Which path for investment banking? CFA + working experience/ACCA/MBA??

Hello everyone, I’m very interested in working in an investment bank but i have no idea what should be in my backpack to catch a opportunity in the future. I’m 21 years old. My major is finance in a local university in SouthEast Asia (not Singapore) and i’m about to leaving it with 3.7/4 GPA but i have very little extra activity (participating in finance competition, doing charity,…). I’m currently learning for IELTS exam (english is not my mother-tongue language) and pretty sure go for level 2 next year. I’ve just finished Wall Street Prep course about basic financial modeling skills and about to get an internship in a local sell-side firm. I get the inspiration to be a investment bank from some movies (Margin call, The Big Short,…) and from my teacher (CFA, ACCA, local university) , who used to be an investment banker in HongKong. As i know, it is very difficult to get investment banking job in western countries, Hong Kong or Singapore. I made some plan but i don’t know which one is good. First route : finish cfa level 3 (will take whatever number of exams to get it if i can’t get it in the first attempt) + start taking GMAT exam to study for MBA in a reputable university. Don’t even know if you can easily go to investment bank entry-level with MBA designation. Second route : finish cfa level 3 + finish ACCA. If i take ACCA, i can stay at my home country and learn more about local firms and our riduculous accounting standard. i wont underestimate accounting skills because while trying to make some financial models for local firms, i’m often confused about their accounting treatment and how to make it right way. Third route : forget about cfa + apply MsC abroad -> PhD. For me, it’s like having no working experience. However, i can take extra course about financial modeling (pretty impressed by Breaking into Wall Street) during the time. I really appreciate your helps and urged to hear your advices. Thank you all for reading my post.

I like green tea. do you?

coffee with milk, and i aware of the workload

You should put some sugar. Anyway, I don’t like coffee, bad for health :).

There is any IB in your country?

of course yes, but it is not as good as IB in Hong Kong and Singapore for sure. Maybe it’s a good idea to spend time in local investment bank first then step back and think more carefully. IB in my country can merge with other department, they have a lot of function ( developing country problem). I’m not sure about the trend in my country but perhaps IB in sell-side firm (which is not subsidiary of any bank) is bigger than IB in bank.

Hahaha, ndlong1 wrote something about Breaking into Wall Street. I dont know what it is so I google. I found an article written by the author of Breaking…



Perhaps CFA designation can bring me close to other candidates from western business school. just my 2 cents. Actually i found reading cfa curriculum level 1 is more helpful than spending 4 years in my own university (i major in finance), it is quite sad but true. However, “cfa just teach us the theory, not the practice”. Now I have no working experience. Maybe courses like BIWS can help young people like me. Who know. What should i do now?

Typical Asian attitude: “I want to get a job - I guess I should take more exams”. Wrong - you should find every single investment banking/finance person in your city and invite them to lunch one on one, communicate your goal, and after you have made a good impression, ask if they have any job leads. At least one of them must know someone who is hiring, or they might in the future, and if you made a good enough impression, they might think of you and let you know.

When I was trying to get my first job, I cold called many companies to ask for jobs. I ended up getting a job at a big company from campus recruiting, but that’s not the point.

According to great businessman Li Ka Shing, 25% of your income should go towards entertaining other people and building relationships. As you make more friends, you will become more successful.

Ohai, I think I agree with you in some points but not all. Ok, for important job offers, perhaps we can not find on the internet or in bank websites but via network. But what kind of jobs in IB for juniors that we need to ask people like this? You said in big company?

If you have the right profile for university graduate recruitment, then yes, you can just apply to job listings and get hired. I got my first job this way, as I mentioned above. I assume that OP is doing this anyway.

However, if you are not a particularly competitive candidate, then the best way to increase your success rate is to rely on personal connections, like I suggested. Even if you have a reasonable background, it is not uncommon to fail anyway using conventional listings and need to rely on networking.

More importantly, OP’s thinking is narrow and ignorant. His points 1-3 above focus entirely on getting more and more academic certificates, even to the point of a PhD. This is because he refuses to think of things outside his comfort zone and so, he reverts to more schooling, something that he has done his whole life. This is an extremely common way of thinking, which is why I could spot it immediately.

Looking for a competitive job but refusing to pound the pavement is crazy. It’s not impossible to get lucky and have an opportunity fall into your lap, but that is not how you get the best opportunities.

i agree that networking is very important but it is much easier if you are local people (like Hong Kong people make friends with Hong Kong people). I think that there is no way for a mediocre student in a developing country to get the IB job in developed country directly through networking (unless you are an Asian lost child of a Western CEO), but a good student can (as i mentioned in route 1 and 3). Thus, you mean route 2 is optimal for me, right? Staying in my home country, get work experience, and move to other market like Singapore and Hong Kong later. I don’t say it is not a good path. My teacher, who i mentioned above, managed to do it in his old days.

ndlong1, your situation is particular, classical advices don’t work for you. It’s correct that you can’t build your network of relationship now with people in developed countries. Even if you want to build it with people in your country, if you are just a student from an average university, it’s still difficult.

I think you can expect to work in IB, but not in Front Office like people on movies. And the earlier you go abroad, the easier you can find a job.

In my opinion, the route 2 is the worst if your dream is to work abroad, the route 1 or 3 are better in considering what you have now.

refined sugar is bad for your health

coffee is good for your health https://authoritynutrition.com/top-13-evidence-based-health-benefits-of-coffee/

I like this guy.

Li Ka Shing did pretty well for himself and his family…$30 billion? can’t even fathom what that must feel like. hmmm let’s put in an offer to buy the Chrysler Building…beautiful building beautiful!!! start the bid at $1.4 billion.