Is there a path to Banking for me?

Long story, short:
I went to a state flagship on the GI Bill, and due to a major change as a sophomore, I ran out of GI Bill and had to choose between taking out more loans and spending an additional year finishing my finance degree or finishing my information systems degree on time, and before my GI Bill ran out. I finished my Information Systems degree in December, and now work at a Fortune 50 as an IT manager for the team that supports the C-suite. I hate my job and want to switch to banking.

Slightly longer story:
In my current role, I manage 2 direct report technicians, and 3 contractors who provide L1/L2 Help desk to the executive suite and their assistants. I also sit in on a lot of meetings, including the finance leadership team's meetings. We're currently in the process of some M&A work, and I'm absolutely enthralled by the details of what's going on, and it makes me realize how poor of a fit my job is for me. On top of that, my Fiancee is about to start full time at a BB in NYC in Equity Research, and I'm well, not in NYC (trying to maintain some form of confidentiality.)

Additionally, I feel like my current job has no career progression potential. It sounded like a sweet gig when I took it (it was pitched as joining an internal IT consulting team that would report to the CIO. What is actually is amounts to help desk manager, albeit for powerful people.) I spend 80-90% of my day sitting around with nothing to do, and if I stay at the company I'm stuck in this role for 2-3 more years.

About me:
30
6-year Military Veteran (Nuclear Power AND Intelligence background)
Cancer survivor (thus the dual military careers) - I don't actually care about this, but some people think I should use it as a good story.
Graduated from a State Flagship (but by no means a public Ivy) with a 3.7 (Cum Laude)
Previously admitted as a transfer student to Columbia, didn't take it for the same GI Bill reason I had to drop one of my majors
Got a 660 on the GMAT with less than two weeks prep (I plan on studying for a few months and taking again)
I'm 100% sure I can get at least one C-level rec, and am 50% sure on a second.

I'm at a loss as far as what I should/can do to make the transition. Some people have recommended I try to get into IT at a bank and then try to move to ops and then MAYBE one day get a front office job, some have recommended an MsF and then try again at an entry level position, and of course, some people recommend an MBA. I know that the technical aspects of my current job aren't doing me any favors, but I do feel like I'm learning a lot and gaining some valuable experience in my daily interactions with the C-suite (up to and including the CEO/CFO's) as well learning about how they think sitting in their meetings, even if I'm only running slides for them.

Any constructive advice is GREATLY Appreciated.

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Comments (9)

Best Response
Mar 22, 2018 - 11:42am

Since you're a veteran and will have two C-level recs from a F50 company, definitely do the MBA route. Once you get your GMAT score up (which I have no doubt you will), you'll probably get in a couple M7s. Good luck!

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Apr 16, 2018 - 11:28pm

Agreed - business school is the most likely route. Top 10 school is best, but can get into banking from Top 25 if you hussle.

But seriously (not trying to troll) you may not want to do banking... people are not making as much (relative to all other opportunities) as they used to, and the post-MBA grind when you're already 30+ is tough.

Mar 22, 2018 - 12:07pm

Agreed with above that you should be competitive for MBA if you can get your GMAT score up. MBA would be your quickest and surest path to get to IB. I've only known of one person who went from back office to front office at a BB, and that was at the analyst level and a very special case.

But my bigger questions would be, why do you really want to do banking?

You said that you are interested in the M&A process work you are hearing about from the finance team. But you should realize that it is an entirely different point of view, and working at a bank would be a very different job.

Not to mention, one of the biggest considerations when joining IB (especially if you are joining at the Associate level and age 32) is the lifestyle. It's not something to take lightly.

Given you are a veteran and cancer survivor, I have no doubt that you are a strong individual. But if I were you, I would think really hard about why you want to do IB. There are tons of other ways to find a job in NYC.

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Mar 22, 2018 - 1:32pm

Definitely MBA route for sure. Although you're definitely going to want to have an answer for why you finished the IT degree and not the finance degree (it sounds here like you could have finished either or and opted for IT)

"Even if you're on the right track, you'll get run over if you just sit there" - Will Rogers
Apr 16, 2018 - 11:33am

I see what you're saying. I believe I failed to communicate this effectively, but the situation I was in was that I could finish the Information Systems Degree before my GI Bill ran out, or I could finish the Finance degree with an additional 3 semesters of coursework after my GI Bill ran out (100% out of pocket, at an out of state rate.)

The reason for the discrepancy is that I started as an engineering student, and enough of my lower level computer science courses transferred to the information systems degree that my path to completion was much shorter than the Finance route. (I had >3.6 in all semesters when I was an engineering student - i.e. I didn't quit because I could hack it, I changed majors because I wasn't interested.) I graduated with a 3.72.

Is that an adequate explanation, or would someone want more info in an interview?

Apr 17, 2018 - 2:55pm

Ah.. I get it now. Totally makes sense. I think you're still gonna need to go to b school to make that switch. That way, the IT degree becomes mostly irrelevant. In a standard recruiting program, you'll have to answer questions about your background but since you're an MBA, it's relevant to the position and you won't get grilled about it as hard. It'll be more of a "walk me through your resume" point.

"Even if you're on the right track, you'll get run over if you just sit there" - Will Rogers
Mar 23, 2018 - 4:40pm

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