Transition from front office trader to Financial Planning & Analysis, Corporate Finance

U8MAGUM's picture
Rank: Chimp | 3

This is my first post on here so I apologize if this ends up in the wrong place or a duplicate discussion. For background into my topic, I graduated from college in 2014 from a "no-name" state school as was hired through a staffing agency as a temp-to-hire in back office operations (trade settlement Delaware). After 3 months, I was brought on full time in their analyst training program (operations). After a year in the program, I was brought up to the trading desk as a TA (operations) for 8 months and then was hired on the bank side as a junior trader where I currently work. While to some it may seem odd, I am looking to transition into a Financial Analyst type role. The product I currently trade is being fully automated and the industry being squeezed out and want to get out before the layoffs occur (within the next year or two).

Unfortunately, the school I went to had the economics department (ECON major BA) in the social science school and only required the bare minimum (Macro, Micro, and electives). In addition, I did not take advantage of other finance or accounting courses. Therefore, I never had courses in corporate finance, accounting, forecasting etc. While I do some forecasting at my job, it is very minimal and anyone can do it. As well, I would say I am an above average excel user, however, can definitely strengthen my excel skills as well have no usage with SQL which seems necessary to be a financial analyst.

Down to my question. Does anyone have any recommendations on a good online Masters in Finance/Accounting program and an online advanced excel, SQL program (all online due to other financial commitments)? I believe those two in tangent, with later studying for the CFA, should give me the tools necessary to become a Financial Analyst.

To add, I did not apply for any Financial Analyst Roles yet because I feel I do not meet the qualifications.

Thank you!

Comments (8)

Best Response
May 4, 2017

You definitely fit the qualifications. I think you overestimate being a FA in Corpfin. Every company has a different way of doing things, but I can tell you this: My finance major was all about banking equations, valuing stocks, WACC, etc. I use none of that in my current FA job. I use my econ degree (I was a double major) a lot more- econ, as a major, shapes the way you think. Everything in the finance major can be found on investopedia.
And the forecasting we do? It's basically looking at the past few months spend rate, adding or subtracting events we know are going to happen (material arriving, adding/subtracting workers, etc), and then extrapolating that over the next few months. Nothing complex whatsoever. Anything more complex (involving forex and interest rates and whatever) is compiled by a team where each person has their specialty. Literally none of it is rocket science. That's why the big bucks in corporate finance come from managing people, not making forecasts. (Unless you're in corp dev, but that's another story.)
Sure, you'll come in as a financial analyst and not a senior financial analyst because you don't have any corp fin experience. Right off the bat you'll be in an entry level job, but since you already have 3 years of "finance experience", after one year of working as an FA you can tell your employer that you want to be a SFA. Or you can jump to another company as a SFA. And then you'll be caught up, in a "4 years of experience" role while you actually have 4 years of experience.
I would absolutely wait on the MBA/Masters of Finance. I doubt a company would hire you as a manager if you have a few years of non-banking finance experience and an MBA but no Corp Fin experience. They'd probably hire you as an SFA, which is where you could be in a few years without the degree.
Don't overestimate the experience required to be a FA. There is a reason this board shits on Corp Fin- at the lower levels its not very complex and has little prestige. Some of us see this as an opportunity to shine early on, but to each his own.

    • 4
May 5, 2017

I really appreciate this. Going to apply to some roles out there and see what sticks. Thank you.

May 5, 2017

Just take a look at some of the job descriptions and spin your resume to show how you match the responsibilities. A CF resume is going to look different than a trading resume, but the underlying skills are similar and you can build your resume to highlight these skills. Good luck!

May 5, 2017

good for you for having the foresight to transition before things get too hairy

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May 5, 2017

I've met ex-traders who moved into Risk Management on the market risk side. So this is a viable switch

Aug 16, 2018

It's definitely manageable to do so.

Aug 16, 2018