Help for an extreme non-target with an offer

rf1196's picture
Rank: Chimp | 3

Ok, so I'm a long-time reader and forum lurker, but I could use some helpful feedback from you guys since I have a decision to make in the next day or two. I'm a graduating senior with a 3.9 GPA, major in business admin, minor in economics (and music actually), and departmental honors in economics. I have great extracurriculars too (varsity sports, president of campus activities, some music ensembles). But I come from an extreme (heavy emphasis on extreme) non-target school.

After applying to a huge number of firms online, and supplementing that with networking through our virtually non-existent alumni base, as well as contacts I was able to make through past internships (none in finance) and cold-emailing, I finally have a job offer. I've had interviews for a variety of smaller companies for good roles (Duff & Phelps, SIG, Gallup, Cambridge Associates, etc.) but this is the first I haven't been rejected in the process. The problem is that the offer is for BO operations, and I sort of hated the menial tasks I saw in the department when I shadowed during interviews. The firm is a great name (not Goldman/J.P, but well-respected), but I really don't think want to be stuck in a job like this.

I would turn down the offer, but I don't have any other offers or interviews outstanding, so it becomes very difficult to do in this economy. Graduation is this week, and I was planning on job searching full-time after that. But I wonder if I am setting my sights too high (I've applied for advisory/consulting positions, investment analyst positions, trade support, etc.). I'm really looking for a challenge, I love problem-solving, modeling, and all, but this position doesn't have any of that. One of the ever-eternal questions on here is, "can I move out of operations to FO", and I suppose my situation is kind of an addendum to that. Are my sights set too high if I am refusing to settle for BO? Should I take the position and try my best to get noticed and transfer to MO/FO ASAP? Any feedback is greatly appreciated, as I have to make a decision by the end of the week!

Comments (12)

May 12, 2011

Not worth it ... politely decline and ask to be considered for other front office (just don't word it like I did) roles in the near future.

May 12, 2011

Back office is a trip to nowhere. If you don't leave within 6 months you will pigeonholed into a career in ops (almost happened to me). I say spend a few months trying to get a front office role and hedge yourself with applying to a top MSF program if nothing turns up. While continuing your job search try to do a front office internship, some traveling, or an entrepreneurial project on the side.

May 12, 2011

If you have nothing else, then take it and work + network your ass off. It's much easier to get something else once you're working, and if it's such a long shot to begin with, you have to consider your other current option: unemployment.

May 12, 2011

It also depends on the firm: some places are really good about moving people around. You can also go BO -> MO and then MO -> FO. It takes time, but again, what are your options?

You can also get a master's, but I'm not the person for info on that.

May 12, 2011

where UO = unemployment office. Take it over that and try other ways of breaking in - with those grades, maybe MSF. Maybe just take the job and continue the job search - you seem to be able to get interviews, so figure out what you are screwing up in the interviews.

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May 12, 2011

Don't listen to anybody who tells you to pass it up if you do not have other offers. It is better to have an income while networking for a FO job than to be unemployed while networking for a FO job, it'll be a huge relief on your nerves especially if you have outstanding student loans.

"One should recognize reality even when one doesn't like it, indeed, especially when one doesn't like it." - Charlie Munger

May 12, 2011

it'll be a huge relief on your nerves especially if you have outstanding student loans.

This part alone will make you more effective at networking, as people can smell desparation and don't like it. Also, hit the company directory and start calling people. It worked for me and I had nowhere NEAR your GPA.....

May 12, 2011

Take the job and keep looking. It will be more damaging to have a hole on your resume. At the very least, you'll get some experience and have a name brand on your resume. You'll also have some leverage while you're looking b/c you won't be desperate for work and/or money.

MSF may be a good option as well, but I don't know much about that.

May 12, 2011
I agree with TechSaaS_VC, the hole in your experiences (not to mention being unemployed) will be worse than having a job you don't care for.

"Buy gas. It's a sure-fire commodity with no risk except for the sure risk of fire." - Stephen Colbert

May 12, 2011

Thanks for all of the thoughts so far. For those saying to take the job and keep looking, is it common/possible to switch to a new job, say, 3 months after starting? I didn't think about that at all.

Two other bits of information that had me leaning towards no: I'm hoping to be located somewhere in or near Philly due to personal/family reasons, and this is farther away than I would like. Also, I'm actually not pressed for money; I had a good enough scholarship to avoid student loans, I have pretty decent savings, and my dad owns a business that I can work at for some cash, if need be. I also have a few start-up ideas that I'd like to explore further, if I had the time to do so while job searching.

I just wish I had more than 2 days for this decision.

May 12, 2011

...I just wish I had more than 2 days for this decision.

Don't stress it - this will get you nowhere. Take the role and then consider your options. Since it's BO role with "menial tasks" I suspect the hours won't be too demanding. Continue your job search/networking, apply for an MSF, work on your start up ideas, etc. Taking this offer is not the end game! I actually think it will open up more doors as long as you continue to remember and pursue your goal of landing a FO gig.

Also, congrats on the offer. I bet there's a ton of classmates from your school who would LOVE to be in your situation.

May 13, 2011