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4/18/08

Just curious what your opinions are on this. Starting my MBA in Sept. Was just curious what my fellow monkeys thought about this question.

MS in finance one year program or the 2 year MBA?

Costs

MS in finance around 50K

MBA 112K

Target School

Thanks for your thoughts!

Comments (253)

4/18/08

Are you including tuition costs only?

All-in, many MBA programs are more like $150k.

Investment Banking Interview Course

4/18/08

the numbers are just tuition

4/18/08

Where are you going for your MBA? Where would you want to go to get the MS in fin?

4/18/08

For the MBA and a friend is going to do the MS in finance it's a non target but still an outstanding school.

Just looking at cost basis vs reward.

Want to be envolved in emerging markets in Asia.

4/18/08

The MBA is going to get you a lot further. Obviously it depends on your experience, but a lot of people use the MS in finance to break into the industry, where as an MBA is to advance yourself. Coming out of an MBA you are going to start at an associates level, where as for the MS, unless you have prior experience you are going to start at the analyst level in almost all cases.

I can also tell you that I have a friend who got his MS after graduation and then found it necessary 3 years later to go back and get his MBA. So while I think the MS in finance's are great programs, I would generally pick the MBA.

4/18/08

What do you guys think about doing a 2 year M&A analyst stint (with a v. good firm) and then hitting LSBF/INSEAD/Said Business School for a one year MBA?? No way I'm going USA for this 2-year malarkey.

4/18/08

of the three you mentioned, I would go for INSEAD. Oxford's a great university, but its business school is not in the first league. A bit like Yale actually.

If you want to work in the USA, you will have to go for a US MBA though. NY offices of banks or PE funds don't recruit from non-US b schools.

4/18/08

I appreciate it!

4/19/08

But LSBF ranked really highly this year didn't it? Top three I believe? And as regards to INSEAD, je ne parle pas Francais! :)

I'm pretty sure I could still swing a U.S. based job without attending a U.S. b-school.

4/19/08
joefish:

But LSBF ranked really highly this year didn't it? Top three I believe? And as regards to INSEAD, je ne parle pas Francais! :)

I'm pretty sure I could still swing a U.S. based job without attending a U.S. b-school.

Way to ask for advice and then completely disregard it.

4/19/08

way to post something completely pointless that doesn't further the discussion in any way
(I mean, at least I'm posting this to make it to 100 banana points)

4/19/08

I'm pretty sure the main instruction language at INSEAD is English, not French.

4/19/08

the main language is in english but some courses are in french i think, not sure. about LSBF and SBS..take LSBF over Oxford. Oxford's great, but the business school's very young and although it's developing fast, it's probably still not in the same league

4/20/08

If I know an INSEAD alumnus who owes me a favour, would that in any way assist me if I applied there in future?

4/20/08

What is LSBF? I've never heard of it. Is it LBS - as in London Business School? Then again, I've only heard of three European B schools - Insead, LBS and Said. Said is there only because of the Oxford name.

4/20/08

LSBF = London School of Business and Finance [http://www.lsbf.org.uk/]Basically it's what you said although what I just wrote is the official title.

Said is up and coming but I've heard good things about it, my mate does undergrad there and rates it highly.

What do you U.S. guys think of INSEAD?

4/20/08

There appears to be a serious misunderstanding about what LSBF is. LSBF is in no way related to the much better regarded LBS.

LBS = London Business School. Arguably the top business school outside the United States. It is usually considered to be on par with the top 10 US business schools. MBA program ranked #1 in Europe and #2 worldwide by the Financial Times.

LSBF = London School of Business and Finance. Affiliated with the University of East London (a not-so-well-regarded university), the Grenoble Graduate School of Business (never heard of it), and Sun Yat-Sen University (no idea what this is). LSBF does not even appear in the top 100 rankings published by the FT, and I have never seen it even mentioned by the WSJ, Business Week, Forbes, the Economist, or any other major publication that writes about business schools.

To Joefish and several other people in this thread:
You appear to have confused two totally different institutions. LBS is a top-ranked business school. LSBF does not even appear on the 2008 European business school rankings, let alone the global business school rankings rankings (didn't break the top 100 globally, or the top 60 in Europe).

LBS: http://www.london.edu/LSBF: http://www.lsbf.org.uk/

Hope this helps.

4/20/08

I hold my hands up, thanks for the correction! :)

4/22/08

MBA all the way.

Not that you wouldn't learn things that would benefit you in a MS Finance program, but I think many people would agree that the main purpose for most MBA students is to get a break from work and to expand your business network, other then that, I think a large amount of people question how beneficial the curriculum is, even for an MBA.

"The trouble with our liberal friends is not that they're ignorant, it's just that they know so much that isn't so."
- Ronald Reagan

4/22/08

I'd try and transfer into a valuation group or something closely IB related. If that fails then do an MSF.

Masters in Finance HQ - The #1 site for everything related to the MSF degree!
MSFHQ

4/22/08

Thanks for your response!

4/22/08

TNA,

Would you give the same advice relating to the MSF for ER?

4/22/08

FinMoney123:

TNA,

Would you give the same advice relating to the MSF for ER?

I think an MSF and CPA is great. Would make a good case for valuation groups at Big 4, Duff and Phelps, etc. MSF is also very good for equity research since the degrees usually encompass different aspects of the CFA. You also get the opportunity to compete in CFA competitions (I know Nova, Vandy and WUSTL compete) which is an equity research competition.

Accounting gets too discounted on this site. Knowing accounting is the foundation of finance and valuation. I think the CPA is more than you need, but it is still good to have.

Masters in Finance HQ - The #1 site for everything related to the MSF degree!
MSFHQ

4/22/08

I appreciate your responses. Would you say ER recruiting is as regional as IB recruiting when it comes to MSF programs?

4/22/08

FinMoney123:

I appreciate your responses. Would you say ER recruiting is as regional as IB recruiting when it comes to MSF programs?

I think MSF programs have strong regional focuses. That being said, if you have experience or knowledge of an industry and there is an opening elsewhere you can still get an interview.

Masters in Finance HQ - The #1 site for everything related to the MSF degree!
MSFHQ

4/22/08

FinMoney123:

I appreciate your responses. Would you say ER recruiting is as regional as IB recruiting when it comes to MSF programs?


Let me add my perspective here. I just graduated from an MSF program (CMC if it matters) and am going into ER. My experience was that ER recruiting was much tougher than IBD mostly due to fewer opportunities. As you'd expect, most IBD firms had a pretty structured process where they were coming to recruit every year. ER was much more ad hoc even at larger firms. I do think however, that this may have made the "regional focus" a smaller factor as you (mostly) had to try and connect with alums or whoever from all over the country instead of OCR, which was almost entirely regional. One more thing: don't tie yourself to a location if you want ER. You've already narrowed your focus considerably by doing that.
4/22/08

bigblue3908:

FinMoney123:

I appreciate your responses. Would you say ER recruiting is as regional as IB recruiting when it comes to MSF programs?

Let me add my perspective here. I just graduated from an MSF program (CMC if it matters) and am going into ER. My experience was that ER recruiting was much tougher than IBD mostly due to fewer opportunities. As you'd expect, most IBD firms had a pretty structured process where they were coming to recruit every year. ER was much more ad hoc even at larger firms. I do think however, that this may have made the "regional focus" a smaller factor as you (mostly) had to try and connect with alums or whoever from all over the country instead of OCR, which was almost entirely regional. One more thing: don't tie yourself to a location if you want ER. You've already narrowed your focus considerably by doing that.

May I ask what your background was prior to MSF (work experience, gpa, GMAT etc.)?

4/22/08

If your undergrad is non-target and you want to break into IB, then MSF. Top MBA schools don't prefer accounting guys, ask Stacy Blackman or Alex Chu on here. Or if you can get into Deloitte's Consulting, then waiting a few more years would be wise. Though not as prestigious as BCG or Oliver Wyman, they still try to recruit from Deloitte. The other 3 are hardcore accounting firms, you better stay away from there.

EDIT: The chances of you getting into top MBA programs are small with your CPA license.

4/22/08

Why would MBA's frown upon accounting and having a CPA, while tons of non-business backgrounds get into MBA programs?

4/22/08

"I'm Chris Aitken, one of the co-founders of MBA Prep
School. Thanks for your message via our chat application.

I'm a former partner of both Arthur Andersen and KPMG, so I understand
the Big 4 space well. While it's hard to generalize about an entire
industry, I would say that many accountants (and tax professionals)
lack many of the key criteria and experiences that the top schools are
looking for. In particular, many of them have little or no leadership
experiences, limited community/volunteer service outside of work (and
will claim it was because they were busy completing their CPA or
equivalent certification), and often don't have a clear understanding
of why they *need* an MBA to be successful in their chosen career
path.

As you think about Deloitte, many of the people who continue onto
business school are from the consulting side of Deloitte. While not as
prestigious as McKinsey, Bain, or BCG backgrounds, Deloitte is still a
respected consulting name and they work hard to recruit from into
Deloitte post-MBA."

MBA is basically for career-changers or those who already have relevant experience. If you were applying to MPA or MS Accounting programs, it'd make sense to have passed the CPA exams. Still, you can break into IB with MSF and later apply to top MBAs. So it's not impossible.

4/22/08

LOL, it seems like on this board, Deloitte isn't "that hard" to get into. Good luck transferring from Deloitte Audit to Deloitte Consulting. It is basically the equivalent of going from BO to FO. It is VERY VERY hard. The caliber of students that Deloitte Consulting has is far, far higher than that of your typical audit guys. The recruiters push that you can transfer divisions easily, but then again, when I was at a Goldman recruiting session, they did the very same thing.

4/22/08

A piece of advice, drop the CPA. If you want to break into IB with 6 months of experience, just do the MSF. You are still young and have time to build the right profile for MBA.

4/22/08

Well I appreciate your comments and advice. I have already passed the CPA, so thats that. I am most likely going to do the MSF, but I was just trying to get peoples different perspective on the MBA vs MSF deal.

