Who's the most entrepreneurial of high finance?

UTDFinanceGuy's picture
Rank: Neanderthal | 3,144

Kind of curious if you'd consider those who are in IBD to be entrepreneurial in nature? If not who do you think probably shows the most aptitude or desire to be entrepreneurial.

Hedge Funds? Sales/Trading? Consulting?

Curious your guys' take.

And no, venture capital doesn't count in this discussion.

Comments (55)

Jul 5, 2016

I'd think that the most obvious and accurate answer is sales? Then again, sales encompasses many roles, including the senior levels of IB (VP, MD), as well as those in traditional sales (S&T).

Best Response
Jul 5, 2016

The people who are actually entrepreneurs.

No, that does no include IB personnel unless they have broken off and formed their own boutique.

    • 4
Jul 5, 2016

Entrepreneurs - bet everything, stand to lose it all.

Investment bankers - always get their base, only stand to lose a bonus and/or employment.

Investment bankers are not entrepreneurs. But they do have a better Sharpe ratio.

    • 3
Jul 5, 2016

PWM hands down. no base, if you don't produce, you're fired. don't produce a lot? pay gets cut.

in addition to that, I'd say starting a fund (HF, AM, PE) is pretty entrepreneurial.

    • 2
Jul 5, 2016

IBD are the least entrepreneurial unless they went into it already having that type of mindset. Banking is like a polar opposite to entrepreneurship in every sense of the word.

Jul 5, 2016

The hipster looking dude who starts his own pretentious cupcake shop, and sees the business flourish due to location, and demand. Then decides to open another one, and in 10 years is worth 20 million.

This man usually doesn't work in finance; and most of these "dudes" fail.

I think- therefore I fuck

Jul 6, 2016

Finance is, was and will always be a support function.

I believe the main reason people do not like their work is because you are supporting someone else. Whether that be in allocating capital, in advising on deals. You are and will be someone's bitch.

The only way to be "entrepreneurial" is to be an entrepreneur or aim for a CEO position in a company that actually does things instead of again, being somebody's bitch.

Jul 6, 2016

PWM, or actual entrepreneurs like Mike Bloomberg who worked in finance and then started their own business later

Jul 6, 2016

true entrepreneurship involves starting a business whose revenue is NOT based on the founder's hourly labor. even if an investment banker DOES break off on his own, i wouldn't describe him as a model entrepreneur if he charges clients a fee based on his advisory work. which is what most self-employed investment bankers do.

but if an i-banker breaks off on his own and becomes a raging success to the extent that he owns a truly self-sustaining company that doesn't require him to be there, THEN i would say he's a true entrepreneur. see Roger Altman and Evercore. Roger Altman broke off to found Evercore, which is now publicly traded and has 1000 employees. he is no longer the CEO of Evercore.

Jul 7, 2016

Investment Bankers are not entrepreneurial.

Jul 7, 2016

the startyourownbusiness one

Jul 7, 2016

Haha, if entrepreneurship is your thing, you don't belong in banking.

Jul 7, 2016

Checklist from Morgan Stanley.

"Is Investment Banking Right for You?
A checklist to help you decide if you have the skills and temperament for this area

You have strong analytical and numerical skills that put you at ease with financial data.
You are driven to achieve results and will push yourself to perform well under pressure and against tight deadlines.
You are a committed team player with the ability to manage a wide range of responsibilities.
You can articulate complex ideas simply and summarise them effectively in your speaking and writing.
You are committed to excellence in your work and maintain high professional and ethical standards.
You thrive in an environment that encourages innovation and entrepreneurial thinking."

Jul 7, 2016

In corporate speak "entrepreneurial" actually means "in the event that someone above you forgets to micro-manage you, you'll still be able to get work done on your own."

Jul 7, 2016

Look, I'm from the midwest, I'm as gullible as it gets they used "entrepreneurial" all the time- I don't think I was under the illusion that a lot of innovation goes on at banks when I came out here. If you want innovation and entrepreneurship, work for a start-up.

Edit: 2nd Aggravate.

Jul 7, 2016

^ Agreed, real entrepreneurial stuff is breaking the status quo, and challenging the norm, often linked in with being rebellious and breaking rules. I got dinged for being too entrepreneurial.

Jul 7, 2016

Prop firms.

Jul 7, 2016

Google.

Jul 7, 2016

Techstars

Jul 7, 2016

Try some VC firms. As far as I understand, a VC firm funds a company starting up, and I think they also fancy entrepreneurs. This would be better seconded by someone else though.

Jul 7, 2016

Correct, VC funds give advantages to people with entrepreneurial background, and most of their activities consist of entrepreneur-like jobs. Look into some of those.

I didn't say it was your fault, I said I was blaming you.

Jul 7, 2016

SALES

Jul 7, 2016
kmzz:

SALES

Agreed. You can learn enough accounting and finance from a book to start your own business.

Jul 7, 2016
kmzz:

SALES

I concur.

