Advice please: hopefully a CFA designation candidate, 2 yr experience of IT in BB, breaking into buy-side (HF or AM)ST
Hi fellow monkeys,
I have been browsing WSO for the past couple of weeks, and I’ve seen many questions being asked about CFA, but none quite fits the situation that I am in. So I want to start this thread to post my plans and try to collect ideas from you guys, hopefully it will be of some help to people who are also looking to jump out of technology/operations and into business side.
I am a CFA level 3 candidate, I seated for CFA level 3 exam on June 2nd, the result comes out on August 7th and I’m expecting to pass it. I work as a front office developer (or analytical developer/quant developer or whatever) in a BB bank, supporting our derivatives trading. This is my 26th month in this job and it is my first job. My education is MS degree of Computer Science from an Ivy League school, and a BS degree in Electronics Engineering from one of the top 4 schools in China (yes, I am a Chinese and I speak Chinese).
I’ve been trading in my personal account since I started working and have managed to strike about break even (no judging plz…). I know I like implementing my ideas and watching how it works out, and I like an environment that my compensation is largely if not directly related to my performance.
My goal is to become a portfolio manager before my mid 30s (in about 10 years), so my next step is finding a job that can lead me there, which, I guess, should be something like junior analyst on the buy-side, or in equity research.
So my questions are:
What kind of jobs should I look for, as in being realistic and fitting my long-term goal?
What type of firms are better fits? HF or AM? What investment styles? Can people switch between HF and AM? Should I also look in equity research space?
I need to balance between job security and earning potential, and I want my tenure to be more respected when I get senior (not like in the IT world, where young people tend to outperform their elders because they have updated knowledge and are quicker learners). I also prefer firms that gives me portable skills. By portable I mean I can use them in emerging markets like China.
What is the best way, that you think, for me to realize my career switch and to meet my long-term goal?
I know many good fellows will say “get a MBA pal!”. Thanks in advance! MBA is a great idea, but I don’t think it is the most cost-effective choice for me. I have friends who are in top MBA programs and can’t land a paid internship, I also have friends who don’t have a MBA and broke into trading. I think persistence, doing your homework, and networking are the keys to succeed in this world, not what degree you can put on your résumé.
I plan to land my next job within next several months before I totally forget whatever I learned in CFA curriculum.
I think passing all 3 levels of CFA exam is somewhat helpful, and my engineering background should meet most of the educational requirements. My 26 months experience of IT in finance space should be discounted when I look for a job in business side, I’d discount it to 30% so it will be equal to about 8 months of relevant experience.
On the flip side, I will need some serious improvements on my English communications, and I don’t think I will ever be able to completely close the cultural gap between my oriental background and the western society here in NYC.
Please, feel free to add your comments, opinions, suggestions, insights, secret stock picking tips, silly jokes, or anything else into the thread. They will all be much appreciated.