The Best Way To Set Yourself Up To Escape Wall Street

kevin spacey margin callUnless you want to be a lifer, like this guy.

Congratulations!!! You made it into investment banking. Of course early on you’re excited and just want to spend 100+ hours in the office to impress everyone and get that top bucket bonus, but how do you really get the most mileage out of your 2 year stint in banking? For most, it’s about exit ops and this is becoming more and more true as we see bonuses go down the shitter. Heck, a lot of my friends got paid less in their 2nd year than they did in their 1st year!Now if you’re looking to stay for the long haul, this post might not be so helpful. In that case, there really is no secret trick or tips. You simply need to be good, which means a strong work ethic, good technical/modelling skills, and a legitimate interest in chasing deals and closing them.

For the rest of you, there are some ways to set yourself up for an exit while not necessarily suffering the most. So here are some tips from a fellow ex-BB IBD analyst that you won’t find in most employee handbooks:

1. Plan your exit ahead of time.

Reach out to headhunters ASAP and set up interviews. You only have to do them once and then you’ll be free to use your actual “sick” days to interview for the buyside. Also, you never know when megafunds are going to interview and stampede all over each other for the best candidates. For my year, they went really early (before Christmas) of our first year while the next year they went after the midmarket guys. Not to mention if you’re focused on HFs which are year round, you’ll see more opportunities by getting your name out there earlier since a lot of HFs will hire 1st year bankers and not wait for the full 2 year stint to finish.

2. Work really hard the first 3 months.

Of course everyone’s excited early on, but you should make it a point to stay late and show facetime, even if they don’t require it at your shop. This creates a reputation that you’re a hard worker (but don’t be obvious by taking 8 hours on a few simple slides and then sending it out at 4am like this one idiot summer associate used to do). Also, you want the best deals early on for recruiting purposes and since you never know which one will close, being on the most # gives you the best chances of getting that lucite.

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