Portrait of an attractive African American business woman smiling confidently

Career Choices: Why People Choose Investment Banking


Who doesn’t want more money? If you’re like most people, you love making money - even if you hide your greedy desires from friends and family. The world of investment banking sheds light on your greed glands, but that’s OK. Here’s how people get into this busy financial world.


The Psychology Of Being An Investment Banker


Some people do it because they think other people will think they’re cool. Sure, it’s second-handed, but there is a psychological aspect to it that many cannot refuse. It’s the feeling that you’re on top of the world. This is different from having passion for the industry (more on that later). It’s more like love of money and a strong desire for personal wealth - the kind of wealth that can only be made in this business.


The Money


Let’s face it: you can make a lot of money in the investment banking business. There are some guys who will get out of bed at 6Am every weekday, and 5 on Saturday because they think it’s Friday, just to make money.


A lot of people get into this business because the financial rewards mimic those of entrepreneurship, but with much less risk. If you’re in it for the money, you should discover how to work for Goldman Sachs and The Carlyle Group at WallStreetTeach.


Whether it’s dollars, euros, or pounds, bonus day will feel like God Himself has come down to Earth and blessed you.


The Lifestyle


If it’s not the money, it must be the lifestyle. Everything from fine Asian restaurants serving fresh seafood and expensive French wine you’ve never heard of (and can’t pronounce) to hotels tucked away on a remote hilltop on some Caribbean island, you love the lifestyle of being an investment banker.


Pools that flirt with the ocean’s edge or that dangle precariously over a rock cliff are normal for you.


But, it’s not all about the vacations and travel destinations. Some people just love the fact that they can afford a mansion-sized house, a nice car, and private schooling for their kids.


On the weekends, you get to mow the lawn in the morning and sit by the pool and relax with a beer in the afternoon. You get season tickets for your favorite sport as a company perk. Your fat salary and bonuses mean that your only real financial problems are figuring out where to stuff all of this cash for your future retirement.


The Status


The status symbol factor is hard to overlook. When you’re the model of financial success, others look up to you. Many bankers love knowing that their friends refer to them as “rich and fabulous” or a “financial whiz.”


Friends and relatives will call you, asking you how to get a good deal on a mortgage, what to invest in for their retirement, how to buy gold, what new tech startup they should be looking at, and even what they should be tipping in restaurants.


You are considered one of the smartest people they know. They love it, and so do you. And, it’s all “part of the job.”


The Passion


This is probably one of the most understated reasons for getting into finance: the pure joy of it all. Can people really love money so much that they are passionate about making it for the sake of it? Yes.


For some investment bankers, they couldn’t care less how much they make. It’s not necessarily the personal wealth they’re after. They just want to make money. Each win, each completed deal, each signed contract, is another proof of their efficacy in the business. It’s a great feeling to help others make money, make money yourself, and make your firm money.


And, for some people, that’s enough.


If you live, breath, eat, and sleep numbers, then you’re going to have a great time in finance. If you view the trading floor as an adult playground, you’re going to have a great time in finance. And, if the sound of keyboards clicking, and the smell of money, puts a smile on your face, well you know the rest.


Passion isn’t something most people learn. It’s something that’s felt. It’s visceral. It’s a psychological phenomenon that isn’t easily explained. It’s the feeling that you “belong” in a certain profession - like you were born for it. Some people have the passion. Many do not.


If you do, then you’ll do it just to be in the industry. The money is icing on the cake.



A former investment banker and investor, Geoff Blades is an advisor to senior Wall Street executives, CEOs, and CFOs on corporate and strategic matters as well as topics of personal and professional development. Geoff enjoys sharing his research and insights online. Originally from Australia, today Geoff is based in New York.


Ms. Career Girl