4/22/08

Similar situation here. Wanting to break into IB but lack the relevant experience to get in right now. I have been working in Big 4 Advisory (Enterprise Risk consulting) for almost two years. I am currently pursuing the CPA. Interested if an MSF is worthwhile, i.e. will it help me get into investment banking either directly or help me get into a top MBA program later. Thanks.

4/22/08

I think anyone that has a good story to tell on their applications is capable of getting into a good MBA program. I go to a nontarget and we have one alumni that is finishing up at HBS. He was an accounting major with 3.5 years of KPMG audit experience but had a stellar gpa+gmat score. I'm also trying to decide whether or not to pursue an MSF or just get an MBA after a couple years. I am going to start working BO at a BB next month..

4/22/08

This thread has so many absolutes, and very few are accurate (marathon post coming...)

1. "You can't get into a top b-school with a CPA/accounting experience"

Is it the best work experience ever? No. In fact, it's sort of shitty work experience for b-schools, but not the worst. You have a recognizable name brand employer and some solid client facing, team work experiences. Additionally, after two years, you'll likely lead a team of 2-4 staff, which is a pretty solid leadership experience for someone early in their career. Every single year, top b-schools have CPAs in their classes. Will you have a great shot at H/S/W without something else outstanding? Probably not, but there are a lot of other very good schools that are doable and will get you to IBD

2. "Auditors have no leadership experience or Extras outside of work"

The audit partner that you quoted, frankly, sounds like an idiot. He may be an admissions consultant, which is fine, but he generalizes insanely. I am also interested in how he has an admission consulting business when he didn't go to or work at a business school. Why can't an audit applicant have ECs? Moreover, as I mentioned above, auditors can actually have great leadership experience after only three or four years. Why wouldn't a CPA understand why they need an MBA? It's actually pretty obvious - I don't like being an auditor, so I'd like to add value to my clients. Again, these are crazy generalizations that may be true overall, but very well may not apply to an auditor that is clear in his direction and wants to go to b-school

3. "Just transfer to Deloitte S&O" and the opposite "It's impossible to transfer from Deloitte Audit to S&O"

The second is actually close to true. Having done it, I have only met/heard of two others that have done so (I'm sure there are plenty others, but it's a small amount). It's incredibly hard. The firm will not support you in doing it. It's not that no one respects your skills, it's that they just don't need you so they won't go to bat for you. Much more feasible, and what I would recommend if you can't do the above is to find a way into TAS or similar, like @TNA said. That's usually a much more doable transfer and shows AdComs clear intention to move closer to adding value to clients, which will play well in your app.

Let's just look at it like it is: you have a relatively uninteresting job that MBA Adcoms *may* have a slight stigma against. Okay. Be strong everywhere else. You have a good GPA, and will need to get a 700+ to get into a top ~15 school. From here on out, if you choose an MBA over an MSF (I know nothing about MSFs so none of my advice pertains to that), your first focus should be on the GMAT. Give them a reason to be interested in you from a numbers standpoint.

After that, you need to get involved both at the firm and outside of the firm. So your audit job sucks? You still have to do well at it, get promoted, and get good recs, but do more. Find a way to get involved with a cool business development initiative. Lead something for Community Service Day (Impact Day if you're at Deloitte). Network with consulting people and see if you can get involved in some of their firm projects. Outside of work, do big time community service stuff. Find a way to lead something, somehow, that ideally, relates to your interests.

The last one is just generally, be interesting. Part of the reason why auditors have a stigma is because people (like the quoted audit partner above) have these generalizations that they're no fun. To be honest, that's probably right more than it's wrong. Don't be that - develop a cool hobby, do interesting things. Do something that you can talk about in essays and interviews that makes you jump out. If you're interesting, have good numbers, and have had some success at work, you'll get in somewhere.

4/22/08

Excellent post. Lots of questionable advice floating around this thread.

One other thought - why dont you try to make the transfer to banking without going back to school? If you learn how to model on your own and network, you should be able to land at a boutique shop. It wont be easy, but I have seen plenty of people make similar moves with some hustle and effort. After putting in your time there, you can then either move on, or head back to school for an MBA. A good plan B as others have suggested would be moving into a valuation/transaction advisory group at your firm - but if you can make that switch, I wouldnt bother with the MSF. Just stay on (assuming you arent miserable, differentiate your experience, and go to b school). As BGP mentions, coming from an accounting background is not going to be the thing that gets you dinged.

I really think you can get where you want to go without spending the time and money on an MSF.

4/22/08

Thanks for responding. I have been networking at some of the boutiques and MM firms in my current location. I have talked to the TAS guys and will be joining a rotation. One of the big draws to the msf is a chance to move and gain new experience in a new city, while gaining more knowledge and opening new doors with the degree. I have lived where I am currently for roughly 12 years now. Do y'all think that is reasonable?

4/22/08

FinMoney123:

Thanks for responding. I have been networking at some of the boutiques and MM firms in my current location. I have talked to the TAS guys and will be joining a rotation. One of the big draws to the msf is a chance to move and gain new experience in a new city, while gaining more knowledge and opening new doors with the degree. I have lived where I am currently for roughly 12 years now. Do y'all think that is reasonable?

Are you saying that you'll be working in TAS in your full time job? I would try and do really well there and use that to springboard to IBD. MSF's are great, but you do run a significant risk of not getting something that relevant to what you're looking for (N.B. if you're disciplined this risk declines significantly). If you are stuck in a bad position or have nothing else then that risk is worth taking, but if you're in a solid spot I would try and avoid going back to school just from a cost/opportunity cost perspective.

Oh, and the above was from an IBD perspective. I have no idea how valued TAS experience is for ER, but I would imagine it's less relevant (so if ER is main focus, MSF might be a better option). All of what I've said are just things to think about in your decision. Only you can answer whether the location factor is significant enough to sway you one way or another.

4/22/08

I began speaking about doing a 50/50 rotation awhile back, but due to the hierarchy I will be joining the rotation next year. Overall life is good, I am in no position where I want out this second. I just know accounting is not my dream position, while I believe ER is what I actually enjoy. I enjoy investing and the more I think about the situation, the more I lean to ER to IB. I just do not want to limit myself if I cannot come across a sid ER position.

4/22/08

FinMoney123:

I began speaking about doing a 50/50 rotation awhile back, but due to the hierarchy I will be joining the rotation next year. Overall life is good, I am in no position where I want out this second. I just know accounting is not my dream position, while I believe ER is what I actually enjoy. I enjoy investing and the more I think about the situation, the more I lean to ER to IB. I just do not want to limit myself if I cannot come across a sid ER position.

I think this depends on your risk tolerance. The safe route would be to stay put and go into TAS next year and try and use that to get into ER (or IB) if you can. If that doesn't work out you could go for an MBA, which would offer the best chance of getting into one of those fields. MSF's are a lot cheaper (as well as being only 1 year) though and could allow you to make the transition a lot more quickly, but it's much less of a slam dunk than coming out of a top MBA. If you feel you're interviewing skills are pretty solid, you've got sufficient motivation, and you're in a financial position to take a risk I would advise the MSF route. Otherwise stay put and continue building up experience. Also, no harm in taking the GMAT and doing some applications for next year to retain some optionality if your situation changes.

4/22/08

1 year of boutique consulting experience, non-target undergrad, STEM major, ~3.6 GPA, 700 GMAT

4/22/08

Bump

Best Response
4/22/08

My Situation: MBA or MSF (Originally Posted: 09/02/2013)

Looking for some advice or a push in the "right" direction. I've searched for some "MBA vs. MSF" posts here but they're usually people who don't know what an MSF is or otherwise not fully applicable for one reason or another. My candidacy is somewhat abnormal anyhow, so I figured it couldn't hurt.

I'm studying for the GMAT now and it's looking good so far, so of course now I start wondering and second guessing myself on what path I should try and pursue - a MSF/MMS or a MBA.

Work history: I'm about a year into working for a commercial real estate brokerage firm with a top name. Real estate is interesting as a concept, especially development, but this is never really what I wanted to do long-term. I don't make any money and my boss is a shit, on top of it. I was promoted in only 6 months though and have been a part of some interesting pitches and deals in the meantime. I'm only a year out of college too, and my college resume was pretty good - SGA President, Fraternity Vice President, Board of Directors of a 501(c)(3), etc.

Education history: This is the big deficit though - 2.6 GPA from a shit state school for all sorts of reasons, some good, some bad, and my transcript looks ridiculous (and not in a good way.) Political Science major, Economics minor so I'm not very quant-heavy either. If we're being completely honest, I got fucked hard my first year for a situation out of my control, and coupled with a sense of entitlement and some general immaturity I just didn't care like I should have. I know I fucked up and I know I'm paying for it now, but I've been busting my ass to make up for it.

The Goal: I'm aiming for banking, but I have no delusions of Goldman M&A to Blackstone PE. I'm fine with lower MM or boutique or working for a shit place for a few years and fighting my way up. I know either way it's going to be frustrating, it's going to be insanely difficult, and I'm going to have to network my ass off and do more than anyone else to lock something up. I've been overcoming my college failures for years now and have gotten pretty good at it. I just want to know how BEST to set myself up, given my situation. So...

The Question: If I do get a good to great gmat score (Aiming for 700+ and if I don't at least pull off a high 600 or higher this whole "grad school" idea is pointless anyhow so just roll with me here) - do I try for an MSF to break in as an analyst or do I try for an MBA to break in as an associate?

When it comes to admissions, I may as well throw out the M7 MBA programs and I'm not getting into Princeton or MIT's MSF programs either, but I've spoken to admissions people at "top" MSF programs and that 10-25 area of MBA programs and have gotten positive feedback.

Could I get into a Darden, Fuqua, Stern, Yale SOM, McCombs, Tepper, Goizueta, Kenan-Flagler type school with a high enough GMAT? I know my GPA is going to kill me and my relative lack of work experience will hurt some too, but would they completely cancel me out?

I'm perfectly at ease with getting a MSF. I think I could learn a lot, it would be a very productive year, and I am fine spending the money to improve my knowledge base and prove that I can actually get good grades. I know MSF programs are a lot more forgiving when it comes to hard stats too because they don't have to publish them. At the same time though, I know even great MSF programs also aren't direct routes into M&A.

