Opinions on my next move

hummed46's picture
Rank: Baboon | 166

I'd like to introduce myself before asking several questions. I'm a financial management officer in the Marine Corps and I'm set to get out in December. I've been doing this job for about three years...prior to this I flew jets (T-45s) for about three years before switching career fields. I'm approaching a juncture in my life and I'm seriously considering the IB field.

My bachelor's degree is in aerospace studies with a triple minor in business, air traffic management, and flight. I have a multi-engine commercial pilot's license. I worked throughout college and (regretfully) didn't put enough effort into studying.

After getting into the Marines I checked in to flight school where I did very well...2nd in the first phase with a 96.5 average, 2nd in the second phase with a 97.4%, made the Commodore's List with Distinction and finished high enough to select whatever I wanted. I selected jets and performed in the high 90s academically throughout. I made it to the last flight of the syllabus before my poor depth perception finally caught up to me. I requested the switch to financial management, spent two years plus a deployment in that field, and here we are in today's world.

I separate in December. I'm actively studying for the GMAT and have every intention of applying this summer for the first round of MBA applications. In an effort to show improvement I enrolled in several undergrad businesses courses while I was deployed. In the two courses I registered for I have a 4.0 GPA. My intent is that by showing consistently high academic performance through flight school and recently, I can offset a lower GPA from undergrad coursework.

Finally, assuming I get into an MBA program for fall 2017, I have December-August to kill. Here's where I need some opinions. Being 29 and behind on the undergrad GPA side without any solid finance experience other than Marine Disbursing, what is the most effective use of my time for those 9 months? Should I seek an internship even though I'm not in school yet? Or should I look for a job at a local branch bank in an effort to get into the industry? Or does someone have another suggestion that might help?

I'm also looking for suggestions on how I can best increase my competitiveness. I understand the challenges ahead but I'm seeking advice on mitigating them with a proactive approach. The problem right now for me is that I don't know what I don't know, and I'm short on ideas for the best use of my time and limited resources.

Thanks,
Matt

Comments (4)

Jun 28, 2016

Simply put,

Your Challenges:
- Your Undergrad GPA

Your undergrad GPA is a blemish on your academic record. That said, not all hope is lost. Do well in b-school and it is likely recruiters will over look it seeing as you are substaintially older now, so your undergrad gpa does not truly reflect your current intelligence. Plus your undergrad major wasn't a liberal arts so they may cut you some slack.

  • Your Lack of Finance/IB exp

Arguably your biggest challenge. You are up against thousands of guys competing for the same post-mba IB associate postions. Most of which already have previous IB exp. The key here is to show you are very very interested in the field and this goes beyond simply knowing the industry, you need to know your modelling inside and out. I suggest taking as many practical IB courses possible in the time period between now and b-school, also read books like Investment Banking by Marc Rosenbaum. The key idea is you want to show the banks that your can hit the ground running. Honestly speaking, they don't have the time or interest to train associates unless you are M7 MBA anyway.

  • Your age

This is another important factor. By the time you graduate you will be 31 or 32. That is old for an associate. That said, all hope is not lost, while some banks will shy away from you I recommend targeting boutique IBanks, perferrably places that have a history of hiring ex-military/Marine folks like your self.

All in all, you need to know the odds are against you. It is a steep mountain you are climbing. Even if you get in, the hours in this job are brutal, and you are entering at an age when people people are thinking about starting families. That said, do what you think is best for you, this is just my two cents. Also don't be disheartened by the challenge, it is definitely possible for you to get in to IB. But you will have to work X10 harder then some other people. Good luck buddy!

Jun 28, 2016

Thanks for the insight...It lines up relatively closely with what I thought. Shifting gears, I've run into this phenomenon in the past with internet forums...typically the people that frequent these forums fall into two camps; Those looking to break into the market (or hobby, sport, etc), and those more senior looking to follow trends and stay involved. The former are typically looking for information or verification. In my case it's more information-gathering. Regardless, internet forums are usually composed of the most engaged individuals. One recurring trend I see in forum posts on WSO is reference to the number of hours worked by investment bankers. Is this common across the board? Does location or position have an impact? Would someone working for a boutique in NYC work more hours than someone in Philadelphia? Is a 16 hour workday standard for the industry or is it more prominent on WSO due to the type of individuals that post on here(Driven, involved, engaged...)?

Jun 28, 2016

Question:
One recurring trend I see in forum posts on WSO is reference to the number of hours worked by investment bankers. Is this common across the board?

Answer:
Generally speaking yes, when you work as an Investment Banker you will work a lot more than if you were to work in other industries (usually 12 + hours a day minimum - on a good day). That said, the exact number of hours you work will depend on deal flow in your group. The deal flow is contingent on the economy, business trends, firm reputation etc. so I can't really comment on how long you will work exactly, but generally speaking you should expect 12 to 16 hour days.

Question:
Does location or position have an impact? Would someone working for a boutique in NYC work more hours than someone in Philadelphia?

Answer:
Again see answer above, all depends on deal flow. If you work in NYC you will probably see more deal flow because it is NYC - heart of big finance, so you are likely to work longer in there.

Question:
Is a 16 hour workday standard for the industry or is it more prominent on WSO due to the type of individuals that post on here(Driven, involved, engaged...)?

Answer:
Nope pretty standard. But it is important to note that you are not WORKING every single minute of those 16 hours. The key thing you need to know about IB is that the work is highly unpredictable, one second everything can be fine and the next second you can get an e-mail from your associate or VP asking you to finish some grunt work by tomorrow morning which will mess up your night.

Jun 28, 2016
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