The Dark Side of EconJobRumors Finance

Econjobrumors is an online discussion forum where economists and academics share information related to the economics job market, including job prospects, salaries, interview questions, internships, work culture, and more. The finance section focuses specifically on discussions related to careers in finance.

This section attracts current students, recent graduates, and professionals in the field to have open conversations about the finance industry. Topics range from investment banking and asset management to hedge funds and private equity. Users ask for advice, share interview experiences, report compensation numbers, and more.

The finance section provides an inside look at what it’s like to work in finance through real stories and perspectives. Key themes include job prospects at top firms, salary and bonus expectations, technical and behavioral interview preparation, securing competitive internships, work-life balance and culture, and long-term career growth. With many anonymous users, the discussions tend to be candid.

Job Prospects

The finance industry offers many lucrative career paths for economics graduates. Investment banking, equity research, portfolio management, and corporate finance roles are some of the top options.

When applying for jobs, focus on highlighting coursework, internships, and any finance-related extracurricular activities. Technical skills like financial modeling, valuation, accounting, and data analysis are key.

For investment banking, some of the top firms to target include Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, JP Morgan, Bank of America, Credit Suisse, and others. The recruitment process is very competitive, with many applicants for few spots. Extensive preparation for technical and behavioral interviews is essential.

Equity research at firms like UBS, Goldman Sachs, and Credit Suisse is another route to consider. This involves analyzing companies and producing in-depth reports and recommendations. The work hours tend to be less demanding than investment banking.

Overall job prospects in finance are promising for strong economics graduates. Getting relevant experience early via internships is crucial. Networking and polishing your interview skills will also give you an edge. With diligent preparation, a rewarding finance career is attainable.


Salaries for finance roles can vary significantly depending on the specific position, firm, location, and other factors. Here’s an overview of salary ranges for some common finance roles:

Investment Banking

  • Investment banking analyst salaries tend to range from $70,000 to $90,000 at top firms in New York City. First year associates may earn $130,000 to $150,000. Vice presidents take home $200,000 to $500,000.

  • Salaries tend to be 10-20% lower in cities like Chicago, Boston, and San Francisco compared to New York.

  • In London, first year analyst salaries are £50,000 to £60,000. Associates earn £80,000 to £120,000. Vice presidents make £150,000 to £250,000.

Asset Management

  • Portfolio managers at top asset management firms like BlackRock and Vanguard can earn over $1 million, especially with bonus.

  • Junior portfolio manager salaries tend to range from $100,000 to $150,000 depending on firm and city.

  • Analyst salaries at asset management firms start around $70,000 and can go up to $150,000 for senior analysts.

Hedge Funds

  • Portfolio managers at top hedge funds take home multimillion dollar salaries. Even junior portfolio managers can earn over $300,000.

  • Analyst salaries at hedge funds start at $80,000 and can reach up to $250,000 for senior analysts.

  • Traders at hedge funds can earn several hundred thousand dollars in salaries and bonuses.

Private Equity

  • Private equity salaries also start high. First year associates earn $150,000 to $200,000. Vice presidents make $250,000 to $500,000. Principals and partners take home over $1 million.

  • Deal sourcing professionals earn $150,000 to $300,000 depending on experience.

So in summary, top finance salaries at elite firms in major cities like New York and London start at around $100,000 to $150,000 for entry-level roles. With experience and promotions, six-figure compensation is standard in high finance. The most successful portfolio managers, traders, partners can take home seven-figure paydays.

Interview Prep

Acing finance interviews requires thorough preparation, as you’ll need to demonstrate technical knowledge as well as strong communication and analytical skills.

Common Interview Questions

Some frequently asked questions include:

  • Walk me through the 3 financial statements (balance sheet, income statement, cash flow statement).
  • What are the differences between NPV and IRR?
  • What is the discounted cash flow (DCF) model and how is it used to value a company?
  • How do you calculate the WACC of a company?
  • What news or data points do you follow to understand the macroeconomic environment?
  • Pitch me a stock and explain why it’s currently mispriced.

Technical Preparation

Brush up on key technical concepts like valuation methodologies, capital structure analysis, forecasting, and financial modeling. Understand important ratios like ROE, ROA, profit margins, P/E, etc. Study the company’s financial statements and be ready to discuss their performance. Prepare models and spreadsheets to walk through during case interviews.

