Why do you want to work on Wall Street?

JohnD's picture
Rank: Chimp | 4

For those of you interested in a job on Wall Street... why? I'm doing research for a book and am very interested to know why bright, young minds are still being drawn to Wall Street. Did the 2008 financial crisis impact your decision (positively/negatively)?

Do the recent measures to cap pay make the industry less attractive? But mainly, why channel your brainpower to Wall Street instead of industry, tech, medicine, etc.? Thanks in advance to anyone who will offer some insight.

Comments (58)

Jul 14, 2013

For the learning experience. No other industry will allow a 22 year old to talk with CEO's of major corporations and deal with the responsibility that comes with it. The impact we can have on various companies in different industries at such a young age is unique. Not to mention it's something new every day. The financial sector is always changing - the world runs on it. To me, it is the ultimate career destination because the world depends on it.

Jul 14, 2013

This is an interesting question to ask, though I think the answer that most people are going to give you are going to be the same as most other industries.

Money obviously is a big driver. If you can get in, there's few other jobs that will pay a 23 yo kid $150,000 a year to do what they do on Wall Street. That can mean both financial security to some, and power/status to others. Comparatively, doctors take on a ton of student loans, do years of residency, and get paid crap until several years into their career. Tech is popular too but just as competitive (if not more) than most financial jobs, yet don't pay nearly as much the higher you go up the ladder (unless you're starting your own tech company). Altruistic jobs (or less greedy one than Wall Street's current perception) may appeal to some people, but there's just as many trying to get by in their day-to-day lives.

Personal interest is another. Not everyone wants to be a doctor (like me, for example, I could not tolerate being around sick people all day, regardless of how much good I would be doing) or a computer programmer. If you have a genuine interest in finance, there shouldn't be a question on why you would pursue a job in that field.

It seems pretty prevalent based on the posting on this site that an element of prestige plays a role too. The top banks and other financial institutions recruit at the top schools in the country. They don't go looking for kids from the University of North Dakota to fill their ranks. Top schools means access to top talent (or in some cases well connected talent), name recognition, and a vast array of alumni connections.

Personally, I don't think there's too much of a mystery of why people take Wall Street jobs (unless you're very against the financial industry as a whole). Just like any other industry the reasons for seeking a job in that industry are going to come down to each individuals wants and needs. I'm not sure if there's a big difference in Wall Street vs. another industry when it comes down to it.

Not sure if any of that is helpful, but that's my two cents.

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Jul 14, 2013
JohnD:

For those of you interested in a job on Wall Street... why? I'm doing research for a book and am very interested to know why bright, young minds are still being drawn to Wall Street. Did the 2008 financial crisis impact your decision (positively/negatively)? Do the recent measures to cap pay make the industry less attractive? But mainly, why channel your brainpower to Wall Street instead of industry, tech, medicine, etc.? Thanks in advance to anyone who will offer some insight.

It has always fascinated me that we can create value (and lots of it) out of essentially nothing. The prospect of working in a dynamic, performance-based industry is the appeal of Wall Street. Of course the financial crisis pared down the industry considerably, and from my perspective, job prospects contain a lot more uncertainty (read: upside potential.) The pay scale in finance will remain top-notch despite increased scrutizination and pay-capping, and I am not driven by 8-figure salaries regardless. As far as other industries go, anyone who works extremely hard and does their dues can make it into medicine or law. It's my impression that this is not so in finance, where you need not only a bright young mind but also intangible smarts and skills, to know how to dance the dance. This is another attractive aspect of finance -- to work alongside people who are not just bright, but also clever and sharp.

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Jul 14, 2013
Waymon3x6:

For the learning experience. No other industry will allow a 22 year old to talk with CEO's of major corporations and deal with the responsibility that comes with it. The impact we can have on various companies in different industries at such a young age is unique. Not to mention it's something new every day. The financial sector is always changing - the world runs on it. To me, it is the ultimate career destination because the world depends on it.

You're delusional if you think you'll be talking to any CEOs at the analyst level. All you are is a number cruncher.

The HBS guys have MAD SWAGGER. They frequently wear their class jackets to boston bars, strutting and acting like they own the joint. They just ooze success, confidence, swagger, basically attributes of alpha males.

