by Brian DeChesare Comments (173)

From Analyst Monkey to King of the Jungle MD: The Investment Banking Hierarchy

From Analyst Monkey to King of the Jungle MD: The Investment Banking Hierarchy

“This is not a fraternity house,” my staffer explained as he hauled me into a small conference room.

“Some of the MDs have complained about how messy your desk is, so clean it up.”

Genuinely curious, I replied, “Were you referring to the empty Red Bull cans or to all the papers too?”

Not a good start to your 3rd week on the job.

I told this story to a few co-workers afterward and they all laughed and responded the same way:

“He’s lying, a bank is exactly like a frat house.”

They were right – just like a fraternity, there’s hazing, a hierarchy, and certain rituals you must go through to advance.

While this site has been analyst-focused in the past, today you’re going to learn all about this hierarchy, how much you get paid at each level, how the work differs, the average age range, and the possible exit opportunities.

And if you’re curious about hours please stop reading this site right now.

Footnotes & Starting Assumptions

As with the analysis of where your paycheck goes, here I’m starting with the assumption that you’re in a developed country in a major financial hub like New York, London, or Hong Kong.

At the end you’ll learn how this hierarchy might differ outside banking, outside those cities, and in other countries.

These pay figures are not exact – I used recent salary and bonus figures, data from the Careers-in-Finance compensation listings, and other sources like that to get numbers.

So yes, there are exceptions and sometimes you see more pay or less pay – these are rough averages.

Let’s dive right in and start with the bottom of the hierarchy: the analyst monkey.


What You Do: You’re a monkey, and your chief responsibility is to collect bananas for the bigger monkeys higher up in the food chain.

You do most of the Excel and PowerPoint work, take notes, send emails and call people, and even take care of random tasks like fixing printers and picking up dry cleaning.

Most of this site has been focused on what analysts do, so see all the day in the life and week in the life posts for more.

How You Get In: You’re recruited from a top undergraduate or Master’s program, or you network like a ninja and get in from a lesser-known school. Once you go beyond a few years of full-time work experience, you won’t get in as an analyst because you’re overqualified.

Yes, some people pull this off anyway but it gets exponentially harder the longer you’ve been working.

Age Range: Most analysts are just out of school, so 22-27; in countries with military service or with 5-year undergraduate programs (Europe) the upper end of the range is more common.

Pay: This varies by region and the state of the economy, but most 1st year analysts make at least $100K USD all-in (base salary + bonus) and that may go up to $150K or more if the economy is good.

2nd and 3rd year analysts see increased pay, usually closer to $200K in a good year for a 3rd year analyst, and maybe $150K or a bit less on the lower end in a bad year.

Time to Get Promoted: Usually it takes 3 years to become an associate.

Possible Exit Opps: See our comprehensive article on IB exit opportunities.

Analysts have the most exit opportunities out of all bankers because they’re young and haven’t had “too much” experience in a certain field yet.


What You Do: If the analyst is the monkey, you’re a bigger and better-groomed monkey who’s much smoother in social situations.

You may still do Excel work if the model is complex, but mostly you are checking the analyst’s work and making sure he doesn’t screw up. You spend most of your time managing the analysts and making sure the VP’s orders get executed.

Much of your time is spent talking to clients and seeing what they need when you’re working on deals; analysts are too busy cranking away to have much client interaction, at least at large banks.

You get to attend more meetings and pitches than the analyst, but you will always have a non-speaking role unless the MD needs a number from you.

How You Get In: You either work as an analyst for 3 years and get promoted, or you get recruited out of a top MBA program after working full-time for 3-5 years in another industry.

Theoretically you could get recruited for an associate position if you’ve already graduated from an MBA program and have been working in industry for a while, but this is rare – your chances are 100x better when you’re still in school.

Age Range: This one varies more than the analyst age range because associates come from more diverse backgrounds; 25-35 is the safest estimate because some associates are promoted directly from the analyst pool while others get recruited out of business school.

Getting in when you’re under 25 would be virtually impossible unless you graduated college early, and having 10+ years of experience pre-MBA makes you overqualified.

