Career Advice - To delay graduation by a semester or not?
Hey everyone, so I am in a fairly tough situation right now and would really appreciate some advice. First, a little bit of background....
I am (on track) to graduate from a top business school in Canada and have a high GPA. For the past four summers, I have worked at a private equity placement agent in Hong Kong. The work there comprised of PE fundraising, PE Fund analysis, PE industry analysis, lots of slide deck editing and other forms of "grunt" work. Before you ask why I didn't get an FT offer, during my third summer the firm needed a new fulltime analyst urgently, and since I was a year away from graduating I couldn't apply. Now, they are fully staffed and don't have space to take someone else on. There was NO valuation analysis during my time there, which is obviously hugely important. Furthermore, I am looking to work in Toronto (but would also take a job in Hong Kong).
I enjoyed working at the PE placement agent but realized during my third year that I wanted to work on the investment side (as opposed to my previous job which was more like investor relations). However, during my third year, I was on a full-year exchange in China which ended in July, meaning I couldn't get a summer analyst role. I foolishly thought that my past experience, as it was in the PE space, would be enough to get full-time job at the beginning of my fourth year but that didn't happen. Now, I am about to graduate, with no fulltime job secured, and only experience in a fundraising role.
Now the question is, do I graduate or not?
If I graduate, I'll have to rely on networking heavily to get a job, and likely will take CFA in December, and/or another designation to prove that while I don't have professional experience, I still have the necessary skill set to get a job and succeed in it. (Also as I wouldn't be in an analyst program, I wouldn't have the training so it would be even more important to show that I am capable). The past three months I have started to build up a relatively strong network in the IB / asset management industry in Toronto and continue to add to that every day. Graduating without a job secured is hard, graduating without summer analyst experience is harder, doing all of this during coronavirus will be even harder.
If I don't graduate, I will study until December and graduate then. This will also allow me to apply to fulltime analyst positions one more time (hopefully with a stronger profile as now I have a solid list of contacts/mentors around the industry and hopefully can get one designation / online course completed (such as a breaking into wallstreet financial modeling course). It will also allow me to, if I don't get a fulltime analyst position, re-enter the job market in January (by then, things with coronavirus hopefully (should(?)) have died down.
What are your thoughts?