Jul 14, 2013

I like this topic! I want a Wall St. job because I love the anticipation of the opening bell. I love the high pressure environment of a 1 second decision. One day I hope to be on a Prop Trading desk, then go to school for a MBA and JD because I want to own a hedge fund or asset management. I can do all of this for free. My mother always told me that, "if you love something so much you will do it for free." And she's right, I love finance and I would do it for free. Now I also have an interest in politics too, but I need to be paid for that. Politics and finance compliment each other like peanut butter and jelly. The policies that are set in DC impacts NYC a lot! That's why I study politics.

The 2008 crisis actually made me want to be in finance more! If I was at some desk would I had made a difference? Maybe I don't know, that's the beauty of this industry.
I channel my brain towards Wall St. because I know I would fit in with the lifestyle. Even though I will most likely be the lone female in many situations it will be worth it. Both of my parents are in the government field and that never really interested me, unless it was economic research. I don't have that kind of patience and control to deal with people.

As girl from the south that's interested its a rarity and I DO want to show the big boys that I don't want a family at 25 and that south people are stupid right-wing Christians. It's very frustrating to go back home and see my peers with 2 kids and a degree that's not being put to use. If I offend anyone I'm sorry.

Another small rant: I go to a 3rd tier school and I hate that I have to work 10000X harder in the field than the Ivy League kid with 2.0. I hate that the name of a university plays a bigger role than experience.

Good luck with your book! Can't wait to see it!

Greed is Good!

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Jul 14, 2013

OP -- you consider this 'research'?

Jul 14, 2013
SonnyZH:
Waymon3x6:

For the learning experience. No other industry will allow a 22 year old to talk with CEO's of major corporations and deal with the responsibility that comes with it. The impact we can have on various companies in different industries at such a young age is unique. Not to mention it's something new every day. The financial sector is always changing - the world runs on it. To me, it is the ultimate career destination because the world depends on it.

You're delusional if you think you'll be talking to any CEOs at the analyst level. All you are is a number cruncher.

This is only accurate re: bankers.

Jul 14, 2013

Regradless of any of the rationization and hog-shxt that people try to feed you, my guess is that the majority of people want to work on Wall Street because of the money and the prestige of saying "I work on Wall St." The majority of them probably don't even like Finance. They tolerate it. They just do it because it's what everyone else is doing and talking about. That's the hard truth.

Jul 14, 2013

Very true! It's one thing saying I work for Barclays Downtown vs. I work for Barclays on Wall St. I don't want to do for money, but many people do. It's the same with politics, some do it for actual change, others do it for power.

Greed is Good!

Jul 14, 2013

I want to see how you cite your sources in your paper.

People tend to think life is a race with other people. They don't realize that every moment they spend sprinting towards the finish line is a moment they lose permanently, and a moment closer to their death.

Jul 14, 2013
Vinsanity:

Regradless of any of the rationization and hog-shxt that people try to feed you, my guess is that the majority of people want to work on Wall Street because of the money and the prestige of saying "I work on Wall St." The majority of them probably don't even like Finance. They tolerate it. They just do it because it's what everyone else is doing and talking about. That's the hard truth.

U WORK ON WALL ST?! Brother, mad props to you.

The HBS guys have MAD SWAGGER. They frequently wear their class jackets to boston bars, strutting and acting like they own the joint. They just ooze success, confidence, swagger, basically attributes of alpha males.

Jul 14, 2013

op is a college sophomore trying to get interview answers

Jul 14, 2013
SonnyZH:
Waymon3x6:

For the learning experience. No other industry will allow a 22 year old to talk with CEO's of major corporations and deal with the responsibility that comes with it. The impact we can have on various companies in different industries at such a young age is unique. Not to mention it's something new every day. The financial sector is always changing - the world runs on it. To me, it is the ultimate career destination because the world depends on it.

You're delusional if you think you'll be talking to any CEOs at the analyst level. All you are is a number cruncher.

"Wall street" is more than just analyst-level investment banking...

Jul 14, 2013
Waymon3x6:
SonnyZH:
Waymon3x6:

For the learning experience. No other industry will allow a 22 year old to talk with CEO's of major corporations and deal with the responsibility that comes with it. The impact we can have on various companies in different industries at such a young age is unique. Not to mention it's something new every day. The financial sector is always changing - the world runs on it. To me, it is the ultimate career destination because the world depends on it.