Pay: Again, there’s more variation here than with analyst pay because the bonus takes up the bulk of an associate’s compensation and that’s heavily dependent on the economy.

In a bad year, a 1st year associate might get between $150K and $200K USD all-in, while more senior associates (3rd and 4th years) might get closer to $400K or $500K all-in in a great year.

If your group is just OK and the economy is neither great nor terrible, your pay will be in the middle of that range.

Time to Get Promoted: Usually it takes 3-4 years to reach Vice President, and it’s harder to get that promotion than it is to go from analyst to associate – you need to show more leadership and client management skills.

Possible Exit Opps: It is more difficult at this level, but the same exit options that exist for Analysts also exist for Associates.

There’s less of a structured process, and you have to be far more proactive in reaching out to recruiters and networking.

Beyond buy-side roles, other common destinations include corporate development at a normal company or corporate finance.

Vice President

What You Do: Moving up the pyramid once again, you are an even larger and more intimidating monkey, and you’ve got lots of barrels to throw down at the chimps below you climbing up the ladder.

You make sure that deals and pitch books get done – you interpret what the MDs and Directors want, and ensure that whatever pops out of your analyst’s cubicle resembles it.

You get a lot more client interaction, and may call buyers and directly pitch a company that you’re selling.

And as you move up, you have to start shifting over to relationship development and winning clients – which is incredibly tough and one of the most difficult transitions to make.

How You Get In: You get promoted after working as an associate for 3-4 years.

It’s extremely rare to break in as a VP coming from outside banking, and I’ve never seen it happen. To have the skills required to run deals and win clients you need to have been in banking for a long time.

Age Range: Since you must have been an associate first, we could say the age range is 28-40, with the average somewhere in the middle.

Pay: There’s even more variability since the bonus takes up such a high percentage of your compensation; base salaries do not increase that much as you move up (even MDs might see only around $150K-$200K base).

Most VPs will earn between $300K and $1MM USD, with the upper-end of that range for more senior VPs in a good year and the lower end for more junior VPs in a bad year.

Time to Get Promoted: Probably another 3-4 years to reach Director / Principal / SVP, though it varies and you may do it more quickly depending on performance.

Possible Exit Opps: Even more limited than associates – either stay in banking or go to a normal company in corporate development.

Moving into PE from this level would be “challenging” to say the least, and even in other fields of finance you would have too much experience to have a good shot.

NOTE: Again, though, in practice people can and do move around – so exit opportunities do still exist even at this level

Director / Senior Vice President / Principal

What You Do: This one is a mix between what VPs and MDs do, and the role differs depending on the bank and group.

Sometimes you focus more on developing relationships and winning clients, and other times you do more execution work and project management like VPs.

But no matter what your role is, you will have to move closer to winning clients if you want to advance to the next level – Managing Director.

How You Get In: You’ve already been an associate and a VP, and you get promoted to this level after a few years of being a VP. I challenge you to find a single example of someone who was not already in investment banking and entered the industry at this level – it doesn’t happen.

Age Range: Sometimes you could get promoted more quickly (2 years rather than 3-4), so we’ll say 30-45. 45 is on the high end and you’d see that only if the person did something else for many years before getting into business school and then investment banking.

Pay: This one’s hard to pinpoint because it’s somewhere in between VP and MD in terms of pay; we’ll say $400K – $1.5MM USD to reflect that range.

As with the other pay numbers here, you should expect the lower end of the range in a bad economy if you haven’t performed well (your closed deal count is low or nonexistent) and the higher end of the range in a good year.

Time to Get Promoted: Similar to the others, a few years to go from here to the next level: Managing Director. We’ll say 2-3 years to get a specific number.

Possible Exit Opps: Imagine a blank screen with no visible life forms. Now imagine seeing this every day after you quit or get fired.

In all seriousness, you could always move over to the corporate side but it would be tough to move into other fields of finance from this position unless you happen to be a serious rainmaker and you have enough contacts to make yourself useful to a PE firm or other buy-side firm.

Managing Director

What You Do: You’re King of the Jungle. All the other chimps answer to you, and you move them around much like a chess grandmaster would move around pawns, bishops, and knights.

