My sense is that the longer-term career path is less lucrative than in the past. It's an up-or-out world with a funnel of new analyst coming in each year to push out those ahead - only a few make it to partner - maybe 1 in 20? HT/PE will only absorb a few of the ex-IBers as they also hire ex-execs/consultants/etc. </p>
<p>Unlike law or medicine, which have their own issues, IB seems like a much more short-term career choice.
<p>It's definitely less lucrative than it was before, when most in fact saw it as far too lucrative. Still, the compensation is very good given the current state of employment. </p>
<p>Within a firm, it's true that only a very small percentage of analysts eventually make it to partner. However, it's quite common for analysts at bulge brackets to peel off after their two years to become partners at boutiques, which are numerous. HF/PE are also much larger industries than people think; PE seems exclusive because so many people have a "megafund or bust" philosophy so they only ever talk about 5 to 10 firms, and HF's are everywhere. For a lot of people, the path to PE/HF is the only reason for pursuing IB. PE firms have been known to hire from top management consulting firms, but IB still has far stronger placement into PE. By no means do I intend to suggest that there is any sort of pipeline from IB to PE, but these people really do still have fantastic options available to them after their analyst training. I personally think that one is better off by leaving IB after their analyst program for PE/HF/VC, however, because the upward trajectory within a single firm is very stunted. It's tough enough to become an associate, and the kind of compensation that most are looking for isn't really available until the junior managing director level.</p>