I went non-target to management consulting (restructuring) --> private equity. Being non-target had to hustle my way into everything. 5 years experience and CFA. After going through it all I think the only people that can legitimately be successful in advisory roles are sociopaths - there is no incentive to do it other than economic (no passion). Which is fine but if you give a shit about something you're likely to be way better at it than just purely pursuing economic outcomes. PE is cool but you have to actually care about what you're investing in if you want to hit partner by early-mid 30s otherwise the guy who does will inevitably outwork you.
Old industries like IB/PE are matured and saturated which means that you need to climb somebody else's hierarchy. A partner never wants to make you partner, they only do it if they're worried they'll have to compete with you. So games are played at competitive levels to keep you around but never give you the piece of the pie you deserve. New industries are a more open playing field and less zero-sum.
Came to this realization year 2 in PE that I will only achieve the things I want if my career is totally aligned with my passion and try to rise an incumbent hierarchy when I can form my own. I went full red pill (before I discovered red pill) - resigned, sold my place, moved in with my mom, and decided I'm going to pursue my passion and build something of my own (I was 26).
I'm 3 years in now. The entire time I kept this framework in mind of (1) what am I good at (2) what do I enjoy and (3) what does world need? Whatever the overlap between those areas is will eventually lead you to your desired outcome. The industry I pursued was what I spent all my free time learning about when working in PE and I didn't realize it until it hit me over the head one day. It's funny how some things are sitting right under your nose and you can't see them. I'm passionate about it bc it's going to change the way the world works for the better. I set off with the plan that I'm going to apply my skills to this industry in some form. I knew that I was just as smart as all the analytical people in PE but also had a personality that wasn't rewarded in such an industry. I wanted to have my new career path capture that unrealized value I had - I needed a media aspect to what I was doing.
Year 1 was a bitch as I was staring at a cliff wall with no incremental path to climbing it. Didn't know anybody in the industry and had to use the internet/network on twitter for everything. Started taking baby steps asking myself "what can I do today that will benefit my path forward and that is least likely to be time wasted?". This lead to one thing, then the next, then the next. I learned everything I needed for basically free on the internet (learning things in grad school and paying $200k while not working is fucking stupid do not ever do it). Once I had learned enough I decided to write a book about what I realized was completely missing in the industry. To my surprise, it blew up and that's when it all started.
I was invited on the biggest podcast and now am an influencer. Pretty much any industry leader I can get a call with and I'm seen as a thought leader. Still have imposter syndrome bc all of this happened within about a year. I'm now forming a VC fund with some of the biggest names in the industry and have a network/reputation that allows me to pursue any direction I want. Honestly, I never imagined it work out this well and still don't quite understand how it did. Influencer girls in the industry just slide my DMs (one is actually famous lol). One of my founding partners has a big ass wikipedia page and the other came from one of the top 3 largest hedge funds. It's pretty fucking sweet.
Had I not made the jump, right now I would probably be an overweight VP at a PE firm with minimal social life. I've forgone 3 years of PE income but I can tell you it's worth it as I'm now close to being a founding partner of my own fund before I turn 30. I'm in the best shape of my life and my career is totally aligned with what I enjoy - it actually does not feel like work.
My point in saying all of this is that IB/PE/HF honestly fucking sucks when you see how great entrepreneurship is. I'm not saying skip IB. Go to a competitive firm, learn how to work 90 hour weeks and do them well. Build a strong network. Once you're ready to really pursue what you want, this experience will tee you up for it. I think the tradeoff with IB is that you don't learn how to run a company, which is valuable in entrepreneurship and part of my MC experience. PE was great because you get both and the hours are better.
In summary: if you're going into IB bc you want to be the man and make a lot of money you'll wash out unless that's all you care about (sociopath). If you're smart enough to go to a competitive shop then you're smart enough to be a successful entrepreneur. Spend your 20's figuring out what that is and take the risk to pursue it bc it's absolutely worth it. I couldn't imagine still grinding in PE having to deal with rent seeking partners. Be smart, make your own path, build your own hierarchy, and the world will respond. Don't be a fucking pussy - go after what you want bc it won't be long before you're dead. Imagine yourself on your death bed and if you were happy that you were an investment banker your entire life or if you did something that mattered.
Disclaimer: if you aren't comfortable with assuming risk I wouldn't advise this route. Some people actually can't handle the stress - sleepless nights abound. Once you break through it goes away but you have to be solid enough to get through the dark times. You have to have faith in yourself which you develop by proving yourself in competitive environments and knowing you will never let yourself quit.