Should I Quit My Job?

Currently having to make the hardest decision of my career so far and input would be much appreciated!

So a little background, I graduated from a semi-target UK university with an Economics degree and a frankly TERRIBLE grade (sub 3.0 GPA equivalent, a 3rd Class). After graduating I secured an IBD internship at a top tier BB (JPM / GS / MS) but due to underlying problems at the bank at offer time, basically none of the interns got a return offer (good feedback though). After that I started a full time job at a Big 4 in Audit, in a FIG coverage group - I am working mostly on US investment banks.

Now, I do not like Audit, it is not what I want to do and the job is mind-numbingly tedious. However, it is guaranteed for 3 years and with my academics and this job market that is a good thing.

I have been offered a 6 month internship at a smaller (100-150 people) place which does IBD, Research and S&T and my role would be within IBD. There is potential for a full-time offer at the end depending on performance, company performance and economy. I am confident my performance would be to a high enough level where they could offer me a job, but the other 2 aspects are out of my control.

So my question - should I quit my safe, boring, uninspiring audit job with limited exit ops for the risk of a 6 month internship with a potential FT offer at the end? If I don't get an FT offer I'm in trouble due to my academics. My longer term goals are to work in ER (this boutique has a strong research team with opportunity to move later) or one of the big AM firms or an equity focused HF.

Advice would be MUCH appreciated!

Many thanks,

Comments (61)

Jan 31, 2013

How much longer do you have on your contract in Audit? If it is reasonably soon, would it be possible for you to schedule your internship offer for after you finish out your current job?

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Jan 31, 2013
streetwannabe:

How much longer do you have on your contract in Audit? If it is reasonably soon, would it be possible for you to schedule your internship offer for after you finish out your current job?

2.5 years.

Best Response
Jan 31, 2013

DO IT. We always have to make choices and take some risk, and you're staring down the barrel of 2.5 years of your like in job you don't like. 6months i also a long time to get yourself out there to hedge the risk of no return offer. back yourself, doooo itt.

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Jan 31, 2013

I was in the same position as you last year; My grades were pretty poor, I was one year into my Big 4 position (albeit operations) and took a 5 month internship at an IB. I say trust your gut, because, for me, it was a great move. It will be tough just due to the fact you have to hustle non-stop throughout those 6 months, but if it's what you want, you have to do it. Before you know it, it could be too late and you're wishing you made the jump. Just my opinion. Good luck

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Jan 31, 2013

Do it. Have confidence in yourself that in some way or another you'll make it work.

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Jan 31, 2013

Just to play devil's advocate here, I'm also from the UK. In the US Big4 CPA is seen as something that anyone can do and doesn't get the respect that ACA Big4 qualified professionals get in the UK. I have seen a lot of jobs/recruiters looking for ACA qualified people for roles in credit, distressed debt and recovery situations here in London. Thre are also a load of jobs for FIG ACA talent in ER (just check efinancialcareers.co.uk). I recently interviewed for a job at a credit hedge fund where the guy interviewing me had 10 years experience in a Big4 doing insolvency/restructuring. My advice would be to see if you can transfer to your firm's corporate finance team, not TAS but actual CP or see what other opportunities exist within your firm. Generally speaking, these companies are open to you moving around if there is space for you.

If you go to this other gig the economy and firm performance are out of your control, which were the reasons you failed to get a FT from the first IBD gig. If you end up leaving Big4, you will have burnt your bridges, will have to pay back your audit exam fees via clawback and your CV will look poor. I'm not saying don't take this IBD position, but I would first explore all other opportunities to move within your firm first.

Best of luck!

Jan 31, 2013
Ovechkin08:

Just to play devil's advocate here, I'm also from the UK. In the US Big4 CPA is seen as something that anyone can do and doesn't get the respect that ACA Big4 qualified professionals get in the UK. I have seen a lot of jobs/recruiters looking for ACA qualified people for roles in credit, distressed debt and recovery situations here in London. Thre are also a load of jobs for FIG ACA talent in ER (just check efinancialcareers.co.uk). I recently interviewed for a job at a credit hedge fund where the guy interviewing me had 10 years experience in a Big4 doing insolvency/restructuring. My advice would be to see if you can transfer to your firm's corporate finance team, not TAS but actual CP or see what other opportunities exist within your firm. Generally speaking, these companies are open to you moving around if there is space for you.

