Comments (36)

Apr 23, 2014

you can take the banker out of banking, but you can't take the banking out of the banker.

Apr 25, 2014
BTbanker:

you can take the banker out of banking, but you can't take the banking out of the banker.

This.
I agree with those that you're better off once you take a dip first and then think about the full dive.
Banking is generally a tough place to be at and thinking about the reason on making a commitment to yourself doing this till the end of your days right now is just beyond me.

Death is certain; Life aint.

Apr 23, 2014

I thought I wanted to stay at my current job for the long term until I actually started working here.

It's hard to say "I want to do this for the rest of my career" because other opportunities/responsibilities come up throughout that make people re-evaluate their life choices, such as their career.

Apr 23, 2014

Favorite this thread, come back in a year, and tell us if your ambitions of being a life-long banker are still alive

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Apr 23, 2014

Almost no one who starts as an analyst becomes a career banker because 1) way better options to do more interesting stuff for more money and 2) massive burnout. People who stick it out usually start as associates because neither of the above points really applies to them. Especially not 1.

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Apr 23, 2014
LifestyleBanker:

Almost no one who starts as an analyst becomes a career banker because 1) way better options to do more interesting stuff for more money and 2) massive burnout. People who stick it out usually start as associates because neither of the above points really applies to them. Especially not 1.

I don't know how much I fully agree with that. About 50-75% of my group's MDs started off as analysts (most in the group, some were lateral hires at more senior level from other firms). I think the bigger thing is the prevalence of HF/PE/VC and other jobs that pay the same if not more with a better lifestyle. Basically I don't think burnout in and of itself is preventative from people being career bankers--at the end of a 2 year program you will definitely have people who are burned out, but you'll also (unless the group is an anomaly) have a fair number who could totally stay on if the incentives to leave weren't so high.

Apr 25, 2014
LifestyleBanker:

Almost no one who starts as an analyst becomes a career banker because 1) way better options to do more interesting stuff for more money and 2) massive burnout. People who stick it out usually start as associates because neither of the above points really applies to them. Especially not 1.

For folks who start as Associates, how long do you have to be in banking before you can get Corp Dev opportunities? (Not asking about HF/PE). 6 months? 12? 18? 2 years? 5 years?

Apr 25, 2014

It all depends. Blythe Masters of JP Morgan became MD at 28, even though she had a baby early in her career.
Also, I read Greg Smith's "Why I Left GS," the author says that there was a GS employee who became a partner at 27, 28, or 29, I don't remember when exactly.
I am assuming you asking this to find how old you will be when achieve high enough level to pocket big paychecks.
:-)

Apr 23, 2014

fuckkk no

Apr 23, 2014

Most people that are still doing banking towards the later half of their careers are doing it because they werent good enough to move else where (pe/hf/industry)

Wait until you are start working and you will see what a miserably shitty job it is at the senior level.

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Apr 24, 2014
wallstreet101:

Most people that are still doing banking towards the later half of their careers are doing it because they werent good enough to move else where (pe/hf/industry)

Wait until you are start working and you will see what a miserably shitty job it is at the senior level.

pe career has the "the end of the track" problem.

http://www.wallstreetoasis.com/forums/the-end-of-t...

hf job has the stability problem. in the last few years, i have run into a number of former hf analysts who couldn't find jobs in the financial industry. industry job has low-pay issue. if you really want to do industry, you can do it right after college. it's recruiting is not as competitive as banking. you don't have to go through ibd->pe->b-school, then find out post-mba pe slots are very rare, then go to industry.

all in all, banking is a good career by comparison, especially if you want to be a real businessman making deals, not just someone picking stocks. most vps, eds, and mds in ibd are quite happy with what they are doing, believe it or not.

Apr 25, 2014
wallstreet101:

Most people that are still doing banking towards the later half of their careers are doing it because they werent good enough to move else where (pe/hf/industry)

Wait until you are start working and you will see what a miserably shitty job it is at the senior level.

Ditto this. In my experience the other type of person who doesn't move, even though they talk about moving all the time, are the ones who got sucked into banking and had their hand held through the entire recruiting process. They have no idea how to actually prepare for an interview/process that isn't at boilerplate as banking. I am sure there are people who became career bankers because they wanted to, but they are crazy.

And personally, not a chance in hell will I be a career banker. Don't plan on being here though the end of the year.

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Apr 25, 2014
wallstreet101:

Most people that are still doing banking towards the later half of their careers are doing it because they werent good enough to move else where (pe/hf/industry)

Wait until you are start working and you will see what a miserably shitty job it is at the senior level.

