Career Changing Advice - Highly finance and mathematics focused

I'm an undergrad at LSE - studying Stats with Finance - and will graduate in Summer 2013.

I am very confused about what to do with my life.

My CV is highly finance/mathematics focused, but I have really lost interest in the financial markets during my time at LSE.

I originally wanted to be an Actuary - so enrolled in BSc Actuarial Science. I then realised (after studying the actuarial modules) that its incredible boring/too mathematical for my liking and also networked with Actuaries - realised it wasn't for me at all.

Then I wanted to be a Trader. It fit my skillset, I applied, managed to shadow some Traders for 2 months. After week 1, I was incredibly bored. Bloomberg is amazing, but their role was very repetitive and (no offence) not intellectually stimulating enough. It taps into a particular skillset but I wanted more.

Then I wanted to be an Investment Banker. Managed to land 2 internships (Christmas one and a summer one) at boutiques. The work was okay - valuation was interesting at first... but again it became repetitive after a while. Copy/pasting mostly and the hours were ridiculously long and tough. I am very sure I would burn out in a few months.

Then I thought I could make it big by launching my own website. That didn't quite pan out - made some money - but I still want a career. I have done the accounting for my own business, so becoming an accountant is also off the table, as it is also repetitive and doesn't keep my mind mentally stimulated. I also worked as a bank 'teller' for 2 weeks - that's never going to happen again! lol

As I enjoyed working on M&A deals/the 'business' side of things in IBD I was thinking of doing Equity Research or Law. The problem with both is that they require a high level of research ability/writing skills - mine are okay but not on par with the Oxford Classics graduate for example. I don't score too well in Verbal Reasoning tests and so on so my chances of getting in are slim. The other problem with ER is you have to be passionate about the financial markets - which I am not.

I have networked with people from all the professions above. The advice I get is that I'm bright and can do anything I want. But this is a problem because I really don't know what to do.

Can someone suggest something I can do please?

Comments (21)

Aug 27, 2012 - 11:17am
Vyraal, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Not interested in financial markets....

Goes to a financial industry based website for help.

...?

In all seriousness though, are you interested in any of the physical sciences? Can you scramble to take some med classes and try to med school? Also following the role of an academic in finance is an option as well, plenty of theories and kinks within financial theory that definitely need to be worked out. Real Estate/physical asset finance is another option.

Aug 27, 2012 - 2:09pm
hopesanddreams, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Melvvar - I'm not avoiding reality. All jobs have things that suck in them. I'm just trying to find one that plays to my strengths/I will enjoy somewhat.

Vyraal - I'm not as interested in the financial markets (e.g. S&P 500, FTSE etc) but i am in businesses (e.g. Apple gets $1 billion over a law suit or Apple buys Microsoft - M&A deal of the year (fake example but you see the point)). Sorry - i should have been more clear about that above.

I have tried Chemistry at A Level - was fun then - but I was happy to leave it. Med school is not an option as Science in general doesn't spark an interest. Academic in Finance is a no no - I find my finance modules more difficult then my maths modules - for example - but then I find academics hard in general. I prefer to work. I've avoided picking too many finance options in my final year because I find it very dull to learn.

Aug 29, 2012 - 4:48am
SirTradesaLot, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Let me just see if I followed your career path correctly:

Started as trader -> then became investment banker -> webrepreneur -> bank teller? Talk about an unusual path.

Aug 29, 2012 - 11:38am
cujo.cabbie, what's your opinion? Comment below:

kidflash - this is what I thought... but you need to do IBD before PE right?

sirtradesalot - it was bank teller --> actuary --> trader --> investment banker --> webrepreneur (all were internships except the webrepreneur which is a new thing im doing on the side while studying my undergrad degree)

Aug 29, 2012 - 5:36pm
kidflash, what's your opinion? Comment below:
cujo.cabbie:
kidflash - this is what I thought... but you need to do IBD before PE right?

sirtradesalot - it was bank teller --> actuary --> trader --> investment banker --> webrepreneur (all were internships except the webrepreneur which is a new thing im doing on the side while studying my undergrad degree)

yup. atleast in general, there'll always be exceptions. suck it up for a year or two?
  • 1
Aug 29, 2012 - 7:59pm
cujo.cabbie, what's your opinion? Comment below:

kidflash - Trouble is people I have spoken to say that if you didn't really like it you won't last very long. I thought IBD was 'okay' and that was on 12 hour days, no weekends. Do I imagine myself do this for 2 years in the hope I get into PE - which I am not even sure I want to go into? Do you see the problem...? :(

Is there nothing else that pays well (maybe not as much as bankers but abcove average), doesn't need to be perfect in terms of work-life balance but I do need more sleep then 4 hours a day lol and a day on the weekend to myself!, room for progression and change/growth rather than a 2 years and leave culture and something that still is a bit mentally stimulating (I know every job has grunt work and that's fine).