If you go to this other gig the economy and firm performance are out of your control, which were the reasons you failed to get a FT from the first IBD gig. If you end up leaving Big4, you will have burnt your bridges, will have to pay back your audit exam fees via clawback and your CV will look poor. I'm not saying don't take this IBD position, but I would first explore all other opportunities to move within your firm first.

Best of luck!

big4 restructuring is horrible, a fundamentally different product to IBD restructuring, they win mandates off their IBR product / being the incumbent auditor, only good for another lateral to a proper restructuring shop. and this guy may not even like restructuring.

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Jan 31, 2013

Quit dude. really. whats the point in all this if you dont enjoy your work

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Jan 31, 2013
Floridarolf:

Quit dude. really. whats the point in all this if you dont enjoy your work

The issue is the inherent risk (that I cannot control) of not being offered an FT role at the end of the 6 months due to macro / company limitations, which would leave me in quite a weak position for recruiting purposes. If it was for an FT offer I would have handed in my resignation this morning.

Jan 31, 2013
Asatar:
Floridarolf:

Quit dude. really. whats the point in all this if you dont enjoy your work

The issue is the inherent risk (that I cannot control) of not being offered an FT role at the end of the 6 months due to macro / company limitations, which would leave me in quite a weak position for recruiting purposes. If it was for an FT offer I would have handed in my resignation this morning.

you got this internship within c.6months of your current job, you got the other tier 1 internship, you got your job, you're obviously not horrible at this

i should say that i'm so close to quitting (just waiting on some external friction smoothing out), hence my zealous encouragement and perhaps vicarious wishes.

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Jan 31, 2013

I would likely stay put and search for something that is full time. The fact that this is a 6 month internship is strange to me to begin with. It seems that they're doing that to push all the risk on your shoulders. I don't like to enter into an arrangement where I bear all of the risk.

Maybe you can just talk to them and see if they can make it a full time offer instead? You have nothing to lose if you decide not to leave for an internship.

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Jan 31, 2013
SirTradesaLot:

I would likely stay put and search for something that is full time. .

this is lovely and all, but is not always an option. there aren't full time positions floating around for those in unrelated groups. people can hustle, network, improve, but there is still issue of excess supply of good candidates, why even speak to the off piste guy? he has a tier 1 internship but struggled to get IBD FT, why will time make anything better, it'll just make him closer to the point where MBA is the only option....

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Jan 31, 2013
Oreos:
SirTradesaLot:

I would likely stay put and search for something that is full time. .

this is lovely and all, but is not always an option. there aren't full time positions floating around for those in unrelated groups. people can hustle, network, improve, but there is still issue of excess supply of good candidates, why even speak to the off piste guy? he has a tier 1 internship but struggled to get IBD FT, why will time make anything better, it'll just make him closer to the point where MBA is the only option....

Obviously, this isn't an easy decision.

What happens if he doesn't get the full time offer? Then he's unemployed with only 1 year of experience. This means people will still be looking closely at his academic record, which won't be helpful.

Once again, it's a risky bet where there is asymmetric information between the two parties....I don't love that if they aren't willing to take some risk themselves by giving a full time offer now. I would ask the guy for a full time offer or at least figure out why they are doing this an an internship instead of a full time offer. Maybe he can get some stats as to how many people convert this internship into a full-time offer.

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Jan 31, 2013

Say you quit audit, then there's no FT offer attached to your internship. What's plan b? You'd have to have a pretty good story to convince someone to give you another accounting job...

If you've got a safety net of cash, mental stability, and family/emotional support... then move.

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Jan 31, 2013

This seems like a job for MATH!!

