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Investment Banking - Career Question

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 
I have a question for any of you that might know the investment banking field well, or work in it yourselves:

I am a recent college graduate, I graduated cum laude went to a moderately well-known school, majored in International Business and Marketing and ended up getting a great job in Silicon Valley. It is with a large tech. company but I am more or less working in the mobile industry, particularly with music publishing. Anyways, my question is that I have always been interested in Investment Banking, particularly because my father was a banker and it allowed him to work around the world, etc. I was planning on working for 5-6 years, going for my MBA and then possibly changing my career path. I like the music/tech biz so I want to give it a chance for a few years but I am wondering if I do so, if I will be screwing myself in getting the opportunity to transfer into banking in the future.

Do you think that after receiving my MBA from a good school that my work experience might be valuable or would I basically start at the very, very bottom at an IB as if I hadn't even been working for the past 7 years at all?Would this experience coupled with a graduate degree allow me into a higher rung of an organization (MBA-worthy level) or would I have to rebuild my career all over again in switching fields. I know the question is obscure but I figured someone may be able to offer some insight......Cheers!

post #2 of 6
If you know you want to switch to investment banking, you should not wait 6-7 years. With an MBA, you'll start as a first year associate. Without an MBA, at best you'll come in as a 2nd year analyst. It won't be pleasant being a 30+ year old first year associate or analyst.
post #3 of 6
Staying in your industry for the next 6 years, getting an MBA and then going the IB route may not be the best idea.

While I'm sure you'd have invaluable knowledge about the industry trends and possibly the interworkings of some tech firms you'd only have a rudimentary understanding of the capital markets and modeling. Coming into a firm at the post-MBA associate level requries candidates to coordinate and manage information from the Directors and Managing Directors to your analyst pool that is seemless and effcient. Not being able to throw together a LBO model, let alone understand theorhetorically the mechanics of such a task would make your life miserable and perhaps jeopordize your career aspirations in relation to your peers.

If you really want to get into the industry I'd suggest trying to interview with firms that have a presence within Tech and try to come on as a second year analyst.
post #4 of 6
Not sure how old you are (22-23??) but if you have made up your mind you should look to go to B-school at around age 26-27 get out by 28-29. At that age you'll be starting as an Associate. It will take you about 2-4 years to get to VP level. IMO, this is where you start to feel comfortable/confident, i.e. you have enough experience with how things work, you know what needs to get done, you can think/plan ahead, your opinions are well regarded, and be pretty much a self operator where you are also proposing ideas and sharing towards strategy. So as darkoak mentioned I would not advocate starting as Associate at 30/31 and then getting to VP level at 32-36.

Most good schools will require you to have 3-5 years work experience in any case. Also take note that the application process will take you 9mths to 1year - GMATs (and getting the 700+ to be ahead of the pack for entry to "good" schools), picking schools to apply to, references, essays, etc.

Another point is to consider whether you want to go on the equity/FI side as some firms do make that distinction. Buy/sell side? Work style and hours are also somewhat different depending on what you pick.
post #5 of 6
Thread Starter 
I see, thanks alot for the advice gents. I guess I am still at the stage where I am trying to figure out if my career path is the 'right' choice, but alas, I think most of us go through this. I suppose I will give it a couple years at least and then maybe consider switching before business school I suppose.
post #6 of 6
One thing to think about as well is that a lot of IB firms like to employ "young" associates, and the work at the associate level for the first several years will be quite hard. A lot of IB firms like to recruit from top tier undergrad programs and groom the employees themselves although a more well-rounded candidate will be competitive as well. Look at Sloan and Wharton's programs or HBS for I-banking, a lot of firms don't recruit outside of the top 5.
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