What careers are there that pay very well that are atypical (i.e. non-PE, IB, etc.) or less considered?

WATCrr's picture
Rank: Senior Chimp | 26

As the title says. A lot of talk on WSO -- I mean, for obvious reasons -- is about IB, PE, Hedge Funds, etc. and how much money they make but what other careers and fields are there that people here rarely talk about that have similar money making potential and/or prestige?

Comments (106)

May 21, 2018

Executive Recruiting, Residential Real Estate Agent, Medical Sales.

Basically any eat what you kill role, with the downside obviously being little to no pay for under-performance.

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Funniest
May 21, 2018
itsanumbersgame:

Executive Recruiting, Residential Real Estate Agent, Medical Sales.

https://i.imgflip.com/1tucjw.jpg

"If you always put limits on everything you do, physical or anything else, it will spread into your work and into your life. There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them." - Bruce Lee

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May 22, 2018

Not talking shit, but it's funny you post that pic along with your Bruce Lee signature

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May 23, 2018

Literally anything.

They just don't have checkmark boxes and paths.

I know a 30 year old who was a salesman or something with a blood testing center. Moved back home and opened up blood testing centers. Sold it for 10 million.

Array
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Jun 10, 2018

And if you're really good, you will make way more than most ever make in IB (because they don't get to the top spots). High 6 figures, low 7 is very doable for a long period of time IF you're good at selling. If you're average, you'll do fine, make a decent living, but nowhere near what I already stated.

If you're not good, you won't last a yr on your own. It's just the way it is. Got to hustle, be consultative, and be a GREAT listener!

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May 21, 2018

I wanted to be a high end gigolo...

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May 21, 2018
Mostly Random Dude:

I wanted to be a high end gigolo...

Why did you give up the dream, you quitter!!!!????!?!!?

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May 21, 2018
DickFuld:

Why did you give up the dream, you quitter!!!!????!?!!?

I didn't quite size up to the competition, apparently

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May 21, 2018

High level sales (all types: recruiting, broking, agency, direct, indirect, luxury, enterprise, capital/fundraising etc.).

Project management on huge construction projects. High profile events/nightlife. Lobbying. Middle office in an IB.

Most things outside of entrepreneurship, key roles in industries with levered economies of scale (finance, tech, O&G, RE, insurance etc), corporate-level/high volume/high value prof. services (law, med, cons, acc etc), celebrity tier free agents (film/tv/modelling/sports etc), sales, contracting/freelancing and exec management have pretty normal cap-outs between ~$50-150k.

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May 21, 2018

The one job I'm interested in "exiting" to that's outside of finance/corporate strategy is a lobbying.

Seems like an awesome life of jetsetting, eating at fine restaurants, and listening to yourself talk.

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May 23, 2018

Tell me more

May 24, 2018

You're just thinking about lobbyists in the later parts of their career with your example. It's kind of like saying, "I want to be an investment banking MD, seems like an awesome life of jetsetting, eating at fine restaurants, and listening to yourself talk." Well, it takes a lot to get to that point.

Same thing with a lobbyist. The route to get there is a lot more boring, basically doing PR, campaigns, and admin on the Hill. Also, it's a lot more connections - whether you are smart or hardworking really doesn't matter all the much on the Hill or K Street. In fact, it can be a detriment to your career.

May 24, 2018
NoEquityResearch:

You're just thinking about lobbyists in the later parts of their career with your example. It's kind of like saying, "I want to be an investment banking MD, seems like an awesome life of jetsetting, eating at fine restaurants, and listening to yourself talk." Well, it takes a lot to get to that point.

