I am currently a senior about to graduate this spring. I have signed with a reputable MM bank for an SA position in one of their southern offices. My overall goal, in the short term, is to land a front office role at a bulge bracket investment bank, wherever I can.
My original post-graduation year long plan was to spend the summer interning in finance (two months at the bank with another month at a middle market PE firm) and then spending a year in China/Taiwan studying Mandarin at a one year program. I have offers from both, and furthermore, both are OK with my unusual post-graduation plan. The bank said to "not take time off" during that year, but I'm studying Chinese at the best Chinese/Taiwanese universities full-time (think Beida, NTNU), so I'm hoping that isn't considered "time off".
However, after doing some research, this is a poor plan. I'm realizing the difficulty of landing a job in HK/Singapore (it will probably take me at least two years of undivided attention to get my Mandarin to ibanking level), and I'm really cutting it close with the dates. Furthermore, I won't physically be in the states during FT recruiting, so I've really isolated myself in that sense.
There are clearly many variables to whatever decision I will have to make, but I think it comes down to two questions:
1) What value will this PE internship really give me? The guys are good, well-connected, and we get along great, but should I ditch it at this point? That's another month to network in New York (or interview early?)
2) Can I afford to go to Asia? It obviously isolates me from the recruiting process, but at the same time It's been a dream of mine to spend some "me time" there relaxing and studying languages, and I think if I don't do it now... I probably won't at all. Furthermore, if I don't go, it may very well kill my eligibility to even participate in the process in the first place, as I'm no longer in school anymore.
To anyone that actually managed to read all of that, thank you very much.