I don't want to sell myself short if a (relatively for this site) good MBA that would get me relatively similar job prospects as a good MSF (albeit for different positions in the bank but still one brought on by networking over OCI) is possible at this point but at the same time I refuse to be unrealistic with my pursuits.

Feel free to be brutally honest here. Kid gloves or "you can do it!" posts aren't going to help. I know I can do it. I know I can bust my ass. I know I can network. I just need pointed in the right direction. Other options or suggestions are appreciated as well.

Thanks in advance.

4/22/08

I think that you have a very interesting background. If you can crack 700 on the GMAT, you will be in good shape for admissions. My first suggestion would be to work for another year (why do you say its shit if you get promoted 6 months into the job?) and then aim at entering an MBA program with 2 years of experience. I would almost advise you to concentrate on schools in NYC, so that you have plenty of alumni and are at ease for networking.

Maybe you want to get the opinion of someone more experienced though, like Sandy or Betsy. They can usually point out any flaws far more accurate than anyone on WSO.

I'm talking about liquid. Rich enough to have your own jet. Rich enough not to waste time. Fifty, a hundred million dollars, buddy. A player. Or nothing.

See my Blog & AMA

4/22/08

Matrick:

I think that you have a very interesting background. If you can crack 700 on the GMAT, you will be in good shape for admissions.

For MBA programs or in general?

Matrick:
My first suggestion would be to work for another year (why do you say its shit if you get promoted 6 months into the job?) and then aim at entering an MBA program with 2 years of experience.

By the time I matriculate, I will have almost 2 years, or do you mean 2 years before I apply?

Matrick:
I would almost advise you to concentrate on schools in NYC, so that you have plenty of alumni and are at ease for networking.

Point taken, I didn't think of that. Although I know Columbia & Stern are difficult

Matrick:

Maybe you want to get the opinion of someone more experienced though, like Sandy or Betsy. They can usually point out any flaws far more accurate than anyone on WSO.

They're the Adcoms right? Any idea what their user names are? I'll @ them.

Thanks for the response!

4/22/08

CRE:

They're the Adcoms right? Any idea what their user names are? I'll @ them.

Any advice would be appreciated, @Stacy_Blackman & @"Betsy Massar"

4/22/08

CRE:
For MBA programs or in general?

I think more for MBA programs, but thats just because I think that an MSF doesn't make sense in your situation. I think if you were to shoot for a decent MSF or even Duke's Management program you'd still have a shot if your essays are up to par.

CRE:
By the time I matriculate, I will have almost 2 years, or do you mean 2 years before I apply?

No, no that's exactly what I meant: 2 years when you matriculate.

CRE:
Point taken, I didn't think of that. Although I know Columbia & Stern are difficult

Probably, yeah. Stern may not be as difficult, though.

CRE:
They're the Adcoms right? Any idea what their user names are? I'll @ them.

Sandy doesn't post on here, as far as I know. @Betsy Massar can probably also help you out.

I'm talking about liquid. Rich enough to have your own jet. Rich enough not to waste time. Fifty, a hundred million dollars, buddy. A player. Or nothing.

See my Blog & AMA

4/22/08

Thanks again!

Just as a follow up - why do you think a MSF doesn't make sense?

4/22/08

You have experience and you should consider this a career switch, which an MBA is partially made for. Also, with an MBA you keep you options open. Maybe when you enroll at in a good program, you realize entrepreneurship is your thing and you decide to go for it. Does that make sense?

I'm talking about liquid. Rich enough to have your own jet. Rich enough not to waste time. Fifty, a hundred million dollars, buddy. A player. Or nothing.

See my Blog & AMA

4/22/08

Matrick:

You have experience and you should consider this a career switch, which an MBA is partially made for. Also, with an MBA you keep you options open. Maybe when you enroll at in a good program, you realize entrepreneurship is your thing and you decide to go for it. Does that make sense?

Ya that's a very good point.

4/22/08

CRE:
For MBA programs or in general?

I think more for MBA programs, but thats just because I think that an MSF doesn't make sense in your situation. I think if you were to shoot for a decent MSF or even Duke's Management program you'd still have a shot if your essays are up to par.

CRE:
By the time I matriculate, I will have almost 2 years, or do you mean 2 years before I apply?

No, no that's exactly what I meant: 2 years when you matriculate.

CRE:
Point taken, I didn't think of that. Although I know Columbia & Stern are difficult

Probably, yeah. Stern may not be as difficult, though.

CRE:
They're the Adcoms right? Any idea what their user names are? I'll @ them.

Sandy doesn't post on here, as far as I know. @Betsy Massar can probably also help you out.

I'm talking about liquid. Rich enough to have your own jet. Rich enough not to waste time. Fifty, a hundred million dollars, buddy. A player. Or nothing.

See my Blog & AMA

4/22/08

@CRE Definitely an uphill battle, and I'm probably closer to understanding the frustrations attached to it then most of the other users on this site. I have basically the same GPA, no name private regional school, year into my job and wanting more. I've personally tossed the MSF idea because my current job pays a lot while not working me hard in the slightest, plus my boss is not a shit. If I were you, I would try to find another job that you enjoy and do that for 2 years and then get an MBA at somewhere like Stern which isn't a super superb MBA but has amazing IBD recruiting and the NYC network, and go in as an associate. I could probably type more and more about this because I battle the same conundrum each day but I'll refrain for now. From my own research, 700 puts you in solid shape, 750+ puts you in awesome shape without considering other factors. Betsy may suggest an alternative transcript as well.

Hope to see you succeed.

Frank Sinatra - "Alcohol may be man's worst enemy, but the bible says love your enemy."

4/22/08

Have you thought of doing something like ER? Real estate or REIT research might be something worth looking into and going back to school, coupled with a CFA (or comparable real estate certification, I have no experience with RE) and your real estate background, would probably make it a very viable option.

People demand freedom of speech as a compensation for freedom of thought which they seldom use.

4/22/08

Anihilist:

Have you thought of doing something like ER?

From what I can tell, people who get into ER are more markets-driven while people who get into IBD are more deal-driven.

I'm definitely of the deal-driven variety

4/22/08

If you have the math courses, and got at least Bs in them, you may have a shot at Princeton. It may be worth applying although I'm not giving you double-digit odds. Being in real estate makes you an interesting candidate, at the very least. You are not the typical banking applicant.

If you don't have them, you can always take them part-time at the main state school in your city (if you live in a big city like New York, Chicago, SF, LA, etc)

If you had a 3.5 GPA from a state school, I'd be giving you 30% odds and calling you a reasonably competitive candidate.

If you had taken some evening math courses at a Baruch or a UIC or UW-Seattle and had pulled off a few A-s or As, I'd also be giving you 25-30% odds. I think the admissions committee at Princeton would look at your application and see all of the ingredients they'd want for you to be a strong candidate, except for the fact that academically, you look like a flake, and they can't have that. They don't want someone who'd have a killer interview for an Associate role in CMBS Sales at JPM and get the offer only to be unable to join the firm because you can't meet Princeton's minimum GPA requirement (3.0) for graduation. That would be bad for you and a terrible embarrassment for Princeton. Someone who can't graduate from Princeton because of a GPA problem is like a school bus driver who gets arrested for drunk driving taking kids home from school. Something like this should NEVER happen because you're supposed to be smart (or if you're a bus driver, a safe driver).

Frankly without some more recent part-time academic work on your own part that proves to yourself that you can handle it, you may not want to go back to grad school right now. If it were me, I'd want to know that I could handle the rigors of grad school (even an MBA program) before applying. You are probably a great employee and I really respect a lot of people who did badly in undergrad as coworkers, but I'm not sure how they would do in grad school despite their success in industry.

Incidentally, probability and linear algebra are really helpful courses for a lot of places in business, and they're also required for most MFE programs, including Princeton. You may want to take a linear algebra course this fall- it may not be too late to register. An A in more recent part-time courses would also go a long way towards cancelling the undergrad GPA as a negative factor in admissions.

I'd give it one or two more years. I know you're not enjoying corporate real estate right now, and I'm not saying you need to stay there. I'm just saying that you may do better in admissions if you can prove to the MBA and MFE/MFin adcoms that you can handle these classes.

4/22/08

IlliniProgrammer:

I'd give it one or two more years. I know you're not enjoying corporate real estate right now, and I'm not saying you need to stay there. I'm just saying that you may do better in admissions if you can prove to the MBA and MFE/MFin adcoms that you can handle these classes.

Great point. An adcom actually suggested I do some continuing ed and I signed up for a couple modules. I think they're ungraded though...

4/22/08

You don't have the work experience for a top MBA right now. Honestly, with a 2.6, weakish work experience and a lower branded UG school I don't see you getting into a T15 program at all. Either way why waste your MBA chance this early in the game.

IMO, I would do one of two things. Leave your firm and do RE somewhere else with a better reputation/bigger firm, do that for 3-4 years, maybe take some classes or a certificate program from a well respect school to bump your GPA and THEN apply to a top MBA.

Or.

Look at MSF programs as a reset. Do better than a 2,6. Go to a higher ranked school than your UG. Do an internship and maybe try to leverage your real estate experience to go into REPE or maybe real estate AM at a bigger bank.

Your GPA is low, but you have a ton of EC's, work experience, a promotion and if you get a mid to high 600 on your GMAT I can see you getting into a variety of programs, some with money and some without. If your goal is to remain in the corporate finance side of the business then this would be the best bet.

Masters in Finance HQ - The #1 site for everything related to the MSF degree!
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4/22/08

TNA:
You don't have the work experience for a top MBA right now. Honestly, with a 2.6, weakish work experience and a lower branded UG school I don't see you getting into a T15 program at all.

That's what I am afraid of.

TNA:

IMO, I would do one of two things. Leave your firm and do RE somewhere else with a better reputation/bigger firm, do that for 3-4 years, maybe take some classes or a certificate program from a well respect school to bump your GPA and THEN apply to a top MBA.

