Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Can I Move From Back Office to Front Office at an Investment Bank?

I read this article from the Wall Street Journal today titled 'Breaking Into the Finance Field' by Elizabeth Garone (http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702304023804575566080808274148.html?mod=WSJ_Careers_CareerJournal_4) and I thought it was a great reminder about the difficulty candidates face in trying to make the jump from back office to front office work at an investment bank. It also should be a great reminder to start planning your career path now. This is extremely important at investment banks because of the polarized stigma of back office versus front office work.

A KEY TO REMEMBER: If you want to do M&A, LBOs, etc....do not take a job in IT, Compliance, or any other department at the investment bank because you think that is how you are going to get your foot in the door.

It just does not work that way at an investment bank, whether you agree with it or not or it does not seem to make sense, it's just the way it is. It is not as simple as other industries in many respects because it is extremely competitive and investment banks are looking for the cream of the crop. If a candidate accepts a position in back office, MDs, VPs, Associates and HR interprets this to mean that the candidate is indeed not the cream of the crop and it will hurt the candidates chances. Instead plan on going in directly as an analyst or an associate to an investment bank. This is how you start off in an investment bank.

The key is to get a job as an analyst right after undergrad or as an associate after an MBA. Remember that as an undergrad the process starts in the sophomore and junior years depending on which college and region you are living in and it starts the first week of graduate school as an MBA.

REMEMBER THE 7 P's:
  1. Prior
  2. Proper
  3. Planning
  4. Prevents
  5. Piss
  6. Poor
  7. Performance
Happy Holidays!

13 comments:

Anonymous said...

yes, you can go from back office to front office. i did it.. took me a yr.

work hard, do your homework, learn, network, pay your dues and you will get there.

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ashish tayal said...

Would it be possible for an IT major to get a job as analyst in the front office of an investment bank?

Ashish

David Bonnemort said...

Ashish,

Yes, it is definitely possible to get a job in the front office. The big thing is making sure you know 'your stuff' when it comes to valuation, finance, accounting, job responsibilities of an analyst/associate, etc... Check out other posts for more information about preparing for interviews.

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James said...

I will be starting full-time in finance division at Morgan Stanley, but I am still looking for ways to break into investment banking (even after I start work). I take many relevant classes and planning to take GMAT during summer and CFA in Dec/next June. How can I break into investment banking at this stage (2 months away from full-time starting date)...

Neha Sharma said...

Working in back office you probably know more about the products and customers than front office. The only thing lacking is a suit, sales talk and attitude. school of investment banking

Madhoo Tapare said...

Did u ho they internal switch of job?

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