T Nation

Quitting Wall Street?


Hi T-Men/women,

I've been working in NY in investment banking since graduating undergrad last May. When private equity and hedge fund recruiting picked up ~ a month ago I realized I'm much more interested in doing my own thing than continuing to work for someone else.

Ideally, I would like to start my own buyout/investment firm although I realize the idea of raising a fund at 22 years old is laughable. That said, my rough plan is to scrounge up a bit of capital however I can (friends, family, credit cards, loans, savings, etc) to buy a small business, establish a reliable cash stream to support myself, and grow from there.

If anyone has had experience buying/running their own business, I would love to hear your thoughts. I'm really in need of guidance as the prospect of giving up a steady paycheck and walking away from a very lucrative career that I busted my ass to break into has been pretty stressful.



Have owned a service business and a retail/supply business with a couple of locations, I will throw this out.
There is no way I would leave the field you are in until whatever business you decide to get into demands more of your valuable time than the banking pays. Start it on the side or get into something that someone can run for you. Walking away from the highest paying field in the world to put yourself in hock, no certain check, etc at 22 - why make it that hard on yourself? If you want PM me.

  1. Quit job
  2. Go into debt to buy a failing business
  3. ????
  4. Profit.

Did you go to university of phoenix or did they come to you?


What school did you go to? Investment bankers are pretty much only from Ivy League.


Given he's working on Wall Street a year out of undergrad its pretty safe to assume he want to a prestigious business school.

With that said, I think you're crazy and you should keep your job. I understand they probably run you ragged, but it will be worth it in a few years.


I used to work with a few investment bankers out of NY/London and at 22 you are at the bottom of the pecking order, it will get better if you work hard and give it time.

If your serious about starting your own business, i don't think you will be able to do it while working your full time job, all the guys i knew had to work stupidly long hours.


No. In my opinion and experience, you'll be better off staying there for a few more years, gaining a lot more experience and saving up the capital you need instead of getting a loan to start the business. I'm assuming it will be a fairly high-paying job.

I'm sure you still have a lot to learn, and perhaps your direction will change by that time too.


I have a friend that worked on the floor of the NYSE. His father has a chair on the exchange. He got tired of it after several years and quit. Moved to Florida and got his girl pregnant. Now I think he waits tables. Total loser. Point of the story - you have a good job, keep working, save money THEN go after your dreams. A lot of people would do anything just to be able to support themselves.


I don't know anything about this at all but something tells me that 22 is very young and to just stay where you are and move up patiently, but also, since I know nothing about you, maybe you're the next ( INSERT MEGA-RICH INVESTOR GUY NAME) and no one here should be holding you back.


Wait...You're an i-banker and you need to "scrounge" capital?



Yeah, to echo a few others, you should stay at your present job for a few more years. If you are making decent coin there, it's not like it should take more than a few years if you cut back on the lifestyle.

Starting a business is not easy, and it is a lot more difficult when you are highly leveraged. Granted some businesses are able to handle it better than others, but do you want to risk running into cashflow issues before the business gets on its feet? If you can do it with minimal debt, you get a lot more leeway with things starting off slow.


I've been in a similar situation (highly paid, long hours) and have had the same thoughts so know that you're not alone. It's hard to focus on the big picture when you're working your eighth 80-hour week in a row, you're not hanging out with friends, and you can't even think about a relationship because you have neither the time nor the energy. You're probably not spending the kind of time in the gym you'd like to and going out 4 nights a week like college is just a distant memory. Maybe your friends and family aren't even in the same city.

Here's what I did: I stayed in my chosen field and busted my ass. I met people, got elected to the Board of Directors of a large corp at age 30, increased my knowledge, increased my network, increased capital, and by age 30 I was in a much better position to pursue what I wanted than at age 22. I also had a tremendous amount of experience and other resources to draw on.

So, my advice to you is to identify your long-term goals but realize that they may require some short-term sacrifice (short-term being 3-5 years or so). Also realize that at 22 you don't know shit. I'm not being provocative, you actually don't even know how much you don't know. By 30 you have a much better idea of who you are and what goals you really want to commit yourself to.


BTW, I used to know an FX trader for a large NY bank who called himself the "panther" because he liked to pounce on trades...that's not you, is it?


No but srsly. What is a 22 year old Ivy League wunderkind doing asking business advice on a bodybuilding forum?

What advice have you gotten so far that you didn't already know.

Long hours, risk etc?

Now how much of that is going to help you either shit or get off the pot? What kind of small business are you going to buy?

I think you need to go back to school or hit the library or talk to some successful alumni from your school. I don't know feels like you're way too early on in the thought process to merit serious advice except perhaps the advice that you're not ready yet.

But what the fuck do I know?


Honestly you are given a job that leads to High pay, what on earth compels a man to quit that?


so money is all thats important to you in life? i dont think you realize how shit working as an ibanker is if you value having a life. My friends that are in the field and recently out of school work over a 100 hours per week, usually about 110, their lives consist of working and sleeping whenever they can...


Way to exaggerate the guy's situation. The likelihood of the dude in your story waiting tables after (I assume) a prestigious education and work experience is virtually nil. That is, unless the dude is a total crack-head or totally not motivated.

OP, what kind of things do you have in your resume that got you the job. I'll be looking to apply for for a graduate position in an investment bank next year.


He didn't go to a big time college because he had shitty grades in high school. He went to a community college and took 3 and 1\2 years to get his associates degree. His old man has lots of old money, has the prestigious education and family name. His son is a total disappointment.

I posted the story not to compare OP but to illustrate that things don't always end up the way you envision them. OP needs to spend some time seriously considering the pros and cons and think not only about how great things could turn out but also what the worst case scenario is too.





This is exactly what I was going to write, so I won't be repetitive.

I did it this way and it couldn't have worked out better.