I just finished my first year as an analyst at an institutional Asset Management firm (e.g. PIMCO, BlackRock, Vanguard) in New York. I'm on the front desk side, where I work in commercial mortgage-backed securities portfolio management.I graduated a year ago from a top ten school with an Economics major (my school didn't have an undergrad business/finance program). I wear a lot of different hats at my job. I've traded CMBS, assisted with new issue syndication for ABS, written macros to streamline various processes, looked at credit quality in new issue CMBS. I really like the people I work with, and I'm definitely learning valuable skills, but I have two main concerns. First, I don't think I'm particularly suited to a career in markets. It requires the ability to read quickly, absorbing massive amounts of information and synthesizing it--in short, a large working memory--and that information shortly becomes irrelevant once the market reacts. I've always been more of a problem solver (hence the Econ major) I enjoy the continuity of process-driven work (work that produces an end product, e.g. a model ). Second, we had rotations our first week on the job, and I was placed with the structured finance desk. This is also a concern because issuance parts of this market--namely, RMBS and CMBS--has largely died out since the glory days of 03-07 (think $30bn a year in issuance now vs. 500bn /year during that time period). In short, I'm worried that I'm learning structured finance-specific skills that will be irrelevant in a few years.
However, I've gotten to work on a number of opportunities for our hedge fund strategies. Most of these have involved me building a model from the bottom up, which I've really enjoyed. I liked the chance to get to know every aspect of a new business, and I also thrived on the variety of it.
This has brought me to the conclusion that I'd like to move away from financial markets into the private, dealmaking side of the industry. This will give me a modeling skill set and also prepare me for a management role later in my career, if I so choose. I did a boutique banking internship summer before senior year (didn't lead to an offer but it wasn't expected to). I interviewed with investment banks senior year, had a couple superdays, and got 2 offers from solid, smaller regional banks (think SunTrust Robinson Humphrey, Morgan Keegan, EdgeView) in locations like Charlotte or Atlanta. Ultimately, I chose a more prestigious firm as my first job rather than focusing on job function. While this may have been a mistake (i don't think it was...I've learned an incredible amount here), here I am.
Sorry for rambling, but the point of my post is this question:
How, and more importantly when, do I leave asset management for the private side, namely investment banking or PE? (probably IB, assuming PE firms typically hire IB analysts). I've thought about it, and I have the following options.
- Try to network my way into a bulge bracket firm right here, right now. I could also leverage my commercial real estate experience and excel/VBA skills and I'm confident that if I got an interview I'd be fine. I'd also spin some of the private debt deals I've worked on (e.g., mezzanine off-balance sheet financing). There is a risk of pissing a lot of people off at my current job (they trained me for a year and then I left...it's not really a 2 years and out program), in an industry that is pretty small. But if I really do want out of AM I guess that shouldn't be an issue.
I guess if I choose this, should I go before campus recruiting starts? also wondering if I'm being realistic....Ideally I should have posted this when I was applying for jobs senior year, but I was too busy doing other things (drinking).
I currently have a ton of friends in the industry so getting my resume under the right nose would be easy if I called in a few favors.
- Sometimes you have to step slightly backward to move forward in another direction. I could apply for boutique banking jobs in New York. This may be helpful because I'd still get the experience and skill set of being able to understand a company from the bottom up. Since I don't necessarily want to stay in banking long term (I'd love to move into VC or PE but those types of companies typically look for a banking background). I could also apply for ones that focus on industries I'm interested in (tech, real estate, etc.)
- I work at my current job for 2 more years, then apply for an MBA program. I then use the MBA program's on campus recruiting connections to apply for jobs in VC or PE (or IB first, then transfer to VC/PE later. The benefit of this is that I will have had a great deal more responsibility in my current role (I will have my own book,etc., and have tangible results to show for my work), even though it's in an industry that doesn't really interest me long term.
What do you think?
Questions/comments are much appreciated.