Breaking Into The Buyside

Hey everyone!

I scored a 2:1 in a quantiative/finance degree from a ‘target’ university (think Oxbridge/LSE/Imperial etc). I’m looking to break in to the buyside long term and am currently working at a (well known) tech firm (think Google/Twitter/Facebook) in a very analytical/data driven role.

I am thinking of doing the CFA 1 (as I have enough time to study outside of work) in June 2015 to show my interest in finance (as post graduation working in tech may signal I have no interest in finance) and maybe the GMAT because I scored a 2:1 not a first class. Do you think this is a good idea? Was also thinking of investing myself on the side with some of my savings.

Do I have a chance with my background? What is the best strategy to break into the buyside without having direct investment banking experience? Shoul I stick to tech and lateral after an MBA?

Stay in the well known tech firm!

Why do you want to switch?

what is 2:1

Second-class honours

Any particular reason why?

Btw you work at Palantir? I was going to interview there (but got another offer so took it) :slight_smile:

Missing finance. And $. :wink:

Upper second (grades in the UK are 1:1/First Class, 2:1/Upper Second, 2:2/Lower Second, Third, Fail).

2:1 + is required to break into banking/most things in finance.

I think technology sounds more interesting, (and prestigious) than finance, regardless of whether it is IB, ER, PE…I do not work Palantir Tech, but it is a great company, so if you are turning them down, you are probably doing quite well.

The work I do is definitely intersting but the money is not good. :frowning: I’m not saving much despite living on a strict budget, taking food from the office etc and this will not help if I want to do an MBA down the line.

Sounds like money is a big factor. If so I would focus on breaking into the sell-side (IB).

IMO venture capital is the most realistic buy-side role for you given the tech background. However VC does not necessarily pay well on the junior level. Of course it depends on firm, but generally it won’t be comparable to what you make as analyst at a top IB.

PE pays well but based on my experience very hard to break in unless you’re coming from IB or MC.

Getting into HF you better be trading on your own, have interesting ideas and have networks within.

I have been trying to break into sell-side IBD for a while now, but even the smallest boutiques are not interested in interviewing me, despite me having relevant internship experience and willing to start from the bottom (intern or anayst 1 roles). It may be because I have tech experience so I don’t look committed enough to banking.

I don’t trade on my own/not really ‘into’ the markets (hence I never applied for S&T roles) that’s why I ruled out a HF a while ago.

Aside from the money, I’m also quite bored at my new tech firm. In sum I probably ‘work’ 1-2 days a week - other days I’m just doing random things (yes I have tried asking for more stuff). I feel its a waste of my life - I could be doing 2x more work and earning 2x more money.

IBD/PE seems to be my best bet but if I can’t break in what do I do? That’s why I was thinking of doing the CFA to help show my commitment to finance. I was told its more useful for ER or AM posiitons though.

Or should I do another undergrad degree and start again?

how old are you?

yes, CFA is more useful for AM/ER. bankers actually don’t like it

When you say buyside or sellside, that covers a huge range of roles. Would you ultimately like to be managing money (i.e. asset management type role), work in m&A (i.e. IB etc), trading, other?

CFA will be useful for the first of those for instance, not so much for the others. Equally investing on the side and building up a PA track record may help you get into a trading position, but I doubt any corporate finance or IB firm would care much either way.

I would be very hesitant about going back to college unless it was to do a prestigous masters/MBA type program. Even then the cost/benefit may not be worth it.

First you need to narrow your focus on what type of job you are targetting.

OP, please do not consider doing another undergrad. The good schools don’t offer them either way.

To me you seem like a motivated, well accomplished individual. Wanting to go to finance is obviously going to be tough since you already steered your career into tech. I would suggest staying at least 1-2 years at your current firm and then doing another two at a better, more active tech firm that could expose you to decision making (think capital budgeting, launching in new markets etc.). Then go for an MBA in a top school. You could go straight into TMT IB or even TMT PE. A lot of people in my firm have followed a similar route, and believe me they’re treasured more than the IB’ers that have followed the ananlyst route straight out of undergrad (myself included).

tmt = the money team?

Teenage Muntant (ninja) Turtle.

Have you considering starting something on the side, or collaborating with someone’s startup if you work such low hours? Why can’t you make money in Tech by changing jobs? All the tech guys here are rolling in money right now.

Actually, TMT = Too Much Tuna. Please refer to the link below:

@itera - I’m 24.

@carson - i need M&A/IBD experience in order to move to PE or a HF, right? I don’t trade atm and given my background im probably more suited to PE (have more operational/statup etc experience vs trading/markets experience).

@privatemoney - tech for 3-4 years --> MBA --> TMT banking/PE is definitely a good route. the problem is i’m not sure i’ll be able to save enough money for the MBA on my tech salary and just end up in a big debt. i was thinking if i do the CFA or something while i have the time, it may help longer term, in making the switch to finance. e.g. my profile would read 3 years in a top tech firm + CFA + MBA vs top tech firm + MBA. im not 100% sure though. i will have to finance it myself btw.

im currently trying to look for more challenging roles within this firm and also getting referrals to other top tech firms for new roles. im also working on moving out of Europe to the US as there seems to generally be more opportunity there.

@IARdude - yup currently looking out for these opportunities but have not found anything yet. i dont work low hours i just feel i do too little during those hours - i could be doing 2x more work - there just isnt anything to do at times apart from wait (and this is despite me jumping into projects not directly assigned to me and projects that others couldn’t do therefore i self-teach whatever needs to be done and execute). i think generally though the big $ in tech is made by senior product people and the engineers - im in neither category - and dont have the background to move into such roles either. :frowning: the worst part is this tech firm is considered fast-paced… i really don’t feel it though.

See the articles in my signature for some thoughts