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Old 10-28-2005, 10:57 AM
Maxprime Maxprime is offline
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Default Investment Banker or Actuary?

Don't hit those search buttons just yet - this is a thread to inform, not ask. I have been doing a lot of research and I occasionally see this question posted, so I thought I'd give some first hand experience.

iBanker:
Plus: You'll make twice as much your first year, 3 times as much your second, etc. - much higher pay increases due to bonuses. This is the main advantage.
Minus: You'll work twice as much your first year (literally), 3 times as much your second, then it may taper off to just 70 hours a week. Job security is literally a common joke in the office, if you screw up a billion dollar deal - you will probably get fired. If not, you'll definitely get fired the second time you do it.

Plus: It is a faster tract. If you don't get fired or have a breakdown, you will be a trader/banker in a 3 or 4 years and be near management positions.
Minus: Higher firing rate, you're dealing with other blood thirsty people that will kill you to get the VP spot instead of you. You also lose 3-4 years of your life to work.

Everyone in my social circle (besides myself) is an iBanker. They range from actual bankers to structurers to traders, but iBanker is the general term. Here are the differences between our jobs on a day-to-day basis:
1) Hours. If I'm not studying for an exam, I generally get home at 6. I relax and have dinner then go work out and get a full night's rest. They work until 8 and we play basketball, then they go back into the office until 12 or 1. They get home at 1 or 2 and sleep until 6 or 7, then back to work.
2) You're on call 24/7. They all have to forward their work phone to their cell phone. We've been on vacation and had to drop everything and drive back 6 hours because a deal fell through. You are completely unreliable - want to have dinner with your g/f tonight? You may get called in the middle to come back into the office, no questions asked - you're going to do it.
3) Stress. If I can't get something out by Friday, it's generally okay unless it's a government thing. If they can't, they work 72 hours straight to get it done ASAP. The whole time they are getting screamed and cursed at by the higher ups who have only stopped by their desk twice in their career - to either yell at them or fire the guy in the cube next door.
4) Lifestyle. You work constantly, we always use the term "work hard, play hard". When going out, they go out as hard as possible - they never have any other chance to spend their cash. A lot of people find this this part the hardest to keep in check. I know 2 analysts that have quit because they couldn't keep up with playing hard and working hard. If you stay home, you won't be part of the group and you will not be picked up at the end of your group rotation (i.e. fired).
5) Family/Friends. This is the part that is overlooked the most. You don't see your family, you don't see your friends outside of friends from work. You may get to go home for Thanksgiving for a day - or you might get called in on your way home. Imagine leaving a vacation to go back to work - it absolutely enrages the people you're with.

So if you can take the hours and the stress, go for it - you'll find the slower pace of actuarial work less enthusing.

I will say that, in the first few years, iBanking is pretty attractive. You make good money and you don't work much more than the average student works/studies a few months a year. Your hourly wage is laughable - plumbers make more.

Just my experiences with bankers thus far, thought this may be useful.
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Old 10-28-2005, 11:09 AM
DW Simpson DW Simpson is offline
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Now cross-referenced with http://www.actuarialoutpost.com/actu...3&postcount=26
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Old 10-28-2005, 11:22 AM
Maxprime Maxprime is offline
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D.W.S. is my homey.

WWDWSD?
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Old 10-28-2005, 03:35 PM
Math Geek Math Geek is offline
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This may sound like a stupid question, but what exactly do investment bankers do?
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Old 10-28-2005, 03:50 PM
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Arachn Arachn is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Math Geek
This may sound like a stupid question, but what exactly do investment bankers do?
Typical I-Banking jobs would be M&A advisory, capital formation (either debt, equity, or both), or general advisory role.

My degree is in finance and I pretty much groomed to do I-Banking, but rejected it because I didn't think the lifestyle was worth it.

As far as the competitive nature, I think it was understated in the initial post, its much worse than that. Pretty much a bunch of sharks who get their kicks from outworking you.
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Old 10-29-2005, 02:07 AM
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Apollywog Apollywog is offline
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I know someone who made a 6 dollar figure in her first year as an I-banker after graduation but had to quit after the first year... she aged more than a couple of years in that one year... She had to rent an apartment across from where she worked (even though she owns a condo that was only about 20 minutes commute by public transportation) so she could shower and nap in the wee hours of the morning...
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Old 10-29-2005, 07:42 AM
Maxprime Maxprime is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Apollywog
I know someone who made a 6 dollar figure in her first year as an I-banker after graduation but had to quit after the first year... she aged more than a couple of years in that one year... She had to rent an apartment across from where she worked (even though she owns a condo that was only about 20 minutes commute by public transportation) so she could shower and nap in the wee hours of the morning...
Showers and naps are for slackers.
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Old 10-29-2005, 11:40 AM
OfficerandGentleman OfficerandGentleman is offline
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It's funny how some people are always looking into the world of I-Bankers. I bet people in the CBA discuss the NBA in a similar way.
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Old 10-30-2005, 04:51 PM
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WWSituation WWSituation is offline
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I would say that Maxprime's description is a bit embellished on the negatives but it is pretty bad for one's health to break in to IBanking. Hell on earth is not to far off.

Why wouldn't actuaries be interested in that world? Many actuaries are just as smart - shouldn't they be interested in why there are professionals that make 3-4x as much money?
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Old 10-30-2005, 06:50 PM
Maxprime Maxprime is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WWSituation
I would say that Maxprime's description is a bit embellished on the negatives but it is pretty bad for one's health to break in to IBanking. Hell on earth is not to far off.

Why wouldn't actuaries be interested in that world? Many actuaries are just as smart - shouldn't they be interested in why there are professionals that make 3-4x as much money?
iBanking requires a pretty good personality - less so in structuring but iBankers only give offers to people like them. It is also a lot worse hours and you're not doing the math you enjoy so much - but all ***** work.

Personally, after putting in so many hours for Exam M - I have put in my resume for a structure spot. I think it's a personal thing though - a lot of people don't want the stress that comes along with it.

I think I was overly negative just to give people a wake up call. A lot of people quit their analyst spot in the first year because they didn't realize how much it would affect their entire life. I know analysts that have dreamed their whole life of being iBankers and some days they still despise their job. Also, structure is the best place for an actuary - but you are on the tract to be a trader and that requires a lot of salesmanship and personality - usually not actuarial strong points.
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