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IB in the US - how many days off per year on average?

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Re: IB in the US - how many days off per year on average? [#permalink] New post 23 Jul 2008, 20:50
terp06 wrote:
ac8706 wrote:

Could you elaborate a bit on the personality type most often seen in IBankers? I haven't been around v. many - more so around the consultant types - so am curious!

cheers,
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They're driven by the excitement of making the deal, the adrenaline rush, and the power/status. CFOs and accountants tend to be a bit more conservative and vanilla in comparison.


thanks terp...that's good to know. It's funny that I always thought of IBankers as being fairly conservative - but I guess compared to the accountant crew, they aren't :)
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Re: IB in the US - how many days off per year on average? [#permalink] New post 24 Jul 2008, 08:34
ac8706 wrote:
Could you elaborate a bit on the personality type most often seen in IBankers? I haven't been around v. many - more so around the consultant types - so am curious!

cheers,
ac.


Remember that the term for IB is "Broker/Dealer". They are salesmen to the core. Those who succeed in sales are usually the more aggressive and persistent personalities. They get paid only if a deal gets done and regardless of whether it makes economic sense (which studies have show the vast majority do not.)
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Re: IB in the US - how many days off per year on average? [#permalink] New post 24 Jul 2008, 10:12
cougarblue wrote:
ac8706 wrote:
Could you elaborate a bit on the personality type most often seen in IBankers? I haven't been around v. many - more so around the consultant types - so am curious!

cheers,
ac.


Remember that the term for IB is "Broker/Dealer". They are salesmen to the core. Those who succeed in sales are usually the more aggressive and persistent personalities. They get paid only if a deal gets done and regardless of whether it makes economic sense (which studies have show the vast majority do not.)


I think that is a good representation. Bankers are driven and motivated by one and only one thing - FEEEEEES. Everything that gets done in a bank, any deal, financing, M&A, LBO you name it is driven by the FEES that can be made. Whether the deal makes sense or not, or is even in the best interests of the company, is less important than the....FEEES
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Re: IB in the US - how many days off per year on average? [#permalink] New post 24 Jul 2008, 12:19
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sebycb976 wrote:
cougarblue wrote:
I think that is a good representation. Bankers are driven and motivated by one and only one thing - FEEEEEES. Everything that gets done in a bank, any deal, financing, M&A, LBO you name it is driven by the FEES that can be made. Whether the deal makes sense or not, or is even in the best interests of the company, is less important than the....FEEES


BRAAAAAAINS!

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Re: IB in the US - how many days off per year on average? [#permalink] New post 03 Aug 2008, 08:45
Guys, how close is the book Monkey Business in describing actual banking life? It's a fun read but definitely a turn off for banking.
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Re: IB in the US - how many days off per year on average? [#permalink] New post 03 Aug 2008, 15:17
aceman626 wrote:
Guys, how close is the book Monkey Business in describing actual banking life? It's a fun read but definitely a turn off for banking.


I personally think it's skewed a bit towards the negatives. Theres no doubt that banking requires some major sacrifices. However - it would have been interesting if they followed the careers of a few ex-bankers and showed us a long-term perspective in that book, rather than only focusing on a 2 year analyst stint. People should really do banking for the learning and exit opportunities more than anything - you're crazy if you're doing it just for the money.
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Re: IB in the US - how many days off per year on average? [#permalink] New post 09 Aug 2008, 14:31
Hah, I ran across this article describing the "extended vacations" that bankers tend to experience during downturns. Really interesting.

http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.h ... gewanted=1
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Re: IB in the US - how many days off per year on average? [#permalink] New post 09 Aug 2008, 14:59
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From long time bankers...if you want a family and to be involved leave banking before you have kids.
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Re: IB in the US - how many days off per year on average? [#permalink] New post 09 Aug 2008, 23:31
terp06 wrote:
aceman626 wrote:
Guys, how close is the book Monkey Business in describing actual banking life? It's a fun read but definitely a turn off for banking.


I personally think it's skewed a bit towards the negatives. Theres no doubt that banking requires some major sacrifices. However - it would have been interesting if they followed the careers of a few ex-bankers and showed us a long-term perspective in that book, rather than only focusing on a 2 year analyst stint. People should really do banking for the learning and exit opportunities more than anything - you're crazy if you're doing it just for the money.


If I'm not mistaken, the guys in the book are post MBA associates, just like what most ppl want to be here. I think the tone of the book might be overly negative, but the actual things they did, such as making pitch books all the time, waiting around for the printing, scrutinizing fonts and minute details, hectic traveling....i don't think that's made up right?
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Re: IB in the US - how many days off per year on average? [#permalink] New post 10 Aug 2008, 00:34
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aceman626 wrote:

If I'm not mistaken, the guys in the book are post MBA associates, just like what most ppl want to be here. I think the tone of the book might be overly negative, but the actual things they did, such as making pitch books all the time, waiting around for the printing, scrutinizing fonts and minute details, hectic traveling....i don't think that's made up right?


