First of all, please pardon my ignorance.
In the Spring of 2010 I graduated from a top-50 private Southern school with an undergraduate major in Finance and a Masters in Accounting (joint program). Why Masters in Accounting? Good question. I spent much of my first few years at school in a drunken haze, more concerned about my social life than something as distant as real life. Truth be told, I made this decision after my sophomore year, when I still had aspirations of going to. I had an internship with a local commercial real estate firm, and their CEO happened to be an alum of my school who recommended the masters of accounting - path.
Before my 5th year of my joint program, I completed an internship with one of the Big 4 accounting firms in their assurance (auditing) practice, and hated every minute of it. After receiving a full-time offer from them in the fall, I started to wonder where my path would take me (I had decided againstat this time). I decided to decline the offer and instead begin working for a start-up (this is against the interest of full-disclosure, but lets just say my job capacity was not finance or accounting focused). The company was/is so small that I shared many of the same duties as Principal, in terms of day-to-day operations. This included filing the companys taxes, making fiscal decisions, as well as meeting with potential clients etc. The opportunity was great, but as things happen, it does not look the company is going to expand in such a way for me to comfortably grow in my position.
So, I have decided to become fully dedicated to a career in Finance. I am currently in a major Northeastern city (not NYC). I have a few friends from my university, as well as several friends of friends from more prestigious "target" universities who are currently working in Finance, ranging from mid-market(DC), to real estate investment groups (Dallas), to i-banks (NY), and even financial consulting (NY). Since I have never actively searched for a position in Finance, I was relatively clueless up until a month ago as to what my options were to break into the industry. Based on some lengthly hours of research, here is what I now know:
Many finance positions are extremely hard to break into from undergrad. To my knowledge (please correct me if I am mistaken), this includes:
-Equity research (not sure if this includes buy-side and sell-side)
This is going to sound like an EXTREMELY stupid question, but I find myself with no choice but to ask...Besides investment banking, what are my options for finding a Finance position in New York. I am completely unfamiliar with Sales and Trading, as well as Corporate Finance (any sort of clarification would be great). I have been searching this website as well as others exhaustively, but I cannot seem to grasp an exact map of how it all shakes out.
With that said, here are my credentials.
3.42 undergraduate gpa
3.7 graduate gpa
1500 sat/800 math/800 math 2c (doubt this shit matters anymore)
graduated cum laude, deans list, distinguished scholars academic scholarship
Finance experience is basically limited to
- An very well-known research class at our b-school where the final product is a 30-some page research report on a stock that we followed/analyzed/made recommendations for a semester
-Business case for a local emerging small business in which our final presentation was a pro-forma modeling/5 year recommendation for the future of the company
I understand my schools reputation andputs me at a severe disadvantage than most who are looking to break into Wall Street. However, I feel that I have a few things going in my favor:
1) My masters degree (Although boring as shit) could potentially give me an edge over certain undergraduates who were strictly focused on finance. I have heard that all that bullshit they feed you in accounting classes about the important to analyze balance sheets etc will help you in finance fields as well
2) I do test very well and am undaunted by a lot of the common shit that gets people in interviews. Mental meath, critical thinking etc. I guess you could say I have been an underachiever all my life, but I am certainly not lacking the brain department
3) I completely understand and am more than willing to start off on the bottom, although I did graudate from undergrad 2 years ago (I know many of you are thinking no shit)
4) As mentioned previously, I do have some connections with several people already in the industry, although to be fair most of them are within their first 3 years.
SO, in short, my major (retarded question) is: If I am not qualified enough, or for whatever reason, do not do investment banking....what are my other options straight out of undergrad (for those who are wondering, I am also considering various mFin programs). One option I have explored is moving to the consulting branch of the big 4 I interned for, and doing financial advisory for them.
---What are my options besides investment banking out of college
---How bad are my stats (is it a deal breaker, or am I just way below average, below average, etc).
---What do people think about financial consulting when comapred to banking?