An Honest Defense of Investment Banking
There are two competing narratives for junior bankers on Wall Street. From an outsider’s perspective, there’s the overpaid, immoral and hedonistic stigma that grew in prominence following the financial crisis. Then there are those within the ropes, who tell a story of overworked, underpaid doormats that are taken advantage of for a half-decade. Both are filled with a bit hyperbole it seems.
Famed Twitter handle Goldman Sachs Elevator, in a review of Kevin Roose’s new book on young bankers, offers up the brutally honest middle ground in a Business Insider op-ed. He badgers the industry plenty, but we’ve all heard that argument. Here’s some of the other side.
- After graduating from your analyst class, you’ll enter a meritocracy with little hierarchy, he says. People who make it aren’t bitter. They’re energetic, excited and hungry to make money. The bitter ones are those who aren’t very good and who end up quitting.
- Yes, some of your relationships will crumble after entering the industry. “Boo-hoo. It’s called life.” The same thing happens to other hardworking people as they enter adulthood.
- Investment bankers often aren’t those with a plan to take over the world. “Most people go into investment banking because they obviously do well in school and are smart and ambitious, but…have no clue what they want to do in life.”
- Those with industry experience who often speak out against investment banking tend to be cynical, reluctant bankers who are predisposed to fail.
- Is the grass really that much greener in Silicon Valley? Steve Jobs was no cupcake of a boss.
In a bout of coincidence, another former Goldman investment banker published her take on LinkedIn. Bethany McLean takes the industry to task too, but adds one interesting point. Investment banking builds scar tissue that makes you tougher later in life. “I wasn’t intimidated anymore,” she said after leaving the industry.
Both are thought-provoking takes and worth a read.
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Buzz Around the Office
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Quote of the Day: “There’s no point wasting time on the people who can’t hack it, don’t know what they’re getting in to, or don’t want to be there (other than to suck out a six figure paycheck and bitch about it.)” – GS Elevator