Ahh, printing. Back in my law firm days, I remember a deal (IB securities offering) where we went to the printers. Just one time though; by that point banks and law firms had started doing their printing in-house. In order to produce things like pitch books and prospectuses they needed to use professional type-setting and actual cameras because desktop graphics and printing technology wasn't good enough; these days you just PDF it and have your in-house guys print and bind it for you. Bankers do not go to the printers any more (at least I haven't heard of any); however it is a good idea to maintain good relations with the in-house graphics/printing department. That, like many of the other stories in the book are totally anachronistic; for example the whole rigmarole about salaries isn't really applicable now that the big banks are all public and the stories about recruitment bear no resemblance to what I experienced first hand from 20+ banks.

Making pitch books all the time? Well, they aren't paying associates hundreds of thousands of dollars to sit around, so if you aren't doing live deals you're trying to drum up business by pitching deals. I will say that pitches often aren't the most time sensitive things; so if you're working on a pitch you probably aren't working all hours of the day and night (unless it's a pitch in response to a request, which probably means its a lot closer to a deal). Scrutinizing fonts and details is definitely part of the job, but I'd assume it is part of the job for any business where attention to detail is critical to the work and a reflection of quality (not to mention a selling point). If you can't make all the fonts the same size, can you be counted on to get all the decimal places, formulas and calculations right?

It's a funny book, with elements of truth, but it's not an accurate depiction of day-to-day life for bankers. If you happened to hit a deer on your way to work on Monday, would you describe, as part of your daily commute, hitting a deer? Most of the stories in this book should be viewed this way.
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Re: IB in the US - how many days off per year on average? [#permalink] New post 10 Aug 2008, 03:16
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sudden wrote:
Audio,

I appreciate where you are coming from, but I think you are being naive here. I work in finance (not ibanking) and any vacation whatsoever is frowned upon at my firm. Sure, we might get 3 weeks, but try taking all of the vacation and you will be met with snide comments and dirty looks. In finance, as in most careers, reputation is pretty much everything, and the fastest way to hose your career is to cause management to think you are not a team player or 110% contributor.

In one example, a woman worked for my firm and took the longest possible maternity leave (it was around 3-4 months since she had triplets). Most people take a week or two tops. She got canned for something "unrelated" shortly after she got back.


I'm really shocked with American working culture. 1-2 weeks of a vacation per year? People evaluated on a basis of hours they spent? How is it possible to live in this way? Really crazy nation:)

I usually take 5-7 weeks of vacation every year (but spend some of them for own education and development purposes). And I evaluated well because I give results, not just hours. No one interested how many hours I spend in the office, I'm absolutely free in this issue. The performance is the key, not the time.

Why you are better team player if you are living in the office? I don't understand this logic. How you can contribute on your full abilities, be effective and creative, if you are too tired and not rested well? What about time for reflection, development, self-education, family, hobbies? They are not important things? They are not contribute to success? And do you really believe that just spending hours as much as possible for work makes you millionaires in the future? I think it looks like propaganda of employers to make employees zombies - telling about ladders, bonuses in the future and so on (that's why I don't like big corporations, especially Western). I don’t like to be like a slave.

I think it is important also to keep balance between time you spent for your current work obligation and for your future work/business (study, development and so on). I think it should be about 50-50. If you concentrated on current duty only it is difficult to grow well and quick.

And another question. How many for example IB analysts/associates become MDs and partners? Why one people can do it and other (most of them to be honest) can't? Do you really believe that the main reason is hours? Think about it sometime. You definitely should work hard, but it is better to work hard by head (be effective) than by ass (spent a lot of time just to be like others). And spending time at work think every time how what you do right now prepares you for what are you going to do in the future and is this the best way for it.

For me 1M+ bonuses are not associated with hours I spent, but results I achieved. This is the same in your own business. And results more depend on your personality, level of your human development, qualities and knowledge. Which are acquired usually outside the working time.
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Re: IB in the US - how many days off per year on average? [#permalink] New post 10 Aug 2008, 05:14
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^
I would love to make 1M+ and have 5-7 weeks of vacation. Can I have your day job? :-D
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Re: IB in the US - how many days off per year on average? [#permalink] New post 10 Aug 2008, 05:30
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pelihu wrote:
Well, I think that's a short-sighted view. There are a lot of people that do banking (or consulting) for 2-3 years, and transfer into general management at an accelerated level. If you look at an executive roster at any top company, you're going to find that a substantial portion have experience with big 3 consulting and bulge bracket banks. It really is the fast-track to the top. In fact, I'd bet that most top companies (depending on industry, competitiveness, things like that) will have more people with top consulting/banking experience than pure home-grown talent. We've all heard the statistic that people graduating from business school these days will change jobs 10 times on average in their careers. Having Bain or Morgan Stanley on your resume, especially as VP or senior manager or something like that, gives you instant credibility in future job searches regardless of industry.

Another way to look at it is to browse company websites and look at the qualifications they value for senior roles. It's unbelievable how often you will see things like "investment banking and consulting experience a big plus". This is true for roles in all fields and different types of firms, including finance and strategy of course, but also marketing, business development, any type of business or quantitative analysis...pretty much everything. If you go straight into general management, you can be sure that 6-8 years down the line, when you're trying to make your move into upper management, you will be competing for jobs with folks with 2-3 years of consulting and banking experience. That's just how it is. And of course, banking and consulting are well-beaten paths to the highest paying jobs of the day, whatever that may be. During the tech boom, many top leaders came from Goldman, McKinsey, BCG, etc. even though they had no tech background; these days, PE/HFs recruit from the same places; and 5 or 10 years from now, whatever industry or business is most desirable will cherry pick top talent from...you guessed it... big three consulting and bulge bracket banks. It really is a great way to position yourself for the future, even if your future isn't in banking or consulting.