People like Coldplay and voted for the Nazis, you can't trust people Jeremy

Jul 7, 2016

It depends on your timeline of when you'd like to start a new company...if it's relatively soon (say 3-5 years), maybe consulting would be a good spot. If you have 10-15 years, then working at a large corporation (e.g. IBM, P&G) would be beneficial as several of these companies allow you to move around from group to group every 2-3 years. This increases your exposure to various aspects of the organization, which, if you pick them properly will help you tailor the skillsets you want for starting a company.

Jul 7, 2016

Sales... your business wont be a business unless you can get the people to buy whatever your company sells

Get it!

Jul 7, 2016

Sales or Business Development

Jul 7, 2016

Strategy or Development

If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses - Henry Ford

Jul 7, 2016
happypantsmcgee:

Strategy or Development

This.

When you're involved in either of these functions with a company, you'll be forced to learn about creating competitive edges, learning the competition and discovering new strategies going forward -- everything involved in being an entrepreneur. It's the best opportunity to see how a company functions and it will surely give you ideas about products you could start/improve yourself. You'll also develop a broad skillset -- sales included.

You could also work for a start up where you'll pretty much be forced to do the above if you are competent and can bring decent ideas to the table. Again, this will allow you to get experience talking with current clients, prospects, industry leaders and give you ideas about products you could start/improve. But, working at a start up/developing firm can have some significant risks, too.

Jul 7, 2016

I'm in a similar boat; I have offers from a top tier mutual fund in asset management and also a BB investment banking offer...I'm thinking IB because it is in New York and there's a better "network"

Jul 7, 2016

Scott- Give us a little more details about your background so we can get into more specifics. I kind of like the Sales comments because that is truly a job that builds character. If you can get rejected a million times, and keep moving forward, there is nothing that will stop you in entrepreneurship. For someone in college, who is not sure what to major in, but knows for sure they want to either start a business, or have side businesses, I think a CS major isn't a bad bet. Lets face it - the internet is a great, low risk place to be launching businesses. Having CS skills can give you an advantage in building products/services that can be marketed over the internet. CS majors can also command pretty good salaries. Note that some CS programs are really math intensive so those might not be as helpful.

Me personally - I chose to do accounting. I figured I would have a low risk steady job during the day, which would give me plenty of time on my side businesses and allow me to be much more riskier in these ventures. My accounting career is not at all closely related to my entrepreneurial ventures online. And your career doesn't have to be either.

Jul 7, 2016

I don't really have much of a background to speak of really... I started a very small lawn care business this year. Just starting out in college again, thinking about majoring in CS. I'm pretty positive that I'd like to major in something with a lot of math since good math skills can be very valuable... CS seems interesting to me and I love some of the programs that are out there. It seems like a great fit for me and what I'm interested in (looove technology)... I just hope I can cut it.

I was really looking moreso for a comparison of consulting and vc with other suggestions... but I can't see myself busting my ass for a CS degree and then going into sales and not using my math knowledge... besides, I'm not that great of a salesman unless it's something I truly believe in. I can't muster up that fake/cheesy used car salesman attitude and try to sell crap to people.

If your dreams don't scare you, then they are not big enough.

"There are two types of people in this world: People who say they pee in the shower, and dirty fucking liars."-Louis C.K.

Jul 7, 2016

This really depends on your skillset and the type of company you want to build. If you are looking to build some sort of technology start-up, then having a background in CS is obviously beneficial. Of course, if you are building your technological skills, you will want to anticipate what types of products will need to be invented 3-5 years from now, and then build those skills. Every hot start-up today is looking for python or javascript developers, but honestly, how many more social-based start-ups can really turn a profit. The real, large-scale value opportunities lie in technologies which are 3-5 years out. These include new interfaces (multiple touch screens, Siri-like audio interfaces, etc), data intelligence, and building systems which incorporate "things" (ie attaching your oven to the internet and building the software to turn it on with your mobile phone).

Outside of tech, it really depends on the type of business you are building. Take a look at Drucker, the famous management expert. He claims businesses need to do only two things: innovation, and marketing. Therefore, you need to build a business which innovates, in which case you need the skills and experience in that area of innovation (like technology, or even biology, or physics, etc). Or, you need to build marketing skills, which essentially means sales skills. You did this running a lawncare business. The service you are selling is relatively commoditized; your ability to attract customers came down to effective marketing. If you don't have the desire to start a business which innovates, then your best bet is to start a business where a sales/marketing background would be useful.

Jul 7, 2016

hmmm... thanks for the response. See, EE/CE seem like they would be great things to learn also (both for business and just being able to build really cool things)... well really, any engineering does, but as for tech...

Really sucks that it would take way too long to learn physics, ce, ee, cs, and me

Life's too short :(

If you guys were a computer scientist and you were offered two jobs, all else equal (or at least close), one in VC in your intended field and the other a corporate job also in your intended field, which would you pick if you were in this position?... It seems like a really really hard decision haha

If your dreams don't scare you, then they are not big enough.

"There are two types of people in this world: People who say they pee in the shower, and dirty fucking liars."-Louis C.K.

Jul 7, 2016

Personally, I would choose the corporate job, and then consider transferring to a start-up after I had a decent amount of money to live off.

