Investment Banking - Career Question 2

Discussion in 'General Chat' started by Englandmj7, Oct 4, 2006.

  1. drizzt3117

    drizzt3117 Senior member

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    Well I have seen several cases where this has occured and it has been quite successful. I guess my point is to focus on developing a broad array of skills.

    That's certainly possible, but my point was it would be unlikely you'll be able to transition to an IB from say, KPMG or something of the like, while it wouldn't be as difficult to transition from Mckinsey, Bain, et al.

    I have experience in both fields and would generally agree, and also point out that in terms of the travel element, most consultants will have to do a lot of travel until (and even if) they hit the junior partner level (on the McKinsey scale) while most IB is centered in and around NYC (if you're discussing serious firms). I'd say the first couple years of working in either profession will be fairly intense, I would potentially agree that there may be a more intense lifestyle tradeoff.
     
  2. Englandmj7

    Englandmj7 Senior member

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    Wow; thanks for all of the advice gents.

    I considered consulting in university but did not feel it was for me. Some of my friends went into consulting. I was very interested in IB in school, however, but I just never followed through. I follow the market, invest a little myself, and grew up in a banking family (mind you, not I-banking). Unfortunately, my dad retired ages ago and I can't really use that connection.

    I bought several career guidebooks, and whilst they did say transitioning was very hard, it seemed possible. Even if I couldn't get in at a top-10 IB, do you think it would be impossible to be considered more so at a smaller to mid-size IB? There are several in LA (where I hope to be moving back to soon) and a lot here in San Francisco. In LA, a lot of the IBs deal with entertainment companies right? I would imagine I may be able to swing that angle a little more than I could in NYC.

    Also, I realize this is a completely absurd longshot, but I wanted to get your thoughts: I have quite a bit of savings, enough so that I could be unemployed or unpaid for several months and be alright. What if I went out on a limb here and noted in my cover letter that I want a position so badly that I would work as an unpaid summer intern to prove I am the man for the job? Yes, it seems absurd, but do you think in some obscure way it might get their attention?

    Clearly, as you can tell, I am no expert on the subject! But I can offer a tiny bit of advice: I bought three industry guides from Wetfeet.com (Investment Banking Resumes, Interviewing with Investment Banks, and Careers in Investment Banking) for a total of $50. They have descriptions of interviewing at each firm, what they look for, etc. from people who have worked at them....I found it to be very helpful, and for $50 it is worth it even if you already know a ton about IB.
     
  3. drizzt3117

    drizzt3117 Senior member

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    Wow; thanks for all of the advice gents.
    I bought several career guidebooks, and whilst they did say transitioning was very hard, it seemed possible. Even if I couldn't get in at a top-10 IB, do you think it would be impossible to be considered more so at a smaller to mid-size IB? There are several in LA (where I hope to be moving back to soon) and a lot here in San Francisco. In LA, a lot of the IBs deal with entertainment companies right? I would imagine I may be able to swing that angle a little more than I could in NYC.


    Perhaps you'd have more success with that, but also keep in mind that there are a lot of people graduating from California based universities that are doing the same thing, you need to show that you have a competitive advantage over them. A MBA will help.

    Well, a lot of MBA level interns will take unpaid internships, I don't think its going to really get their attention but I personally don't think its a great idea because taking an unpaid MBA (or other) internship shows a lack of confidence, in my opinion, at least for someone who's out of school.
     
  4. whnay.

    whnay. Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    Great points all around.

    RE: Small to Middle Market Firms.

    I've worked now 4 years for a middle market firm out of Atlanta and been extremely happy with my experience. The $$$ is not NYC by any stretch of the imagination but neither is the hours. I get a lot more face time (currently as an associate) than any of my friends in NY, LA or London and have a broader product variance being that my firm competes for equity capital and debt capital markets business. I'd say for a person in your situation you'd have a lot better chance breaking in with a Bain or William Blair than a Goldman or Morgan Stanley and I wouldn't be surprised if you wouldn't enjoy it just the same.

    My thing has always been, if your good people will take notice. I gotten several calls from headhunters looking to place me at larger buldge bracket firms. And I've spoken to several friends at places like Lehman who despite the fat bonuses are now seriously contemplating moving down south to work with smaller firms who are more flexible and less political.

