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What options do I have?

#1 What options do I have?
23/02/2009 12:37


Dear all,

I am a recent grad out of a top-tier university in London, with a 2.1 with honours in International Relations (Highly analytical, especially at my alma mater). I have three internships under my belt, two at large banks (One in Pakistan, one in London after my second year, the bank was sold so an offer was out of the question) and one at a big four consulting firm (Again in Pakistan, but it was with the Basel-II implementation team with a number of large banks, paradoxically fun, really), and I have significant extra-curriculars throughout school and University (Sports and Societies etc). My original plan was to work for two to three years and complete an MBA, preferably at a good college in the U.S, but thanks to my impeccable timing in graduating, I've had to change that somewhat (no Ferrari at thirty for me I guess). I have passed assessment centres and interviews at a number of firms, some with very high marks (I was told I scored second highest out of all the candidates in my last one) but haven't been able to secure an offer because of 'the current economic climate' and because most firms have decided to cut graduate recruitment. It could also be because I'm currently on a Post-Study work visa and would require a work permit/certificate of sponsorship to work here (It makes sense from the firms respective points of view too, why hire someone who would cost them more when they could have someone who doesn't need one and has already been trained etc?). I have been following this board for a while and have gotten a bunch of useful tips out of it (thanks for that btw), and am wondering whether anyone will be able to help me out with a few things now:

Firstly, should I still be pursuing a path in MC? I know its what I want to do, I know I could be very good at it, and I know its something that still has a large scope to grow, if not here then in the middle east and the subcontinent especially. I thought getting some experience during an economic downturn, especially in as developed a market as London would help me a lot later on in life.

Secondly, I know now many firms are cutting recruiting, and have thought about getting a wider skill-set. Besides the CIMA and the CFA (which I am seriously considering taking privately right now) are there any other base courses (financial modelling, additional languages etc) that I could take right now that would help me later on?

Thirdly, is it worth looking at other regions right now, especially as I'm a relatively fresh graduate? I have spoken to a number of professionals in the Middle East, Hong Kong and Singapore, and most have said they are good places to work in, but only after I have an MBA and have some experience. Starting now could see me relegated to doing grunt work and not learning much at all, especially when compared to London and maybe New York.

Thanks in advance for any help, I'd really appreciate some guidance right now.

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#2 RE: What options do I have?
23/02/2009 15:28

Camelface to Grad (#1)

Btw - you are wrong if you think that as a grad you wouldn't be doing grunt work in London. You would be on any major grad scheme.

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#3 RE: What options do I have?
23/02/2009 15:52

Anon to Grad (#1)

Rather than going straight into MC, have you considered using your international relations degree (and your knowledge of Pakistan) to look at options in political risk consulting and similar fields - e.g. in companies like Eurasia Group, Global Insight, Control Risks etc?

Could be a useful thing to do for two or three years before an MBA, and the experience would be at least partly relevant to a subsequent switch to MC.

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#4 RE: What options do I have?
24/02/2009 18:34

Grad to Anon (#3)

I have looked at political risk consultancies, they aren't really hiring anyone who hasn't done a post-grad focused on a specific region.

And Camelface, I know I'll be doing grunt work starting off at any region, but grunt work in London has better learning opportunities and more recognition than grnut work in the Middle East. Or am I wrong in thinking that?

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#5 RE: What options do I have?
24/02/2009 18:52

Camelface to Grad (#4)

Learning opportunities - I really can't see them being much different. In, fact ME or growing practices might offer more than the established mature ones in London i.e. more responsibility.

Recognition is possibly better in London, yes.

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#6 RE: What options do I have?
24/02/2009 22:46

Taxman to Camelface (#5)

1. You will need a Masters Degree or Higher to work in the UK AFTER the 1st of April, so get moving NOW!

2. There is a lot of work out there, the companies just wont suffer fools and are running scared of the respective governments, therefore if there is a lot of public sector work in the company you apply to, and your foreign you have not a snowballs chance in Hell. (Note that India and other Eastern Countries are letting their western CEO's go as well, its a two way street)

3. Aim for a small specialised company, one that may not have much public sector, or the need for intense security clearance, your pay will be smaller but you will beat the 1st April deadline.

4. Dont bother with an MBA right now, nobody can afford them and the value of an MBA in a recession (learning how to manage just like the brains that got us here) is in question.

5. USA, ah land of the free, well no not really. The USA will in all probability engage in further protectionism and jobs for USA, many companies are 'pruning' their workforce right now as we await another Obamaism (You do know Obama has never ran a business before, let alone a country)

6. Australia is quite boyant, is not restricting immigration and you will meet the points quota, they require people like you as they do a lot of business with Indo/China and you wont be doing grunt work.


UK, get in before 1st April, and MBA in a recession is debatable in terms of worth, USA dont bother, Australia lots of opportunities (A bit remote)

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#7 RE: What options do I have?
24/02/2009 22:52

Taxman Query to Taxman (#6)

Taxman could you explain Point 1? Do you mean to say after April 1 an applicant must have a masters in order to get a work permit?

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#8 RE: What options do I have?
25/02/2009 12:06

taxman to Taxman Query (#7)

The UK Government has announced tougher criteria for Tier 1 (General) applicants which will take effect on April 1, 2009. The qualification and salary required to be eligible for Tier 1 (General) will be raised to a Master's degree and minimum annual salary of £20, 000.

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#9 RE: What options do I have?
25/02/2009 14:58

Grad to taxman (#8)

Taxman, thanks a lot for the help, I've already been looking at smaller firms and after meeting with my Careers Adviser at University today am now beginning to send in speculative applications to firms not in the regular recruitment cycle. As for the Tier-1 issue, I'm already on a Tier-1 Post-Study Work visa with leave to remain until the end of 2010.

I am also considering giving the CFA Level-1 exam in June, do you think its a smart move, given the current circumstances?

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#10 RE: What options do I have?
01/03/2009 17:07

ACN-er to Grad (#9)

CFA? What possible help could that be?

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#11 RE: What options do I have?
06/03/2009 10:28

Grad2 to ACN-er (#10)


I m in smlr position to Grad, ne help wuld b apprciated, thanks.

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#12 RE: What options do I have?
06/03/2009 11:21

anon to Grad2 (#11)

how about choosing which continent or planet you want to work from first?

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#13 RE: What options do I have?
10/03/2009 10:30

TheMan to anon (#12)

You should go work for ACN, I've heard they're looking for people with no definable background whatsoever.

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#14 RE: What options do I have?
15/04/2009 17:20

Anon1 to Grad (#1)

Some firms are still hiring, although these are few and hard to find. In my opinion, given your background and your work experience, maybe you should look at something like inestment consulting instead of strat? This might be a very good option, especially since you want to give the CFA.

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#15 RE: What options do I have?
16/04/2009 12:56

Usman to Anon1 (#14)

CFA will not help if you want to get into MC.

Very few opportunities exist in MC right now for grads and hence you should not limit yourself to MC. You should only do CFA if you are interested in moving into asset management/private equity/hedge fund/equities research/investment consulting. If your aim is strategy consulting then CFA will probably not fact many MC will wonder why you want to do CFA (so won't be considered good in interviews)

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#16 RE: What options do I have?
16/04/2009 13:21

Younus to Usman (#15)

I can imagine there must be a lot of consulting opportunities in pakistan right now. It may seem dangerous out there, but pakistani people are generally nice and will look out for expats. That place can do with some logical thinking and general problem solving abilities.

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