Hi All -
I've read numerous threads on this forum for a year or so and really appreciate all of the advice and good insight I've gained.
I'm currently at a Big 4 on the audit side in a large mid-west market and have been there for 3 years. I went to a non-target school. I've been trying to break into investment banking for several months, primarily by networking with alumni and former Big 4 employees who moved to I banking roles. I came very close to landing two experienced analyst offers about 2 months ago (came down to me and 1 other candidate for both) but ultimately was not offered either job. They were both at lesser known boutique firms. I've recently completed a series of interviews with a prominent middle market investment bank (think, ) for a first year investment banking analyst position, and am hopeful that I will get an offer.
My question is, with my audit experience, would I be able to move to PE with only 1 year at the investment bank, or move up faster within investment banking than I would had I started in investment banking right out of college? Obviously, this would involve leaving my banking job after 1 year and then applying for PE roles or a 3rd year analyst gig or an associate role at a boutique. My audit experience, while definitely not investment banking, is somewhat related as I primarily work on alternative investment clients that have a lot of valuation work associated with them. I've been able to do a lot of this work myself instead of having it passed on to our internal valuation team. I'm hoping that with my big 4 experience, I just need to check the investment banking box and then can leverage my cumulative experience (would be 4 years at this point) to move up faster. I also have pretty good project management experience, and I generally have a couple of associates working under me.
Would you consider it worth it to start over as an investment banking analyst in order to switch to the deal side? Another option is to go for an MBA. I'm not as excited about that option mainly because I don't see the MBA as valuable as it once was, and it's such a large opportunity cost (lots of debt to take on as well).
I'd very much appreciate any advice or input. Thanks!