Senior year going into Finance worth it?

waterzooi's picture
Rank: Chimp | 14

Hey all, I have been reading though a lot of discussions on here and finally am ready to ask for my own advice. So I know that I am in a bad situation but I am willing to make the best out of it.

I have been studying a non business/finance major up until my senior year and made my way into a Morgan Stanley facility assisting some investment bankers pitch an IPO but on the production side (actual production, making a video for the pitch) and finally realized that this industry was my calling. I quickly added a finance major my senior year. I don't go to a target school but can transfer to a top 100 b - school. That all being said, with this new major it would take me 6 years total to finish both majors (I am about to finish the first plus an extra 2 years for the finance). I am in my early 20's so I am "young" but still feel like I am old / in a really bad spot to be trying to do this, especially based on what I have been reading on here from much more experienced competition. I do have a family connection at ED level in a and a family friend who is the same. One in AM and the other in S/T. I don't know if they will be any help down the line. I have also been reaching out to a few alumni to hear about the industry and something that I would want to pursue, and it is. Anyways, before I embark on this journey, if my position seems so out of line and not worth it to try it, please let me know. I would rather not spend my next 2 years in school to just get laughed at in the end.

(College Senior, adding Finance major, no experience yet, 2 more years of school) (I do have a 3.8GPA!)

I can try to get some sort of finance internship this fall and get into the game, for what it is worth. I am really interested in AM, but I see now how hard it is to get into. I see some have taken the Series 7/66/31, the CIMA or the CFA. If I were to do this what would be the best route to take?

Thanks.

Comments (27)

Jun 1, 2014

You didn't clearly say what you actually want to do so I'll make an assumption you want to work in Equity Research at a BB shop similar to MS.

Going an extra 2 years at a non target school to get a major in finance isn't going to make much of a difference for you. To me that is a waste of time and money, you would be better off taking whatever BO/MO finance job you can get, take the CFA exams, and network for 2 years than getting a non target finance major. You may even be able to network hard your senior year to land a FO gig.

BB shops won't see much of a difference between a finance non target undergrad and a liberal arts non target undergrad.

Jun 1, 2014

Hey Galan, sorry for not being clear. Yes I would work in Equity Research, with hopes of one day getting into AM. Honestly, I would take anything right now that isn't in my current industry but I still have certain things I am interested within the finance industry. And also, currently this summer I would normally be graduating (this is the end of my senior year). I don't think any finance company would hire someone with my current experience in the field (none). I have been tailoring my resume and cover letters even for internships and I am struggling. Sure I can bring up the work I did with IBs or the financial work I did at a camera rental house but it doesn't seem to be cutting it even for an interview. Some resumes I just include the new finance major and leave out production completely. I just don't have the experience/knowledge I guess. I registered for summer/fall courses at my non target UG school. what my unergrad is currently is marketing/production (Hence making the video for MS). Sure some of my experiences are unique (100 hour weeks on film sets) but I try to leave as much film stuff out as possible. After being at MS I wish I was spending that time there :/

Jun 2, 2014

Wtf? You don't need a finance major to work in finance, staying an extra two years in school would be silly. Read books on your own and take the CFA.

Jun 1, 2014

Thanks Stryfe for the advice. It's so crazy/relieving in a sense to hear that because I've been so set on it. The reason why I have been considering staying in school is because I cannot get a finance job with a film/marketing degree and 0 experience or knowledge. I can barely get interviewed for an internship without listing the finance major on my resume. I would need 4 years of experience for the CFA. I don't know how I will get this.

Jun 1, 2014

I did get a call back from one of those NYC boiler room type cold calling broker internship. Will that lead me in the right direction if I try to pursue it? And last note - my school offers a generic Business/Management/Finance degree that I can finish in 1 year easily. But I wont really be exposed to much financial modeling or investment/finance classes.

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Jun 2, 2014

Don't worry about what classes your school offers. At this point in your degree there's no point in prolonging your studies, as long as you got a good GPA you're fine. You don't need 4 years of finance experience to sit for the CFA exams, you need 4 years of relevant experience before you're allowed to put the designation at the end of your name. You will have the same amount of finance knowledge after passing L1 as anyone who majored in finance anyway.

