How did you break into finance industry?

You didn’t have finance related education and work experience but somehow you managed breaking into finance industry. So you either are very smart or hardworking or both. Your experience will be extremely valuable for those who are in the similar situation as were you.

I held an English undergrad degree and had just begun my first course for my MS Finance degree when a friend of mine mentioned an unposted position in her investment bank for a research editor for the equity research department. With my English background and an obvious interest in finance, I was a shoo-in, especially with my friend’s recommendation. That was just over four years ago, and now I am at a different firm as an associate equity analyst (with the same senior that I started with at the first firm). I worked very diligently as the sole editor for the research department (the department covered over 250 names at the time), and proved that I had a strong work ethic, was smarter than the average Joe and that I wanted to take on a more analytical role in the firm. I jumped at the first internal opening for an associate analyst and took over that role in just under a year after beginning the editorial position. After I graduated undergrad I lived in Mexico for a couple of months (honeymoon with the wifey), moved to a new city and bartended and waited tables while constantly searching for a job - ANY job at all. While I was making a respectable salary in the service industry, I knew that I would have to take a good pay cut to start out a career. Three years later, I did just that, and I am still making a little bit less than I was back when I was just bartending and serving tables. But, not for long… Now, I have just signed up for my final course for my MSF (it will be pushing 5 years at completion), and am taking on coverage of my own companies. Following my MSF, I have recently decided that I will continue with the CFA testing process to further my career. I guess that I would recommend getting some good connections and networking, while also continuing to learn more about the industry. More education will always be a plus.

I was neither particularly smart nor particularly hardworking (compared to many others). I was working in a different industry when, suddenly, it dawned upon me that I would be better off working in the financial sector which, in addition, had very little correlation to my sector at the time, which also suited me nicely. So, in order to break out, I finished a non-English MS Finance degree, which in turn led me to a programmer’s job in a consultancy firm specializing on the financial sector. They were badly in need of someone fast, and therefore probably skimped on their requirements, I took the job to get out of my previous sector. One thing led to another; that job led me on to a couple of other jobs, ultimately ending in finance. But, by and large, the best way seems to be to have a solid network and a solid knowledge of the subject matter, perhaps paired with a suitable degree, and being somewhat stubborn and persistent.

Had a marketing degree working at a mid-size 105 year old manufacturing firm. Woke up one morning and said, there’s gotta be more, I can barely afford 6 songs in a row at the local ballet… Landed a few interviews for assistant jobs in wealth management, took the first one that was offered. Worked diligently for 14 months, an analyst quit one morning in capital markets department (structuring/portfolio management on closed end funds)…I started 2 weeks later. At a direct competitor now.