What's your motivation for working in high finance?

Title pretty much says it all. I want to know why you guys are going through all the stress and hardship to make the big bucks. Like a lot of people on here I was lucky enough to be born into a pretty affluent/privileged family, so my goals are to drive a Ferrari (or something like that) and live in a cool/nice neighborhood with a good work/life balance (obviously a quite a few years down the road since I'm in my early 20's). I know some people have very different motivations such as supporting working class parents, being able to retire super early, etc., and I'm curious to hear what you guys have to say.

Comments (36)

  • Intern in IB-M&A
Dec 2, 2021 - 9:32pm

Every job is dead boring, and since I can't shoot communists with some bros in the jungles of Congo, I might as well do the job that provides the highest possible compensation

  • Analyst 1 in IB - Cov
Dec 3, 2021 - 11:20pm

Cant tell if your trolling but...facts bro. Every since I joined the military and learned about CIA covert ops and read Ghost Wars and Legacy of Ashes I wanted to join the CIA. Then I found out that we dont really do that stuff anymore unless a major war or global conflict is going on and the war is over. Now I work at desk and wish I was cool. My VPs seem pretty cool though. Maybe it gets better.

  • Associate 1 in IB - Restr
Dec 4, 2021 - 6:52pm

Lions, tigers, kangaroos

Long-haired Jodi and a commie too

If I had one bullet, one gun

Shoot the commie let the long-hair run

  • Intern in RE - Comm
Dec 6, 2021 - 1:08pm

This. Money and prestige and the lack of feasibility of doing something they enjoy is the reason >99% of the people in high finance are in high finance.

Dec 5, 2021 - 2:38pm

what if he grows up hating your guts (maybe because you were absent too much, or maybe because he has no other way to establish himself cause everything was already done for him) and becomes a pink-haired face-tattooed belly-button-pierced non-binary gay who spends all his time smoking weed at Eat The Rich rallies? will you feel like you wasted your life then (cause all you did was sacrificing your life to provide for him)?

  • Intern in IB - Restr
Dec 4, 2021 - 3:43pm

Its funny how people got so caught up in crafting a good why banking/ why pe interview answer that theyve convinced themselves that it isnt for money lol. no one gives a fuck about "a dynamic and fast paced environment!" unless the alternative is literally watching paint dry

Dec 4, 2021 - 4:15pm

Competition and wanting to be the best, and high finance gives you this opportunity by promoting/giving you more responsibility very quickly compared to corporate. Also let's be honest, money is part of it

Dec 4, 2021 - 5:47pm

Just wanted to quote this response from an older thread. Heavy stuff.

I got in this industry so that 1) my mom could quit her job and I can make sure that she's taken care of for the rest of her life and 2) I can make sure my two sisters are covered for college and can pursue their dreams of medicine without crushing debt. I'm staying because I don't know what my passion is -- not all of us had the luxury of discovering ourselves, what the hell would I even quit to do?

I know the life I'm signing myself up for, I know it doesn't include much happiness, but I think I'm fine with the trade-off that I'm not currently living for myself but for the people important to me.


  • Intern in IB - Gen
Dec 5, 2021 - 8:44am

Fell in love with a girl that was very wealthy and I was middle class

It didn't work out for reasons unrelated to money

But she showed me a different world of traveling, clothing, culture etc and I realized rich people are actually living much better lives and I want to be a part of this lol

  • Analyst 1 in IB - CB
Dec 5, 2021 - 8:38pm

A big reason for me is that I grew up in a lower upper class family. So generally well off but not enough that I have some large trust. I'm accustomed to a certain level of comfort and wouldn't be happy with myself not being able to maintain that standard of living. So finance gave me that.

Dec 6, 2021 - 12:12pm

Hard to advance within corporate companies, it's too slow. Best corporate job offers (outside of tech) often go to ex-consultants/IB/PE (at manager level and beyond, wouldn't recommend honestly entering below manager). These types of jobs usually include interesting internal/external strategy executions that rarely anyone beyond C-Suite/senior management has access to until these strategic changes happen. These roles can be often exclusive from mundane/repetitive work that's fairly accessible to the majority of the company (I'm in one of these types of somewhat slow moving repetitive roles and it gets boring quickly).

I will say if you're a talented engineer, you can have limitless opportunities. Strong tech employers could care less about the prestige of your undergrad/MBA if you're an gifted coder/SWE.

  • Intern in IB - Gen
Dec 8, 2021 - 2:51pm

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Dec 8, 2021 - 11:40pm

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