New Graduate Delimma

Here is my story.
Finishing my undergraduate degree majoring in Finance from a westcoast Canadian University after this fall semester. The school might not be regarded as prestigious ones but ranks among top Canadian universities. GPA 3.4 on 4.0 scale. Student club leaderships and charity involvement account for the majority of my spare time during my 4year undergrad. 6 month fulltime working experience as CSR at Bank of China's Canada division. Additional duties also include initiating contacts and identifying customers' need to develop business relationships with corporate customers. I hope I can switch to a job as corporate banking associate in the near future. I am also in the process of establishing a non-profit organization to bridge between local researchers and hi-tech start-ups. This would probably consume most of my spare time in the future. After 4 or 5 years, I might consider a top MBA from US.

However, my father and his friend who works in M&A firm both suggest me to get a CFA or CPA which provides me with much higher job stability. I agree that accounting is really important but it is very boring in my perspective. I enjoy learning and doing financial modeling and valuations though (self-studying). Investment banking used to be my first choice but I don't have any related internship experience.

I am really looking forward to some career advice here. Should I stick to my current plan and use MBA as a career switcher (really interested in VC)? OR work my ass off to get any of these designations within the next 3-4 years and land a nice-looking job?

Thanks a lot for your generous help.

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Comments (5)

Nov 15, 2012 - 11:25am

3.4 at Sauder is rough. They don't have the hardest marking scheme and there's a whole lot of go-getters there these days. That said, you're graduating and you have to have a plan. You definitely need to find a job in finance (such that you'll have relevant experience) and no matter how you spin it, customer service isn't going to cut it. You have to find out now if a transfer to corporate banking is in your horizon at BOC. If not, get cracking on finding some sort of boutique, or accountancy (Formal recruiting for this year is just about done) that needs extra hands. If you want to pursue a "top MBA in the US", you're going to need alot more than some charity extra-curriculars and your current CV to achieve that. If you want to take CFA level 1, then by all means sign up for June; just don't take it as being any sort of substantial in-road to the industry in and of itself. Right now, focus on maybe killing your last final exams and inching that 3.4 up a bit. Focus on getting a job that is RELEVANT. The "top MBA", the career in "M&A" or "VC" will take care of themselves.

Keep your head up,

IG

‎"Until and unless you discover that money is the root of all good, you ask for your own destruction. When money ceases to become the means by which men deal with one another, then men become the tools of other men. Blood, whips and guns or dollars."
Nov 15, 2012 - 11:34am

Aww man, not even Sauder, you go to SFU? Wow.

Good luck,

IG

‎"Until and unless you discover that money is the root of all good, you ask for your own destruction. When money ceases to become the means by which men deal with one another, then men become the tools of other men. Blood, whips and guns or dollars."
Nov 16, 2012 - 12:48am
Independent Gestion:
Aww man, not even Sauder, you go to SFU? Wow.

Good luck,

IG

Yes, I am. It's not my first time to see the "wow" reaction but I dont have much time to look back and regret what I chose. The only thing I can probably do right now is what you suggest "keep the head up".

Thanks.

Nov 15, 2012 - 11:34am

I tend to dissuade people from doing the CFA if it's some sort of fall-back plan to bolster your resume. Don't. I've seen too many people try to do it for the wrong reasons, and they end up regretting it (even if they pass Level I).

I think your non-profit idea is really interesting and can position you well for both an MBA and a switch to VC. If you would like to bolster your financial modeling on your free time, I strongly suggest BIWS. I took courses with TTS and WSP, and although they are solid programs, the overall experience and price points offered by BIWS were by far the best.

While financial modeling is not absolutely necessary to break into investment banking (or PE or VC), it was a critical factor in helping me pivot out of a non-finance job in two ways. First, it helped me solidify my understanding of finance theory (I never studied finance in college) and home in on the most relevant and pragmatic approaches to the day-to-day of my future job. Second, it allowed me to develop a skill that I was confident in selling at networking sessions and interviews (if and when the opportunity presented itself).

In sum, focus on your non-profit and hone your modeling/finance skills. On your free time, I would start networking with people in the industries your are interested in. If all goes well, you should be able to find a pre-MBA opportunity that lines up with your career path. Non-profit experience + solid finance job = good shot at a top-MBA.

Obviously, it's not as easy or linear as I make it sound, but if you put in the work, it's definitely doable. I know because I was once in your shoes.

Best of luck.

Capitalist
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