You're delusional if you think you'll be talking to any CEOs at the analyst level. All you are is a number cruncher.

"Wall street" is more than just analyst-level investment banking...

I still can't think of any job on wall street that lets a 22 year old talk to a CEO...

Jul 15, 2013

Are there caddies on Wall St?

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Jul 15, 2013

I work in consulting at the Big4 and new associates can regularly have interaction with the CEO/CFO.

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Jul 14, 2013
packmate:
Waymon3x6:
SonnyZH:
Waymon3x6:

For the learning experience. No other industry will allow a 22 year old to talk with CEO's of major corporations and deal with the responsibility that comes with it. The impact we can have on various companies in different industries at such a young age is unique. Not to mention it's something new every day. The financial sector is always changing - the world runs on it. To me, it is the ultimate career destination because the world depends on it.

You're delusional if you think you'll be talking to any CEOs at the analyst level. All you are is a number cruncher.

"Wall street" is more than just analyst-level investment banking...

I still can't think of any job on wall street that lets a 22 year old talk to a CEO...

Pwned.

The HBS guys have MAD SWAGGER. They frequently wear their class jackets to boston bars, strutting and acting like they own the joint. They just ooze success, confidence, swagger, basically attributes of alpha males.

Jul 14, 2013
packmate:
Waymon3x6:
SonnyZH:
Waymon3x6:

For the learning experience. No other industry will allow a 22 year old to talk with CEO's of major corporations and deal with the responsibility that comes with it. The impact we can have on various companies in different industries at such a young age is unique. Not to mention it's something new every day. The financial sector is always changing - the world runs on it. To me, it is the ultimate career destination because the world depends on it.

You're delusional if you think you'll be talking to any CEOs at the analyst level. All you are is a number cruncher.

"Wall street" is more than just analyst-level investment banking...

I still can't think of any job on wall street that lets a 22 year old talk to a CEO...

Equity research associates during earnings season? Hedge fund analysts? - Could be wrong, not my industry.

Jul 14, 2013
Waymon3x6:
packmate:
Waymon3x6:
SonnyZH:
Waymon3x6:

For the learning experience. No other industry will allow a 22 year old to talk with CEO's of major corporations and deal with the responsibility that comes with it. The impact we can have on various companies in different industries at such a young age is unique. Not to mention it's something new every day. The financial sector is always changing - the world runs on it. To me, it is the ultimate career destination because the world depends on it.

You're delusional if you think you'll be talking to any CEOs at the analyst level. All you are is a number cruncher.

"Wall street" is more than just analyst-level investment banking...

I still can't think of any job on wall street that lets a 22 year old talk to a CEO...

Equity research associates during earnings season? Hedge fund analysts? - Could be wrong, not my industry.

Brother, it's your ego speaking now. You were referring to IB analysts - "The impact we can have on various companies in different industries at such a young age is unique", you were wrong and now you've learned something new. Move on.

The HBS guys have MAD SWAGGER. They frequently wear their class jackets to boston bars, strutting and acting like they own the joint. They just ooze success, confidence, swagger, basically attributes of alpha males.

Jul 14, 2013

1) Money
2) Working with A-players

The best of the best from all types of college majors (usually STEM/ business degrees) flock to Wall Street

alpha currency trader wanna-be

Jul 14, 2013

Ughhh Really?

Greed is Good!

Jul 14, 2013
SonnyZH:
Waymon3x6:
packmate:
Waymon3x6:
SonnyZH:
Waymon3x6:

For the learning experience. No other industry will allow a 22 year old to talk with CEO's of major corporations and deal with the responsibility that comes with it. The impact we can have on various companies in different industries at such a young age is unique. Not to mention it's something new every day. The financial sector is always changing - the world runs on it. To me, it is the ultimate career destination because the world depends on it.

You're delusional if you think you'll be talking to any CEOs at the analyst level. All you are is a number cruncher.

"Wall street" is more than just analyst-level investment banking...

I still can't think of any job on wall street that lets a 22 year old talk to a CEO...

Equity research associates during earnings season? Hedge fund analysts? - Could be wrong, not my industry.

