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Brett Hickey focused on the gold medal in ice skating, not a career in financial services. He grew up in a small town in western Canada, where he started handing out clothes as a 15-year-old and at the same time trained to get to the Winter Olympics, but the injury ruined his hopes.
Instead, Hickey used the same determined focus to start a career in financial services, first moving east to Montreal, where he attended McGill Business School, and then to the OPM (Owner / President Management) program at Harvard Business School.
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After graduating, Hickey went to the legendary investment bank Salomon Smith Barney a few years after her merger with Citigroup. The IBD analyst program covered global financial institutions with a focus on insurance companies, banks and asset managers, gaining invaluable experience working with mergers and acquisitions, due diligence of venture capital fund managers, structuring private equity funds and raising capital.
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“When I was there, she was part of Citigroup, the largest financial institution in the world, and one of the largest investment banks that could use her balance sheet to win deals and close deals,” Hickey said. “It was a fast-growing company that merged, and that taught me some lessons about mergers, how important it is to create culture and continuity properly – Salomon Smith Barney and Citi had some problems there.
“I have been fortunate to have experience working with so many large asset managers, banks and insurance companies to see what works and what does not work, because you do not really know what happens until you lift the hood,” he said. . “It was an opportunity to look at the asset management industry in depth and broadly, and I noticed that they best built really competitive companies, where they always tried to be the best, like Blackstone and KKR.”
From there, Hickey co-founded and served as president of Aegis Capital Group in 2003, which made private investments in mezzanine loans and secondary loans. In 2010, he founded his own company, Star Mountain Capital, a New York-based private equity firm that invests in SMEs with an annual return of $ 10 million to $ 150 million.
Star Mountain Capital has more than 25 employees, including insurers headquartered in New York and based in offices in nine other U.S. cities that work directly with business owners. The company typically hires more than 20 paid interns each year, and Hickey says the goal is to make the best of them full-time employees.
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“We are a very specialized company – we only invest in one asset class, we specialize in only one type of company, so our employees need to be skilled in building relationships and understanding the needs and challenges of small and medium business owners,” he said.
Hickey said that 100% of Star Mountain’s employees earn interest on their profits and that everyone in the company’s management team has a stake in the management company.
“We are an employee-owned company and we want to make sure that our employees fit together like a jigsaw puzzle in the best possible way,” said Hickey. he planned to stay just long enough to get the experience he needed to continue his dream career in a completely different corner of finance – private capital.
“I knew it would be difficult to do banking,” says Iyoriobhe, 26. But his attitude was, “I will do it for two years and then move on to something else.”
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For decades, investment banking – the task of advising large companies on their most urgent needs – has been one of Wall Street’s most prestigious careers, celebrated in the 1980s by writers such as Tom Wolfe and Michael Lewis. Every year, thousands of promising young people have applied for a career opportunity at Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan, Salomon Brothers and other banks as analysts – in grassroots positions that have taught prospective financiers how to build financial models and evaluate companies.
They took long hours and farm work in exchange for the prestige of jobs that eventually yielded millions. Each class of analysts in turn provided the banks with a reliable source of talent.
But new college graduates are increasingly reluctant to undergo a strenuous two-year analyst program, even though their starting salary can reach $ 160,000. This is especially true because careers in technology and other parts of the financial world promise better working hours and more flexibility. The pandemic, which forced many to reconsider their work-life balance, only underscored this thinking. Others, such as Mr. Iyoriobhe – who spent 90 hours a week at Bank of America and sometimes just went home to take a shower – is willing to do so for the minimum amount of time it takes to put it on his resume. He now works for a private investment company.
“It’s like going through a training camp,” said Ben Chon, a 27-year-old businessman whose video on YouTube of leaving a health care banker at JPMorgan Chase in San Francisco, released in February, was released by more than 100 people. , 000 views.
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Mr Chon said he appreciated everything he had learned as an analyst, but added: “You have no control over your lifestyle and you work even when you do not want to.”
The number of applicants for banking analyst programs is difficult to track, but data on business schools, which show a slightly older cohort of potential financiers, show a sharp decline in interest in investment banking. Last year, the top five U.S. business schools sent an average of 7 percent of graduate economists to full-time positions in investment banking, down from 9 percent in 2016. The decline was significant at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School, where bankers in 2020 made up 12 percent of the MBA cohort , compared to more than one-fifth of the class ten years earlier. Harvard sent only 3 percent of its class by 2020.
In a recent Instagram survey of Millennial Career Polls by a former investment banker who wants to create a platform to help young professionals navigate their careers, 79 percent of the 139 respondents said they thought banking was less in demand. in the future than when they went with him. And in February, 13 Goldman analysts showed their superiors a PowerPoint presentation describing the brutally long hours and their deteriorating health.
“Lack of sleep, treatment of high bankers, mental and physical stress … I went through foster care and this is probably worse,” said one of the unnamed analysts interviewed in the presentation.
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“The industry is not as attractive,” said Rob Dicks, an Accenture financial services consulting consultant. “Employees want a hybrid model and the banks say no,” he said, referring to a combination of personal and teleworking. “The message is: ‘The bank knows best, we have a model for that, and you will adapt to that model.'”
Although the top executives of the largest banks have recently spoken out about the need to return employees to the office, many are paying attention to the complaints from their youngest employees. Goldman’s CEO David Solomon said in a profit report this month that his company would pay more competitively and increase performance rewards. Goldman also upholds its rule that bans work on Saturdays. JPMorgan introduces technology to automate certain aspects of analysts’ work and recently hired more than 200 more junior bankers to ease the pressure during a particularly hectic year.
In the first year, an investment banking analyst in New York can earn up to $ 160,000 a year, including a bonus, according to estimates by Wall Street Prep, which helps prospective bankers train for the industry. But several companies, including Citigroup, Bank of America, JPMorgan and Barclays, have raised the salaries of junior bankers. Credit Suisse paid younger bankers what they internally described as “lifestyle bonuses” of $ 20,000.
Jefferies, another investment bank, even offered Peloton wheels, an Apple Watch and other perks to thank more than 1,100 of its analysts and colleagues – next in line – for their hard work during the pandemic. Jefferie’s employees “got us through the hardest time we’ve had in our careers,” Rich Handler, the bank’s CEO, and Brian Friedman, its president, wrote to employees and customers on July 1.
Investment Banking Becomes Less Popular With Young Professionals
Still, banks tend to lean toward a work culture that froze in the 1980s, when Mr. Wolfe’s “The Bonfire of the Vanities” reminded Wall Street of the “master of the universe”. The young analysts worked around the clock, picking orders for coffee and food for the team, enduring soulless tasks such as filling out business cards and being exposed to pranks and verbal abuse. In return, they received support in one of the most lucrative careers available, with new products such as mortgage bonds and corporate mergers and acquisitions generating huge profits.
Carlos Hernandez, right, CEO of JPMorgan, who started in investment banking
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