How to transition from corporate finance to portfolio management/investment analysis

Undergrad in finance with international experience. I am currently a financial analyst 2 years of experience in corporate finance. I am hoping to get over into an investment analyst/ portfolio manager career path. What is the best way to do so? Is there a certain area of my current company that would be helpful for a transition to an investment analyst/portfolio management position? Should I start looking, but focus on smaller firms?

Also, I am taking the GMAT in a few months and planning to take the level 1 of the CFA either in June or next December, but I am not sure if I should take the CFA first and hold off on taking the GMAT/getting an MBA.

Any advice is greatly appreciated.

Comments (11)

Sep 16, 2014

Get a little bit more experience, and maybe a promotion, and apply for an MBA. That is probably the best way.

Sep 16, 2014

What kind of corporate finance work are you doing? Accounting and cost variance or anything involving heavy financial statement analysis?

Sep 16, 2014

I have worked in accounting and analyzed variances to budget. I currently work on pricing analytics and forecasting/budgeting for 2015.

Sep 16, 2014

My only thought would be to try to get yourself in a position that involves heavy financial statement analysis then try to spin off into research on either the debt or equity side depending on which is most easiest to spin.

Sep 17, 2014

I'm attempting the transition myself. I made the leap to a credit rating agency to gain a solid credit background in order to break into the fixed income side. I've seen about 10 people leave the firm since I joined a year ago to pursue buyside investing across different products. One guy who had experience in real estate went to invest in REITs. My ex-bosses (I have two of them at this firm) also went to invest in high yield and investment grade corporate bonds. The job market really seems strong at this point for those kinds of moves.

There's definitely an opportunity to make that transition with your background, to either a rating agency or to equity research. I would craft a resume, and build a story around your tangible skills and try to make that leap as soon as possible. An MBA would be less valuable for the field unless you're already somewhat senior (associate or higher), or unless you're trying to break into a mutual fund that really values it, but likely you'll need to gain some research experience first anyway. CFA would be the proper route.

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Sep 18, 2014

Thanks everyone for the advice. I hadn't thought about using a credit rating agency as a way to transition into Asset Management. I will defiinitely go for the CFA. I had planned to take it while I was going for the MBA, but I might try to do it before/ instead of the MBA. Would getting any of the Series (Series 7,63) certifications help?

Sep 18, 2014

Taking the CFA while studying and trying to get the most out of your MBA is no easy task and probably will ruin your experience for both programs. I would suggest studying for the CFA exam while working so you gain the experience required for the charter concurrently. Forget the MBA unless you're having huge difficulty in making the transisiton/need a reset button on your GPA and life. It's a useful networking tool, but an Asset Management role would require more technical skills that can be gained on the job (Research), and through the CFA program.

Getting Series certification is by job; if you are in a role where you are facing a client that relies on your expertise, then you would be required to get certified/licensed. It's something you sign up for after you enter a new job and comes packaged together; you don't "pick it up" before getting a job. Your employer would typically sponsor it and require you to pass within 90 days or so. Just a note, a rating agency wouldn't require it because you aren't selling an investment idea per se; it's more of a risk assessment for the company.

Sep 17, 2014

Don't give up or be short sighted. Took me about 4 yrs. you can do it dude

Sep 18, 2014
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