I know the CFA/CPA/MBA has been covered a lot, but I come from a slightly different background that hasn't been covered yet and I would like to know if I'm wasting my time pursing the CFA and CPA.

I graduated from a state school with a BS in Economics. I may have majored in Economics, but I really only studied fraternity and full-time working because the academics side bored me at the time. Due to this, my GPA was about 3.2. After graduating, I worked in a management training position for a year and then decided that I wanted to go into finance. However, at the time I wanted to go into AM. After doing a couple of informational interviews, I decided to go back to school for one more year to study accounting and start my pursuit of the CFA charter. After that year, I wanted something to shore up my resume so I could go to B-school and help my chances in AM. I passed the first level of the CFA exam and took a job in the BO of a regional IB.

After a year there, I left to get my MBA. I didn't go to a top school, but it was a top 50 school. I graduated with a 3.5 and passed the second level of the CFA exam. I still was focused on AM, but in my last semester I participated in an IB case competition (in which we won) and decided to pursue banking as a career. However, it was past the typical recruiting time frame. I landed a lot of informational interviews with MM and regional banks, but my attempts were futile because this was during the time of massive layoffs throughout the industry.

So here is my dilemma. I am WAY outside the traditional path of investment banking. I have already expired my MBA card and am probably too experienced to come into an analyst role, but too inexperienced to come in as an associate right now. So, I have another 1-2 years to hit that 5-7 years work experience for most associate recruiting outside of B-school programs. I already have the first two levels of the CFA exam passed, and my firm will reimburse me if I get a CPA [Note: before you inquire about CPA eligibility, I know that I qualify].

Should I spend the time and money to finish my CFA endeavors, even though I'm not really interested in AM anymore? What about the CPA? Should I put up the time/money to do this, even though the costs will be reimbursed after I finish the program? I think having a MBA/CFA/CPA combination would help me transition into banking after I get them all (should be early 2012 when I get the CFA work experience out of the way and can hold myself out as a CFA--the CPA should be before end of 2011 if I take an intermission to sit for the CFA Level III in June 2011), but I wanted to ask some people in the biz if I should even bother. I know my time could also be spent networking and getting my ducks in a row, but I also think I may need some credentials to get my resume noticed outside of the traditional routes to banking. Any thoughts?

Comments (5)

May 1, 2010

Very tough situation, timing was not your friend.

Understand you are far from a typical candidate, so a typical path into IB does not exist for you. You need to network like crazy, be on everyones radar screens, and get lucky.

That said, in your shoes I would finish the CFA and try to get into FO Asset Management. A "touch business" like that might be your best bet to get your foot in the door of finance, and after that I'd say hit up regional boutiques. BB is likely out of the question.

Good luck sir.

May 1, 2010

If you've done the first 2 levels of the CFA already, you might as well finish it up. Forget the CPA. Just prove you know your accounting in any interviews you get. And you already have your MBA.

Network. Like GutShot said, go for the regional boutiques.

May 1, 2010

i stopped at:
"I graduated from a state school with a BS in Economics from a state school."

    • 1
May 2, 2010

Thanks jnr. I fixed it.

I should also add that I am a detail oriented individual who is also detail oriented. I think redundancies are annoying, so I get annoyed at redundant statements.

May 2, 2010