A third way to think about it is that you make enough as a banker to take a year-long sabbatical after every two years of work - and you actually see this happen. You'll make more money in 2 years at a bank than people working 4 years in general management. It's relatively common to see people who switch banking jobs take substantial time off between jobs; and when people get laid off from banking, many are in no hurry to transition to a new job because they can afford the time off. Of course, some people spend every penny they have, but those that plan ahead, but those that plan ahead have the option of taking substantial breaks during their careers.

A fourth way to look at it is that bankers will make more in 10-15 years than people in most other industries will in their entire careers. The implications of this are obvious, especially for those that plan ahead and see the big picture. If you're good at what you do, you can start seeing 7 figure paydays after 5-7 years; how many million dollar paychecks do you need before you can start thinking about hanging them up? It's silly to just think about life as a first year associate and the salary of a first year associate. Many SVP/Directors leave before 6PM every day and take home money by the barrel - in fact I just had a chat about this yesterday with a soon-to-be MD as he headed out the door at 5:15 (he leaves before 6 every day). I doubt it's the goal of very many people to work 100 hours or be on the road 4-5 nights every week to make $2-300k; but I think many people can see working 60 hours a week and bringing home $1mm or more (maybe lots more). The thing is people, aren't just going to hand that to you your first year out of business school - you're going to have to work and learn and perform to get to that level.

Another thing that cannot be ignored is that (yes I'm going to come right out and say it) money does matter. Sure, everyone has a different threshold for how much they'd like to make, the things they'd like to have and do, but I think few people are shelling out cash for MBAs without doing some type of calculation on future returns. And statements like "money isn't everything" and "money can't buy happiness" are folksy and sweet, but they aren't implicit truths any more than "a stitch in time saves nine" (whatever the hell that means). They are just sayings. For a lot of people, the ability to afford a nice car, or go to nice restaurants, or live in certain cities, or in a nice neighborhood, or vacation in top destinations, or send their kids to private school, or provide elder care for their parents, or fund their wine or car hobby, or any number of the million other possibilities, are reasons to work harder and make more money. Sure, if you're main concern is yourself, and all you want to do is live a quiet life with plenty of free time, then take whatever job makes you happy; heck go work for the government and count on a steady paycheck and 40 hour work weeks. Back when I waited tables in college, I knew a lot of people that went through this same decision process; they decided that surfing was their top priority and that they would work just enough to afford the rent on their shack near the beach. Hmm, doesn't sound too bad actually, and woe to the dumbasses that wasted their lives attending college. Don't know what those guys and gals are up to these days though...

In a lot of ways, competing for a top consulting or banking job is a lot like choosing to get an MBA (probably why such firms are favorite destinations for MBAs year after year). To get an MBA you have to go above and beyond and spend time doing things that a lot of your peers do not (GMAT, applications, visiting schools, interviewing, all a lot of work you're not getting paid for). Business school itself is an intense experience, to say nothing of sacrificing salary for two years and paying a buttload of money to go. But once you do it, especially at a top school, your career is accelerated and you shoot out the back end ahead of peers from your former career. Same thing applies to banking and consulting roles. These aren't easy jobs, and they aren't the easiest jobs to get; and you definitely have to make lifestyle choices in the short run (sounds like getting an MBA huh?), but in most cases you'll come out ahead of people that don't do it.

To say someone views their life as equivalent to their pay of $300k is silly and lacks vision. Perhaps someone believes their life is worth $2mm, but nobody is willing to pay them that yet - what's the most certain way to get there? I think it's stupid to try and impose a particular viewpoint on what others are doing. A lot of the bankers I know live fairly modest lifestyles (some flashy big spenders as well of course), and have the ultimate goal of financial security. You can weather downturns a lot better if you have some cash tucked away and everything is paid off. Personally, I'd love to put away enough change to quite work and help with mental health and animal charities, but you need to achieve some measure of financial freedom before you can so something like that.

Which leads to the final point. A lot of people take banking and consulting roles out of business school because it's the best way to pay off student debt. It's the most direct way to make a dent after two years of not working and accumulating debt. We have an analyst here where I work who ran up $120k in loans as an undergrad (not that rare for people from private schools that now charge $30k for tuition plus room, board, etc.). Pile on another $150k to attend business school and maybe some more for deferred interest, and such a person would be highly motivated to take the highest paying job possible, at least in the short run. I'm not sure exactly, but I think even with extended payments, debt service might be $3k per month at today's rates. Taking a $100k job would be absurd, and I think pretty much all people pursuing MBAs at top schools have thought about this (unless they have rich parents or something). But a lot, even before applying to business school, plan to work their asses off for 2-3 years in banking or consulting to ramp up to the next stage of their lives. It helps pay down debt and it definitely opens doors and accelerates your career. One might argue that it would be shortsighted to not give banking or consulting some serious consideration given these circumstances.


