Best alternative Job to IB

Mac087's picture
Rank: Chimp | banana points -4

I'm still in college, and my main goal is to break into IB. However, I'm aware it is very difficult, so I was thinking about a plan B just in case I don't get a FT offer.

Is Corporate Finance the best path to take in the absence of IB FT offer?

If it is, what is the best division to work for?

If it is not, what other finance area do you recommend?

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Comments (94)

May 1, 2015

Cashier at McDonald's

    • 1
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May 1, 2015

You can search "Plan B" or "Back up".

This is one of the relevant threads around: http://www.wallstreetoasis.com/forums/backup-plans...

Jul 22, 2015

Boutiques

Jul 22, 2015

SEAL. Only other job that is comparably badass.

You know you've been working too hard when you stop dreaming about bottles of champagne and hordes of naked women, and start dreaming about conditional formatting and circular references.

Jul 22, 2015

Boutique is the answer. If not, you can try get yourself into a PE shop (no that it's any easier).

Big 4 Corp Fin. is another option.

Jul 22, 2015

I'm pretty much in the same spot. I even went to a superday and didn't get a job. I'm still harassing recruiters all over and trying to interview. I think I may personally end up taking a job in middle office or commercial banking if nothing works out. It's frustrating because the door is closing and most banks hired the majority of their summer analysts, leaving little space for others to break in. Just don't quit and keep applying to the middle market firms and the boutiques. Someone will end up biting. I'm just tired and frustrated...

Jul 22, 2015

I've heard of

MO --> IB

MO --> business school --> IB

Also keep trying boutiques and MM. There not done hiring yet and have more off-cycle hiring going on. There are a ton out there.

Good luck!

Jul 22, 2015

we just had a credit analyst resign for a banking job

Jul 22, 2015

Nice...Yeah i gotta keep my engine running even though the fuel seems to be draining out. Its just tough to even break in. Made me realise the true value of a target school but I am not inclined to pursue MBA without any work experience. This even makes me think if I should delay graduation in order to give myself a better shot for summer analyst position. That would be a big gamble considering that no BB's recruit On Campus but at least more slots are open for the summer right ???

Jul 22, 2015

take a job, work a few years and apply to mba

Jul 22, 2015

Unrelated career path -> MBA -> IB

I honestly ran out of time after graduating this spring I continued applying to IB and managed to get 1 - 2 interviews with IB a month even off cycle but nothing really panned out. I ended up canceling on two MM banks and taking a consulting offer at a less prestigious firm simply because I was out of money, not out of time. Banks would not float me any more loans so I had to take a solid offer that is going to help me get of serious debt... I have no doubt that I am going to be able to transition into an IB role after a few years in consulting + MBA. The world does not end without a FT BB offer right out of school - you can build up a lot of credibility and good experience in consulting, commercial banking, even middle office roles, and corporate finance roles. None of my older friends have transitioned from accounting or anything front lines related (loan bankers, managerial banking roles, etc) but I know of people who have gotten in from from varied roles in finance brohammer.

Still not sure if I want to spend the next 30+ years grinding away in corporate finance and the WSO dream chase or look to have enough passive income to live simply and work minimally.

Jul 22, 2015

bump...more feedback please

Jul 22, 2015

I have seen people work in Audit at the Big4 and move to IBD in London. Usually you need to get to the manager level in the Big4 before this happens from what I have seen.

Jul 22, 2015

Clearly better to start in finance...

Why would working for the BBs enable you to move into IB easily? You won't be working directly with investment bankers.....

Besides, to go from big 4 to IB you (usually) need to go through big 4 corporate finance first anyway. Note that this is a common path in the UK/Australia, but not so much in the US

Jul 22, 2015

If you can get an internship/SA position with a BB, I would definitely go that route, if you know you want finance. It is much faster, and almost guarantees you relevant experience and a nice name on your resume. Going from Big 4 to IB is possible, but harder and takes more time. If you aren't sure what you want to do, focus on getting those internships and informational interviews, as well as reading more on this site. Try searching Big 4 to IB in the search bar. There is a lot of good advice out there on the difference, and what you might like more.
Also, auditing the BB banks isn't that helpful or useful in terms of transitioning to them afterwards. You will focus a lot more on their controls, and how their accounting systems work. That skill set is almost irrelevant when it comes to the actual work investment bankers do.

