Moving out of Back Office seems extremely hard

I have been working in the BO at a big buy side firm for 5 years now. During the past 5 years, I have applied for 30 jobs internally and nothing has happened so far. My firm seems to like hiring external candidats (even fresh graduates) rather than hiring intenal candidates from BO. I’m in a much smaller city than NYC so there are really not a lot of job opportunities in investment.

Like most peole, you think you got a job at BO in a investment firm, then you got your foot into the door, and then you can work your way up to FO or even any group better than BO, I’m telling you, that is completey wrong. I have a MBA and passed CFA level II, the miracle hasn’t happened so far. Will it even happen?

Some people say you gotta network, but how? I emailed some people that I know from work for a chat or coffee, but most people would not even bother to respond. Am I doing it in the correct way?

Here’s the dilemma: for most entry level analsyt poistions, I’m overqualified with my years of experience. However anything above the entry level, I don’t have the related experience.

So I will be stuck with my current BO position for ever?

No offense, but communication might be an issue.

Thank you.

Did you mean communication when networking or just geneally speaking?

Any suggestions to improve?

5 years BO is a long time.

If you have BO, this could more of a hygiene issue

I am not saying this applies to you. But anyway, I’ve interviewed some MO/BO people for a position on my desk. They all failed to get the job. The issue was that they were not smart enough and did not have the right knowledge. We could easily find even a new graduate from MFE or other programs, and that person would be smarter, better, and more knowledgeable about our products. Had the internal candidates been better, they would have gotten the job first. They just weren’t good enough.

My advice to one of the BO/MO people who did not get a job on my desk would have been - *seriously* evaluate all aspects of their candidacy thoroughly and with no ego. Look at all the differences between themselves and someone who is actually competitive for this job - in terms of product knowledge, math ability, the way they speak and write, etc. That is the transformation that they would have had to make.

Blind applying to jobs is also unlikely to work. The FO is your ally in introducing you to the correct opportunities. However, you must do everything you can to be qualified in the first place.

You say you applied for internal jobs. If you developed any rapport with any of your interviewers, you might consider trying to get that person to be a bit of a mentor. Start by trying to do an “internal informational interview” to get an honest assessment of what the gaps are in your skills and/or personality that you would need to bridge, and then work on those.

Not guaranteed to work, but a reasonable strategy if you developed any rapport with previous interviewers.

ohai you made me cry

I mean think about it from a hiring manager’s perspective, why would they hire someone who has been doing back office work which has little to nothing to do with the investment analysis process when they can hire someone who’s more experienced with the job function. Also in general, back office candidates do not have the same pedigree in terms of education and that also makes a huge difference.

Communication in writing and sentence structure. This is both verbal, written and in person. If someone has minimal contact with you, you can’t be letting communication be yet another barrier to overcome.

The problem with BO is that the people there aren’t dumb, but they aren’t doing stuff that challenges them intellectually everyday, or their work isnt’ relevant to the FO. it’s like expecting to play in the World Cup having spent your whole career in Division 3. I hate to knock it as I spent a stint in the BO, but I also knew I’d be dull goods if I didn’t get out of their as soon as possible.

Yes, when I got the job, the market was really bad. I’m not in a major city either, which means fewer opportunities to move. Time goes by fast.

And your spelling is awful. One spelling mistake gets you blackballed from any hiring I do.

Well, they even won’t give me a chance for interview, how would they know if I’m not good?

I’m actually not that much into FO jobs. My goal is MO, like risk management or performance measurement.

As far as the competitive person who got hired, I don’t understand how someone from a local small college with an undergraduate degree and less than 3 years of experience can be that great. Maybe there are political reasons that the hiring managers don’t want to pull people from other groups. Who knows.

That was great advice. Thank you.

Well, I always do spell check when I apply for jobs as well as for work emails.

dam geo would nix me

they problem is they probably already have too many resumes that look better than yours, so you may not get that chance

You are damaged goods… My suggestion is to make a resume excluding your BO experience… Present yourself as an MBA grad + CFA with no experience. Play up the projects you did in school. Exagerate your current position playing up any connection to investment management.

I love back office, you couldn’t drag me away! cool

What is “middle office”? Front middle? Back middle? Front right middle??