This Is Why Investment Banking Might Not Be For You


Investment banking is considered as one of the top choices of new graduates out there. And it makes sense why. They’ll get paid a nice six figure salary in their early 20s which is a dream come true. And they also get to walk about Wall Street as one of the insiders. Make no mistake, any investment banker working on Wall Street is no slouch. It is one of the most competitive places in the world.

But, while most people might think that investment banking is for them, it’s not. Sure, you might be going after that paycheck but you should also consider other factors that might shed light on the reasons why you should probably be looking for other job opportunities.

Remember, as a business school graduate, you can pretty much get into any industry you want, provided that you have the right experience.

This article is all about giving you the reasons why investment banking might not be for you. So take these points as a list and see if you say yes to a lot of them. If you do, then IB might not be for you.

Let’s get started.

1.You are a rebellious person

You are someone who likes to speak their mind and wants to bring new ideas and solutions to the table. While that is a great quality to have as a candidate, that might not be something your superiors would want to see in you.

Most investment banks look for people who are good at following orders. Most superiors working at these banks are used to having employees not questioning their decision and obeying their orders to the T.

These superiors are the ones that hold the key to the kingdom. So if you are someone who LOVES to rebel, investment banking might not be the place for you.

2.You don’t get motivated by money

There are a lot of people that say “money isn’t everything”. And if you are one of those people, then this might not be for you. I’m not saying that the only thing that all investment bankers get motivated by is money, but the ability to make a lot of money eventually, is one of the primary motivators for them.

Make no mistake, the working conditions are very harsh. So you will need a very strong motivator to get you through those harsher times when you might consider quitting your job.

So, if money doesn’t motivate you to work long nights and early mornings, I recommend you look for another career.

3.You do not perform well under pressure

The best investment bankers are always juggling multiple deadlines that are competing. They have to work till the wee hours in the morning to complete that pitch book, head home to get 3-4 hours of sleep, take a shower and head back to the office for that meeting.

They are usually busier than anybody else you have noticed in your life.

So if you are someone who is easy going and don’t like a lot of stress in your life, you should look for another career.

Investment bankers are known for not just surviving under pressure, but thriving in it. They get used to it and they outperform almost every other person in any other field.

If you think you can handle that kind of stress, make sure that you are able to output as much as you can because everyone else is doing the same thing.

4.You’d like to have a work-life balance

You knew this was coming. If you thought investment banking is known for their culture of having that work-life balance, then you are dead wrong. In fact, it is the opposite. Entry-level investment bankers put in 100-hour work weeks like its nothing. In fact, that’s the norm.

There was a case a few years ago where 3 investment bankers worked themselves to death when they were doing marathon hours.

Now, I’m not saying that you have to do the same thing. In fact, you are lucky because after that case happened, major banks officially cut the number of hours junior bankers had to work each week. It’s not like these banks don’t care about their employees, they do, but more importantly, those types of cases give a bad reputation to their working culture.

So they have to make sure that they are getting as much productivity out of their employees as possible.

And if you are someone who likes the idea of doing a 9-5 routine and then coming back home so you can forget about work, then this isn’t for you.

As an investment banker, your work will follow you everywhere you go. But in most cases, you will be at your desk, working long hours. You won’t be going anywhere except for lunch and bathroom breaks.

And most investment bankers like that because money is a great motivator for them. They like the idea of having that six figure salary and being able to make that consistently year after year. Not only that, they also get to save most of it because once you go through that initial spending spree, you realize that there’s not much you can spend your money on.

Wrap Up

At the end of the day, it all depends on how much money you want to make and whether you are willing to make the sacrifices required to make that much money or not. Investment banking as a field, it will take a lot out of you to make that kind of money.

That’s just how it is. And if you think you are motivated enough that you can get through all the points I mentioned above, you are the person that these banks are looking for. In fact, people like Sam Shiah who have worked in an investment bank before will tell you that it is not easy. But it will give you the financial freedom that most people only dream of in this world. 

And if you found yourself saying yes to a lot of those points, then you should probably start looking for a different career.