Behavioral Preparation

Practice responding to behavioral questions like “Tell me about a time you dealt with a conflict at work.” Highlight skills like communication, leadership, teamwork, and problem solving. Prepare stories that showcase your competencies. Explain how you add value and positive impact.

Mock Interviews

Set up mock interviews with professionals to practice responding to technical and behavioral questions. Seek feedback to sharpen your interview skills. Record yourself and review the video to improve your speaking skills and body language.

Thorough preparation will help you feel confident and give strong responses. Show your passion for finance and convey your ability to thrive in the role. With practice, you can master finance interviews.


Getting an internship at a top finance firm or bank during university is one of the best ways to kickstart a career in finance. The summer internships provide invaluable work experience and exposure to the industry. They also serve as extended job interviews, with many firms converting top interns into full-time hires after graduation.

On EconJobRumors finance, many students share details and ask for advice about their finance internships. The discussions provide an inside look at different banks and firms. For example, some students may compare their JP Morgan vs Goldman Sachs internships. Others ask for feedback on their internship performance to improve their chances of receiving a full-time offer.

When it comes to application tips, students often discuss how to craft the perfect resume and cover letters. Some key strategies include highlighting relevant coursework, finance-related extracurricular activities, and any prior internship experiences. It’s also important to customize resumes and cover letters for each firm application. Students should utilize their school’s career center to get resume templates and advice. Mock interviews are another valuable resource to practice for the real in-person or video interviews.

For the applications themselves, students share timelines of when firms visit and recruit on campus. They give each other tips on how to make a strong impression during info sessions and coffee chats. Some even form study groups to prepare for the notoriously difficult technical questions used during interviews. Getting an internship offer from a top firm requires extensive preparation, networking and interview practice. The collective wisdom on EconJobRumors provides an invaluable edge.

Work Culture

Working in finance often involves long hours and high pressure, especially at the most prestigious firms. However, work culture can vary significantly across different companies and roles within finance.

At large investment banks and private equity firms, 100+ hour work weeks are not uncommon, particularly for junior employees like analysts and associates. The work is fast-paced and demanding, with tight deadlines and high expectations. Face time at the office is valued, so work-life balance can be difficult. Business travel is also frequent to visit clients, pitch deals, and more.

The typical career path starts with 2-3 years as an analyst, with analysts often working until 1 or 2am on weekdays. Then it moves up to associate for a few years, which comes with more responsibility and even longer hours. The next step is vice president, director, managing director and so on. Work-life balance improves and travel requirements decrease as you become more senior.

At hedge funds and proprietary trading firms, the hours are still long but the work culture tends to be slightly more relaxed. There is still pressure to perform, but less emphasis on face time. Traders have more flexible schedules.

In corporate finance roles at non-financial companies, hours are often more reasonable. While still a demanding job, you can typically work 50-60 hours per week rather than 80-100+ hours. This provides more room for work-life balance.

Work culture also depends on the function. Investment banking and private equity tend to have the most demanding cultures. Research, risk management, and other roles tend to be less intense. Joining a smaller, boutique firm rather than a bulge bracket bank can also improve work-life balance.

Overall, finance careers require dedication and hard work. But the culture varies across firms and roles. Doing your research to find positions that align with your preferences can lead to a rewarding career in finance.

Career Growth

The field of finance offers many opportunities for career growth and advancement. Those who enter the industry in entry-level roles like financial analyst can progress to more senior positions like fund manager, chief financial officer, or other executive roles. There are a few key ways to advance your career in finance:

  • Develop specialized expertise – The finance field is vast, covering areas like investment banking, asset management, private equity, venture capital, and more. Focusing on a specific domain and developing deep expertise is key to moving up. For example, an analyst may start out working on mergers and acquisitions, then specialize further in technology M&A to become an expert.

  • Earn advanced certifications – Completing certifications like the CFA, CPA, or specialized master’s degrees can boost your qualifications for high-level roles. These signal to employers that you have extensive training in finance and commitment to the field.

  • Take on leadership opportunities – Seek out chances to manage teams and projects. Leadership experience is invaluable for climbing the ranks to upper management and executive positions. Take initiative to lead key initiatives and oversee more junior staff.

  • Develop business skills – While financial and technical skills are crucial, it’s also important to build business acumen, communication, and strategy skills. Taking business courses, working cross-functionally, and getting an MBA can help strengthen these softer skills for leadership roles.

