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Whats the best finance career option for me?

Hi Guys,

So basically to give you an overview. I did my undergrad in England, from a decent university in Business and Management. Because of the whole general populism trend, Brexit etc, I had to leave because I had no visa options to stay. I went back home where most of the jobs were **** (all terrible jobs get outsourced there, no labor laws etc) so I joined my dad’s business for a couple of years - where I felt completely useless and barely accomplished anything. I realized it wasn’t for me, and I wanted to get into finance.

Somehow I managed to get into one of the best universities in Canada (top 3), did a graduate level diploma in finance (I didn’t do an MBA, because **** I’m not spending $100K and risking being thrown out of the country because of political instability again); I passed the CFA level 1 in case people thought my diploma wasn’t rigorous enough. Thinking I have the top school with a **** program, so CFA to show my academic prowess/dedication etc.

I’m pretty good with Excel, I know the lookups, SumIFs etc. I know VBA at a basic level, User Defined Functions, Loops, IF-Then-Else etc (I need more practice, which **** all knows is hard to come by because I don’t have data sets, but I’m working on it). I’m also using my time to learn SQL.

I’ve applied to approx 20 jobs, and haven’t been called for a single interview - they were all jr financial analyst roles. So what is my best bet in the industry? Should I apply for finance roles in mnc’s? What’s your advice out there?

I’m also looking to networking left and right, attending all events I can, cold emailing etc. Any advice on my career would be appreciated. Thanks :)

If you are applying for Canadian jobs, the university brand is the only asset you have here. What career services does your program offer, and what does the typical graduate of this program end up doing? The thing about MBAs is that they cost money because students believe there is a tangible return from their degrees.

Outside of Canada, the situation is much more murky, and you are better off looking for advice from locals. 

CFA L1 is not a differentiation factor. If CFA is more rigorous than your MS program, I would question the value of this academic investment. The Excel and SQL things you mentioned are very basic and don’t mean anything. 

“Visit the Water Cooler forum on Analyst Forum. It is the best forum.”
- Everyone

Yes, I’m applying in Canada. 

Most graduates continued what they were doing. Almost everyone I met in the program was already working. Different fields (Accounting, trading, loan structuring) - they were doing it more to leverage their career than anything else. 

The career service offers generic ****. CV editing, mock interview and crap - there is a reason I’m here lol

The program might be perceived as not rigorous (because it’s not MBA) hence the CFA as an additional factor - not differentiating lol.

I mean sure, I guess Excel, SQL and VBA might be considered basic - but I’ve seen jobs that don’t ask for it. Heck I’ve seen jobs that say it would be considered a great bonus to know SQL and VBA lol - maybe this has more to do with the Canadian market.

But my question is given my background, which position gives me the best shot? 

The finance department at companies like Ford, Corporate Finance, Financial Analyst,  Capital Markets, Financial Advisory, Like what? 

Go into controlling. Not so glamorous and in my opinion total crap but as a foreigner without job documents, there will not be much for you in the market probably. Excel is great in controlling. I doubt you will get into front office.

“Most graduates continued what they were doing.”

You answered your own question then. What were you doing before, and how will that relate to a new job?

Other than that, you don’t seem to have any real finance qualifications other than your degree. I’d guess any entry level job is as good as another. 

“Visit the Water Cooler forum on Analyst Forum. It is the best forum.”
- Everyone

You can find datasets on Kaggle.com if you want practice 

mirj626 wrote:

I’m pretty good with Excel, I know the lookups, SumIFs etc. I know VBA at a basic level, User Defined Functions, Loops, IF-Then-Else etc (I need more practice, which **** all knows is hard to come by because I don’t have data sets, but I’m working on it).

Landing a job is all about standing out from the crowd.

What you’ve said about Excel is like saying I know how to chop onions but I have no idea how to cook a beef stew. No one will care you can use sumifs.

What you’ve said about Excel doesn’t do anything to differentiate you from a Freshman intern. 

Here’s one idea to stand out. Take some financial modeling courses online. Build your resume with skills that dazzle.

Learn how to build pro forma forecasts using regressions and complex debt sizing (example with capitalized interest, layering tranches, wrapped versus level debt-sizing profiles) with iterative solving, then running monte carlo simulation on your base model to do a risk analysis on your estimate (with a correlation matrix between your stochastic variables and defining distribution and parameters for all risk variables using historical data), with flexibility to run any kind of scenario/sensitivity analysis (which will require a transparent and simple input section in your model), while keeping the model user-friendly with results fed into a pretty dashboard report.

mirj626 wrote:

I’ve applied to approx 20 jobs, and haven’t been called for a single interview - they were all jr financial analyst roles. So what is my best bet in the industry? Should I apply for finance roles in mnc’s? What’s your advice out there?

I’m also looking to networking left and right, attending all events I can, cold emailing etc. Any advice on my career would be appreciated. Thanks :)

I believe you should stop applying for open positions that are posted online etc. When you have very little experience, that is just a waste of time IMO. ( I think it’s a waste of time all the time, unless the job description fits you like a glove). Focus on networking, cold emailing etc. That’s how you will end up getting a job.

If you're the first out the door, that's not called panicking

20 jobs? Each time I’ve looked for a job, I applied to 100-150.

We’re gonna win so much, you may even get tired of winning. And you’ll say, 'Please, please. It’s too much winning. We can’t take it anymore. Mr. President, it’s too much.' And I’ll say, 'No, it isn’t!' We have to keep winning!

I’ve read somewhere that from 50 job applications only 2 will land interviews, in average of course.