Need some thoughtful advice

Hey everyone, first time poster. 

I did horrible in the first two years of my undergrad. Mostly due to having to work full time and being out of my parents house by the age 18. Luckily by the time I was 23 I decided to go back and finish my Bachelors. I am now graduating with a 3.8 Major GPA (3.2 Overall) and a BSc in Economics with a minor in Finance from a state university in Florida.

I did look for internships but the one I had lined up for summer was international and got cancelled due to covid. To add, my work experience consist of working at restaurants as management and working at a commercial retail bank.

Times ticking and I cant afford to wait for "the right job" so I accepted a sales job with a major bank in Chicago, I mainly did it to get me in the area and expose me to different opportunities. I will also be getting licensed through this role.

The entire reason I went back to school was to pursue a career in Asset Management so I'm drawing out a few different paths to get there from where I am now. 

I'm considering starting the MSBA program at Notre Dame Mendoza (Any other programs to recommend?). I like this option better than taking the MSF at ND because I feel like earning another finance degree is overkill when I plan on taking the CFA exams, I'm also genuinely interested.

Would earning a business data analytics degree on top of my undergrad make me more competitive when applying to analyst roles in asset management or do me any good down the line? Or should I scratch that and just do the MSF.

I went through the course curriculum for the MSF and it just seems like I've learned half the curriculum in undergrad and the other half I would learn through the CFA. Anyone who has completed the program please chime in here.

Or, should I stick with the retail banking sales job, ball tf out, and look for analysts roles as I prepare for L1, and skip ND all together.
Also, currently taking some modeling courses before I move to Chicago, for what its worth.

Also I know getting an Analysts role in AM will be hard with no internships experience etc, but is there any other roles that could prepare me for Analysts? If not, going back to school for the one year at ND would let me have a second go at internships or entry level roles.

Need some good advice here boys and gals, correct me if I'm wrong on anything, all the knowledge I have of the industry comes from google searches and WSO.

Comments (12)

Most Helpful
Oct 23, 2021 - 8:18am

Few questions:

1. Do you like your sales role at the bank?

2. Does the bank have an AM silo (managing money, not just retail)?

3. Do you have any interest in Private Banking?

4. Is there a way to lateral to AM investor analyst role at bank?

I emphasize the bank because you're already there. They've already seen something in you to hire you and you are in a major market (Chicago). Not bad for a kid from a FL state school (I live in FL so I can say that). As one of the older folks on WSO (30+ yrs of professional experience), I have seen many people navigate their path differently than what the primary WSOer espouses (must go to target or semi target, must get internship, must start at A1 as a 22 yr old in AM or IB ,etc.) The real world doesn't actually work like that. Yes those are proven paths but not the only paths. I highly recommend you just kill it at your job for awhile (a few yrs). Assuming they have roles that you are interested in, build up a pile of relationship / political capital and lateral over.

Also, within AM there are two basic functions; managing money, and selling the management of money (Investor role and client facing role). There are product managers that are hybrids but they primarily fill a more specialized client facing role as subject matter experts. For the right person, client facing roles can be very satisfying. You get to learn about all things market related (Macro econ and market drivers) and discuss that with clients all day. Roles include retail Wealth mgmt, Private Banking, institutiopnal, etc. You can work directly with the investor or with financial intermediaries (wholesale). Doesn't get enough love on WSO but it is a revenue generating arm of the organization. Do well and you move up and have lots of job security.

Regarding school - analytics is becoming very big so that may be more useful across the board. Not sure the MSF is that useful especially with your background. If your looking for an investor type role I would advise you to get your CFA. I would also think a masters in Financial Engineering would be more useful than either the MSF of MSBA. That would bring more quant focus into the finance training and that's big today.

Again my first priortiy would be to kill it at work, build solid relationships (you may even love the role it naturally leads to) and see where you can navigate from there.

Good luck.

Oct 25, 2021 - 12:34am

Thanks for that response Rickle. I start the sales role in January so I'm not sure yet. I am optimistic though as I believe I can be a top performer. I would just like a clearer path without having to work my way up through the retail branch of the firm. After passing the series I'll move to a financial solutions advisor role if that gives you an idea.

I actually would like to be on the client facing side of Asset Management. After I gain some experience and finish CFA, I would like to find something more analytical but still client facing, depending on structure of firm and team. Everything you wrote in paragraph two about client facing roles is what appeals to me the most. I took the advice of other comments on the thread and started looking into Private Banking as well, but I'm less interested in holistic financial planning.

Reading the responses on the thread have already given me a better idea of how to phrase what I'm looking for thank you. I would love to be in a hybrid role where I work closely with a PM and clients and then move to a revenue generating role.

What would be some entry level roles to begin that path? If I'm targeting something on the sell side the first couple things that look attainable in the short term would be something like credit analysts? I might just follow this up with a masters in accounting...

