Laid Off from IB and Can't Get Hired

I got laid off from my job early 2023 – the cause was restructuring, not for performance related and I've had MDs give references for me which back this up. For context I was at a top BB (GS/MS/JPM) and I spent my first 2 years in a structured products group within ECM and spent my last 1.5 years within a top advisory group – finished as an associate 2. I thought getting laid off wouldn't be the worst thing in the world since I wanted to switch to an investor role on the buyside and severance would give me the opportunity to earnestly look and find the right role. 

Fast forward to August and here's what I've seen so far:

  • HF – I've always had interest in hedge funds and figure it'd be different from the grueling long M&A deal cycles so this was my top choice. However, I've found most funds will only hire people who've have at least 1 prior year of investing or people with equity research backgrounds. I got very few looks (one I submitted a final case only to get ghosted by the PM for 9 weeks...)
  • VC – after SVB it just seems like most places aren't actively hiring and most investors aren't leaving their seats, so VC just seems like a thing to try again later in my career if the interest is still there
  • Private Credit – I'll be honest I don't like working with debt because I find it dry but I've heard good things about working in private credit. I had more luck getting looks here but my experience in banking didn't focus much on debt aside from the modeling aspect, so I found I was getting beat out by LevFin bankers or people from other private credit/PE/HF shops who have investing experience
  • PE – I don't necessarily find the work interesting and I know the lifestyle is basically banking 2.0 but I do have the skillset to do it, so I've only opened to this recently. However, I dread the idea of going back into something that basically feels like a banking adjacent type roles. Haven't seen much out there recently given it's August and on cycle has been going on
  • IB – would rather kms but I guess it is an option, haven't really looked yet

Outside of comp, my preferences are NYC and working at a place with a decent name. I know, I know... names shouldn't matter but I've found that places with more of a leg to stand on make for a better work experience since they are growing and have an array of resources to make life easier

At this point I just don't know what to do. I currently only have one iron in the fire and it's at a family office, but I fear that if that doesn't go my way it's August and I have no leads... the longer this goes on the more painful it gets. Networking hasn't led to much either since most of my networking calls/leads end in "yeah it's just a really tough time out there right now but I'll keep an eye out". I just feel like a lot of the junior roles on the buyside are targeted for banking analysts and anything else out there is targeting experienced lateral hires. Would appreciate any advice/insight the community has to offer

So it sounds like you've really only looked at HFs and VC firms and dipped a toe into credit? No offense, but what have you been doing for 6+ months? HFs and VCs are difficult in the best of times.

I got laid off as an MBA ASO in December and had multiple offers on the table by March across corporate options, small PE, and IB. Not a flex at all, but just saying there are definitely options if your open and network like crazy.

Don't have experience of being laid off (yet rip) and only analyst-level so take my thoughts with a heap of salt, but seems as though you need to be a bit broader in your search, which perhaps should have crossed your mind sometime in the last 6 months. Appears that investing roles are tough even for people with active roles in a good market but everything is SUPER dead rn.

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I can mainly speak on the HF side of things and the truth is that hiring has been slow, and that ER and prior buy-side experience is preferred in most cases.

I had what is on paper the magic formula (top ER BB, top ii ranking, high-demand sector) and it still took me a year to find something. You shouldn't give up by any means but I'd get back into the workforce first and then start looking again. Maybe try to find something in IB/PE that translates well into public markets.

I hate to state the obvious, and sorry if brutal, but you were fired - i.e. you don't have any options, and you should be open for any role at this point. I know plenty of people that were laid off this year, and the majority of them had an open mind to starting in a slightly 'undesirable' role. Of those, the majority actually ended up finding a better role they would've hoped for initially. The group that was very picky is still unemployed to date.

Separately, I'm not sure who your networking efforts are targeted at, but you should have regular catch-ups with all key HHs in your area, make sure they like you and you are on top of their minds when they start getting mandates


There is a shakeout within higher finance across industries and there will continue to be one as long as we're in this challenged environment. Not everyone is going to make it to the otherside.

Broaden your search, grab a seat at something the "works" for the next 2 years and then pivot once the market opens back up. Bottom line, the longer you stay unemployed, the less marketable you are. This is a long game, not everything will be perfect in your career, sometimes you just have to "make do".

You're fine for now and will land a role, I just wouldn't be too picky, because if you don't find something by YE 2023 / Q1 2024, folks start to ask questions about why you've been unemployed for an extended period of time. Being picky is an acceptable answer but not every firm will be accepting of that answer. 

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