Did you enjoy investment banking
Investment bankers: Until he has five million
In his first job he earned 130,000 euros a year. Since then, his annual income has almost quadrupled. A hedge fund manager explains why he thinks this is right.
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Current salary: monthly 11,000 euros gross + bonus at the end of the year (according to the current exchange rate)
After my master's degree in economics, I had a plan: I wanted to work as an investment banker for two years, earn a lot of money, and then go back to science. I didn't implement the plan - partly because of my good salary.
After graduating from high school, I studied economics at two renowned elite schools in the USA and Great Britain. I actually wanted to become a professor, something I dreamed of as a child. It was then that I imagined that I would become a physicist. At some point my interests changed and I enrolled at the University of Economics.
When I started my studies, I couldn't imagine much under investment banking. Then in the first few weeks I got to know a lot of fellow students who later wanted to work in the financial sector. They were so convinced of their career aspirations that I became curious and did internships at American banks and management consultancies. My colleagues were very ambitious and wanted to advance. The pace of work was very fast, that spurred me on and I liked it. On another internship in the insurance industry, employees worked much more slowly. I didn't get that up at all, even though I had to work less. It was clear to me: I want to go into the financial world.
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After completing my master's degree, I applied to a private equity firm and was accepted. We bought companies there with the help of outside capital and tried to make them more profitable over the course of four to six years. We then resold them, often by listing them on the stock exchange.
I worked a lot: from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m., often on weekends as well. When it got very stressful, I would sometimes sit until four in the morning and work more than 100 hours a week. At some point my body got used to it, I was actually hardly sick. You can only survive in the industry if you are extremely mentally resilient. The rest is sifted out. I fit in well, I don't like to give up. For example, I've never been a good football player, but when I play I play until I throw up. I give everything.
In the first year I earned the equivalent of 130,000 euros gross, including the bonus. After a few years, I gave up the idea of going into science. I'd worked so hard for my career in finance to get high, I didn't want to give that up easily. My demands on myself had increased enormously. If I got out, it would only be to become a professor at one of the best universities in the world. Because it is of course very difficult, I opted for money and the free economy.
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