We are career contrarians here at Tapwage. The herd is almost always a lagging indicator of where the market and trends are headed (although it always feels so safe to follow). So when we see Harvard MBAs flock to the startup world, we have advised graduates that perhaps it’s time to take Wall Street more seriously as a career option after all, especially since historical analyses have proven Harvard MBA’s career choices as a lagging indicator.
Recently, Goldman Sachs gave people a few more reasons to consider banking as a potential career choice. They have made a number of organizational changes to make the career more exciting for junior bankers.
1. More technology to do away with busy work
Our take: There is always a ton of busy work, whether its checking share counts, or making sure formatting is just right. We are not completely convinced of this since technology has continued to impact the life of junior bankers, but busy work just evolves, never goes away.
2. 12-month rotation program to experience other parts of the bank
Our take: This is an excellent addition. Banking tends to be so client focused that most junior bankers never realize the complex financial machinery at the heart of the big banks that creates so much opportunity for learning and career development.
3. Accelerated promotions to Associate
Our take: This is a good move to promote analysts to associates directly after 2 years. However, this doesn’t address the deeper issue which is that private equity and startup jobs seem much more appealing to a junior banker than the associate role does. This could be compelling if similar positive changes impact the associate role as well, making the career path in banking more attractive.
All this comes after years of incremental improvements around the analyst program at major banks to address the loss of talent at the end of the analyst program to private equity. Protected Saturdays and weekends are some of the most important measures implemented in recent times, but so often they get undermined by the time-sensitive nature of the job. However, there is a renewed urgency among banks recently as they are beginning to lose talent for their prestigious analyst programs not only to private equity but to silicon valley as well.
It’s still pretty rough. In previous articles we have talked about the investment banking lifestyle, and why people leave banking.
A Bloomberg article from 2006 captures the junior banker lifestyle really well, and much of it still holds true. It discusses the typical workday of an Indiana grad in an analyst role at Goldman Sachs. You will likely spot a few trends in his description of his workday:
Despite the stresses of it all, it’s rewarding and intellectually challenging. And as it turns out from the recent Goldman announcements, it’s about to get even better.