Wall Street or Main Street

Discussion in 'Trading' started by Htrader, Jan 19, 2003.

  1. Htrader

    Htrader Guest

    I've got a big career decision to make soon and I want to ask the opinion of the board on the subject.

    Currently I'm a college senior and I've been actively daytrading for several years now. This past summer I worked as an intern in the Sales and Trading division of a major investment bank and I've got an outstanding offer to join the analyst class.

    If I take the offer, I'll do two years as an analyst, then promotion to associate, which will probably last for 2 more years, and then onto vice president. Assuming I do spectacular at the bank, I could make director level in seven years, this is my most optimistic estimate.

    The above choice is by all means the safest and the logical choice. On the other hand, I didn't particularly enjoy my summer living in New York and the people at the bank were OK, but nothing great.

    Instead of taking the offer, I could just daytrade on my own. I trade both equities and futures and my numbers are:
    2000: 25k
    2001: 75k
    2002: 500k
    2003: 33k (YTD)

    I've very confident in my own ability to continue my success and its what I want to do. I love trading and perhaps even more I love the freedom I would get. No getting up at 5:30am in the morning to take the subway to work, and I would be able to live almost anywhere I want. I've been considering maybe setting up my own hedge fund in a few years, but thats still a long ways away.

    The risk of course is that I blow out, and lose a great opportunity to make it in wall street. But I also realize that if I take the job, then more than likely I won't ever trade for my own again. Thats because I'll have too much invested in my career. Best choice in that case would be to eventually hop over to a hedge fund. Any opinions?
  2. Monsoon


    i want to change my vote to daytrade....
    freedom is the most important aspect to life..
    500k is nothing to ignore
  3. cheeks


    I would like to change my vote to taking the job. I did not read your post before I voted.

    If you take the job and hate it, you can always go back to trading. If you decide to trade, the opposite will probably not be true.

    good luck
  4. Trading will always be there. Being a managing director at an I-Bank is a rare opportunity and the potential income level is huge. You have to decide what you want out of life and be willing to take the plunge. Keep in mind that your first few years will comprise of 100+ hours per week for relatively low pay. Then you'll be expected to get a top B-School degree and put in another two years of 80+ hours per week for increasingly better pay, all the while playing the kiss-ass political game in a cutthroat environment before you can make VP.

    If you can persevere, you'll be looking at a secure six-figure income with the chance to make seven. You have to realistically assess whether you can achieve the same compensation level as a daytrader or hedge fund owner. It's a tough choice because we could enter another bull market in the next few years, and it would be hard spending all-nighters on Excel spreadsheets knowing that you could probably pull in six figures from the market while trading from home in your underwear. You'll be experiencing a constant tug of war between occupations unless you can focus on your true career objective. You need to do a lot of soul searching, buddy!

    Only you can decide your path, grasshopper!
  5. omcate



    Way to optimistic about your prospective career in Wall Street. It is possible only if you have great connection and excel at playing politics. Three years of bear market has done a lot of damage. Merrill Lynch alone has get rid of about 20,000 people since June 2000.
  6. Htrader

    Htrader Guest

    Thanks for replies guys. Right now I must say I'm leaning towards going out on my own. I've got enough cash reserves to live comfortably for several years. Now I have to worry about breaking the news to my parents.
  7. Vishnu


    Make your own decision BUT if I were you I would definitely definitely go out on my own. A Wall Street job is the most demeaning, nonsensical job you can have and for what? So you can make 1M / year by the time you are 35 (if you are among the best, and as mentioned, among the most political). Big deal. As an associate you will spend 18 hours a day (usually more) working for idiot VPs who are trying to climb on your backs so they can get their bonuses and promotions. You will be getting inane calls day and night to make microscopic changes to powerpoints that nobody will ever look at or care about.

    Lets not even get into the quality control issues since that has become obvious. It just seems to me like a demeaning, worthless job with little intellectual nourishment. As disclosure, I have never worked in a bank - nor will I ever. however, I ran a $120M VC fund funded by the top three i-banks with many ex-Wall Street associates and VPs working for me and I currently run a hedge fund with an ex-Wall Street associate/VP. Universally, it has required at least a year of non-stop deprogramming to get these otherwise intelligent people out of the habits that Wall Street had drilled into them. I only hope its not too late.

    On the subject of whether or not you should trade. Who knows? Like most people you will probably blow out at some point. But who cares? You are young and can start over. Set aside 100K that you wont touch. And trade with 50-100K that you dont mind losing. When it gets down to half of what you started with, take a break and look for a job at a hedge fund. Don't use a prop firm if you have more than 50K to start with.

    Looking over what I just wrote here I really can't imagine better advice for you.
  8. taodr


    IMHO I think you should just trade. Screw working for someone else. If your are being HONEST about your trading results then why wouldn't you stick to it. Like someone posted if you are making money trading the trading gives you an amazing freedom.
  9. My God man, if you made 33k in the first two weeks of THIS year you are WAY overqualified for the analyst track !!
  10. qdz2


    If you have an opening for senior or even junior positions, please PM me. Thanks.

    #10     Jan 20, 2003