This has got to be one of the more ridiculous statements I have come across on WSO. Many who manages to make it to MD level at a respectable IB firm is highly competent and possess deep understandings of the industry, deal track record and network of industry contacts and can move to senior level positions in PE/HF or industry if they so choose. It is also not unusual for senior bankers to set up own PE/HF shops.

People all have different priorities and there is no such thing as a "correct" or "best" path. The financial sector has been shrinking and anyone with enough staying power to survive and make it to the senior level is to be commended, not looked down upon for being "not good enough".

Apr 25, 2014
brandon st randy:
wallstreet101:

Most people that are still doing banking towards the later half of their careers are doing it because they werent good enough to move else where (pe/hf/industry)

Wait until you are start working and you will see what a miserably shitty job it is at the senior level.

This has got to be one of the more ridiculous statements I have come across on WSO. Many who manages to make it to MD level at a respectable IB firm is highly competent and possess deep understandings of the industry, deal track record and network of industry contacts and can move to senior level positions in PE/HF or industry if they so choose. It is also not unusual for senior bankers to set up own PE/HF shops.

People all have different priorities and there is no such thing as a "correct" or "best" path. The financial sector has been shrinking and anyone with enough staying power to survive and make it to the senior level is to be commended, not looked down upon for being "not good enough".

People really need to stop using pe/hf interchangeably.

There is no banker in this world that could move to a senior hf position because he so chooses lmao.

Apr 25, 2014

This statement is incredibly ignorant and downright retarded

Apr 23, 2014

Don't be crazy. No one wants to be a career banker. Not even career bankers.

Apr 24, 2014

I think people need to realize that life isn't linear and that the grass isn't always greener.

Apr 25, 2014
TNA:

I think people need to realize that life isn't linear and that the grass isn't always greener.

THIS!

Apr 24, 2014

I have a question about moving up in the IB industry. Would being an Asian hurt me, as I notice most of the higher ups in IBanking are white males. Also, what is so bad about being a career banker, especially if you reach MD?

Apr 24, 2014
wukong123:

I have a question about moving up in the IB industry. Would being an Asian hurt me, as I notice most of the higher ups in IBanking are white males. Also, what is so bad about being a career banker, especially if you reach MD?

With that attitude yeah it'll hurt you.

Apr 24, 2014
wukong123:

I have a question about moving up in the IB industry. Would being an Asian hurt me, as I notice most of the higher ups in IBanking are white males. Also, what is so bad about being a career banker, especially if you reach MD?

I am going to guess that all the asians got their dream jobs in HF, PE, or whatever else they wanted to pursue.

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Best Response
Apr 25, 2014

I left investment banking as a junior MD after 13 years to make a buyside move.

I would say that compared to my fellow analysts who started out in the profession with me and went to hedge funds and private equity, I would say that about 10% did better than me financially and about 90% did worse. However, I would say that of the 10%, at least a couple have done exponentially better. So I think its wrong to say that you leave and the buyside pays more; most often it doesn't, not even close. However, the potential for serious upside is there on the buyside which isn't there in banking; a good MD can make $2-3mm consistently with a general cap of $5-6mm, on the buyside the sky is the limit but very few people that get there.Thus my career move.

I'd also note that the career options don't dry up, they only get better, provided you are actively doing deals. I've known colleagues at my level to get offers to be CFOs of $5bn+ companies, megafund private equity, head of corp dev at large cap acquisitive company. The mediocre senior guys (the ones who just push paper) have no such luck.

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Apr 25, 2014

Work and then we see.

I am a career banker, but I work on the floor. Out of my whole grad class, I'd say only 1/3 are still in banking, and that's ONLY for FI and E. I've woken up for the past 7 years wondering if I will have a job that day - I will be a career banker until I get told to f- off, some young greedy sales will be more aggressive at his job than me; and I'll generally burn out.
No one sets out to be a career banker, because when everyone around you is getting fired, when the size of the city work force has shrunk 30% since 2008, nothing is certain.

In the meantime I just enjoy what I do, and that's how I have survived so far.

Apr 25, 2014

At least in Europe, quite a lot of MDs come from intern/analyst level and not mainly from Associates like someone here wrote. Also, I would guess that most of the MDs in Europe don't have MBA which would imply that promotion is possible even without that.

Just to give another perspective to the heavy North American focus here with MBA's and mainly Associates becoming MD's (is that even true?)

The surest way to make a monkey of a man is to quote him.

