What's Austin like for a young guy in finance?


I'm currently interviewing with a really strong buy side firm in Austin and wondering what it's like to live there.

I did my SA at a BB and if I went back there it would be in NYC, but I think this buyside firm is probably a better opportunity, I'm just having a hard time wrapping my head around the idea of living in Austin after graduation. I've never been there and am just wondering if anyone here can give some insights in what life is like.

The other thing to note is I'm an NYC guy. I grew up in the city, went to college in the Northeast, and have always pictured myself living in NYC after college. All of my family is there, all my high school friends are planning on going back there, and 90% of my college friends are going to end up there. I don't know anyone planning on going to Austin, so a little worried about my social life after college. I've also never even been to Texas- I know people say Austin isn't really like the rest of Texas, but I'm a little nervous about just the culture shock as someone who has never really lived outside of the northeast. Also to add, this firm has a pretty small analyst class, so unlike a BB where I'd automatically have a big group of people to go out with, I don't know if I can really count on building my social life around work colleagues at this place.

NYC is also the night life capital of the world, and I'm worried that Austin isn't going to compare from the perspective of bars, clubs, and dating. I know I could always lateral in a couple years, but best case scenario at this firm I'm interviewing at would probably be analyst -> associate, so I'm looking at 4 years in Austin during some of the best years of my life to go out and have fun, and I'm honestly just worried about missing out on New York in that time.

Is it worth the probably slightly worse career decision to have a way better lifestyle in NYC? Am I being stupid and Austin is awesome? Would be great to hear from anyone who works in finance in Austin- thx!

Comments (46)

  • Analyst 1 in IB - Ind
Aug 5, 2020 - 10:42am

Dont worry about your social life. You will be worked just as hard if not harder. Frost bank tower looks cool tho


  • Intern in IB-M&A
Aug 5, 2020 - 10:55am

I have a bunch of friends who are banking analysts at the sweatiest of sweat shops and all of them told me that going out on Friday/Saturday nights is really the only way to blow off steam and keep yourself sane when working 80+ hour weeks, and I'm someone that enjoys going out and having a good time. I think being in a place where I had no social life would make me go insane, especially if I'm working tough hours. Makes me even more skeptical to go to Austin because if I only have a few hours a week of free time, it's probably going to be nearly impossible to build new friendships, whereas I know I'll have plenty of college friends always willing to get drunk on a moment's notice in NYC.

Most Helpful
Aug 5, 2020 - 11:17am

Austin is by far the biggest “fun” city in TX (ACL music festival, South by Southwest) and with the influx of tech (Dell, Tesla, etc.) there will be plenty of highly educated people there to interact with. It’s probably the 2nd most popular city for college graduates (behind Dallas) in TX and the restaurant / bar scene are top notch. It’s definitely more liberal so the transition from NE won’t be that much of a shock - highly recommend you visit first before deciding

  • Intern in IB-M&A
Aug 5, 2020 - 11:40am

Thanks. Unfortunately w COVID and exploding offers, I won’t be able to visit before accepting unfortunately, which is why I asked on here, but appreciate the opinion.

Aug 5, 2020 - 11:54am

Go read your post again. . . . you pretty much have answered your own question. If you are worried about living here because you only know the Northeast, can't build a new friend group, and the bar/club scene isn't up to your requirements, don't come! Austin doesn't need you and it seems like you wouldn't love the city.

Clearly a 100 idiots a day are moving to Austin because it's an absolute dump of a city and metro area!

Aug 5, 2020 - 2:16pm

I've spent a lot of time in both. Possibly my two fav places and you can't go wrong in either.

NYC may be the "nightlife capital of the world" but what does that do for you? NYC has the most nightlife but that doesn't make it necessarily the best.

Austin has hotter girls on average . . don't @ me NYC folks, it may be a close call, but Austin wins because (i) the girls are more often actually fit, not just skinny from stress and (ii) the perception that NYC has hot girls everywhere is part true and part driven by the fact that you're just walking past more of them.

As for your question about "is Austin not like the rest of TX" . . for better or worse, Austin is definitely different from the rest of TX. I assume you are referring to people's politics, social attitudes etc. Very different. Extremely hipster and liberal. Personally that's a slight drawback IMHO, but that depends on who you are. If you're a Northeasterner worried about cultural fit, you probably prefer it.

Austin is really huge on outdoor stuff, so if you're into biking on trails and that sort of thing it's going to be even better than NYC for you.

Drawbacks: even though the nightlife is plenty good, I suppose after a while there 6th street and Rainey get a little repetitive. Also, I wonder if all the influx of tech will make the ratio tougher on guys. I don't think so though . . if anything, Austin's maturation into becoming more of a yuppie town will result in more exclusive options where guys with a bit of cash can get away from the sausage fest.