Same thing with a lobbyist. The route to get there is a lot more boring, basically doing PR, campaigns, and admin on the Hill. Also, it's a lot more connections - whether you are smart or hardworking really doesn't matter all the much on the Hill or K Street. In fact, it can be a detriment to your career.

my cousin is a lobbyist in an area you wouldn't think would be highly profitable - education - and crushes. His job is very similar to a MD at a bank. It is however not an easy career and very hard on the family etc etc

Jun 5, 2018

This holds some truth. However, it really is a popularity contest, the big time lobbyists are all former congressmen, military generals, professional athletes, CEO's, (insert big time public figure job here).

May 21, 2018

The guy near the top is correct: If you can sell, there are tons of things that can pay well. If you have to ask though, you probably can't sell. Most people can't.

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May 22, 2018

I can sell so good I sold drugs to a cop.

heister:

Look at all these wannabe richies hating on an expensive salad.

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May 23, 2018

You can't sell shit, you are shit, hit the bricks pal kuz you are going out.

I come from down in the Valley, where Mr. when you're young, they bring you up to do like your daddy done.

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May 21, 2018

Government lobbying. You can make a killing, the only downside is you need a niche skill set (political experience and connections).

May 23, 2018

Depends on what you consider "very well". 100k? 250k? 500k? More?

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May 23, 2018

Politician. Mobster. Lobbyist.

May 24, 2018

A buddy of mine started selling for a compound pharmacy in California. These pain creams were being billed and reimbursed for several thousand dollars(sometimes $10k-$20k) versus the pennies normal pain medication reimburses. Long story short he ends up hitting it big with some big orthopedic & pain management docs pulling in $200k-$400k a month. Didn't believe it until he paid me to go deposit some of the checks lol. Shit hit the fan though and a lot of the doctors got indicted for accepting kickbacks and insurance companies caught on to how much these things were being billed out. see link below

I hear some of the big name pharma companies pay well like Boston scientific, Astra Zeneca. If you're good you can pull in $15k-$20k a month(base salaries are around $50k-$80k depending on exp). Managers and directors ramp up to $200k-$400k if not more. It's a grind for sure always on the road, always buttering up docs, high yearly/QTR quotas, and flying to different states depending on your territory. Though the perks are like consulting and they give you a company car to drive around in. Not a bad gig if you're into sales.

https://www.ocregister.com/2017/04/20/40-million-m...

May 24, 2018

Sales

Successful selling will get you paid and off of the hamster wheel.

I recently took an interview as a Assoc. Product Manager, they told me the salary and they ended the interview for me and said "you probably do not want to take this paycut. I'll see if we can raise the salary, if not we wish you will."

Sales is the way.

May 24, 2018

My brother in law's father makes $400k/year working on oil rigs. Zero prestige but he dgaf when he's home playing on his boat.

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May 24, 2018
Managerette:

My brother in law's father makes $400k/year working on oil rigs. Zero prestige but he dgaf when he's home playing on his boat.

Doing what? Running some kind of disposal business? Otherwise, no rig hand, not even in Nigeria getting hazard pay can make that kind of coin. If he is an actual engineer billing 2500/day to be on location then perhaps- but those guys aren't usually on a rig.

May 24, 2018

He is an engineer. Not sure how many are/aren't on the rigs but he must be one of the few that is since he's always gone.

May 24, 2018

i know several brokers who do very well.... keeping traders happy is however a taxing job on your body and AMEX

May 24, 2018

ABC - ALWAYS BE CLOSING

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May 24, 2018

Depends on how technical you want the job to be. As mentioned by others, sales skills can make you millions if used well and the jobs usually aren't too technical.

High salary + High prestige outside finance that doesn't include jobs in the medical field is probably Airline pilot. You start with long hours and an ok salary (imagine flying for Spirit Airlines) but once at the top you can make $150K+. Add to this the free travel, prestige of flying and 70-80% ticket discounts for friends and family. Not bad.

May 24, 2018

I have a family friend who is worth several million who is a career pilot, his wife was some sort of accountant. Its a great life it seems for him and because of his seniority he rarely flies. Pretty cool lifestyle but you have to enjoy traveling or I'm sure it gets old quick.