90% of your time as an MD is spent winning clients, meeting companies, and developing relationships – you fly around to conferences, meet with PE and VC firms, and position yourself to advise CEOs and win deals.

Occasionally if there’s a massive deal and it’s too big to fail, you get involved with the negotiations. Or if you have a special relationship with an investor or buyer, you may pitch a client to them.

But otherwise, you are sitting back and bringing in new business while everyone below you executes.

How You Get In: Most of the time, you’ve been a banker for life (or close to it) and you’ve worked at all levels in IB before – often across many different banks.

Sometimes you do see MDs who get into the industry from other fields (e.g. a Partner at a law firm that focuses on corporate and securities law, or a PE Partner who has lost his sanity and wants to move back to the sell-side).

But those scenarios are rare even at this level and you don’t see them much at large banks.

Age Range: This one is impossible to define precisely because some MDs really do stay in it for life, or at least until retirement age – for most bankers it is the highest they’ll ever go.

We’ll say early 30’s is the minimum age here, but on the upper end of the range there’s no limit – you rarely find MDs who are past their 50’s, though, so maybe that’s the limit.

By that time they are either burned out and retired on a beach somewhere in Thailand, or they’ve advanced further within the bank (see below).

Pay: This is where compensation has the highest “beta” (this is a finance site, so I am allowed to whip out finance jargon when convenient).

In a bad year with no closed deals, an MD might not make much more than his base salary – maybe the $200K – $300K USD range.

In a good year, they might make in the low millions USD ($1MM – $3MM) depending on how the group is set up, how many deals they’ve closed, and how well they’re playing the office politics game.

Time to Get Promoted: Yes, there are levels beyond MD at large banks (Group Head, C-level executives) but there’s no set path to reach them – you could get lucky and get there in a few years, or you might be there for a decade and never see the light at the end of the tunnel.

Unlike other levels of the banking hierarchy, it’s not “up or out” at the MD-level – it’s more like “make lots of money for us or out.”

So as long as you keep producing, your position will remain intact.

Possible Exit Opps: If you’ve been a lifelong banker, it will be very difficult to move into a completely different field – but you do sometimes see financiers at the top moving around to other high-level positions in the industry.

Some MDs may also just retire and do something completely different – business coaching, angel investing, writing, and so on – especially if they are worth tens of millions of dollars and don’t have a pressing need for cash.

Wait, What About Other Levels?

Note that in some regions and at some banks these levels have different names – VP might be labeled “Director” and SVP might be “Executive Director,” for example.

At firms with a partnership still in place (Goldman Sachs), there is also a difference between normal MDs and Partnership MDs – the Partnership ones make a lot more money.

And then beyond MD, there are Group Heads (e.g. Head of M&A Europe or Head of Capital Markets Asia) and the C-level executives at firms.

With those, the potential compensation is even more variable and could range into the tens of millions (or higher for C-level in a good year) – or the bank might slash its CEO’s pay to $0 in a symbolic gesture if they’ve had a bad year and caused economic Armageddon.

Differences at Boutiques?

Boutiques tend to have fewer levels than bulge bracket banks, so you might not see as many VPs and Directors/SVPs.

Advancement may be faster depending on the firm’s size, but pay will also be lower since the deal sizes are smaller – regional boutiques might pay 50% of the bonus that bulge brackets do (very rough estimate).

This does not apply to the “elite boutiques” (Evercore, Lazard, etc.) which pay more in-line with bulge brackets.

What About Trading?

On the trading side there is a flatter hierarchy and you may reach the MD level more quickly.

Pay is also extremely variable and the top traders might make tens of millions even if they never advance beyond the MD-level (ok, it’s questionable how true that will be post-crisis and financial regulation).

The Buy-Side: Private Equity and Hedge Funds

This one is impossible to cover fully here (maybe in a separate article if someone has good data), but let’s give it a shot:

The private equity side is similar to banking, but you will make more at each level; as a Partner in PE you could make significantly more than MDs in banking (hundreds of millions if you’re Henry Kravis), but at smaller firms you’ll see compensation closer to what banking MDs earn.

