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It's that time ! Advice pls..

I am currently a BComm graduate with a major in Int. business and a minor in Economics. I graduated 2 years ago .Wasn’t really focused at the time but managed to secure a B average overall. Figured I would get a decent job. However, that was surely not the case. Due to the economy have been working in the in the marketing department making B2B outbound calls for about a year and a half. Other than that have about other year of sales experience ( have no finance experience). Due to my proven sales record I have been getting offers for financial advisor positions and similar commission based insurance jobs involving sales . Looking to get out this environment ASAP.

Now that I know what I want ,I am looking to take my career to the next level by getting involved in the finance industry. That is where I see myself. After much research, I have enrolled my self for CFA level 1 exam and plan on getting my CFA designation.

I need some advice as to how to get into the finance sector as an entry level candidate , what type of jobs i should be looking for ? and basically, what my next steps should be ? 

networking and persistence — you’re going to need a lot of both

your chances of getting anything are very slim

“Your beliefs become your thoughts,
Your thoughts become your words,
Your words become your actions,
Your actions become your habits,
Your habits become your values,
Your values become your destiny.” - Gandhi

consider getting into operations/ support.. the truth is that it sucks but its better than selling insurance on the phone to old ladies. search (assistant controller, accounting control, back office)

Hey, thanks for the insight  … so this would be a good way to work into the finance area then , by starting to work at the back office ?

“so this would be a good way to work into the finance area then , by starting to work at the back office ?”

Well, depends on your definition of “good”. Most people in finance work in back office or other sort of support function. I wouldn’t say that it gives you a strong chance to jump into FO, but you have to take whatever offer you get. 
 

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Most people don’t consider back office as making it in finance, but it can be a resume in the door (not at the foot level yet)

At least you will be on the grid 

My biggest word of caution is to stay 2-3 years Max in those roles or you’re going to be stuckin in them 

Hope. It is the quintessential human delusion, simultaneously the source of your greatest strength, and greatest weakness.

iteracom wrote:

Most people don’t consider back office as making it in finance, but it can be a resume in the door (not at the foot level yet)

At least you will be on the grid 

My biggest word of caution is to stay 2-3 years Max in those roles or you’re going to be stuckin in them 

Are you speaking from experience???  I am in a similar back office role with the hopes of going forward…and someone else also mentioned a similar thing.

kevincfa wrote:

iteracom wrote:

Most people don’t consider back office as making it in finance, but it can be a resume in the door (not at the foot level yet)

At least you will be on the grid 

My biggest word of caution is to stay 2-3 years Max in those roles or you’re going to be stuckin in them 

Are you speaking from experience???  I am in a similar back office role with the hopes of going forward…and someone else also mentioned a similar thing.

Yes, from experience, and from seeing a lot having been in the industry for a while now.

Hope. It is the quintessential human delusion, simultaneously the source of your greatest strength, and greatest weakness.

kevincfa wrote:

Are you speaking from experience???  I am in a similar back office role with the hopes of going forward…and someone else also mentioned a similar thing.

I started in ops, got out after 1.5 yrs to sales, moved to research after that.  Based on my own experience, I’d say get out quickly and get some distance between you and those jobs ASAP.  

Operational jobs in finance have decent pay, wonderful hours (probably 40 or 45/week at many places), and a pretty lousy career trajectory, in my opinion.  You could be the best guy at trade clearing in the industry, but that skillset has nothing in common with almost any ‘front office’ type role.  The longer you stay in back office, the harder it is to transition out.

Supersadface wrote:

kevincfa wrote:

Are you speaking from experience???  I am in a similar back office role with the hopes of going forward…and someone else also mentioned a similar thing.

I started in ops, got out after 1.5 yrs to sales, moved to research after that.  Based on my own experience, I’d say get out quickly and get some distance between you and those jobs ASAP.  

Operational jobs in finance have decent pay, wonderful hours (probably 40 or 45/week at many places), and a pretty lousy career trajectory, in my opinion.  You could be the best guy at trade clearing in the industry, but that skillset has nothing in common with almost any ‘front office’ type role.  The longer you stay in back office, the harder it is to transition out.

Thanks…And i am counting on the CFA to be a trasition bridge?  I have had mixed reviews on that.  Do you think CFA is the way to break into mid/front office jobs??  

