- Hollis Johnson/Business Insider
- Sallie Krawcheck spent years as a Wall Street exec, commonly called “the most powerful woman on Wall Street.”
- But when she got her first investment banking job in her early 20s, she hated it, and even went back to business school to transition into her dream jobs in media.
- It wasn’t until she asked herself what she loved about media that she could find in banking that she found a place in equity research, which launched her into a series of executive roles on Wall Street.
Sallie Krawcheck spent years being called “the most powerful woman on Wall Street.”
But the former banking exec and current CEO of investing platform Ellevest never meant to rule Wall Street. In fact, when she got her first job in investment banking in her 20s, she hated it.
In an interview with Business Insider’s Richard Feloni for our podcast, “Success! How I Did It,” Krawcheck told us, “I immediately wanted to get out. Really, my 20s were just directionless. I knew I didn’t like investment banking. I didn’t get it. I didn’t enjoy it. I didn’t love the work.”
She loved parts of it, she said, but her dream job was in media. She got her MBA from Columbia University specifically to make the industry leap, and landed a summer internship at Time magazine, “the job of my dreams,” she remembered. She didn’t end up with a job offer from Time, which was “devastating,” she said, but she did get one from Disney, which she was even more excited about. However, she was married at the time and the job was in California, where her then-husband refused to go – so she didn’t take it.
Krawcheck ended up back on Wall Street after business school, “throwing up between orientation sessions because my marriage had fallen apart and I was in a job I didn’t want, and I made the move to business school to switch.”
After a stint as a stay-at-home mom, which she also found wasn’t for her, she did some serious thinking.
“I just didn’t get the two top media jobs I wanted, I don’t like banking, but what did I like about banking, what was I looking for in media? I learned about myself. I love building earnings models. It’s like, I love it. I really like writing, even though it’s hard. I like dealing with smart people. I didn’t like the team ‘Eat what you kill’ dynamic of investment banking.
“So where else can you have those things with a lot of personal responsibility? And equity research is where I went. The timing was spectacular because it was right before that period, which I don’t think we’ll ever see again, when equity-research analysts were sort of the kings of Wall Street.”
She continued: “My 20s were not about becoming senior. My 20s were actually about finding a fit, which I finally did in equity research.”
It turned out that Krawcheck didn’t hate working on Wall Street – she just hadn’t found the right job.
“When that insight came to me that that’s what I wanted to do, it was the scales fell away, and I knew that was a job that I was going to love and I hoped to be successful at,” she said.