The problem is, for what I do, there's really only one "better firm" out there and I still would not like what I do while getting less benefits and no draw at all while working there. I don't want to "waste" another 3-4 years of my life just to get "quality work experience" you know? But I don't think I could shift industries without some sort of rebranding.

TNA:

Or, look at MSF programs as a reset. Do better than a 2,6. Go to a higher ranked school than your UG. Do an internship and maybe try to leverage your real estate experience to go into REPE or maybe real estate AM at a bigger bank.

Your GPA is low, but you have a ton of EC's, work experience, a promotion and if you get a mid to high 600 on your GMAT I can see you getting into a variety of programs, some with money and some without. If your goal is to remain in the corporate finance side of the business then this would be the best bet.

Thanks, @TNA . I know we've talked about me and an MSF before, and I definitely am a proponent of the idea, I just didn't want to be heading down the wrong path in doing so.

Unfortunately, hah, so far the answers in this thread as to what I should do seem to be as definitive as I am about it...

4/22/08

By the way, another option just came to my mind would be to do a degree part-time at Harvard? You can do a great portion of the degree online and for the rest you have to in attendance. There was a very nice testimonial from a guy who was one of the few who actually graduate the Management program. He is now an independent investment banker. Maybe @dppe can chime in here and share his view on your question/my idea?

I'm talking about liquid. Rich enough to have your own jet. Rich enough not to waste time. Fifty, a hundred million dollars, buddy. A player. Or nothing.

See my Blog & AMA

4/22/08

Matrick:

By the way, another option just came to my mind would be to do a degree part-time at Harvard? You can do a great portion of the degree online and for the rest you have to in attendance. There was a very nice testimonial from a guy who was one of the few who actually graduate the Management program. He is now an independent investment banker. Maybe @dppe can chime in here and share his view on your question/my idea?

Do you mean like take Harvard Extension School classes online?

4/22/08

Yeah may give you a boost for cheap, no?

I'm talking about liquid. Rich enough to have your own jet. Rich enough not to waste time. Fifty, a hundred million dollars, buddy. A player. Or nothing.

See my Blog & AMA

4/22/08

Might I suggest doing something RE focused, but not exactly what you are doing now? Lot of banks have a commercial RE division. Maybe get work with a developer or something along those lines? Sales is a tough business, but you still know something about real estate. Get some Argus experience and try for something with a salary.

Masters in Finance HQ - The #1 site for everything related to the MSF degree!
MSFHQ

4/22/08

I'd go for a graded math course rather than ungraded continuing education.

1.) You'd figure out if you have the ability to do a math-heavy MFE program.
2.) A graded course, taken with people working on undergraduate degrees, is a whole different signal than an ungraded continuing education course.

4/22/08

Why would you recommend a graded math class? The guy has a 2.6 and was a polisci major? He already has enough math for MSF/MBA programs. Best case is he gets an A in one math class. Most probably case is he gets a lower grade which doesn't help his case.

Don't waste time with ungraded classes, but unless you are dying to do a quant MFE program just find a business certificate program at a solid local school and knock that out.

Masters in Finance HQ - The #1 site for everything related to the MSF degree!
MSFHQ

4/22/08

TNA:

Why would you recommend a graded math class? The guy has a 2.6 and was a polisci major? He already has enough math for MSF/MBA programs. Best case is he gets an A in one math class. Most probably case is he gets a lower grade which doesn't help his case.


I believe he's interested in a Princeton/MIT MFin program. I believe both programs require some sort of linear algebra.

Don't waste time with ungraded classes, but unless you are dying to do a quant MFE program just find a business certificate program at a solid local school and knock that out.


Agree. My point is that an A in a graded linear algebra course would kill about two or three birds with one stone if MIT is on the table.

I think OP's prospects for grad school admission in general get better the further he is away from undergrad. I think every A he gets in a part-time course adds an extra six months of distance from undergrad in addition to the time elapsed (every C cuts six months). Linear algebra is one of many of those potential courses and frankly it's pretty useful everywhere in business, with or without an MFE.

M7 is on the table if OP is doing well in corporate real estate, undergrad is at least five years (in terms of time elapsed and courses taken) in the rear view mirror, and OP can do something to convince the adcoms that he can handle the coursework.

4/22/08

"When it comes to admissions, I may as well throw out the M7 MBA programs and I'm not getting into Princeton or MIT's MSF programs either, but I've spoken to admissions people at "top" MSF programs and that 10-25 area of MBA programs and have gotten positive feedback."

I won't comment on Princeton since it isn't within the MSF space. With that said I think a 2.6 in a non-quant UG pretty much takes on out of the running for both MIT and Princeton with enough certainty that effort would be better spent applying elsewhere.

Masters in Finance HQ - The #1 site for everything related to the MSF degree!
MSFHQ

4/22/08

TNA:

"When it comes to admissions, I may as well throw out the M7 MBA programs and I'm not getting into Princeton or MIT's MSF programs either, but I've spoken to admissions people at "top" MSF programs and that 10-25 area of MBA programs and have gotten positive feedback."

I won't comment on Princeton since it isn't within the MSF space. With that said I think a 2.6 in a non-quant UG pretty much takes on out of the running for both MIT and Princeton with enough certainty that effort would be better spent applying elsewhere.


I guess the only problem I have here is that he may not need an MSF to get into a top MBA program or to get a good job in a different industry if he absolutely hates real estate.
4/22/08

I have a lunch next month with a principal of a pretty decent PE shop and I've had some informal interviews and phone calls, but it seems to always come back to "we look for IB experience"

Shifting to another role in corporate real estate is definitely an option, although I do worry if I'll get branded a job hopper for it or if leaving my current company for a commercial bank or small developer or something would truly look better on an application

4/22/08

CRE:

I have a lunch next month with a principal of a pretty decent PE shop and I've had some informal interviews and phone calls, but it seems to always come back to "we look for IB experience"

Shifting to another role in corporate real estate is definitely an option, although I do worry if I'll get branded a job hopper for it or if leaving my current company for a commercial bank or small developer or something would truly look better on an application


It takes 18 months to avoid the job hopper brand; 24 months if you are extremely conservative. If you started in May of last year, that sets the clock to ~November of this year. If you stay 24 months, and people there really liked you, you'd also be able to go back a couple years later and get a solid rec or two for b-school. Everything suddenly goes from being bumpy and inefficient transitions and looking weak with 14 months of experience to being extremely valuable experience and an easy transition with 24 months of experience. (Namely ~15 months is the time it takes for them to get their money back from hiring you and also the length of time to figure out you're an idiot and hit you in the next layoff- from the sound of it, this won't happen).

I could see you getting interviews in IBD and Equity Research teams that focus on real estate. I'm just a quant from S&T and I'm not an expert on IBD.

4/22/08

IP, I don't know if I could get into either with my GPA and I'm not sure if I would ever consider myself a "quant."

I'd be looking at the Villanova MSF, Vanderbilt MSF, UT Austin MSF, Johns Hopkins MSF, or the Duke MMS...things like that.

4/22/08

Also, the prospect of doing something I don't want to do for another 4 years doesn't sit well. Maybe that's me being impatient, but I already feel "behind the curve" in a way and I'm definitely not content where I am

4/22/08

I agree. I don't think he necessarily needs an MSF either. But I would suggest in lieu of an MSF some certificate program to buffer the UG GPA as well as additional work experience.

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MSFHQ

4/22/08

I would agree with what @TNA and @IlliniProgrammer have said above...

You don't have the work experience necessary for an MBA yet and even if you were able to get into an MBA program you would be wasting that bullet. It's likely best to save that for later when looking to switch careers. At this stage I would do what Illini said and focus on trying to bolster the academic weaknesses in your candidacy by taking some quantitative courses and scoring well on them (this is if you are serious about MFE programs) and evaluate options to move into a role that is less sales / broker focused and more analysis focused. I think you should try to get your house in order to get into a strong MSF program; don't waste time worrying about an MBA at this stage as it isn't the appropriate time. If you can stay focused and turn your 2.6 UG performance into a 3.7 performance at a reputable MSF program, then you could be competitive for middle market banks and from there it's all about how well you do on the job. Then you still have the MBA for later if you decide that you want to change careers... That's how I would think about it at this point.

4/22/08

You're a year in, right out of school. I think you'd look fine. It is sales so there is a naturally high turn over. I'd make sure wherever you go next you camp out for 2.5-3 years before your next gig. That is if MBA applications are your end game.

Masters in Finance HQ - The #1 site for everything related to the MSF degree!
MSFHQ

4/22/08

TNA:

You're a year in, right out of school. I think you'd look fine. It is sales so there is a naturally high turn over. I'd make sure wherever you go next you camp out for 2.5-3 years before your next gig. That is if MBA applications are your end game.

The career shift is the end game for me. Whatever gets me there more efficiently is the route I'll take. If an MBA is going to take me 3 more years of work experience and then 2 years of class, that's not an option I'm all that ok with right now

4/22/08

The job you are in right now isn't optimal. I'd bail also haha. Check out the Big 4. A friend of mine and past MSF'ER is going RE stuff at KPMG I believe. A guy I used to talk with out in Chicago was doing something similar and lateraled to MS as a RE portfolio associate.

You have RE experience, but don't like the sales aspect. Fair enough. I'd look to utilize this knowledge into something more analytical or something you like more. No sense wasting time at a place that isn't paying, teaching or moving you forward.

Masters in Finance HQ - The #1 site for everything related to the MSF degree!
MSFHQ

4/22/08

TNA:

The job you are in right now isn't optimal. I'd bail also haha. Check out the Big 4. A friend of mine and past MSF'ER is going RE stuff at KPMG I believe. A guy I used to talk with out in Chicago was doing something similar and lateraled to MS as a RE portfolio associate.

You have RE experience, but don't like the sales aspect. Fair enough. I'd look to utilize this knowledge into something more analytical or something you like more. No sense wasting time at a place that isn't paying, teaching or moving you forward.

I'd still give it 18 months. The marginal resume value of months 13-18 are probably twice the value of months 1-12, and the value of months 18-24 are probably almost as high, too.

