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Switching Industries In A Tight Labor Market

Tight Labor market

There can be nothing more disheartening than going through your investment banking summer analyst process – putting in all the late nights, staying in on weekends, studying technical questions until your brain is fried, ironing your suit one thousand times, and failing to tie that tie over and over again – and then finally securing that offer, only to end up in an industry group that you have absolutely no interest in. This is something that I unfortunately experienced during my first year as an investment banking analyst, but this does NOT end your journey of getting into your ideal industry. I conquered this not once, but TWICE to eventually get my dream job in TMT F100 Corp Dev/Strat. Below I will outline some actionable paths that you can travel down in order to successfully pivot into an industry that actually interests you:

  • Switch Groups within Your Bank – This is of course the most ideal path, but please note that this route must be taken VERY carefully; asking to switch groups too early into your first year as an analyst or expressing interest to switch groups at any time during your summer analyst stint is a surefire way to get dinged come return offer or bonus season. Instead, complete your first year or summer analyst stint to the best of your ability – summer analysts will often have a chance to switch groups between internship and full-time (although be cautious that the more desirable groups, like top industry groups and M&A, tend to have high intern retention and limited spots for new FT hires). As a first-year analyst, assuming your year-end review goes well, you can then use this as leverage to inquire about switching groups – banks would rather keep their top-performers than have to go search for a new hire. Keep in mind that, just like the general hiring market, a bank’s receptiveness to these kinds of requests will often correlate to whether or not there are hirings/layoffs across The Street.


  • Lateral – Did that conversation about switching groups not go as planned? You can lateral to another bank. Luckily, a vast majority of “experienced analyst” programs are specific to certain industry groups, guaranteeing you placement into your desired industry if you can secure the offer. Keep in mind that it can be a bit difficult to make “two jumps” at once (i.e., going from MM IB industrials to BB Tech), but it certainly can be done. However, doing “one jump” (i.e., going from MM IB industrials to BB industrials or BB Tech to Tech at another BB) often presents a tad less challenge. However, just like any other type of recruiting, you’ll definitely want to cast more than one line when looking for that new position.


  • Not all Sub-verticals are Created Equal – OK, so you’re stuck, and can’t switch groups or lateral; this means it’s over, right? Absolutely not! The key here is to leverage your group’s offerings to the best of your ability. Let’s go over a few examples – if you’re in a Healthcare group but want to transition to TMT PE or Corp Dev, try your best to get on Healthcare IT staffings, as the revenue models, cash flows, and general business operations will be much more similar to what one would see in a TMT company in comparison to something like a pharmaceutical company. This does not fully substitute for studying your desired industry on the side, but it certainly help!


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