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Career Help (MBA?)

Hi Guys,

I am currently looking for some help/advice on my current situation and what path I should take moving forward.

I am 26 years old and have a BMath from Uwaterloo and am currently working in the securities operation department for one of the bigger insurance companies. I passed level 1 CFA (&CSC) and will be writing my level 2 next June. I,like most, am looking to get into an analytical role within the investment field.

I am finding that it is has been pretty hard getting relevant interviews for roles I apply online. The reason I am looking into an MBA is because even with Level 2 passed, I have a feeling it will be hard to break into the investment analytical role. I have actually a few friends who passed all 3 levels of CFA and still working within the operational side. I feel a lot of these guys are ‘stuck’ because they have been in the operational role for a long time and pay is actually not garbage if you’re working for one of the bigger pension firms. (My friend makes 65k in an operational role at CPP). But regardless of pay, I do not want to get stuck in this field. I have been in the operational side for about year and half and another year in sales (FSR).

I am currently studying for my GMAT and wondering what you guys think is the best option:

1)Do Part time MBA and apply to internal roles once I start studying. My company surprising has more investment related roles on our internal portal than insurance related roles.

2)Do full-time MBA and get a fresh start. After I graduate, I apply to all the rotational program or an internship somewhere after

I have posted on other forums and people are saying to do option 2.

What do you guys think? Any advise or help is welcome! (Sorry for the long post!)

Don’t do part-time MBA

"A theory that you can't explain to a bartender is probably no damn good."
- Ernest Rutherford

You have a BMath from Waterloo …why don’t you go complete a few Actuarial exams and go that route? You could also check out Manulife as I believe they have development programs for CPA/CFA.

Mike79 wrote:

You have a BMath from Waterloo …why don’t you go complete a few Actuarial exams and go that route? You could also check out Manulife as I believe they have development programs for CPA/CFA.

I actually was originally in Actuarial Science but I decided to take the investment route. I also studided a bit for the p and fm exam (I think thats what the first 2 were called lol) but never ended up writing the exams.

Also, are you talking about the rotaional program? I guess theres no harm in saying I actually work for Manulife lol

I found the below in regards the rotatational program below so I guess that could be a route i take after MBA. I am sure it helps that I was previously employed by Manulife

“Investments analyst co-op and internship program
In this program, MBA and commerce students get a chance to support portfolio managers and get a preview of what it’s like to work in our Toronto-based Investment Division.”

Manulife has rotational programs for the CPA and CFA

Unless your going to do the MBA at IVY or Rotman, I’d think twice about spending the time and money on one. Your better off gaining work experience and completing a professional designation (CPA, CFA).

the PROBLEM is that people pass cfa and work in ops role…..okay so they passed cfa…so what…

In funds or banks, research analysts need to be quite intimate and comfortable looking at 10K, 10Q and proxies…and very comfortable with building pro forma statements…Contrary to many CFA candidates and AF members, the activities I have listed here are “accounting’ related which is KEY for equity analysts…. Not only do you need deep understanding of financial statements and its relationships but also carry this knowledge to create pro forma - not covered in CFA……

I work in a fund so my experience is bit different from that of banks but a friend of mine is a PM at JPM….PM of a mutual fund and not some client portfolio manager.  He prefers 2-3 year corporate accountants or FP&A because these guys have deep understanding of corporate financial statemetns (10k), accounting guidelines (GAAP), and superior pro forma building skills.

“Finance” in equity analyst is:

1. DCF and sensitivity which anyone can learn in 2 hours in excel,

2. Knowledge of the company and sector in detail which is not expected for entry level.

Be yourself. The world worships the original.

Fintech will take your future job anyway.

infinitybenzo wrote:

 Not only do you need deep understanding of financial statements and its relationships but also carry this knowledge to create pro forma - not covered in CFA……

Spot on. If you don’t have an understanding of exactly how each line item is connected on the financial statements then you’ll have a very hard time getting the balance sheet to balance.

I like the fact that you mentioned the actuarial route.

How do you guys feel about this?

Investment Management roles within pension funds/insurance companies need to deal with actuarial risk frameworks all the time.

Interesting enough of a role to pursue?

Actuaries make good cash, great work / life balance and get a lot of perks to study and prep for exams (and i think they get a bump in comp after passing exams).

I’m assuming OP is in the Waterloo area which has a lot of big companies (Manulife, Sun Life) and living costs is probably more reasonable than Toronto.

i would not mind being an actuary but too late to go that route considering I need to take 10 or so actuarial exams which each exam after the 4th is well known to be as tough if not tougher than L2 of CFA…..Of course, not as much width as the L2 but more depth.

Lot of AF and CFA noobs (candidates) discount actuaries and corp accountants but the fact is these guys would pick up equity research in 2 days while the same cannot be said of equity analysts becoming an actuary in 2 days.

As Mike79 said, pay is phenomenal for actuaries….where bulk of their pay is from base unlike us finance people where the bulk of our income is from bonus which is taxed at ~52% lol

Be yourself. The world worships the original.

Just wondering. What do you call phenomenal pay as actuary?


I’m really just trying to get an idea here. Nothing more.

Here is a link from DW Simpson, a recruiting firm in the U.S.

Didn’t say the pay was phenomenal; but very good relative when you consider all factors (work life balance) vs. some finance jobs where you can slave away for 12 hours a day.

manager level actuary at a large insurance company with 6-8 years of experience and 5 or more exams under his/her belt makes 170-250k base.  For anyone under 30 years of age, ~200k in any city is pretty darn good if not phenomenal.

But what is so good is that many people who have passed more than 2 ASA exams really do work in the related field and their salaries climb every time they pass each exam.  But for someone in non-front office finance, passing CFA will not… get the point.

Be yourself. The world worships the original.

Good info