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We all know that Wall Street has a bit of mystery behind it.

  • What are the types of jobs you can get there?  
  • How much money can you make?  
  • What do you have to do to get a job on wall street?

Often you’ll find the highest paying finance jobs all trace back to Wall Street. 

This infographic is designed to show you the most lucrative jobs in finance and the steps you need to go through actually land some of them.

Highest Paying Finance Jobs (Infographic)

1. Top Tier Jobs – The Buy-Side

Let’s start at the top. Up here we have pretty much every finance student’s long-term dream job which the buy-side is. If you’ve watched the show billions or ever wondered which Wall Street jobs pay the most, this is it.

Essentially the buy-side is where you are working for a fund that manages clients’ money and investing it, while at the same time taking a good amount of fees.  There are three main categories on the buy-side:  Hedge funds, private equity, and venture capital. 

To land a buy-side role, you’re usually required to have a year or two of experience in the jobs on the middle tier of the pyramid.

Once you do so, you’ll be making anywhere from $125k to $250k.  Now you see why these roles are so coveted, right?

Example Roles at Tier 3

1. KKR

Usually, at a top firm like KKR, you most definitely will need a few years of investment banking experience.

Once you have the experience, you’ll probably come in as a first-year associate, with a starting salary averaging around $115k, with a bonus around $141k, getting you to about $256k in total compensation.

Now don’t forget, the bonus is completely dependent on activity in the industry, but right now private equity is pretty hot; so bonuses will be on the higher side

2. GPB Capital Holding

This firm is smaller, so the compensation will be as well.

Starting salaries average around $96k for first-year associates, with bonuses coming in around $36k, giving you about $132k in total compensation.

2. Middle Tier  – Banking / Pre-Buy-Side Jobs

Moving onto the middle-tier here, which is the “Banking / “Pre Buy-side” jobs.  Buy-Side jobs on Wall Street break down into two main categories; Bank & Asset Managers.

Starting with the banks, this is where the majority of finance students target to get that experience they need for the buy-side  The bank sector (for a mid-tier finance professional) can be broken down into four different subcategories; Investment-banking, Sales/trading, Corporate Banking, and Equity Research.  

These jobs lend the most direct path to the buy-side, as most firms require a year or two of investment banking experience.  If you’re able to land one of these entry-level jobs right out of school, you could be making as much as $150k in total compensation straight out of school.

On the other side, we have asset managers.  

Asset Managers will generally start at places like Fidelity, BlackRock, and some of the other big banks on the street.  Taking these jobs is another route that students can take.  While not as direct a path, they are getting pre-buy side experience, which will set them up for one of those lucrative roles on the buy-side discussed before. 

At one of these firms, you can expect to make around $85k to $110k in total compensation.

Example Roles at Tier 2

1. Goldman Sachs

One of the more well-known banks out there, and compensation to match their reputation; first-year analysts can expect a starting salary around $83k, with a bonus coming in around $36k, coming out to total compensation of around 129k.

2. UBS

While UBS is smaller and than Goldman Sachs, the pay holds up pretty well; first-year analysts can expect a starting salary around $80k, with bonuses averaging around $22k, giving you a total compensation of $102k

Pretty sweet to be making $100k right out of school, huh?  But don’t forget, investment banking is known for its brutal hours.  So while those six figures might look nice, you’ll most definitely be working for it, and if you did the math, I bet the math on an hourly basis might not look so pretty after all!

3. Lower Tier – The Stepping Stone Jobs on Wall Street

Last up we have Tier 1 stepping stone jobs.  

Unless you have a 4.0 GPA and an extraordinarily strong recruiting program at your school, you’ll likely have to start here. As you might expect, the jobs in the second-tier are quite competitive to get with no experience.

Therefore, in most cases, students need stepping stone analytical jobs that they can use to build the experience and hiring credibility needed to get a job in the middle tier.

These stepping stone jobs break down into four categories:

  • Credit
  • The Big Four
  • Lower-Tier Asset Managers
  • Corporate Development

Starting with credit, you’ll essentially be working for places like the rating agencies, credit risk at a big bank, or Commercial Banking.  

Most of the middle tier jobs at the big four, often like recruiting students who have credit experience.  You should consider a place like Citi or Bank of America on the private banking side to impress the big four.  At this level, you’ll be making anywhere from 75k to 90k

Next up, we have the big four accounting firms.  

Now when I say accounting I’m not referring to tax and audit, but instead, the more finance-related consulting jobs which are valuation and corporate advisory.  Both can be a great way to get the experience you need for some of those middle-tier jobs.  At the same time, you’ll be starting anywhere from 75k to 85k.  

Moving on, we have our lower-tier asset managers.  Essentially these are smaller firms that still provide students with great experience needed for some of those middle-tier rolls.  These jobs consist of things like working a search fund, maybe a small asset manager, or working in Investment Management for an Insurance Company.  At this level, you’ll be starting anywhere from 60k to 80k.

Lastly, we have corporate development, which is where you’re involved in mergers and Acquisitions, working within a Fortune 500 company or a roll-up. Working for a non-financial fortune 500 is a very valuable experience to have because you can jump directly into related to things with experience in a niche.  At this level, you’re starting around 75k to 110k.

Example Roles at Tier 1

1. Moody’s

At a firm like Moody’s, your job will be primarily around analyzing a company’s creditworthiness, while at the same time getting really good exposure to different deals such as mergers & acquisitions, IPOs, debt financings, etc.

At the same time, you’ll be working far fewer hours.  But of course, with fewer hours, comes less compensation.  A first-year associate analyst can expect to make a starting salary of around $75k, with maybe a $2 – $3k bonus, bringing total compensation to just under $80k.  As I’m sure you notice, you don’t see crazy bonuses outside of the buy-side and the investment banks, but this experience will be invaluable down the road.

2. Corporate Development (Surgical Care Affiliates)

Like I mentioned before, Corporate Development is basically mergers and acquisition work.  The only difference is you’re doing it for a company to help with their internal growth.  

At a firm like Surgical Care Affiliates, you can expect a starting salary of around $70k, with a bonus of around $10k, bringing your total compensation to just about $80k.

Whatever career path you take, there are very rewarding and lucrative jobs on wall street.  Be prepared to work extremely hard, set yourself apart, and you’ll undoubtedly have a successful career in finance.

Written By
Todd Massedgeis the founder of Tier 1 Wall Street & the Invest Like The Street Analyst Program, whose goal is to help students succeed in landing some of the best jobs on Wall Street. He started his career by working in high yield credit covering healthcare companies, before becoming a hedge fund analyst focused on cover chemical companies.

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