Too many jobs prior to bchool?

I'm currently a 2nd year IB analyst at a non-GS/JPM/MS/elite boutique firm, and spent ~1.5 year in a Big 4 audit group prior to lateraling into IB. I intend on staying for a 3rd year analyst position in the same bank to lengthen my employment history but don't have plans to pursue direct promotion to associate. After my 3rd year, my options are to move to another company (be it corp dev, strategy, PE) or to go the bschool route at this point.

Now my question is how would it look upon admissions if I spent another year or two at a different job after IB and then applied to bschool? My concern is that on paper it'll look like I'll have jumped around a lot and not shown any consistent length of employment, particularly if I don't pursue a finance related position after my 3rd year. I've still got some time to think about what to do after, but currently I'm leaning away from PE and possibly consulting. I understand I probably can't get into MBB pre-MBA at this time and would take a pay cut, but I think the skills that I'd develop between Big 4, IB and consulting would make me a pretty unique candidate in the future regardless of where I end up.

Comments (7)

Apr 30, 2013

I don't think adcoms really weight employment consistency. It's 2013 and working for multiple firms before you're 30 is the new normal. I was out to dinner with a group of friends and someone mentioned "firm tenure" and I was a little surprised that the longest tenured person with the same firm had only been there 2.5 years. (We're all 5 years out of school and all finance types.)

If you were to apply to bschools you would basically have 7 years of experience at matriculation if I read that correctly. That puts you about 2-3 years higher than the median work experience figures at the top 10 b schools. I wouldn't think that additional work experience is going to hurt your chances at all. Although, bschool becomes a much harder decision the further you progress in your career. The opportunity cost for you to attend will be much higher after year 7 than it would be if you went straight in from IBD. If you want to do MBB I don't know why you wouldn't go to bschool after your analyst stint and do MBB post-MBA.

Apr 30, 2013
kingtut:

I don't think adcoms really weight employment consistency. It's 2013 and working for multiple firms before you're 30 is the new normal. I was out to dinner with a group of friends and someone mentioned "firm tenure" and I was a little surprised that the longest tenured person with the same firm had only been there 2.5 years. (We're all 5 years out of school and all finance types.)

If you were to apply to bschools you would basically have 7 years of experience at matriculation if I read that correctly. That puts you about 2-3 years higher than the median work experience figures at the top 10 b schools. I wouldn't think that additional work experience is going to hurt your chances at all. Although, bschool becomes a much harder decision the further you progress in your career. The opportunity cost for you to attend will be much higher after year 7 than it would be if you went straight in from IBD. If you want to do MBB I don't know why you wouldn't go to bschool after your analyst stint and do MBB post-MBA.

Thanks kingtut! And correct, I think I would have somewhere around 6 or 7 years (probably closer to 6 since I'll have 4 years after 3rd year analyst) of experience. I thought about going to bschool after my analyst stint, but a couple of issues.

1) I haven't taken my GMATs yet. The decision to seriously consider bschool happened in the past couple of months due to changes at work that made me evaluate things in a different perspective. I don't have the time to study for GMATs right now (relates to changes at work). Possibly when the summer rolls around and we have interns/new associates, and possibly my third year. But I'll also have to balance that with recruiting in the event bschool doesn't work out.

2) I'm not 100% sure that I want to do MBB, or consulting for that matter. As I understand it, the position that you hold after bschool is supposed to be your "career" - at least that's how the banking world views it's associates. I don't know what I want to do after my analyst program yet. The typical exit opps (PE/corp dev/etc etc) are all considerations but no strong preference at this time. I don't think I'll come to the conclusion that I strongly prefer bschool (or MBB) and take the GMATs in the next few months. I suspect another job and additional time to mature, would better inform me which path I want to pursue..theoretically...

Shame on me, but the reality is I hadn't thought about what to do after my analyst program much until now. I lateraled into banking off cycle into an unique situation, and have been focused on contributing as much as I could to my group. Due to some recent changes, I've had to reevaluate the group/firm I'm with, if I truly want to do banking as a career, etc. Conclusion thus far is, I don't want to pursue a promotion and need to figure out what to do ASAP. I suspect this is a natural inflection point most people are going through or have gone through, and I just happened to be as you said, 2-3 years later than typical bschool candidates at matriculation.

All that said, while I'm just as focused on figuring out what do do with my life as any mid-20s professional seems to be, I'm extremely grateful to be where I am. Having the optionality for bschool, PE, etc, is a privilege not many get, and I certainly didn't expect when I was younger.

Apr 30, 2013

It all depends on your personal situation and your story, but I would think that anywhere up to three jobs for someone that is 6-7 years out of school is standard. Almost everyone I graduated with ended up changing jobs by the time we were three years out. More importantly, I think it is important to show upwards trajectory. If you got a promotion each time you changed jobs or a big increase in responsibilities / pay, I think that would strengthen your profile even if it added additional employers to your resume.

Apr 30, 2013

Its interesting how times have changed as I agree it is the new norm for this generation of working citizens. Funny too, at my BB, they just celebrated someone's 45 year here. Thats twice my age....

Apr 30, 2013

Today children are ambitious and there are whole lot of opportunities and mediums to choose their career. With technology and internet, they are looking beyond horizon and aspiring to do get more and more.

Apr 30, 2013

I would apply to every M7 school and never look back. You'll have two additional years to figure out exactly what you want to do. Maybe it's consulting maybe it isn't. I think being surrounded by so much diverse talent in bschool will help guide your career path much more so than anything else ever could.

Apr 30, 2013
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