Advice Needed

Hello Everyone,

First and Foremost I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving.

Now to give a brief introduction about myself, I am 24 years old with a BA in Business from College of Mount Saint Vincent. A bit after graduating i got myself a job at a healthcare company working in accounts payable and then eventually moved up to Accounting Operations & Treasury. In my current role i deal with a lot of bank reconciliations, cash flow forecasting, collection forecasting and a bunch of small analysis projects that get thrown at me here and there when the analysts or anyone else in the team needs help in tough times. I am also currently attempting to take Level 1 in June. The reason why i am doing it is because i think & also i have been told that will open more doors for me. I am also a bit tired of my current position as i feel i am trapped here for a while and cannot move any higher . At this point it feels like this is a dead end job. A lot of promises but barely any of these promises are kept and hard work is not really recognized that much. Do you guys recommend it for me to stick with the plan and take level 1 and after passing it, hopefully i will be able to market myself a bit better and eventually if i do get a job which from everything that i read online is a big IF, keep developing the skills from there to hopefully someday get a financial analyst job at a boutique shop or private equity? Or since i have a bit of programming knowledge, do you guys suggest that i go through the full stack web development route? ( a bit of a better work-life balance from what i hear and also good pay) Sorry for all the questions but i am in a really tough spot now and any advice given to me would be appreciated. Please be honest, even if the truth hurts, it is what it is. Thanks in advance for any help that you can provide!

The best you can do is focus on incremental steps. You can’t instantly jump into a $500k job in VC (like some people here seem to believe). However, you can do small things to improve your job market appeal and move to slightly better positions over time. Taking CFA won’t open doors for you by itself, but it will improve your marketability by a small amount. From there, keep searching and networking for jobs that are related to your position, but are more attractive to you for whatever reason.

One thing that can change your career outlook is getting into a top shelf graduate program like MBA. However, once again, you’d need to be realistic about your prospects and weight the quality of the programs within your reach to your direct career opportunities.

In addition, find a career mentor or someone who can provide you with advice and review your resume, before and during your job search. Even if you’re not looking at a specific opportunity at the moment, it is good to have a general, well edited resume on hand.

Thanks for you input.

We work with a lot of candidates on habits to prep and pass. I got the charter in 1993, managed a value fund, found behavioral finance, and now write and coach. Our default advice is: while you’re prepping make that the priority. Put job search on hold until June 24. The Level I can be more of a ticket into a new job if you’ve got hustle or contacts; Level II is stronger for making a move. Both make you more attractive to a firm in the investment world.

Good luck!

I think those two paths are a little different. If you took the finance path, which would complement the accounting - I would say that PE would not be at all possible without first investment banking (and at a bank that has good PE exits). Some investment banks are holes in the wall for what they are. Some people squeeze into front office PE by working in the middle office and getting promoted upward to a VP/CFO role that sits over front office private equity analysts. If you wanted to be in “gears” so to say of a private equity fund, the banking would be essential. Truthfully, it’s very tough to get a good banking job. It would take a top 10 MBA. And a good record while there. Once out, you’d be an associate rather than an analyst. The associates are nearing the end of when the “boat leaves” on those analyst private equity jobs. You’d have 2 years of banking experience and split (versus perhaps 3 or 4 of an incumbent analyst). Or you’d be a lifetime investment banker. With this road map, you can see it is possible for you, but it is certainly difficult and would require some things to align. Another option would be perhaps big four valuation / transaction services where you leap into a quasi private equity role, which would be much easier. Tech is all the rage rn. You’d probably make great money all while rolling around in beanbag chairs and overvalued stock options.

I’d drop one plug - think too about public accounting with a finance industry focus. I do it for PE funds, there’s a VC in the practice, hedge fund, MBS originator, etc. I get a great finance fill, know some folks, have less risk, lesser hours, and decent pay horizons given a stomaching for some longer than average (but not banking) hours. I can be a good compromise that’s perhaps lower hanging. That’d require 150 credit hours - and a CPA though. That’s the same as the CFA in difficulty. Maybe more maybe less. I’m in the CFA now having finished the CPA and level one was maybe 25 hours of review total.

You’ve completed level 1 that is EZ PZ compared to levels 2 and 3.

I love it when people give advice using piss poor analysis and assumptions. Better kick that habit or you’re destined to be one of the many piss poor analysts in this world.