Jul 22, 2015

I have a friend who used to be in some sort of IT / Engineering consulting gig (I do not get that stuff, so don't ask me specifics). He now works at a fund that invests in and structures financial instruments around power/energy/chemicals/metals/mining assets. Pretty interesting, pays pretty well, hours are not nearly as bad as banking. Talk to a recruiter--you will probably be able to find a firm that appreciates your technical skills.

Jul 22, 2015

Well, let's start off with what you currently do at your internship.

Is it researching companies, writing reports, etc.? If so, take a look into equity research (check out the sub-forum here; it's super helpful).

Jul 22, 2015

@Coochie we don't get into too much detail we pretty much are between the strategist and the analysts in a way giving reccomendations to clients on what stocks to buy/sell i read all the analysts reseach and well as the strategist overview for every country/sector/company. i was interested in ER but once again it seems as though i just cant break into the industry!

Jul 22, 2015

I see. Have you taken a look at forum topics?

Start talking to people in the industries that you're interested in.

Jul 22, 2015

@Coochie Doing that now thanks for the advice!!

Jul 22, 2015

Do you currently attend one of these midwest/west coast targets?

Jul 22, 2015

No I don't, I'm a high school student trying to figure out where I should go if I can't get into the almighty Wharton.

Jul 22, 2015

Berkeley over Cornell any day of the week and for any bb office at any geographic location. Chicago...not so sure, though I'd be hesitant to work in Chicago in the first place.

Jul 22, 2015

Thanks for the reply, Mr. White. Would Berkeley over Cornell be for the reason I stated, or something else?

Any reason to shun Chicago? I need all the info I can get.

Jul 22, 2015

Berkeley is a better school in general, better ug business school (3rd I think? somebody correct me if I'm wrong), and better for recruiting. There is another thread on this board asking the same question - Berkeley v Cornell - do a search.

As for Chicago, it's much harder to lateral if you start there (as opposed to NY, SF, or a select few offices in LA). I also personally wouldn't want to work in the groups that are strong in Chicago - industrials, consumer, etc. - just a personal opinion though.

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Jul 22, 2015

Accounting is the language of finance. Do you actually believe IB has nothing to do with accounting?

Jul 22, 2015

I understand the role accounting has in relation to finance, however as I experienced it the mindset is completely different. Finance is forward thinking Accounting is mostly bookkeeping and past-thinking, it doesnt create revenue.

To be honest I wouldn't have imagined it to be possible to transition to IB from a back office environment, but if thats the reality on the st I'd love to hear it.

Also, have to say if it comes down to preference I'd like to avoid it. Ideally I believe a Financial "forward thinking" analyst type of role would be ideal, but having trouble finding where to start, and how to break in.

But again might be wrong here...

Jul 22, 2015

Big 4 TAS then transition to boutique (although Big 4 TAS is itself a pretty solid role in London).

If you can't get that Big 4 audit, transition to TAS then transition to a boutique.

All in London of course, US is different (I understand).

Jul 22, 2015

s&t

Jul 22, 2015

go do a startup fuck banks

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Jul 22, 2015

@"Banananker" how do I go about finding out what startups are hiring recent graduates?

Jul 22, 2015

haha right
startups rarely if ever have formalised recruitment. I mean the big ones do sure but then its questionable if you can still call them startups.

Early stage startups will hire you for 1 single reason - you can do anything and everything. As in in 1 day you may cold call 10 customers, draw a design for something, do some research, etc. Code tends to be separate though.

Late stage startups will have pre-defined functions often Check out robinhood.com - I think they're one of the best fintech startups around these days. They have a job page.

But if you want to work for a startup you need to understand 2 things:
1. You need to *get* their vision. Startups start not because founders want to make money (sometimes they do). They start because a founder has a vision for something better and he will only deal with people who buy into that vision. That said if you want to join a startup but have 0 interest in what they do you will never do well there.

2. Startups often don't pay. Again there is a difference between late stage and early stage but forget about banking money.

I would only go work for a startup if you want a startup yourself. If you do then go join a FUNDED startup (can't emphasise this enough) and you will learn a tone about how a company is built.

Otherwise cold call M&A boutiques until someone hires you (I did this for months to get my first banking job).

Jul 22, 2015

What was your major? What are your interests?

Jul 22, 2015

I have a double major in Finance and Risk Management and Insurance. My interests are money, computers, sports, technology.

Jul 22, 2015

Your interest is 'money'...?