Less than 18 months makes you look like a flake/job hopper. I'd ask a lot of questions about why OP is leaving after just 14 months if I were a hiring manager, and without a prior job with 2-3 years there, OP is going to have a tougher time selling the fact he's not a job hopper.

So I think it's waaay easier to just wait until he crosses the 18 month marker to leave. (1) More people will be interested in hiring him (2) he'll have more potential references to go back to (3) he looks like less of a flake when the third hiring manager is looking at his resume.

Look, I stayed at least 24 months at both jobs I had and stayed 5 years at the same firm. I moved from being an ancillary programmer at a bank from a state school to going to a pretty good grad school and getting hired by a pretty good hedge fund by sticking stuff out for 24 months.

You don't have to do that, but unless you stay for 18 months, the time you've been there is completely wasted- it's a year of your career, work, life lost. And IMHO it's pretty good experience and the connections you've made are probably going to be helpful in the future if you stay generally close to real estate or sales.

So you're somewhat unhappy right now. I'm not sure you've seen unhappy on the level of some traders and some bankers. I think you'll be happier if you leave, but this could be a grass is greener situation. Given that this *could* be the case, my advice is to stick it out to the 18 month mark (just like I advise all of the IBD analysts who are miserable- you wouldn't believe how many come to WSO complaining and saying they want to quit even without another job in hand).

4/22/08

IlliniProgrammer:

TNA:

The job you are in right now isn't optimal. I'd bail also haha. Check out the Big 4. A friend of mine and past MSF'ER is going RE stuff at KPMG I believe. A guy I used to talk with out in Chicago was doing something similar and lateraled to MS as a RE portfolio associate.

You have RE experience, but don't like the sales aspect. Fair enough. I'd look to utilize this knowledge into something more analytical or something you like more. No sense wasting time at a place that isn't paying, teaching or moving you forward.

I'd still give it 18 months. The marginal resume value of months 13-18 are probably twice the value of months 1-12, and the value of months 18-24 are probably almost as high, too.

Less than 18 months makes you look like a flake/job hopper. I'd ask a lot of questions about why OP is leaving after just 14 months if I were a hiring manager, and without a prior job with 2-3 years there, OP is going to have a tougher time selling the fact he's not a job hopper.


Jesus you're scaring me.
4/22/08


I'd still give it 18 months. The marginal resume value of months 13-18 are probably twice the value of months 1-12, and the value of months 18-24 are probably almost as high, too.

Less than 18 months makes you look like a flake/job hopper. I'd ask a lot of questions about why OP is leaving after just 14 months if I were a hiring manager, and without a prior job with 2-3 years there, OP is going to have a tougher time selling the fact he's not a job hopper.

Jesus you're scaring me.


Well, it's true. Unless you're some sort of freelance contractor, if you go hopping around from gig to gig every 12 months, you're at a severe disadvantage to people who stick it out for 18 months, and the 18 month guy is at a significant disadvantage to the guy who sticks it out for 24 months.

Two guys graduate from Yale and UW Madison in 2003. The UW Madison guy is as smart as the guy from Yale.

The Yale guy switches jobs every 12 months; the UW Madison guy sticks it out 24 months at each firm.

With three sigmas, the UW Madison guy will have a much better fourth job (6 years after graduation) than the Yale guy's seventh job. (With one sigma he'll have a better third job and won't bother getting a fourth job)

I know you may hate your job, but you can't quit after 12 months. Especially your first job. Or your second job if you spent less than 24 months at your first.

This is good experience. You guys are learning early that it's one thing to get a job; it's another thing to keep it. And reasonable amounts of pain and suffering teach us discipline, and it's better to get that discipline earlier than later in your career. You're not living under a bridge. People aren't violating your civil liberties or shooting at you. If you don't commit suicide, you'll get a better job and things will probably get better. And then you'll know just how good you've got it when you have a decent job.

4/22/08

Lots of sage advice in this thread. I agree with IlliniProgrammer regarding working for at least 18 months. Ideally you'd work for 24 months before moving on. While it is certainly more common for people to change jobs frequently these days, a move before 18 months sends a pretty bad signal to future employers and universities.

IP may also be right in your experiencing the "grass is always greener" effect. A lot of people hate their first jobs. Your commented that "you don't make much money and your boss is shit," which pretty much describes almost every entry level job in the planet. Unfortunately it also describes pretty much every job on the planet. Try to assess the elements of the job that you truly dislike and determine if the job you're gunning for is going to be any different. I can assure you that you won't like your bosses in banking and if you end up at a regional, no-name boutique, you probably won't be making six figures. Also you must realize that the value of your first few jobs is really not in the paycheck, it is in the skills and resume boost that will enable you to build a career.

Regarding going back to school, I can't comment on the benefit of a MSF/MFIN because I simply don't know anything about the programs. I can say that you will not be a competitive MBA candidate until you have a couple more years of experience under your belt and you'll need a kick-ass gmat score to offset your low stats. With a 700+ I think you could gain admittance to a top 10-25 MBA as you mentioned.

CompBanker

4/22/08

CompBanker:

Lots of sage advice in this thread.

Agreed. It's more than I could ever have expected and I am beyond appreciative. @CompBanker , I'll shoot you the SB I gave everyone else (apologies if I missed anyone) once I get some more.

CompBanker:
I agree with IlliniProgrammer regarding working for at least 18 months. Ideally you'd work for 24 months before moving on. While it is certainly more common for people to change jobs frequently these days, a move before 18 months sends a pretty bad signal to future employers and universities.

By the time I matriculate into any program, I will have worked 15 months if it is a summer start or 22 months with a fall start, so really I'm right in that range.

CompBanker:

IP may also be right in your experiencing the "grass is always greener" effect. A lot of people hate their first jobs. Your commented that "you don't make much money and your boss is shit," which pretty much describes almost every entry level job in the planet. Unfortunately it also describes pretty much every job on the planet.

I'm willing to say that my job, or at least my income, is worse than almost everyone else's here. I'm talking "live at my parents because I can't afford rent" and "I made more than this while working summers and part time in college once" bad.

It is meant to be "inspiring." It isn't. It is "infuriating" and "depressing" because no matter how hard I bust my ass, it is still going to be a couple years in this position before I get any semblance of a normal wage.

I don't even dislike the industry, really (look at my user name, hah) it just isn't really my first choice. I networked my way into this company and it just happened to be my best option at the time. It wasn't my dream job.

CompBanker:
Try to assess the elements of the job that you truly dislike and determine if the job you're gunning for is going to be any different. I can assure you that you won't like your bosses in banking and if you end up at a regional, no-name boutique, you probably won't be making six figures.

Elements:

1. Leasing isn't interesting to me.
2. My office culture is one where the wrong things get rewarded
3. The specific principal (think managing director in banking) I work for may quite literally be bipolar (he's on meds for something), is a piece of shit person, and I can't respect him - which is different in my opinion than just not liking him. I think he is substandard. He goes out of his way to fuck me and it's been noticed by other higher level employees. It's not a good environment.
4. I'm good at sales. I can pick up the phone and talk to anyone because I'm personable. I can smile and win people over in person because I'm "charming." ...I also seriously hate it almost entirely. I hate that "hard sales" environment, and in brokerage, you don't get out of that until you're something like 20 years in and clients call you instead.

Also, I don't need to make six figures right away. Hell, mid 5 figures would be a huge increase at this point, as sad as that sounds.

CompBanker:
Also you must realize that the value of your first few jobs is really not in the paycheck, it is in the skills and resume boost that will enable you to build a career.

I'm not getting any skills. I'm not learning anything. It's incredibly boring and frustrating. I already know how to talk on the phone or shake someone's hand and talk to them in public.

My company's name carries weight, and obviously I'm able to accomplish things with this job that are resume-worthy, but that's about it. It's a stepping stone and I'm ready to step.

CompBanker:

Regarding going back to school, I can't comment on the benefit of a MSF/MFIN because I simply don't know anything about the programs. I can say that you will not be a competitive MBA candidate until you have a couple more years of experience under your belt and you'll need a kick-ass GMAT score to offset your low stats. With a 700+ I think you could gain admittance to a top 10-25 MBA as you mentioned.

Hah, these damn years.

Well from the looks of things an MSF and some ninja-level networking seems best here. Certainly not an ideal or direct path but at this point I'm pulling out the stops.

Still have a couple informal interviews over the next couple months too. Who knows what could happen. Still need to rock the GMAT too.

Thanks for everything

4/22/08

So wait CRE I'm trying to do the math on Summer/fall start and I'm just not understanding this. When did you start at your current firm?

4/22/08

IlliniProgrammer:

So wait CRE I'm trying to do the math on Summer/fall start and I'm just not understanding this. When did you start at your current firm?

November. Hah, sorry, I wasn't thinking

June 2014 start (like some MSF's) would be 18 months, not 15. September 2014 start would be 22 months.

4/22/08

18 months or less for an MSF is the sweet spot. You start doing more and you look like an MBA applicant.

Masters in Finance HQ - The #1 site for everything related to the MSF degree!
MSFHQ

4/22/08

Was my idea with Harvard Extension that bad?

I'm talking about liquid. Rich enough to have your own jet. Rich enough not to waste time. Fifty, a hundred million dollars, buddy. A player. Or nothing.

See my Blog & AMA

4/22/08

Matrick:

Was my idea with Harvard Extension that bad?

I looked into it. Seems like $25,000 for a certificate in business. If I'm going to spend that kind of money I want a degree, ya know?

4/22/08

It's not a certificate, its an actual Master's degree. Read this thread, especially the last post from @dppe: http://www.wallstreetoasis.com/forums/harvard-exte...

I'm talking about liquid. Rich enough to have your own jet. Rich enough not to waste time. Fifty, a hundred million dollars, buddy. A player. Or nothing.

See my Blog & AMA

4/22/08

Matrick:

Was my idea with Harvard Extension that bad?

Hey, sorry. Saw you mentioned something of the sort and didn't get around to looking into it. I think it is a decent option, but probably best for those living and working in Boston. But yeah, it would qualify as a masters type program.