  • Intern in IB-M&A
Aug 5, 2020 - 3:33pm

Thanks + SBd. Is the bar/club scene comparable to NYC in the sense that there’s huge parties with thousands of people going wild? From looking online, seems like a lot of Austin is like hipster beer gardens, which is not exactly the scene I want as a single guy in my 20s. Is there stuff similar to b bar and the like?

Aug 12, 2020 - 12:59am

You're a young guy that has all the time in the world. Club scene in NYC is over-hyped, and to do well with women you need really good social skills, thick skin, and the ability to have fun. The girl that you want to say hi to at "Lavo probably had 10 other dudes approach her in the span of 5 min and wants nothing to do with you. I honestly think Austin will be a much easier place to score tail vs NYC

Pick Austin, you;ll have an opportunity to live in NYC one day, trust me.

  • Intern in IB-M&A
Aug 5, 2020 - 4:03pm

If I theoretically were talking about Vista, this is FT recruiting and it’s a city specific process. I assume I could try to transfer internally eventually, but no idea how easy/hard that would be.

Aug 6, 2020 - 10:02am

Austin is dope bro you'll like it. Making finance money in Austin (or anywhere else in TX) is honestly a cheat code.

  • Associate 1 in PE - LBOs
Aug 6, 2020 - 7:21pm

Going to have to agree here. In addition to making Vista money and paying Austin COL expenses, doing a stint at Vista right out of UG is going to be an unreal professional experience for you that will pay dividends for the rest of your career (obviously will be more relevant if you remain in a principal capacity over the long term, and especially if you continue to focus on the tech vertical). The fact that it happens to be in Austin is just a bonus tbh. Like the comment above me alluded to, you’re probably going to be living a lot more comfortably in TX. You’re going to be completely fine either way, but I think it’d be worth pushing yourself out of your comfort zone on this one, especially for a competitive buyside opportunity right out of undergrad (assuming this aligns with your long-term career goals).

Aug 6, 2020 - 11:39am

Great city for music, outdoors, bars, street food. Generally would say its a great place to live, but if you're not into making new friends theres no shame in staying in your comfort zone.

Theres not really a direct comp for Austin, sticking a slice of California in Texas results in a real funky hybrid. Has some Denver, Nashville, New Orleans vibes in different parts of the city.

Aug 8, 2020 - 10:27pm


Great city for music, outdoors, bars, street food. Generally would say its a great place to live, but if you're not into making new friends theres no shame in staying in your comfort zone.

Theres not really a direct comp for Austin, sticking a slice of California in Texas results in a real funky hybrid. Has some Denver, Nashville, New Orleans vibes in different parts of the city.

fuck street food. who gives a fuck about eating a shitty little shishkabob out a cart? you gonna move over a shishkabob? go to beirut your shekel will stretch farther


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

  • Prospect in RE - Comm
Aug 6, 2020 - 5:23pm

Austin is the greatest city in the world. great finance jobs are a little few and far between though as most of the large deals get done in Dallas, Houston or on the coasts. I don’t know of any tech IB groups in Austin, for example. Austin is absolutely booming though. it’s just not super big. it’s an incredibly fun town, tons of sun, year round golf, beautiful lakes, beautiful women, smart people. fun, more low key bars (more like Brooklyn than clubbing in manhattan) an incredible live music scene, great landscape, low cost of living, etc. there are fun clubby type bars in Austin where you can do the bottle service thing if that’s your fancy, but definitely a much more laid back easy going vibe in atx. if you make friends with someone who has a boat, that’s the life! it may not be where you settle permanently but considering all your hook ups in NYC and a solid buy side gig for 2-4 years, I highly doubt you can’t end up back there if you want, and you will not have a bad time in Austin!

Aug 6, 2020 - 10:33pm

Based on your post it seems you really love NE. So, stay.

"Full speed ahead, damn the torpedoes." -U.S. Navy General Farragut
  • Intern in IB-M&A
Aug 8, 2020 - 5:35pm

Enjoy 6th street

Aug 8, 2020 - 10:24pm

i heard its weird?


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

Aug 8, 2020 - 10:25pm

i bought a mona lisa shooting up out there at a skate park or some shit
think i got a pharoah leg tat
would recommend


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

  • Intern in IB-M&A
Aug 10, 2020 - 12:30am

Assuming you want PE longterm and the shop is vista it seems like an obvious choice. MF PE analyst position is the most elite finance job you can get coming out of undergrad so if you have the opportunity you take it. Even if you dont like the city, it is a long term move, you can either transfer to the SF or Chi office or recruit with vista on your resume after two years and get interviews at every ny pe shop out there. Especially being that you are a rising senior and going to start your career in a covid affected world, would you really want to take the risk with on cycle recruiting? Bird in hand.

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