Candidates' experience with switching careers

Hello All, Thought this was a good time to get the attention of new L2ers and the more experienced ones before things get heated up. I’ve read a few posts about how difficult it is to break into the profession especially in this market. Has anyone had any luck getting in based on their non-investment profession background and clearing one or more levels? My work experience is primarily in consulting (non-financial). A recent MBA grad, I spent my summer internship on Wall street in corporate banking. Passed Level 1 June 08 exam. Currently work in a corporate development for a multinational firm. Thanks.

if you graduated in 08 and passed level i and did a wall street internship in 07 but decided to take a safe job with a multi now, you messed yourself up. it is possible to go into wall street later, but your best chance was to go into wall street right out of MBA recruiters will later assume you were not crazy about wall street if you did a summer in the business but did not go back right away. plus, taking a safe job looks good to you, but recruiters will assume you dont take any risks. wall st is about risks. you should have held out, dude!! good luck

daj: Thanks for your post. I realize the negatives. There was more to my decision than I indicated in my post. While we are at it, what’s your strategy for getting into the industry? Do you have prior industry experience? I’m hoping there are some examples that other folks would care to share. I’m sure a handful of people would benefit. Thanks!

just want to jump in and kinda agree with daj’s comment… i always set the highest standard for myself too.

Hey man, I’m in a similar boat. Just recently realized that I really want to dive into Ibanking and switch careers. I’ve been doing the coffee circuit and can tell you that that is where your opportunity lies. I also know several respected bankers who didn’t start right out of school - so it can be done. Bottom line, firms are looking for qualified, intelligent people who are driven and motivated. I definitiely wouldn’t say you “messed yourself up” you just won’t be able to break into a veteran Associate role as you may have hoped. I can say that some, not all, appreciate that you have true experience under your belt which puts you ahead of those who are trying to break in right out of school. good luck bro.

sorry if my post was too harsh. i hope i can help in any way. i have some industry experience, but not as much as I want. My strategy is to work with alums from my BA and MBA programs and see if i can get in the door that way. If you are thinking of a switch into IB, I would def stay in touch with people in the field that went to your schools.

Thanks for chiming in guys. daj: honestly I did find your post a bit … hasty. But I know you’re keyboard-happy. For some reason I thought you were a PhD student before business school. I’m more inclined towards PE than IB (making things more challenging I know). I almost had a shot one of the biggest firms PE firms, right before everything went south. Back to my original question though, has anyone been able to get any traction with a Level 1 or 2 pass? It would be interesting to see how firms view such candidates. Will we ever become charterholders?

I am european and it does feel half as bad as you guys suffer on Wall St. the problem is getting someone to take the chance on you when they are having to fire quality and experience people. does that help you, sadly not, but i dont think taking a different job was such a bad thing. you can say you could see the writing on the wall and the fact you wanted to diversify your skills and come back to the City/Wall St when things settled down a bit. best of luck and dont give up…

I’m in the same boat, but a trend I have noticed for “entry level” analyst roles in London is that they require specific knowledge of an industry i.e. you’ve worked in industry such as pharmaceuticals, IT, media etc etc in a financial capacity and have an intimate (or quasi-intimate) knowledge on how things work in those industries. Remember - CFA is not just for investment bankers, a lot of people who help run companies, like chief financial officers, are also CFA charter holders. If you’ve been involved with doing management accounting or analysing sales etc etc then that is experience that portfolio managers may want to see. So keep your options open. Also remember, you might not get your dream job immediately - it might take a few years before you have the necessary experience to stand out.