What Are The Most Common Fallacies You See Perpetuated by Junior Level IB Analysts on WSO?

By and large I think that this website is incredibly helpful and the vast majority of the information shared by users is accurate. That said, I often have come to think of feedback on WSO through the lens of people sharing what is most OPTIMAL or most TYPICAL versus the way things can shake out in reality. Two examples below that demonstrate what I mean...

 

1) Finance career paths are incredibly linear with no room for deviation from the most well-trodden paths: While I think that the target school -> BB/EB/Top MM IB -> PE after two year route is OPTIMAL and TYPICAL, when you talk to older people in the industry you realize just how many people there are in the higher ranks that did not follow this trajectory at all. There are people from random schools who networked their asses off and made it to IB. There are people who worked random jobs for 2 - 5 years and then through unpredictable/random circumstances got their shot in IB. There are people who thought they'd be IB lifers who ended up going to the buy-side at the VP level. If you are opportunistic, talented and constantly striving toward something, don't think it's already escaped you just because you missed a rung on the fast track.

 

2) All IB/Capital Markets Jobs are Sweatshops: Many are, I would even say the majority from what I hear and see. But there are indeed plenty of groups out there that prioritize employee well-being and average under 65-70 hours a week consistently. Now that might mean you're working at a less illustrious (but still well-known) firm in a less illustrious role (ECM/Coverage vs. M&A or LevFin), but the point remains there are good positions, with good firms and good compensation that will allow you to have a life outside of work.

 

3) Bigger is Always Better: There is a lot of focus on people striving toward BBs or MFs. This does make sense at the junior level - why not aim for the top? Even if you get pushed out along the way, having the name on your resume will help down the line. You just can't lose sight of the long run. A top BB group with hellacious hours that you can't imagine staying at for longer than 2 years isn't going to be a a good long-term path for success if you value your mental health and lifestyle. A top MF that gives Associates a highly improbably path to VP is also not necessarily going to set you up for life. Some of the biggest ballers I know are my friends' parents who are partners or directors at buy-side firms or banks that I would have never heard of. I'm not saying being a big fish in a smaller pond is what everyone should aim for, but what I am saying is that finding yourself a gig where you're comfortable staying a while and are truly appreciated may yield far more long-term success than burning yourself out for the largest finance firm you can get a junior role at.

 

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