Continue trying to break into finance or go to law school?

I graduated with a finance degree and a 3.4 GPA (3.8 in finance courses) from UofA (Canada) 2 years ago. I have been working in Fort McMurray as a Project Controls Analyst since. I have been heavily looking for a new job for the last 6 months in Commercial Banking. My friend works in corporate banking and told me IB often pulls from commercial banking. Frankly, I'd be interested in either so I feel commercial banking is my best bet for the experience to leverage for a better job. I have got absolutely no where and exhausted every possibly lead I had. I cannot even get an interview for an associate/trainee role or even small business advising (below commercial banking) positions. I had a phone interview and apparently flunked the phone interview (HR person wouldn't give me a straight answer as to why).

I just wrote the level 3 CFA exam this June but apparently no one cares because I don't have financial sales experience. I wrote a practice LSAT cold last week and got a 162, which is enough to get into UofC Law with my marks. I could study the LSAT and probably get into UofA easily enough. Should I skip finance?

My wife is a lawyer and I do have interests in possibility trying to get involved in politics sometime in the future if the opportunity arises. I do have an interest in law but I love finance. I'm a bit torn. I feel I am so far behind the curve now and obviously no one wants me. It's very discouraging seeing people I graduated with having good finance jobs. Everyone I've reached out to has basically given me the cold-shoulder or doesn't actually realize how difficult it apparently is to get a job (the low oil prices has killed employment in Alberta). Realistically, I'm thinking my age could even be a problem for finance. I'm turning 27 this year... Law might give me a refresh to try again. I'm not masochistic enough to throw down $100k on an MBA for a chance at possibly getting a job I am already qualified for either.

Thoughts?

Comments (4)

Best Response
Jun 14, 2015 - 10:30pm
monkeys_like_bananas, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Commercial banking and corporate banking can mean two different things when you are talking about fully integrated FI's with retail and CIB. There is much movement between IB and corporate bankers within the CIB division; however, commercial bankers, often located in retail, tend to build a different skill set that does not fit as well with IB.

I have a couple friends that decided on a JB/MBA joint degree, which may be a viable option for you if you decide to go the grad school route.

Have you ever thought about a career in Credit? Credit analysts (once again depending on the bank) usually work with a product (S&T) or coverage (CIB) group. Your pursuit of a CFA will get you some street cred, while your lack of industry specific exposure shouldn't weigh to heavily on your chances.

Best of luck.

Jun 15, 2015 - 10:17am
Zeknichov, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Honestly, I've thought about anything and everything related to finance. Commercial Banking seems like the most legitimate role that is actually hiring that I have a chance at. I've seen credit analyst positions posted in the last 6 months at banks and most seem to want masters+5 years of experience. I've seen 1 entry-level credit analyst position posted and got an email back saying they decided they didn't need the position anymore. Commercial banking seems to have such high turnover there is almost always an entry-level position posted.

My friend in corporate banking works closely with the investment bankers and says once you're an analyst with corporate banking you can move into IB easily enough if you want to and it's fairly common. He said he probably could have got me a job if I had 2-3 years of commercial banking experience for IB because the IB division asked his Corporate Banking guys if they knew anyone with 2-3 years of commercial banking experience to fill an analyst role they "couldn't find anyone" for. Obviously it's not the only route and it's not the most relevant but it's a route and I thought it was going to be the most applicable one I could get into. I took 1 year off school and did car sales so I already have sales experience. I figured that sales experience plus Level 3 CFA Candidate, plus a finance degree would be a perfect fit for Commercial Banking. But then you see the job market and it's literally guys with masters of economics, MBAs and 3-5 years of banking experience getting commercial banking roles. The people who got a good finance job out of post-secondary don't know how good they got it.

  • 2
Jun 17, 2015 - 11:12pm
monkeys_like_bananas, what's your opinion? Comment below:

We may be talking about different credit analysts here.... I'm taking about the BBs (Goldman, JPMC, MS, C, DB, BAML, WFC). All of these hire straight from undergrad with no experience. If you're talking about your regional bank, than because of their size, they'll probably be looking for someone with more experience for an analyst position.

Jun 19, 2015 - 9:19am
Zeknichov, what's your opinion? Comment below:

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