Jul 22, 2015

Get on startuphire and try to find a role that you'd be interested in (and make sure the company is backed by some VC's with deep pockets)

Jul 22, 2015

You can't even get a no name boutique working for free?

Jul 22, 2015

When you say applying have you just been applying, or have you also called every single alumni in your school who works in banking and seen what they might be able to do to help? Also what have you done for internships in the meantime? What is your undergrad GPA? This will all be helpful info in terms of assessing your chances and opportunities. If you have a 3.2 from a non-target and no good internships, I have to say you're in tough straits. If on the other hand you are a 3.6 from a target with good internships there might be something we can do. Maybe post on razume.com and we can give some advice.

Good luck.

if you like it then you shoulda put a banana on it

Jul 22, 2015

.

Johnny Rocket

Jul 22, 2015

You see the "Forums" drop down at the top of this page? You see how there are a bunch of different forums, only one of which is IB? Yeah, those are the alternatives.

Jul 22, 2015

Network, look at corpfin, regional accounting firms, valuation firms, governmental finance jobs.

Jul 22, 2015

Haven't tried no name boutiques working for free as I have 2 of those internships already. :s I'm looking for a paid job or at least an internship... However I did apply to smaller firms and don't mention money but still don't have much luck.

I have been applying online and emailing whoever I can. Not many people from my school are helpful though... They just say you will be fine just apply online and cut it there.

I'm in the UK so don't have a GPA. I will get a upper second for sure, a first is quite possible. I won't know till next summer. I'm at a target.

By alternatives I didn't mean 'another area in an IB'. Investment banks only allow you to apply to one area (well most do anyway) so I can't apply for ER or Trading etc once I have applied for IBD.

Happy to send my resume via PM but I'm quite sure you will say the same things others have haha.

Thanks.

Jul 22, 2015

You can go work for a F500 CorpFin group then get your MBA, or go work for Big-4 and get your MBA, or you can try to get a headhunter to find you a job. Those are three that I can think of off the top of my head

Jul 22, 2015

just dont do finance, switch career

Jul 22, 2015

if you're going to get an MBA anyway, you can basically do anything you want pre-MBA.

if you're an analyst at a MM bank, you can lateral after 2 years to a BB bank.

Jul 22, 2015

The best shot would porbably be MM or boutique. Be careful with Big4 as those candidates have a hard time differentiating themselves when applying to top MBAs.

Jul 22, 2015

If you lateral after 2 years as an analyst at an MM Bank, does that mean you would move to a 3rd year analyst position at a BB, or would you start as a 1st year analyst at a BB?

Jul 22, 2015

I'm pretty sure you just go from where you left off, with the possibility of being knocked back a year. I had a friend transfer from an MM to a BB halfway through his first year and they pretended as though he had been there the whole year. In fact, he even got a full bonus (20k less than top bucket).

Jul 22, 2015

This is a question I wanted to ask as well. Obviously I'm going to fight for a SA spot next summer and a FT spot after that, but what are the other alternatives?

MM -> MBA
Big4 -> MBA
Fort. 500 ->MBA

Those are the alternatives that I've seen most often on the board. I would like to go MM if I can't get BB, but just in case...

...Are there any fortune 500 jobs that are seen as more prestigious/appropriate than others? My uncle works at Microsoft, and he told me that Microsoft Finance is little more than a glorified accounting department, something I don't think I'd be very interested in.

Basically, what are the most attractive non-IB, non-PE, non-HF entry-level finance jobs?

Jul 22, 2015
Jul 22, 2015

management trainee program at a bank such as Citi, end of the program you have option of going into the IB division.

Jul 22, 2015

How hard is it to get into the M/B/B finance programs? Also, does anyone know the hours/pay?

I feel like a tool for not just searching ibo, but a search for m/b/b finance hasn't really returned much.

Jul 22, 2015

bump

Jul 22, 2015

getting into MBB is substantially harder than getting a spot in IBD... the hours are slightly better, the pay is substantially less.

Jul 22, 2015

Also interested, I always wondered whether financial advisors at PWM firms could transition into I banking given the amount of networking avenues they get in bigger cities.

Anyways, I've always heard that going back to school is the only way to redeem a bad undergraduate record and get the networking exposure necessary in order to get into finance. A top MBA, or MSF could definitely help you out

Jul 22, 2015
Husky32:

Also interested, I always wondered whether financial advisors at PWM firms could transition into I banking given the amount of networking avenues they get in bigger cities.