May 24, 2018

hmm does a Spirit Airlines pilot say "damn, i only fly for Spirit"

ps fun story, i played in a baseball league in Buenos Aires (http://www.shankeesbaseball.com/) with an AA pilot, we'd see a plane go overhead (the field was right by the Ezeiza airport) and 30min later he'd show up to the field, he had 15 years on us and kicked butt

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May 21, 2018
G-I the pharma guy:

High salary + High prestige outside finance that doesn't include jobs in the medical field is probably Airline pilot. You start with long hours and an ok salary (imagine flying for Spirit Airlines) but once at the top you can make $150K+. Add to this the free travel, prestige of flying and 70-80% ticket discounts for friends and family. Not bad.

I think its a bit higher than that at the top. My sister and her husband are both Captains for United.

There is a joke about making the top as a Captain at a big airline. Usually they put you on big planes and long flights with mandated breaks for pilots. The big planes have a bed for pilots and they call this "dozing for dollars." Literally getting paid as a Captain to take a nap over the Atlantic/Pacific...

https://pilotjobs.atpflightschool.com/2015/01/23/h...
"New hire pilots at United Airlines make $73,360 their first year of employment, while second-year pay jumps dramatically to $110,080. From there the pay can vary depending upon what equipment the pilot is on, but most fifth-year first officers at United are earning at least $131,500. A tenth-year first officer can easily break $200,000 if they want to pick up a few extra hours here and there.

The payoff in aviation comes when one becomes a captain for a major airline. A new captain at United makes $213,100 per year on the 737 while a senior captain on the 777 earns $264,100 per year. Again, these pilots can make more if they are willing to work harder, some as much as $350,000 or more per year."

"If you always put limits on everything you do, physical or anything else, it will spread into your work and into your life. There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them." - Bruce Lee

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May 24, 2018

Even better! Any info on how much Gulf carriers pay?

May 27, 2018

That's very misleading. To land a job at a major airline you need to not only graduate flight school, but rack up a few thousand flight hours...and you can probably imagine that just racking up hours in a Cessna (at a cost to you of $120/hr) has diminishing returns if you want to show an airline you can pilot a 737. Without going through the military you'd need to work your way up from flight instructor (to rack up hours), and then to a regional airline...then you'd have a shot at an entry level flight position at United. The competition is ridiculous. An old friend of mine pursued being a pilot, and ended up having to enlist into the military to pay back his debt (130k without finishing flight school) and essentially pivot to something else.

Jun 1, 2018

Can confirm. Dad is an airline pilot.... he makes 325k and we fly for free.

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Jun 3, 2018

Tech salesmen at companies like Oracle routinely clear $300-400k in the field if they are decent. Enterprise software sales, particularly for giant tech companies, is particularly lucrative. Medical device sales also pays a lot: I know folks who cleared $500,000+ selling MRIs and shit.

Sales engineering is a unique career, separate from both engineering and pure sales, that combines the social skills aspect of sales with the technical aspects of programming. You help the direct sales people by doing technical demos of their products to customers. My friend who is a sales engineer makes $140k at Apple/year.

Usually for entry level positions in these fields, companies hire grads from top schools (ivies + top publics), but the students who go into tech sales from schools like Cornell and UCLA and UVA, were the party/frat kids. Also major doesn't matter at all for sales, neither really does GPA. It's all about the hustle. But for non-entry positions in sales, even at top companies, performance is all that matters. Several of those guys making 400k at even Oracle are high school dropouts who just sucked at school and aren't booksmart, but CRUSHED IT in the job and worked their way up from shitty car and copier sales to complex software.

Array

May 24, 2018

$140k at Apple on the sales side? Hopefully that's base only and doesn't include bonus + RSUs. Otherwise that's way on the low side.

Jun 3, 2018

The $140k is for Sales Engineering, a very different role from pure sales. Sales Engineers are technical salesmen who do product demonstrations and support the direct sales team. I'd assume with bonus it'd be more than $140k at Apple.