Let PA be your pay at your audit job, and PIBD be your potential FT pay at the bank you're thinking about interning with, let v be your discount factor [in actuarial math, v = 1/(1+i)], gA be your current salary growth, and gIBD be your potential job's salary growth, and let fA & fIBD be retention risk (keeping the job and getting the job, respectively), and t is each half year. So, you're left with these equations:

Sigma(n=1->t)[(PA)(v^n)(gA^n)(fA)] and Sigma(n=2->t)[(PIBD)(v^n)(gA^n-1)(fIDB)] for your current and potential job respectively

So,

If Sigma(n=1->t)[(PA)(v^n)(gA^n)(fA)] t)[(PIBD)(v^n)(gA^n-1)(fIDB)], quit and give it a go.
if Sigma(n=1->t)[(PA)(v^n)(gA^n)(fA)] > Sigma(n=2->t)[(PIBD)(v^n)(gA^n-1)(fIDB)], stay put and wait for a better option.

Obviously, fA for 12 (I assume if you get the job, your retention rate will go up for a period of time). Additionally, if you have cash saved up for this sort of thing, feel free to add that to the RHS.

Everything look about right here? I'm sure the fA and fIBD factors could be broken down into the qx & px components, but that seems tricky.

"My caddie's chauffeur informs me that a bank is a place where people put money that isn't properly invested."

Jan 31, 2013
mikesswimn:

This seems like a job for MATH!!

Let PA be your pay at your audit job, and PIBD be your potential FT pay at the bank you're thinking about interning with, let v be your discount factor [in actuarial math, v = 1/(1+i)], gA be your current salary growth, and gIBD be your potential job's salary growth, and let fA & fIBD be retention risk (keeping the job and getting the job, respectively), and t is each half year. So, you're left with these equations:

Sigma(n=1->t)[(PA)(v^n)(gA^n)(fA)] and Sigma(n=2->t)[(PIBD)(v^n)(gA^n-1)(fIDB)] for your current and potential job respectively

So,

If Sigma(n=1->t)[(PA)(v^n)(gA^n)(fA)] t)[(PIBD)(v^n)(gA^n-1)(fIDB)], quit and give it a go.
if Sigma(n=1->t)[(PA)(v^n)(gA^n)(fA)] > Sigma(n=2->t)[(PIBD)(v^n)(gA^n-1)(fIDB)], stay put and wait for a better option.

Obviously, fA for 12 (I assume if you get the job, your retention rate will go up for a period of time). Additionally, if you have cash saved up for this sort of thing, feel free to add that to the RHS.

Everything look about right here? I'm sure the fA and fIBD factors could be broken down into the qx & px components, but that seems tricky.

Quantify his happiness, marginal utility, and ambition - then we're on to something!

Jan 31, 2013
pplstuff:
mikesswimn:

This seems like a job for MATH!!

Let PA be your pay at your audit job, and PIBD be your potential FT pay at the bank you're thinking about interning with, let v be your discount factor [in actuarial math, v = 1/(1+i)], gA be your current salary growth, and gIBD be your potential job's salary growth, and let fA & fIBD be retention risk (keeping the job and getting the job, respectively), and t is each half year. So, you're left with these equations:

Sigma(n=1->t)[(PA)(v^n)(gA^n)(fA)] and Sigma(n=2->t)[(PIBD)(v^n)(gA^n-1)(fIDB)] for your current and potential job respectively

So,

If Sigma(n=1->t)[(PA)(v^n)(gA^n)(fA)] t)[(PIBD)(v^n)(gA^n-1)(fIDB)], quit and give it a go.
if Sigma(n=1->t)[(PA)(v^n)(gA^n)(fA)] > Sigma(n=2->t)[(PIBD)(v^n)(gA^n-1)(fIDB)], stay put and wait for a better option.

Obviously, fA for 12 (I assume if you get the job, your retention rate will go up for a period of time). Additionally, if you have cash saved up for this sort of thing, feel free to add that to the RHS.

Everything look about right here? I'm sure the fA and fIBD factors could be broken down into the qx & px components, but that seems tricky.

Quantify his happiness, marginal utility, and ambition - then we're on to something!

Happiness and ambition are independent of your job, so there's no need to quantify them for the purposes of the function. Marginal utility in terms of time spent working versus overall pay is inherently included in the retention risk factors (i.e. the more/better work you do, the lower the factor - and the higher your expected future pay - and vice versa), unless I'm misunderstanding what you're talking about (marginal utility can be applied pretty broadly in this example).

