 - 3:11pm

My point was many of these folks don't know how to turn it off. It's all they've done for 30 yrs and slowing down isn't in their DNA. A very close person to me who travels the world on business and has for his entire career told me "I've been running 100 mph since I was 20. I wouldn't know what to do with myself if I stopped". Granted he gets to see cool things but he could still see all those cool things without the work involved. I think he basically likes what he does, which at a high level is essentially solving problems that positively impact his clients, but when do you shift to other interests? For him, maybe never. I think it's like that for a lot of super successful people. 1 part money, 1 part the work, 1 part don't know what to do with themselves without the work.

Jun 4, 2021 - 12:32pm

Something I notice about this post is the reaction to this. I have been noticing more people lately willing to come out and call out the awfulness of being in a Wall Street job for what it is. And the reaction is overwhelmingly positive! Back when I got into this pre 2008 crisis, I felt like I was surrounded by people who would say there's something wrong with you for questioning the greatness of being an investment banker or research analyst. That type of peer pressure could make you feel like a complete loser for rejecting the stress of the job. I don't know if this pandemic caused people to reevaluate what's important, or maybe the GenZ'ers are more willing to stand up for their dignity. As a Millennial, I feel like my cohort was brainwashed into jumping through all the hoops, no matter the cost. Just my observation and feeling from reading stuff like this now vs like 5-10 years ago.

Jun 4, 2021 - 1:21pm

Most under grads just lurk around pretending to know all and then disappear. And so many people lie, not just on WSO but every finance forum.I caught one dude who was pretending to be an Oil trader. He had to delete his account. Most prestige whores just talk pay checks, bottles, sex, etc.....they don't make it and these are the lads who later on make cults like WSB. 

Jun 4, 2021 - 1:43pm

agreed on OPs premise

but I have learned an incredible amount of useful things here - specific books, work ethic, motivation, salary expectations, how to sell myself, networking etc. I don't know any other community where I would've learned this. 

  • 1
Jun 4, 2021 - 3:14pm

I think that starting as an IB analyst out of college at a BB/EB and doing it for 2-4 years is one of the best places to launch a career. After that, leave finance for something more sustainable in the long run (corp dev, corp strategy, corp investor relations, start up, tech company, large asset manager, etc.) and enjoy the rest of your 20's. I.e. get off the train tracks and don't even bother with the buyside as its boring af and the stress is on a different much more serious level versus some fat banking vp yelling at you for a missing logo. Most buyside roles seem to exit you in a worse place than from banking (i.e. harder to get a top spot at say Blackrock corp dev from a no name fund versus coming straight out of Barclays M&A, for example). If you save the bonuses and don't ball out on salary, after 3 years it is plausible to have ~$200-$300k in the bank which provides freedom to enjoy shit, buy an M car, buy a house, etc. But staying long term in finance with the shit cultures and pressure cooker workplace stress is a fast way to die early or fw real health issues. 

Jun 4, 2021 - 6:28pm

Quo libero delectus ullam eum mollitia. Est error dolor quam dolor et ullam autem.

Laborum molestias mollitia quasi ea ab praesentium iste. Aut sed maxime sapiente dolorum cumque beatae. Minima numquam vel cum est. In esse aut consequatur mollitia cumque.

Jun 5, 2021 - 11:29am

Expedita et voluptate dicta dignissimos accusamus. Ducimus recusandae non et explicabo. Porro exercitationem dolores earum numquam itaque. Accusamus placeat porro et et cupiditate.

Tempore temporibus fuga dolorem quibusdam dolores. Et voluptas excepturi iure necessitatibus facilis cumque unde. Quis et occaecati enim saepe. Tempore ex sint harum illum voluptatem ullam. Voluptate et eaque corporis.

Jun 5, 2021 - 6:42pm

Temporibus culpa similique est mollitia culpa. Atque voluptatem perferendis optio aliquid.

Quia maiores eos ea ipsum soluta. Maiores culpa officia possimus cupiditate dolores voluptatem repellat. Voluptatibus eum officiis quas inventore accusantium animi.

Est sint sed et et nemo. Nihil aut debitis autem perspiciatis magnam ab. Aut voluptas et dolores ipsam dolorem quam qui sunt. Occaecati minima voluptas consectetur. Distinctio nam soluta qui ad ducimus nemo.

Voluptas officia fugiat quis et sint modi. Sapiente qui nobis dolorem blanditiis nostrum ut. Et nihil voluptatem officia dolore.

Jun 7, 2021 - 3:16pm

Ea ut aut laboriosam laboriosam aperiam id rerum. Et rerum nulla sunt fuga earum. Nulla sint fuga a sit. Vel minus quae minima molestiae eveniet quas.

Quia voluptas quo inventore corrupti. Harum eligendi voluptas numquam. Omnis molestias nulla rerum quia omnis ea. Autem nostrum ab doloribus saepe voluptate molestiae iusto. Itaque vitae tempora atque nesciunt odit incidunt et.

Start Discussion

Total Avg Compensation

October 2021 Investment Banking

  • Director/MD (10) $853
  • Vice President (39) $363
  • Associates (228) $232
  • 2nd Year Analyst (137) $154
  • 3rd+ Year Analyst (30) $147
  • Intern/Summer Associate (103) $143
  • 1st Year Analyst (499) $135
  • Intern/Summer Analyst (383) $83