Personally, I would pass on the cold calling internship. Take a deep breath, you don't need to rush to get experience on your resume. Yes, you will be behind the curve from the kids your age who had internships throughout college, but that doesn't matter, and don't pay attention to any posts on WSO that preach the IB -> PE -> HBS -> Greatness path, it's an oversubscribed idea and there are plenty of unconventional ways to break into finance. If you're interested in learning how to invest you won't be able to learn that in a classroom anyway. Search around the forum for a good reading list to start going through, I would start with The Intelligent Investor by Ben Graham. There's a comprehensive post by @Simple As... you should check out, too. I linked it below.

http://www.wallstreetoasis.com/forums/on-the-job-w...

Jun 1, 2014

Get a customer service job for American Funds, T Rowe, Fidelity, Janus, Putnam etc, it sucks and will be low pay, but it's in finance, they requirements are you basically just need to have a pulse, you'll get experience and a name on your resume, the work qualifies for the CFA then once you are in try to network in to the investment side. By no means will it be easier or a given you'll be able to make to move to analyst it's at least an option.

Depending where you are located in the country most of these places have call centers all over the country BUT you would be best to at least be near where PMs and Analysts sit.

Go on all the large mutual fund career sites and search for "series 7", you'll be able to get one of those jobs for sure but it won't be easy to transition to research. I tried to post some links but WSO won't let me, at least American, T Rowe, and Fidelity all have multiple series 7 customer service rep openings in various cities.

Jun 1, 2014

I am in the NYC area. It sucks to feel I just worked so hard for a 4 year degree and 4 internships just to get a low paying customer service job that anyone with a pulse can get. One of the internships I did was finance at a camera place, and I do have the experience from MS for what its worth... And then data entry stuff at Viacom, and a marketing internship from early on. I guess it is too all over the place to get anything higher than anything higher in finance? And another reason about the staying school thing was that I know they have some recruiting events in the fall... But if you honestly think that ending my education and getting the customer service job to eventually move to analyst has better chances than having a degree/internships in the finance field by all means you know more than me about this. I just got emailed by another company for info regarding an internship.. star alliance capital... the other was global arena capital. im probably wrong, but how I think of it is if i did an internship like this, I could get another internship more directly finance related, and that plus my education could lead me to analyst? that is just my logic. and can you PM the links for the cust service jobs? i went through those 4 companies you listed and didn't see one NYC opening

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Boost your resume and land a finance job by passing the FINRA SIE. 264 pages & 1981 smart flashcards written by a former 8X top Fidelity instructor. Try it for 0 bananas here.

Jun 3, 2014

This may be a good time to ask your family connections for their opinions, since they are both in the industry. What is your current major? EDIT: I just saw your degree, marketing/film studies.

I would be more worried about debt instead of age. That being said, have you considered consulting?

Jun 1, 2014

Hey Archer. I wanted to do my research online/alumni and reach out here on WSO first so I knew what I was up against before I went to anyone. I have this reputation doing video stuff among family/friends so it would come off as kind of a shocker at the end of my college to even bring this up to them, so I didn't want to mention it until I was on some sort of path in the right direction. As for debt I'm not in the worst situation, just loans for the last 2 years (nothing ridiculous) and wouldn't have to pay for my next 2 years of continuing undergrad because of an increase in financial aid (sister started college). I plan to work while I took classes to pay for loans etc, but I didn't want to take a job in the wrong direction and dig myself deeper into that path (marketing/video). That is why I considered doing finance internship/school until I would be "qualified" to get a job. Just my logic. Could be completely wrong. You guys know more than me. I do have a friend in real estate investments, not sure how relevant that is to AM.
Anyways, that got a little personal but relevant. I'm just more worried about the now.

Jun 3, 2014

Makes sense on all counts, its good you have thought it through.

That being said, I side with other posters about not staying in school longer than you have to. If I was you, I'd see what kind of aid you could get for an MBA program at a target school right out of college. Its not the 'traditional' path, but boost your GPA as best as possible and NAIL the GMAT and you should have a good shot.

Its a hail mary, because you need to get in, then get the right amount of aid. Go for application fee waivers, typically just requires an email or phone call and you can get one, so applying will be free. Definitely try for Emory, but use the fee waivers and attempt to get into all of the target schools.

I'd definitely run it by those contacts though because they'll have a good sense as to what to do.