Thanks for the find!

Masters in Finance HQ - The #1 site for everything related to the MSF degree!
MSFHQ

4/22/08

No worries, I have been trying to get that @dppe guy to write something. Maybe he would be a good addition to the interviews on your website? I for sure would like to hear what is perspective is and if he can finally get people to stop hating that program.

I'm talking about liquid. Rich enough to have your own jet. Rich enough not to waste time. Fifty, a hundred million dollars, buddy. A player. Or nothing.

See my Blog & AMA

4/22/08

Matrick:

No worries, I have been trying to get that @dppe guy to write something. Maybe he would be a good addition to the interviews on your website? I for sure would like to hear what is perspective is and if he can finally get people to stop hating that program.

Yeah, I'll put a post up about it sometime soon. It is an interesting program for sure. Surprised there isn't more out there about it.

Masters in Finance HQ - The #1 site for everything related to the MSF degree!
MSFHQ

4/22/08

Just a data point for all of you out there. I quit a job after 5 months and it has had zero repercussions in my life. My buddy also just landed a corp dev job after 9 months at KPMG and a couple other short time jobs. I could continue, but you get the point.

You look like a job hopper when you do 1 year stints repeatedly. Leaving a job that isn't beneficial after a year isn't going to impact anything. As for recommendations, make friends within the firm and they will recommend you. I am still close friends with senior people at the job I left after 5 months and could get a rec if I needed.

Masters in Finance HQ - The #1 site for everything related to the MSF degree!
MSFHQ

4/22/08

TNA:

Just a data point for all of you out there. I quit a job after 5 months and it has had zero repercussions in my life. My buddy also just landed a corp dev job after 9 months at KPMG and a couple other short time jobs. I could continue, but you get the point.

You look like a job hopper when you do 1 year stints repeatedly. Leaving a job that isn't beneficial after a year isn't going to impact anything. As for recommendations, make friends within the firm and they will recommend you. I am still close friends with senior people at the job I left after 5 months and could get a rec if I needed.


Sure, but you left that off your resume, right? As in it was five months wasted in terms of work experience. You may have also had a prior job that you spent a couple years at before that.

The fact that you quit a job after five months may not hurt you but it certainly doesn't help. For experienced workers, sticking it out for two years is the new target school. Yes, you can graduate from the University of Iowa and land in a nice corporate development role with some luck, but it's a lot easier to do it from Cornell.

4/22/08

.

'Before you enter... be willing to pay the price'

4/22/08

I still have it on my resume and I had it when I got the job at HSBC. The job wasn't an ideal fit and I accepted a better position that paid more. My friend still has his two short term roles on his resume. You can't continue to do this, but it isn't a big deal. People get laid off, firms downsize and you lateral somewhere else, better opportunities come up. Don't make a habit of bouncing every 12 months, but I don't think it is an issue at all.

And I don't consider it a waste at all. I made some great contacts that I still keep in contact with and I learned what I don't like.

Staying at a job that doesn't pay you, doesn't teach you and doesn't motivate you hurts you no matter how long you stay. I'd say a year is plenty, but if you want to grind it out for two years fine. Just make sure you quit and do a masters then. If not I would find something better, quit now and log in 3 years at the new, better job before going off for an MBA.

Time = Money. Don't waste either.

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4/22/08

Yeah 24 months or even 18 months isn't happening for me unless my role changes. Even a year is going to be difficult but I would feel weird leaving before 12 months.

4/22/08

If it's not 16, 17 months, I say leave it off your resume. You are a much stronger candidate with 24 months of experience in *any* role than with 11 months in that same role.

That said, if you've only been there a few months and staying there is merely wasted time, I say leave.

Just because your boss is an asshole or the job is tough doesn't mean you should quit, though. Quit because you're not getting anything out of it career-wise, experience-wise, and money-wise AND because you hate your job. And just know that the time you spent there is wasted at best.

4/22/08

IlliniProgrammer:

If it's not 16, 17 months, I say leave it off your resume. You are a much stronger candidate with 24 months of experience in *any* role than with 11 months in that same role.


That's absurd. Like I don't know if you're actually being serious.
4/22/08

Thurnis Haley:

IlliniProgrammer:

If it's not 16, 17 months, I say leave it off your resume. You are a much stronger candidate with 24 months of experience in *any* role than with 11 months in that same role.

That's absurd. Like I don't know if you're actually being serious.


15 months says you got fired or you're a flake or some combination. It looks ugly ugly ugly. It certainly doesn't help you.

In tech, anything less than 18 months typically means your manager lost money on you.

Thurnis I believe you posted and/or PMed me some of the details of your undergrad situation. I think some of that would compound the damage from quitting early if you leave it on your resume. I believe your undergrad situation leaves some ambiguity that the hiring manager is then going to look to work history to resolve. So at I'd strongly recommend not quitting a job after less than 18 months without at the very least an offer, and you should also just be aware that if that offer falls through after you've announced your resignation, you're kind of screwed.

Currently unemployed, short experience at first job, ambiguous undergrad? That looks like a flake to any reasonable person.

The irony here is that you can quit your first job after 3 months and leave it off your resume with little damage to your career besides the lost time, but 9-12 months is really a terrible time to quit. At that point, you have to leave it on your resume or look unemployed, and by leaving it on your resume, you look a bit flakier.

EDIT: reviewing some things, it sounds like you are getting hit by the reality of an entry-level job. I remember being a few months in, too.

If you get an amazing job offer elsewhere, take it, but don't quit without another job. And then you need to cross your fingers that they don't pull the offer before you start work. So I'd be in a hurry to start. Just enough time to give your manager two weeks notice.

4/22/08

.

'Before you enter... be willing to pay the price'

4/22/08

Maybe you got lucky. Maybe your undergrad experience was different from Thurnis's.

I come from a family of managers, including a senior partner at an accounting firm. He has hired and fired hundreds of people over his career, and his advice is to never quit before the 24 month mark. I've interviewed candidates for jobs in S&T and quant analytics. It's possible you may be able to get away with it, but why risk it?

1.) Don't quit without another offer.
2.) Unless that offer is moving from a boring role at a firm that doesn't do finance to a stable role in the FO at a bank, it's better to just wait 18 months.
3.) If you don't have at least a 3.5-3.6 from a well recognized undergrad school in a difficult major, and you don't currently have a job, but you did have a job that you quit or got fired from after 6 months, that's three strikes against you in the hiring process.

Bepbep you managed to get away with it, probably because you didn't quit without an offer. Your undergrad may have also helped you, and you may have gotten lucky by the fact that your new job didn't call your old job until they were ready to make an offer, or you had an understanding old manager.

I can assure you that the one question that manager did ask himself was "Is he going to quit on me after five months? Because then it's not worth it."

4/22/08

Look, some people say it's a terrible idea. Other people say you may be able to get away with it. I can say that a number of doors will be closed to you if you try to transfer this early. CompBanker's been involved in the FO hiring process; I've been involved in the FO hiring process. If you stay at a firm long enough and have a good enough career in finance, you get to help make these decisions. Quitting a job after six months is a huge red flag. Some people like BepBep may have been able to overcome that, but it never helps.

If you can land a nice stable job in the front office, and you currently have a job at a firm unrelated to finance that isn't helping your career in any way (not necessarily CRE's situation), it's maybe worth it. If you are already working for a bank and hate it, tough luck; wait 18 months. And if you do get the offer, you'd better stick it out for 18, really more like 24 months this time, even if you hate it. Still, even then it's a risk. If you lose your old job over this (and people have), and it's your first job, and you've only worked 5-6 months, you sorta become unemployable. If you get fired after 6 months, you become unemployable. If you quit after 6 months because you are pulling 100 hour weeks, you become unemployable.

Finally for every BepBep there's a friend of mine like- let's call him Tom. Tom graduated from an elite undergrad (think Amherst, Williams, Carleton), got hired by a boutique IBD (think Lazard, Greenhill, Evercore) back in 2007, quit after six months, and wound up being unable to get back into the industry despite really wanting to. Today he is working on startups, but he closed a lot of doors on himself with that.

4/22/08

.

'Before you enter... be willing to pay the price'

4/22/08

make an alternate transcript via UCLA extension or community college classes or BYU online to help offset your lower GPA, do well on the GMAT.. i think 10-17 ranked schools (except yale theyre a bit number hungry) will be willing to peek. youre going to need more work experience though.. suck it up for another year then apply?

4/22/08

I suppose a whole bunch of people got "lucky" with having jobs on their resume that were less than 24 months.

You don't want to make a habit of it, but less than two years is zero issue. And this is coming from someone who sees endless resumes from kids, who knows and deals with just about every Adcom and who has reviewed resumes at my last job and has seen them at my current job.

Don't make a habit of quitting with less than a year but I think it is ludicrous to omit it from your resume or not pursue a better opportunity because you're afraid of it looking bad.

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4/22/08

I love how countless people call bullshit on some of the advice in this thread only to be dismissed.

Masters in Finance HQ - The #1 site for everything related to the MSF degree!
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4/22/08

TNA:

I love how countless people call bullshit on some of the advice in this thread only to be dismissed.


I don't want to keep responding to IP anymore because it's derailed the thread. It's also become oddly personal for no reason. I don't deny that it probably looks bad to have like 4 different jobs in 3 years, but to say that it looks better to have a gap in employment after college than a job for 12 months is just retarded. That's just saying shit to be contrarian and regardless of my personal situation I refuse to believe that bullshit. The only thing that will happen if you have a 12 month gap in your resume is they'll ask what you were doing that year and you'll tell them anyways. And then they'll just be suspicious about why you left it off.

I'm sorry I took part in derailing this thread.

4/22/08

TNA:

I love how countless people call bullshit on some of the advice in this thread only to be dismissed.

Agreed. Not putting a job on your resume because you only held it for 17 months (or whatever) is horrible advice. Also, from what I can tell, the OP's job is something close to minimum wage plus commissions. If you don't see any big commission checks on the horizon, start looking for another job where you can leverage your experience and spin it into something closer to what you want to do. I don't know why you're so dead set on banking, but that may be hard to get with your current experience.

