Hello gentlemen, I’m actually a bit apprehensive posting here, since many of you seem to be relatively successful in your educational and work background. A bit of background on myself: I’m 22 and just graduated with a degree in History from a state school here in NJ. Now, originally I wanted to pursue teaching or be a research historian. I’ve since abandoned these career plans for personal and monetary reasons. Now, I am faced with a new dilemma. I would like to enter business, either as an entry level business analyst, or an entry level financial analyst. I realize this seems like a complete 180, but I guess we experience a few of these throughout our lives. I have worked various part time and full time jobs throughout college, to help support myself and have no experience in the field. My goal right now is to simply obtain an entry level position in the field as I’ve mentioned above. It doesn’t matter what the work entails. I know I am extremely unexperienced. Basically I am trying to map out a wise career/education move for my life. I have full intentions of pursuing my MBA at some point, most likely within the next three years. I have confidence that I will score well, with a good amount of studying. What advice would those of you who are in the field have for me? Should I go back to school to obtain another Bachelor’s? I’m a bit desperate at this point, since I have become extremely unhappy and jaded with my current state. I need a change and am willing to work my ass off to get there. What is my best option? Thanks for your time, -Joe
This site is specifically for people in the process of obtaining their CFA charters (or seriously considering that route) but I’ll be charitable in the holiday spirit. I’ll assume that you’re commutable to Manhattan. Depending on the economy, there are always entry level (ie back office low paying grunt jobs) in the industry, and if you have good grades and know how to present yourself it becomes a do-able, albeit difficult route. Also, most large companies will pick up the cost of a part time MBA while you work. If you college has a career office/website you can still tap into try it, and go into the websires for all the big banks/bulge brackets in NYC and put your info into their databases and look at job openings, as well as post in the usual websites. Financial services is such a braod diea there’s no way you can figure out what specific path you might want to consider until you get your feet wet. Also, if you don’t have any quant (ie math or stats) on your resume, your looking at more of a back office paper pushing type of job to start than anything with the word analyst attached to it. (Note: Above is all opinion, I’m kinda disatnced from that environment these days, so see if any other responders have a different insight)
Hi there, Thanks for the reply, much appreciated. I saw some posts about career advice, so I thought I would try my hand here. Yes, I suppose I can still tap into the career office at my school. I also have been in contact with Accountemps for a possible entry level position in accounting. Do you think this would help some? I know it would most likely be a low level AP/AR position, but I guess it’s better than nothing. Oh, and yes…I am about 15 minutes from NYC with a train to the PATH just a block away. My main objective here, is to find a position to start out in. To get a feel for the field, and to gain experience that will help with my admission to graduate school. Thanks a lot for the reply, -Joe
Hey Joe I was a 05 History grad. I kinda slipped into the industry via a parent at my high school who offered me a 7 dollar per hour internship at a private equity firm. That led to a middle office role at a large asset manager. Basically I was hired because I could write and interviewed well. They were looking for team players. As a history major I would suggest that you focus on positions where you are expected to work well with people. A lot of quants etc just don’t have the people skills. I expect most humanities people to be far above the average in that department. You could be a good fit for Sales or Client Service roles. If you decide to go that route my advice would be to avoid wealth management positions and target the firms with a significant institutional client base. Don’t worry about your educational background. The further you progress in your career it will become more of an asset and less of a liability. Good luck D.
Joe, are you in Hoboken? Did you go to Rutgers? Good time to graduate since Ray Rice isn’t coming back
Heh, no I’m in Fair Lawn, Bergen County. No, I actually went to William Paterson. -Joe
Joe, Client service might be a good fit, as others have indicated. Unfortunately, it will be somewhat challenging to get into an entry-level analyst role. The back-office might be a good way to go if you can’t find anything. Then, attempt to get into an MBA program ASAP (2-3 years if possible). You’ll find more opportunities post-MBA. Anything you can do on the side in the meantime (CFA exams, finance classes at night) will help you. Also, I’d be careful about revealing too much personal info on this website. Good luck.
