I just finished my sophomore year and will be heading into SA recruiting this upcoming fall. I am currently spending my summer at a boutique IB, and given the comparatively lax lifestyle I have now compared to next summer and potentially for the rest of my life, I wanted to do some soul searching to realize if this career is really for me.
I'm sure many of you who are in the workplace or still in school can relate, so if you have any insight to provide, I'd be more than happy to hear your thoughts.
For those that discovered their interest in finance in high school like me, you chose your university based on what would set you up best for a career in the industry. With a bit of luck and elbow grease, you were fortunate enough to get into what was considered a "target".
Over the past two years, I did the whole shebang. I joined clubs on campus to show my interest in finance. I participated in finance competitions and was able to see my effort come to fruition through a few 1st/2nd place finishes. I spent weeks upon months cold emailing/calling for a boutique IB internship that would supposedly position me well for SA recruiting in 3rd year. All this because of a passion I discovered in high school, right?
I'm sure most on this site love spending their weekends spreading comps/making pitchbooks, but I'd be a liar if I said passion is really the underlying driver behind why I want to pursue a career in investment banking. Don't get me wrong - I still love finance and believe IB will provide the best exposure to a student right out of school. However, I'm reluctant to admit that a lot of my "passion" is fabricated by fear. Did I really spend the last 3-4 years chasing something that I love so dearly just to throw it all away? Will my family and friends think less of me if I pursue a career that's considerably less prestigious and pays pennies on the dollar? Is this a phase that will pass once SA recruiting gets underway?
My dichotomy is accentuated by my peers that are new to the finance world or are just ignorant. Its bittersweet hearing from friends about how they're going to pursue BB IBD>MF PE>M7 MBA>Jamie Dimon because I too, was once a bright-eyed finance wannabe who thought a career in finance will bring me happiness in life. I feel like I've had enough. The money isn't worth the hardship and sacrificing the best years of your life. At the same time, it's hard letting go.
Don't really know if there is a real purpose to this post, just wanted to get it off my mind. I'd appreciate your perspective - Does the rat race ever end once you're in? How do you say goodbye to a such a lifestyle?