You all have a lot of growing up to do...
I register just to post this. I read through these posts and could not get over how immature many of them were. I was in banking from 1996-1998 and have since moved on in my career. I see so much talk about private equity/hedge funds making millions and retiring, it makes me feel like this board is made up soley of freshman college kids who have never worked a day in their lives. Let me give you some facts that might make you all rethink being able to retire at 35.
After taxes investment bankers that aren't VP, will not make enough money to retire. If you are an associate post-mba making 400K a year pre-tax(that means your a top associate) you will take home roughly 240K. If you want a family, that will support you nicely, but it won't get you a fancy life and you will still be working around the clock for this money.
Most ex-analysts who get into Private equity or hedge funds, never make it to partner. PE shops and HF's are smaller organizations with low turnover. The partners of these places don't want to give up equity to a salaried employee unless they are a superstar (meaning incredible investor, or incredibly connected like your dad is Richard Fuld). Even if you get in at the associate level Pre-MBA you are guarenteed nothing.
If you go into the current hot field, in 10 years you may be dissapointed. Investment banking and Corporate Development will always have a market, but other jobs like hedge funds or private equity are oversaturated. Think about the 80's everyone was going into junk bonds, the 90's everyone going into tech. Business is cyclical.
Your odds of making MD at a bank, PE house, or HF are incredibly stacked against you even if you are willing to trade in your entire 20s and 30s to get there. That is were jobs like being a lawyer has banking beat. If you dont make partner at a big law firm you could probably make partner at a smaller firm. This is not the case in banking, although many people do transition to other banks.
Most of you will change your careers many times along your life. Don't think if you just got a great gig at Goldman you will work in the finance field forever. There are tons of hot industries that pay well and have better quality of life.
If you dont like finance, you will not make it to the top. Thats a fact, if you are in it for the money, you wont last.