age and career in finance

Hello everyone :slight_smile: I have a question which might sound a bit silly,but it is making me wonder…

I am graduating now from a university and i don’t think i will be able to get a finance job.I will have to do a master in finance before I am able to pursue a career in the field.

However,I will have to work for a few years as an accountant and collect some money before i do my master.

My question is the following…If i graduate from a master in finance program from a good or decent university(e.g London Business School,Cambridge,Cass or Imperial)at age 29 with no prior finance experience(just accounting) will it be hard to break into finance due to my age?I am asking because i hear of people getting to work at big companies in finance from like age 22-23.

P.S:I know that just a degree won’t guarantee me a good finance career.For the purpose of this thread my concentration is just the age given a decent degree.

thank you very much in advance.

It will be what you make of it. My view based on direct experience and knowing many of the best young investors in the country is that if you are not seriously on your way by age 30, you are probably never going to play major league baseball in the investing world. This is definitely true on the hedge fund side at least. 30 is just a round number, it could be 28 or 32 but the point is this is definitely a young man’s game.

Bromion thank you sooo much for your quick and of course HONEST reply.Cause that’s what i’m looking for.I don’t want any sweet talk about how everything is going to be alright and i will become rich from 30 to 35 years old or stuff like that.I’m trying to make the right decisions here.

Could you please elaborate on the ‘‘not seriously on your way by age 30’’ and ‘‘play major league baseball in the investing world’’

What i am trying to understand is what these characterisms mean.Like what constitutes ‘‘major league baseball’’ ???

I’m trying to understand whether you mean i won’t be able to make millions or if you mean i won’t be able to even reach for example a 100 thousand pound salary eventually.

I think it’s quite likely you would be able to reach 100k pounds over time if that is your goal. I’m not that familiar with UK business schools but you should definitely be able to do that out of LBS if you get in there.

Major league baseball (bad reference, imagine pro cricket instead LOL) is investing is working at a very competitive fund with a proprietary process that works. If you could work at such a fund (I don’t even know what those are in the UK), you would likely learn the required skills to do well as a professional investor over the course of a multi-decade period. Most likely you would have a legitimate chance to make $10s or 100s of millions – note that I said *chance*. There are no gurantees and maybe that level of wealth is outside the range of your goals. Basically, I’m talking about the brass ring.

You could also work at Scrub Co. Hedge Fund or the sell side and perhaps make a few hundred thousand a year (not sure what the current rates are in pounds), but you wouldn’t really be learning to play the game. If your goal is to have a reasonably stable job and make some decent money, this could be a good option.

What I was saying is that you can’t do a bunch of other, random stuff and then expect to make it into a good fund at age 40. You’re either on the track with a legitimate chance or not by the time you hit 30. Your plan involves doing some tangential stuff and not even leaving school until 29 which seems like a stretch to me.

You have to understand, this business is all about hiring very smart young people and working them to death. 30 is already pretty old. Most of the really good funds I know prefer to hire 24-28 unless the person has significant direct experience already (school doesn’t count).

My main point is that your 20s is the most important decade of your career in this industry.

^ Respect. good post

thank you very much for your information.It is more clear now.

If someone else has something to say though,please do so:)

Thanks again

Mostly disagree with this. I “broke in” at 27, after two graduate programs (not finance/MBA, but quantitative) and teaching English overseas. Within just over three years, I’d changed firms once, had two promotions, and was making over 3x as much as my pay when I started. I think that my maturity and time spent doing other stuff made me much more adept at my job than people in similar positions five years younger than me, and the utility I brought was recognized and rewarded.

Plus, lots of people “break in” in their late 20s or early 30s after MBA programs and are making 100k sterling (with bonus) right off the bat. If your experience has something valuable to add, one would hope that a competent hiring manager would be able to recognize that.

And as another anecdote, my firm hired a guy for an entry-level role who was 31 (went to college around 26) and he was able to pick up everything (including statistical programming) really quickly, despite the fact that all his prior background was in the music industry. He then left for another firm, but was definitely on the fast track for a promotion.

^ Bromion was talking about making millions, though. He said $100k+ is still possible. He was just saying becoming a BSD is less likely with entering late.

You gave 3 examples, all within the age range I said. So we agree. One would hope they start teaching better reading comprehension across the pond.

Yeah, I misread part of your original post when I first started writing that, so I should have taken out the “mostly disagree.” But, especially with regard to people coming out of MBA programs with no finance background at 30+, no reason they couldn’t be making in the millions by 40. I think it also speaks to the desire for maturity in banks’ reluctance to promote straight through the analyst -> associate track, and prefer MBA grads with potentially less practical experience in the industry.

I’m just going to quote SOME parts of the MFin of London business school for 2013 employment report.

Educational experience 42% from Finance/accounting/economics,the rest from engineering/maths/law etc…

Sector prior to programme Finance 79%…

After the programme employment at the finance sector 81%

56%accepted an offer with a new employer


Anyone can look it up at their official website for the full report.

Just another question…Let’s say i do my masters degree at 29.If i haqve previous trading experience on my own with good returns/sharpe ratio for about 6-12 months would that help me with my career?I have been watching this guy Anton Kreil on youtube saying it would be good.

Just wondering so i don’twaste my time.

Hi Panavee,

I believe this is doable.

I broke in when I turned 30. Before that I had done 4 yrs in accountancy and 2 years in back-office. I think what helped me was a MSc in finance from a top 20 business school, which I finished when I was 29. A the time I had not started my CFA experience yet.

My suggestion is to go for the executive (part time) MSc : you can keep working and meet more professionals than in a full time one…so you can land a job offer thru one of your class mates (I understand the full time MSc are mostly populated by very yopung professionals or new graduates).

Also, I’m in private banking, where somnetimes being/lookign older is actually a good thing, when it comes to meet clients. Not sure if this is what you would like to do…I understand that breaking in into IBD is much tougher at 30…

thank you very much for your reply Flesh7979…

I guess i’ll have to see how it goes and try to make it faster.