Currently an Analyst within Corporate Banking. Not sure which path will open most doors up for me. MSA in Accounting vs MBA?

subasic's picture
Rank: Chimp | 13

First of all, I did not go to a target school. My undergraduate degree is in Accounting from a local well recognized public university. I graduated in 2012 and at the time did not want to pursue a career in Public Accounting (which I sometimes regret). But me graduating Summa Cum Laude, being in the honors college, leading the accounting club and doing 3 solid internships helped me to land a decent position within Wholesale Banking of a top 5 commercial bank in the county, in a fairly large city in the midwest.

My internships were in Finance departments of large companies and I knew that I liked the analyst side more than accounting. So I took the banking job and have been in the analyst position for a little over a year now. My responsibilities include doing preliminary risk analysis for Portfolio Managers (Underwriters and VP's) for like 15+ business lines. I do stuff for Leveraged Finance, Asset Based Finance, Healthcare, Broker Dealer, Food Energy, Special Asset Group, etc. etc. I get to see ALOT of different lines.

My experience includes the following:

* Conduct thorough financial statement analysis for public and private companies operating in various industries and report results to Portfolio Managers.
* Perform quarterly trend analysis and create risk-rating reports using Moody's RiskAnalyst software.
* Prepare financial projections and pro-forma financial statements for large and middle market clients.
* Measure, monitor and test a variety of financial ratios as specified within credit approval contracts and report customer defaults under covenant requirements to the Business Lines.
* Maintain a compliance-monitoring database that tracks customer's financial reporting requirements.
* Review financial spreads completed by team members and new hires to ensure quality.
* Completed Risk Management Association training while maintaining high levels of production.
* Promoted to Portfolio Analyst 2 after 9 months on the job.

Now here is my dilemma. The Portfolio Managers I do work for have very strong credentials (e.g., top MBA, CPA, etc.) and I just do not think that it is realistic for me to assume that I can jump in a Corporate Banking Underwriter position in the next year or so, so I want to pursue something that will help me differentiate myself. I have noticed that several underwriters within Leveraged Finance and other groups have very strong accounting backgrounds. Seeing this and the exit opportunities Big 4 audit provides, I have considered getting a master's in accounting from the school I graduated from and trying to land Big 4 (3 of the 4 firms recruit there heavily, the 4th does somewhat). Is this a safer route for me to take when compared to getting an MBA with an emphasis in Finance from a local public university? (not top MBA school, I do not want to pay 100k plus for that). The thing is I do not know exactly what I want to do but both Corporate Banking and working within a Finance Department of a corporation have been great experiences for me and I am open to both.

The MBA with a finance emphasis would also look good since my undergrad is accounting, but since it's not a top MBA program, I am skeptical about the benefits I will get in terms of networking and advancing to the next level in a top 5 commercial/corporate bank in the country. With the MSA in Accounting I am almost certain I would land Big 4 (I am well connected, have a good background and am not socially awkward ha ha). The master's in Accounting would only be 30 credit hours for me since my background is in the field, while the MBA would be roughly 40 or so. If I chose to do the accounting degree, I could get in done in as little as 1.5 to 2 years while working. I would aim at big 4 internships first recruiting season and associate level positions in the second year. I'd obviously be looking to do the CPA thing too. While doing this I would also network within the bank and try to advance. My other option is to do the MBA for 2.5 or 3 years and try to network and progress that way.

What would you guys recommend I do here? I'd appreciate all types of insights and perspectives on my situation. I tried my best to explain a very difficult and complicated situation. Please let me know if you have any questions or anything. Thank you very much for your inputs.

Comments (2)

Apr 19, 2014

If you enjoy the work you do now - stick with it for another couple of years. If your company promotes within - that's great. If they don't, look to lateral into a different company or try the leverage finance route

Apr 20, 2014