Many of us dream of graduating college, packing up our things and heading to Wall Street to make it big in the investment world. Unfortunately for me, that dream never came to fruition. No worries though as I am happy with where I am at. For those of you out there with this dream, below are two dream-chasing jobs on Wall Street and their pay – just prepared for the work.
This is the job I wanted to do. Being an investment banker means taking part in initial public offerings (IPOs) of stock, as well as dealing with mergers and acquisitions, corporate lending and institutional trading.
When starting off, you can expect to earn a salary around $75,000 and quickly move up to six figures in less than five years. The catch though is that you have to work and not like most of us are used to. Expect to work 80-100 minimum while in this position. And that isn’t for the newcomers either. That is standard fare regardless if you are a rookie or a seasoned veteran. This was the breaking point for me. I just couldn’t do it. I have a good friend that does this and his typical schedule looks like this: work every day from 6am to 10pm. If you read that correctly, that is every day, not just Monday through Friday. It includes Saturdays and Sundays.
When it comes to education, you are going to need a graduate degree and most likely one from a highly ranked business school. Unfortunately, this job is extremely competitive and therefore being the best means having a degree from the best schools.
This job isn’t for everyone as you can see. The ones that thrive in the job are the ones that love it. Many times, burnout happens quickly for obvious reasons. Don’t jump into this job with the false notion that you can cut out at 4pm every day. You can if you want to, but you won’t have a job for very long.
Mutual Fund Manager
Running a mutual fund is a dream for many. They aspire to be the next Peter Lynch or Bill Gross. The pay is great – exceeding $500 million before bonuses, but the work is hard and stressful. It’s your job to beat the market, which is a very hard thing to do. If you mess up, you could find yourself out of a job. If the mistake was large enough, you might not be able to manage another fund either.
When it comes to education, this job requires a degree as well as specialty designations, such as the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA). Even with this designation, you will need to start at the bottom, proving yourself as a good stock-picker before you are handed the keys to managing a fund of your own.
I also have a friend in this role. He isn’t a fund manager yet. He is still taking his CFA exams (there are three levels and each level gets harder. On average, less than 50% of the test takers pass a level), but has his foot in the door as a junior analyst. Only time will tell if he is running a fund in the future.
To land either of these jobs, you are going to have to prove yourself, both before you get the job as well as when you have it. There is no let up as there are younger, hungrier candidates waiting to take your job every day. If you have the work ethic and drive, these can be the exact careers you are looking for. If you are unsure, it never hurts to try. Many people do so and burnout, but you never hear of them complaining that they wished they hadn’t tried.