Looking to make a transition from Big 4 to Banking

I currently work in the Tax service line at a Big 4 firm in New York and I am looking to make the transition to Investment banking. I have about 3 years experience in tax at the moment. My current plan is to get an MBA from one of the better B schools and try and get a job as an investment banking analyst or an equity research analyst.

Would that help at all or is it too late for me at this point to make the transition? Oh, and if it matters, I am 25 years old. And I have an undergraduate degree in accounting from India and 3 years of experience working for a Big 4 firm in Manhattan.

Is there a way I could land an IB position without getting an MBA? Ideally I would like to get my MBA after I have had a couple of years of IB experience but I realize that may be almost impossible given that I am looking to switch careers. Also, if I did make that switch pre-MBA, would that entail a pay cut? I currently make ~85k a year.

Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Many thanks!

Don’t know about the Manhattan market in particular, but generally if you want to make switch to front office BSD role like IB analyst or buyside analyst, you have to take pay cut. We (middle office/ back office / non-BSD job holders) are always desperate to move to FO role, employers can sense the desperation and will always try to low-ball the applicant esp. now that the jobs are few and candidate pool is so large.

And make up your mind about what kind of job you want and pursue that path (for networking purposes).

I think you have a very sensible plan of first MBA, then IB, and you realize the difficulties.

TO answer your question about pay. If you make it into IB pre-MBA somehow, you will not take a pay cut. (assuming all-in pay)

I don’t want to sound like too much of a downer but I think you realize it’s tough. I think that without a strong connection, you won’t get in without an MBA. Your experience doesn’t really jive with what you’d do in IB and others have mentioned there is a very deep candidate pool right now.

i left a big 4 audit position this spring and from what I’ve seen the people who have been able to move are more from the transaction services groups, and they moved to sell side research at a boutique. That being said I just recommend getting out to another job… Big 4 sucks souls.

Thanks all! I realize it is difficult and I’m trying to keep myself motivated to study for the GMAT and do well and take things from there. With an MBA, things get a little complicated for me because I am a foreign student and I have to jump through many hoops for the visa and financing as well. That is why I was hoping to see if there was any other way that I was missing.

I don’t mind the student debt much because I have zero debt at the moment and I believe an MBA will pay off eventually. My only concern is securing financing in the first place - argh.

I haven’t done much by way of networking so I know bankers but it is hard to talk job opportunities or even about their job in general because they are my clients . I’m going to see if there are other threads on networking to see what I can do and post one of my own if I have to.

So far all I have done (and clearly this isn’t enough) is to reach out to recruiters that have contacted me regarding openings in tax in the Big4 and/or banks and asked them about FO office positions that I may be a fit for.

KrazyKanuck - Funny you should say that. I’ve always heard banking jobs are more soul sucking. I think it may also be a tax vs audit thing. I like my job and the people I work with but I think I could do better and a lot of it also ultimately boils down to money.

Assuming you can break in, you definitely won’t be taking a pay cut from what you make now. First year IB analysts across the Street is at about $110,000 - $120,000 all in.

Your best bet from a Big 4 is to get into transaction services and try to break into ibanking.

if you have a more specific question about ibanking, feel free to shoot me a pm.