The pure salesmen make less in their base salary compared to sales engineers but WAAY more in their commission if they are good.

Array

May 21, 2018
May 25, 2018

Early stage startup. Your cash comp will be lower than friends who work in 'high finance' jobs like PE/HF/IB, but if you are early, a large portion of compensation will come through equity. If the company you are at IPOs or (more likely) sells itself, then you will make more in 1 day than friends will in 5 years. First 10 employees almost always include a hybrid BD/Finance/Strategy role

May 21, 2018

Dilution is pretty brutal though for non-founders and non-execs.

May 27, 2018

I'm from the DC Metro area and a lot of my friends had parents that worked for government contractors and balled out. There were also a lot of small-medium sized business owners who did niche things in construction and brought in a lot of money.

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May 27, 2018

I met a guy working for Oracle as a software salesman making ~500k annually

Jun 10, 2018

Nurses who transition into hospital management. My aunt clears $500K in a mid-size city in flyover country.

May 27, 2018

Anyone in tech or silicon valley will tell you something in software development/product management/AI/ML/Data has far more undergrad demand than finance (at least at berkeley/stanford).

Any software engineer/PM clears more in years 1-3 than their finance counterparts. For example, Google pays developers something like 140 base along with relocation + EOY bonus and 4 year vesting stock to grads. Top tier startups pay similar if not more. Basically top tier tech outpays top tier finance in the first few years of your career.

Jun 10, 2018

Do all of those positions require engineering/CS degrees?

May 27, 2018

Lol of course, or stats/math or something STEM. The reason they're so well paid and you work like 35-40 hrs a week is that not that many people have the skills/intelligence to do the jobs. Quant finance is another route where talented technical guys can work. They make absurd amounts of money. If you can get a prop trading role at a Jane street/Susquehanna/Citadel, you can easily make over 250 right off the bat.

May 27, 2018

The compensation I'm most interested in is Renaissance Technologies. I guess it's technically a HF but from what I understand they only recruit MAs and PhDs in Math and CS. I've watched a couple James Simon talks online and dude's a genius. I mean seriously: "Renaissance's flagship Medallion fund, which is run mostly for fund employees,[8] "is famed for one of the best records in investing history, returning more than 35 percent annualized over a 20-year span".[5] From 1994 through mid-2014 it averaged a 71.8% annual return.[9]"

May 27, 2018

Me too. The numbers are definitely obscured because RenTech is famously secretive (with good reason). I'm sure nobody's complaining about comp there.

May 21, 2018

Entry level engineers at Google don't make $140k base, more like $110-115k. All-in is around ~$155-165k however including vesting RSUs and bonus.

May 27, 2018

Tech's a little higher variance pay-wise as opposed to finance so there's more consideration to where you went to school/your qualifications. I went to school where CS is top tier and my friends have shown me offer letters with 140K base, 25K signing, and RSUs that vest over 4 years and amount to close to 100k if not more. That is, however, considered the 'top' tier SW offer, or the equivalent of MF analyst roles/top tier BB-EB roles in finance.

At a Salesforce, Amazon, or Apple, the figures would be closer to what you quote, or I suppose a non-mountain view Google offer.

May 27, 2018

Pking in Edgeville with smite is a good way to get bank

What concert costs 45 cents? 50 Cent feat. Nickelback.

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May 27, 2018

I'll pick up the scraps with my lvl 3 l00t3r.

May 28, 2018

Botting is the way to riches. I used to run like 2-3 accounts making 150-200k per hour each. Come home from school with a nice profit everyday

May 27, 2018

Private tutoring in SV; you'd be surprised how much Asian parents are willing to pay to provide their children with a good education. I know a private piano teacher and writing tutor, both who make well into the six figures.