"My caddie's chauffeur informs me that a bank is a place where people put money that isn't properly invested."

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Jan 31, 2013

^ oh shit.

*applauds*

Jan 31, 2013

I would definitely do it if I were in your shoes. I would hardly think twice.

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Jan 31, 2013

Go for it.

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Jan 31, 2013

in case my input is required, ex target UK uni, 2:2 (viva'ed up from a 3rd), GPA wise, we're similar. Went to big 4 audit, left after a year. 2 years later, im in my dream job, quant trading. It was really stressful, the first job i got after big 4 audit didnt work out. That was a tough time. The more you stay in audit, the harder it will be to do that jump. Jump soon and jump far. PM for any more input, dont want a tldr post.

Jan 31, 2013

Personally, I'd jump: when's the next time you're going to get a shot at this? If you have some time at a big4 and some certs, fuck all, you can always go back to that world, they took your dumb ass in the first place ;) But again....see if you can get answers to any of the above questions and vet them here....

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Jan 31, 2013

A lot of US users seem worried about a 6 months internship but in Europe it's pretty common (at least in Continental Europe and more and more in the UK as well).

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Jan 31, 2013

I think you should make the jump OP. The economy and company performance are always going to be out of your control. Who knows what it will be like in 2.5years when you are done with the big 4 gig. Be a true banker and take some risk.

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Jan 31, 2013

Go for it OP. I just gave my employer notice today and it's the happiest I've been in months.

Give the internship 100% and keep networking on the side just in case.

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Jan 31, 2013

My simple advice would be to play to win, don't play not to lose.

Worst case, things don't work out exactly as you expected, but you have the story, you can still punt and do an MSF or an MBA depending on your age and experience at the time. People like people who hustle more than people who defer their happiness because they don't want to take risk.

If you sat down in front of me and I said "so you were in each of these jobs for 6 months and left, what happened," and you told me that you had a shot to get your dream job and you took it, threw yourself into the work 100% and did not receive an offer due to circumstances outside your control, I would have to respect you for taking that risk.

Regardless of the outcome, you will ALWAYS feel better if you go for it and fail, than if you decide to sit tight and play it safe. LIFE isn't designed to be "played safe." Not when you're single and don't have a family depending on your income.

PLAY TO WIN.

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Jan 31, 2013

How did you get an internship with a 3rd? Surely you knew someone who worked there because most places won't even look at your application if it's anything below a 2.1.

Jan 31, 2013
dolph:

How did you get an internship with a 3rd? Surely you knew someone who worked there because most places won't even look at your application if it's anything below a 2.1.

Didn't know anyone there at all or have any recommendation. Not entirely sure how I got through the online screening to be honest (luck / strong CV?) but I did pretty well in the interviews and aced all the tests.

Jan 31, 2013

Woah, you went to a UK semi-target and graduated with a 3rd class degree? and got an IBD internship?!! How on earth did you pull that off? Props to you anyhow. Out of interest, which uni was it? I'm from the UK myself.

Jan 31, 2013

Man, you have to do it!
I've made the same thing 3 weeks and I'm the happiest person right now.
GROW A PAIR AND DO IT!

  • MVP
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Jan 31, 2013

Just do it. There is too much upside for you to forgo this opp.

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Jan 31, 2013

Personally, I think you have to go into every opportunity with the greatest amount of confidence in yourself. Trust that you will nail the internship and outperform your employer's expectations and the decision should be pretty easy.

That said, if you're the risk-averse type, choose based on the downside. In one year, what would you regret more:

1) You passed up the internship and still have all the security of a well-paid job that you hate.

2) You took the internship, performed very well and had top-notch reviews from your employer but didn't receive a return offer, so now you need to look for a new job.

That should make the decision pretty easy to make.

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Jan 31, 2013

either way u r pretty fucked

How big is yours?

    • 3
Jan 31, 2013

^^This guy's a douche in every thread, I swear...

Good luck Asatar; You'll make it to FT.

    • 1
Jan 31, 2013

Like everyone said above, I think if you ultimately want IBD might as well go for it. Last thing you want is staying in your current job wondering what could have happened everyday. But also have the mental prep for the worst case scenerio and hope for the best. Good luck!

