Better Entry-Level Opportunity: Financial Operations or Valuation Analyst?

I'm a recent graduate, with a Finance major, Economics minor and an International Business certificate, from a non-target school. I had a 3.4 GPA and previous internships in Real Estate Finance and Wealth Management, as well as a study abroad experience.

My job search has been a combination of bad interviewing and bad luck. I had several good prospects which fell through due to underdeveloped interviewing skills, then had an offer fall through due to 'HR Issues' and now I have two offers- one from a small Valuation Consultancy and another from a large Financial Operations company supporting the Investment Banks.

Neither position is 100% ideal, considering I wanted an entry level IBD Analyst position. This wasn't realistic, due to my less than stellar GPA, being from a non-target and it taking a while for me to get better at interviewing. Given these options now, however, which would be a better first job for a path into Investment Banking? I do plan on pursing the CFA and possibly an MBA in the future. I am leaning towards the Valuation Analyst position which seems more interesting and relevant.

Comments (6)

Jul 21, 2017


Jul 24, 2017

I'd take the stability of the large company and try to network my way into an IB role over a small valuation consultancy that people probably have not heard of.

Best Response
Jul 25, 2017

I think the Financial Operations position is your best move to get into Investment Banking. Working for a larger company towards the beginning of your career will expand your network and will provide you with better training than a smaller firm can, and you will be able to market those skills with more success in the future. Also, the fact that you will be supporting the Investment Banks at the larger firm will give you exposure to the industry, which is extremely important and will give you an advantage when applying for IB positions in the future. The relevance of the work you are doing is not as important earlier in your career, the most important thing as a recent graduate is to build your network and establish a solid training background.

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Jul 25, 2017

I would agree that the opportunities available at the larger firm would have a greater impact on your future in the Investment Banking industry. The opportunity for growth and networking is key in your first few years as few people end up staying in their initial role/company for very long. The skills you would acquire through the larger firms training program would allow you to pursue a broader range of positions once you decide to move on with your career, and the exposure to Investment Banks will allow you to garner a larger networking pool you can leverage later on in your career.

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Jul 25, 2017

Please take the Valuation Analyst position:

  • You will work directly with bankers on certain deals, providing consultancy for them. This is a much better networking opportunity than just cold calling/talking to random ppl hoping for them to like you and bless you with an interview
  • You will definitely learn relevant skills, doing valuation and learning industry landscape
  • You will be compensated better (most of the time). Most Ops kids get paid like Commercial Bank Credit Analyst, unless adjusted for geography
  • Chances to move from Ops to IB are overrated, it ought to be as low as 1% or lower. Kids who tell you differently might not do the actual IB function in IB. There are lots of supportive roles within IB and Ops kids normally fight for these spots. And yes, in an IB, Ops is the bottom of the chain, there was another post on this forum that mentioned doing Ops was like flipping burger at NASA. This is as close of an analogy as it gets
  • There is not really a career path in Ops between an Analyst and a MD because you don't work with clients, you don't bring in revenue, don't mitigate risks and don't facilitate anything. The Associate and the VP know this and hates their job and will make your life miserable

Hope this helps

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Jul 25, 2017
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