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Home  > Insider profile
Lane McDonald

The more you understand numbers, the better you'll be.

What have been the most defining moments along your career path?

Chosing to go with a firm in California as instead of New York. The people in New York are very intense. You have no social life outside of work during the first year. That's the norm pretty much everywhere, but in New York, the intensity is all day, all the time. Being in California I don't feel the gut renching stress as much as my peers in New York. I work just as hard, but the pressure is not a heavy here. I think that's because of the people. I'm glad I chose not to go to New York. I think I'll live longer.

How did you get your big breaks?

Campus recruitment. I met with a couple of people during the first round and in the second round met with 4-5 people. They mainly wanted to know if I knew what I was getting into. The burnout rate can be high in this industry. Once I assured them I understood the demands and still wanted the job, the process moved along quickly. I got an offer that I accepted.

What was the best advice you received when you were first starting out in your career?

Read the business section and business journals. Invest in yourself, start your own little business if you can and when you have opportunities for internships take them, especially in accounting if you want to go into Investment Banking. The more you understand numbers, the better you'll be.

What have you learned from your experience?

Firms in NY are definitely more stressful- Goldman and Morgan are sweatshops, but if you want the most prestigious entry on your resume and you don't care at all about lifestyle, then go to NY.

What most excites you about your job right now?

I enjoy the people - "bankers with heart" in San Francisco. It's a more laid back environment than New York or other places. The company I work for hires lots of former athletes like the head guy Petkovitch, former ice skater and an Olympian. Having athletes on staff, who are used to team work and working hard, are great motivators. The people in this industry are very talented.

What would you like to have achieved by the last day of your career?

Have my own company. This experience in banking will provide me with an in-depth knowledge of finance to reach my goal.

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