Everything You Need to Know About Choosing a Career

For one reason or another we’re getting more and more questions about “what should I do?” and other such variations of this question. With that said lets go ahead and set the framework. Assuming you are young and intelligent you should have a lot of choices. So lets go ahead and break this down step by step with the following outline

1) What Careers are even worth pursuing and why?

2) What is a Job and what is a Career?

3) But so many people make $150-250K per year, what about them?

4) But isn’t everyone replaceable?

5) How do I find a legitimate mentor to show me the truth?

6) How do I find out if I have an interest in this?

7) Why do you talk about starting businesses if you’re talking about careers?

8) Concluding remarks

Once you’ve gone through this post you’ll have all the tools you need to make an intelligent decision about your career. If you mess this step up you’ll lose $5M+ over the course of the next 30 years and you will also work 2x as many hours. That is not a typo.

1) What Careers are even worth pursuing?

The only careers worth pursuing are Sales (ANY variation, higher end the better), Silicon Valley (equity exposure) and Wall Street (front office – Hedge Funds/Private Equity/Investment Banking/Sales & Trading/Research, in that order… feel free to flip PE and HF if you love transactional work). It really is that simple and the hard work has been done for you in a single sentence. Here is how the leverage works in each one of these industries

  • Sales: You are paid for each sale you make. Each sale is an *event*
  • Silicon Valley: The leverage in your financial model is equity the sale of the security is the *event*
  • Wall Street: You are paid for each transaction closed *event*, or each position closed *event* and to a lesser degree each handshake that results in increased business *event*

2) What is a Job and What is a Career?

This is pretty simple. Event is underscored in an annoying way above for a reason, in any other position you have no event. You simply work more hours and you get paid more or less and your hourly wage moves up or down based on your tenure etc. You are essentially a money making machine for someone else.

No matter how high your hourly wage is, someone else is writing your check correct?

Lets play a game then… You are a business owner and you are paying Joe Hourly a wage of $500/hour! Man that’s a lot of money! Wait… As a rational business owner… You are only going to pay him a fraction of his actual value otherwise he should be fired right? Correct.

Want to be depressed now? In general you are being paid 5-10% of your net value. Go through the revenue, operating expense and net-income line of your company if you want to see the truth.

3) But so many people make $150-250K per year, what about them?

Playing musical chairs! You remember that game in elementary school? That is exactly what you are playing if you are not the first hand shake revenue generator.

Lets see what happens if there is a recession. Most people (see people who think $100K is a lot of money – it’s not), believe it is “last in first out”… When in reality it is based on headcount for each office and the business performance in each sub-segment of the firm (usually revenue and net profit).

With all that said… You make $150-250K a year this must mean someone who matters knows who you are right? You couldn’t be more wrong.

Since most people don’t take the effort lets look at an extremely basic calculation from a company everyone knows… Walmart for the real nerds you can double check our work here. At SEC.gov:


Walmart Example:

“As of the end of fiscal 2014, the Company and its subsidiaries employed approximately 2.2 million employees (“associates”) worldwide”

“During fiscal 2014, we generated total revenues of $476 billion”

Now lets do some real simple math here…

Average Revenue Per Employee – $476,000,000,000/2,200,000 = $216,364

Think about it. Walmart… a massive retail store that employees hundreds of thousands of people at minimum wage can generate revenue of $216K/employee. If this doesn’t make you feel replaceable nothing will.

4) But isn’t everyone replaceable?

In short, YES. Even that BSD Managing Director is going to be replaced by someone, maybe they find someone who makes less in revenue but they can secretly pay him less which in turn improves business margins. Maybe they can consolidate two sets of clients and give it to the even bigger BSD since he wants to earn more money for his family this year. In short, yes a thousand times yes everyone is replaceable.

Now this question misses the point of course – by a country mile in fact. By choosing a legitimate career you are doing multiple things: 1) you become less replaceable – downside protection, 2) have numbers to point to in terms of revenue generation – ability to leave to a competitor, 3) be paid based on performance – generate significantly more in a macro up tick, 4) let your savings buy you precious time and….  the REAL point

By going into a revenue generating role you are building skills that will be directly transferable to starting your own successful business in the future

5) How do I find a legitimate mentor to show me the truth?

Okay I finally get it you say.

