how did you break out of the back office/ops?

its difficult to put into words how over accounting/taxation I am (im an accg manager in an ibank), but im pretty desperate to get out of the field. obviously im aware that having lvlv 2or 3 behind me will make a fair bit of difference (at the moment im sitting lvl 1). just interested to hear from those that have successfully made the transfer! how did you go about it, and what do you think helped you along? thanks

June 2009 level 3 candidate here. I would be interested in learning about some stories related to the topic. I myself am trying hard to break out of back office, but am not able to. Currently working with the technology ventures group of a US based conglomerate supporting them with research and analysis on technology investments. Anyone with some strategies to break into FO role. There were some threads around moving from IT to Finance. Can we have some discussion around breaking from finance BO to FO? Can someone share their experience and strategies? After the L2 results I have floated my resume and cover letter on company (IBs, AMCs, PE/VCs) websites, recruiters (of my knowledge) and alumni, but, have not yet received any convinsing replies. Alumni have said that the industry is not in a shape to take candidates without experience, most of them have freezed their hiring and are only focusing on lateral placements. Also, none of the companies are ready to invest on training. The situation is really very grim. I can’t see the end of the tunnel. Any suggestions will be much appreciated. Thanks in advance.

in my experience, you have to stop talking about it and just do it (keeping in mind that is easier said than done given the job market today). However, I knew so many people in the back office that complained every day and will likely be there 5 years from now. It’s easy to get complacent; the pay is decent and the work is not that demanding. Personally, I was in the back office of a bulge bracket bank. I got hooked up with a research analyst at the gym, of all places, and after I passed level 1 he offered me an associate position. I knew the back office was all wrong for me (as everyone there does), so when my managers said I couldn’t move to research, I quit on the spot. I took level 2 and got a job in research some where else. You just have to decide, then do it - with the disclaimer that the job market today is much tougher than a year and a half ago.

go to business school

Been through BO -> MO -> FO. Spent 9 months in BO then moved to MO. What helped me move was networking and persistence. Spent the next 9 months until I landed an ER gig at another bank. Same thing, networking and persistence. That said, it wasn’t easy back then and given today’s job market, it’s become 100x harder.

slave Wrote: ------------------------------------------------------- > go to business school That’s my plan.

Was in BO at a hedge fund, one of the hardest places to escape from. I interviewed pretty much every day of my life from the day I started at the HF. I went on probably 50 interviews during my year there and finally finally got an offer to be an equity options trading assistant at a top of the line prop firm. It was a drop in pay at first but I went through the training and was a trader for 6 months. Got a very nice pay package, and then leveraged my skill set to get a trading gig at a start up hedge fund. Don’t give up on your dream, whatever it is. Network, network, network. Google search and find small companies that don’t advertise jobs. Just look at their employee bios and look for people that went to the same school as you and shoot em’ an email. Contact your alumni network. Go on facebook and network, etc.

Here is how I did it: Excelled in my operations roll. Asked the other analysts in my shop if they needed help during earnings. Gave them support that made their life easier. Took every class I could with the local analyst society. A junior analyst position “opened up” in my department. I went to the CEO of the firm and told him I wanted to be considered for it. Prepared like a dog for the internal interview. Got the job the day after I officially received my charter. I was with the company for about 9 months before making it to the front office, but had been in ops for about 3.5 years at two different companies.

wow, good story. good job on the move into FO. umm, one question, you already have the CFA and still use these boards?!?!?@! that’s cool. i think

coming from somebody who has over 2000 posts since May of this year, I wouldn’t be talking my friend.