The main difference is that you get carry at the Partner-level as well, so that opens up the possibility of earning into the stratosphere if you’ve invested well over the years.

On the hedge fund side, there’s so little reliable information that it’s hard to say anything concrete.

You hear stories about people making hundreds of thousands or millions at young ages, but the average case is probably closer to the compensation levels above for banking.

And while hedge fund managers making billions of dollars a year get a lot of attention, that is far from the average case: the majority of funds out there are much smaller ($100M – $1B AUM) and it’s impossible to earn anywhere near that amount.

In short: hedge fund pay has the highest ceiling of anything here, but there is a massive difference between the founder or the portfolio manager and everyone else in the fund, and pay is almost 100% dependent on fund size and returns.

Other Countries

Developed countries (Western Europe, Hong Kong, Japan, Australia, etc.) see similar pay levels and have the same sort of promotion timelines.

In emerging markets, it’s more chaotic and you might advance far more quickly – but also make less in absolute dollars, even if you have your own palace and a harem or two.

The investment banking culture is not as well developed in the BRICS of the world, so you will see many deviations from the hierarchy above.

But in most of these places you have a 0.0% chance of breaking in as a foreigner with no connections: they are looking for locals who have studied or worked abroad and who are now returning to their home countries.

How Do You Move Up the Ladder?

Please see this article on investment banking promotion.

Key Takeaways

So, what does all of this mean?

Stop Assuming That Investment Banking / Finance in General are Guaranteed Paychecks

Especially as you move up, your pay is based almost entirely on your performance and the economy. A VP who has several closed deals may make more money than an MD who has nothing and gets a bonus of $0.

I’ve attempted to estimate pay ranges above, but to get there in the first place you’ll have to work 80-hour weeks for years and sacrifice your social life and maybe your first-born son or daughter.

Most MDs are Not Mega-Wealthy

Look at the Forbes list of richest people in the world, and you’ll see that there are very few (no?) banker-types on there, unless you count Warren Buffett as a banker (he’s not).

After you’ve taken into account taxes, recessions, the cost of living, and so on, a 10-15 year veteran MD might have $10 million or more saved up.

That is an enormous amount of money to most people, but you will not become a billionaire in finance unless you’re on the buy-side and you’re one of the best in the world like John Paulson.

Forget About Breaking Into Banking in the “Middle Years”

You either get in as an analyst or associate, and if not, you’ve missed your chance unless you have highly relevant experience, the market is frothy, and you trade down (i.e. go from a F500 to a boutique).

Even getting in at the top from other industries is uncommon – you see it more often in VC or PE where operational skill sets are valued.

If you’re in this position, you’re better off looking at other industries or starting your own business.

Expect Your Role to Change Gradually, Not Rapidly

Even though banking has a rigid hierarchy, what you do at each level is not as narrowly defined.

When you move from analyst to associate, you won’t instantly start dating super models or get your own reality TV show – sorry.

Your hours might improve slightly and you won’t have to do as much grunt work, but the pressure to perform will be greater than ever as well.


Oh yes, and please reduce your expectations of $10 million and that beach in Thailand.

By the time you get there as a banker, you’ll be old and wrinkly and probably can’t stay out in the sun for very long anyway.

A frat house, on the other hand, might be well within your reach long before that.

M&I - Brian

About the Author

Brian DeChesare is the Founder of Mergers & Inquisitions and Breaking Into Wall Street. In his spare time, he enjoys memorizing obscure Excel functions, editing resumes, obsessing over TV shows, traveling like a drug dealer, and defeating Sauron.

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  1. Great article, I am strongly considering a change to IB (boutique). I am 32 and a year away from finishing my MBA at Pepperdine. I have spent the last 6-7 years as an Independent Financial Advisor. I have my insurance licenses, series 7, 66, and Certified Wealth Strategist designation. What would my route be, am I too old to jump in at the associate level? what do you think would be the most realistic outcome for someone in my situation. I also read the article related to age but still wasn’t sure how that applies to my current situation. I am more interested in the deal-making side of finance than the advisory side for sure.

