Breaking out of Ops into the Front Office

BuckPlaceGuy's picture
BuckPlaceGuy - Certified Professional
Rank: Monkey | banana points 62

I currently work as a middle office analyst at a fairly large asset managment firm supporting its HY fixed income group. I took this position because of the firm's rep and my hope wasto work my way into a FO position within a relatively short amount of time (in hindsight this was quite ignorant). Though I have received offers to "move up" within operations, I find myself discouraged at the possibly of breaking into a FO position.

Should I simply start looking at other firms? With my background how difficult is it to get into entry level banking or buy/sell side research?

B.A. Finance
CFA Level 1 Candidate
Just under 2 years of post-grad experience

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Comments (14)

May 10, 2017

Bump, similar situation. I work in MO role, but its a Pricing, Performance & Valuation role.

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May 11, 2017

Similar situation, my firm is quite open to moving around internally though - I plan on finishing my grad scheme and rolling-off in MO, by which time I expect to have L1 CFA, and then try to network to FO.

I'm also considering doing another grad scheme after this one, hopefully if I have L1 CFA and 2 years experience (by the time I join the next grad scheme) it'll boost my application. It would be less money short-term but at least it could get me into the right area of the industry.

May 19, 2017

Hey, I moved out of ops and would be happy to talk to you. I think you need to realize a few things of the bat:

  1. You made a mistake to take an operations position if you went in thinking you could easily move. Arguably, operations is not a respected role, and the longer you stay, the more you are labeled as ops person. This leads me to my second point.
  2. Any role in the front office is better than a MO role, even at the world's best banks and hedge funds (ops is ops, does not matter where). If you are smart, you can leverage the name of your bank and move into a smaller firm in the front office where they will be willing to speak to you, but even then it's a hard sell, but it is very doable.
May 25, 2017

I'm in the same situation. I have two years of middle office experience and two years of settlements experience but want to move into the front office. I have been doing my MBA part-time while working and will be graduating in three weeks and there are no opportunities at my firm to move up. Do you have any advice on job boards to look at for front office roles?

Jun 3, 2017

Networking always help, where in FO do you want to move to? How much do you know about the products?

Best Response
May 28, 2017

Lol Please don't tell me you have CFA Level 1 candidate on your resume, do not put anything CFA related unless you have passed a level

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Jun 4, 2017

He's trying to work in fixed income, many of the junior analyst roles will say "Interest in the CFA program" or something like that. And in fixed income, unless you're at a complete quant shop, they require you to take the CFA. So putting down his candidacy is in no way shape or form a negative thing.

Jun 5, 2017

It's similar to putting future practicing lawyer on your resume before taking the bar, it means nothing. I just don't think you should put it until you have passed a level but obviously people look at that differently and thats how interviews work some may be put off by it some may not

Jun 5, 2017

Can be a positive as shows interest but make sure you understand the concepts as it would be an easy starting point for an interviewer to ask some technical questions on.

So if you're looking to get into a FI role, make sure you've looked through the FI section in the CFA books.

Jun 5, 2017

Won't be nearly as hard as transitioning from full time operations.

Get an offer from GS Ops, and thus prove that you are worth something, first and foremost.

Then have your story ready why you want to shift to banking instead of operations. (Maybe network with some bankers, perhaps shadow them during a weekend when ops is off ....and say thats how you first started really understanding and liking banking.)

I know people who have done it. Again, its relatively much easier to do an Ops internship in a reputed firm and then try to get into IB than trying it once you start fulltime.

Oh and network internally at GS. Join every diversity organization/club you can find. Find mentors, attend seminars and lunches. Express interest. This helps tremendously too.

Jun 5, 2017

If you can get a front office internship, take that instead.

Jun 5, 2017

Take a front office over ops anyday, even its at a MM. Follow my advice only if you have no front office option.

Sep 9, 2018