Jul 7, 2016

Your actually describing my job here...BIG4 Restructuring.

I work about 40-50 hours a week (50 at most) and a major part of my job involves essentially running various business's and developing strategies for them.

Of course a lot of it is selling off assets and liquidating companies but you still get a knowledge of how the business operate and what it takes to run them.

Thats the job you describe (although Im in Europe and restructuring can vary a lot depending on local law).

Jul 7, 2016

prostitution

Jul 7, 2016

Sales, biz dev/biz strat, or strat/management consulting all seem like good foundations. You'd probably want to look at some CF positions because the hours won't be as killer and will enable you to have time to learn outside of work as well.

Jul 7, 2016

i hate to pimp for my old job, but strat consulting. if nothing else you get to see the retarded shit that goes on in real businesses and you have some great inverse examples to learn from. and you get insight into markets that you never knew existed.

Jul 7, 2016

Startups or Prop trading.

Jul 7, 2016

Hmmm... what type of degree is needed to get into strategy or development?

Can anybody explain why strategy/sales/development/some consulting is better than VC? Are VCs not as involved in the actual expansion of their portfolio companies?

If your dreams don't scare you, then they are not big enough.

"There are two types of people in this world: People who say they pee in the shower, and dirty fucking liars."-Louis C.K.

Jul 7, 2016

In addition to funding, VCs provide advice and connections to big players in the field. You may not be able to participate in the high level discussions that take place between these experts and management of the funded companies. This may make you miss out on key elements of running a business.

Additionally, VCs are extremely hard to get into from undergrad -- especially good ones that are worth their salt. Trust me, there are a lot of "venture capital" firms who have no understanding of their supported companies and are very good at selling the "need" for additional funding, essentially keeping dying companies alive for longer than they should be.

When you are participating in a start up company, you get experience working with c execs, listening to how they strategize new moves in a market segment, see how they think when selling and promoting the product and get to watch how everything functions, from the people in the back office to the CEO who comes in every other week.

A lot of that insight in crucial when trying to do things on your own. You see what works and what doesn't work, and it may give you a headstart on a new product as you already know much about the current market and its competitors. Additionally, it'll give you an idea of whether or not you are passionate about your market space. If you don't have passion for fulfilling a need, you'll never get anywhere as an entrepreneur.

Working for a particular company in strategy/development would lend a similar experience to the above described.

As for what major, I'd go for what you're passionate about. I'd also stay away from the hard sciences if you're not interested in them and don't want to pursue finance/econ/business as well. If you end up with strictly a hard science major and want to work for a ground breaking firm in that particular field, it'll be hard to convince them out of undergrad that you're really capable of being in strategy and development and not in basic lab-rat type stuff that comes with most hard science majors. I guess what I'm trying to say is, pick something you're passionate about and be able to demonstrate that passion in an interview, and major (as long as it's business-y or quantatitive) shouldn't be a problem.

Jul 7, 2016

Ah... so VCs mostly find the people to run the businesses and the people in the VC firm don't really make the decisions?

I like how this discussion has gotten me thinking about a job at one of the Big 4s... again haha. Is strategy consulting just as hard to get into at MBB as the other types of consulting?

If your dreams don't scare you, then they are not big enough.

"There are two types of people in this world: People who say they pee in the shower, and dirty fucking liars."-Louis C.K.

Jul 7, 2016

I don't want to speak too much for those in VC. What I wrote above is about the limited knowledge I have about VC firms/my experience with the firms.

Don't know too much about Big 4s consulting either. MBP may be able to speak more to that.

I should emphasize that most of the people I know who have started firms or new products usually have years and years of experience in a particular field. The true outlier are the Mark Zuckerbergs of the world who manage to create a billion+ firm at 22.

Jul 7, 2016

If I wanted a job and had the entrepreneurial spirit, I'd probably try and become an entrepreneur

Jul 7, 2016

I was waiting for that comment lol... I'm talking about somebody who needs some steady income for a little bit at least

If your dreams don't scare you, then they are not big enough.

"There are two types of people in this world: People who say they pee in the shower, and dirty fucking liars."-Louis C.K.

Jul 7, 2016

Currently doing a minor in marketing whilst majoring in finance. Although a lot of people will say it is useless for banking I think it's good to have the knowledge if you want to one day start your on business. I've learned a lot on negotiation and (marketing) strategies. Marketing however, is a lot of bs and it's not going to help you going into finance/IB.

I think strat cons is a great entry point because you'll get to know a lot of sectors and see various types of business management styles. Then again, I think strat consulting is one of the most interesting career paths if you want to do business. Just my thoughts.

Jul 7, 2016

As said, totally depends on what kind of business and the timeline you have in place. I see a lot of sales backgrounds among business owners. I would say the two most important factors for starting out would be
1. Build personal savings.
2. Be flexible, able to pick up and move,take risks.

Of course careers in finance, sales etc, will build experience and create connections, but before you realize it you may have assumed too much responsibility and then pursuing entrepreneurship isn't worth your personal risk. But having access to cash is important.

I went in and out of University debating this choice.

Jul 7, 2016
Comment
Jul 7, 2016