“By going into one of these three industries I am building a skillset early that will drive future earnings in an exponential fashion instead of a linear fashion. My job will likely be gruelling as I learn the ropes but I will be paid well and will give myself a future I wouldn’t even believe myself”

Now how do you find out which industry is right for you? The answer is look 7-10 years ahead of you

Why do you have to look so far into the future? The people who are only 2-3 years ahead of you are likely 1) bitter or 2) poor performers.

Why? For high compensation positions the drop out rate is 80-90% in the first three years. This means if a guy is fresh on the job, the chances you’re talking to a poor performer is significantly higher than you talking to a top performer.

With that said, if you search for a real estate agent in his early 30s if you’re in your early 20s. If you’re thinking about Wall Street, do not bother with the opinions of people who are not Vice President or higher. If you are looking at engineering, contact people who went to top engineering firms and left after 3-5 years.

This is a rare case where the people 2-3 years ahead of you will always lead you astray because chances are you’re not talking to a winner.

6) How do I find out if I have an interest in this?

We get this question a lot and here is some more harsh truth. This is a dumb question.It is a dumb question because it implies that you never even tried it. Go try it and find out which one you like the most and go for it.

Make sure you like it because it is better to be happy for 52 weeks out of the year instead of only 2 weeks out of the year — see the vast majority who hate their jobs.

7) Why do you talk about starting businesses if you’re talking about careers?

This one is a layup. Most people, even talented people, do not have the skills to start a business immediately. Most don’t have the risk tolerance or simply don’t have the business acumen established.

There is no reason to put your personal finances into a downward spiral if you do not have to. Build a career and continue to think about business ideas on the side. Once you get one feel free to leave.

Anyone with experience knows, on a risk adjusted basis, your own business is the best way to get rich. So absolutely go for it, when the opportunity is there.

8) Concluding Remarks

We already know that people are going to jump in with “exceptions to the rule”. At the end of the day these exceptions always have the same story, the person caught a break or somehow eventually ended up in a 1) business or 2) quasi sales position.

You can absolutely start your career at a McKinsey, a Google – non-engineering, a start up – non-engineering, etc. Just remember that if you want leverage you’re going to need to generate at some point. If you’re looking to skate by without any generation… you’re making the worst personal and financial decision of your life. The last thing you want to do is *have* to work in your 30s, better to *want* to work in your 30s.


    • Quazie says

      I’ve recently been thinking about sales as well. It might not be considered glamorous, but when you’re raking in $250k does it really matter?

      • Wall Street Playboys says

        These comments are funny because exactly what were you “educated” in if you’re making less than someone you deem “uneducated”

        The careers here are the best way to free up your life, when you’re in your 30s you no longer *have* to work for a living.

        How bad can the jobs be if you’re still doing it when you don’t have to?

        People just make assumptions to be congruent with their life choices.

      • Fate says

        When you ask the question, the answer is no. To you it already doesn’t matter because you aren’t pushing for more.

  1. Jackson says

    Tbh. I have more friends making more money doing none of the above three careers you’ve mentioned.

    Most people in Silicon Valley make jack shit. I’m including VC backed founders as well. Learn about liquidation preferences, full ratchet, participating preferred and think twice when you see another $100m exit. I’ve worked for several SV firms the money concentrates into a super small number of hands.

    Wall Street, again, I have lots of friends who trapsed this path. Guess what? Approx 99% get fired after two years. Please don’t tell me any differently this is exactly what happens. Of the remaining 1%, about half will stay in the industry/firm before being fired before year 3-5. The final 0.5% will make it if they grind it out, get luck, avoid being fired and people above them leave.

    Sales. You either make it rain or you don’t. No hiding. Trading is essentially the same. Performance or you leave.

    However, people are making money all over the world doing lots of things yet you still hark over Wall Street or Silicon Valley. I’ve got more examples of people making average money than the “mad money” than you do on both counts so please don’t mislead here. Your odds are incredibly low no matter how hard you work. Please do not ignore this.

    • Wall Street Playboys says

      Please provide a lucrative career option then we will add it to the list.

      1) affiliate online marketing = sales
      2) running a business = not a career and as mentioned is the best way to wealth so… Again it must be a career.

      If there is a real career making $500K+ by thirty! Then we’ll add it.