    1. It is generally quite tough to network your way in from a non-target MBA program. Maybe see one of these stories for good examples of how to do it:

  2. Hi there,
    I am a 32 year old Vice President (research) at a fund of hedge fund in NYC and concurrently getting my part-time MBA at Stern (Fall 2019 graduation date). I am receiving some interest from IBs for associate level positions, am I too old to go down this career path and how much of a step down is this on a job-title basis? Ideally I would like to go into PE or VC but my first 4 years out of undergrad we’re spent building a production company I founded and I’ve been told PE firms want younger associates who were IB analysts.

    Thoughts on staying in the FoHF industry? Or would commercial real-estate be a better move? Any suggestions?

    1. FYI, graduated undergrad in ‘09

    2. If your goal is PE and you already have almost 10 years of work experience, it’s not a great idea to go into IB at this stage. Funds of funds don’t seem to be doing that well, but then, people say that every few years and the funds still seem to be around. IB, PE, VC, FoF, and CRE are all completely different careers, so you should think about what you actually want to do first. Do you want to work on deals? Just follow companies? What risk/potential return profile are you seeking? There are still ways to get into private equity without doing IB first, but you need to answer why you want to go into PE besides the fact that everyone else wants to do the same.

  3. I’m currently a junior at an Ivy League school. I’ve been told that Sales & Trading is the best way to go, but I’m not sure. I want to be a deal-maker; IPOs, M&A activity is where I want to end up. Would it be better to get both a MBA and a law degree? What kind of opportunities would be available for a MBA-carrying corporate or securities attorney?

    1. If you want to do S&T, neither an MBA nor a law degree would be helpful. If you want to do M&A, get in directly. If you can’t get in directly, then consider a Master’s in Finance or MBA degree.

  4. Hi,
    I’m from the UK, I’m going to start my second year of A levels… so i’m starting to think of what Unis to apply to get into Investment banking. I am looking at LSE, UCL and Cass.
    My question is: Is Cass a reputable enough University to get into a top tier investment bank?
    PS: I would go to LSE but I would have to take a gap year and apply with my actual a level grades because in the UK, Unis give offers or reject based on Predicted grades. And I did not perform well in my mocks in my first year of a level, so my teachers will predict me lower. For my GCSE’s I did achieve all A*s including Maths,Further Maths, Additonal Science, Further Additonal Science. But Unis care about A levels more because A levels are a better indication of the Hard work you put in. And GCSE’s are more of how talented and just smart you are.

    1. Possibly, but it’s not the best choice in the UK. LSE or UCL would be much better. From lower-ranked schools, you would have to network significantly more and get lucky.

  5. I’m currently working in Audit at a fortune 250 company and am interested in either IB or VC in the long run. Basically, my plan is to finish out my rotational program (a year in audit, a year in FP&A), do 2-3 years in M&A (my company is a decently sized conglomerate) and then apply to top business programs. Afterwards, I’d be trying to break into either IB or VC. Is it feasible for a 30 year old to break in as an associate?

    1. Yes, but I’m not sure if you need an MBA to do it if you can transition over to M&A or valuation more quickly.

  6. Thank you Brian.

    So with my age (38 years) and about 10 years back office role in retail and commercial banking sector will it still be possible to land job at Associate level in PE or VC firms? Like I told you before I will start my MBA next year with top 10 school. Also give your candid advice on what you think should be the best industry to look for job after my MBA.

    Thanks once again.

    1. No, probably not. You should think about other options in finance that do not care about background/pedigree/prestige as much, AKA not IB/PE/VC. Real estate might be a good option if you have done commercial banking, know something about debt, and are willing to hustle.

      To give you an idea of the competitiveness for PE roles, even students with 4.0 GPAs at Princeton who have experience working at Goldman Sachs IBD right out of undergrad have trouble getting in. So if you don’t have that background, well… good luck.

  7. Thanks for all your posts. For me, I have 10 years retail and commercial banking experience and I am 38 years old. I am getting into a top school for my MBA.

    Do you think I can breaking into investment banking after graduation at VP level? What other sectors would you advice I look to?

    Looking forward to receiving your reply.

