I need some serious help. I’m in my final year of a finance undergrad degree (non-target) and would appreciate any advice on how I can find a job.
I graduated from a 2 year college business diploma program back in 2012. I proceeded to work 4 years in private accounting before eventually quitting last year to finish my degree. I was just over halfway through the CPA program at one point, but quit pursuing it because I found out I really disliked accounting (and refuse to work in accounting again). I knew at this point I wanted to pursue a career in investment research, so I wrote and passed L1 in 2015.
My goal with returning to school was to leverage my past experience and doing the CFA program during undergrad to get an internship. In 2016 I had an interview for a research internship in my area but lost out because the person who got it had direct investment experience. Since I’ve gone for that job, there have been ZERO internships in my area. The other couple firms that previously hired students decided to hire full time employees instead and got rid of their internships.
This leads me to where I am today, probably graduating with no investment experience and no foreseeable job prospects. I am worried that by graduating with zero investment experience it will be impossible to find a job and will end up in a dead end back office role. I represented my university in the CFA research challenge this past year because that was the closest thing that I could get to real experience. I applied to about 20 internships out of my area (mostly Toronto) this summer and got zero calls back. I am contemplating studying for the June 2018 L2 exam, but am so frustrated at this point. What can I do this next year to set myself up to get a job once I graduate? Or should I just quit pursuing this all together?
If you applied to 20 internships and didn’t hear back from one, why do you think that is? Bad GPA or something else?
My advice would be to get experience by whatever means necessary. Network, offer to do work for free to gain insight into what the job is like, and use the internet. If you want investing experience, start writing Seeking Alpha analysis like you are on the sell side.
You don’t have the pedigree for a front-office job right now. Set your sights lower (probably a lot lower than what you had in mind), get some kind of basic job – and grow your experience, skills, network and knowledge.
No shame in where you’re at. It’s hyper-competitive out there – and it’s literally not easy for anyone. The world is changing fast, though, so just because you’re not in a strong position now, doesn’t mean that it will always be that way. Keep a strong pulse on marketplace trends, be nimble and open to change and retooling your skills. As Wayne Gretzky famously said, “Skate to where the puck is going, not where it’s been”.
I know a guy who worked backed office his entire life. Now he’s doing back office at an asset management firm with $15B AUM and makes $300k+ a year. There are ways to make money in BO if you know how to do it.
Considering that according to CFAI annual survey almost 30% of charterholders are in these back office jobs…the quote “don’t spit into the wind” comes to mind. I have mentioned this before that our CFO made $1mm in total pay and our controller made 300k. Before yall go nuts on these salaries first do your research in HF and PE salaries…
Also note that 70% of equity analysts’ work is accounting - proforma statements, modeling (yes, this is accounting), and reading company filings (all prepared by the CFO and his minions)…
quite a surprising number of PMs hire analysts who have corporate finance (this is accounting job) experience because they are very good at pro-forma statements and modeling.
Say you’re one of the minions in the corporate accounting department for Google…you have a very good idea about where your company and the industry is going and have a good idea about your company’s project feasiblity and expense estimates etc. This is valuable for PMs who focus in the Tech industry. Coupled with your knowledge in modeling and GAAP…you’re in…At this point do YOU want to work as an equity analyst???
Let’s not be hard on the OP. I don’t think he/she is trying to offend anyone based on the post.
First, I find it surprising that there are no internships in your area. Either you are not looking in the right places or you are just in the wrong city all together. You may have to look to re-locate to find a job, since no firm is paying re-location for an intern when there is an oversupply of new graduates relative ot jobs available.
As for CFO / Controller / Treasurer jobs, this isn’t really “back office” since those positions always deal with external parties (ie. institutional / retail investors, audit / tax managers and partners, lender, bond holders, insurance, investment bankers and research analyst… the list just goes on and on). However, being in a treasurer / controller type of role, I can say I put a decent amount of time in back office type of work / roles to get here.
One thing to note is that a lot of PE / Ibanking firms or even research departments hire CAs / CPAs that put in their 3 to 4 years in a big 4, so if your ultimate goal is to get into investment analysis or PE, going to work at a Big 4 as an audit associate may not be a bad route to go.