Australian Non Finance Pathways?

doctor-monkey's picture
Rank: Monkey | 31

Hello Everyone,

(This does pertain to AU but sort of a question to non-finance in general moving to IB)

I've taken a look through the forums, and for non finance graduates (Medical) and I'm hoping for a career change into IB. I've done a bit of research and the path I've looked at taking is a Full-time MBA, but without any real background I don't think grades or the university I go to will have a HUGE effect, however something I considered regardless.

I'm wondering what would be best beyond my game plan of:
- Cold call, hustle and try to get an intern during my MBA
- Get at least minimum CFA 1 during this time.
- I gathered it's competitive to get a job at any reputable bank when I'm simply starting an MBA

Is there anything I can do before starting my MBA, or any advice during? I'm hoping to move into a firm which will allow for me to transfer internationally. Although I am aware that I may have to stay in AU and get as much hours and experience as possible, if I am offered a job.

Would love your help!

Comments (23)

Jan 11, 2019

Medicine + MBA is a strong profile for HC consulting, have you looked into this at all?

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Jan 11, 2019

I've definitely taken a look into consulting, as Bain & Company came up on my list when I was researching and noticed a HC department. I will need to delve deeper into it honestly, as it seems like a much easier route. Really appreciate you mentioning this, sometimes the obvious things I've missed.

EDIT: Would seem the best way if I took this path to try intern at a consulting firm with a HC division during the MBA.

Jan 11, 2019

At firms like MBBs you will most likely start as a generalist and then pivot after a few years unless you apply to their life science specific roles (but these tend to be limited to certain offices e.g McKinsey hires life science associates in Zurich and Geneva). Look into firms that hire directly into HC departments such as LEK or CRA (but I'm not sure their HC practices are in the Australian offices)

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Most Helpful
Jan 12, 2019

Don't do an MBA, its not valued there as it is in the rest of the world (I worked on a few deals with Oz colleagues, none of them had MBAs). A few guys I spoke to did this path instead, and were relatively old analysts:

[non IB/finance job] > CFA > small boutique or valuation firm (think Grant Samuel, Big 4 TAS/vals team) > then lateral to IB as analyst.

Few things to consider is that you'll be in your late twenties / early thirties by the time you end up in IB, so you have to accept you ll be getting orders from an associate who could be in his mid twenties and you'll be slaving away while your peers in your age group are starting to settle down, have babies etc. Some are fine with that, but you should know

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Jan 12, 2019

Just to add, my answer applies if you're looking to go into IB, consulting may be different and might value that more if that's what you end up pursuing

Jan 12, 2019

Hello! thank you so much for responding. Would that be the same path if I went into HC IB as well? I'm intending to take my CFA regardless this June but does make me realise that CFA would be useful regardless of the path I take.

Would you say the same if I did the MBA but with intention of moving out of AU?

Really appreciate the social aspect of it, I gathered I would be slaving to people who are younger than me, but I expected as much.

Jan 12, 2019

Yup, HC is a good angle to have and can somewhat differentiate you vs competitors when interviewing, but you still need to acquire the finance skills & get deals under your belt.

If your intention is to pursue an IB outside of AU, I guess then the answer would depend. For example if you're targeting the US, then you definitely need an MBA, preferably from an ivy league (for any chance to break into a BB that is). EU is a bit less focused on that but getting an MBA from INSEAD or LSE will definitely help.

So I think, unless you manage to get top GMAT and get into a Harvard / Wharton type MBA, I'd suggest trying to find a smaller boutique to get deal experience in AU the lateral. It's a much less competitive market which makes it easier to lateral into an IB (including BBs - out of a dozen colleagues I spoke to down there, more than half had lateralled from big 4, boutiques, etc.). And once you're in, it's relatively easy to move geographically

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Jan 12, 2019

If you want to do IB in the US then do an MBA in a US business school. Other than that, an MBA in Australia won't be worth it.

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Jan 12, 2019

Also it is easier for US Investment Banks to hire MBA's from Australia who go to American business schools since there are less visa restrictions on Aus.

Jan 12, 2019

That make sense. After looking it up on WSO it does seem more favourable for US simply for visa reasons but also be just way easier considering it's so competitive unless you become a true standout.

Can I ask does that mean most international MBAs aren't worth it? It does seem INSEAD is highly ranked (maybe these rankings aren't useful), and it makes no sense to do an MBA here then to do an MBA again in the US (or it might if that's the final destination) but a costly path. EDIT: yep, seems US it just way better in general if that's the path to take. 100% never mind me :(

Jan 16, 2019

Med to Finance, interesting. But why though?