  • Consider switching firms – It can sometimes be easier to advance your career by moving companies, which brings fresh opportunities, challenges, and exposure. Aim for firms with a strong training program and commitment to internal mobility.

The finance field offers many potential exit opportunities as well, into related roles in consulting, corporate strategy, entrepreneurship, and more. Overall, finance careers provide strong options for advancement, especially for those who actively pursue leadership experiences, skill-building, and specialization.


To work in finance, obtaining the right education and credentials is key. Most entry-level finance jobs require a bachelor’s degree in a relevant field such as finance, accounting, economics, business administration, or mathematics. An MBA or master’s degree in finance can provide an advantage for higher level roles.

Some of the most common educational paths for a career in finance include:

  • Bachelor’s in Finance/Accounting/Economics – A bachelor’s degree in finance, accounting, economics, or business provides fundamental knowledge in core areas like financial analysis, statistics, financial reporting, and more. This is the typical prerequisite for entry level positions.

  • MBA – Many professionals pursue an MBA with a finance concentration to advance into higher positions in areas like investment banking, private equity, portfolio management, and corporate finance. An MBA provides advanced training in finance and can open up additional job opportunities.

  • CFA – The Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) certification is highly regarded in the investment management industry. Earning a CFA demonstrates expertise in investment analysis and portfolio management. It’s recommended for careers like financial analysis, fund management, and investment banking.

  • CPA – A Certified Public Accountant (CPA) license is required for accounting careers. CPAs are qualified for roles in auditing, taxation, consulting, and financial reporting. Passing the CPA exam and meeting other licensure requirements is necessary to become a licensed CPA.

  • Master’s in Financial Engineering – A financial engineering master’s provides specialized training in using financial concepts to solve problems. This degree equips students with technical and mathematical modeling skills for careers in areas like risk management, derivatives trading, and quantitative analysis.

The right mix of formal education, training, and certifications is essential to demonstrate expertise and advance in the competitive finance industry. Finance professionals should identify any credentials or qualifications required for their desired role and work to obtain them.


Networking is crucial for building a successful career in finance. Here are some tips on making connections at finance networking events and networking in general:

  • Attend finance networking events, conferences, happy hours etc. Look for events hosted by your alumni associations, professional organizations, banks, etc. Come prepared with business cards and an elevator pitch.

  • Don’t just talk to people you already know at events. Make an effort to meet new people. Ask smart questions that demonstrate your interest and knowledge of finance.

  • Get active on LinkedIn. Connect with professionals at firms you want to work for. Join relevant industry groups. Engage thoughtfully with content.

  • Leverage your existing connections. Reach out to family, friends, professors, past colleagues etc. and let them know you’re looking for finance opportunities. They may be able to refer you.

  • Follow up after meeting someone new. Send a LinkedIn invite with a note reminding them where you met. Stay in touch by commenting on their posts.

  • Offer help and advice to others in your network. Be known as a connector who builds relationships, not just someone looking for a job.

  • Attend industry conferences and seminars. Use these to expand your network within the finance community.

  • Make a good impression and positive connections. You never know what opportunities may arise down the line through your network.


The finance sector offers a wide range of career opportunities for economics majors and those interested in the field. However, it’s important to understand the pros and cons of different roles based on factors like work-life balance, compensation, and career advancement before deciding on a specific path.

Key insights from econjobrumors discussions on finance careers include:

  • Investment banking offers high pay but also very long hours and stressful work environments, especially at large banks and in major financial hubs like New York. The bank analyst role is often viewed as a 2-3 year experience before moving onto other opportunities.

  • Asset and wealth management tends to provide better work-life balance and still high pay, but career advancement may be slower. Portfolio management, financial advising, and research roles are common.

  • Corporate finance jobs in treasury, FP&A, etc. also offer work-life balance and pay not quite as high as banking. But quality of life and learning opportunities can be better at the right company.

  • Qualifications like the CFA charter are valued across many finance roles and especially important for investment analysis and portfolio management positions.

  • Networking is crucial. Alumni connections, internship experiences, and involvement in campus finance clubs/competitions make a big difference in recruiting.

The key is finding the right role based on your skills, interests, and lifestyle preferences. Do your research and prepare thoroughly for interviews to maximize chances of landing a fulfilling finance job. The econjobrumors forums provide helpful firsthand perspectives on navigating careers in the industry.

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