No.

Jul 22, 2015

You should try to get into a good MSF program.

To quote the MSF expert, TNA,
"BC's program is great and will do well in Boston/NYC, but it is a night time, PT MSF. They have a new full time quant track MSF during the day, but not sure if you are looking for that. Pro with this program is Boston and internship opportunity.

Villanova's program is right outside Philly so you can intern there. Philly, like Boston is a decent finance city so you have networking and work opportunities as well. The program is established and has solid placements and alumni. The school is well ranked and has lots of alumni on the street. It is also the lowest cost of the programs listed. Placements in NYC/Philly.

Claremont is a great MSF program. Strong West Coast placements. You are pretty close to LA so I suppose you can intern also.

Duke has the best brand, but it is a general management program. Not saying this is a bad thing, just saying it is kind of different. Placements and program have been improving. The MMS program is finding its sweet spot.

MIT is obviously the gold standard for traditional MSF programs. Expensive, but worth it.

UT Austin is a great program. Probably going to be strongest in Texas or the south.

Decide where you want to start your career (location wise) and how much you want to spend. Your stats are great and you will get into or be competitive at all schools .Claremont might pass on your since they see top UG schools with engineering backgrounds. They love Harvey Mudd. Their GMAT average is also rather high (over 700).

Whatever you do, get an internship 1st. You don't want to have a bare resume when you start these programs."

Jul 22, 2015
Connor:

You should try to get into a good MSF program.

To quote the MSF expert, TNA,
"BC's program is great and will do well in Boston/NYC, but it is a night time, PT MSF. They have a new full time quant track MSF during the day, but not sure if you are looking for that. Pro with this program is Boston and internship opportunity.

Villanova's program is right outside Philly so you can intern there. Philly, like Boston is a decent finance city so you have networking and work opportunities as well. The program is established and has solid placements and alumni. The school is well ranked and has lots of alumni on the street. It is also the lowest cost of the programs listed. Placements in NYC/Philly.

Claremont is a great MSF program. Strong West Coast placements. You are pretty close to LA so I suppose you can intern also.

Duke has the best brand, but it is a general management program. Not saying this is a bad thing, just saying it is kind of different. Placements and program have been improving. The MMS program is finding its sweet spot.

MIT is obviously the gold standard for traditional MSF programs. Expensive, but worth it.

UT Austin is a great program. Probably going to be strongest in Texas or the south.

Decide where you want to start your career (location wise) and how much you want to spend. Your stats are great and you will get into or be competitive at all schools .Claremont might pass on your since they see top UG schools with engineering backgrounds. They love Harvey Mudd. Their GMAT average is also rather high (over 700).

Whatever you do, get an internship 1st. You don't want to have a bare resume when you start these programs."

I wish i wasn't pressed for time because then I wouldn't have quoted your whole post. I should have added that I've figured out a way around the gpa issue. I must also mention that the quoted post represents the answer I've heard before (not that it's bad but I'm looking at All of the possible options).

Since a top business schools is the best way to get into BB at the associate level, and the only way to get into a top business school is through work experience, standardized tests, essays, recs, leadership, etc, my only option is to complete my second major (math). In this way I'll be able to put my new GPA not only on my resume, but also on apps to schools. I'll also be studying a field i'm naturally good at to boost my gpa, and will be taking classes in modeling at a top 20 school. I'm capable of scoring perfect/near perfect on the gre and gmat, and can get the recs from work experience. Essays are simply a matter of careful planning and execution. The whole crux is that I need to get a job that I can use "Experience" alone to get into I-banking. Is this possible? I don't care if I have to start as a bank teller I will. Furthermore, I'm willing to take a few years to get an investment banking positions, even if I have to do 3 jobs beforehand.

Thanks to all who've responded.

Jul 22, 2015

BUMP

Jul 22, 2015

Why do you want to do investment banking as an end goal? I just left banking (junior level, albeit) and it was no glory end job. More often than not people use it as a spring board to other things, curious to hear why you want it to be your career. The answer to that could help you help you figure out something productive to do before.

From a "related-work" perspective, I would say accounting and corporate finance at an industry company are useful.

Jul 22, 2015
Shawtay:

Why do you want to do investment banking as an end goal? I just left banking (junior level, albeit) and it was no glory end job. More often than not people use it as a spring board to other things, curious to hear why you want it to be your career. The answer to that could help you help you figure out something productive to do before.