Questions aside, ER or Consulting might accept you. Do you only have a straight medical background though (or medical science etc.). Because people who transfer to finance from medicine usually have a commerce degree of some sort. I know some that did Commerce/Medicine at USYD or Commerce UG Med PG.

How are you able to sell yourself is a major factor. A MBA doesn't necessarily help + you don't have any experience in private, i assume. Have you done your rotations yet? Have you had experience working at hospitals?

Maybe you're thinking too much. Before you even think about getting an MBA, work for someone that will be able to sponsor a part of your MBA. This is Australia and MBAs aren't really recognised here (mentioned above already).

Focus on getting ANY job while you're at.

EDIT: Just had a read at some posts above. Medicine doesn't pay you that much in terms of how much debt you're owe + long hours and competitiveness in specialisations. BUT it's safe and your career is already planned out for you. If you choose the consulting path, you have to work a few years as an analyst (mingling with 20 yr olds) before you even break 100K (which means taking a huge salary cut). Assuming you're 25, you'll be 30 before you hit that 100k + no debt.

Jan 17, 2019

Straight Medical background, so no finance background.

I've done my rotations and already in private, I'm in my early 30s so it's a late transition (I have definitely been told likely people younger than me will be telling me what to do - but I get it, and that's what I expect). I also expect gruelling hours as an analyst if that so happens to be my entry point.

I think for me, it's become more of my step I want to take. I've been working in private for 5 years, with an ownership in one of them, which we then sold off to a corporate.

It's truly taken me a lot of consideration, and honestly I find when I ask people close to me, the obvious response is 'why would you do that?'. It's why I've come to the forums, people here are great, they just tell me 'if you serious on IB -> do this'.

Really appreciate the thoughts. I think the MBA is definitely not valued in AU as much as it is set out to be. What I gathered was the MBA would be an entry point into IB, in which case the general consensus is 'top 5 or no go', with a maybe line for INSEAD.

Hope that made a bit of sense!

Jan 17, 2019

I guess that's fine since you want to experience a career change and you have had experience, I quickly assumed that you were just a medical student graduate who just wanted a change because they just stuck with med.

What I recommend you should do is network with individuals (linkedin is a good start) that have made the career path change themselves from medicine to corporate finance. You can also find out directly what opportunites you have outside of Equity Research/Consulting, and ways to leverage your medical background in getting a job. Best of luck.

Jan 17, 2019

Australian here, if you're 100% set on IB I wouldn't get an MBA. As far as I'm aware, Australia doesn't have MBA level recruiting programs (though I have seen a few industry guys do a MBA or MFin and enter as a 2nd year analyst).

You'd be a great chance for MBB consulting though, especially with a medicine background. The MBA would help you more with breaking into MBB than it would BBIB I believe.

Jan 17, 2019

Yeh, I'm dead set on IB.
You are 100% right, after talking to a few people on the forums I gathered:

  1. If truly set on IB - and in the US - Aim only for top 5 US MBAs - this will guarantee me the best CHANCE (not a sure way to get a job)
  2. MBA in INSEAD is a possible path, considering high MBB intake and leveraging medical background. Although moving from consulting to IB is a much longer route, than path

Last week, I had a meeting with MBS (Melbourne) about their MBA, and it left me realising Australia doesn't have much support for IB as you say, unless of course you are already in that world. Considering it's our 'top' MBA I was pretty shocked!
Really appreciate the insight from a fellow Aussie :D

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Jan 17, 2019

Hey mate,

As an Australian that's looked at (quite literally) millions of IB job postings over the past 2 years, I'll give you my two cents...

The med background works an absolute treat for you. As previously stated by other users CFA would be a great path to go, otherwise look at doing a Masters in Finance at a top Business School (any Go8 would suffice as far as I'm aware).

I've noticed as well that practically all firms at all levels these days are starting to recruit more and more from non-finance backgrounds, so as far as I'm concerned a med background would be a great point of differentiation to leverage (ESPECIALLY in Healthcare IB).

If you still have any doubt I'll leave you with this - my twin sisters both study final year Medicine and have WAMs of 97 (no I'm not as smart as them), and both have been contacted numerous times by boutique IBs to do some internship work... they literally found them on LinkedIn.

If you've got any questions definitely ask away - I've been there before and would be more than happy to help if I could in any way :)

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Jan 17, 2019
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