Interviewing for Middle/Back Office Advice

MoetDude's picture
Rank: Chimp | 15

Hi guys,

I have a serious question about how to position myself and interview for a back/middle/office/operations (whatever you want to call it) role at an Asset Management firm. I spent a summer in equity research on the buy-side for a similar asset manager. Didn't receive an offer, and have had trouble finding other work in "high-finance". Graduation is fast approaching and I need to find work. I am very happy accepting a job that others would consider a sizable step down from what I did in the summer.

I am having trouble overcoming this very apparent reality, and telling a good story as to why I once shot for front office, summered in front office, failed to make it FT in front office, and so I am "settling" for operations. This position deals with trade execution, portfolio rebalances, custom trades for clients, etc. There is little overlap with what I did, other than the fact that they are both in the same industry (asset management).

I wanted to know if anyone else has made the jump from "front" to "back" office and/or have dealt with a similar situation. I genuinely would be happy taking this position and grinding it out for a couple years while doing my CFA. Do you guys have any suggestions on how I should frame my answer when asked "Why do you want to join this group? I'd really appreciate any input.

Thanks in advance.

Comments (2)

Mar 12, 2014

Take my comment with a grain of salt as I ended up in FO and was not very interested in the few BO jobs that I applied/interviewed for, but....

I used to revolve my story around wanting to understand the entirety of the business, including the back/middle-office operations, which is important for the big picture. It can be a bit difficult to sell at times, like when they have my resume in front of me and say "you have 2-3 research/banking roles here, why do you want to work in ops?", but that was usually my answer. Another decent approach could be to highlight some of the skills you will learn in BO/MO that are ignored in FO, such as rebalancing, trade execution, etc. Those can be important to understand if you someday want to be a PM/running your own shop. Obviously you can't say that you'd prefer a FO role and this is all you can get or anything of that nature, so that is my best advice.

Good luck

Mar 13, 2014
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