Why don't you try looking for a new job and apply to a few MSF programs and take what gives you the best opportunity set at that point in time? That's really all you can do in life, increase the number of opportunities you have and be in a position to choose from the alternatives. Biding your time in an extremely low paying position is not going to increase your opportunity set.

4/22/08

SirTradesaLot:
I don't know why you're so dead set on banking

I'm not dead set or anything, I just do find it interesting, know I can handle the workload, and it is undoubtedly a "gatekeeper" position to a ton of other careers.

It's not like if I go the MSF route, find a different kind of position, and never do banking I'm going to see my life as a horrible disappointment haha. It's just something I want to do and something that interests me a lot. Why not aim for it at least, you know?

4/22/08

CRE, I've posted this many times - and this is going to sound cheesy - but thanks for being open and very real about your experiences and path to improving your career situation. Lots of great advice is consistently generated in these threads. The life you live right now indeed sounds shitty, but it really was a life I was destined for (trying to make it in CRE) about 6 months-12 months ago. All the best, hope you catch a good break in the near-term.

4/22/08

droking7:

CRE, I've posted this many times - and this is going to sound cheesy - but thanks for being open and very real about your experiences and path to improving your career situation. Lots of great advice is consistently generated in these threads. The life you live right now indeed sounds shitty, but it really was a life I was destined for (trying to make it in CRE) about 6 months-12 months ago. All the best, hope you catch a good break in the near-term.

Nah, not corny at all @droking7

I know my situation is abnormal, and while I am jealous of people with far more "normal" situations, I know I'm not going to be one of them. Talking about real estate on here as much as I do highlights something that doesn't get as much attention, and talking about swinging for the fences when you're coming from nowhere highlights a different path.

It's awesome how many people have contacted me saying "hey I'm in a really similar situation" or even better "hey I was in a really similar situation but now I'm here." Really inspiring stuff

4/22/08

With an awful GPA from a no-name school and only 1 year of experience at a mediocre firm with a shit boss, I think top 15 MBA programs are out of the question at this point. You might be able to pull McCombs, Kenan, Tepper, Goizueta, but don't count on those either.

Your best bet is to do a MSF and re-brand yourself. Kick ass in the program and go through OCR.

A top 15 MBA is possible if you get serious work experience under your belt, solid extracurricular leadership, and preferably international experience. But such a venture will take 3-4 years, so it boils down to how patient you are and how badly you want a top MBA.

4/22/08

mbavsmfin:

With an awful GPA from a no-name school and only 1 year of experience at a mediocre firm with a shit boss, I think top 15 MBA programs are out of the question at this point. You might be able to pull McCombs, Kenan, Tepper, Goizueta, but don't count on those either.

Your best bet is to do a MSF and re-brand yourself. Kick ass in the program and go through OCR.

A top 15 MBA is possible if you get serious work experience under your belt, solid extracurricular leadership, and preferably international experience. But such a venture will take 3-4 years, so it boils down to how patient you are and how badly you want a top MBA.

Hah, your user name is almost literally the title of this thread. I love it.

An MSF is in the cards almost assuredly at this point, unless I fail the GMAT or somehow hit it big in the next couple months.

4/22/08

I applied to both mba and mfin programs this past year, hence the username.

With your gpa, you need to shoot for 750+, with 49+ on quant.

4/22/08

I say go with the mba. Kill your GMAT and go to a top school. MSF's are good if you can get into the top ones (princeton, mit, etc). But honestly I think you'll get pre-screned with your gpa.

4/22/08

tesla.tesla:

I say go with the mba. Kill your GMAT and go to a top school. MSF's are good if you can get into the top ones (princeton, mit, etc). But honestly I think you'll get pre-screned with your gpa.

How would he get into a top MBA but not a top MSF with his gpa? Especially given his limited work experience. Plus I assume he has no other unique qualities (ie military, varsity athlete, etc) Not following the logic here.

4/22/08

Your right with his current experience he can't get into a good MBA. But if he can expand on his work experience and story over the next couple years then apply to MBA would be a better idea. MSF are only worthwhile at the top schools

4/22/08

Have you considered the possibility of volunteer\overseas activities that might strengthen your application to an MBA? They're not just number hungry, they want the qualitative sprinkles on top. Go teach English, or get involved with some start-up, or help the needy or whatever. Differentiate yourself, add some character to your application. If you've got the hours in the day, I think part-time continuing education in the subjects you don't already know is going to help cement your pheonix rising from the ashes story. Right now it looks like you're a lazy kid, who thinks he deserves more. That might not be the case, it might be totally wrong, but no one's going to invest the time to find out how wrong they are. Give them undeniable evidence of your desire, your ability and your potential.

One day more.

4/22/08

I love posts like this.

kingshark:

Have you considered the possibility of volunteer\overseas activities that might strengthen your application to an MBA? They're not just number hungry, they want the qualitative sprinkles on top. Go teach English, or get involved with some start-up, or help the needy or whatever. Differentiate yourself, add some character to your application.

I already sit on the board of directors or at least a committee for various community and mental health advocating organizations. I am also involved in other "add some character" activities. Somehow you got the idea that because I didn't mention it, it doesn't exist. Wise choice on your part...

kingshark:
If you've got the hours in the day, I think part-time continuing education in the subjects you don't already know is going to help cement your pheonix rising from the ashes story.

I'm pretty sure I did say, however, that I am doing exactly that. I agree with you in principal too.

kingshark:
Right now it looks like you're a lazy kid, who thinks he deserves more.

...what? Apparently working full time, doing community engagement, studying for the GMAT, taking a class or two, writing a regular blog for WSO and other websites, planning to earn a graduate degree again soon, and still marginally maintaining a social life makes me not only lazy and entitled, but a child too.

kingshark:
That might not be the case,

Ya probably not. You should try and think these things through first.

kingshark:
it might be totally wrong,

Now we're getting somewhere

kingshark:
but no one's going to invest the time to find out how wrong they are. Give them undeniable evidence of your desire, your ability and your potential.

aaaand now you lost me again. Who am I asking to invest time into "discovering" me? Adcoms? I put in time to impress them by doing exactly what I'm doing, and they "find out" the "evidence" because I will write it down on the application.

I don't sit here behind a keyboard and hope that a bored adcom is browsing the internet at the exact same time. Not only is it not the job of MBA programs to "scout me out," that sounds far more like a suggestion from and far more fitting to...

kingshark:
a lazy kid, who thinks he deserves more.

Lace em up, champ

4/22/08

kingshark:

Have you considered the possibility of volunteer\overseas activities that might strengthen your application to an MBA? They're not just number hungry, they want the qualitative sprinkles on top. Go teach English, or get involved with some start-up, or help the needy or whatever. Differentiate yourself, add some character to your application.


The problem is the thousands of other people that think the exact same thing.
4/22/08

This will take a few years to implement, and extracurriculars by themselves won't be of much use if his GMAT and work experience are mediocre. His college GPA is now history (he could take quant courses at a local college or reputable online and get A's in those or do CFA to demonstrate his academic bona fides), but he could improve on the others.

Also, be careful with getting involved in too many volunteering projects. What matters is the quality and depth of your involvement. Make sure to get at least 1 solid leadership experience in there.

4/22/08

CRE you sound like me 2 years ago.

I graduated with a 2.8 from a strong private non-ivy, I guess the term would be semi-target with a degree in engineering. I started working for a no-name construction manager, and was doing just fine, except for the depressing lack of pay, a path forward, prestige, etc. I had thoughts about quitting within the first year for sure. I ended up sticking it out for 2.5 years, in an effort to meet the infamous "24 month" rule that was so hotly debated in this thread earlier. I am 100% on the side of getting at least 24 months of WE before moving on. Right at 2 years, I started seriously applying to jobs through my network, and landed a few interviews. The hardest part was trying to convince people to give me an interview for a job in finance when my experience consisted of managing union labor crews for civil construction projects. I also set my eyes on a MBA in the chance that A) I wasn't able to land any job in my desired industry, or B) the job that I landed would be a "compromise" and still need evolving to get to where I wanted. I took the GMAT and got an acceptable 690 and tucked that away. I also started picking up all kids of ECs to help build out my profile, as well as took an online extension course in a quant subject and got an A. Ultimately, I landed at an investment manager last fall, working on their fixed income team, which is great - but not my ideal landing spot. I got offered a 18 month contract, since I was up front about wanting to do bschool later.

I'm currently applying to MBA programs for round 1, and am going with Wharton, Tuck, Fuqua, Darden, Ross, and Johnson. Obviously some of those are reaches, but I'm basically trolling for a break with my GPA, so I went with a spray and pray approach. Since I had the GMAT and courses out of the way early, I was able to start on essays early, allowing me to apply to 6 schools in R1 without going too crazy (kind of).

I have no idea how this plan will work out - I wish I could tell you that this is a viable path. I think you should do something similar, though. Stick it out at your RE firm for another year, then start applying where you want to be. Simultaneously gear up for MBA admissions - research, GMAT, etc. If you land a cool job, you can drop the MBA game, and roll on. If you don't, apply in a few years and see how it goes.

This post really got away from me, but you get the point. Let me know if you or anyone else has any questions. Good luck!

4/22/08

From all the MBA posts I have seen on WSO, I can conclude that if you don't get at least M7/top 15 schools, then MBA is virtually unless especially considering the opportunity cost and the debt.

Also just a heads up GS doesn't have M&A, they do it within their industry groups. Hope that helped and good luck in your future applications!

4/22/08

You should avoid an MBA and MSF and shoot for a Financial Advisor role at a good firm. Any moron can get one of those positions and if you want to work hard (as you say you do), this role will at least be halfway respectable and give you a chance to make some good money with a good lifestyle.

Not being a dick here, but I have a very hard time when I look at a resume and see a 2.6 at State School in a weak major.

Go be a Financial Advisor or Equity Sales person, those people come from all walks of life and usually have shitty resumes (but can do well for themselves in such roles.)

