Breaking Into Investment Banking From Government Sector

I was wondering, for those professionals who switch over to GS, if they come from a federal background, how easy is it to break into investment banking on Wall Street. We know popular figures such as Hank Paulson, who used to be an employee of GS, got picked for a job with the fed. But what about the other way around? Would GS like or fear of potential applicants who have a federal background?

The reason I ask is because I was thinking if I could break into investment banking by taking this route of joining any govt department and taking on any job -> apply to FDIC after a couple of years of experience -> then eventually joining GS, that is if GS likes people that come from FDIC

What do you think?

Comments (25)

Nov 21, 2010

i know a couple of people who have jumped from quasi-government jobs (federal reserve bank of NY, not governor's board which is fully government) to pure finance (economics research group at GS, macro fund). typically they don't want to go into banking but I'd imagine the switch would not be difficult.
the jump will largely depend on your role from the government sector. I don't think any roles at FDIC are very analytical so i'd imagine it would be difficult from there, but for example if you were in the markets group or financial intermediation group at the Fed, then it's more likely

Nov 23, 2010
lolercoasterrr:

i know a couple of people who have jumped from quasi-government jobs (federal reserve bank of NY, not governor's board which is fully government) to pure finance (economics research group at GS, macro fund). typically they don't want to go into banking but I'd imagine the switch would not be difficult.
the jump will largely depend on your role from the government sector. I don't think any roles at FDIC are very analytical so i'd imagine it would be difficult from there, but for example if you were in the markets group or financial intermediation group at the Fed, then it's more likely

Can you tell me if "contract specialist" will cut me to i-banking in private sector? I understand that once people start working for the fed, they get lazy and become attached to their benefits. I just wanna ensure that I can keep myself flexible about switching so I won't have to worry about running into a dead-end job in the future.

Thanks

Nov 21, 2010

I'm applying to Federal Aviation Administration for the contract specialist position. I know it's completely irrelevant but unfortunately thats the only position i'm eligible for and available in my state only. I don't even know if I'll be able to secure a job with them yet so it's a long way down the road to FDIC or Fed Bank of NY

Feb 23, 2015

Hi I am in a similar situation as you and we're wondering what you managed to find out about banking, if you made a move or if you are interested in start up as those are also considerations I am making with a similar background in engineering, public sector and M&A experiences for high tech, aerospace and defense. Please pm me!

Current Big 4 Management Consultant with an Engineering Background seeking new opportunities with more of an entrepreneurial focus in High-Tech, Energy, Capital Markets, M&A, and/or Venture Capital.

Learn More

Side-by-side comparison of top modeling training courses + exclusive discount through WSO here.

Feb 23, 2015

A lot of public finance/muni bankers love government people due to the fact that you need a good understanding of govt regulations and need access to controllers, etc. of state/U.S. govt firms.

Keep at it and you'll definitely find something, it's definitely realistic!

Feb 23, 2015

u could aim for public fin u could definitely go through there. A GS guy i've been networking with started in FINRA

Feb 23, 2015

We're living in a period of corporatism, where big business and government are in bed. Thus you're pretty much set to work in IB.

Feb 23, 2015
companion:

We're living in a period of corporatism

Totally agree...but when have we not? I think it's just a whole lot more blatant now. ...and that's enough of my crap

Feb 23, 2015

Take the pub fin route.

Feb 23, 2015

the route is typically private first, then to public.

Feb 23, 2015
BTbanker:

the route is typically private first, then to public.

I was thinking the same thing, but then thought of all of the counterexamples (not all banking, but you get the idea): Colin Powell, Neel Kashkari, Jeb Bush, Harold Ford, and tons of others. It's a two way street, at least at the more senior levels.

Feb 23, 2015

Thanks for the food for thought. The reason I asked was because I sent in my FDIC app today (casting a very wide net) for an entry level bank examiner/resolutions position. I thought I would definitely have some transferable skills to lateral into a FIG group or maybe even a distressed PE/vulture fund down the line. If not..there is always b-school

Feb 23, 2015

Not that I know the big picture trend, but I personally know three people who went public to private. For what it's worth two are in power/utility groups (heavily regulated industry.)

Feb 23, 2015

If you have SEC, CFTC, FINRA experience you most definitely would be looked highly for any Compliance role for any Fund, Firm or IB.

Feb 23, 2015

In addition, if you're considering an M7 MBA at some point, Admins will eat high-profile gov experience up. They balance their classes- BB analysts/MBB consultants applying to those programs are a dime a dozen given how many people with those backgrounds apply.

Feb 23, 2015
Tri_Optimum:

In addition, if you're considering an M7 MBA at some point, Admins will eat high-profile gov experience up. They balance their classes- BB analysts/MBB consultants applying to those programs are a dime a dozen given how many people with those backgrounds apply.

Does that logic apply to people coming out of brand name F500 FLDP? Is F500 FLDP one of favorable work backgrounds for M7 Given that other aspects are good- high GPA, 720+GMAT , good EC and recs?

Feb 23, 2015

Appreciate the feedback. Let me ask the question this way...In your opinion, which agency would best position one for a M&A/IBD role? If different from the previous question, which agencies place best at top MBAs?

Feb 23, 2015
OTPDG:

Appreciate the feedback. Let me ask the question this way...In your opinion, which agency would best position one for a M&A/IBD role? If different from the previous question, which agencies place best at top MBAs?

definitely Fed, Treasury, or SEC.

i think an M7 MBA is your best bet...and for the jump to banking post-MBA, Fed/Treasury will be pretty golden on your resume. SEC not as much but you'd probably still have an easy time getting into a BB.

Feb 23, 2015

I have not gone through the B-school admin process yet, so I'm sure there are others here who can speak to this better than I can. However, you have to consider that despite the fact that most people on here are i-bankers/consultants or i-banker/consultant hopefuls, they can only choose so many people with these backgrounds to be a part of their class. So if you have all of the credentials that you just mentioned, there's no reason why you wouldn't be a competitive candidate.

Feb 23, 2015

FINRA isn't part of the government...

Feb 23, 2015
Comment
Feb 23, 2015