LONG-TERM CAREER IN CIB FINANCE: CIMA vs ACA vs ACCA (London based)

jadrian0405's picture
Rank: Chimp | 5

Hi all!

I've been reading the forum for a while, but today I have finally decided to jump into this pool of knowledge.
The question is mainly what the title says. I have to choose one as a requirement for the grad scheme I'm in and I was wondering which one would represent a better potential growth for my career. I don't feel particularly attracted by pure accountancy, so I was thinking on going for CIMA, however, I don't want to close any doors for my professional career down the line. I feel extremely attracted to IB but I'm not entirely sure if I would be a good fit or if I could leverage my skills to sell my case for a prospective opportunity.

My dream would be to work in digital strategy in, perhaps, market execution. Assessing new tech trends and fintechs to try to implement their ideas into the bank. Helping small entrepreneurial businesses grow and achieve their objectives by integrating them into our structures (ie: Sandboxes)

My current situation is as follows;
In Summer 2018 I did a 10 week internship in FICC research Business Management (CIB) for a top American Investment Bank here in London. At the end of my internship I was offered to join the Graduate Scheme for September 2019 but as I was interested in an immediate start, I networked my way into an offer for a slightly different Finance and Business Management grad scheme in the same company but in the Asset Management LOB rather than CIB.

The program is 3 years long with 6 month rotations between the different F&BM departments (but mainly finance). ** Taking an accountancy certification is compulsory but they allow to choose between CIMA, ACA and ACCA. Which one would you choose?**

Thanks so much in advance for all the help you could provide.

In case you're interested in a bit more of context on my background and/or you are up for a few more tips to give, please keep reading, I could really use some guidance! (disclaimer, is quite a brick).

While I was in secondary school, I started working in my family's business (retail company of around 7million in assets) as a shop assistant to help out my parents and learn the business, that set up a very hard-working attitude and forged the foundations that have allowed me to stand where I stand today.

The financial crisis critically hit the business and forced us to radically transform it in search for some profitability. In that sense my help became essential and gained additional responsibilities and knowledge (things that happen when you qualify as free labour). Despite our efforts, a few years down the line the business couldn't stand the debts and we had to let it go. We were evicted from our home and we had to reinvent ourselves to survive.

However, when that happened, I thought I could do something about it. So I decided to set up my own business and re-think the old family business. It worked well and grew to become the main source of income for my family. Employed my parents, who helped me all the way and stepped down of the daily management of the business to focus on my studies.

I studied a joint honours degree in Spain in Law + Finance, Accountancy and Business Management in a non-target university (Universidad de Alicante). It was pretty intense, 5 years of +30 hours of lectures/week and I believe it gave me strong academic foundations.

In the last year of uni I started to get bored again, so I started working as a consultant for a digital transformation consultancy. It was not very big, around 50 people, but allowed me to gain knowledge and control of the full development process of the projects. From initial client meetings/selling, to project management and final delivery. I had the opportunity to liaise with different back-office teams around the globe and helped transform businesses from different industries.

I was constantly liaising with people way more senior than me at both ends, sometimes had to tell a traditional businessman that his way of doing business was not fit for the current environment anymore and sometimes I had to explain a coder with +20 years of experience that his UX design was not good enough for the client. I feared for my life a few times but here I am, still standing and having learned a lot about communication and authority management.

It was there where I discovered that my profile was a mix between front office and middle office where I could use my natural "people skills" but also my analytic and technical skills. I grew there a lot and was offered a few promotions, but I could feel the growth limitations there and decided to emigrate to a bigger place to work on my long-term goals.

At that point I gained a Scholarship for a MSc in International Banking, finance and risk management which I recently graduated with distinction in Glasgow. I did my dissertation on the operational risks of implementing Blockchain technologies in big banking companies in the UK and realised that working with innovation is my passion, and that innovation is where the money is. And that is Banking.

If you have bothered to read until here, you know a few things about me by now and I could really really use your opinion. What do you think I should focus on if I want to work in Financial innovation/digital strategy on the long term? I was thinking on keeping full throttle and learn the most I can from the 6 rotations I have in front of me and then decide. But some info from the people that has been in the industry for so long would certainly make a different.

I chose F&BM because I thought it would be a strong foundation for my long-term career. But I feel a bit like just "a cog in the machine" and I am not sure if I should feel okay about it.

All opinions/comments are welcomed
Thanks again

Comments (1)

Nov 4, 2018
Comment