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:
- Wait until your hours get better.
- Come in with an existing long-term relationship and maintain it.
- 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.