Career Q

Let’s say you were decent in math but love the client facing / relationship building part of traditional business and that you got in a relatively decent MFE program. Now you’re offered 2 career opportunities: One would involve going in the M&A field The other one would be in Financial engineering. You tend to lean toward the first one as you very much enjoy the “traditional” elements of business / corporate development, but this choice won’t allow you to undertake the MFE. The second opportunity is much more quant oriented, with less client facing / deal making but would allow you to get you MFE at the same time. Which opportunity would you favor in the long run given the ever increasing competitivity of candidates in the finance landscape. Would you forego the chance to do the MFE (which is probably your last) to enter a career field where you’re confident you would excel (M&A) or take the second path (Quant Fin) where many people will be better than you on a technical standpoint but where you will have an hedge given the fact that you have social skills… I know that ultimately the decision will be mine, but as I respect the opinion of many on this board, I’m curious as to what you guys think… J.

I’d say try M&A and, if that doesn’t work, the MFE / quant / fin eng jobs will be there later. Since many on the quant side of the business are older than their traditional banking counterparts, it’s easier to break into when you’re a bit older.

M&A, I feel like with engineering you will get cornholed unless you’re a freaking rockstar.

Thanks for the reply guys. @AssetM That’s how I feel also. I will take this into consideration in my choice. However, do you feel that a lack of Master’s (M.Fin of MFE) could disadvantage me in the long run? J.

Not sure about the MFE programs. In fact im not sure about the engineering world in general. My uncle is president of Shinsei bank and he tells me stories about working with their engineers, he basically says its very interesting stuff but you can only go so far. It’s different from a lot of other positions in Finance. Most of finance goes like this: If you’re good at something they make you a manager. I think engineering is more of: If you’re good at it you become a high paid engineer. I beleive the rationale is that engineers are much less “people/management” oriented are are straight number punishers. Nothing wrong with that, just the general perception.

Asset_M Thank you very much for you reply. Again, it confirms my initial feeling. I initially thought that my people skills would serve as an advantage in FE, but it seems that it’ll simply not be valued (as its more of a number cruncher’s world). I’ll still take a few days to ponder both opportunities but based on the following: - My interest for deal making / relationship building - The fact that your human capital grows through time and experience in traditional finance and that it seems to depreciate through time in FE (just like std engineering jobs) I’m leaning towards M&A. Downside: - Hardcore math / valuation of exotic financial models seems interesting - I lose my chance (for now) to undertake graduate studies in a good finance program… Thanks again for your input, I appreciate it! J.