The highest paying jobs in finance that can make you over $100,000 a year.
These are the same career paths in finance we have our students target, because of their high compensation levels, and because of the great exit opportunities you can get from them. This is Tier 1 Wall Street, where we help students and recent grads get the tools they need to land some of the highest-paying jobs in finance. So you know exactly what to target coming out of school.
So for our first job, we have one that’s pretty little known and tends to fly under the radar. And that’s corporate development. What is corporate development? It’s essentially where you’re doing mergers and acquisitions work for a big Fortune 500 company. So think of a healthcare-based company that grows by acquiring different surgery centers.
You would be the analyst that does work in terms of identifying potential acquisition targets, putting together the models behind it, and doing a lot of other things related to that. Corporate development is pretty similar to investment banking, which I’ll explain in a little bit, because you’re doing a similar type of work. But it comes with a much better lifestyle, ’cause you’re not gonna be working the same kind of crazy hours you would for something like investment banking.
But even with that, you can still be making anywhere from 75,000 to $110,000 right out of school. So if you’re looking for a really good analytical type job, where you can have a great lifestyle and make a good amount of money, corporate development’s a great fit. And the nice thing about it is you can use something like this to even leapfrog into a job like investment banking, which leads me into my next role, which of course, is investment banking. Investment banking is probably one of the most lucrative, sought-after entry-level jobs in finance, probably because of its high pay.
Within investment banking, you could be making anywhere from 90,000 to 140,000 in total compensation right out of school, which probably makes it one of the highest-paying jobs in finance. So what is investment banking? It’s essentially where you’re gonna be working on different deals and transactions that a bank would be doing for a company. So for example, you can be working on anything from a merger between two companies, an IPO of a new company, or even just a basic, you know, bond issuance deal. And within an investment bank, it can be broken down in a couple different ways.
One way is by industry, where you can be on a healthcare team, a TMT team, a natural resources team, et cetera. It can also be broken down into product groups, where you can be on the mergers and acquisition team, M and A, the leverage finance team, and of course, they also have the capital markets division, where that’s usually broken into equity capital markets and debt capital markets.
So like I said, investment banking comes with one of the highest comps you could possibly get right out of school, but it also comes with some of the highest hours you can be working out of school. You know, normally, you’ll be doing anywhere from 80 hours to 100 hours a week, sometimes even going up to 120 hours. So as long as you can handle doing PowerPoints and building out models till two o’clock in the morning and being back there at seven, great. But the nice thing about investment banking is it comes with some of the best exit opportunities in the industry and is a great way to break into things like private equity and asset management, which I’ll explain later on. Next up, we have sales and trading.
So what is sales and trading? It’s pretty self-explanatory. It’s basically where you’re doing trading for a big-name bank. And one of the big differences between sales and trading and investment banking is usually a little bit fewer hours with sales and trading, but it tends to come with higher pressure situations because you’re trading legit money. So if you’re one of those people that would prefer fewer hours, but can handle the higher pressure situations and maybe just need to cool off at the end of the day, it’s a great role to get into.
And at the same time, if you’re interested in things like investing and trading longer term, it’s a great place to start. And within a job like that, you could be making anywhere from 90,000 to $125,000 in total comp right out of school. So depending on which route you wanna go, both investment banking and sales and trading are great jobs to get into. Very, very competitive, but at the same time, obviously some of the highest paying jobs within finance.
Next up, we have corporate banking. So what is corporate banking? It’s kind of similar to investment banking, but obviously, it’s different at the same time. So, incorporate banking, you’re more focused on analyzing a company’s creditworthiness, the terms of the loan, and stuff like that. Whereas within an investment bank, you’ll be focused more on like high yield bond issuances, and more like LBO type of stuff. But corporate banking is still a great role to get into, and you could be making anywhere from 90,000 to $125,000 right out of school.
Next up, we have equity research, and what is equity research? It’s essentially where you’ll be putting out research reports for a bank or even a small firm. So if you ever been on Yahoo Finance or Google Finance, and you saw an article about how a Morgan Stanley analyst put out this new report or this new price target on Tesla, that’s the equity research department. So you’ll be analyzing different stocks, you’ll be putting together research on your opinions, you’ll be putting out reports after earnings, building out models, et cetera. Great job to get into, usually not as easy and direct to get into entry-level right out of school, but there’s still ways to do it, and if you’re able to do that, you can be making anywhere from 90,000 to $120,000 right out of school.
