Boring Career Planning Thread

Speaking of Corporate Finance….

How much is it worth when trying to transition to an investment focused career?

I got a job in corporate finance at a top 20 US bank out of school (state school, 3.75 GPA).

I’m studying to take GMAT in January, mock tests put me around 710-730.

Will take Level I in June and plan to proceed through Level III in the next few years while building on what is already (I believe) a good start in getting some corporate finance experience.

Three years or so from now I plan to go back for MBA.

Any comments on that track that I’ve set for myself?

be more specific. exactly what kind of “investment focused career” are you targeting? because some jobs value an MBA, and other jobs value the CFA charter.

Sounds like you’re doing exactly what thousands of others are doing. I’m not mocking, I did pretty much the exact same thing except I did the CFA/MBA concurrently (I’m impatient). Only suggestion I could make is to network like crazy while you’re doing all this. One good connection goes a long way to compliment all that work you’re doing. GL

I have a feeling that he doesn’t care what the specific job is, as long as it is prestigious and pays a lot of money, which isn’t unreasonable. As for “comments on that track that I’ve set for myself”, I’m not sure what there is to say that’s not already obvious. Obviously, there are a bunch of people who do IB or something similar out of college. The MBA competition will consist of these people. If you’re coming from a corporate finance background, you’re only going to get a job after the first pick goes to the people with more relevant experience. So, most likely what will happen is that you get a so-so post MBA job and then have to work harder than everyone else for a number of years before hopefully catching up.

I’m not sure I could be more specific, as I’m not entirely positive where I want to end up. I’m not looking for specific steps on how to get to Job X in Y years, more just looking to make sure I’m not boxing myself into one area of finance by starting my career in corporate finance, as I’m not sure if it is what I’ll always want to do given my strong interest in all things market related. I completely understand any position is what you make of it, and I’m working hard to make my experiences ones that allow me to grow my knowledge and abilities. I do appreciate the feedback, STL. edit: Your skepticism regarding my desire to work in an investments/market related field is understandable, but while compensation is important to everybody, it isn’t my primary motivation in wanting to get more involved on the investment/portfolio/revenue generation side of finance. I’ve just come to understand that it will likely be a path I want to pursue in the future given that I don’t always want to just keep track of other people’s revenue and expenses - and in my limited exposure to the field I have enjoyed the fast-paced, merit-based atmosphere.

@Roberto, the “people Perish for Lack of Vision”. You should take a little time and figure out what path you want to take; have chats/coffees/sit-downs/informational interviews w/ people working in various areas of corp. finance. Also, there’s no such thing, IMO, as being a generalist in corporate finance. You’ll end up in a specific role that will be M&A/valuation, Strategic Planning, Treasury Ops, Internal Reporting, etc. Each role is so different that I don’t see what anyone wouldn’t do the research and figure out which route is best for them. Besides, it’ll give you a competitive advantage. IMO, you’re saying you don’t want to box yourself in as an excuse for not doing the hard work and actually figuring out which path to take. Just my 2 cents.

@roberto I have followed a similar path but I didn’t start working in corporate finance until I started pursuing my MSF(which has no relation to what I am doing ). And I assume you are also young like myself. I think it really depends what bank you currently work at. I work at a regional bank ($25B) with high visibility throughout the company. To your question. I also was nervous working in corporate finance which has little to no transfer value to CFA related jobs. I am not sure about the “visibility” in top 20 banks but I had multiple opportunities in the 1.5 years I was here (Twice asked to interview for CFA related jobs, capital markets and risk management) I interviewed for one which they told me I was “over qualified” aka “we changed our mind but still want you to stay at the company” and the other I turned down because I was already talking to the place I am about to start at. So now I am entering the investment field with a small asset management firm, but the 1.5 years I feared I was wasting gave me 1) A real network of upper management in a commercial bank which is highly visible in the state and region and which I will immediately start calling on some of them. 2) Time to wait for a job where I would actually manage money instead of selling insurance at Edward Jones 3) relatively slow paced job that helped me to pass the first 2 CFA tests. So if you trust your bank to recognize talent and give you the opportunity for a horizontal move, I would not stress. If they are oblivious and bureaucratic and you doubt their meritocracy then start looking to leave, but if you develop a decent network while there I don’t think it is a waste of time. Especially being young, a network can not be gained solely through an MBA or CFA and thus is often much more valuable.

Thanks both Zesty and Burk, I really appreciate your thoughts on the matter. I probably need a little kick in the pants to keep the drive for networking going, and it is nice to hear from someone who traveled a similar path.