      • Jackson says

        1. Dentistry – yes I’m serious. I have many dentists both family and friend (count double digits over 25) who are driving very nice cars, leading very charmed lives and living in nice neighbourhoods. One of my good friends found private healthcare too expensive and took a £60,000 pay cut to work in the public sector. Think how much she was on if she could afford to take such a dramatic pay cut

        2. Real estate – don’t couple this with finance i’m not talking about working for a bank or pe house a donkey. I’m talking using your own capital, going to auctions and picking out property for development or portfolio building. There is an enormous amount of property available all over the world if you can get your hands on one property to begin with. It isn’t entrepreneurship either, this is real estate. I have a good friend who bought 10 butchers shops leases in his 20s and fast forward 10 years later lets just say he doesn’t have to work anymore.

        Will come up with more overtime

      • Wall Street Playboys says

        1. This is only the case when they have their own practice. That would be a business. Otherwise you’re making $150-200K a year = does not pass test

        2. Real Estate = Sales… Also your example implies he had enough capital to begin with to have the ability to purchase 10 properties? If you can afford 10 properties you already have ~$500K in cash.

        So both of these examples were poor at best.


        Edit anyone with a normal IQ can figure out the humor in the statement he made above. “Private Equity” = Donkeys… Private equity uses their own capital to buy and fix a business. Then he goes on to use a real estate example of a guy who uses his own capital to buy and fix an asset.

        Where did the original capital come from.

        Always happy to hear about new careers but fact checking needs to be done.

      • Eric says

        And lets be honest if you own more than one or two investment properties it basically becomes a business, even if you dont formally make it so with an LLC or equivalent.

      • Darren says

        I work as a dentist. All I will say is you should be careful about judging someone’s income by what car they drive and if they can afford a salary cut. WSPBs numbers are accurate if you don’t run a practice. There are many dentists who simply come from money, so they can afford nice cars and a home immediately. It does not mean the industry is high paying.

        I would be careful in listening to Jackson because he is making a judgement with no factual information to back it up, just stories of friends who could simply have a trust fund. Many dentists actually graduate with debt.

        Always great to have a rich mom and dad though!

      • Wall Street Playgirl says

        We would rather take a taxi than drive a car.
        Rent than buy a home.

        We cut those expenses and do not judge.

    • Bradley says

      Going to agree with the author here you said 99% don’t make it past year 2. This doesn’t make sense because I am an IBD analyst and top bucket is usually 10-20% of the class. So the author states 80-90% attrition in year 3 which is accurate, it is even in bold and underlined text?

      Interested in hearing about these lucrative careers though

      • Jackson says

        Whether its 99% or 70% or whatever it is. The bulk of guys and gals walking doe eyed into Wall Street get spat back out very quickly. This is fact.

    • Anonymous says

      I think everything great or really worth pursuing is You either make it rain or not. There is no middle ground.

  2. David from Tokyo says

    What do you guys think about government or military career? Obviously the pay is very low, but from a whole career perspective is there merit in pursuing this path for power, influence or recognition?

    • Wall Street Playboys says

      Not sure what you are asking here. If you want to join the military to get recognition go for it, but it is still a job, you have no scale and you have no leverage.

  3. Yash says

    Hey playboys ,
    You mentioned working in silicon valley to gain leverage by selling equity in the start ups later on. But if one takes a technical position at a giant firm , say Google or oracle , would it still be a good engineering career ahead ?

    • Wall Street Playboys says

      Unfortunately, we can’t answer that.

      You have to answer these questions yourself. If many people were in the same position before and went on to sell major or small companies then probably.

      Again, it is a game of looking 10 years down the line. If the career does not lead to a skill set that can create an *event* it is a waste of time and you will lose out on millions.

      Example: many people from McKinsey work for 2-3 years making a low income ($100K or even less)… BUT they obtain the right connections to get a job with scale +leverage in the future. So it evens out to a positive because you really need the *event* to occur before you’re 35.

      If you try this plan at “joe’s consulting” you will have no shot and will be stuck in the hourly wage slave life well past 35 where you go from $100-250 over the course of…you guessed it 10+ years.

      So if the position at google has a ton of people leaving to a start up later and millions, you’re in the right group/team.

      When you get to 30-35+ the last thing you want to be forced to do is work 50 hours a week.