May 27, 2018

To add to the airline pilot bit. As a former pilot, I can say that yes the money comes eventually but you go through poverty to get there. Your first 1000 hours are probably at close to minimum wage (My first year flying I was paid 20K a year). You then move to the Regionals and make the huge pay jump to 30K a year. Once you gain experience and move to the captain seat you start making 70-140K depending on how long you stay. Then the jump to the 'majors' comes, your big break, and what you get for it is a starting salary of 55k, the bottom of the seniority list, and terrible schedule and routes. You work your way back up waiting for your seniority number to be called and you move to the left seat and begin to make the money. All this to say... the 200K when you are 55 years old is just making up for all the lost wages when you were 25. I wouldn't say you the stress levels are that low either, and airport hotels lose their novelty VERY quickly (if they had any to begin with). Also, the profession is losing its prestige, it's more bus driver than 'Catch Me if You Can'. All this to say I switched to finance, I make more than I did flying, and I can tuck my little guy in every night! Also, my 28-year-old boss makes 200+K a year... Don't know of any 28-year-old pilots even close to this.
To answer the form question, and to transition nicely off the pilot bit, Aircraft Finance and Leasing seems to be a niche little spot with some decent pay. Plus the jet-set perks if you so wish.
(Disclaimer: I am Canadian so each country's different when it comes to pilots, but I know most pilots up here are fighting so that we don't end up 'like the States'. See WestJet pilot strike vote for an example of pilots pushing back against ULCC's)

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May 23, 2018

Agree pilots lost prestige and is closer to bus driver now.

Maybe wages will pick up over time as people leave the profession. It seems lowly paid for the expense of getting there. Industry has been cost rationalizing for decades. Over supplies. Plus it's a niche skill set so if the industry is over supplied it's tough to find anything that utilizes your training. Conversely, if it ever becomes under supplied niche skill sets soar in negotiating power.

Array
May 31, 2018

planes will be autonomous within 10 years

May 28, 2018

Tons of lucrative career paths out there depending on what your definition of lucrative may be. Anything technical is a well-paying option. Computer programming, electrical/mechanical/chemical engineering, engineering management, construction management, network engineering, CPA, JD, chemist, petroleum engineer...

As I said, though, it's a function of your definition of lucrative. A good EE/Chem-E/code-writer with a soled GPA and a year or two of internship should be able to start out anywhere from $70 - $125/yr. However, depending on the company and the opportunities offered, these positions can turn into$175 - $250k/yr. within 5 years.

Also known several successful BDC guys who have done quite well. Know a guy who got in on the front-end of the frac-sand biz, helped finance and build 5 plants, IPO'd the company and now he's a multi-millionaire. He calls that his "seed money" for something bigger.

I just do not have that type of vision. I have a place in the corporate structure, but it's not at the head of the table, and I'm fine with that. I like sleep, personal time, outside interests, etc. Like the old saw goes: "I work to live, I do not live to work". Life is short and money, for me, is simply a means to an end, not a zero-sum game.

May 29, 2018

In terms of comp, honestly not many, with the exception of being self-employed or possibly in the right Real Estate Gig. In terms of prestige, it is the usual suspects. No one is going to think you're a genius or prestigious if you own 6 Taco Bells but you might make the same money as an IB'er.

Jun 1, 2018
  1. Private Wealth Management
  2. any boutique where you're sure to get to the partnership quickly
  3. non BS startups (gotta be lucky)
  4. Real Estate
Jun 1, 2018

Some dude I know sells paper products and makes bank. Any type of paper, plastic, bag... basically anything you throw away, he sells to companies. I don't imagine that going anywhere soon, despite what the whole green energy folks say.

Aug 10, 2018

is your friend michael scott?

Jun 1, 2018

I know some executive recruiters making in the low 7 figure range $1-5mm and have met some talented ones a few years out of school making close to $500k, They're definitely the exceptions, not the rules, but that is what commissioned sales gets you if you hustle.

May 31, 2018

barriers to entry for fintech are greater than IB. what is your major? any internships?

