The media’s portrayal of what it’s like to be an investment banker has permeated much of the general public’s perceived understanding of the space. Shows like HBO’s Industry and movies like The Wolf of Wall Street paint the profession in a certain light - competitive, harsh, intense, and all-consuming, among others. These perceptions typically turn into a banker’s reality depending on a few things - the firm, the division, and the culture, but the reality of investment banking work is simply not as dramatic (or traumatic) as Hollywood’s interpretation.
Instead, investment banking analysts can always expect a few things with certainty - working long hours, being held to high standards, teamwork, and a lot of learning as you go. These disciplines, along with the more technical skills learned such as financial modeling and analysis, are also the makings of highly successful founders.
Many entrepreneurs are born out of Wall Street, and for good reason. Suited’s CEO Matt Spencer, a former investment banker, believes that there is no better preparation for starting a business than years spent in IB.
"Being an investment banker doesn't just teach you to be good at finance and accounting. You also learn about all the other aspects of business that add up to determine whether a company will be successful. These include competitive market dynamics, operations, marketing, strategy, management and organizational leadership, and negotiation skills. Depending on the types of clients you service, you may be learning about these directly from the founders and management teams that made those companies successful," he says.
I don't know of any other industry that can give that breadth and depth of "education" into what makes a company successful or not; an invaluable learning experience for future founders."
We got in touch with a few other entrepreneurs who feel similarly. Read on to hear why they believe their investment banking experience helped them on their way to becoming founders.
Founder at Fansure
Fansure is a sports betting tool that allows for scenario-relevant sports betting at scale. Former investment banking associate and analyst.
"I am grateful to have started out my career in Investment Banking. IB provides a comprehensive foundation that is transferable to a variety of different career paths, both from a quantitative and qualitative perspective. My experience leveraging analytical data to drive strategic corporate advisory and interfacing with clients taught me lessons that I was able to draw upon when I transitioned to the startup world."