I think I've made a huge mistake -- advice would be much appreciated

potatochip's picture
Rank: Chimp | 2

I signed the contract for GS Ops a few weeks back, because the job market was apparently getting bad, and people weren't just getting offers for FO jobs in BB's as fast and as much as the year before. I thought to myself, hey, can't be that bad right? I'll just use this as a way to leverage myself into the industry and see where it goes from there.

But after reading through the various posts on Ops here (I'm new - hello!), I'm starting to believe that I have made a really bad decision.

Some snippets of my background without being too identifiable. I come from a great liberal arts school, good grades, great ECAs... I even had an offer to return to do Front Office work in Asia during my summer internship at a BB bank. This is on top of yet another Asian BB bank who was interested to take me for their Corp Finance group as well. And I gave all this up because, I wanted to be in New York.

Have I honestly made a bad decision? My greatest fear about working in Asia was the inability to transfer over to North America in the long run.

In the great scheme of things, I plan to be an entrepreneur and run my own business someday. I'm creative, engaged and intelligent (except of course, the past few sentences might seriously make you doubt this).

Did I make a mistake?
Is working in the FO in the Asian sector of a BB better than BO in NY?

And what do you suggest I do?
Should I start applying for other positions now? As I'm aware most banks have already finished, or are finishing up with their final round interviews. Will rescinding an offer, after accepting it completely demolish all chances of working with this bank in the future? Shall I just do this enthusiastically (as I do for everything I involve myself with) for the next 2-3 years and then, with sufficient capital, start my own business? Am I able to move on to positions with Hedge Funds from an Ops position with a BB?

Thank you so much for your replies.

Comments (14)

Feb 28, 2008

u should ask the more senior people on this board like GenghisKhan or some of the analysts.

I know that it's possible to transfer from Asia to New York. Two of my phone interviewers had the opportunity to permanently do that but chose to turn it down. Your real mistake(and u should confirm with other people) is taking a back-office position with the idea that you can go to Front Office full-time. Unless ur an amazing networker I doubt it will happen. On the plus-side, it sounds like u have good finance experience from the previous summer so that should help you.

That said, I'm still in undergrad. I'm going to be interning at one of the top boutiques this summer, but I haven't had any direct W/E yet. That said, I think my opinion is pretty mainstream and mostly true.

Feb 28, 2008

Yes, you have made a mistake, which will be difficult to get out of. It is quite feasible to transfer from Asian front office to NYC front office. However, it is very difficult to transfer from ops to front office.

Reneging will almost certainly burn a bridge for the next few years with GS. But it is probably the best choice if you still have a front office offer in Asia.

Feb 28, 2008
omega:

Yes, you have made a mistake, which will be difficult to get out of. It is quite feasible to transfer from Asian front office to NYC front office. However, it is very difficult to transfer from ops to front office.

Agreed.

Feb 28, 2008

It is far more important WHAT you do than WHERE you do it. You will have an incredibly difficult path ahead.

Feb 28, 2008
CompBanker:

It is far more important WHAT you do than WHERE you do it. You will have an incredibly difficult path ahead.

As long as the offers in Asia are at BBs with a large US presence, you made a huge mistake. It is much more easy to transfer offices then it is to transfer roles. BO to FO is very difficult, especially when there are so many people who banks can hire who have direct experience etc.

I would worry more about your own career then burning the potential BO bridge at GS. They will understand if you can still take one of these other offers in Asia. Basically you tell them that for some reason you can't be in NY and you must be in Asia, or some such, and they shouldn't care that much. You are a cog, not even a FO cog, but a BO cog. They have a dozen people lined up salivating for your job, goto the BB IBD job in Asia.

Feb 28, 2008

Moving to a back office role from front office will raise some serious questions about you. If you're 100% sure you have the offer for front office work in Asia, I would reneg on Goldman. Just don't expect to get a job there anytime soon.

Feb 29, 2008

Don't worry about it. You'll live. Worst case, you do your 2 years in operations, you go to business school and then you try for M&A afterwards. And I'm prepared to be flamed for this statement, but even if you don't, so what? Trust me, not being able to sit in front of a computer for 19 hours a day punching in numbers isn't the end of the world. There are many deserving and respect-worthy careers out there. You just have to find one.

