Divergent Paths - Teach for America or Ops

megaman's picture
Rank: Senior Chimp | banana points 18

Hoping to get a few opinions here. I'm really wanting to do Teach For America for two years after college, but I'd like to potentially do IB/consulting after the commitment. I know that TFA has a solid network and some big corporate partners (BB, big 3 consultancies, google, etc), but I think only 2-5% applicants through its career services actually get offers.

The thing is, I'm also weighing accepting an ops position right now (not ideal, but hey, maybe I could leverage it into something better a few years down the line).

I'd like to do TFA, but I also don't want to risk losing street cred in the business world - any thoughts? I've got some solid internships, but I don't think that would make up for being 25 without a FT job in finance. Would you have to do an MBA after TFA?

Comments (19)

May 19, 2010

If I were in your situation (assuming you have decent gpa from decent school, with decent gmat) I would take TFA, try to get into a top b school, then go for finance.

Ops is a dead end.

May 19, 2010

I'd definitely take TFA over ops. You don't have to do an MBA after TFA, but it's an option - having solid internships prior to starting TFA will help with both recruiting and b-school apps.

May 19, 2010

Completely agree.

May 19, 2010

That's the direction I've been leaning. But, I've also got some FO Associate contacts at the firm, so there's a_chance_I could work out a transfer after 6-12+ months. They've told me that - but I feel like I certainly can't count on it, by any means.

Obviously I wouldn't be doing TFA to make the big bucks (I think it's an amazing program with a great mission), but I'd make less than half as much teaching as I would doing data entry. Which I guess makes sense, considering the difficulty of the jobs...

I'm coming from a semi-target, , 3.7 GPA finance major, have tested well in the past so hoping for a decent GMAT. I hear TFA places into top b-schools (assuming you've got the numbers), but if I don't make it in to a good school after TFA, I don't necessarily want to get pigeonholed in non-profits and wreck my earning potential.

May 19, 2010

Your real cost of living will be significantly lower as you won't be in NYC and will be in a lower tax bracket, so effectively you'll be making maybe 20-30% less, which is fine. I definitely would not put any faith what-so-ever in a promised transfer from BO to FO. I know finance can be alluring, but don't go in to a back-office job just to put that name on your resume. You shouldn't have difficulty getting in to b-school, but that's far from the only way out of being "pigeonholed in non-profits." Additionally, non-profits can pay fairly well - certainly, that's not why anyone does them, but you can certainly make six figures at a non-profit - not nearly as soon as you would on the street, but eventually.

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May 19, 2010

My sister did a program similar to TFA out of undergrad and now she's working for a hedge fund. Yes she did start out with an administrative type role and yes her good looks (I know its my sister...don't put words in my mouth) and outgoing personality/intelligence probably helped. BUT she was definitely was able to leverage her experience as a 4th grade teacher in the South Bronx during the interview process. There's not many jobs out there more stressful than teaching a class full of 4h graders in the SB.

TFA is highly respected and offers plenty of exit opps, in finance or anywhere else.

May 19, 2010

I am actually in a comparable situation--3.85 at a target, non-finance major--and I decided to do TFA and apply to business school at the end of my commitment. However, I have been wondering if the two year experience with TFA will suffice for the "work experience" requirement at B schools, or if I should have some private sector experience in addition to the TFA work. Any thoughts?

May 19, 2010

tfa is legit. my wife works for one of the best schools in the nation and its founder is ex tfa... however they tend to weed out the people looking to do tfa for the resume.. you have to be half way crazy

May 19, 2010

Ops can be a dead end. People do move from back office to front office but that is rare.

In regards to b-school: If I work on an adcom i pick the kid who did TFA not an ops professional who couldn't make it into an FO position.

It may be a circuitous path but TFA will give you better odds of FO, business school or whatever else you want to pursue. MHO

May 19, 2010
BigSwap:

Ops can be a dead end. People do move from back office to front office but that is rare.

In regards to b-school: If I work on an adcom i pick the kid who did TFA not an ops professional who couldn't make it into an FO position.

It may be a circuitous path but TFA will give you better odds of FO, business school or whatever else you want to pursue. MHO

agree

May 20, 2010

Have you been applied for and been accepted to TFA yet?

May 19, 2010

Yes, I've been offered a teaching position, but have not yet been officially hired by a school (that usually doesn't happen for another month or so).

May 20, 2010

I'd personally take the Ops role over TFA. I don't know why some people in this forum have such a low opinion on Ops. It's not like anybody can land a job as an Ops. With the stiff competition of getting into banking these days, there are many talented, smart, people who work as Ops. If you can prove your talent, there is always a door to move up to the front office. Some of you might disagree, but I'd say chances of getting into front office from back office is higher than TFA to front office.

Anybody can do TFA (well, most willing people). And the career path you'd ended up with is teaching / non-profit if you stay long enough.

Anybody can go back to School. But it does not guarantee you will have a job after you are done.

However, if your interest really lies in TFA, I'd say go for TFA.

May 20, 2010
mannymanny:

I'd personally take the Ops role over TFA. I don't know why some people in this forum have such a low opinion on Ops. It's not like anybody can land a job as an Ops. With the stiff competition of getting into banking these days, there are many talented, smart, people who work as Ops. If you can prove your talent, there is always a door to move up to the front office. Some of you might disagree, but I'd say chances of getting into front office from back office is higher than TFA to front office.

Anybody can do TFA (well, most willing people). And the career path you'd ended up with is teaching / non-profit if you stay long enough.

Anybody can go back to School. But it does not guarantee you will have a job after you are done.

However, if your interest really lies in TFA, I'd say go for TFA.

keeps telling yourself that OPS boy. TFA is a feeder into TOP MBA programs + FO finance positions.

OPS is a feeder for fat slobs

May 20, 2010

keeps telling yourself that OPS boy. TFA is a feeder into TOP MBA programs + FO finance positions.

OPS is a feeder for fat slobs

Hey, you should show some respect fat slob. Else, no Ops would want to feed you. LOL

May 19, 2010

First off, not just ANYBODY can do TFA - I've talked with a lot of people in the program, and a lot of these guys (actually, mostly girls) work banker hours. Seriously. First year teachers have some of the hardest jobs on the planet.

It's something I'm really interested in doing - and teaching would be way more interesting and personally rewarding than slogging through ops day in and day out. But, on the other hand, if I'm interviewing with a skeptical MD a few years down the line, it might be easier to play ops experience as being more relevant than managing a class full of high school kids. In that case, your point's well taken.

May 19, 2010

OK, first-year teachers work hard, but not THAT hard. The tough part will be the intensity of the work, not the hours. You're correct that TFA is more difficult to get in to than was implied, though.

Your concern seems to be with a skeptical MD in three years, so here's two potential conversations:

MD: So, why did you choose to start in ops?
You: Well, I couldn't get in banking, and really wanted a bank's name on my CV
MD: What did you learn?
You: Nothing, really. It was the most boring two years of my life; I wanted to kill myself on a daily basis, and the only stories I have are about overpaid traders yelling at me on a daily basis

OR

MD: So, you did TFA - why?
You: Well, I was really passionate about the chance to give something back, and knew that right after college was the only time I'd have the time to do something as great as TFA.
MD: What did you learn?
You: I know TFA might not seem relevant to banking, but, I actually liked it, so listen as I smile and tell you a bullshit story about everything I learned, using anecdotes about cute, underprivileged children

It really shouldn't be a choice

May 22, 2010

this is an easy question.... kill yourself

what has happened to this site? where did everyone from banking P/E HF S&T go and why did they get replaced with a bunch of pussies?

Aug 25, 2010