Very good post. Interesting point of view. Many interesting thoughts. I'm little disagree with some things.

1. about money. I think you are a quite young guy and I understand you because I was the same. Its standard case. But usually with ages people get some wisdom and understanding the life and their values become different. And you are also American as I understand, so American (white-American to be more precise) culture and values are very close to you now. But if you look at this point globally you would probably understand this issue more wide. Believe me, no everybody calculate money return on their education.

2. about hard work and money. Maybe in some societies the relationship between working hours and incomes are strong positive, but I believe that it's not so straight. Do you really believe that all billionaires are just the guys who work harder than others? It's not true. I believe that work smarter is the better way to success than work harder and harder. Especially in 21 century. I can illustrate it by my own experiences - than less harder I worked - more money I got. 15 years ago when I was a child I work really harder than any IBanker may imagine - 12-15 hours of hard physical work every day plus study at school. What I get that time for it? In money terms it may be about 100-200 USD in a year. 5 years ago I worked quite hard as an young consultant for about 10K per year. Now I get about 220K after taxes working for 4-4.5 h per day in average (I calculated all my time spent - it's only useful time without senseless meetings and other wasting time). The reason - I always think about future job no less than about the current one. Now its about 70-30 proportion.

I agree with you that some experience very helpful in the future, but I think you should consider any experience not as an opener some doors, but as a development process for the future and think how what you do now is useful for your entire life and strategic goals, how it contribute to your personality.

3. And actually I can not understand why living in NY its so great for you:) May be because I am a rural guy. I live in megapolis but I can not imagine to live here all the life. San Francisco is really beautiful city, I liked it very much, much more than London and NY, but anyway I would prefer to live in Palo Alto. So everyone has own preferences in this issue.

Last edited by edwarise on 10 Aug 2008, 05:58, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: IB in the US - how many days off per year on average? [#permalink] New post 10 Aug 2008, 05:39
89nk wrote:
^
I would love to make 1M+ and have 5-7 weeks of vacation. Can I have your day job? :-D


I am not getting such bonuses yet, but people around me who get definitely are not workaholics.
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Re: IB in the US - how many days off per year on average? [#permalink] New post 10 Aug 2008, 08:19
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edwarise wrote:
1. about money. I think you are a quite young guy and I understand you because I was the same. Its standard case. But usually with ages people get some wisdom and understanding the life and their values become different. And you are also American as I understand, so American (white-American to be more precise) culture and values are very close to you now. But if you look at this point globally you would probably understand this issue more wide. Believe me, no everybody calculate money return on their education.

Just so you know Pelihu is 30+ a former lawyer and ent. He is of chinese decent and from what I remember the company he started and ran was involved in China. Not everyone calculates money returned on their education but most people wouldnt do it if it was a negative value.


edwarise wrote:
3. And actually I can not understand why living in NY its so great for you:) May be because I am a rural guy. I live in megapolis but I can not imagine to live here all the life. San Francisco is really beautiful city, I liked it very much, much more than London and NY, but anyway I would prefer to live in Palo Alto. So everyone has own preferences in this issue.

People have different lifestyles and preferences you cant put your opinions on where you would want to be on others. Lots of people love living in NYC the entire lives.
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Re: IB in the US - how many days off per year on average? [#permalink] New post 10 Aug 2008, 11:33
riverripper wrote:
Just so you know Pelihu is 30+ a former lawyer and ent. He is of chinese decent and from what I remember the company he started and ran was involved in China. Not everyone calculates money returned on their education but most people wouldnt do it if it was a negative value.Very good post. Interesting point of view. Many interesting thoughts. I'm little disagree with some things.


Sorry, I did not know. Values are very different for many people, so of course work and life style decisions are determined by them.



riverripper wrote:
People have different lifestyles and preferences you cant put your opinions on where you would want to be on others. Lots of people love living in NYC the entire lives.


Yeh, I meant the same. Some people like NY style, but it's just an opinion, not advantage of the place. I know some people who work here but really dislike the city and do it just for money.
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Re: IB in the US - how many days off per year on average? [#permalink] New post 10 Aug 2008, 12:10
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Well, I don't really want to make this post about myself personally, but riverripper in pointing out that most of those assumptions do not apply to me.

I did want to comment on the relationship between money, education and work. Obviously, it would be great if everyone could make big piles of money working brief hours doing something that they love and taking lots of vacation. The dream was busted for me when I realized in jr. high that I probably wasn't ever going to be point guard for the Lakers.

I think by-and-large, college graduates and people getting MBAs are smart and thoughtful. It would be silly to commit to an MBA without first considering the alternatives. To do this, you have to consider the costs (actual, opportunity cost, personal, social, whatever is important for you) and then decide whether it is worth it. A key factor that edwarise ignores is that there are not absolute calculations for this - it must be based on estimates, projections and assumptions. Nobody knows what the value of a Stanford MBA is to each individual, but almost everyone will agree that it is worth the cost (just to reinforce, cost means all costs). Will you have a better quality of life in 10 years if you instead take the $160k and 2 years and launch a start-up? Maybe. What about if you bet on commodity futures? Maybe. How about the lottery? Maybe. But most people will look at the Stanford MBA and conclude that with the given risk and reward (very low risk, very high reward), it would be a smart investment of their time and money. If your name is Lebron James, playing basketball might be a better use of your time than getting a Stanford MBA (all costs considered); for the other 99.9999999% of the people, the alternatives do not measure up.