Best Response
Aug 29, 2012 - 10:18pm
kidflash, what's your opinion? Comment below:
cujo.cabbie:
kidflash - Trouble is people I have spoken to say that if you didn't really like it you won't last very long. I thought IBD was 'okay' and that was on 12 hour days, no weekends. Do I imagine myself do this for 2 years in the hope I get into PE - which I am not even sure I want to go into? Do you see the problem...? :(

Is there nothing else that pays well (maybe not as much as bankers but abcove average), doesn't need to be perfect in terms of work-life balance but I do need more sleep then 4 hours a day lol and a day on the weekend to myself!, room for progression and change/growth rather than a 2 years and leave culture and something that still is a bit mentally stimulating (I know every job has grunt work and that's fine).

I mean, banking is the most surefire way to PE. It doesn't necessarily have to be two years, there's examples of people who leave for PE after their first year. Surely you can sacrifice one year?
  • 3
Aug 29, 2012 - 11:34pm
SirTradesaLot, what's your opinion? Comment below:

You have tried trading and banking and didn't like either. You are not passionate about the financial markets. It's fairly obvious you should explore your options outside of finance. Kind of hard for strangers to narrow the universe down for you. http://occupations.careers.org/

Aug 30, 2012 - 10:17am
happyhippo, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Out of the things you listed, ER would probably be the best for you. You just do the research and valuation, you don't have to be passionate about every aspect of the market, just informed so you can do a proper valuation. Also I doubt you need exceptional writing skills, you can compensate with logical organization to your research papers.

But if you're sure you wouldn't like ER, here is a list of that could be interesting, maybe one of them will be interesting to you.

entrepreneurcorporate financePWMeconomist teacher/tutor real estate risk management (would go well w/ your background)

Sep 2, 2012 - 3:00am
tiger2012, what's your opinion? Comment below:
happyhippo:
Out of the things you listed, ER would probably be the best for you. You just do the research and valuation, you don't have to be passionate about every aspect of the market, just informed so you can do a proper valuation. Also I doubt you need exceptional writing skills, you can compensate with logical organization to your research papers.

ER takes writing skills. More than buy-side depending on your PM, at least conciseness and presentation. On sell-side everyone reads your reports. On buy-side, depending on your relationship with your PM, you can be more informal and/or sarcastic in your writing.

"This stock is going to drop like Snookie's panties at a Jagermeister promo."

-Maximum downside

Sep 2, 2012 - 5:50am
junky_munky, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Since no one else has mentioned it - consulting? It is a profession that requires you to look at details, but the starting point for a number of problems is a big picture kind of problem (which should interest you as you like "businesses").

corporate development could also be an option. The problem is that you want the job profile of an MD without being an analyst.

Most jobs have their own share of shit, and as an entry level person you can only hope that the shit takes up something less than 90% of your time.

Sep 2, 2012 - 8:13am
hopesanddreams, what's your opinion? Comment below:

tiger2012 - the trouble is that although i'm happy writing short amounts of text, i really don't enjoy writing/drafting a lot of stuff (which is one of the reasons why I didn't like IBD much).

junky_munky - haha yea all jobs have a lot of grunt work. i don't mind doing grunt work if i have to, and while doing it i don't really mind, but i still want to find a job that i reasonably like/am at least mildly interested in. i dont like the culutre in IBD of everyone going in to leave after 2 years... it defeats the whole purpose of enjoying work imo. (no offence to anyone)

i went to 4 different consulting 'insight days' where we were given a case study, analysed it, gave recommendations etc. was okay but not really as interesting as i hoped it would be. the juniors i networked with after said that the case study i got was roughly was they do on a day-to-day basis so it was a good insight... if i didn't like the case study then im very unlikely to like consulting work (and that was a reaosnably interesting case study vs what they usually work on haha)

my trouble is nothing 'fits'... or i can't seem to make something 'fit'.

Sep 4, 2012 - 9:16am
Advent27, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Maybe investor relations? Secondaries? I am actually not in a very different situation to yours. I already have work experience, was in corporate finance team of an accountancy firm for a couple of years then did banking for a year as a senior analyst/associate 0. Either i burnt out or the level at which i joined seemed too high that put/scared me off. I decided to take some time off to think about what I want to do/what would interest me and play well to my strneghts but don't want to waste the free time I have. Can anyone help with suggestions as to what I should do?? Both in terms of the next step (what job, still i-banking?maybe pe? or corp dev?) and how can i prepare for it better so that i feel more comfortable once i start a new job. Thanks

Sep 4, 2012 - 5:13pm
Disjoint, what's your opinion? Comment below:

I went to LSE - great school. Every bank is on campus to recruit you. Life sucks - jobs are repetitive, you don't get to play around like you wanted to.

If you care a lot about money you'll suck it up and take it. I call it life - and you don't get to do what you want. Otherwise you try yourself out at entrepreneurship fail a few times, maybe make some cash. But most likely struggle like most of my mates who are doing that.

If you want to be intellectually challenged become a professor, or I don't know write a book....

Sep 5, 2012 - 8:53am
hopesanddreams, what's your opinion? Comment below:

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Sep 6, 2012 - 10:11am
hopesanddreams, what's your opinion? Comment below:

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