      • tom says

        So it sounds like you don’t advise taking a career in an engineering field even if it could lead to an exec/high paying leadership position down the line (10-15 years).

        In my field the execs are almost exclusively have engineering backgrounds.

        Not trying to argue. I’m just wondering. There’s also sales. I have time to decide which is why I’m asking.

      • Wall Street Playboys says

        No that is fine, those positions pay 500K plus at that time (mid 30s) just telling him to join the right segment. Ie do homework on the decision.

      • tom says

        Definitely. Thank you.

        The industry I’m looking at is known for having a lot of money (probably the first after banking). Huge salaries are not uncommon. They also have a great work+life balance.

        Your site rocks. As a 22 year old with only minor direction you guys really help plan my future. I’m actually excited to get older.


      • Wall Street Playboys says

        That sounds promising.

        As we say over and over we don’t talk about a space we don’t work in (ie: engineering) just a framework to decide.

        Look 10 years in front of you not 2-3 years. Sounds like you did your diligence.

      • tom says

        Say I’m interested in a technical sales aspect (which I’m sure at this point I can always go and start my own business later).

        Should I find a technical sales (with an engineering background) at the company I’m interested in in his mid 30’s?

      • Yash says

        So with the flexibility to be able to break into technical as well as non technical fields , I assume it would be best to pursue engineering/ maths in college ?
        PS – I am not looking for do what you love stuff , rather do what gives the most freedom .

      • Wall Street Playboys says

        In short no.

        Again re-read the article, you have to ask “am I going to be better at the creation of a product or the selling of a product”

        That is how you determine a career. You will never be rich unless you can do one of these.

        Create an *event* or else you will likely be in the $100-200K range for life, this applies to practically every field. Doctors and MDs are exceptions but that has been covered already.

  4. Joe says

    Since you mention McKinsey and Google. Those are companies that go after target school hiring extremely smart kids.

    The way I see from your post and average Joe could have a better life making more money and working less hours by going in sales. Suppose Average Joe work hard, see failures as feedback, and improve himself. He could do well.

    I was thinking about those smart kids who didn’t go to target school and got pass by management consulting and investment banking so they miss out on the “right connections” hence they are too pride and don’t want to work in sales or see starting business risky. Did those smart kids build their own prison in their mind and end up living a very mediocre life?

    • Wall Street Playboys says

      Pretty accurate assessment. They made a bad decision and it rippled through over 20+ years.

      No going back once you choose a *path*

      You’d have to simply look at your current situation and rethink a plan of attack. This is why you should always always always go to the best and highest position possible when you’re young.

      Gotta be able to look at the big picture early.

  5. Dr. Grey says

    You forgot medicine. Average salary of neurosurgeon is 800k. And I am pretty sure that there is not many titles that have the same prestige as neurosurgeon.

    • Anonymous says

      Doing medicine now…agreed that it is a solid career but most people without parental support end up in absurd amounts of debt (300k+ @ 7% interest) and there is a very real chance you end up as a family doctor (~150k/year)

      • Wall Street Playboys says

        Also agree with you, we mentioned in the past the vast majority of medicine people don’t like their decisions.

        Going into medicine for money is like marrying a woman because she has large breasts.

        If you truly want to do it then go for it!

      • AC says


        Any thoughts of making medicine as an M.D. scalable, i.e. fitting it into one of the three(sales, SV, WS)?

      • Wall Street Playboys says

        We have covered this several times in the past

        1) Many Wall St professionals with MDs/PHDs work on the medical side of the street
        2) Scale would be your own practice
        3) Sales would be the sale of medical products but that unlikely requires a PHD/MD
        4) You can also go down the normal doctor/surgeon path if you truly want to help people. Doing it for money would be a fools move however.

  6. Andreus says

    Thank you WSP!! Please keep doing GREAT work. You men are role model for person like me in his 20s.

  7. Steve says

    I realize not everyone can start their own business, but your #7 is great advice! Owning your own business is definitely the best way to become rich. Its also the best way to be happy because you control all your time. I think it was Wall Street Money Never Sleeps where they say the most valuable commodity is time. I’ve owned my own law firm for 15 years, I don’t make crazy money, but I have the freedom to do whatever, whenever, I want. Life is too short to work 50, 60, even 90 hours a week… for any amount of money.

    great post!