MBA students, being thoughtful people (and somewhat risk adverse) make the same sort of calculation when deciding what type of job they want to take. For many people, the calculation begins with the big pile of debt they have to start paying down when they graduate. I think the jobs that interest MBA students most are the ones that offer the best combination of good pay and valuable experience. As a result, it is no surprise that jobs with the top consulting firms and banks top the list of most desirable MBA destinations year after year, along with the best rotational management programs and firms in hot industries. People do not necessarily take these jobs because they are planning to build careers in banking or consulting, but rather because it gives them a comfortable start financially and makes them highly marketable if/when they decide to make a different work/pay/lifestyle decision 2-5 years down the road. If your dream job is to be a marketing manager and a chic authority on fashion at a luxury goods brand, it still makes sense to cut your teeth with McKinsey for three years where you can gain tons of experience and stabilize your situation financially. Many people are not comfortable diving into an entry level position that doesn't allow them to meet there financial obligations, even if it leads to their dream job.

Again, MBA students, for the most part, do not make career decisions willy-nilly, and most take a long-term look at their futures. Nobody takes a banking job because their dream in life is to work 80 hours a week and make $300k per year (well, not many people); however, a lot of people take a look at all the alternatives and after running through some Monte-Carlo simulations in their heads, decide that banking is the best way to achieve their goals. Sure, some entrepreneurs will be making a lot more money than bankers 5 years out, but it's crazy to look at outliers in various fields and compare them to average participants in others. The clear and simple bottom line is that from the risk/reward standpoint of graduates of top business schools, a job in banking (and related finance fields) is the most well-beaten path to a top paying job in the short, medium, and even long terms. Sure, many associates do not make it to MD, but more follow that route (or hop over to more lucrative positions with private equity and hedge funds) than rise to CEO or become mega-successful entrepreneurs. For the given amount of risk, banking probably provides the greatest reward, by a large margin (everyone's calculation will be different - perhaps some are sensational entrepreneurs, or maybe others are world class golfers, who knows).

Sorry to break this to you, but living in Palo Alto is just as expensive as living in San Francisco. Some people will be happy making $200k 5 years after graduation, others will not. Let's do some quick math here...$200k salary, $120k after taxes, about $10k per month take home. Mortgage on a $1.5mm house (about the average in Palo Alto) $7-9k depending on your down payment (which ain't gonna be much given that salary), $1-3k for student loans depending on how much you took out, car payment, 401k contribution, paying for that 7 weeks of vacation you plan to take. Hmm, even if you never eat out, don't have any kids and opt for basic cable, the numbers don't quite work out. Well, maybe you're the type of person that doesn't need to own a house to be happy, have a nice car, kids or a wine cellar; fine. But if you want to live in Palo Alto, or San Francisco, or any other with top notch amenities where only 10% of the population can afford the average priced house, you'll need a salary in the top 10%. If you're happy living in Peoria or Toledo (sorry people), then your needs are considerably smaller.

Again, banking is not for everyone, but it's silly to dismiss it out of hand as a dumb or illogical choice. Some of the most anal-retentive bean counters out there (I'm talking about MBA students) make the choice every year to go into banking, while a further multiple wishes that they could have those jobs. Take edwarise's example of someone making $1mm+ in his field (whatever that is). Is it common, is it easy to achieve, do many people get there (apparently, even with all of his success, edwarise doesn't even make 1/4 that amount). Compare with the average bulge-bracket investment bank. You don't need to be an MD to make $1mm+ per year; that's a typical level (I wanted to really emphasize, typical, not some outlier, not a one-off, not some random guy you heard about, but rather a very normal level) of compensation for people about 6 years out (at the transition from VP to SVP/director at most banks). Compensation isn't everything, but $1mm is a nice whole number that we can put our minds around - let's say that will allow you to be comfortable in most big cities. With your freshly printed MBA degree (and relying on nothing else like an NFL career or adoption by Donald Trump), what's the best way to achieve this level of comfort? Start your own business? Risky, very very risky. Joining an existing start-up? Still very risky; let's not forget that you might spend years in these two situations and end up with bubkas. Management track in a traditional big company? Very low risk, but the chances of achieving this level of comfort ($1mm annual compensation in today's dollars) is pretty slim; not to mention probably at least 15 years away. Consulting or consulting then management? Low risk, and pretty good chances of reaching 'financial comfort'; not hard to see why this is an extremely popular choice, but longer time-frame and higher likelihood of not getting there when compared with banking. Finally, banking. Low risk (assuming you can land the job), and considering the alternatives a very good shot at reaching 'financial comfort'. In fact there's probably a greater chance of realizing 'a whole-lotta-financial-comfort' (say $5mm+ per year) at a bank than 'financial comfort' at most other positions. And people that reach the SVP/Director level aren't putting in 80 hours a week typically, more like 50 and they are taking their vacation time (things vary, of course); the SVP/directors in our office are almost always gone by 6-6:30PM, virtually every day. It's a pretty good combination of work/pay/play that can be reasonably achieved.