  8. Hi,

    Great article, I love the way you articulated it. I’m a Commerce student at Memorial University of Newfoundland. Had my work terms with Deloitte. I’m pursuing Finance as a concentration with some background in economics. MUN isn’t an Ivey league school but do you think I stand a chance at getting into an investment banking analyst role when I graduate? I didn’t do that great in my first finance course but I’m really confident that I’ll do well in my subsequent finance courses.

    Another question, is investment banking a rewarding career in Canada?

    1. It’s almost impossible to get into IB in Canada if you’re not at one of the top 5 schools there (we’ve covered the list in previous articles). So your best option is to move to a bigger market, such as the US or UK, where it’s easier to find opportunities from different schools. IB in Canada is OK, but the industry is small and there’s a lot of competition to get in.

  9. Any passion that I might develop for banking work field, I certainly own it to you.

  10. Chi Tran

    I just want to say thank you for writing such an amazing article. I enjoyed your writing style and “subtle” humor more I should have.

    1. M&I - Nicole

      Thank you!

  11. Hi Brian,
    How long do MDs actually work?

    1. Maybe around 60 hours per week if you include all the work (Travel and emergencies as well).

  12. Forgive me lack of knowledge on this subject: are quants just a different/more advanced type of analyst? (think algorithmic trading) Or are they a different species entirely?

    How does advanced knowledge of mathematics/statistics and computer science play into the initial stage of being an “analyst monkey”?
    I’m doing graduate level work in machine learning, particularly with projects in computational finance, so where on the hierarchy would I end up upon entering banking (both buy and sell side)?

    I’m already sacrificing my AI dream for Wall Street, so I hope I’ll do more meaningful work than just taking notes/making PowerPoints/fixing printers!

    1. Nicole Lee

      I’d say they are different. Some roles that are more quant related require you to have a computer science background and understand programming. Others don’t. I’d say most IB roles don’t, but quant roles in HF or quant roles in S&T do. You can tell from the job description. I am not sure where you’ll end up in the hierarchy because it depends on the firm. I don’t think you need to sacrifice your AI dream for Wall Street. Perhaps you can pursue a degree that gives you the option to do both. And don’t forget about tech firms, you may find yourself more suited for them.

  13. It’s a common generalization that coverage groups spend their time pitching while product groups spend their time executing.

    By that standard, senior bankers in coverage groups should spend more time pitching than senior bankers in product groups, and senior bankers in product groups should spend more time executing than senior bankers in coverage groups.
    Does this hold at all in reality?

    1. M&I - Nicole

      I think it depends on the bank and the group. It is hard to say.

  14. Hey, just a really quick question…
    To begin, before I go any further, I am only in high school. However, I am really strong in math and I am currently taking calculus after having skipped a couple years of school (class mates are 3 years older which is tough in high school!). Because of my strength in math, I have been researching business for years and have read every book regarding investing that I could find. After doing some employment researching I came across investment banking, and was wondering if such a job would be a good choice in Canada. I understand that in more industrialized areas like New York that investment banking is most definitely very rewarding, but my concern is that the lack of multi-billion dollar companies (for example) would hinder Canada’s viability for a position in this field. All responses are greatly appreciated. :)

  15. Would West Point be considered a top school? And would banks be likely to hire a west point grad after the 5 year service commitment?

    1. M&I - Nicole

      Yes it is a good school, though I think you may have to rely heavily on networking with West Point alums in the industry after your 5-year of service. Otherwise, an advanced degree from a target school may also help you. This link should be useful:

  16. Brian,

    I actually broke in as a VP from a tangentially related group (S&T, but same industry) while at the middle of the age range you specified. I’m at a boutique, not the highest regarded, but we make the news on occasion.

    Regarding your VP comments, I’ll say this: the transition is intense. The learning curve incredible. It’s assault and battery. New to IB, you are expected to develop the ability to execute anything an analyst or associate can do, all the while tapping existing contacts, managing deals, and serving as a VP. While analysts and associates can say this too, if I worked 24 hours a day it wouldn’t be enough. It’s learning three jobs at once and is the most exhausting, frustrating, and sometimes fun thing I’ve ever done. The topper is you do this at a much more advanced age, so the wife, kids, etc. is a tough balancing act.