    Take the GMAT, do well, start applying early to B-school, study hard, and your options should materialized pretty quickly. And if it comes down to it I'm sure one of us will be able to help you out, at least I know I'd be willing to shuttle around your resume to the right people.
     
  5. Artisan Fan

    Artisan Fan Suitsupply-sider

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    I would agree Bill. I worked at Lehman and it was so political in places that several good people left. Frankly a lot of the NYC firms are hell. It's just a rat race and even at $1mm a year, the senior MDs goad you into a high overhead lifestyle. No family values in many firms - lip service yes, but not much content.

    I learned the hard way that one must really balance work and life or you will not be good at either. Also, bulge bracket does require living in expensive cities so that impact the value proposition dramatically although that's not as important when one is single and in their 20s.

    Happiness > Money. [​IMG]
     
  6. Englandmj7

    Englandmj7 Senior member

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    All the advice has been great; it is nice to have people who don't beat around the bush and will tell me straight!

    I sincerely appreciate your kind offer whnay; I will be sure to PM you for advice in the future when I am in the right place to start applying for positions!

    I think for now I am going to study vigorously for the GMAT; the score lasts for 5 years so whilst I am in a relaxed, comfortable job I should get it out of the way. That way, if I get in at an IB, have no time to study, and end up pulling my hair out I will be prepared!

    Thanks again gents. Cheers,

    Marc
     
  7. maverick

    maverick Senior member

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    I am a senior in college now, and from what I can tell the best way to get a banking job is through networking. Contact alumni of your school who are in banking now -- always try to meet them face to face. They may be less receptive to someone who has already graduated than to a student who just wants to learn about what banking is all about, but this is certainly worth a shot. At the end of the day, the connections you make with people (before the interview process, during it, or after you have started working) will determine whether you get a job and what kind of work you will be doing once you are there. Even young people can be helpful; see if any of a friend's friends are in banking and go through there. Try to find a recruiter's contact information and call him/her to ask about what to do if you have already been out of college for a while. Send her your resume. The online applications rarely yield anything. I certainly know of people who took a year off to do various things before getting a banking job. If you live near your school, attend one of the banking information sessions there and meet alumni that way.
     
  8. maverick

    maverick Senior member

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    Last edited: Aug 24, 2011
  9. drizzt3117

    drizzt3117 Senior member

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    I am a senior in college now, and from what I can tell the best way to get a banking job is through networking. Contact alumni of your school who are in banking now -- always try to meet them face to face. They may be less receptive to someone who has already graduated than to a student who just wants to learn about what banking is all about, but this is certainly worth a shot. At the end of the day, the connections you make with people (before the interview process, during it, or after you have started working) will determine whether you get a job and what kind of work you will be doing once you are there. Even young people can be helpful; see if any of a friend's friends are in banking and go through there. Try to find a recruiter's contact information and call him/her to ask about what to do if you have already been out of college for a while. Send her your resume. The online applications rarely yield anything. I certainly know of people who took a year off to do various things before getting a banking job. If you live near your school, attend one of the banking information sessions there and meet alumni that way.

    You understand he's talking about investment banking, right? Their hiring periods are usually quite regimented and most high end investment banks don't recruit from every campus. Alumni may help but he really needs a MBA to have a realistic shot.
     
  10. maverick

    maverick Senior member

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    You understand he's talking about investment banking, right? Their hiring periods are usually quite regimented and most high end investment banks don't recruit from every campus. Alumni may help but he really needs a MBA to have a realistic shot.

    Yes, I understand this and I was talking about investment banking. Hiring periods are quite regimented but speaking to someone internally will give you a much better idea of then the hiring periods actually are. Having someone internally forward your resume is a much better way to get noticed than applying online. A contact may also be able to let you know of off-cycle hiring e.g. some analysts quitting before Christmas time once they realize they cannot take the hours, 1st year analysts quitting in July/August after bonuses are paid out.

    You are right that I do not know what kind of school he graduated from. I'd agree that getting a top MBA is his best shot unless he went to the 20-30 or so schools that see legitimate attention from investment banks or if he has a strong alumni connection at a good bank.
     