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Jan 31, 2013

My take is a bit different, and here is what I would do.

I would look at everything as a case of probability. Right now your job, that you hate is guaranteeing you income and benefits which is a plus.

The internship, you have yet to win the FT offer.

Suppose you do get hired at the IBD firm and you work there for a year, but due to market forces you are again out of a job looking again because nothing in that industry is ever stable.

But suppose you change your strategy to save as much money as you can for two years and create a decent nest egg for yourself. Now step 2, try to take some business certifications programs at a top 20 school and this time ace the classes and get a decent GPA that you can report. So that means going to school and work at the same time. Step three, with your nest egg built, apply to MBA programs and with your experience and higher GPA, hopefully you will get into a top 20 MBA program. However the nest egg you've built for yourself allows you to get an MBA without needing to add debt that you might not be able to pay later on. So you go get an MBA now that been paid for.

Now with an MBA, you can re-try to get an IBD position but this time you'll be at a whole other level than where you're trying to apply from now.

However the risk to this strategy is waiting 2.5 years, creating a nest egg, hoping you get into a top 20 MBA program and then hoping to get into a IBD position. Thats lots of moving pieces, chances something could go wrong are higher.

Having said that, I think that I would risk it, and try to reduce the factors of failure to zero. I would naturally exhibit superhuman work ethic to rule out not getting a FT offer because I didnt do my work. I would then try to go beyond what was asked of me, and show initiative. I would then also let them know that the internship is very difficult to sustain financially, and have a talk about how you really want to work there full time etc.

Lastly the one thing you can't control the deal flow, the market and the business cycle, I would just sweat the 6 months out and hope it works out.

This six months of sweat is a lot less than three plus years of sweat trying to get into IBD through an MBA. Like I said first you need a nest egg, then better grades and GMAT, then the study itself then finding a job.

Since you eventually want to be IBD, the less anxiety producing avenue is to leave current job.

This is not taking into consideration your current financial needs. If you need stable money for debt or for supporting someone then stay.

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Feb 1, 2013

If you signed the contract for 3 years, would the firm sue you for quitting it now? Just out of my curiosity about this thing!

Feb 1, 2013
blueslord2910:

If you signed the contract for 3 years, would the firm sue you for quitting it now? Just out of my curiosity about this thing!

No way a Big 4 audit firm is suing their former employees. The reputational risk alone would eliminate this option. More importantly, I'm sure it was at-will employment, meaning either side could terminate at any time.

Feb 1, 2013

Thank you for your clarification.

Feb 1, 2013

I think you've been pretty lucky to get a Big4 gig in the first place, I know they're pretty picky with GPA and schools in the UK as someone already said. I dont feel you should look at it with the thought that this is a 6 month internship but rather a step in the right direction. Why stay at a job you're not happy at? Immediately out of undergrad, I got a offer from a Big4 within Human Capital Tax, took it and left within 6 months. Never looked back. The job sucked. Your job sucks because it sucks for you, who cares what someone else thinks?

The best thing you can do is take the internship and constantly evluate how its going for you. Likely they'll drop hints in some fashion that they take you on or you'll know how business is to guess whether a FT offer is likely. At worst, you keep looking and you have a few months to recharge your batteries (I cant say enough good things about this point. My brother worked 7 years in IB, one day quit, took 6 months off, traveled, and is now back working in another field. He's never been happier).

The downside is the fact that quitting on your Audit gig will burn bridges. I dont even put my time at Big4 on my resume. Although there is a difference between your 1+ year and my five months.

Hope everything works out. Good luck!

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Feb 1, 2013
FinancialNoviceII:

I think you've been pretty lucky to get a Big4 gig in the first place, I know they're pretty picky with GPA and schools in the UK as someone already said. I dont feel you should look at it with the thought that this is a 6 month internship but rather a step in the right direction. Why stay at a job you're not happy at? Immediately out of undergrad, I got a offer from a Big4 within Human Capital Tax, took it and left within 6 months. Never looked back. The job sucked. Your job sucks because it sucks for you, who cares what someone else thinks?