Jun 1, 2014

Going from customer service to analyst is by no means easy or likely but it can be done.

I dont think any of the companies will have call centers in NYC, much cheaper to have them in for example Jacksonville.

There wont be much difference in your resume between being a customer service rep at one of those companies vs if you stayed in school for another year or 2 to get a finance degree from a non target school. MS and such are just as unlikely to recruit a customer service rep as they are someone with a finance degree from a top 100 school (From what you've said it doesnt sound like you go to Harvard or Penn).

For a point of reference I work at a large asset manager, we hire maybe 5 undergrad interns each year, the worst school that they come from is Boston College.

My advice to you is not to stay in school for any longer than needed for a bachelors degree, get any job you can at a finance company, it is probably going to suck and be low pay, because all the good ones are usually filled by kids from top schools who have good internship exp. Do good work, pass some levels of the CFA, and never stop networking. Everyone I have heard of who has gotten to be an analyst from a non-traditional background did so by networking. You know more about your school and your situation than me, if MS and the such recruit analysts from your finance program then that is a different story, in that case I might consider staying but it doesnt sound like this is the case. Can you speak to the career department to see if anyone has placed at one of the wall st banks or asset managers? If so get their contact information because they'll be a bigger help to you than a poster on WSO.

Jun 3, 2014

Also be sure that you are OK with working in the other areas of finance.

Jun 1, 2014

Yeah I didn't see any call centers in my area... Ugh.. And Galan I totally hear you. Just talked to my friend about talking to his dad whose ED at MS but it looks like a dead end. Plus he said they take 5 interns a year all Ivy league regardless. You still suggest against school but also suggest to get any job in finance. I can barely land an internship. Like I said the only 2 places I heard back from were those 2 brokerage firms. I am more than willing to network I do it all the time I just don't know how to go about it in this field... I've already done the messaging alumni on Linkedin route but my "story" was more of the "kid that wants to hear about your career because I'm changing majors." now it sounds like "a film degree kid that can't find a job has no experience/knowledge and want your help." The MOST I got out of it is a cup of coffee and an optional tour of Citi if i want. I saw a few alumni online that became analysts at citi/ms/GS but very very few. none in my situation either lol. one that i talked to on linkedin said it would prob be helpful to transfer to that other school (called baruch college)l IF i were to continue because more companies recruit from there. majority alum seem like personal banker/client advisors at JP Morgan and such. i know i keep bringing up school, I just dont want to have this film/mkting label on me forever. gut feeling resume= shredder. Idk. when you referred to students that got financial positions during school that did do internships, are you referring to like BB interns? or just students who did generic finance/accounting internships at any/generic corporate company?

Tbh I don't think I am ready to jump into grad school just yet (financially). I am ok working in other areas of finance. But after reading and researching a lot, as many others I just wouldn't want to get stuck in a BO job or something, but who does. from what i am hearing this is what I'm getting -
Things not to do - continue undergrad, get an internship,
Things to do - somehow try to find a job I am not qualified for, study for CFA, network, have hope

Jun 2, 2014

FYI, there are hundreds of firms out there besides the BBs...

Jun 6, 2014

LOL at the person recommending taking a customer service job as a way to become an analyst. That virtually guarantees that you never become an analyst. Not to mention the advice about going to a target MBA straight out of undergrad.....smh.

Just target a wide array of firms and be open to different roles if you want to break in. The role is more important than the firm. I would not get my hopes of working at a place like Lehman Brothers or Goldman Sachs in the right kind of role. Spend a lot of time targeting smaller firms, especially those in non-core cities. There's going to be less competition there.

Jun 1, 2014

I work in the FO of one of the 10 largest buyside shops, I know of three people who started in our call center, moved to a MO job, then to the FO. It took them time, they got their CFAs and networked really well.

When I recommended it I said it wasn't easy or likely, but possible and from my experience that is better than staying an extra 2 years in school.

Jun 1, 2014

If only there was a nearby call center.....

Jun 1, 2014

ah this is stressful everyone keeps telling me different things. i will probably have to stay in the NYC area BC thats where my home is but you sparked some questions.. how should i go about finding/targeting these firms? emailing about internships? do you suggest i stay in school to wipe off the film label while i intern/work? what kinds of roles do you suggest i go for? I am not at all expecting LB or GS.

Jun 6, 2014
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