  11. drizzt3117

    drizzt3117 Senior member

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    Yes, I understand this and I was talking about investment banking. Hiring periods are quite regimented but speaking to someone internally will give you a much better idea of then the hiring periods actually are. Having someone internally forward your resume is a much better way to get noticed than applying online. A contact may also be able to let you know of off-cycle hiring e.g. some analysts quitting before Christmas time once they realize they cannot take the hours, 1st year analysts quitting in July/August after bonuses are paid out.

    You are right that I do not know what kind of school he graduated from. I'd agree that getting a top MBA is his best shot unless he went to the 20-30 or so schools that see legitimate attention from investment banks or if he has a strong alumni connection at a good bank.


    I don't think consulting with alumni would be a bad idea, but as I have stated earlier on a number of occasions, unless you're a top student with a quantative background from a top school, it will be extremely difficult to get the attention of an Ibank without a skill or training that differentiates you from the crowd of younger applicants straight out of top schools. In that context, a year of non-relevant work experience is probably a detriment. A top 5 MBA is a easier point of entry into IB.

    Again, I'm speaking from experience regarding the hiring process. A lot of undergrads from top five schools with excellent grades and good resumes don't even get interviews from investment banks.
     
  12. maverick

    maverick Senior member

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    I'm not disagreeing with what you are saying. But I've found that people will go out of their ways to help you if they like you when they meet you face-to-face. A strong resume does not hurt, of course, but support from someone in the firm would be something that makes you stand out in the sea of strong applicants from top schools. At any rate, our friend would benefit from meeting more investment bankers to get a better understanding of what the job is all about.
     
  13. drizzt3117

    drizzt3117 Senior member

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    I'm not disagreeing with what you are saying. But I've found that people will go out of their ways to help you if they like you when they meet you face-to-face. A strong resume does not hurt, of course, but support from someone in the firm would be something that makes you stand out in the sea of strong applicants from top schools. At any rate, our friend would benefit from meeting more investment bankers to get a better understanding of what the job is all about.

    I'd agree that experience helps.

    As far as your other question/point about strategy consulting versus IB, I would say that in my experience, you have quite a few exit options as a strategy consultant once you reach the engagement manager level, but are you saying that your options are limited if you don't like the profession? I suppose as an undergrad entrant that's about 5-6 years in, counting time for an MBA if you start as a business analyst.
     
  14. maverick

    maverick Senior member

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    I was thinking mostly about exit options after the normal 2-3 year long associate consultant / analyst entry-level positions. Business school is certainly an option and from there (if one is at a top business school) there is no shortage of options. But I do not want to have to go to business school to get a good second job. It seems to me that investment banking analysts get much better second jobs at private equity or venture capital funds, without the need to go to business school. Consultants may transition into management positions at startups, nonprofits, etc. after their time. Maybe I have too short-term an outlook on this.
     
  15. drizzt3117

    drizzt3117 Senior member

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    I was thinking mostly about exit options after the normal 2-3 year long associate consultant / analyst entry-level positions. Business school is certainly an option and from there (if one is at a top business school) there is no shortage of options. But I do not want to have to go to business school to get a good second job. It seems to me that investment banking analysts get much better second jobs at private equity or venture capital funds, without the need to go to business school. Consultants may transition into management positions at startups, nonprofits, etc. after their time. Maybe I have too short-term an outlook on this.

    I think it's likely you are looking too short term. The normal career track at a firm like McKinsey is 2-3 year business analyst position (which is apparently expanding a bit more than it once was), business school (on McKinsey's tab if you're good enough), associate for 2-3 years, then EM... I guess unless you don't like consulting I don't see a need to switch fields, nor a problem jobs with mid six-figure salaries by age 30? By the time you hit EM you'll have a pretty good idea of where you'll be for large blocks of time and travel at McKinsey et al isn't like being at a big 5 company in the first place. I can fully understand the lifestyle choice issue and that's one of the reasons I'm no longer working in strategy consulting (as well as transitioning to industry) but certainly it's not a bad place to work, especially before age 30-35.
     

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