Aug 10, 2018

I had an internship at an investment analytics startup , then had an internship at a boutique capital advisory firm. I just finished an internship at a private investment group specializing in fintech. I am currently majoring in Economics and Finance

Aug 10, 2018

Bump

Aug 10, 2018

That's a lot of internships. Do none of the places you interned at want to hire you for full time?

Aug 10, 2018

The first firm I interned at is offering me a full time position but I didnt feel that it is the best place to start my career. The second internship was in a developing country and I was not sure its the best place to move right now. The third firm didnt offer me anything

Aug 10, 2018

Strongly disagree that there are more barriers to entry in FinTech compared to IB. Markets are going more technological/electronic any way and we have seen the big banks getting more squeezed...You may not get as big of a starting salary but you could easily get a solid entry level job at a FinTech company with all your internship experience...Research/network companies like Bloomberg, Ullink, Portware, FactSet, Fidessa, Eze Castle, etc...I admittedly have no experience in IB so I could be wrong but all things considered you will have no problem getting into FinTech from your experience description. Good luck brother

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Aug 10, 2018

Alright thanks man , appreciate it. Really leaning towards fintech now , do believe the transformation of the industry is happening already. Its better to be at the tip of the spear than anywhere else

Aug 10, 2018

They're somewhat different entry requirements. FinTech frequently wants people who have VBA/SQL/etc. abilities even in business departments that aren't directly involved in writing code or engineering devices.

Aug 10, 2018
jiggyd:

I am currently in my final year at college and I am realizing that IB is not something I really want to do. The market is currently bad here, where getting a job in the front office is becoming more and more difficult and I just dont feel the same amount of passion most people here feel for IB. Currently I am thinking of getting into fintech , but was thinking if there are any other industries or potential jobs that pay well that will see big growth in the future ?

Let's read between the lines here a little bit. You are "thinking of" getting into fintech not "wanting to". This means you don't know what you want to do but just know that IB isn't a great fit.

You know what the best job for that situation is? The one that gives you broad experience and keeps a lot of doors open.

Generally that's either consulting or an industry LDP. If you want finance then that's generally IB, consulting(if you can get into a finance group), or working in an FLDP. Any of those options will give you broad exposure and give you a much better idea of what you are good at and what you enjoy doing.

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Aug 10, 2018

Yeah it is true that I am not completely sure on what I want to do. But I do have some exposure to fintech and from what I have seen it is a very interesting place to be right now. You have a lot of new developments such as blockchain, smart contracts , etc which is having a big impact on the industry now and will continue having in the future. Also I am open to doing sales /business development at a start up. I would prefer a role that would allow me to have greater creative input and have a larger entreprenurial impetus. Obvious downsides would be a much lower salary and probably restricts which industries I can move to in the future. Or would it be better to do IB/consulting then move to fintech/ startup /etc ?

Aug 10, 2018

Ya I'd agree to that point, his experience seems to be strictly finance so there would be more barriers to entry on the Technology/programming side of FinTech. But the Front office side of FinTech where he could meet with clients and understand their trading strategies/financial plans would not have barriers since his experience is already finance-related.

Jun 1, 2018

become a consultant in any kind of a niche. my company has a food scientist that bills us at $125/hr. that's about $250k a year if she's doing full time hours.

Aug 10, 2018

"someone who can develop synergy in a group and understands people" sounds like a leader to me. Honestly, you are not giving sufficient detail about what you don't like in IB and what you are really interested in to give you any valuable feedback.

Aug 10, 2018

I didn't like sitting around for hours looking developing financial models. I suppose I felt too jumpy, and the hours needed to put into it didn't seem worth it. The money was good, but there was never anytime to truly enjoy it with people. There was no balance, I don't want to be broke and living pay check to pay check but I would rather spend lots of hours on another field in finance, I realize this is very general, but is sales the best solution?

Aug 10, 2018
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