Certainly, there are more ways to look at things. Maybe you're the type of person that really values doing their own thing. Maybe you're the type who would rather take substantially more career risks; or less risk for substantially less pay. Then again, maybe you're the type staring at $250k in college and grad school debt and would love to get that monkey off your back in short order. Maybe you're the type that plans to take care parents who worked hard all their lives but never had the chance to save for retirement. Maybe you're the type that just really loves money. These, and a million other things will determine how much job risk you're willing to take on, and how much money you hope to make. But let's not write off the 20-40% of students at top business schools every year who choose to go into a perrineally popular and high demand field like banking. Thousands of students before you have looked at the broad field of opportunities open to students at top business schools and decided that banking was for them. They weren't stupid.
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Re: IB in the US - how many days off per year on average? [#permalink] New post 10 Aug 2008, 14:02
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pelihu wrote:
Well, I don't really want to make this post about myself personally, but riverripper in pointing out that most of those assumptions do not apply to me.

I did want to comment on the relationship between money, education and work. Obviously, it would be great if everyone could make big piles of money working brief hours doing something that they love and taking lots of vacation. The dream was busted for me when I realized in jr. high that I probably wasn't ever going to be point guard for the Lakers.

I think by-and-large, college graduates and people getting MBAs are smart and thoughtful. It would be silly to commit to an MBA without first considering the alternatives. To do this, you have to consider the costs (actual, opportunity cost, personal, social, whatever is important for you) and then decide whether it is worth it. A key factor that edwarise ignores is that there are not absolute calculations for this - it must be based on estimates, projections and assumptions. Nobody knows what the value of a Stanford MBA is to each individual, but almost everyone will agree that it is worth the cost (just to reinforce, cost means all costs). Will you have a better quality of life in 10 years if you instead take the $160k and 2 years and launch a start-up? Maybe. What about if you bet on commodity futures? Maybe. How about the lottery? Maybe. But most people will look at the Stanford MBA and conclude that with the given risk and reward (very low risk, very high reward), it would be a smart investment of their time and money. If your name is Lebron James, playing basketball might be a better use of your time than getting a Stanford MBA (all costs considered); for the other 99.9999999% of the people, the alternatives do not measure up.


Again, MBA students, for the most part, do not make career decisions willy-nilly, and most take a long-term look at their futures. Nobody takes a banking job because their dream in life is to work 80 hours a week and make $300k per year (well, not many people); however, a lot of people take a look at all the alternatives and after running through some Monte-Carlo simulations in their heads, decide that banking is the best way to achieve their goals. Sure, some entrepreneurs will be making a lot more money than bankers 5 years out, but it's crazy to look at outliers in various fields and compare them to average participants in others. The clear and simple bottom line is that from the risk/reward standpoint of graduates of top business schools, a job in banking (and related finance fields) is the most well-beaten path to a top paying job in the short, medium, and even long terms. Sure, many associates do not make it to MD, but more follow that route (or hop over to more lucrative positions with private equity and hedge funds) than rise to CEO or become mega-successful entrepreneurs. For the given amount of risk, banking probably provides the greatest reward, by a large margin (everyone's calculation will be different - perhaps some are sensational entrepreneurs, or maybe others are world class golfers, who knows).

Certainly, there are more ways to look at things. Maybe you're the type of person that really values doing their own thing. Maybe you're the type who would rather take substantially more career risks; or less risk for substantially less pay. Then again, maybe you're the type staring at $250k in college and grad school debt and would love to get that monkey off your back in short order. Maybe you're the type that plans to take care parents who worked hard all their lives but never had the chance to save for retirement. Maybe you're the type that just really loves money. These, and a million other things will determine how much job risk you're willing to take on, and how much money you hope to make. But let's not write off the 20-40% of students at top business schools every year who choose to go into a perrineally popular and high demand field like banking. Thousands of students before you have looked at the broad field of opportunities open to students at top business schools and decided that banking was for them. They weren't stupid.


Thank you for thorough thoughts. I really did not mean you personally, just think about ideas I read in this topic from different people.

To be honest I did not catch your main point, so I’ll try to explain what I really meant. I’m not thinking something bad about IB industry, I’m a some kind of ibanker myself (I organize deals sometimes despite it’s not a profile of my company). I do like this business; I just don’t like the working culture what was described here. And also I strongly do not like words “career”, “ladders”, “career planning” and so on as many people understand them. I don’t like manipulation of young men creating common corporate culture for everyone that all these things are ok and so on. I think people just should think more careful about it. It’s not about IB or any other industry; it’s about thinking about the life more globally, loftier and more independent than mass-media, corporations and people around want you to think. In the end everyone will find out own answers, I like people who are really understand what they do and why and has independent view on all these stuff. People maybe like you.

I believe that most MBA candidates and students are thoughtful people and able to make difficult life decisions. But I think many young people just have not enough information about life institutions and their sense, and many of them have not enough time or habit for real reflection, for understanding their values, life mission, real abilities and needs. I’ve seen it many times. I’ve gone this way myself, changing 5 career paths during my life and preparing for a new one. I’ve seen a lot of guys whose minds were broken down by big companies or some industries, not because there was something wrong with them, but because they had not understood themselves well in young ages. People who were bright, promising and ambitious in 20 often became ordinary and lost in 25. Its common problem as I see it and such discussions and thinking are useful either for writers or readers to estimate their values more thorough.