So now that we’ve talked about the banks for a little bit, we’re gonna move on to a different section here, which is the big four accounting firms. Now normally, when you think of an accounting firm, you’re probably thinking audit or tax and all that kind of boring stuff. But within some of the accounting firms, they actually have some good departments which are good jobs to use to kind of leapfrog into some of those lucrative banking type jobs like I mentioned before. One of those being corporate advisory, where essentially you’re doing advisory and consulting base work on different deals and transactions that the accounting firm might be working on.
There’s also things like valuation, where you’ll be doing work in terms of valuing companies, certain parts of deals, et cetera, et cetera. And within these jobs, you can be making anywhere from about 75 to $85,000 right out of school. So still a pretty lucrative career to get into if you can get into either of those departments, and both of those jobs are great to use if you’re trying to look for that kind of stepping stone job to kind of leapfrog you into one of those more lucrative banking type jobs as I mentioned before.
Next up, we probably have our most lucrative group of the bunch, which is the buy-side. And on the buy side, this is really where you start to see some of the highest paying jobs in finance. So what is the buy-side? The buy-side is where you’re working at a firm that manages other people’s money and invests it in stuff. So our first group here is gonna be private equity.
So what is private equity? That’s where you’re investing other people’s money into private companies, whether it’s a company that’s completely private, or it’s a company that’s public and you’re taking private via an LBO. And you were probably thinking before, why do people do all those crazy hours in investment banking? Why do you put up with it? Obviously, comp’s great, but you know, it’s nothing like super. So if you’re on a big name private equity firm, like a KKR, you could be making anywhere from 100 to $250,000 in total compensation.
That’s why people do investment banking because normally to get into a big-name private equity firm like that, it takes about a year or two of investment banking experience to make that leap. So the reason people do that crazy stuff within investment banking is to make the leap to the buy-side, whether it’s a private equity firm, hedge fund, asset manager, whatever it is. There are a lot of other small private equity firms out there as well, that you know, you obviously won’t be making the same kind of comp.
To get into a really, really big name one, you know, right out of school, probably a little bit tricky, you know, you would probably need some serious internship experience under your belt with investment banking or other private equity firms, and you would need some pretty legit connections to help you get in, but it’s not completely impossible. And like I said, there are thousands of private equity companies out there, where you can have better odds of getting an entry-level job right out of school, but you won’t be making that crazy comp as I said before. Next up, we have asset management. And here I’m specifically referring to asset management within a big bank like JP Morgan, or big firms like Fidelity or BlackRock.
Same kind of idea as private equity, except you’re pretty much investing in whatever the firm’s style is. So it can be anything from equities to debt to private companies to startups, whatever the firm’s strategy is, that’s what you’re investing in. And within an asset management job at like one of the big banks or like a BlackRock, you can be making anywhere from 85,000 to $110,000 in total comp right out of school.
So again, this is also a very, very competitive job within finance, you probably need some pretty solid internship experience on your belt, but it’s definitely something you can get into right out of school if you’ve played your card right. And you might be thinking, why haven’t you talked about hedge funds? The big hedge funds, pretty much always require a good amount of investment banking experience, it’s not something you’re really gonna get into right out of school unless you have some ridiculous connections and really know your stuff, which is why I haven’t mentioned it. Last up, we have credit.
It’s essentially where you’re doing work in terms of analyzing a company’s creditworthiness, a piece of debt’s creditworthiness, et cetera. So specifically, I’m gonna refer to the rating agencies like Moody’s, S&P, or a Fitch. And within a rating agency like that, you could be making anywhere from 75,000 to $85,000 right out of school, which is still a pretty lucrative role to get into.
Because on the job, you’ll be doing stuff pretty similar to some of the things you would do at an investment bank. You’ll be working on deals, you’ll be building out models on companies, et cetera, et cetera. And working at a rating agency within the credit space is also a great thing to do if you’re looking for a job that can help leapfrog you into something more lucrative, like investment banking, or something on the buy-side.