Brother, it's your ego speaking now. You were referring to IB analysts - "The impact we can have on various companies in different industries at such a young age is unique", you were wrong and now you've learned something new. Move on.

Think I found out how you managed to acquire so much monkey shit...

Jul 15, 2013

Juniors have a lot of exposure/one-on-one time with mgmt on non-deal/deal roadshows.. Specifically referring to Equity Sales & ECM.

Jul 14, 2013

But in all seriousness, to answer OP's question.

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Jul 14, 2013
BlackHat:

But in all seriousness, to answer OP's question.

HAHAHAHA, i love will ferrell.

Jul 15, 2013

As a kid, my parents pressured me to become a doctor, lawyer, or engineer. I don't like school very much (though I love learning), and I couldn't see myself spending my 20's in medical school. I also don't particularly like the hard sciences, so medicine was out. My parents are engineers by trade, and I didn't sense that I could gain much self-fulfillment from that type of work, so engineer was out. I considered being a lawyer, but the job market is horrid and again, I don't want to spend another three years accumulating debt in law school.

Always wanted to work in business, but was very confused about exactly what - business is a very broad field. I wanted a job where I could go straight to work after college, yet make enough so that in the long-run, I could out-earn lawyers and doctors and engineers. Finance was perfect for me, and a realistic option as well.

Jul 15, 2013

Money.

Jul 15, 2013
Waymon3x6:
packmate:
Waymon3x6:
SonnyZH:
Waymon3x6:

For the learning experience. No other industry will allow a 22 year old to talk with CEO's of major corporations and deal with the responsibility that comes with it. The impact we can have on various companies in different industries at such a young age is unique. Not to mention it's something new every day. The financial sector is always changing - the world runs on it. To me, it is the ultimate career destination because the world depends on it.

You're delusional if you think you'll be talking to any CEOs at the analyst level. All you are is a number cruncher.

"Wall street" is more than just analyst-level investment banking...

I still can't think of any job on wall street that lets a 22 year old talk to a CEO...

Equity research associates during earnings season? Hedge fund analysts? - Could be wrong, not my industry.

1 year in, the closest I've come is meeting with the CFO of a mid-cap, and speaking with a few management teams over the phone. No analyst is going to put his research associate on an earnings call with JPM or AAPL. Most of your direct contact is with IR. Talking directly to management is more difficult due to compliance issues.

Jul 15, 2013

I graduated at the height of the financial crisis. I made plenty of excuses as for why I wanted to work "in finance" so badly, but it really came down to two things: short term money, and long term money.

As a starving student (had to borrow food money twice in 4 years) I was dying to be able to afford $100 lunches, to live in a place with proper heating and insulation, to buy myself a bespoke suit and shoes, and so on. I was drawn to the relative pay advantage almost any finance job offered. I watched the recent alumni come back, careless with cash and seemingly very self confident as a result. I truly believed money in the short term would be worth just about anything.

I also was very much drawn to the idea of the long term earning prospects. This was the year Paulson & co posted billion dollar BONUSES, not just profits. There was literally no career path I could imagine where in one generation, a man could go from common nobody to billionaire, realistically, based purely on hard work and applying oneself. Already (and this was confirmed later) I smelled entrepreneurship as an overhyped way for rich kids to play CEO for a few years, the entire ecosystem struck me as compensating for all the cash they weren't getting (and oh my, was I vindicated by experience), whilst a guy in a 50th floor room with 10 super smart employees was creating billions of dollars of value for his investors, just by being quite good at reading what would happen.

I read hundreds of books, applied and interviewed at what seemed like hundreds of firms, eventually got in.

Once I had the short term money, I thought it was nice but honestly, not the extraordinary wellbeing I thought it would bring. I got drunk with friends on $200 bottles of whisky (retail, not at the club - unlike wine that still gets you pretty awesome stuff). Wore my finely waxed leather soled shoes and starched shirts with mother of pearl buttons. Got pretty damn bored after a few years. The basic work was easy and repetitive, and the hard (profit generating insights) work on the prop desk was very, very hard and exhausting. I just couldn't see how I would bridge the knowledge gap between me and my 10 years older colleagues who bought a Patek every other month.

