Let’s be honest, Wall Street has that mystery behind it. People that work there seem to be almost guaranteed to become rich at some point in their life, if not in a couple of years after joining a big company.
Not only that, it also looks like as long as you’re smart about where you’re working and what kind of work you’re doing, the recessions won’t hurt you at all. Instead, they will make you even more money.
The best part – even an entry level job can start at 6-figures which is the target of almost every American out there.
So, now you ask yourself – what kind of jobs are available on wall street and what expectations should you have when you start working there?
Not only that, you also have to ask whether or not you have the qualifications to get a job in the finance industry. And if not, how long will it take for you to get those qualifications.
We will answer all those questions in this article.
Types of Jobs You Can Get On Wall Street
I’m going to keep it simple so it is easier to understand and quick to digest. We are going to divide this part into 3 tiers.
Tier 1 – this will be the dream job of every finance student when they are graduating from college. This will be a buy-side job where you are working for a hedge fund or a company that is managing their clients’ money and trying to give them a better ROI than the market.
Usually, the biggest chunk of your income will come from fees and this is the fund tier of the job list.
You get to look at charts and graphs and decide where to invest to get the highest return. Basically what you see in those TV shows and movies. But dial it down a notch because there’s usually not that much drama or adventure in real life when you’re working in one of these jobs.
There are a couple of sub categories in this tier as well –
- Hedge funds
- Private equity
- Venture capital
You will know all of those things as a finance student. And if you are someone who just stumbled upon this article and don’t know how that happened, Google is your friend. You can quickly find out the meaning all 3 of those sub categories in a couple seconds.
To get a job tier 1, you are required to have at least 1-2 years of experience doing tier 2 (we’ll get to that in a second) level work like investment or corporate banking, equity research, sales and trading, etc.
But once you get that experience, you can expect to get paid around $125k to $250k.
And since these are high-level 6-figure jobs, expect to see some incredible competition when you apply for these jobs.
If you want to work at one of the top companies like KKR, you can expect to run into competition that has several years of experience in investment banking and they might have also graduated from one of the IVY league colleges.
Be ready for that.
But once you have your foot in the door, you can expect to start off as a first-year associate with a starting salary of $115k to $120k. On top of that, you can expect a bonus of around $145k which should get you in the comfortable six figures.
But remember, the bonuses depend on the activity in the market. So if private equity is doing hot, then you can expect your bonuses to be on the higher side. If not, expect them to be on the lower side.
That is one variable that is not constant, so keep that in mind before you get too excited.
Tier 2 – This is the tier I was talking about where you need to get that experience before you can move on to tier 1 jobs that will get you flushed with cash.
These are the banking and pre buy-side jobs that you should be looking for if you are just looking to get some experience under your belt.
This tier includes jobs like investment banking, corporate banking, equity research, sales or trading, etc.
Make no mistake, it sounds boring but that couldn’t be further from the truth (unless you just hate numbers, then you shouldn’t have gotten in the finance industry in the first place).
These are the kinds of jobs that can get you directly into the buy-side jobs where the real money is.
If you have recently graduated, it will take some networking for you to land one of these jobs because as you can expect, everyone else is looking for them as well. Because if you can get in straight out of college, you can expect to make as much as $150k right out the gate.
Tier 3 – Bitter truth time.
Unless you are extraordinarily smart and have a 4.0 GPA, there’s no way you are getting into tier 2 level jobs. The competition is just way too high for those kinds of jobs because everybody else in the country is going after them.
So realistically, tier 3 is where you will start your Wall Street journey.
These are the analyst jobs that you will probably end up getting to start building up your hiring credibility and the portfolio that will make you look good on that resume.
Then you will move up the ladder to the tier 2 jobs where you will get even more experience under your belt to get into the buy-side jobs that will make this whole journey worth it for you.
What kinds of jobs you can expect to get in tier 3?
Here they are:
- Lower tier asset managers
- Corporate development
- Credit, etc
In most cases, you will start off at a credit rating agency, a credit risk department at a bank or a commercial banking.
My advice, go after the Credit jobs because companies hiring for tier 2 jobs like hiring candidates that have credit experience. Also, it shouldn’t be hard for you to get a job at a place like Bank of America or any other well known private bank.
This will impress the hiring managers at tier 2 level.
You can expect to make anywhere between $75k to $90k at this position. Which is not too shabby if you ask me.
I hope this guide was useful for you and gave you an in-depth idea of what to expect when you’re looking to get a job at Wall Street. If you’re looking for a guide to help you cut the learning curve and get a job at an investment bank, you should check out Sam Shiah. He is one of the best people out there to help you get the kinds of jobs you are looking for without having to go through all the usual hoops and failures that 95% of the people have to go through to even land an entry level job at any place on Wall Street.