    [mod note: we do not allow unknown links on the blog]

  8. amywatkins says

    Great post thank you.
    Wish i could have read this earlier.
    Im now 28, with 3 yrs in audit firms & 4 yrs in finance function (BB).
    Im looking to move to IBD/more FO roles, and do not mind drop a grade or so only if they are willing to take me on board! To make this happen im studying parttime on the side.
    People may think this is too late to make the switch but better later than never right?

    Thank you.

  9. technicalsales says

    In your post, you mentioned that you are looking for the “event” to occur sometime in your 30’s. Does that mean when you switch from job to career? Ex. you increase technical skills in a public accounting firm and then become partner because you are now selling product (technical product)?

    • Wall Street Playboys says

      The event needs to occur in your 30s so you can enjoy your life and do anything you please. Doing anything you do not enjoy past 40 does not sound fun at all.

      You want to maximize your short life on earth by finding a way to be free before you’re 40.

      At that point you can continue with your career/business if you like or you can simply travel and have fun.

      In any case, the goal is to have an event occur becuase retiring by 60 is for people who were sold a lie.

      What is the risk? Really nothing. If the event does not occur you retire at 60 just like everyone else. If the event does occur you are rich and free to have fun. The point of the entire post is that without an event you’re going to be working for 20-30 years, not an enviable position at all.

      Again better to *want* to work than *have* to work.

      Setting yourself up for an event practically requires value addition, ie: revenue generation.

  10. anon1 says

    Great article guys. Especially the focus on what you generate. If you’re not making big bucks for your company you are easily replaceable. And as you said what you want is cross transferable skills to your own shit when the time is set for you to jump into your own business.

    I am taking a more risky angle personally. Mid 20s exceptionally educated in a specific scientific sector that I haven’t worked a proper day of my life in, working a job currently where im surrounded by women. Moaning, nagging ugly, women.

    Anyway the point being I’ve saved up enough that I calculated even after investments into my own business and what not I could live off my savings for about 11 months and have a bit of a rainy day fund at the end.

    I’m giving myself that length of time to work flat out obsessively on a web design business and a couple of other blog-book-affiliate-flipping areas that I’ve been working on.

    If after the 12 months I fuck up, ile consider biting the bullet and returning to the physics sector I was trained for. But I simply do not want to be a wage slave.

    Its risky, but honestly I am risking more by grossly undervaluing myself on these shit civil service jobs because no one in the area I am living in will hire a postgrad because they think I’m a flight risk

    • Wall Street Playboys says

      Re-read the post.

      If you have line of sight to revenue generation before 30, then yes. If not then no.

      If you are going to remain in a support role you’ll unlikely crack $150-200.

  11. Matt says

    Do you consider Computer Science a career worth to pursue? On the condition that I am aware of the conditions mentioned in the article of course.

  12. Jay says

    What do you mean by *event*? Does it just mean non-tangible assets that you can put on your resume to further your value or perhaps your non-tangible asset of a large network of people? You say it often, yet I can never grasp what it truly means. Is it, in its most basic definition, any non-tangible asset that will net you further income gains in the future?

    • Wall Street Playboys says

      Event = money is generated without the use of your time.

      A large sale leverages time becuase if you can sell a $100K item for a 2% fee or a $10am item for a 2% fee, the “event” is leveraged by the price of the asset being sold not by your valuable time.

    • Wall Street Playboys says

      Top 3 otherwise not financially worth it. Also do not stay at the top 3 firms for very long, leverage the brand and leave to something such as private equity.

      In short we covered the only 3 careers, the rest are junk.

  13. Seun from West Africa says

    Is VP at an investment firm at the “event” level. what is the feasible minimum time to become a VP assuming smart work ethic. I’m presently in private legal practice, trying to transition into Investment Banking/Private Equity, any advice?

    • Wall Street Playboys says


      It depends on experience minimum is age 27-29 or so. Roughly 6-8 years experience. As always that means you were top from your junior years through to vp, so you were getting more than 100% of base as bonus each year.

      No advice on that topic, contact people who have gone from law to finance.

  14. Callan Clarke says

    I had to come back to this page to thank you guys for how much this article helped me out.

    I had just finished a bachelors degree majoring in politics when I read this in July and thought I was pretty much fucked career-wise. After taking your advice and getting into sales I’m loving it and couldn’t have realistically imagined things looking so bright.