Then, I gradually realized just what it took to make the billions. And I realized I didn't have enough of an intellectual edge, nor the balls and sheer grit to compensate, to realistically have a shot at it. So I quit and went for another path where, at least, I might have a shot at the millions; not to "beat" others who I felt insecure towards (because they had more money as kids, etc.) but for myself and my own enjoyment.

Now, I wear shorts and T shirts to work, and those nike structureless trainers cos they are comfy. I have only 2 bottles at home, an 18 year old Islay for the odd occasion and some cheap stuff for cooking. I come and go at the office at the hours I want, although I really should try turn up at 9am more often. I work on intellectually challenging, technically difficult problems. Pay is not amazing, more than enough to have plenty of fun if I want to (which I do less and less, as work is more fun) but every hour gets me higher on the learning curve (and makes me realize how much higher there is still to go). It's like being back full circle - back at college, but this time without the cash strain. It was definitely a fun run.

TL;DR: cash.

Jul 15, 2013

--

Best Response
Jul 15, 2013
BlackHat:

But in all seriousness, to answer OP's question.

Not too far off.

But let's look at the alternatives for a smart student:

(1) Medicine. You have 4 years of medical school, then 4+ years of residency (where you are working like an analyst, barely making enough to live on). You emerge with 250k+ in debt. A lot of specialties don't pay all that well. A neurosurgeon will out-earn the average financier, but that's the pinnacle of the medical profession. Your average internist is making 200k or so.

The real killer for me is the potential for government regulation. Imagine having 200k in debt, then being pushed onto a single payer pay-scale. US doctors make vastly more than physicians in the UK/France/Canada/etc.

(2) Law. First, the supply-demand economics of this industry are fucked worse than finance. We have way too many lawyers now. The average salary is in the 70k (I think?) range. And you have the debt issue, and 3 more years of school. Law only makes sense if you go to a top law school, and admission hinges on the LSAT and GPA. Score poorly? Enjoy finding a job with your 3.9 GPA philosophy degree.

Finally, law overlaps with finance a lot, but is more boring. I'd rather be a hedge fund analyst than a hedge fund tax attorney. I'd rather be in PE / M&A than in M&A law.

(3) Engineering. You have to be really smart to get to the top here. I could be an engineer, but not a top engineer. And the rewards fall to the top few percent, especially in tech. Even if you are extremely talented, you're likely taking a pay-cut versus finance. If you are smart enough to be a Google engineer, you could probably be a quant and earn double.

Engineers (again looking at tech) suffer from a low salary cap and short life span. Unless they continually learn new skills, they will be obsolete within a decade. It's not a death sentence (you can still find demand for Fortran / Cobol programmers) but it is worth considering.

Why Finance? Because I enjoy the diversity of it. Although my current job is niche-y, I aim to eventually become a generalist research analyst. There are an endless number of industries and business models to study. And the markets are always evolving too.

And, as BlackHat said, I like money. I didn't grow up with much, and I put a high value on financial security. I want to send my kids to some east coast prep school (or Harvard-Westlake or something on the West Coast). I will probably always be somewhat cheap, but I don't want to worry about every purchase. I grew up scanning the paper for coupons, and I don't want to do that as an adult.

Work is work. That's why they pay you. I'd eventually like to own a business or two, but more as an investment / hobby. Think vineyard in Napa / Marin County. I may or may not start my own fund one day. The regulatory, legal, and fundraising obstacles make it less attractive. If afforded reasonable autonomy and fairly compensated, I could happily be an analyst for the foreseeable future.

What else would you recommend? Petroleum engineering and dentistry. Both are often overlooked, and are very lucrative.

Petroleum Engineers just kill it. The work schedules are odd, but very manageable for a single guy in his 20s. And it provides a solid track to management at a NatRes company.

Dentists don't deal with the health care bureaucracy to the same extent MDs do, and not many people think of going into dentistry because there is no "House, DDS" on TV.

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Jul 15, 2013

Well put together analysis of general career options.

+1 SB

Jul 15, 2013

I thought a job in finance meant one night stands with Victoria Secret models and my own beach in Thailand?

Jul 15, 2013
Boxesofcats:

I work in consulting at the Big4 and new associates can regularly have interaction with the CEO/CFO.

