Mid-career move or did I ruin my Life?

So, I'm at a crossroads:

I started my career as a low level associate in wealth management (BB, but don't think it matters) and was promoted a few times but progress was very slow and our office didn't really have a career path or "improving your career" culture. Most everyone was also stuck.

So I'm 7yr in, have lots of business development experience and a nice looking resume, but most of my analytical skills are on paper only - CFA, Finance major at target school, can build a model from scratch. I ultimately want to end up in PE (which seems close to impossible at this point, you can laugh) and I'm trying to break into IB/hedge funds. Needless to say, it has not been easy. I got a couple of phone screening interviews, but right away I was told I wasn't right for an analyst job, and one person told me I should try to get a job as an Associate.

1) has anyone ever broken into IB/HF as an associate with a non-traditional (non-analytical/research/consulting) background?

2) I'm networking (read: cold emailing) and job-hunting. I was offered an internship at a small M&A IB (unpaid) and was wondering if that's a career killer, or if it's even relevant to have 3 months experience to get into IB?

3) does it make sense to get an MBA to go into IB? I'm target school undergrad but probably could not get into top10 MBA, maybe top 25. this could kill my chances of PE, and kind of not ideal bc I'm still paying my insane undergrad loans.

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Comments (20)

Oct 5, 2017

What are your loans form undergrad still like? I only ask since MBA debt is a lot...

Oct 5, 2017

Don't do an unpaid internship - it's not a legitimate firm.

    • 2
Nov 9, 2017

Even at the undergrad level? Just graduated. My firm doesn't pay interns but promises a cut of the success fees for deals worked on. (my team hasnt completed any since I went "FT")

Nov 9, 2017
DukeMnuchem:

Even at the undergrad level? Just graduated. My firm doesn't pay interns but promises a cut of the success fees for deals worked on. (my team hasnt completed any since I went "FT")

It's not ideal, but ok for someone with no experience. The OP has 7 years of work experience, and that is a different story.

Oct 6, 2017

IB, PE and HF are very different career paths. So before you do anything drastic, I would figure out which one you want and why.

IB is much more attainable than PE/HF but you've heard all the nightmare stories about why IB sucks. PE is most likely only possible if you get into IB (and even then it's no guarantee, especially since most firms are looking for 25 y/o pre-MBA guys.) That being said, I do know some of my IB associates had PE interviews despite no IB pre-MBA. RIght now is not a great time to go for HF, they are all shutting down left and right.

    • 3
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Oct 12, 2017

I'd love to hear more about the Associates who had PE interviews -- what type of pre-MBA experience did they have, how did they prepare for PE interviews, and what sorts of firms were they targeting (MF, MM, etc)?

    • 1
Oct 6, 2017

General business or engineering pre MBA

PE firms were reputable guys all over the mm

Best Response
Oct 14, 2017
midcareerchangebutwhy:

So, I'm at a crossroads:

I started my career as a low level associate in wealth management (BB, but don't think it matters) and was promoted a few times but progress was very slow and our office didn't really have a career path or "improving your career" culture. Most everyone was also stuck.

So I'm 7yr in, have lots of business development experience and a nice looking resume, but most of my analytical skills are on paper only - CFA, Finance major at target school, can build a model from scratch. I ultimately want to end up in PE (which seems close to impossible at this point, you can laugh) and I'm trying to break into IB/hedge funds. Needless to say, it has not been easy. I got a couple of phone screening interviews, but right away I was told I wasn't right for an analyst job, and one person told me I should try to get a job as an Associate.

1) has anyone ever broken into IB/HF as an associate with a non-traditional (non-analytical/research/consulting) background?

2) I'm networking (read: cold emailing) and job-hunting. I was offered an internship at a small M&A IB (unpaid) and was wondering if that's a career killer, or if it's even relevant to have 3 months experience to get into IB?

3) does it make sense to get an MBA to go into IB? I'm target school undergrad but probably could not get into top10 MBA, maybe top 25. this could kill my chances of PE, and kind of not ideal bc I'm still paying my insane undergrad loans.

