Author Topic: Finance Career advice. What jobs did you love?  (Read 1643 times)

teltic

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Finance Career advice. What jobs did you love?
« on: November 20, 2018, 09:53:58 AM »
Hello everyone!

Mini Resume:
BS: Accounting (2014)
MS: Finance (2017)

First Big Boy Job: 2 years at a financial advising company doing the operations work (creating quarterly reports, updating asset values, etc)
Current Job: 2.5 years at a national defense company doing corporate finance.

The last 2.5 years I've been rotating every 6 months into a new department (small projects, billings, pricing, forecasting, and now overheads).  It has been a good experience overall!

But I am bored of my work.  I don't have any passion for national defense, and the numbers I create aren't interesting enough to mean anything to me.  We are forecasted to spend $500k next month?  Woop-de-doo...

The workload here is light too.  The last 1.5 years, I have been averaging 15-20 hours of real work, with the rest of my time surfing this forum and facebook.


1. Do I try corporate finance at another company?  Maybe one that I have passion for (Fidelity, Tesla, Adobe... Some company that is at least cool?)?

I do have passion for asset management.
2A. Do I try an asset management job at Goldman Sachs? I'm worried about the 60 hour work weeks... But honestly if I loved the work I'd be okay with it
2B.  Do I try to be a financial advisor?  I hate the idea of being a salesman... But I do have passion for personal finance.


I do enjoy building spreadsheets... Automating it.  Building macros...
3 .Is there some job that is more technical I could do that combines finance + light programming?  Data analyst? VBA expert?  Some sort of person who walks around and automates everyones reports?


Anyway, I'm just a little lost where to go next in my career. I do plan on making a job change June 2019 (tuition reimbursement handcuffs end then, and 401k is 100% vested then too!).

Any advice greatly appreicated!

Dr.Jeckyl

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Re: Finance Career advice. What jobs did you love?
« Reply #1 on: November 20, 2018, 11:09:24 AM »
No solid advice here. Just make sure you do something different. Maybe you don't like finance enough, maybe you do. But find what you like before you get locked in. I've been at the same company for 11 years in two entirely different roles. But now I feel like I'm stuck. I don't have enough experience to go do something else and make the same amount or more. I wish I would've dug in and made a move after 5 or 6 years when I was fully vested. Got more experience in something else.

teltic

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Re: Finance Career advice. What jobs did you love?
« Reply #2 on: November 20, 2018, 12:00:15 PM »
When I do have work, I enjoy it.  It would be cool to be known as the VBA nerd who automates everything.  Not sure what that job title is or how to find that job...

Hmmm... I like the idea of doing something different.  I was thinking maybe its just the company, but I may as well try a different finance role at a different company. 

I currently make $66k, and feel like I could land a $80k job come summer (just by hearing other coworkers job offers and such).  that is getting the same job at the competitors office though...

marty998

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Re: Finance Career advice. What jobs did you love?
« Reply #3 on: November 20, 2018, 01:25:11 PM »
Lol at 60 hour work weeks at GS. Try 80-90 and beyond for your low-level garden variety investment banking analysts - especially when deals are in train.

There's quite a bit in between Defence and GS on the scale - you will only pick the right one for you by having a crack at all the variety. It's impossible to know if you don't try.

I had 6 different accounting type jobs spanning tax, financial planning, insurance and hedge funds before finding my niche as a corporate accountant in an asset management firm.

 If it were only about the money I wouldn't still be here to be honest. But it does pay to shop around early in your career.

Jon Bon

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Re: Finance Career advice. What jobs did you love?
« Reply #4 on: November 20, 2018, 01:29:41 PM »
Holy shit younger me how are things?!

BS: 2006 accounting/finance
MS: 2011 Finance

Your experience looks like mine just 10 years later. I too started in the same general field same six month rotations and everything! I did not really love it 2.5 years in, but I had to stick it out due to the financial crisis and went back and got my MBA.

First thing I would say is you are young, if not in age then at least in experience. You are doing six month rotations, you already hardly know much due to your age, your only sticking around for six months so its not like they are going to let you do anything interesting. So odds are they are 'finding you work' which means the super boring crap that you can't mess up too baldy?

You have been in 2.5  years. How are your prospects about moving around in the company? I have found in most big companies you can just start to work on pet projects that interest you on the side of your main tasks. Get a few of those projects off the ground, show them to management, put on your review etc. Then you will probably get assigned some more work like the type that interested you in the first place. Just go out and find some work that interests you and somehow tie it to your current role convincing your manager that it will make him look good.  This is a great way to learn holistically about big corporations.

If this all fails just find a new gig like you said 3 years is a legit stay. But in closing, it will get better. You will start to have more control over your work and influence at your company.  Also if/when you do find a new company, me thinks your going to WORK 50 hours a week, just a little heads up. Corporate finance is no joke.