I totally disagree with you that for 99,99999% of people Stanford MBA is a great thing. I’m loving Stanford GSB and going to apply to it (because its orientation on development, reflection, VC and soft skills), its great investment for me (not in money terms – in money it’s not obvious if considering 10-15 year horizon). But I’m sure that it’s good may be for 9.999% of people, or even less. Most of people don’t want to work in business, most people don’t like to manage people, for most of people it’s too risky, and most of people are just not able to get in or finish it. For most of people Stanford MBA just has not any sense (it’s why they have 5 000 applications each year not 5 000 000:) Most of people just not able to utilize it right and get benefits for yourself which it can give (because any MBA is not a winning ticket itself, it's a tool which you need use in a right way and get the maximum value from it - it's very difficult and not for everyone). If a guy really doesn't understand why he need it and how to utilize it and believe that it's just a winning ticket - he wouldn't get anything from it. It's like nuclear energy - it's big power, but if you don't know how to use it - it worthless for you. And I’m afraid that many people apply to MBA or go to some industries not because it’s right for them, but because culture, fashion, standards and because their friends and people around do it. Is not it true?

I don’t ignore that life decisions should be based on estimates and assumptions, it’s true, but I believe it should be based on full information, values and real need first.

About IB money. If to be honest I don’t believe that the money you get depends on industry you work. It’s more depends on quality of your work, your passion and abilities for it and so on. I hear about a cook who get 5M and think that it is better to be a good cook than a bad banker (not because money but in general). And actually numbers you operate is not big money for me. I don’t consider 1-5M per year as a big money and I do refuse from any risk-free proposal to work 10 years for 1M per year after taxes doing something I’m not really love. Especially for 80 hours a week without vacations. Even 10M is not the figure, because if you think that loosing 10 young years of your life you will win that years behind them it’s not the true. You will never get these years back. And you have not another life to try it again. So IB it’s not better or worse for consideration, but to make a choice many factors should be taken into account (mostly inside you, not outside) and the money is the last factor. If you are successful you would have enough money to be happy, if you not – you wouldn’t. In any area. Culture that says if you just will work as hard as possible, be very discipline and devote many years to some institution you will get good position, big checks and happy life in the future - just a propaganda. Everyone must choose his way only by himself after thorough analysis of all thinks. I believe in it.

There is not one right answer or right choice; there is a room for thinking and self-analysis. Good luck to everybody in your most important life decision. I hope you will never regret about them.

P.S. I meant that I prefer PA to SF not because cost of living or real estate but because environment ad lifestyle.
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Re: IB in the US - how many days off per year on average? [#permalink] New post 10 Aug 2008, 15:05
Your message is making my head hurt. I can't even think of where to begin, so I'll just make a list.

1. The point about expensive cities is that wherever you choose to live, if it is highly desirable because of available cultural options, restaurants, events, etc., it's going to cost a lot. If you're happy getting your steaks from Sizzler, your seafood from Red Lobster and your entertainment from the multiplex, live anywhere you want. If you want the lifestyle offered in NY or SF or LA or even Palo Alto, you're going to have to pony up. Feel free to go back and re-read the original comments if you need clarification.

2. You don't consider $5mm per year to be big money? Really. And what line of business are you in where everyone makes $5mm+, with little work? Don't say as an entrepreneur, or hedge fund manager or anything else where 1/100 or 1/1000 make it. For every entrepreneur out there making billions or millions or even hundreds of thousands there are dozens (neigh hundreds) that have lost it all, or are making an average living. Yes, I agree, most everyone in business school right now would love to start their own business, work for themselves and make piles of money. How many people will accomplish it? How many are willing to bet 5 years of their lives on a piece of equity down the road? How many are willing to risk defaulting on their student loans to chase the dream? How many want to be living in their parents basement or on their friend's couch when they are 40? Don't just point out the upside without addressing the downside.

3. Did you really use cooks as an example of passion and hard work? Seriously? I watch the food network almost every day and I'm pretty damn sure it's easier to make it to the Major Leagues (as in baseball) than it is to make $5mm as a cook. For every cook that makes $5mm I'll be happy to point out 1000 or 10000 working at McDonald's, Olive Garden and your local diner. And seriously, is it passion that got them to the top, or is it a combination of things unrelated to their passion for cooking, like being photogenic and quite frankly really lucky? What if I'm plain looking and not very charismatic, vivacious or talented? Will passion for the job really be enough, or will it propel me into a rewarding career as a line cook at Outback Steakhouse? I have lots of friends who have a passion for literature (used to be an English major), and the most that passion will every get them is tenure at a small liberal arts college. Realistically, passion and dedication in most lines of work will not be enough to allow you to afford a house and lifestyle in Palo Alto. Reading your messages makes me want to ram my head into a wall.

edwarise wrote:
I think people just should think more careful about it.

4. Thanks for volunteering your point of view and applying it universally to everyone who has every decided to go into banking. It's really magnanimous of you to assume that nobody, but yourself of course, has thought carefully about their career choices. Really, could you possibly be more condescending?

