Moving from Tech to Finance

I’m a senior Product Manager at a successful Tech scale-up with a lot of funding, and a complex product.

60h per week is standard and the work is probably more intellectually intense than a lot of junior intern/analyst IB work. (A lot of quick decision-making / specifying exactly how some feature or concept should work / keeping an eye on a team of devs, as opposed to IB where I understand the hours are longer but a lot of it is ”grunt work”).

After a few years I am a bit fed up with the liberal tech/nomad culture, and the fuzzy KPIs. Also want something with more upside. I think finance (I realise it is a broad term) fits the bill.

I majored in Finance in college. Interned at a multi-strat hedge fund, and at an alternative asset manager / PE fund, but other than that I have no experience.

Thought I would ask here:

(1) What areas in finance are the most interesting? I have been curious about trading as I think I would manage the pressure and split-second decision making well, but it seems like corporate finance / M&A is where most college grads have been going for a long time?

(2) How to break into finance from my current unrelated job. I have a Bsc of Economics from a top European university, and the aforementioned internships. I have not, however, done the typical stint at a big bank / mgmt consulting firm. Do I need to get a Msc or are there other paths?

 

MSc, MBA, and career switch programs are your best bet. Consulting firms, investment banks and hedge funds have some pipelines for people that worked in different field, you need to go out and find them.

 

Ah yes and I’m in my mid twenties. Important detail perhaps.

I can foresee some responses stating that there are many areas in finance and that people are interested in different things etc.

My point with (1) is that it seems like most of my friends who have gone into finance gravitated towards IB / mgmt consulting for a few years then almost exclusively towards PE funds… Just interested to understand whether there are other, perhaps more fast-paced careers to pursue in the finance industry!

 

I am going to be blunt:

You don’t have experience, knowledge, or drive/passion to be in finance. You should stay in Tech.

You graduated in finance, interned at a HF, and you chose tech. Nothing wrong with that. But now you’re bored with tech and think finance is better? It is such an incredibly different universe, and I wager your tech experience is not valuable enough to warrant taking you in for a TMT analyst role at a sell-side, let alone buy-side.

Could you break into finance? Sure. Not impossible. But you don’t even know what you want in finance. This is not a problem you should have, finance is broad but clearly there are segments that can be excluded - if you like public investing, you don’t want private investing, and vice-versa. Equities and fixed income are very different. Are you comfortable with active management or would you rather sell your recommendations? You interned at a HF, you should know this.

Even if you break into finance, you have wasted valuable time that the grunts have put in. They have the knowledge, experience, drive, efficiency, and mental fortitude to withstand this fast-paced and harsh environment. You don’t. You would need to overcome that, playing catch-up.

 

I was with you until the last paragraph. “drive, efficiency, and mental fortitude to withstand this fast-paced and harsh environment.” Spare us, dude. The glazing is absolutely pathetic.

To OP, don’t ask a question like that to the rejects that trawl this site. Find out for yourself.

 

In this market your application will go to the bottom of almost every CV stack having 0 relevant experience and even for entry-level roles you'll likely be seen as too expensive.

Just looking to lateral from your current job:

  • Trading 0 chance, it's not about "split-second decision making" and your resume won't be the slightest bit competitive.
  • M&A highly unlikely unless it's a tiny tech-focused boutique that you network your way into.
  • CorpFin, not really in the same category as these other ones and doesn't sound like what you're looking for unless you mean CorpDev, in which case similar struggle to M&A unless you network your way into a smaller tech company (but still large enough to have this function). 

Msc might be a good idea to just ride out the rough hiring market and maybe get some reps in internships if possible to build that experience section, but I rarely advocate for it given the opportunity cost. Like idiotsavant said, you don't give off the impression of passion or having a desire to be in the industry which will kill a lot of interviews because there's an ever growing line of people who do want it and do have more relevant backgrounds. You had your chance and instead chose a different path which unfortunately shut a lot of doors. At this point in your career it's hard to make the change even in the best of markets, let alone right now in objectively the worst one of the past decade+. 

"The obedient always think of themselves as virtuous rather than cowardly" - Robert A. Wilson | "If you don't have any enemies in life you have never stood up for anything" - Winston Churchill | "It's a testament to the sheer belligerence of the profession that people would rather argue about the 'risk-adjusted returns' of using inferior tooth cleaning methods." - kellycriterion
 

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