Love to be in finance but which part of finance?

@Bchad: I agree and disagree. I agree in that you need to have some long bs story about how you always wanted to analze distressed fixed income products as employer do weed out applicants that do not have a specific job target. But I disagree that the employer is concerned about whether the candidate has an interest in the field. I truly think that the reason people demand such a specific target in a field so broad is to inflate the hiring manager’s ego. He/She wants to reinforce their own notion that what they do for a living is special and unique. Someone with no experience should only be able to narrow down the question of what do you want to do in finance to “something in sales” or “something analytic.”

Idk, I do this stuff because I think it’s intrinsically interesting and I’m good at it as it perfectly fits my personality and skill set. Not just money, I could have gone into medicine or something which would have also paid well.

LB…idk, but interest in the subject is problably a top 3 requirement for me…if you’re not interested,you’re not going to go that extra mile…i rank hard working, interest, experience over intelligence Palantir, you couldn’t have gone into medicine…who you fooling? might as well say you could have been a male model or a porno actor…

Well, I enjoy the “intellectual challenge” also. However, this characteristic is not intrinsic to finance only. I could have gone to graduate school and experienced even greater intellectual challenge. The difference is that graduate students are poor. Finance pays well, and it pays well now (as opposed to something like medicine, where you will only get rich after 8 years of slave labor). So for me, money was the differentiating factor. It’s not the only positive thing about working in finance, but it was the relevant factor in my decision. (Other peoples’ POVs are also valid. This is just what happened with me.)

I just wanted to get paid to travel around the world getting strange ass. This career facilitated that dream.

I totally agree with this. Stellar test scores, GPA and a top school doesn’t mean crap unless you show you are passionate about finance.

Hmm. I would avoid generalizations like that. What if you are not passionate about finance itself, but are passionate about the things that result from financial success? Wouldn’t this also provide motivation to succeed? Interest in any field, like true love, can be faked for prolonged periods of time. Who is to say that successful finance people don’t go through the required motions year after year, primarily because they want the big check at the end of the year? Take Serena Williams as an analogy. Recently, she admitted that she “doesn’t actually like tennis all that much”. So, how did she become one of the best female tennis players in the world? Simple: she likes winning. In other words, she likes a derivative of success in tennis, not the game itself. Who is to say that there are no Serena Williams’ of finance? That is, people who are not passionate about “the game”, but are addicted to money, prestige, and the feeling of beating their peers?

Highly questionable she meant it. It seemed more of an “I’m this good, and I don’t even care”. Too cool for school!

Have you seen the hot classy babes in med school!?

I think she was actually sincere. However, even if she was acting cool (which is definitely possible), it’s not hard to find other examples. All you have to do is walk into a random bulge bracket IBD office and bear witness to all the greased up people with pink ties. Are you telling me that these clowns are in investment banking for the intellectual challenge? Is it mentally stimulating to stay late in the office because your MD is filling out expense reports? No! They are here for the money and social status. And yet, they are paid hundreds of thousands, possibly millions, of dollars a year. To me, that constitutes “success” in finance, even if the people are motivated by materialistic reasons.

^ but I can immediately counter that with the lazy argument. If you want to put on a show and lie to me about how motivated and passionate you are about finance, then make an effort to show it. What does that tell me if you won’t even make a fake effort ?? ha ha!

