I'm a first year credit analyst with Wells Fargo Capital Finance. I love it, but eventually I'd like to explore other directions

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Rank: Chimp | banana points 11

Background: First year credit analyst with Wells Fargo Capital Finance FAP Program. It's Asset Based Lending.... I know it isn't IBD but I am really loving the program. The pay is solid, but the real value IMO comes from the great deal I've been able to learn about. On top of that, my coworkers are incredibly helpful, they were more than happy to take me under their wing from day 1 and made sure I could begin to contribute in a meaningful way ASAP. Not to mention the culture here is awesome. Not a lot of turnover, and everyone gets along great and seems genuinely happy to be working for WF.

Long story short: I love it. This isn't just a "what are my exit opps?" post. I feel like I still have a lot to gain and hopefully contribute to the FAP program, but it'll be 2.5 years at the most, and less if I progress quickly. And while I like ABL, I am not particularly attracted to the traditional move up to Relationship Manager.

The two career paths that have always interested me the most are working in distressed and mezzanine debt funds or in private equity or VC. PE/VC seem like the most interesting, but also might be tougher to break into? IBD is also interesting to me, but seems tougher to break into, unless i was able to move into Wells Fargo Securities? And those first two options would be more interesting to me anyway. Friends have told me you can potentially move into DCM or LevFin from ABL, but I'm not too familiar with what a long term career in those areas looks like.

I'm a CFA L2 candidate, and will (fingers crossed) be a charterholder before I finish this program. I also have a 770 GMAT, so getting an MBA might be an option? Not sure if my work experience would be good enough.

Anyway....any thoughts on how to transition into one of those fields from my current position? And which is the most realistic? I know there might be other jobs I'd have to take before ending up at something like one of those.

Sorry for the extra long post, I'll try to trim it down. Just wanted to get all my thoughts out. Any advice/anecdotes that could be helpful? They would be much appreciated.

Comments (31)

May 30, 2016

You should be able to get into mezz fund of some sort. Friend of mine worked in ABL at a good sized regional bank and was well connected and landed a gig at a no name mezz fund but he loves it. May be harder to work for a top one without IBD experience, but with a good MBA and/or CFA you easily could I would think. With IBD be wary though, the hours will be 2x what working now. PM me if you have other questions I'm pretty familiar with most WF groups

    • 1
May 30, 2016

Thanks for the reply. Tried to PM you but it said daily max PM's reached. I'll try again, I definitely would love to get more insight from you.

Just to clarify, you're saying moving from ABL to a top mezz fund would be difficult (I totally agree there, I can't imagine that being easy), but going from ABL -> good MBA -> good mezz fund isn't a long shot? I am hoping my work experience in a few years will be sufficient enough to get admitted somewhere reasonably good.

As far as the CFA goes, I'm taking it because I do feel like it is teaching me a lot and it might be one of those "icing on the cake" things that could help me down the line when I apply, but would a CFA with no MBA really be a strong candidate for a good mezzanine fund coming straight from ABL?

May 30, 2016

Try to pm me again

May 30, 2016

Literally in the same position but on the CRE side.

The thing that sort of stinks about FAP is that is right in the gray areas of WE reqs for B school. However I would seriously consider moving over to a mezz fund and doing a top MBA.

Just out of curiosity, does your office do direct promotes to RM (in the same office) without CMTP?

May 30, 2016

I have a friend who did the CRE program. I don' think he stayed longer than a year - year and a half, and is working for a (to my understanding) pretty solid small Real Estate PE shop. Sounds pretty interesting.

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May 30, 2016

Did you come from a target school?

Best Response
May 30, 2016

You're a unicorn in finance. You are happy with your:

  1. Learning curve
  2. Co-workers
  3. Bosses
  4. Pay (seemingly)
  5. Firm culture

And you don't seem to have any major complaints. Just so you know, that combination is as rare as a white tiger in the wild of Montana.

What is your issue with the next step on the ladder there?

    • 7
May 30, 2016
DickFuld:

You're a unicorn in finance. You are happy with your:

1. Learning curve2. Co-workers3. Bosses4. Pay (seemingly)5. Firm culture

And you don't seem to have any major complaints. Just so you know, that combination is as rare as a white tiger in the wild of Montana.

What is your issue with the next step on the ladder there?

