what should I do to get to the highest paying job in Finance for my case in the next 10 years?

Can someone give me some advice please regarding how to get into the highest paying job in Finance for my case?

I am 25 and I am a fresh graduate working as an external auditor in a big-four accounting firm in Australia. I am originally from China and I graduated from a top university (I was the top 1% in High School and my GPA in Uni is 3.6/4 ) in China majored in Environmental Science. Then I came to Australia and did my Master's degree in Accounting at a non-prestigious University in Au (Not because I can't get into the best University in Australia, but mainly because I need to go to this regional state to get the PR of Australia).

Now, I am working as an external auditor and at the same time doing my second Master's degree in Analytics (This program is provided by a US university with an overall ranking of around 60 globally, and the major ranks around 20-30 globally, I am doing it online and part-time and I have completed 50% of the degree.).

I am also working towards the qualification of Charted Accountant. Since I am in a small city, I don't have a crazy workload like the other big four offices in other cities so that I can have time to improve myself in terms of degree and qualification.

So, can someone please give me some advice on how to get into the highest paying job in Finance. I'd really appreciate it.

I've got a rough plan and don't know if it actually works? I'd obtain my CA and finish my master's degree in analytics in three years. At that time, I should be a senior accountant and I'd probably stay in the big-four firm until I become the assistant manager. After that, I'd probably consider doing a full-time MBA in the UK at the top University there.

So, if I follow this plan, when I get to the age of 30, I should have five years of working experience in an external audit at a big four firm with the CA qualification. I'll have and a bachelor's degree in Environmental Science, a Master's degree in Accounting, a Master's degree in Analytics and maybe an MBA from a top UK university. I've also got some experience in real estate property investment because my parents are property investors, the portfolio is not very high (around $5 million). But we'll discuss and I'll provide analysis and suggestions for them every time they want to buy a property.

My goal is to get into the highest paying position in fiance, maybe investment banking or asset management roles in UK/AU/Hongkong/Mainland China. Can someone give me some advice please? Any comments would be very much appreciated.

Comments (6)

May 1, 2020 - 10:35pm
NB574, what's your opinion? Comment below:

My goal is to get into the highest paying position in fiance

Attention to detail is a start.

Learn what you can from your parents. It is pretty difficult to go from accounting ==> IB. Do you enjoy accounting? If you do, I think your best path to a "high paying job" is staying at the big 4 firm and make partner (can be done in 10-15 years). You should be making mid 6 low 7 figures depending on your performance.


Most Helpful
May 2, 2020 - 12:40am
Synergy_or_Syzygy, what's your opinion? Comment below:

A few thoughts:

  • Make the most of your pre-MBA career. This will be a huge factor in your success recruiting at your future full time MBA program to transition into finance. I also echo Nickh that a long term career at Big 4 if you can progress and you enjoy the job is very rewarding

  • Learn not only technical skills but also leadership, interpersonal skills, improve your English, and perhaps most importantly, EQ and social skills (being able to make Australian and other international friends is important if you want a career outside of the Mainland)

  • Please reconsider your goal of the "highest paying position in finance." The highest paying job will be the one that is most sustainable for your life: most career earnings come when you are in your 40's, 50's, and 60's years of age. They are not necessarily the highest paying jobs in your 20's and especially not if you burn out

  • International people don't really care about your family investing and it sounds like bragging or irrelevant to finance unless maybe you're recruiting for a real estate investing role

  • Your Charter in Accounting is more important than your Master's degree (nobody cares about the degree); I also think few people will care about the Masters in Analytics unless you are recruiting for specifically an Analytics role. Your MBA should be from a top UK school if you're planning on recruiting in the UK (LBS ideally, maybe Oxford/Cambridge but not sure). In HK they don't really care about MBAs, except for a few positions (maybe banking) and the political situation may have changed recruiting for foreigners (+ Mainlanders)

  • Similar to above, you should always be aware of what prejudices people may have against you (this is not only racial prejudice but simply being aware of what your first impression is). If I looked at your future resume I may think "nerdy person with lots of degrees." This may be unfair, you could be an Australian club rugby athlete or something, but that's my point: your resume and your interview performance should be geared at making you well rounded and solid at your career path, not looking like someone who has "checked all the boxes" by collecting a bunch of degrees and qualifications, but hasn't got a network or social skills. Please do keep that in mind

  • Your first/second/third job may not be your final career path; your career may evolve over time. So keep learning, growing and maturing in your role, taking advantage of where you are at rather than purely looking to the future for exit opportunities

  • Network, network, network. You should not leave your Big 4 without a handful of really good friends who you can network with and be able to reach out to in the future when you need it.

Source: I am a Big 4 -> MBA -> IB

Be excellent to each other, and party on, dudes.
  • 6
May 2, 2020 - 2:36am
odog808, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Here's a true story:

I once took a summer school accounting class in a bigger city at another university (I was a Univ of Hawaii student at Univ of Washington for the summer). In my class was an older guy who drove a Ducati motorcycle to class. Ducati guy and I and another guy would study together. One day I asked Ducati guy what he was doing in the class and he said he wanted to learn some accounting as he was going to run a bank. He had connections to private equity (ok, I subsequently looked up what that was). He previously was in hotels and opened several throughout the world and later became the CEO. He then helped the company get bought out by a mega hospitality company.

I was studying to become a public accountant. Wasn't sure tax or audit. He was just doing continuous learning. I forget if I asked him or he just told me this, but he said in simple terms, the hierarchy of money in business.

He said, the Management gets paid the most Then the bankers Then the lawyers And then the Accountants

He might of meant in a M&A deal. Anyways, that story I wanted to share.

So, think about how to get into Management. CFO is a great role. Understand an industry. Know accounting, but also think strategically and understand finance, capital markets, risk, learn to negotiate agreements. Learn to build businesses.

I think the role of CFO is so underrated on WSO. Never gets talked about (maybe I could go to corporate finance message board but I don't). It is ridiculous actually if you think about it. Nobody wants to own part of and run a company and be the most important finance person.

Money touches everything. How many companies are there in the world?

Have compassion as well as ambition and you’ll go far in life
  • 5
May 2, 2020 - 3:02am
Pierogi Equities, what's your opinion? Comment below:

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Quant (ˈkwänt) n: An expert, someone who knows more and more about less and less until they know everything about nothing.

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