Trouble after CFA

Thanks in advance for any guidance or ideas.

I recently became a CFA Charterholder, and I am having trouble getting in for any jobs that require experience as an investment banker or with any credit analysis training. I have worked at a mutual fund company for the last 6 years, from client service to sales to a research/analyst job more on the business side (aka not analyzing companies, but analyzing funds/products). Does anyone have any thoughts or guidance on how to get this training/education/experience outside of trying to apply to jobs that…require that experience? Anything in equity or credit research, private equity, or consulting would interest me, but they are all looking for that specific experience. I see Fitch and Moody’s offer courses in-person for thousands of dollars and not in my city (Houston).

Just want to put this education and hard work to good use.

For reference, I have been in the analyst role for 2 years and have an Economics degree from University of Texas at Austin.

Here’s a description of my current role:

• Help strengthen and deepen product placements on wealth management platform models and recommended lists by performing investment manager due diligence, assessing My Company and competitor manager investment strategies, buy/sell discipline, risk management, and portfolio construction (including equity, fixed income, and alternative mutual funds and ETFs, with a specialty in active fixed income portfolios) • Support Due Diligence Directors through research to identify market areas of competitive advantages and trends in vehicles, product types, asset classes, and sub-asset classes • Contribute to national retirement and insurance sales by researching investment lineups and providing sales management and field salespeople with strategic sales plans and talking points on how our products and strategies compare with incumbent investment managers • Develop and produce proprietary monthly fund market reports with Morningstar Direct using the scorecard feature • Create presentations in Morningstar Direct’s Presentation Studio to support client-facing due diligence meetings

Do you have a graduate degree or just undergraduate so far? What geograhic market are you in?

You’ve already been branded as above though… Usually, it’s hard to recover and become an analyst in a different field after so much work. Your path is basically this:

  1. Become the top 1% of people in your job, so everyone knows you are good.

  2. Ask for incrementally better jobs within your reach.

Maybe you’ll end up in a different place than where you first envisioned, maybe not.

Undergraduate. Houston.

Pretty logical thoughts. Appreciate the insight.

So Ohai is generally right. However depending on your age (forgot to ask), the most likely potential path to the careers you’re describing would be to get into a good MBA program full time and then try to make the transition when you exit. The advantage of those programs are they create a break and allow for transitions and fresh starts although nothing is a given, you still have to make the most of the opportunity. Otherwise, organically, there’s little on your resume to convince someone to help you make the jump unless you get lucky through a connection or fortuitous coincidence.

Thanks for the help and insight here. I am 28, 29 at the end of the year. I have thought about taking on the GMAT and seeing how good of an MBA program I could get into, but have worried that I’d be spending all of that money to potentially run into the same problems afterwards. Your comments make sense though. It would open up opportunities, but nothing would be handed to me.

Yeah, for context if those are your goals, a full time program only really makes sense in the Top 15 rank minimum, most would argue within the Top 10. But if you’re determined that that is what you have to do to feel satisfied, then a Top 10 MBA full time would likely enable the move if you network hard and hustle.

Still exploring all of my options at this point, so knowing the practical hurdle for that career path is helpful in assessing things. I’m also open to joining my dad and his business partner that have a modestly successful advisor practice. That would just be a very different avenue to go down. Not that it doesn’t allow for serious and challenging work, and at the same time theoretically doing some good for the world. Decisions, decisions!

Thanks again for helping!

Also, I work for one of the larger mutual fund companies, so now that I’m done with the CFA program, I am going to try to focus more on networking and learning from some of the investment personnel within the company.

Moving over to the buyside from where you are - which sounds like a mashup of Product Manager, Proposal Writer (people that fill out DDQs/RFIs/etc.), and Product Analyst is tough but I’ve seen it done a few times at my firm.

To find your way over to investment management, I’d look for openings at your current firm as an analyst supporting the Client Portfolio Managers (or whatever your firm may call them. The people that live within investment management, sit with the PMs, but are client facing). From there you can build relationships with the PMs and research analysts and display your work ethic. Then it’s way easier to get a role as a jr. analyst.

Hard road to trek but definitely possible.

Not necessarily. Getting an MBA basically restarts your career. Get accepted into a top 20 and then network through on campus recruiting or alumni.