    Thanks WSP!

  15. Logan says

    Are these high end finance positions only generally available on wallstreet and silicon valley? What about other major cities? I will be graduating with a BS in finance this spring but I live Phoenix. I am actually from NY and really don’t want to move back lol.

    • Wall Street Playboys says

      Covered in ask us anything section. Please search around before asking more questions as the majority have been answered

  16. Sim says

    Whats good entry level sales? is it a good idea to start with car sales, in order to get some numbers and experience, and then switch over? who hires sales out of college? thanks

    • Wall Street Playboys says

      As noted in the comments this is entirely driven by your school. Every single company hires for sales.

      Try to get the highest ticket item ideally with recurring income such as enterprise B2B sales in the comments above you.

  17. Ian says

    Game has never been a problem for me, however it got the best of me during my high-school years. As a result of earlier negligence and living a care free life, I am attending a non-target university for an Arts degree and I am currently in my 2nd year. (Financial suicide).

    I am trying to make the best of my situation, considering going to Law school. Do you guys consider this a worthwhile pursuit?

  18. bon1net says

    Great post. While I really enjoy ur industry primers, these personal career/financial advices are far more valuable since not many wall st guys know both “finance” and personal finance.

    I want to consult you regarding my own situation: Asian who came to US for grad school, currently 27, working as risk analyst in a prestigious hedge fund (150K – 200K all in), engineering background. Even before reading your post, I want to switch my career since I know it is not a revenue generating role. I’m planning to go to bschool next year (Wharton/Booth/Columbia) and aiming at IBD post-MBA and HF/PE/Startup later.

    But my biggest concern after reading your post is my age. Assuming everything works out well, I will be a first year banking associate at 30, with 200K student loan (I know it is a shame: have no saving so far). It is far from the early 30s with 1-2M net worth goal you stated here.

    So my question is:

    1. should I pursue MBA at my current stage? Can I invest 200K + 2 years to higher IRR choice with similar “event” opportunity?

    2. should I skip banking considering my age unless I want to be a career banker? My current background would only take me to small/less paid HF/PE. If I perform well, it should pay better than IBD but it may also limits my upside potential if turn out I’m not good at direct investment role. Personally I think I’m more a people person instead of research person.

    3. Is startup my best chance? I guess I can join some early-stage startup and help it reach event stage but it is much more risky than traditional finance route.


  19. GKW says

    Do you know if it is lucrative to join a hedge fund/ Investment Bank as a programmer? I have been seeing many openings for programmers in NYC to build high frequency trading systems and am seriously considering applying for such positions.

  20. James says

    Your Walmart example is incorrect,

    Revenue does not take into account expenses, you are saying that money that is payed in rent, in interest, could be spent on increasing employee income.

    You should be using Net Income (16 billion). Which is an increase of $7272 per employee. For a minimum wage of 15K, that would increase it to 22K. Not the 200K that was suggested.

    • Wall Street Playboys says

      Of course. We’re keeping it simple.

      The goal is for people to think bigger.

      If you are not generating revenue you do not matter to the firm.

      Think backward. If the typical person at Walmart makes minimum wage but net income per person is still $7,000+… That means the typical employee is being underpaid by what?

      $7000/annual salary.

      Annual salary on minimum wage is what $28K at most? So each person is underpaid by 25% at minimum. This is why you need to become a business owner and make people trade time for money. Or you need to generate revenue for a firm to gain negotiating power.

      Name of the game. Pay them a salary, profit off them.

      Finally even if you use the $20K number. Net income multiple (also known as the boring P/E multiple) for a consumer company like Walmart is well above 10x so it still gets you over $200K in worth per employee.

      Search bar: overview of consumer sector

  21. Occam's Chainsaw says

    Having listened to the ill-advised mantra of the masses, I got myself through University by signing myself off to the military to avoid debt. Stable income, save and ‘Get Rich Slowly’, etc. While I’m in a better position than *most* graduates on £30000 ($45000) straight of of college with no debt, this post and site in general has been a bit of a kick to the nads — the best kind of kick, granted, but a kick all the same.

    So I’ve got 4 years. I’ve got 4 years until I can get out and jump on the fast-track, unless I find a creative way to end my service early. Until then, do you think it’s wise to figure out a way to get into sales as a second stream of income? Given that my day job is practically an 8-5, I pretty much have another 30 hours a week to play around with. Any suggestions?