I knew a guy who was completing his internship in the back office of an IB. He would play football with managers/senior ppl from mid/front office and network his way to non backoffice roles. He ended up interning in the middle office instead…I would imagine CFA helps…but it’s all about networking really.

______________________________________________________

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Sorry to hijack this thread, but I need some advice here. I currently consult banks on regulatory risk and hate it, so I’ve been more receptive to a back office type role (trade support, clearing, etc.). The only problem is that I can’t  seem to get an interview for these roles. Other than prior experience, what type of background are they looking for? I already have the charter and an undergrad in finance, so I understand most, if not all of the products that these groups work with. 

NO EXCUSES

At the risk of bchad complaining again about me being gloomy, I’m literally just relaying what Ive seen happen:

back office has seen a big shift in the last several years.  back in the boom years, they took people with all sorts of backgrounds.  If you had a finance background, you were ahead of the game.

The current problem is over-supply of candidates. From what I’ve seen,  they’ve become very picky and are able to grab experienced people for the jobs that may even be considered overqualified  (in the type of business they are in) 

Hope. It is the quintessential human delusion, simultaneously the source of your greatest strength, and greatest weakness.

Thank you for your constructive feedback. Greatly appreciated ! 

This website has helped me a lot and I can surely say I have come a long way. I want to get invloved as an ER Associate.  I have heard that the hours are not the best but there is worse out there.  However the entry level pay is pretty good :).

I have started sending out emails to MD’s and have started my networking process. However i’m not sure I will land an ER Associate job right away , given my experience and my educational background? ( correct me if im wrong) .

Now someone stated that back office jobs are a good start ? would this eventually help me land a job as an ER associate ? I would really appreciate your views/ suggestions on this ?

if you work in operations for 4-5 years for the same firm and passed CFA level 3.. its very reasonable to speak with HR about a transition into a position that is “investment management” related. they have internal hires and you are qualified/loyal/ and already on board.

I know some firms put out all their postings internally before public, so to be in house is automatically a small advantage over joe shmoe

a jump from BO to FO is really hard.  as the job market is flooded with well qualified candidates, FO managers tend to look for folks who have done FO before or simply fresh grads with good experience.  a BO/MO carries too much “baggage” (lack of direct experience, age…etc) to be successful in making the jump from BO to FO.  not saying that it never happens but it rarely happens.

if you’re that good in sales maybe you should aim for institutional sales vs research. 

dvictr wrote:

if you work in operations for 4-5 years for the same firm and passed CFA level 3.. its very reasonable to speak with HR about a transition into a position that is “investment management” related. they have internal hires and you are qualified/loyal/ and already on board.

The chance of this working are actually quite slim

Hope. It is the quintessential human delusion, simultaneously the source of your greatest strength, and greatest weakness.

iteracom wrote:

dvictr wrote:

if you work in operations for 4-5 years for the same firm and passed CFA level 3.. its very reasonable to speak with HR about a transition into a position that is “investment management” related. they have internal hires and you are qualified/loyal/ and already on board.

The chance of this working are actually quite slim

And for that matter, what is the opportunity cost of working for 4-5 years in a low paying job that has no transferable skills? Yikes

what do you guys mean by working in ‘operations’?

Operations is a group that all investment banks have to handle mundane administration work (not too far off from glorified secretary)

Try this:

Front Offce = The trader/investment banker/asset manager/client facing-revenue generating role. The guy responsible for making money to support himself and all the support people below.

Middle Office = The MO guy monitors the trader, making sure he doesn’t go overboard on the risk taking, making sure the valuation is accurate (if the securities are not very liquid). checking the profit and loss calculations. 

Back Office = Reporting.  Making sure the reported gains/losses are properly recorded either to the accountants, or the firm’s books. knows and follows regulatory rules and requirements.

Operations (also back office) = checking cash has moved correctly between different financial institutions that have been used, verifiying account numbers and making sure i’s are dotted and t’s are crossed.  Quite mundane work not too far from working on the assembly line.  The car chassis comes over, you screw in your bolt. chassis moves away. Another chassis comes over, screw in your bolt… 

Hope. It is the quintessential human delusion, simultaneously the source of your greatest strength, and greatest weakness.