I really do like everyone's last option of just sticking to this job and killing it lol. But I know that being in a job that doesn't give me the background for AM (working closely with PMs & clients) I wont be happy at the end of the day. Unless pure sales can, I don't know if it could work. Either way, I know I'll enjoy it for a little and I won't stop the grind.

Oct 25, 2021 - 8:02am

The role you describe in response to my post is a Product Strategist role at an AM. I say hybrid because the position puts you squarely between the investor and client management role. If it were in tech, think of it as a "sales engineer" who is brought in to work with clients on technical issues that are beyond the pure sales team knowledge set. Yet they're not designing the product. For a fund family it's not the investor role or the client mgmt role but rather working closely with the client mgmt team (including client facing) to understand client needs and then working with PMs to design a product that fits those needs. It essentially becomes a product mgmt role which is akin to running a business, albeit a narrow one (focused on a specific offering or asset class).

How do you get there? Don't have all the answers but I do know some major funds have entry level analyst / associate roles in that track. They hire out of UG for that and you spend a few years doing the grunt work which is good for overall learning. You're new enough in your career where you could just apply (not easy to get these spots). If that doesn't work, get both client facing and technical skills where you are. Build up your skillset get exposure to HNW and/or institutional clients. The more institutional the better. You can do that (hopefully) at your bank. Credit analyst (portfolio mgmt ) would give you some of that experience provided it is commercial. 

I don't know if this is possible where you are, but another path would be moving in to treasury mgmt at the bank (managing the reserves and cash flow of the bank). This is a corp fin track and there must be entry level spots for that. That's where relationships come into play at your bank. Maybe you can lateral.

If nothing else, you can definitely do a reset upon MBA , but that will require you to get to a top school (T15 at a minimum). In and of itself that will require a very solid pre mba work experience and strong GMAT / GRE scores. If you can do that, then you can recruit for anything.

  • Research Associate in AM - Equities
Oct 23, 2021 - 1:36pm

The guy above had good advice but I'll take a slightly different approach, assuming that your goal is just to be on the equity research side of AM. It would be pretty difficult for you to break in without rebranding yourself through something like an MSF near-term, as you mention, or an MBA longer-term. Here are the three general paths that come to mind from my perspective:

Get into the best MSF program you can for potential AM recruitment at the junior level (i.e. associate level) and keep progressing through the CFA (get this over with as fast as possible). I can't really speak to the strength of Notre Dame's MSF specifically, but the problem would be that AM firms may not target MSF programs for recruitment. So you would have to get on their radar through networking and scouring job boards, etc. There should be resources in WSO and online as to which MSF firms you should be applying to. While I understand you are worried about the curriculum, this is not really the point. The point is to re-brand, build your network and have access to recruiting / internships via the program (up to you to decide if that is worth the money).

Next approach would be to target sell-side equity research associate roles as a pathway to the buyside. I think this is something you should seriously consider, as it is easier (but still not easy) to break in through the sell-side vs directly to buyside and it would obviously set you up with much more relevant experience. This can be targeted simultaneously with buyside jobs at your MSF, and it is more likely that sell-side banks are actually recruiting from MSF programs versus AM firms.

Third approach would be to kill it at your current role, or other role that is maybe more analytical versus sales for a few years (nothing at all wrong with sales, but it is simply less relevant if you want to be an investor), and then get into a top 10-15 MBA and break into AM from there. At the MBA level, AM firms recruit at the analyst level, but it is obviously very competitive. If you end up with interesting industry roles in the meantime, you could leverage insights from there as to why you would make a good investor and all that.

To answer your other question, no, a business analytics degree would not make you more competitive for these roles.

Hope this helps. As someone who also went to school in FL, happy to answer any more questions.

Oct 24, 2021 - 2:43pm

I had a similar experience where I couldnt get interships I wanted in undergrad. I went to a non target, didnt have a good GPA, and I worked full time. I got reputable experience at search funds. The search funds I worked for were non paid, lead by former IB and PE associates, usually focused on completing one acquisition, and provided decent experience to transition in an analyst role. Search funds arent the answer to transition into asset management but they can be a great stepping stone for corp dev, IB, consulting, PE, M&A advisory. Getting an internship at a search fund is easy.

Nov 12, 2021 - 11:11am

Hey everyone. In the time since I wrote the original post I have done two super days for two firms. One was my preferred BB as a Private Bank Analyst FT, and the other was at a firm a tier below. The lesser firm had a more interesting position as it was more technical in nature. I denied the offer at the BB and accepted the offer at the lesser firm. I was able to do this because I knew exactly what I wanted. I am a highschool dropout, with no prior internships and a limited network. I think I applied for the BB job 8 times in the last year. I just got my shit together at a crucial point. Don't give up, know what you want and go for it. If I can do it anyone can.

Nov 12, 2021 - 10:42pm

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