I was waiting for somebody to say this. As juniors, consultants get way more client exposure than IB analysts. It generally won't be to a CEO of CFO, but I've still been able to sit in meetings with some pretty senior people, jotting down notes for my manager.

I think this forum is very finance-biased (maybe this shouldn't be a surprise). There is in fact a lot of opportunity in finance (particularly in "front office roles" on either the sell side or buy side). However, there is a lot of opportunity in lots of other fields too.

From a monetary perspective, being a doctor or lawyer should provide more security than, say, IB. However they cap out at maybe ~$300 - $400k per year, so IB has more upside. Engineering does this as well with less schooling (but also lower salary cap)

Top tier strategy consulting (McKinsey, etc) arguably sets you up for more career success than IB long-term at similar levels of risk.

If you're looking for more risk & more potential upside (possibility of millions in your twenties), financial trading and entrepreneurship are the heavy-hitters.

I think people on this forum get a little delusional when they think the finance industry is somehow 'better' than all other industries. I think the compensation to risk ratios are quite comparable to the other top industries i mentioned here.

Jul 15, 2013

More money (early on) than almost any other career path, gives you a strong skill set and work ethic, and opens up doors down the road.

To settle the "meet with C-level execs" argument, if you want to speak directly and regularly with C-level, then join a boutique. As an analyst, the less people you have on a deal team, the more chance you'll have at speaking with high level folks.

Jul 15, 2013

I never really got the big deal of everyone talking about "i get to talk to CEO's, and CFO's and Cthis and Cthat of of companies".

I'm not doing a research project or anything, but what is the big deal with talking to C-Level execs?

I've stayed at my friend's Uncle's Condo a few times when we were skiing... he happens to be a billionare CEO
My Fiance's aunt is a COO of a top in the world market research company that I've spent plenty of time with at her cabin's up north and when she takes us out to dinner when she's back in the city.
But, I've never once been amazed and so excited that I was with a C level exec or that either one of them was so rich they can buy whatever they want whenever they want with cash. They're just people like me who happened to have gotten lucky/worked harder/made better choices. I dunno, I guess that's just me though.

But, the reason for why I want to work on wall street, is I enjoy the fast paced nature. I enjoy working with numbers. I enjoy finance. I also enjoy money. I don't mind working hard. I've worked since I was 12, so I'm used to it.

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Jul 14, 2013

I agree. People who don't have any real accomplishments of their own need "status by association." If they say that they "talked to a CEO," then it may make their otherwise unimpressive professional profile seem interesting.

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Jul 15, 2013
West Coast rainmaker:
BlackHat:

But in all seriousness, to answer OP's question.

Not too far off.

But let's look at the alternatives for a smart student:

(1) Medicine. You have 4 years of medical school, then 4+ years of residency (where you are working like an analyst, barely making enough to live on). You emerge with 250k+ in debt. A lot of specialties don't pay all that well. A neurosurgeon will out-earn the average financier, but that's the pinnacle of the medical profession. Your average internist is making 200k or so.

The real killer for me is the potential for government regulation. Imagine having 200k in debt, then being pushed onto a single payer pay-scale. US doctors make vastly more than physicians in the UK/France/Canada/etc.

(2) Law. First, the supply-demand economics of this industry are fucked worse than finance. We have way too many lawyers now. The average salary is in the 70k (I think?) range. And you have the debt issue, and 3 more years of school. Law only makes sense if you go to a top law school, and admission hinges on the LSAT and GPA. Score poorly? Enjoy finding a job with your 3.9 GPA philosophy degree.

Finally, law overlaps with finance a lot, but is more boring. I'd rather be a hedge fund analyst than a hedge fund tax attorney. I'd rather be in PE / M&A than in M&A law.

(3) Engineering. You have to be really smart to get to the top here. I could be an engineer, but not a top engineer. And the rewards fall to the top few percent, especially in tech. Even if you are extremely talented, you're likely taking a pay-cut versus finance. If you are smart enough to be a Google engineer, you could probably be a quant and earn double.

Engineers (again looking at tech) suffer from a low salary cap and short life span. Unless they continually learn new skills, they will be obsolete within a decade. It's not a death sentence (you can still find demand for Fortran / Cobol programmers) but it is worth considering.