From a "related-work" perspective, I would say accounting and corporate finance at an industry company are useful.

Because as you mentioned, I-banking is a good starting point for careers in the finance industry! I plan on eventually opening up my own company once I understand "finance" and have and/or can raise the required capital. Plus, investment banking is really good to put on your application for grad school, which itself is highly important in determining career options.

Best Response
Jul 22, 2015

If you are interested in pursuing PWM in the long run, perhaps private banking can be a useful compromise for your unique situation. From what a few colleagues have described to me, Private Banking is managing money for UHNW individuals. In terms of progression, you start off as an investment analyst if you are out of undergrad, and continue on to RM -> Senior RM --> Director -> MD or some iteration of the same. BB's I believe have similar career progressions to how the IB hierarchy is structured.

The benefits seem to be that PB allows for a more predictable lifestyle (Analysts are out of the office between 8-10 and generally have visibility into their day to day vs. Banking where it is very unpredictable). The comp is in the low 100's to start all in, and you help in building a book as you are more senior. This could be a potentially useful opportunity for you to transition to PWM, or could be a lucrative path/career that you end up eventually staying in long term because it offers the right balance of pay/work life balance :)

    • 3
Jul 22, 2015
  1. read my 4 part series about PWM if you're unsure about the space.
  2. if you want to succeed in PWM, you need to be able to sell, so take a role that has you interacting with similar types of people. ideally it'd be a B2B sales role, and you'd get some interface with mid to upper management. this can start out as sales support and then go into customer facing, but if there's one skill people need in PWM, it's selling. you have to be able to cultivate prospects into clients, or you will fail
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Jul 22, 2015

Thank you!

Jul 22, 2015
Inexperiencedbateman:

What can someone who studies Econ/finance

Rules out politician

Jul 22, 2015

Strategy roles in F500 companies, and perhaps corporate development maybe.

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Jul 22, 2015

Interesting! From your knowledge, does the strategy/corporate development field include creating financial models, investments, etc? Just trying to see what the job entails.

Also note: I noticed that people in public accounting go advisory. Is this similar to corporate development? (I could do accounting if I wanted, but I find the courses incredibly dry).

Jul 22, 2015

hard to get into because you really need sell side experience first for the most part. Aka IB before PE or HF. ER before HF or a mutual fund. Asset management hours aren't ridiculous at banks.

You will probably have to grin and bear it for two years. But its 2/40 working years and assuming you die at 80~, between 22 and 80, maybe 5% of your life will have bad hours? Suck it up because you would rather work your tail off now so you can align yourself to a career with a better work-life balance when you're older with family, responsibilities etc.

Or at least thats how I look at it.

edit- overlooked the part about your mom's health. Since thats a big part of your life, finance may not be the way to go. Sorry guy

    • 1
Jul 22, 2015

I see. This thought just occurred to me but what do you think about working at small investment boutiques? I'll also see if I can do this research on WSO.

If anything, I'll definitely keep exploring - but so far corporate development^ has caught my eye.

Jul 22, 2015

The pay reflects it, but corporate/commercial credit analysts can have much better hours than IB. The analysis is similar, albeit with a different goal in mind of strictly evaluating the downside scenario of a company instead of determining a valuation.

Jul 22, 2015

Yeah the fact that the analysis can be similar stands out. Pay is something I'd definitely have to consider though.

Jul 22, 2015

.

Jul 22, 2015

I don't think your position is an uncommon one, and that's exactly why so people go into banking after undergrad. It's a fairly accessible gig that exposes you to a lot those other areas that you were talking about. I would argue that if you don't know what you want, but you know you want finance, banking is probably the best place to start. Not saying it's the only place, but not many other jobs are going to give you options that banking will.

Jul 22, 2015

Thanks iConsult! Do you know if its reasonable to get a 'boutique', per se, HF job out of college (AUM BB IBD?

Jul 22, 2015

@"BlackHat", I am in need of your expertise.

Jul 22, 2015

I worked part-time at a small hedge fund during the last semester of my undergraduate career. I have since moved on to a larger fund and will begin working there full-time in May.

Here is the link to my post about the subject.

http://www.wallstreetoasis.com/forums/my-guide-on-...

Please feel free to PM me any additional questions you have.

Jul 22, 2015
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