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Switching from Big 4 Consultancy into Finance

 
#1 Switching from Big 4 Consultancy into Finance
18/01/2012 16:43

Classicist

I studied a humanities degree at Oxford and I've recently completed a two year graduate programe at a Big 4 consultancy, but I'd much prefer to be working in Finance. I really enjoy investment and I like work where I have to follow high-level sector developments and industry trends.

For this reason I think I'd ultimately like to work in Asset Management or at a hedge fund. I'd appreciate some advice on how to make the switch.

So far I'm thinking I should use this year to apply for:

1) Top MBA programs (HSW, LBS, INSEAD)

2) Sell side roles in a big-brand investment bank (what level? Are they even hiring anyone??)

3) Perhaps apply straight for a hedge fund / investment management position (this is the option I'm least certain about. Is this even possible?)

I'd also like to know if there's anything else I should do in the mean time. Some people have told me I should study for the IMC, some have said I should start the CFA, some have said I should try to transfer to Transaction Services or Corporate Finance roles within my Big 4 firm (but I worry that banks look down on these practices - maybe I'd be better off staying in consulting??).

I appreciate that most of you are used to giving advice on entering rather than leaving consulting, but I imagine there will be a few with some good insights nonetheless. Advice on any of the above would be much appreciated!

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#2 RE: Switching from Big 4 Consultancy into Finance
18/01/2012 17:37

marsday to Classicist (#1)

I doubt the MBA will help much - you need to close off on some more core finance skills before making a move over to buy side, and even then you'll have to research funds and choose carefully as some will be far more quant in strategy than others. The CFA will take years to complete, so you are really talking about applying for Level 1 - a good indication of an interest and commitment to a finance career, and you won't necessarily need to go any further than that. A Masters degree at a good university with a strong finance content will almost certainly be a pre-requisite given your humanities background, although Oxbridge will help. You wont be doing anything glamorous - certainly you wont be making investment decisions, rather you'll be doing something akin to equity research, working out trade ideas. Alot of hedges are now algo driven, so IT is really the star of the show rather than investment nouse these days.

I think I know the kind of role/environment you are looking for, and would suggest look at Private Wealth rather than hedges.

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#3 RE: Switching from Big 4 Consultancy into Finance
20/01/2012 10:49

Classicist to marsday (#2)

Thanks a lot for the input.

At the moment I think that an MBA might be my best bet just because I've heard they're ideal for career switchers and many consultants have gone in to investment banks at Associate level by taking this route. I understand it will probably be more difficult to go straight to buy side roles, so maybe I should plan to do a year or two sell-side (after an MBA) and than transition to a buy side role?

That does, however, stack up a lot of contingencies that need to go well to get where I want to be...

Thanks for the input about Private Wealth - I'll look into that too.

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#4 RE: Switching from Big 4 Consultancy into Finance
22/01/2012 02:30

jimmy_24 to Classicist (#3)

Tony, what are your thoughts, if any (and I'm sure you'll have plenty!), on this question?

J

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#5 RE: Switching from Big 4 Consultancy into Finance
22/01/2012 02:30

jimmy_24 to Classicist (#3)

Tony, what are your thoughts, if any (and I'm sure you'll have plenty!), on this question?

J

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