Just write it off as a learning experience and move on. I don't know what exactly you learned from this, but that's something you need to figure out.

At least you didn't take equities in Dallas.

"We are lawyers! We sue people! Occasionally, we get aggressive and garnish wages, but WE DO NOT ABDUCT!" -Boston Legal-

"We are lawyers! We sue people! Occasionally, we get aggressive and garnish wages, but WE DO NOT ABDUCT!" -Boston Legal-

Feb 29, 2008

Holymonkey is right. It's not the end of the world. Operations isn't as bad all these people make it to be. You'll be able to come home at 5:00PM every day or almost everyday. On a different note, if you rejected a BB IB offer in Asia for operations in NY, then I think it's a definitely a big mistake. Remember, BB IB pays as much in Asia as it does in NY and also the experience you would gain is tantamount to that of NY.

Feb 29, 2008

going into ops is like entering a black hole, I agree, it will be very difficult to go anywhere where creative ideas and valuable skills are needed coming out of an ops background, no one appreciates it and no one will look at you. Good luck, I will forget about that GS offer even if they blacklist you, who cares, there are a hundred other banks out there, just whatever you do DONT GO INTO OPS

Feb 29, 2008

I started in a quasi-ops role at a large HF, and myself and nearly all others who started with me are now in FO investment roles - in various HF, prop desks, PE...we all started in the weak job market of 01-03 and were happy to be at a good firm with great people in all roles- and when the market was turning, we were able to do things like CFA, MBA, etc. etc. to make ourselves more attactive and ended up on an strong carreer path. Looking back, I'm actually glad I got to enjoy myself in my early 20s. Do what makes you happy. Things will turn back around and you'll have headhunters calling you left and right in a couple of years.

Also, don't put too much weight on what people say here - remember, many in BB FO analyst programs need to justify to themselves the 80+ hour weeks they are working. Not saying it is better or worse - just different, and certainly not the life-ending choice some are making it out to be.

Feb 29, 2008

Yes, on the face of it, you did make a mistake by doing ops at GS in NY rather than going front office work at a BB in Asia IF your goal is to do finance in the long term. However, it sounds like that may not be the case.

Being in New York really doesn't matter as much as people say... as long as you're in another major market with lots of banks, e.g. Hong Kong, London, SF, that's fine and you'll have plenty of networking opportunities.

Contrary to what some believe, it's actually quite difficult to transition from back office to front office at a bank.

At a hedge fund it can be easier to transition into a front office/trading type role from the back office, but it's also going to be harder to get into one with no experience.

Personally, I would renege on your Goldman Ops offer and do anything you can to get those BB front office offers in Asia back.

Yes, some parts of banking really suck and I can't say with a straight face that doing banking really prepares you to start a company, but it definitely prepares you better than Ops would.

I would only stay on your current path if you value lifestyle over learning opportunities/money.

Feb 29, 2008

Its bad internal controls to let someone from the back office to work in the front office.

Mar 1, 2008

To the guy who moved from BO in a HF to FO - banks don't work that way. The people on my team who started in BO are between 30 and 35 and are at associate level - basically did like 6-7 years in BO and when they moved up started again as analysts. And still I hear some people saying they don't feel as comfortable giving them responsibility as they do the new analyst hires.

BO is seriously a black hole. I have a friend doing it - he thought it would be a good way to start and then move up. He says no one in his group is even vaguely commercially aware. They don't know about the markets and they don't care. They take hour lunches and leave early, they take days off all the time and don't give a crap about moving up. Those of us working know what ops do - I call them if a confirm to a client has a mistake on it, or if the client is not receiving faxes of his mark-to-market position. A degree is a waste in this kind of role.

So if you think a few years there would prepare you for a direct transition into front office at the same level you would have been had you done FO out of college - you are WRONG. You're much much much better off in FO Asia. Renege now.

Mar 1, 2008
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"We are lawyers! We sue people! Occasionally, we get aggressive and garnish wages, but WE DO NOT ABDUCT!" -Boston Legal-