4/22/08

Aston Gekko:

You should avoid an MBA and MSF and shoot for a Financial Advisor role at a good firm. Any moron can get one of those positions and if you want to work hard (as you say you do), this role will at least be halfway respectable and give you a chance to make some good money with a good lifestyle.

Go be a Financial Advisor or Equity Sales person, those people come from all walks of life and usually have shitty resumes (but can do well for themselves in such roles.)

Yes, I should just give up on any hope of higher education and pick a random career as a Financial Advisor, ignoring that it would be a step down from what I'm doing now and regardless of if I have any interest in it whatsoever. Excellent advice.

Aston Gekko:
Not being a dick here, but I have a very hard time when I look at a resume and see a 2.6 at State School in a weak major.

You're not being a dick, but your post is still somewhat odd. The reaction to a "2.6 at a state school with a weak major" is the entire reason this thread exists - because MSF or MBA programs can overcome that.

4/22/08

No, it doesn't overcome that.

4/22/08

I think you should apply for MSF programs and see where you get in. Based on the schools you can get in, make an informed decision whether to pursue the degree or not. (meaning don't go unless you get into a top program)

Same deal with MBA. Go if you get into a top program and if you feel that the MBA degree is suitable for your career interests. Don't go if you don't crack top 15 MBA admissions.

Regarding MBA, I am not even sure if top 15 is worth it, at sticker price. I know one guy from my high school who did his MBA at UCLA and came out of the program feeling bitter and just really pissed. He was making 80k before MBA, then he came out of MBA making 75k... after dumping 160k on his degree. From this, I realized that doing an MBA is a big gamble and may not pay off even if you go to a top ranked program. (maybe different story if you go to an M7 MBA)

4/22/08

And MSF GPA will 100% overcome a low UG GPA. It happens all the time.

Once again, not advocating, just saying what I know from experience.

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4/22/08

Just wanted to say this is a great thread. I know atleast for myself and most of my friends this is a very common situation. Start first job out of school and are very bored or are doing very different work from what you thought and hoped you would be doing. Most of us started talking about different grad schools within our first 3 months. I am coming up on finishing 2 years at my job, and there is a lot of really good info in here.

4/22/08

Really odd responses to IP. I get what people are saying that infrequent short stints won't kill you, so aren't you basically agreeing with him on the larger point? People are starting to speak past one another. Dont understand the chippiness toward a guy who gave a crapload of good advice (as did TNA). No good deed...

I know people do switch jobs more often in this day and age, maybe I'm just old.

4/22/08

I'll add a slightly different perspective. I jus skimmed through this thread, and there's a bunch of good stuff and perspectives, but apologies if someone touched on this.

I faced a similar situation out of college. I went to a top liberal arts school (semi-target, depending on where), got okay grades at best (3.2), and focused far more on my varsity sport than I did on class or my post college career. At one point, however, I decided to major in accounting and business because some upper-classmen told me to, and when it came time to look for a job, I got a job as Big 4 Auditor.

It was a total disaster, like you'd expect. It was mind-numbing, miserable, boring, and worked with for the most part, unimpressive people. I pretty quickly realized I wanted out, but like you and othes have mentioned in this thread, worried about staying for X amount of months to avoid looking bad. I started looking around anyway, at least to see what was out there, and actually realized that I was thinking about it completely wrong. I had decided I wanted to get into consulting (liked the client aspect of my job), and the feedback I got was get out of there quickly, or else you'll be branded as an accountant and never be able to get consulting. This was obviously hyperbole, but I realized that the faster I got out, the better off I would be.

I ended up staying about 18 months in accounting, and even that was too long. Three years later, having done a whole bunch of strategy and operations projects, I still have to deal with the branding of being a CPA. I don't know if I would have been able to get a job if I started looking after a year (probably would not have been, since I transferred to S&O within Deloitte and ability to do that was based a lot on year-end performance reviews). However, I do think it's important that branding and stigma can come from a few directions, not just length of tenure on your resume.

Personally, I think it's your first job. Not everyone is a WSO rockstar that knows their junior year of high school that they need to go to one of 12 targets to get a BB IBD job to eventually get into PE. I will say, though, that the longer you stay at a job, the more responsibility you get (obviously). That pays off personally, because more responsibility for a driven person typically means more fulfillment, and professionally, with more good things to write about for MBA apps or talk about in interviews.

4/22/08

@BGP2587 if I had a banana you'd get one for that. Great post

4/22/08

BGP2587:

I'll add a slightly different perspective. I jus skimmed through this thread, and there's a bunch of good stuff and perspectives, but apologies if someone touched on this.

I faced a similar situation out of college. I went to a top liberal arts school (semi-target, depending on where), got okay grades at best (3.2), and focused far more on my varsity sport than I did on class or my post college career. At one point, however, I decided to major in accounting and business because some upper-classmen told me to, and when it came time to look for a job, I got a job as Big 4 Auditor.

It was a total disaster, like you'd expect. It was mind-numbing, miserable, boring, and worked with for the most part, unimpressive people. I pretty quickly realized I wanted out, but like you and othes have mentioned in this thread, worried about staying for X amount of months to avoid looking bad. I started looking around anyway, at least to see what was out there, and actually realized that I was thinking about it completely wrong. I had decided I wanted to get into consulting (liked the client aspect of my job), and the feedback I got was get out of there quickly, or else you'll be branded as an accountant and never be able to get consulting. This was obviously hyperbole, but I realized that the faster I got out, the better off I would be.

I ended up staying about 18 months in accounting, and even that was too long. Three years later, having done a whole bunch of strategy and operations projects, I still have to deal with the branding of being a CPA. I don't know if I would have been able to get a job if I started looking after a year (probably would not have been, since I transferred to S&O within Deloitte and ability to do that was based a lot on year-end performance reviews). However, I do think it's important that branding and stigma can come from a few directions, not just length of tenure on your resume.

Personally, I think it's your first job. Not everyone is a WSO rockstar that knows their junior year of high school that they need to go to one of 12 targets to get a BB IBD job to eventually get into PE. I will say, though, that the longer you stay at a job, the more responsibility you get (obviously). That pays off personally, because more responsibility for a driven person typically means more fulfillment, and professionally, with more good things to write about for MBA apps or talk about in interviews.


Having a branding you don't think you want isn't a bad thing. I thought I didn't want to be a programmer back in '08-'09. Today, I make more money with that background than I would with a trading background.

My programming background pigeon-holed me in some ways, and it held me back a bit for my first and second jobs. For my third job, as a quant strategist, having spent 30 months at that first job is a GODSEND.

CPA experience is going to hurt you until you become a CFO. Then having spent 18 months as a CPA will be a godsend for you.

So no, I wouldn't necessarily discount the experience.

4/22/08

BGP2587:

I'll add a slightly different perspective. I jus skimmed through this thread, and there's a bunch of good stuff and perspectives, but apologies if someone touched on this.

I faced a similar situation out of college. I went to a top liberal arts school (semi-target, depending on where), got okay grades at best (3.2), and focused far more on my varsity sport than I did on class or my post college career. At one point, however, I decided to major in accounting and business because some upper-classmen told me to, and when it came time to look for a job, I got a job as Big 4 Auditor.

It was a total disaster, like you'd expect. It was mind-numbing, miserable, boring, and worked with for the most part, unimpressive people. I pretty quickly realized I wanted out, but like you and othes have mentioned in this thread, worried about staying for X amount of months to avoid looking bad. I started looking around anyway, at least to see what was out there, and actually realized that I was thinking about it completely wrong. I had decided I wanted to get into consulting (liked the client aspect of my job), and the feedback I got was get out of there quickly, or else you'll be branded as an accountant and never be able to get consulting. This was obviously hyperbole, but I realized that the faster I got out, the better off I would be.

I ended up staying about 18 months in accounting, and even that was too long. Three years later, having done a whole bunch of strategy and operations projects, I still have to deal with the branding of being a CPA. I don't know if I would have been able to get a job if I started looking after a year (probably would not have been, since I transferred to S&O within Deloitte and ability to do that was based a lot on year-end performance reviews). However, I do think it's important that branding and stigma can come from a few directions, not just length of tenure on your resume.

Personally, I think it's your first job. Not everyone is a WSO rockstar that knows their junior year of high school that they need to go to one of 12 targets to get a BB IBD job to eventually get into PE. I will say, though, that the longer you stay at a job, the more responsibility you get (obviously). That pays off personally, because more responsibility for a driven person typically means more fulfillment, and professionally, with more good things to write about for MBA apps or talk about in interviews.

Thanks for sharing your perspective. I PM'ed you with a question. Thanks.

4/22/08

I'm in a similar situation, well, sort of.

I had a 2.8 in CC before having a 3.3 in my final 2 years at a state school. My cumulative undergrad GPA sucks as you can see. I took a corp fin course at UCLA Extension and am currently enrolled in a Stats course, I got an A in finance and am hoping to get an A in stats too. For my situation, 2 classes seem sufficient, I'm not sure if taking 2 courses for you would be enough given that you're only a year out of undergrad (I've been out of school for nearly 3 years now).

Rack up on quality EC's, nail the GMAT, create an alternative transcript (2-3 classes), nurture your mentor relationships (for recommendations) and hope for the best. I would most definitely do an MBA if I were in your position. I know that you don't want to work another 2-3 years in this industry but to be honest dude, you put yourself in this situation so I would get the mindset that you need to ride it out and deal with it. A reputable MBA will open wayy more doors for you than a MFin.

Just my .02

"Don't quit. Suffer now and live the rest of your life as a Champion" - Muhammad Ali

4/22/08

Is it as bad to change jobs frequently if you are moving to a clearly higher level position? I worked as a temp in payables for 6 months. I just started at a residential mortgage audit firm as a processor (slightly higher than data entry but could be spun to be fairly analytical in an interview). I am planning to go for an MSF pretty soon. Out of MSF I feel like I will be applying for jobs that are so far ahead of my previous ones no one would question why I switched. Is this an unrealistic expectation?

I make $15 an hour right now and I can't imagine someone questioning why I left when I apply for jobs that make 2-3 times that much and are far more analytical. Am I totally off base?

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