I'm not sure if the problem is terrible communication skills, or if you truly believe that you are so much more enlightened than everyone else that you can make sweeping generalizations about choices people make, but frankly it's nauseating. Here's a piece of advice for you - before you click send on your Stanford application, bone up on your self-awareness and/or communication skills. Current levels are off the charts, as in off in never-never land.
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Re: IB in the US - how many days off per year on average? [#permalink] New post 10 Aug 2008, 16:11
pelihu wrote:
Your message is making my head hurt. I can't even think of where to begin, so I'll just make a list.

1. The point about expensive cities is that wherever you choose to live, if it is highly desirable because of available cultural options, restaurants, events, etc., it's going to cost a lot. If you're happy getting your steaks from Sizzler, your seafood from Red Lobster and your entertainment from the multiplex, live anywhere you want. If you want the lifestyle offered in NY or SF or LA or even Palo Alto, you're going to have to pony up. Feel free to go back and re-read the original comments if you need clarification.

2. You don't consider $5mm per year to be big money? Really. And what line of business are you in where everyone makes $5mm+, with little work? Don't say as an entrepreneur, or hedge fund manager or anything else where 1/100 or 1/1000 make it. For every entrepreneur out there making billions or millions or even hundreds of thousands there are dozens (neigh hundreds) that have lost it all, or are making an average living. Yes, I agree, most everyone in business school right now would love to start their own business, work for themselves and make piles of money. How many people will accomplish it? How many are willing to bet 5 years of their lives on a piece of equity down the road? How many are willing to risk defaulting on their student loans to chase the dream? How many want to be living in their parents basement or on their friend's couch when they are 40? Don't just point out the upside without addressing the downside.

3. Did you really use cooks as an example of passion and hard work? Seriously? I watch the food network almost every day and I'm pretty damn sure it's easier to make it to the Major Leagues (as in baseball) than it is to make $5mm as a cook. For every cook that makes $5mm I'll be happy to point out 1000 or 10000 working at McDonald's, Olive Garden and your local diner. And seriously, is it passion that got them to the top, or is it a combination of things unrelated to their passion for cooking, like being photogenic and quite frankly really lucky? What if I'm plain looking and not very charismatic, vivacious or talented? Will passion for the job really be enough, or will it propel me into a rewarding career as a line cook at Outback Steakhouse? I have lots of friends who have a passion for literature (used to be an English major), and the most that passion will every get them is tenure at a small liberal arts college. Realistically, passion and dedication in most lines of work will not be enough to allow you to afford a house and lifestyle in Palo Alto. Reading your messages makes me want to ram my head into a wall.

4. Thanks for volunteering your point of view and applying it universally to everyone who has every decided to go into banking. It's really magnanimous of you to assume that nobody, but yourself of course, has thought carefully about their career choices. Really, could you possibly be more condescending?

I'm not sure if the problem is terrible communication skills, or if you truly believe that you are so much more enlightened than everyone else that you can make sweeping generalizations about choices people make, but frankly it's nauseating. Here's a piece of advice for you - before you click send on your Stanford application, bone up on your self-awareness and/or communication skills. Current levels are off the charts, as in off in never-never land.



4. Thank you for advice, I'll think about it.

I'm sorry if I sound too mentoring or smth like that, I really did not think to teach smb. I just think that I have some life experience and thoughts that may be useful or interesting for somebody. I've never teach, its not my style, but I like to provoke thinking about the problem from different points of view. To be honest sometimes I intentionally say smth what I really don't believe myself just to raise doubts in ordinary solutions and invite to think more thoroughly. Maybe my English make my efforts bad, I'm working on it now. I'm sorry for it.

1. Are the food really so important for you? It's interesting, I've never heard before about this advantage of NY compare to other places. For me all restaurants and food are the same. So everyone has own factors. Too be honest I live in a city which are more expensive than NY or SF, but I have not got NY/SF style of life and advantages here! It's so awful for me, I would agree to work in SF with 50% of my wage, I really love that city, but I can't. Maybe after MBA. But my old ages I would prefer to live in Brisbane or smth like that.

2. I think you are too concentrated about everyones in industries, averages and so on. I've never think choosing smth in my life about what is average salary, success rate or smth like that. I just did what I considered as most interesting for me right now. I think we have very different backgrounds and life experiences, so may be it's not so easy to understand each other well. But if we've got in one class I'm sure we would have found common language.

I do not consider 5M as a big money because I'm too optimistic. Maybe it my problem, sometimes I experienced some disappointments, but I believe that my optimism saved me from death and helped me many times, so I'll always live in this way. I believe that 10 years after now I can get more than 5M per year. And if I won't - it's not so important, money are not the key point of my life.

If you are interested, I'm working between consulting, IB and VC and going to concentrate on VC in the future developing own fund in my country. Now I'm working for big western company but in my country we are working more as boutique and I have big freedom how to develop our business here. Freedom and room for creativity are most important things in my career orientation. I really can get much more money with low risk in big industrial companies right now, but chosen my own way.

3. Could I explain my position about it tomorrow? Thank you! I'll write what I really meant.
Re: IB in the US - how many days off per year on average?   [#permalink] 10 Aug 2008, 16:11
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