Unemployed after 1 Year in IB - What’s My Next Move?

Hey everyone. Hoping someone has some advice on my situation. It's a bit unusual so please bear with me.

I just slightly under 1 full year of full-time work experience as an IB Analyst at a very small unknown boutique. Prior to that I had 4 months as an IB Summer Analyst at another boutique in a different city. Below is a quick rundown of my story and current predicament.

Breaking into this industry was quite a challenge for me. I went to a non-target and got interested in Finance late. I had some very extenuating circumstances in college and ended up graduating with a sub 2.5 GPA and no internship experience. Through pure hustle and determination I managed to convince a newish small boutique to give me a shot as an unpaid intern after graduation. It was a solid experience and I performed well through 4 months on the job. They asked me to stay, however, they wanted me to only stay on as an unpaid intern for an unspecified amount of time, stating they didn't have the cash flow to be able to make a competitive full-time offer just yet and didn't know when they would be able to. This was in a very expensive city and the costs were piling up. Fearing wasting my time, I decided to cut my losses as part ways. I returned home and worked odd jobs while searching for full-time work.

A full 4 months of searching later, I managed to finally get a shot at another pretty unknown boutique based off my intern experience. They had an Analyst leaving and a spot was open I was told. They came in at a very uncompetitive compensation point, but I was desperate for a gig so I happily accepted. After arriving I realized the truth. The "analyst" that was leaving was actually an exodus of employees from the firm. The place was completely toxic. Superiors were even what I would describe as hostile or even abusive. I'm not talking about the kind of hazing you sometimes hear about. I mean actually abusive. Crazy shit.

So I stuck it out for 11 months until things came to a head and I just couldn't continue. I've since returned home unsure of my next move. I'm looking at local Financial Analyst work for a survival job in the meantime. They're solid jobs, but not necessarily a career goal. I'd really like to continue to try for a sort of lateral hire seeing how that I have some experience. I'm not sure if I'd have a chance to swim upstream to a MM or even to a better regional boutique given my background though. My other option would be forget IB for now and try for the CFA or an MBA (unlikely given background). I'm committed to IB long-term. I'm a great Analyst and have glowing reviews and recommendations from those who have worked with me. I'm determined and willing to outwork everyone. I'm just completely unsure how to get my footing and I'm fearful that I should cut my losses.

So what do you all think? What's my next move?

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Comments (6)

Most Helpful
Dec 31, 2018 - 7:45am

Concerning another monkeys comment, I wouldn't call this forum dead by a long shot - it's year end so a lot of people are taking holiday PTO so I expect that the forum is less active. As for me, I came into work on a PTO day to finish up a deal and am killing time waiting for a client response.

For the thread question - I don't think there's going to be a silver bullet type answer that'll be the answer to your prayers. Treading the line of a canned response - my advice is to network, apply, network, apply. It's the same as when you came out of undergrad, except now you are an experienced analyst with meaningful numbers you can add to your resume. Reach out to those people that gave you glowing recommendations, let them know that you're in the market for a job and to keep you in mind if they hear anything. Depending on their level in the game, they may be able to introduce you to some people that can put you a step closer to hired.

As for CFA/MBA, I think you're best served holding off. Studying for the CFA level one may help you stay sharp while exploring the job market, but don't let it consume your life just yet. With your subpar undergrad GPA and experience, you'd be reaching for any MBA program that you probably really want to get into.

It's way to early in your career to cut your losses. We all, including your friends not in finance, experience setbacks but we don't talk about them because it can be downright depressing.

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