Apr 25, 2014

You can't say this definitively until you've worked as a banker and done those kinds of hours. It sounds glam from the outside looking in but once your body experiences 100+ hours a week and the frustration of working on a deal only for it not to close, you can't fully know for sure.

In two years, you could be on the trading forum trying to figure out how you can "transition" to S&T for better work/life balance.

Apr 25, 2014

The novelty wears off quickly. I started off in Sales and thought the job could become one for life. Good hours, decent pay at higher levels, the ability to have a family judging by those around me and so on. It quickly became clear that the decision to become a career banker is mostly out of your hands. With in months of starting, analysts who seemed more than competent were let go. The whole floor shifted its makeup within a year. You learn not to become comfortable with the idea of forging out a career in this industry because at any moment the floor beneath you can give way.

Banking if different. I would say out of all my friends, only one has gone in with the aim of staying in it for the long term. Everyone else has a plan to leave. Quiet frankly, when the mind numbing work combined with a handful of assholes starts to etch away at your soul slowly, your perspective changes very quickly.

Apr 25, 2014

I am considering becoming a career banker - interned in banking and heading into FT IB soon. I enjoyed my internship a lot and liked what I saw about the job at different levels all the way up to MD.

No real interest in PE, potentially interested in HF/mutual funds etc, but definitely considering career banking.

Apr 25, 2014

In my experience, I am not looking to become a career banker. I am looking to transition within the next year either to PE or Corp Dev side (leaning mostly to PE, given what recruiting has to offer). I will disagree with statements about people who stay in IB not being good enough to land other roles. From the people I work with, the senior guys are knowledgeable about their space and could easily have transitioned into other roles at some point in their career.

Apr 25, 2014

It's wise to have an eye for exit opps from the beginning, because even if you ultimately decide to remain in banking, leaving for one of the desirable "exit opportunities" we talk about on these forums will require a lot more work than staying on for Y3 and the eventual associate promotion.

On the other hand, there's definitely something to be said about making sure your "head is in the game" so to speak, and producing a good work product while you're balancing the above.

Apr 25, 2014

Gotta chuckle at the college kid that says he's going to be a career banker before he's had one day on the job. Love WSO.

Apr 25, 2014

The most attractive thing about banking for me is that it offers an established career path where there is the opportunity to become an MD some day.

Despite what recruiters will tell you, corporate rotational programs and junior PE/HF positions will rarely take you to the top of those organizations. The same can be said for management consulting, where culling the ranks every few years is standard practice. I know someone who went to work for McKinsey and after two years her entire incoming class at her office was cut, even the top performers.

If you look at career options with an eye to longevity, career banking starts to look much more palatable.

Apr 25, 2014
mdk6c:

The most attractive thing about banking for me is that it offers an established career path where there is the opportunity to become an MD some day.

Despite what recruiters will tell you, corporate rotational programs and junior PE/HF positions will rarely take you to the top of those organizations. The same can be said for management consulting, where culling the ranks every few years is standard practice. I know someone who went to work for McKinsey and after two years her entire incoming class at her office was cut, even the top performers.

If you look at career options with an eye to longevity, career banking starts to look much more palatable.

This is delusional, banking is a pyramid like every other capitalist organization where very few make it to the top. Theres a never ending stream of guys that get stuck just below MD as they don't have an actual network or client skills as surprise surprise skillet at md level in banking changes completely. These guys then wash out to some corporate Job and take their 50-70pc payout.

Main difference vs pe/hf is that getting to the top in banking can seem easier because your competition is completely retarded by comparison. It's difficult to overstate how much people in banking suck vs competition at top buyside shops.

Analysts don't stay in banking because they have the possibility of going to buyside roles that pay better, have much better lifestyle and do more interesting work. People above the analyst level generally (there's always exceptions) don't have that choice and going back to the above are also quite bad so wouldn't want to take the choice anyhow even if they had it.

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Apr 25, 2014

A bunch of college kids coming in here getting offended.

The fact of the matter is that analyst and associates who have worked in banking have seen first hand how terrible of a job being an MD is. The day to day is awful, its a bunch of ass kissing, traveling, and selling BS with the hope that companies include you on their deals. If you want to live in hotels at 50 and spend your life kiss up to clients, then stay in banking.

Its not even that strategic when coming up with pitches/talking with clients - the thought process tends to be, 'lets just say what we think the client wants to hear' - not contribute our personal views on strategy or positioning.

Don't monkey shit me if you havent worked in banking.

Apr 25, 2014
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Apr 26, 2014