      • Occam's Chainsaw says

        Sure thing. Bright side: Networking with aristocrats also doing their military service might come in handy in the City.

        I appreciate the advice.

  22. Shahe says

    Currently I’m pursuing a niche in engineering research, with the intentions of creating a business out of some applications that haven’t yet been found, I have a pretty good idea of what I’m looking for and developing a start up. Like a baby Elon Musk. I guess my question is, would you say this falls under sales or is it just a career with potential benefits in the future? Not sure how to categorise this. Cheers

    • Shahe says

      I’m studying at Warwick which is considered a pretty good university, especially for investment banking but I’m not entirely sure how to exploit this for my particular goals aside from networking with professors, any suggestions?

      • Wall Street Playboys says

        You are asking extremely unrelated questions.

        1) if you go down the engineering research path, it is not a career. You are banking on starting a company. No company = no money
        2) if you want to go into finance, take the course work and get internships related and apply. This is covered in the faq.

        Choose your path and good luck!

  23. FPA says

    I’m 3 years out of school in an FP&A position with a Fortune 500 company. I’ve got two options right now:

    1) an entry-level analyst position offer with a very small boutique bank (low deal flow), and

    2) part ownership of a new family company where I’d be responsible for its growth and development

    I’m not close enough to know if the experience I’d get at the bank would be enough to leave me with solid exit options, whereas the business ownership is unstable/unknown.

    Would you guys value the IB experience more than the business as I’m already 3 years late to the game? Or does that miss the point entirely?

    • Wall Street Playboys says

      Misses the point. While this is specific (you achieved something) we can’t help you run a “risk adjusted P&L” for you.

      Write out the expected earnings from both, then jump into that one.

      Ask your close friends (only people with $1M+ net worth) what they would do. They will have a better idea of the business than we would. The compensation for banking is on this website – FAQ is most recent (80-90% never get promoted, keep that in mind).

      Finally, if possible, do both.

  24. AverageJoeFromEurope says

    Is there a glass ceiling for people coming from Europe who want to take a career path on Wall Street? How many people from Europe do you see on the Street (not native English)? Are they geting promoted?
    Thanks in advance for the answer.

    • Wall Street Playboys says

      Rare. You’re probably best moving up the ranks in Europe.

      We don’t know anything about it there but being a foreigner in the USA means you have to be *better* than even the top usa guys to get moved up.

      No point stacking an extra card against yourself in a hyper competitive industry.

      • Paul says

        WSPs I am a 17 year old teenager that really wants to get into an engineering carreer but of course, also wants to grow exponentially in his personal finance (whether it is through an industry or through sales, investment banking and wall street). I would like to ask you if I could, for example, study industrial engieering and take a master in, lets say, buisness, and still end up focusing my work in sales, or investment banking or whatever has to do with this 3 highlighted carreers, and finally opening an industry is my final goal. I really understood your point of view about the performance payment and the payment for X amount of hours worked. I would really apreciate any advice from you so that I can choose my future carreer right. I do believe that it´s one of the most important decisions I will ever make, and I have been told that industrial engineering + master in buisness is the perfect combination for an entrepreneur that really wants to get out of the rat race before I even get in it.

  25. Hitman says

    Great site. Couldn’t find an answer for this one on FAQ. Went from a top 3 sell side global credit trading desk (downtown NYC) as a trader, to a boutique size firm as a salesman covering accounts. For health reasons, had to move out of NYC to the city of brotherly love which has very little offerings in the way of opportunities for my “career” skill set, connections, clients etc. Any advice on how to get back in the game outside of NYC. Thanks.

  26. Gustavo says

    Always much respect, WPB’s. Thank you.

    Action Being Taken:
    1. Enrolled in Real Estate school
    2. Currently seeking a job in sales (Commission of course)
    3. Studying my financial literacy (Daily)

    Long Term Plan:
    1. Putting my income into different assets to develop a diverse portfolio. (Upscale from there -hopefully)

    The issue:
    Although I have a bachelor’s degree from a decent school it’s not in business. I am 25 YO, should I go back school or simply go through my original plan (asset building and sales)? I also have a student loan debt, which is no prob. I can pay it off with time and smart moves.