    That about sums it up. It’s nearly impossible to break in during your mid-30’s, especially given the info I’ve provided. You better know what you are getting into and realize that it’s a learning experience. Every. Damn. Day. Is a learning experience.

    BTW, I am a big user of your products, they were and are still a great help. Thanks.

    1. M&I - Nicole

      Thanks for your note. We greatly appreciate your comments and agree with you that the learning curve is steep, and balancing family and work obligations can be challenging. I’m glad to hear that you enjoy the work you do!

      1. I broke in to IB as 2nd level associate at age 38. Tough. Foreigner from EM, but went to good MBA. Have PHD.

  17. Do you think location matters when selecting Goldman Partners? Because I am thinking whether to reside in New York or Amsterdam.

    1. M&I - Nicole

      I’d say New York but hard to say in this forum since I don’t know your background etc, but I do think NY may offer more international opportunities especially since its arguably the world’s financial hub

  18. Hello,
    I have a few questions primarily relating to PE. First off, what is the PE hierarchy like and how do you move up it? How do you advance to the senior levels in a buy-side firm, what is the career path at a buy side firm and what is the pay at each level?Do you have an article about moving up a career path in PE?
    Also, I have a few questions about schools. Do you guys have a list of undergrad target and semi-target schools? How do banking firms look on Georgetown and Carnegie Mellon?
    Thanks again!

    1. M&I - Nicole


      This post should answer your questions:

      We don’t have a list of the schools. Georgetown is a great school and is considered a target. CMU is likely a semi-target.

  19. I wondered if anyone had watched the Zeitgeist films. Very eye opening!

  20. Sam peters

    How many managing directors do u think work at all 5 bulge bracket firms? How many do you think make more than $2m per yr?

    1. M&I - Nicole

      This is hard to say. I can’t give you the exact answer to this because this information is relatively confidential ; most MDs may not want to reveal such information.

  21. What type of all in salary would you expect at a boutique such as KBW in Chicago?

  22. Great article! Love your guys’ work! I’m not sure how long ago this was written but Late summer or early fall of last year, JP Morgan actually hired a VP to their new legal department that was created following the London Whale incident, and he’s never been in banking before. His name is Malcom Carter, and he actually reports to Jamie Dimon directly. Just thought I’d add that tidbit just to to illustrate that even though it’s rare, it has happened at a large bank.

    1. Thanks for adding that. Yes, it does happen sometimes but the legal department is a bit different from traditional IB advisory roles. It would be tougher to come in from a different industry at the VP-level there.

  23. because I know some recruiters say an MBA is preferred but not required, so how much of a influence would having one have on a job possibility?

    sorry for the multiple posts

  24. because I always assumed having an MBA on top of experience would look better, but would it make that big of a difference?

  25. So would becoming an analyst for 2 years after university and then going for an MBA to try for an associate position be inefficient?

    I mean, wouldn’t getting an MBA then be pointless??

  26. So would becoming an associate for

  27. I forgot to mention that this would be in DCM.

  28. How many team mebers are there on a typical deal team. Is it one analyst reports to one associate and so on or are there multiple analysts and associates on a typical deal that report to one Sr. VP?

    1. M&I - Nicole

      There can be up to 3, though usually 1-2 analysts on a typical deal. It also depends on the deal size and how much importance the bank places on the deal. There’s usually one associate though there can be 2.

  29. Hi, i think your articles are great.
    I was wondering what the best path for investment banking is. Do you need to get an MBA after you have worked as an analyst for 2 years or is an MBA only needed if you have no direct experience in banking? Also, can you write more about how much bankers can really save each year. Do you think living in Jersey city instead of NYC will help save more money?

    1. M&I - Nicole

      If you’re already in IB an MBA may not necessarily help you that much, unless you want to take 2 year off, do something else, or perhaps move to the buy-side (even that is arguable). And only an MBA at a target can add most value in that case.

      How much bankers save really depends on their spending and lifestyle so I can’t say! But this article may help you –

      Yes I think so but you will have to commute and it is very hard to do so if you’re pulling 16 hour work days

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