Brutally Honest Evaluation

Objective: IBD Associate by way of an MBA

The Good:
- 750 GMAT
- CFA Level III Candidate (not relevant, I'm told, for IBD directly but have to think the charter would improve my B school candidacy at least somewhat)
- Top 10 (out of approx. 1500) financial advisor at a major financial services firm
- Co-founded startup in college and led $1mm raise (now defunct, of course)

The Bad:
- I'm a financial advisor

The Ugly:
- 3.0 GPA non-finance major at a podunk state school (I was, shall we say, undisciplined)

What range of b-schools do you think is a realistic target (e.g. top 20, top 50)? If I can't go top 20, is an MBA even worthwhile as far as breaking into the vaunted halls of IB? Where is that cutoff point (e.g. top 20, top 30) at which banks say "we don't give a shit about your cut-rate MBA", and I'm left simply to wallow, jobless, under mountains of high-interest debt?

Any advice from you anonymous and yet seemingly credible chaps would be much appreciated.

Comments (28)

SECfinance, what's your opinion? Comment below:

How many years of work experience do you have?

MM IB -> TMT Corporate Development -> New Ventures
mar711, what's your opinion? Comment below:

It all depends on how you frame your under the impression that if you have 730+ on GMAT, GPA above 3.0, and no major gaps in work experience, nothing is out of the question. Undergrad GPA and brand are not as important as you might think, given your GMAT and CFAIII. Adcoms will be far more concerned with what you did outside the classroom in undergrad at this point.

Go to a top 10.

  • 1
Premia, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Most likely scenario will be in the 10-25 range, many of which still have strong banking recruiting presence

YoshiIsAwesome, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Wait, wait, wait. You are a successful financial advisor. Why is it, exactly, that you want to go into IB? If you are part of the 10% who make it in retail advisory, that's an incredible career. You can make your own hours, work with clients who also become your good friends (and golfing partners), and make a great income. I'm curious as to why you want to make this switch.

As far as schools are concerned, the 750 makes up for a lot. I think 7-10 is a pretty solid range for you, and you should have some shot at higher. I could see you at Tuck for sure (and I think you are their type). You'll have absolutely no issues getting an internship in IB from anywhere within the top 15, of which you'll get into at least 1 if you apply to 5. I'm bullish on your chances with good execution but... why?

BillBelichick37, what's your opinion? Comment below:

seriously. I had thought top 10 out of 1500 FA's easily clear 300-500k. Better hours and pay than ib associate, no?

MMBanker14, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Apparently people are grossly overestimating what "good FAs" make? Seems like Top 10 FA =/= 500k annum, otherwise why would OP bother to go through the MBA & IB grind

Doesn't equal 500k a year in your mid 20s, but I've met guys who make significantly more than that later in life while only working ~10-15 hours a week. Takes a while to get there and a lot of work, but if you can it's an awesome lifestyle.
BillBelichick37, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Look up the Barron's financial advisor rankings. thebrofessor could shed some light on the comp they're getting but according to their website the average of the top 1200 advisors was 2.4B AUM per advisor. If op is in the top 10 of all FAs at a MS, ML, etc. he's making a good chunk of money.

Best Response
thebrofessor, what's your opinion? Comment below:

agreed, but I don't think he is. morgan and Merrill have something like 15,000 FAs, UBS 10,000 I think. top 10 at one of those firms you're likely making 7-8 figures while working less than 60 hrs a week. a buddy of mine is top quartile at his firm (indy shop) and his team does 25% of the revenue my team does, and he's probably making 250k after expenses. not a bad living, but I could see if you wanted to reinvent yourself.

I'm guessing OP didn't post his ranking to wow us, moreso as part of his resume. either way, being near the top in your firm is impressive, regardless of firm size, but if he's truly a rainmaker, the last thing I'd want to do is give that up to go back to school to become an IB associate.

jumpinjaysfishmarket, what's your opinion? Comment below:

In response to those questioning the motives behind a transition from advisor to IB:

While the work/life balance is exceptional, and the pay is in the vicinity of the estimates ventured thus far, my primary motivation is related to my long-term career ambitions (which perhaps I should have mentioned in the initial post). I ultimately want to break into PE, with the intention of one day running my own VC fund.

OttoReadmore, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Don't undersell yourself. I think you have the WE and GMAT necessary for a top school. Maybe not H/S/W per se, but what could you have to lose? I would say the profile is easily Top 20. The GPA doesn't help, but it could be much worse. Passing the CFA would definitely put you in good graces with the adcoms for sure. I would say start working on putting together your applications for the coming fall. Once you get admission decisions- you can refocus if necessary.

"Even if you're on the right track, you'll get run over if you just sit there" - Will Rogers
  • 1
YouCantHandleTheTruth, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Top 10 out of 1500 on what metric?

Hard to believe it's overall revenue just a few years out of school, unless you're a small piece of a big team and are counting it that way. If you were top 10 within three years, your trajectory would be so strong that it would be impossible to imagine wanting to do something else.

If you don't know who the sucker is at the table, it's you.
  • 1
anonmonkey10, what's your opinion? Comment below:

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