Sharp young Wall Streeters are increasingly finding ways to avoid doing time at investment banks.
They’re trying to build careers on the buy-side, or hedge funds and private equity firms, instead.
Whether they’re student investment club leaders or just really young and keen, many young financiers are looking to dodge the two-year analyst gigs that have traditionally been a rite of passage on the Street.
Business Insider spoke to some of these young people and learned why banks like Goldman Sachs have become a “back-up plan” for them.
“A monkey could do the job” of a junior banker, said one Ivy League student who’s currently interning at a hedge fund.
Another, who’s at a quant firm for the summer, said “I heard it’s terrible — I’ve never heard anyone say, ‘Oh, I enjoyed my investment banking experience.”
At investment banks, interns tend to be Excel jockeys, filling in spreadsheets, creating PowerPoints, and generally doing less fulfilling work. At hedge funds, on the other hand, interns often have a bit more responsibility to make real decisions about investments.
This is not the first time we’ve heard students make claims like this. Remember the 19-year-old hedge fund intern who turned down Goldman Sachs and said junior bankers usually exaggerate about how hard they work?
The buy-side interns we spoke to agreed that “banking isn’t the most intellectually stimulating job.”
And, they said, anyone who’s gunning for a career on the buy-side would be “taking it slow” by first spending two years at a bank.
Of course, banking internships are still highly competitive. In 2013, Goldman Sachs accepted only 350 of 17,000 applicants for investment banking spots, The Wall Street Journal reported.
Goldman Sachs, for its part, disagrees that a monkey could work at the bank as an intern. A spokesperson told us this summer, Goldman Sachs had 59,000 unique applicants for roughly 2,999 intern positions.
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