The best thing you can do is take the internship and constantly evluate how its going for you. Likely they'll drop hints in some fashion that they take you on or you'll know how business is to guess whether a FT offer is likely. At worst, you keep looking and you have a few months to recharge your batteries (I cant say enough good things about this point. My brother worked 7 years in IB, one day quit, took 6 months off, traveled, and is now back working in another field. He's never been happier).

The downside is the fact that quitting on your Audit gig will burn bridges. I dont even put my time at Big4 on my resume. Although there is a difference between your 1+ year and my five months.

Hope everything works out. Good luck!

The thing is there are parts of this current job I really like, namely the social aspect. I can spend all day on IM chatting to friends within the firm which I wouldn't be able to do at another place. Admittedly most of them I also know outside of work very well. It's the day-to-day work which I despise, it just seems pointless and useless.

I've actually only been here 5 months as well, Big4 contracts are 3 years total in the UK.

Input from all much appreciated! Keep it coming...

Feb 2, 2013
Asatar:
FinancialNoviceII:

I think you've been pretty lucky to get a Big4 gig in the first place, I know they're pretty picky with GPA and schools in the UK as someone already said. I dont feel you should look at it with the thought that this is a 6 month internship but rather a step in the right direction. Why stay at a job you're not happy at? Immediately out of undergrad, I got a offer from a Big4 within Human Capital Tax, took it and left within 6 months. Never looked back. The job sucked. Your job sucks because it sucks for you, who cares what someone else thinks?

The best thing you can do is take the internship and constantly evluate how its going for you. Likely they'll drop hints in some fashion that they take you on or you'll know how business is to guess whether a FT offer is likely. At worst, you keep looking and you have a few months to recharge your batteries (I cant say enough good things about this point. My brother worked 7 years in IB, one day quit, took 6 months off, traveled, and is now back working in another field. He's never been happier).

The downside is the fact that quitting on your Audit gig will burn bridges. I dont even put my time at Big4 on my resume. Although there is a difference between your 1+ year and my five months.

Hope everything works out. Good luck!

The thing is there are parts of this current job I really like, namely the social aspect. I can spend all day on IM chatting to friends within the firm which I wouldn't be able to do at another place. Admittedly most of them I also know outside of work very well. It's the day-to-day work which I despise, it just seems pointless and useless.

I've actually only been here 5 months as well, Big4 contracts are 3 years total in the UK.

Input from all much appreciated! Keep it coming...

Thats the thing I guess. 5 months is nothing when you want to transition somewhere else. Like I said, I dont even note it on my resume. To be honest, the social aspect at work isnt a drawing point to remain there, especially as if they're your real friends, you'll see them day-to-day.

Also, my contract was for 2. Is this a new thing? They havent always been for 3. My friend, she just left EY after her 2 years, despite wasting time on the ACA.

Feb 1, 2013

Full time work is better then internships. Period.

Feb 1, 2013
karypto:

Full time work is better then internships. Period.

i would MS you, but i tend to save them for positive contributions regarding technical issues or advise from those within the industry. yours is just bland, sweeping and with no supporting discussion. do better.

Feb 1, 2013

Do it Foo!

Because when you're in a room full of smart people, smart suddenly doesn't matter--interesting is what matters.

Feb 1, 2013

Not for an internship dude...just chill in your audit job while you look for fulltime jobs. Try to get some other relevant stuff on your resume during your freetime (like VIC, DDIC, managing a portfolio, CFA, etc). It will be tough to look for external opportunities during your internship.

Feb 2, 2013
Cries:

It will be tough to look for external opportunities during your internship.

Says who?

Feb 2, 2013
FinancialNoviceII:
Cries:

It will be tough to look for external opportunities during your internship.

Says who?

Yeah, it could go either way. There will be a whole lot less free time to talk to people, for the downside. On the upside, he now will be in banking looking for....banking, so he will have much more leverage than as an accountant.

Plus, the goal is to impress them and score a full time gig, so that's part of the equation. If he gets an offer, great, but not being able to bank on it will force continued job hunting. If OP thinks they can bite the bullet and basically spend what little free time they will have looking for other opportunities, it's one thing, especially if there's a lot of live deals...

Feb 2, 2013
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Feb 5, 2013
Feb 6, 2013