I’m not a BO person, but you should write up some research reports on your own and circulate them with your resume. BTW, there was a thread a while back (that I started about industry drivers) that finished up saying that Morningstar’s book “The Five Rules of Successful Stock Investing” was good. Since taking the CFA, I’ve started reading it and - although the title sounds awful - it’s actually very very good for sizing up investment opportunities (it takes a value perspective, but a lot of the ideas can apply to growth as well). I found the book excellent as a complement to L1 and L2 material on FSA and valuation methods. Whereas CFA material makes you study to remember how to do the ratios, the Morningstar book tells you how to use many of them to produce and test an investment thesis. Excellent description of how to do the analysis and bring the parts together. The discussion of industry drivers seems a touch thin, but still appears to be the best out there. If I find myself with more free time, maybe I will write a more in-depth version of the industry drivers bit.

jpm, A bit confused by your story.Didn’t u already get a job in research after Level 1 ? You said that the analyst offered you an associate position which I am assuming was a Research Associate position. Thanks.

jpm351 Wrote: ------------------------------------------------------- > > I took level 2 and got a job in research some > where else. > > > You just have to decide, then do it - with the > disclaimer that the job market today is much > tougher than a year and a half ago. your name gives it away. we know were you work now : ) -

Yeah, go to business school. That’s what I did. Also, get a CFA while in the back office, which helps you make the transition.

Taz - “so when my managers said I couldn’t move to research, I quit on the spot.” My back office managers said they wouldn’t let me move to research, so I quit. I had the job in research, but my managers, through HR (most ridiculous part of a company) and talking to the MD in the research group, basically stopped me from getting over. I quit, started writing research reports and building models; I sent them around until someone said yes. Daj - I don’t work at jpm

jpm, your experience sound very familiar to mine, except that I managed to move anyways in the end and didn’t have to quit the firm

Dah :slight_smile: Thanks.

Thanks a lot for the posts guys. I was thinking that I am the only one who is not getting any possitive calls (L1 - Dec '07, L2 - June '08, graduated in June 2007 with a bachelor’s degree in Aerospace engineering and am currently working with a third party outsoursing firm supporting the technology investment group of a fortune 10 company with their investment decissions (by preparing business plans around target technologies), I joined as a Business Analyst and was promoted to Senior Business Analyst in a year and also got the best employee performance award). As suggested I am continuosly circulating my resume on whichever equity research, asset management, I bank firm I know of. Most of them have criteria around relevant work experience. I have got some calls, but those are again from the captives of major banks, which I don’t want to join. I am also looking at the recruiter list available on Bankers Ball and Wall Street Oasis. Will send across my resumes to those recruiters. What is the consensus around CFA Institute Jobline? Has anyone used it and did it helped? Is it worth $49 for 3 months use?

count me among the people who successfully moved out of BO/MO and into FO. i would say that merely sitting for L1 wont help. people tend not to care much, if at all, until you pass L2, and even then you’d be surprised how poor of a substitute the CFA is for work experience. advice is pretty simply. develop good relationships with FO people, ingratiate yourself among them so that you become buddies, and try to do extra work for them outside of your normal responsibilities. the other part involves working your butt off understand the FO job you want. so if you’re trying to do equity research, be prepared to follow companies, model, write a report or two, and develop coherent recommendations. the goal of this is a) so that you have something tangible to show to people for how serious you are, and b) when it comes time to interview, you know what you’re talking about. so it all comes down to building good relationships and doing a lot of work…what are the odds?! also, i would caution people about going to b-school in the hopes of switching. you’d be amazed at how many students do this and are unsuccessful. employers who do campus recruiting still care tremendously about work experience.

daj224 Wrote: ------------------------------------------------------- > wow, good story. good job on the move into FO. > umm, one question, you already have the CFA and > still use these boards???@! that’s cool. i think Why would I stop visiting this site just because I have the charter. I don’t go into the other rooms, but find this one useful at times. If you search on my username you will find other posts of mine about breaking into FO. The bottom line is that moving into the FO requires a plan. It can be done and in fact most people would be surprised to learn how many people in FO roles did indeed start in operations, or, some other lateral area. However, if you don’t have a long term plan in place for how YOU are going to make it happen, then it won’t, the industry is too competitive and the jobs too scarce.