I suppose a little context is necessary-

  • I went to a non-target school and didn't really have any intention of going into finance until recently. No relevant internships, no finance classes, I was way behind the 8ball. I am beyond grateful to have this job, and between what I've learned at this job, from studying for the 1st 2 levels of the CFA, from reading books/websites about finance, from friends (about half or more of whom are in finance as it turns out), I have developed a genuine passion for a lot of areas of finance and enjoy learning about them. I apologize for the cheesiness of that answer, but it's true, I'm not trying to suck up to an interviewer here.
  • Pay is totally fine for now. Not to say I don't care about compensation- I just don't care about compensation in the early years of my career. As long as I make enough to get by reasonably comfortably, that's enough. I want opportunities to learn as much as possible, be challenged, and get a deeper understanding of the industry.
  • Coworkers, bosses, firm culture....I suppose I am early in my career so I can't compare it to much, but yes I love it. I can't speak for every group in Cap Fin, where I am I'm surrounded by great people. Couldn't ask for more there.

GIven my background, this is a great fit for me for now. I haven't even finished my first year, I still have plenty to learn. But eventually I would like to move onto something more interesting (not to say I don't find this interesting, but there are definitely areas I find more so) and challenging. I have no issue with working IBD-type hours a week. In fact, while I am really interested in PE/VC above all else, I'd love to get into IB somewhere in the not-so-distant future.

Sorry for the long-winded reply.

May 31, 2016

With a couple more years experience, the chartering of the CFA as well as your already stellar 770 gmat score, once you figure out exactly what it is you're looking to do, an MBA from a top 7 school is likely in your future.

It's honestly just a matter of YOU figuring out what YOU want. You seem more than capable of being able to handle what's thrown at you. It's now just a matter of orienting yourself.

I'm assuming you took your GMAT recently. If that's the case, you have 5 years that you can submit applications using that score. You should be able to figure out what you want to do in that time-frame.

May 30, 2016

Thanks Steve! That's good to hear. Yes my gmat score is under a year old.

And yes "FAP" program is redundant haha, fair enough.

Jun 1, 2016

I don't think that was quite the angle he was going for... think about what else FAP is...

May 31, 2016
DickFuld:

You're a unicorn in finance. You are happy with your:

1. Learning curve2. Co-workers3. Bosses4. Pay (seemingly)5. Firm culture

And you don't seem to have any major complaints. Just so you know, that combination is as rare as a white tiger in the wild of Montana.

What is your issue with the next step on the ladder there?

In finance I'd say having even 2 of the 5 is really really good. 3 is heaven, 4 is illegal, 5 is a lie

    • 4
May 31, 2016

Not to piggyback on this but seriously if this is the case i would really stick with it. Also just to give some additional insight from someone who has gotten to know some wells folks through my area:

  1. Great, smart people. Pleasure to work with and very down to earth. I have enjoyed all my interactions with the credit, ABL, and IB folks there.
  2. Investment banking and lending are two halves of the same coin at wells. Because of this my impression that you can really move around pretty easily between all facets off the wholesale bank which includes the WFS team.

In a nutshell, if you are happy with the pay, hours, work, and people, don't leave...ever.

    • 1
May 30, 2016
deas7:

Try to pm me again

Will do, would love to get some insight from you. Thank you!

SFREIT:

Not to piggyback on this but seriously if this is the case i would really stick with it. Also just to give some additional insight from someone who has gotten to know some wells folks through my area:

1. Great, smart people. Pleasure to work with and very down to earth. I have enjoyed all my interactions with the credit, ABL, and IB folks there.

2. Investment banking and lending are two halves of the same coin at wells. Because of this my impression that you can really move around pretty easily between all facets off the wholesale bank which includes the WFS team.

In a nutshell, if you are happy with the pay, hours, work, and people, don't leave...ever.

I hear ya. I've only been doing this for a little over 6 months. I explained myself a little more in a reply to someone else, but essentially: I'm happy with this for now, but am looking for more challenges and responsibility when I finish the program. And while I definitely like this field, I think there are a couple I'd like even more. in a couple years I might decide this is the path for me, but I'd like to at least see what other potential avenues exist.

Regarding moving around within Wholesale...that is awesome to hear. I love the culture and people here, I'd imagine it would be similar over at WFS. Thanks!

