Hi, I just got done with Level 2 this past june and hopefully finish off the program next year. I am in a dilemma and I would like to get your expert advices. I’ll be graduating from a top-20 school with my MS. Accounting (Bach.'s finance) in the US this fall. I am also an international student and from what I perceive, it’s not the best time to get finance jobs in the US. Even locals are not able to get good jobs and I really don’t know what my chances would be. I was talking to my uncle in Bahrain. He’s been there for last 25 years and is in a good post and has worked in the top 4 accounting firms and thus has good contacts. I was thinking that if the job situation continues like this, maybe I should just use my uncle’s contacts and get a job in corporate finance or something related to that in dubai or bahrain for next few years and then come back to the US for an MBA. Now, my question. How much is experience in dubai/bahrain valued in US schools? Can i use that and my CFA (hopefully I pass the last hurdle) and leverage them towards a good school? Second question is that I want to work in corporate finance for a few years because I really find that field interesting, network around, learn about whatever industry i am working in and then move off to Investment Management using my CFA charterholder. Is this also a wise thing to do?

Hi Sparty First off, congrats on passing L2. As for your question regarding experience in Bahrain/Dubai, I think US schools would give it sufficient value, depending on what your job entailed. obviously you will be better off if you can get into one of the bigger regional or international banks, which will hopefully give you broad industry exposure. I know many Bahrainis who worked locally and went off to some of the top US MBA programs. In the end, it is all about the experience you have gained, and what you as an individual bring to the table. I can’t answer the second part of your question, but hopefully you will find the first part useful. Good luck.

Are you talking about Corporate Finance of the companies or Corporate Finance of I-banking? If it’s the corporate finance of I-banking, then its pretty ok to start in IB and then move to IM…i have heard and read about such career moves…not a tough transition… however, if you want to have US-specific answer, then disregard my message plz

Hi Sumz, sorry…shuld have been more specific…I meant corporate finance of i-banking (which i believe also includes some of the big 4’s corporate finance department)… hows the job situation in dubai/bahrain related to this field? Also, hows the corporate finance of companies perceived in resumes? Nayfaymon, thanks for your input…it was useful… p.s. any sites that culd be useful in getting an idea about job markets in dubai/bahrain will be appreciated…

One of the better sites is … i have never tried , but take a look anyway. Its good that you are graduating in the Fall, as hiring might be on the slow side with ramadan coming up next week. I think the market in Dubai and Bahrain is generally good, with Qatar also attracting many people. Most of the hiring is for Islamic startup banks, but the older established players may be looking as well.

certainly try looking into as well as…you will find innumerable job advertisements for Financial Analysts and Equity Research Analysts in UAE… Yes the prospects are good for corporate finance of IB in this part of the world for someone with a US degree as well as a CFA, even partly-qualified ones… Besides, knowing Arabic is an advantage but not a must… But my sincere advice is to look into jobs in US first…move to Mid-East only when you dont have any luck there…bcoz the quality of work and experience in here might not meet the US standards IMHO… Good Luck!

Hey yea…Sumz…you just answered the question I was gonna ask… lets see…from now till dec…going to be applying like crazy.hopefully something will work out… otherwise i dont mind a stind in the mid-east…right now…i dont mind any type of finance related work…just so that i can get a step into the door…and network my way around…dont want to be too choosy in this already difficult job market

Also, really quick…do you think corporate finance in companies is a good step to get to investment management later?

If it’s corporate finance in financial services firm rather than full-fledged investment banks (I am in a financial services firm in KSA) , then yes If its pure corporate finance in companies, i dont think so because the work experience will be more A/C oriented than Finance oriented. If you plan to switch to IM later, corporate finance experience might not be that relevant IMO… I am sure there are other experts in the Middle-East and US who can answer you better…