MPA after MBA

timtam's picture
Rank: Senior Monkey | 73

Monkeys... Need your advice on whether to go get top MPA (SIPA/HKS/Princeton) after my MBA

So I'm on my last year at usc, and my passion is somewhere in infrastructure / project finance or even public finance, due to my background, but I haven't had any success breaking in... I didn't like my internship in corp banking, so I'm not going back.
My modeling (project finance) skills is so-so and pretty basic because I pretty much taught myself. My problem is that I can't really come in as associate because of limited modeling/finance experience, and overqualified to come in as an analyst due to years of engineering experience.
The other problem is that I'm in west coast, while a lot of these gigs are in NY.

From a linkedin search I found some MPAs from HKS/SIPA/Princeton working in project / infrastructure finance, and so I'm thinking of doing the EMPA/Mid-Career MPA.

So my question is: is it worth it for me to get into one of these program to break in to infra finance? Thinking about it, I probably won't get the PF modeling skills, but the name should land some interviews...? Then again, I'm not sure what good is landing interviews if I don't have the modeling skills or have the experience...

Any advice?

Comments (2)

Oct 28, 2015

Sounds to me like you lack the networking. Because you lack the networking, you seem to have little understanding of the career path. I don't know much about an MPA or project finance. However, if I were in your shoes I would network my ass off and find people who recently made the transition from graduate school to the role you're interested in. You need to understand what's possible before you spend more money on education, which in some cases might provide very little incremental help with actually getting a job. Network with the current MPA students too.

As far as your modeling skills, you're in complete control of that. If they are "so-so" it's because you allow them to be "so-so". Find someone who isn't "so-so" and get them to invest some time in you. I've seen this happen plenty of times across the street. Good buddy of mine was horrible at modeling. Maybe worst modeler in America 2015, but he found folks to support his development.

When it comes to going in as a analyst/associate, I feel like you can control that some extent. You can openly tell a person in an interview you're willing to come in and take analyst pay. You can say you'll be an analyst for 1 year and then become an associate. It's very common at BBs for analysts to take 1 year back when they move internally from a cap markets role to a coverage/M&A role. You could do something similar.

When I was trying to break into banking I had an extensive network I worked my ass off to build. I had a very clear picture of what was probable and improbable based on my background, school, etc. With that knowledge I developed a very clear execution plan and landed in a top group at a BB. You need to have the same approach before you go buying another degree.

Nov 12, 2015