Reader Q&A: Relationships Vs. Investment Banking, Accountants Breaking Into Finance, Do You Have Any Jobs For Me?

14 Comments | Reader Q&A

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Let’s jump right in – relationships vs. investment banking, accountants breaking into finance, and even a direct request for jobs.

Relationships Vs. Investment Banking

“I have a question that I don’t believe I’ve seen addressed on your site.

I’m interested in pursuing investment banking, as it sounds like it gives you a lot of good opportunities in the future.

My main concern may seem a bit cheesy, but I’m sure many others share it. If you choose to enter this profession, how and/or when do you finally get the time to get/have/maintain a girlfriend or boyfriend?

Should you just forget about that for your first 2 years as an Analyst, or is it not even realistic when you’re an Associate?”

You have 3 options here:

  1. Wait until your hours get better.
  2. Come in with an existing long-term relationship and maintain it.
  3. Go for your co-workers.

I strongly recommend against option #3 because dating co-workers is always bad news (see also: “Banker Chicks” discussion in Damn, It Feels Good To Be A Banker). When it ends – and it will end – you’ll be in an awkward work environment every single day.

Option #2 is more feasible if you’ve been dating someone for many years – I’ve seen several bankers pull that off successfully because both people know each other well and are more understanding.

If you want to start a new relationship, you probably need to wait until your 2nd or 3rd year of being an Analyst or Associate – you simply work way too much in the beginning.

It’s a poor idea to start dating someone right before you start working – as soon as you start disappearing for days at a time while locked up at the office, they’ll move on.

As with breaking into investment banking from the back office, theoretically it’s possible to do this but hardly anyone pulls it off successfully.

Accountants Breaking Into Finance

“I read your series on breaking into finance as a lawyer and breaking into finance as an engineer, and I was wondering if you knew of any bankers who were formerly CPAs and/or anyone who had transferred in from auditing/accounting.

What do you think the best approach is for breaking in with an accounting background?”

You’re in luck: there’s a full-length article on the topic right here:

Accounting is a useful background for investment banking – despite rumors to the contrary, most of what you do as a banker is basic accounting.

You spend most of your time analyzing financial statements and creating 3-statement models – anything more advanced is not as common.

In interviews they’ll focus on the “Can you really work 100 hours a week?” question and assess whether or not you’re willing to sacrifice your life for the job.

The best way to break in as an accountant is to go to the Transaction Advisory Services Group at your firm and network your way in from there – it gets much easier when you work on deals and you talk to bankers all day.

And spin all your experience into sounding like business results – money saved or earned or processes improved – rather than accounting jargon.

Do You Have Any Jobs For Me?

“Do you know of any current openings for entry-level investment banking positions? Let me know if you want me to send my resume.”

Bold, daring and direct. I like your style.

Not even being in the industry anymore, I don’t have anything for you at the moment – maybe you should contact someone who still works in investment banking.

About the Author

is the Founder of Mergers & Inquisitions and Breaking Into Wall Street. In his spare time, he enjoys learning obscure Excel functions, editing resumes, obsessing over TV shows, and traveling so much that he's forced to add additional pages to his passport on a regular basis.

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14 Comments to “Reader Q&A: Relationships Vs. Investment Banking, Accountants Breaking Into Finance, Do You Have Any Jobs For Me?”

Comments

  1. analyst 3 says

    I agree with the relationship part. All the guys I knew in long-term relationships were able to pull through in most cases. I think their significant other understood what the life was going to be like and was ready for it, but yeah, starting up a relationship with some girl who doesn’t know what she’s getting into doesn’t work. And oh yeah, you better be ready to pony up for all those “I’m sorry I blew off our anniversary/lunch date/dinner date/weekend at the beach because of work” gifts. One interesting observation I saw was that it almost seemed like long distance relationships worked almost out almost better than local ones–you’re pretty much in a long distance relationship with a banker even if you live with the person in the same city.

    • says

      Yup that’s true, you basically are in a long-distance relationship anyway.

      I hated buying gifts / had no money at the time, which is another reason my relationship did not work out. :)

  2. analyst 4 says

    I feel like the answer to this should be obvious, but can you elaborate on why it is a bad idea to start a relationship with a coworker? You might imagine that for those of us who just started, the temptation is certainly there. Did you/anyone in your analyst class do this, and if so, what were the ramifications?

    • says

      I did not do this, but then there were no attractive/interesting members of the opposite sex in my class. :)

      In general it’s a bad idea because you see the person every day – more specifically, A LOT every day. So that presents 2 problems:

      1) If something goes wrong and you break up, it creates an awkward situation in your office. This even happens with those who aren’t co-workers – for example, my ex and I shared a lot of the same friends and now it’s always awkward when we’re in a group.

      2) Even if you don’t, you see the same person day after day for hours on end… and I’ve found it’s better to have your own personal space instead.

      You’re unlikely to get fired or anything, but it will make your working life even more miserable.

  3. nick says

    What is this I hear about investment banking being outsourced to india….

    Is it wise for me to still go for this if im only a freshman in college and plan on going to grad school

    • says

      If you’re a freshman in college you should NOT decide on a specific path yet – instead, explore all your options and see what’s out there.

      On outsourcing: it’s happening in a lot of industries. However, they would never outsource everything bankers do, it’s just too difficult logistically.

  4. accountant says

    I can’t wait to see your article about an accountant breaking into finance. I am currently enrolled in MS in accounting program, and I realized that I am interested in finance than accounting. Since I have no finance experiences, I don’t know how to get in finance institutions.

    You also mentioned that working in TAS is a good position to get in finance, but the TAS in Big 4 usually doesn’t hire a newly graduate as an entry level position. Would you consider this fact when you write about this topic?

  5. accountant2 says

    I was a Senior Accountant with 5 years of work experience (3 of which were in a hedge fund) and I’m currently getting my MSc in Finance. What are my chances in investment banking? I assume I’ll have to start at the bottom again?

    • says

      You have a decent shot, but may have “too much” work experience to be an Analyst and not enough to be an Associate… try contacting a few banks and seeing what the reaction is.

  6. Amo says

    Hi,

    I have not been able to gain a gradaute role in IB but have secured a job as an investments actuary. However, this role is quite different from an accountant (more technical and maths based) but as many ACA accountants are able to progress into IB I was wondering if you ever heard of actuaries doing the same? I understand that accountants probably have more M&A exposure, but can actuaries specialising in investments have similar chances of breaking into the industry?

    Thanks for all your help so far and Merry Christmas!

  7. Alisa says

    Do you find that invesment bankers/analysts get hit on by girls more for their earning capabilities than who they are as an individual?

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