Okay, a lot of posts in a short amount of time. Sort of scanned through most of them. Is it just me who’s first reaction was “why would you want to do a MS Applied Finance” when you’ve already passed the 3 levels of CFA and the 2 levels of FRM. I could be wrong here, but my impression was that if you know enough to pass 3 levels of CFA, you’re way ahead of anything taught in an MS Applied Finance. Anybody out there share this opinion? If you really need to do a masters, I would do something more in depth like an MSc in Quantitative Finance or Financial Engineering. My opinion of MS Applied Finance is for people who have no finance knowledge/background (i.e. studied IT or Anthropology or whatever), might be working in a bank already, don’t want to do anything too hard like CFA, but want something “financial” on their CV, so they do MS App Finance. To be blunt and to the point, I find it’s a bit of a “soft c*ck” option, and one which I don’t think is going to be of any benefit to you (you’ll be a specialist at nothing upon completing this degree vs. the other degrees I mentioned). This is just my view but one I know is shared by at least a lot of other people. You finished your undergrad in 2009 so you’re still very young I presume. Why don’t you apply for a job instead of collecting more bits of paper whose marginal benefits are questionable. You sound VERY employable based on your CV (I would call you for an interview based on your CV), so just apply to jobs. Most big firms have grad programs which have yearly intakes. This is where I started and where I would recommend you start. With regards to which jobs suite your personality, can I also suggest quant type jobs as well as research. You don’t really have the usual Maths background that is typical of quants, but you seem like a pretty smart guy, so this might be an avenue to investigate. You have programming skills too, so you might also consider algorithmic/arbitrage trading areas where the emphasis is very much on combining markets knowledge with technology.

i have met a few investment bankers…i believe they like what they’re doing…but they will tell you its a trade off…its kinda like being a porno actor…

Hi, thanks all for the replies. I found that although some of the answers are harsh, the answers really help me understand more about my self. Here are some of my replies to various poster (thank you again) @Cleverku: In Singapore where I am in, there is 2 MFE and 1 MS applied finance course only. The university are SMU, NTU, NUS. For MFE, I worried I do not have the quant skills required for the course. Nonetheless, I will apply for MFE at NUS too. I am not young as I am now 27. I have a bond which will make me stay in my current job till Dec 2013. That will mean I will be 29 when I step into the finance industry, which is sort of old. I really wish that I can break into the finance industry as I do not want to end up quitting my current job and becoming jobless (I have two children to feed). That explains my reason for taking CFA and FRM and later CAIA. I hope the cert will be marginally useful when I make the transition when I am 29 years old. In Singapore, males are forced to do a compulsory National Service which means they draft you into the army for 2.5 years. The MS applied finance brochure says that people who passed CFA will also benefit. @FrankArabia: Since you are a charterholder, you know that the CFA exam is not based on memorising. I learned some of the jobs available in finance when I was in undergrad / doing my CFA. But they are just job descriptions but do not really go into what type of personality the job required or what is really in the job. @bchadwick: My strong point is analytical and not communication. Please advise me how do I portray myself as someone who likes finance in the resume? @Ohai: Thanks a lot. Your post is very useful. To all, I have decided that my ST goal is to be a research analyst. But what should be my long term goal? To become a senior research analyst?

You gotta be kidding here…You ask us your long-term goal…and maybe becoming a senior research analyst? Once you become a senior research analyst, will you be coming back again and ask us whether a portfolio manager should be your next goal? Grow up man…you’re 27… Anyway, go to some CFA networking event and get to know some people working in finance. You remind me of a few kids who did exactly what their parents told them to do when I was growing up. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ To all, I have decided that my ST goal is to be a research analyst. But what should be my long term goal? To become a senior research analyst?

then I guess I will have no LT goal after all. I wish to clarify about the short term and long term goal thingy. The reason I ask is I need to put it into my administration eassy. I do not want the adcom to feel that I am a lost sheep if I wrote “Wanted to study MS finance becaue I want to be part of the finance industry”

Why don’t you just put that your short term goals are to “enrich yourself with the body of knowledge provided by the course and to meet like minded people blah blah” and that your long term goals are to enter the finance industry as a research analyst, and to bring great value to a rapidly changing industry with all that’s going in the world blah blah blah, I am particulary interested in the changing dynamics of Asia and blah blah. I don’t think anybody can realistically expect you to know exactly where you’ll be long term (i.e. when you’re 50), it’s a little naive of them if they really expect you to answer that

Thanks a lot cleverku. You are a great help. I guess I will use the answer in my SOP.

Also, I wouldn’t let you “old age” stop you from trying for grad programs. My grad program at Credit Suisse First Boston had people from age 20 to 34 who all came from a variety of backgrounds. I was 25 at the time.

you should speak your mind on your essay…not come on the form trying to get other ppl’s ideas…