Why Finance? Because I enjoy the diversity of it. Although my current job is niche-y, I aim to eventually become a generalist research analyst. There are an endless number of industries and business models to study. And the markets are always evolving too.

And, as BlackHat said, I like money. I didn't grow up with much, and I put a high value on financial security. I want to send my kids to some east coast prep school (or Harvard-Westlake or something on the West Coast). I will probably always be somewhat cheap, but I don't want to worry about every purchase. I grew up scanning the paper for coupons, and I don't want to do that as an adult.

Work is work. That's why they pay you. I'd eventually like to own a business or two, but more as an investment / hobby. Think vineyard in Napa / Marin County. I may or may not start my own fund one day. The regulatory, legal, and fundraising obstacles make it less attractive. If afforded reasonable autonomy and fairly compensated, I could happily be an analyst for the foreseeable future.

What else would you recommend? Petroleum engineering and dentistry. Both are often overlooked, and are very lucrative.

Petroleum Engineers just kill it. The work schedules are odd, but very manageable for a single guy in his 20s. And it provides a solid track to management at a NatRes company.

Dentists don't deal with the health care bureaucracy to the same extent MDs do, and not many people think of going into dentistry because there is no "House, DDS" on TV.

TITCR, QFT, etc etc...I'd SB you if I could.

Jul 15, 2013

Why do kids want to work on wall street?

@GSElevator

That's why.

Follow the shit your fellow monkeys say @shitWSOsays

Life is hard, it's even harder when you're stupid - John Wayne

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Jul 15, 2013

CEOs are not what they are rumoured to be (much like that IBD junior position is only prestigious to those not doing it). You will be amazed at the sheer number of completely incompetent, politically devious, weak backboned scum that makes it to the top. Then you will realize they were careful never to hire anybody more competent than them in the pyramid underneath so there's not much that can go up.

Corporate executive life is probably the easiest, least effort way of making a few millions a year. Within the subset of C level execs I have had the misfortune to spend time talking with, the overwhelming common factor was McKinsey, at least EM level and preferably junior partner or above. Sure, BCG and Bain are represented but nowhere near as much. McKinsey on the CV seems like a key that opens all the doors.

If you don't intend to do anything with your life except collect an oversized paycheck for doing effectively very little work, slug it out at McKinsey, including the stint at HBS for extra blinding CV points (blinding to your lack of fit to the position), and after 5-10 years, you can sit back, relax, give orders, and buy condos with your cash bonuses which, whilst not quite as high as that of traders, will arrive with considerably more regularity and less effort.

Even if you drop out earlier, you will still collect like crazy. Here's a few samples from my network:
- guy spent 2 months (!) as a business analyst in one of the McKinsey EU offices. He later got a job in his country's finance ministry, at a seniority level obtained 10 years earlier than via the civil service track.
- guy spends 2 years in BCG - as an analyst (or BA or whatever they call it). Gets $300k base, cash salary for CEO position of a well funded startup.
- I'll keep this one very vague because it's easy to triangulate. Guy gets to partner level in one of aforementioned consulting firms, gets offered CEO of a fast growth region for a very large US based tech firm. Compensation last year was higher than both Dimon's and Moynihan, and in cash (a few mil in stock). Guy got his assistant to buy him a penthouse condo in city of residence with part of the bonus - he didn't bother visiting.

So yeah, don't discount the McKinsey track, especially if you're only after easy money.

Worth noting: almost none of the executives I know came from the banking track. Those that did, switched (e.g. one did Goldman IBD -> McKinsey).

Jul 15, 2013
heister:

Why do kids want to work on wall street?

@GSElevator

That's why.

So true. I know at least 10 kids from my high school who want to become bankers from that twitter account.

Unfortunately none of them have a clue on what it takes to break into front office positions.

I want to work in Finance because I love it. I was 9 years old and investing in the stock market.

Jul 16, 2013

I ask that question to myself quite often.

I studied general business in bachelor and now a master in finance.

I really enjoy learning about how each part of the financial world relates with each other and with the real world. I have a great satisfaction in understanding modelling, pricing calculations and the theory behind it. I like to keep informed about the markets. And I am obviously thinking of working in an investment bank.

