I’ve been in an odd spot, in regards to my career, and I’m wondering if any of you have ever felt the same way. I’ve been working for the same firm for a hair over four years (starting immediately after completing my college education) and have recently found myself lusting for another job. Unfortunately, I’m not quite certain what that job may be. I’ve always tried to give myself as many career options as possible. I am studying for the CFA exams because I think it may be helpful in landing a different job when I finally decide to jump ship. Similarly, I can recognize benefits in attending a top MBA program to give myself the opportunity to compete for those jobs that are incredibly tough to land. Management Consulting, Private Equity, Asset Management, and Hedge Funds all seem like they would be more interesting and fulfilling than where I currently work. But, if I want any of those jobs, I’m going to have to focus on meeting any specific requirements to land it. Part of me wants to continue with the CFA, get promoted to management here, and then try to get into a top MBA program with management and CFA exams on my application. That would give me a good starting place, I suppose. Then again, don’t most people tend to know what their goal is before they actually apply? Also, the only time I feel “older” in life is on this website. It seems at 28 years old, I’m late in the MBA game when compared to some of the young whippersnappers bounding about the forums. I dunno, I’m definitely rambling, but just tired of hovering around and not going after a goal. Have any of you ever been in a similar place? If so, what did you decide to do and how did it work out?
As far as being ‘late’ in the MBA game. You’re not! Those who jump from undergrad to the MBA are not doing themselves justice. Undergrad is more lecture driven while the MBA is more disscussion lead. Since you are uncertain, have you thought of taking time off from work to do the MBA? A thought I have is taking a two year ‘vacation’ from work while I matriculate in graduate school. And you’re not the only one thinking this. I’m 2 years out of undergrad thinking the same thing. I’m not quite ready for the MBA jump though. For now I am doing the CFA and then plan on the MBA around the late 20s/early 30s if it brings added value. How far are you along with the CFA? What is your job description currently?
I am in an very similar spot Meddling. wake up go through the grind, gotta figure out what I want to do when I grow up.
KJH Wrote: ------------------------------------------------------- > As far as being ‘late’ in the MBA game. You’re > not! Those who jump from undergrad to the MBA are > not doing themselves justice. Undergrad is more > lecture driven while the MBA is more disscussion > lead. Since you are uncertain, have you thought > of taking time off from work to do the MBA? A > thought I have is taking a two year ‘vacation’ > from work while I matriculate in graduate school. > > > And you’re not the only one thinking this. I’m 2 > years out of undergrad thinking the same thing. > I’m not quite ready for the MBA jump though. For > now I am doing the CFA and then plan on the MBA > around the late 20s/early 30s if it brings added > value. > > How far are you along with the CFA? What is your > job description currently? I’m currently working in a Structured Finance Group at one of the Big 4 as a Senior Associate/Analyst. Some of my responsibilities include collateral analysis, ripping apart CDO/CLO indentures to make sure the models we’re building are accurate, and doing some audit assist work where our specialty group’s experience is requrested. I’ve also done advisory work on client sites occasionally, and spent the first two years of my career with the firm on business process review and/or disaster recovery/business continuity projects. I took Level I a few weeks ago and am currently waiting for what I’m hoping is good news. I had thought about doing the full-time MBA, but it’s going to be tough to stop earning and start accumulating massive amounts of debt. I am also getting married right around the time I’m planning on applying, so I’d be in store for a big budget shock on several levels. Then again, I don’t know how I could do part-time and get a company to pay for it, as many seem to do.
So can I assume you are a homeowner then too? I agree with that it will be a difficult adjustment to stop earning and living on loans again. Also eating off the dollar menu and buying ramen in bulk probably won’t cut it anymore either! No one can tell you what to do. Obtaining $100k of debt probably won’t be a large burden for you. Your experience backing a reputable MBA will probably give you a great leap in compensation. If you are able to do the MBA and CFA concurrently, well, that should make you a very desired candidate. Someone like Joey would be good to ask about this. However you have to do what makes you happy. Congratulations on getting married too!
Don’t feel rushed to go into an MBA program. If you look at the schools’ stats, its in the late 20s. A person once wrote that most people who enter a top MBA program are usually successful people who are already headed places. With that in mind, it appears that you’re doing something worthwhile at work and would be the typical candidate. Think about it. A person who applies to an MBA right out of college does not have much to show except solid grades. Thats why programs want their candidates to work - to gain experience, mature and show leadership skills. I would say that you should make your decisions probably within the next year and accomplish them a year thereafter. Good luck.
MeddlingKids, I have got to say that you are not alone in your mental space. I feel a bit late to the game depite a good track reccord and some great expereince. About a year ago I started the CFA, sold off a good sized brokerage book ( for a 4th year) and moved cities to try to get into reseach and although I have had some solid chances no dice yet. Feels some times that if you dont get the inetrnships through highschool, university and into a BB once graduated that you are all washed up by 25 but the more people yu talk to the more you realize that most really good people in our business did something else first.
I can certainly attest to where you’re at… I was 28 when I went in to do my MBA (part-time though as I was already married, had a kid on the way and all the other obligations of life). Most of my classmates were my age or older… a few were in their 40’s and had already established themselves as clear leaders in their organizations. I will say this about the MBA… you need to have a direction before you go there, but it doesn’t have to be overly specific. As long as you have a general sense of which career direction you want to take, say Management Consulting, you can gear your b-school courses and experience to move yourself in that direction. Having a defined path also sets you up to hit all the right companies during recruiting season. Having been through the process, I can tell you that it’s extremely time consuming and you probably won’t be able to attend interviews at all your potential employers, let alone send out a decent cover letter to each. You shouldn’t, imo, just go in to b-school for the sake of the 3 letters… it’s an expensive proposition without any clearly defined outcome. Come recruiting season, your lack of direction will show and you may be sitting with a mountain of debt and no job. As for getting your employer to pay for it… your best bet is the employer you’ve already got… if you don’t mind sticking around for a few years after you graduate, that is. My old employer agreed to pay without any minimum employment bond (i.e. I didn’t have to stick around for 3 years after), which was nice, but I know that this kind of deal can be rare to find. My feeling is that it can’t hurt to ask… they may surprise you. Hope this helps and good luck in finding your way.
MeddlingKids: Don’t feel old. You’re not. I went back and got my MBA (Top 10 school in the Midwest that just hired a new football coach FINALLY, but I digress) and finished MBA in finance at age 27. I worked in corporate as a financial analyst for several years for several companies. I was bored to death, because it was mostly accounting based. After 10 years I transferred over to an ERP consulting position for a software company. The job was great. I was basically modeling financial planning & analysis systems for various industries using a multi-dimensional software package. However, the travel was a bear, over 95% and I have a wife & kid at home. I quit 5 years ago and started my own business (import-export), NOTHING to do with finance. On the side I began investing as a hobby, and studying the markets. This year I finally woke up and realized I want to manage money. Took me 16 years after finishing my MBA to come to this conclusion. This is why I decided to take Level I in June 2008. I just turned 43, so you are not old my friend, and neither am I. We both can do it. Good luck to you.
Kenteman, that’s an awesome story; good luck to you my friend.