Jun 1, 2016
ladegenerate:

deas7:Try to pm me again

Will do, would love to get some insight from you. Thank you!

SFREIT:Not to piggyback on this but seriously if this is the case i would really stick with it. Also just to give some additional insight from someone who has gotten to know some wells folks through my area:1. Great, smart people. Pleasure to work with and very down to earth. I have enjoyed all my interactions with the credit, ABL, and IB folks there.2. Investment banking and lending are two halves of the same coin at wells. Because of this my impression that you can really move around pretty easily between all facets off the wholesale bank which includes the WFS team.In a nutshell, if you are happy with the pay, hours, work, and people, don't leave...ever.

I hear ya. I've only been doing this for a little over 6 months. I explained myself a little more in a reply to someone else, but essentially: I'm happy with this for now, but am looking for more challenges and responsibility when I finish the program. And while I definitely like this field, I think there are a couple I'd like even more. in a couple years I might decide this is the path for me, but I'd like to at least see what other potential avenues exist.

Regarding moving around within Wholesale...that is awesome to hear. I love the culture and people here, I'd imagine it would be similar over at WFS. Thanks!

The sky's the limit, at this point. I think you are way ahead of everyone else in your current status.

What made you go into finance?

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Jun 1, 2016

My jaw just dropped while reading this.

You are good, hopefully the seniors on here can point to towards the right direction.

May 31, 2016

lol @ the "FAP program"

    • 4
May 31, 2016

Great to hear, I actually received an interview for the ABL FAP program based in Los Angeles a couple months back, but turned it down to get into RE Development. This wouldn't happen to be located in Los Angeles, would it?

Jun 3, 2016

The transition is easy. I have a classmate at my school(not even a "target" in the strict definition) who worked the same job you did for a competing firm. He had smaller firms cold-emailing him trying to get his attention and got a warm reception everywhere else. Ended up going to a decent MM firm without anywhere near the same kind of effort the rest of us had to put in.

Jun 3, 2016

Hi guys, sorry to move over to a different topic.

I recently applied to this program and am crossing my fingers I get an interview. I applied to positions within the FAP program in different cities and 1 application is showing "review" and the others are saying "Applied". so im really preying that is more good than bad since this has been 2 months with some of them. I have 2.5 years of ops experience and currently enrolled in a masters program in risk management.

Has anyone else experience having HR taking multiple months to get back to them either with Denying the application or a phone interview?

Any input is really appreciated.

May 30, 2016

Just for a little color, I think I applied in mid July and got the notice that I had a first round second week of August.

Jun 3, 2016

Its weird, they put the posting for the overall program out there every like 2 weeks for the past month and a half., same job number and everything. then post City specific openings within the FAP Program every so often. So I guess only time can tell. there have been jobs a year or so ago that was a stretch for my qualifications that I was declined from right away, that's why im getting antsy as to what is going on if they are going to interview me or turn me down.

May 30, 2016

They are notorious for doing that. Also , many times they will literally post something for 24 hours. however it really increases your success rate for online apps Imo.

May 30, 2016

Would a 770 GMAT and a couple more years at WFCF be enough to be a strong applicant for a good MBA program? And if so, would it be reasonable to try to move into IBD or even something more interesting on the buy-side?

Sep 27, 2016

I think 770 and WFCF = easily top 15-25 MBA.

Jun 3, 2016

I know people who have done the IBD transition, from a credit background, with a much weaker resume than you have.

Aug 23, 2016

as an aside, what does a credit analyst actually do?

Sep 27, 2016

OP your background resonates somewhat with my path. I spent 2 yrs in credit risk doing ABL at a full service bank. Leveraged that into a credit risk execution role in another team which did more complicated/larger Cross Border asset finance deals, spent a couple years working overseas on assignment getting paid way too much, finished my CA in the process. Relocated back home and lateralled into a M&A advisory role at a top boutique. Currently am the go-to analyst for any restructuring, distressed and mezz advisory mandates since I understand the ins and outs of credit risk and can think from the bank's perspective. My advice is to build up your reputation at your bank so that you can get staffed on the larger complicated structured deals that in turn will help you learn and then shop that experience to mezz funds or IBs once the time comes to jump ship.

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Nov 17, 2016

what's the pay like?

Nov 22, 2016
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Jul 20, 2017