  27. Sergio says

    Three things a regular person will do at some point:
    1. Start a workout program(P90X, Insanity, etc.), half ass through the workout, eat two pizzas afterwards, then go on a rant about how the program is a scam.
    2. Be shocked when he is not given a big job out of college, even though he is “so smart”…just like the other 200 people who applied for the job.
    3. Expect women to fall in love with him just because he is nice.(side-note: Being nice, as in not being a douchebag/sociopath is the bare minimum as opposed to an extraordinary feat.)

  28. sudo says


    Just a minor correction, so you do not misinform anyone.

    Above you write, that engineering research is not a career unless you start a company. Assuming you are referring to doing a doctorate, then you are neglecting tenureship in academia, i.e. working as a full professor.

    Being a professor is a revenue generating position, where your performance is based on:
    1) the number of publications you create
    2) the number of citations you have (i.e. the amount of people who say your research is useful)
    3) the number of grants you can pull
    4) the conferences you lead, etc.

    The fundamental goal is to im

    Typically, the usual process is:
    0) Do research in undergrad. Demonstrate you are capable of doing grad level research.
    1) Get accepted in a top grad school in your field.
    2) Perform well as a grad student. This is measured by number of publications and impact of research.
    3) Find an assistant professor position. To buy time and develop skills, many researchers take postdoctoral positions between grad school and professorship.
    4) Over a 4-7 year period demonstrate that you are a leader in your field, and don’t alienate your peers.
    5) Get tenure. Once you get tenure, you are guaranteed your position for life. You can study and work on whatever you want, without concern of profitability, whatever.

    As far as compensation, base salaries vary based on field, but consulting on the side is extremely common. Even then, income is obscenely lower than industry, given performance.

    That said, it is extremely competitive. People don’t die fast enough for there to be enough tenure track positions. Many people leave their Ph.D’s and just get a job. Wasting their entire 20’s. Death.

    The ones that do succeed as grad students, nearly always go down in prestige when going for ph.d’s. MIT -> Georgia Tech, or Stanford -> U. Delaware. If they made the lateral shift, the standards for tenureship would be too high.

    In short, it is a career. Since it is performance based. The same general dynamics play out in wall street. Simply different culture and different metrics.

    • Wall Street Playboys says

      Thanks for the detail and we still disagree.

      8 years means 4 years lost means $900K gross income minimum + time value of money + professors get paid nothing (~$200K at best) worse than a 3rd year analyst.

      Then your revenue generation is “consulting” a time for money exchange = embarrassing. Or selling research = very low low low income.

      But you’re free to classify it as a career we strongly disagree and would never pursue it. Ever. Will not be added to the post as a career.

      Not trying to be overly brutal, the comment we responded with is brutal, but the kill shot is “4-7 years to build leadership”… So by then you’re mid 30s and not even worth a million? Awful.

      • sudo says

        Not harsh at all. Much appreciated.

        No disagreement on whether it was worthwhile monetarily. I noped out of that path after researching with one to many bitter and broke professors and grad students.

        With that said, thank you for giving back.

  29. says

    “The only careers worth pursuing are Sales (ANY variation, higher end the better), Silicon Valley (equity exposure) and Wall Street (front office – Hedge Funds/Private Equity/Investment Banking/Sales & Trading/Research”

    I am studying for an MD. How do these three careers fit into healthcare?

  30. anon2 says

    Great article! Curious as to why only the top 3 are worth it. The salary out of college for the others are very similar to consulting firms that aren’t MBB. Say each is 80k, spend two years there and then more exit opportunities open up and a lot is learned over the two years in consulting. I would say consulting is up there and could possibly even be better than equity research.

  31. Ali Abiba says

    Hey WSPs,

    I’ve recently come across your blog and as a 20 y/o raised by a single mom with ambition but no idea where to start, this blog is perfect.

    Anyway, I currently work as a software developer in a medium sized midwest city for a University’s research center (I have no degree). I have pinpointed that my real talent is intent, but there are very few sales positions open to people with no degree and no experience. The ones that are open are “Devil Co.” firms which send people out to sell directTV at Walmarts and are extremely abusive to employees.

    Would it be worth it to bother with sales, or should I find a startup to work part-time for equity, or as a final develop my own ideas part-time and if they take off move to full time?

    Thank you for your time and blog!

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