Why PE? I decided I wanted to start asking people this to get their answer.

    • 5
Nov 9, 2017

Prestige!!!!!

    • 1
Sep 7, 2018
Praesto:

Why PE? I decided I wanted to start asking people this to get their answer.

Because people are lemmings and somehow think PE is some glorious land of blowjobs and beer.
It's not.
Unless I'm doing it wrong....

Oct 14, 2017

Getting into a top but not M7 MBA program seems like the most likely path for you. Then do IBD recruiting and maybe you can get a look eventually from a small shop. That'd be what I did if I were you and deadset on it

    • 1
Oct 14, 2017

If you're really set on making the change, get an MBA. IB recruiting is on fire right now. Industry-wide, firms are recruiting the largest associate classes since the crisis. My M7 school has more dedicated summer BB/EB IB associate slots than we have people recruiting for IB (100% serious)

    • 1
Oct 14, 2017

Why do you think that is the case with associate slots? Do you think it is also the case with analyst positions? Could some of the reason be that many MBA students don't want IB as much as undergrad students?

Nov 9, 2017

a good friend of mine got into IB from outside the industry (he was in consulting for 3-4 years, and then got into IB as a 2nd year analyst).. However, he had a friend who was already on the inside for 4-5 years, and that friend got him an interview for the summer internship program (paid) and that resulted in a fulltime job....which then led to a series of promotions and a successful career. So, yes, you can get into IB from a non-traditional route, but you'll need somebody on the inside to help get you a spot.

    • 1
Nov 10, 2017

Have a different opinion than other people.
I would suggest that you set a 5 year goal plan to get into a PE.

A few things that I would do:
- Stay in wealth management but move up in the ranking (at least make VP or Director)
- Get better client accounts and build up better book of business
- Get into another platform at BB where they are trying to integrate IB and Wealth Management; where they are trying to raise money more from the wealthy individual clients rather than institutional investors (i.e UBS, Credit Suisse)
- Talk to more products people like ECM and Alternative Investments guys, where you can help your clients to make money in Pre-IPO investment and/or where you can direct some of their investment into private equity
- Be a traction with your own client and focus on a specialized niche (i.e. Islamic Finance, cryptocurrency, IoT, Fintech in a defined regional area)
- Pool a few of your client money (about US$20-50 Million) to co-invest in a rather small private equity fund (about 50-150MM)
- Get your seat at the table as a GP because you bring in your own investors

    • 2
    • 1
Nov 10, 2017

Haha I"d run from pre-ipo especially in tech.

Saw some recent articles that on net VC's haven't been profitable for a decade about their benchmark (roughly SP 500 +3%).

And when I look at private market valuations today they look silly. In chicago you have this outcome health deal with the fake numbers (Even then for a guy with 200 million in revenue they gave a 5 billion valuation with 500 million real cash from legitimate firms google, pritzkers, GS). His best friend George Bousis runs a gift card resell website. 1 billion valuation with 150 million real cash investments. That is just from Chicago. But I have a feel the san fran valuations are worse if anything. Juicero got 600 million.

Tech has done very well, but I have a feeling they made too much money last cycle and now have too much money to work with and throwing it at everything.

Array
Nov 10, 2017

Have an issue with your plan here:
1) Let's use the low end of your range for investment into a single PE fund - $20m?
2) You're going to steer how much of your clients' money into this: 5%? What's a prudent number here?
3) So you'd need a $400m book of business AND justify putting 5% of each client's money into a single PE fund to get to $20m?

Seems both unrealistic at best and a lawsuit waiting to happen at worst. Also, if you're actually able to get to that level of success/AUM, just keep building and be an FA.

Nov 10, 2017

That's an entire shop launching a fund. Davy has billions in AUM and they are raising 50m for this. Apple-to-elephants in regards to what you described as a blueprint for this guy's career.

In my estimation, steering a significant amount of your AUM, as an FA, into a single fund in an effort to gain employment at that fund remains a horrible idea.

Nov 10, 2017

What concert costs 45 cents? 50 Cent feat. Nickelback.