I work as an investment analyst (2nd year) at a local long-only fund in Korea. I managed to move to the buy-side after 5 years at Equity Research and Equity Sales at a big, but local investment bank. I am 32, married with two kids.
I am considering pursuing an MBA in the US (at one of the top 10 schools) to land a niche, buy-side role looking to hire a Korean-speaking analyst to cover Korea/Asia. I realize how difficult it is to land a HF/PE job post MBA, not to mention the specificity of the role sought. I'm sort of betting on the fact that my years of experience covering Korean equities (8+ years, 3+ on the buy-side by the time I matriculate) would set me apart from younger Korean MBA grads with banking or consulting experience. I'm not looking to move to finance from different background or change role (sell-side -> buy-side). Also, English is not an issue for me and I am also a CFA charterholder for whatever it is worth.
I have asked around for advice, most were positive about the idea. After all, "if you want to get a job in the US without any ties or work experience at a, it's nearly impossible" is what I heard and it's probably true. But the more I look into it and considering the fact that I have mouths to feed, the riskier the idea appears. I would be spending close to $300k just to get a shot at finance jobs in the US which by no means is guaranteed. Even if I were to land a job, high tax + rent would leave me practically nothing to save for the first few years (assuming post MBA base + bonus of around $200k). I say that I want to work on the buy-side in the US post MBA, but it is more likely that I will have every option open (banking, consulting, finance job at a non-financial institution, etc.) as getting a job offer would be the first thing if I were to settle in the US with my family. A non-finance job would prolong the period needed to recoup my investment I suppose.
Despite my left brain telling me that it's too risky and I could be putting my family's well-being at risk (I can sustain a fairly comfortable living here with current job and savings), I have a desire deep inside me wanting to take the risk while I still can as I see the upside in career progression incomparable to what I can expect from here.
So my questions are,
1) Does spending $300k just to get a shot at finance jobs in the US make any sense for a 32 year old with kids coming from a non-US, non-target school (although a very competitive engineering school here), non BB or background? (I only interned at a BB and a MBB, and was a runner-up for an position at after many rounds of interviews and a written exam, if that means anything...probably nothing)
2) Fortunately, the hedge fund/industry care less about your pedigree than your ability to generate . Would it be better to spend the time building a track record through publishing successful ideas and get noticed by the buy-side community or use it to cold call prospective employers? I have generated some really good ideas in the past.
3) What are my chances of landing any finance job post MBA at a reputable school (top 10) given my age (34 by the time I graduate) and background? Age is my biggest concern.
Please help me come to my senses here. I know I face a tremendous uphill battle, but without anyone telling me the cold, harsh reality of going after the most coveted position post MBA, I can't help but think that I stand a chance.
Any criticism/comment/encouragement would be much appreciated. Thanks in advance.
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