BUT I am afraid I'm doing it for the wrong reasons. And that's why I ask that question so many times. I am not even sure about trading or ib. I know what each entails, but I see myself doing both "enjoying and suffering" the respective advantages and disadvantages.

Anyway... reasons:
- surrounding yourself with important/ smart/ intelligent people
- be part of the financial world/ economy "blood pumping system"
- experience first hand the changes in the financial markets due to regulations
- sheer pleasure of learning

Is this just a bunch of bullshit that my subconscious made up so I can get the money and the prestige?

What if what I really want is to skydive all over, drive my bike across Europe or South America. Ski every winter season! How can I do this and still be responsible and do something useful with my life?

I simply wanted to take this off my chest.
Good luck on your research and thanks WSO.

"If you're going through hell, keep going"

Jul 19, 2013
EURCHF parity:

Now, I wear shorts and T shirts to work, and those nike structureless trainers cos they are comfy. I have only 2 bottles at home, an 18 year old Islay for the odd occasion and some cheap stuff for cooking. I come and go at the office at the hours I want, although I really should try turn up at 9am more often. I work on intellectually challenging, technically difficult problems. Pay is not amazing, more than enough to have plenty of fun if I want to (which I do less and less, as work is more fun) but every hour gets me higher on the learning curve (and makes me realize how much higher there is still to go). It's like being back full circle - back at college, but this time without the cash strain. It was definitely a fun run.

TL;DR: cash.

What do you do now, specifically?

Jul 19, 2013

Money

Jul 19, 2013

to get paid

Jul 19, 2013

Because I watched too many movies glamorizing something so incerdibly boring.

Jul 19, 2013
UFOinsider:

to get paid

you had such a beautiful response, why change it?:)

Jul 19, 2013

Because I'm out of my mind before I have coffee and I should temper that?

Jul 15, 2013
Fetter:
EURCHF parity:

Now, I wear shorts and T shirts to work, and those nike structureless trainers cos they are comfy. I have only 2 bottles at home, an 18 year old Islay for the odd occasion and some cheap stuff for cooking. I come and go at the office at the hours I want, although I really should try turn up at 9am more often. I work on intellectually challenging, technically difficult problems. Pay is not amazing, more than enough to have plenty of fun if I want to (which I do less and less, as work is more fun) but every hour gets me higher on the learning curve (and makes me realize how much higher there is still to go). It's like being back full circle - back at college, but this time without the cash strain. It was definitely a fun run.

TL;DR: cash.

What do you do now, specifically?

AI in house products for a mid size online retail company in Asia. I don't care much for either the company or the industry, but it's a nice, simple problem with loads of low hanging fruit, perfect for a beginner to the field. I have no equity and an average/decent salary. I see it as being paid to do a CS course :P

Jul 19, 2013

I still can't think of any job on wall street that lets a 22 year old talk to a CEO...

[/quote]

^ Good chance you'll talk to some if you're a good associate working under a great analyst (who lets you sit in on calls/meetings etc) in ER. Correct me if I'm wrong, but that's my assumption.

Jul 21, 2013

models and bottles.

end discussion.

Jul 21, 2013
EURCHF parity:

Now, I wear shorts and T shirts to work, and those nike structureless trainers cos they are comfy. I have only 2 bottles at home, an 18 year old Islay for the odd occasion and some cheap stuff for cooking. I come and go at the office at the hours I want, although I really should try turn up at 9am more often. I work on intellectually challenging, technically difficult problems. Pay is not amazing, more than enough to have plenty of fun if I want to (which I do less and less, as work is more fun) but every hour gets me higher on the learning curve (and makes me realize how much higher there is still to go). It's like being back full circle - back at college, but this time without the cash strain. It was definitely a fun run.

What do you do now?

Jul 21, 2013

Because the money, opportunity, and experience.

Jul 24, 2013

I simply just love finance and trading. I spend a good amount of my free time now keeping up with the markets and learning as much as I can about the industry.

Jul 14, 2013

To ND8 - I used to be like that too. Until I actually joined the industry...

People tend to think life is a race with other people. They don't realize that every moment they spend sprinting towards the finish line is a moment they lose permanently, and a moment closer to their death.

Jul 28, 2013
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Jul 29, 2013