Thanks for the reply…What do most client service positions within finance entail if you don’t mind me asking? thanks, -Joe
Joe: NO A/R or A/P positions!!! Find at least a trade ops or Portfolio accountant position.
business analyst and financial analyst are two completely different jobs. and you should probably do some more investigating before you decide how to proceed on your career track change. business analyst is typically the translator between systems and the business side. they take requirements from the business side and write them up for the systems side who actually make the changes. you oftentimes work with a project manager. the changes can be system upgrades, bugs, or even developing a brand-new system. financial analyst positions are more putting together financial statements for a company (at least where i work) and i dont have any direct experience in it, but i think of it as an entry level (for BSBA graduates) in corporate finance. most people who post on this forum are looking to become research analysts or portfolio managers. research analysts work on analyzing individual stocks/particular industries. portfolio managers are in charge of asset allocation for a particular fund or portfolio. i’d agree that you could get a job in portfolio administration or fund accounting. would get your foot in the door and you could learn a bit about the industry first. when i first graduated i worked as a fund accountant and my manager was a history major. careful not to get pigeon-holed though.
Joe, I’ve got you beat. My degree was in languages and the first 5years out of school had nothing to do with finance. The way to get in? Skillz to pay the billz. A company will pay you only for something you can do and not something you want to do. Your best bet is to go portfolio admin / trading operations / client service. If that doesn’t work, check fund accounting (it’s a sweatshop, but at least you’ll be in the industry). Once you’re employed, start learning. Have you taken any accounting / finance / economics / math courses? If not, night school. We’re not going for a name, we’re going for knowledge. You should also start learning about the industry as quick as possible. MGG is right on about avoiding A/R A/P positions like the plague. Vault career guides are a good start, but you should very quickly start reading something like Fabozzi’s Foundations of Financial Markets and Institutions. Talking about “passion for learning and desire to succeed” in an interview is useless. Demonstrating this is another matter. In any case, my opinion is tha tthe only way you are going to get ahead is through study. Keep in mind that your competition has 4 years of learning on you. Finally and most important, make sure this is something you are interested in. You’ve a tough road ahead (assuming you want an above average shot at paying your loans).
“NO A/R or A/P positions!!! Find at least a trade ops or Portfolio accountant position.” That will not help you in any way in terms of getting your foot in the door to finance. Agreed. “careful not to get pigeon-holed though.” That applies to probably the first two positions you will work in. You don’t want to be stuck in it so gain the experience you need and move on.
Hi, thanks for your reply. When you say, demonstrate knowledge rather than the desire to learn, do you simply mean obtaining another degree? Or, through night school and independent study, learn the business so there is more to put under skills on a resume? Because I would think most employers would see this on a resume and not chalk it up as “experience,” but correct me if I’m wrong. Oh, and I have taken some basic courses that were necessary for my major. A couple of general management courses and Financial Accounting. Thanks again., -J
Oh, and I will try not to allow myself to become pigeon holed. Basically, I need experience that will matter. I suppose I should research more about different aspects of the fields and decide which would suit me best. -J
JDavisNJ Wrote: ------------------------------------------------------- > Thanks for the reply…What do most client service > positions within finance entail if you don’t mind > me asking? > > thanks, > > -Joe Basically you will be doing client reporting and coordinating account related issues with the relevant departments and the clients along with the relationship managers. Again - focus on the shops with high assets under management and avoid private wealth.
Thanks so much for your help. I will look into this. -J
Why avoid private wealth?
Much better long term career prospects on institutional side imho. In client service/marketing roles on institutional side hel’ll be working with public funds and corporate pension plans, not joe shmoe with five million. And it’s much easier to go into private wealth after working in institutional than the other way round. If he wants to start out in private wealth that’s his perogative, but he should understand the implications of staying in such a job. There is a lot of stigma out there. He could get labeled as a broker before he has a chance to fully develop into an investment professional…
Good points, thanks for the clarifications.
Danteshek Wrote: ------------------------------------------------------- > Much better long term career prospects on > institutional side imho. In client > service/marketing roles on institutional side > hel’ll be working with public funds and corporate > pension plans, not joe shmoe with five million. > And it’s much easier to go into private wealth > after working in institutional than the other way > round. If he wants to start out in private wealth > that’s his perogative, but he should understand > the implications of staying in such a job. There > is a lot of stigma out there. He could get > labeled as a broker before he has a chance to > fully develop into an investment professional… i agree w/ the above. good advice here