Yeah just saw the updates, Working at GS no freaking way for me. Also financial adviser is just bugging all your friends to invest with you and cold calling rich guys. Those two careers are terrible.

teltic

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Re: Finance Career advice. What jobs did you love?
« Reply #5 on: November 20, 2018, 02:11:22 PM »
Future me!  Teach me!!!

FYI: Age: 27

What do you think about your MBA after your MS in Finance?  Was it worth it to you getting that MBA? I think I'm a tad early to go back to school... But it could be a possibility in the future (if work pays for it and I have the time to do so).

I casually thought about getting a CPA, just to have the knowledge and fancy letters.


I totally agree with the "finding me work" thing.  Since I'm only there for 6 months, it's hard to teach me anything complex or takes real time to learn.  It seems like I mostly have time to do the basics (invoice simple contracts, calculate simple monthly repetitive forecasting shit... etc), give out some ideas on how to makes things easier, then move to the next department.


I've just moved into the overheads department, and it seems like I'll be here for the next year minimum (finally not a 6 month rotation). 

I'll start thinking up of some side projects to impress the boss with.  with the holidays coming up, I can tell training me is low priority (boss is gone for the next 2 weeks, I currently have 3 hours of work a week, other analysts don't seem willing to hand off work to me). 

Actual work 50 hours a week?  Wahh Wahh?!?  I guess I should soak it in while I have nothing to do!

Only reason why I toss in GS is I always hear how busy they are.  But it sounds like other corporate finance jobs can be busy too!  Maybe I'll keep looking for another corporate finance job come June.  For now I'll find some side projects to impress upper management with.


Jon Bon

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Re: Finance Career advice. What jobs did you love?
« Reply #6 on: November 20, 2018, 02:47:30 PM »
MBA?

Depends who pays for it.....

You through 70k worth of loans? Highly doubtful.
Someone else? Jackpot!

So I was able to get mine paid for 75% I was in the federal government at the time, and frankly they would pay for a ton of my school. I also managed to game the system a fair amount too. For reason my program was like $1000 a credit hour up to 10 hours, but if you took 15, it was the same price as 10. As a result I took 20 hours for 2 quarters, it was a shit life for those 10 weeks, but it was only 10 weeks. I think the closed all my various loopholes I exploited, but ask around.

Overall the MBA was pretty cool, you build a fantastic network. These are a bunch of guys and gals who are going places, they are going to be EVPs by the time they are 40 so they are good people to know.

The experience was good, but yeah it helps to have work experience to get a lot of out all the case studies that you do (which was probably like 80% of it)

Ok so I was right on about the type of work your doing. Id try to get permantely placed somewhere you can tolerate and at least try to settle in a bit to see how it goes. Then feel free to jump ship.

I was mainly in financial reporting which I enjoyed. Mainly because I know where all the bodies are buried. I knew how the quarter was looking before everyone else. I knew if I needed to look for jobs because we were out of cash..... Financial reporting is also good because it has peaks and valleys of work. You can work your ass off month end but also screw around a little bit mid month. So it ebbs and flows which makes it a bit nicer. Work on pet projects during the slow times, and the required reporting during month end type deal.

All those 'look good on tv' jobs generally suck, so I would not recommend doing anything finance related on the island of Manhattan! Lots of stuff out there, just depends on what you want. Look around, try lots of different stuff. Take risks, meet directors/VPs in other areas so you can weasel your way in if you like the work they are doing!




DeepEllumStache

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Re: Finance Career advice. What jobs did you love?
« Reply #7 on: November 21, 2018, 07:03:34 PM »
Another MBA in corporate finance who has moved around frequently. No accounting background but my favorite jobs were the ones that allowed me to really play deep in Excel and make macros.

You are doing six month rotations, you already hardly know much due to your age, your only sticking around for six months so its not like they are going to let you do anything interesting. So odds are they are 'finding you work' which means the super boring crap that you can't mess up too baldy?

You have been in 2.5  years. How are your prospects about moving around in the company? I have found in most big companies you can just start to work on pet projects that interest you on the side of your main tasks. Get a few of those projects off the ground, show them to management, put on your review etc. Then you will probably get assigned some more work like the type that interested you in the first place. Just go out and find some work that interests you and somehow tie it to your current role convincing your manager that it will make him look good.  This is a great way to learn holistically about big corporations.

Completely agree with this. 6 months means that they're handing you the peewee stuff. It's possible that you might be bored with the company overall but it might also be that you're feeling the effects of being handed the baby projects that don't really matter. Large companies are great if you want to try out different things and move around, but 6 months is almost ridiculously fast. At my company staying 2-3 years in a role is standard. After about a year you become a ninja and people trust you with the fun stuff. Then after a certain point of building a reputation in a role, the next opportunity finds you. And those roles start fun because you have the power to choose the best boss at that point.

Project managing merger integrations was my favorite role (the boss was a macro aficionado) and I also enjoyed capital planning and strategy. Financial reporting was a struggle because the business unit I supported was 90% politics, 10% actual modeling. YMMV

teltic

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Re: Finance Career advice. What jobs did you love?
« Reply #8 on: November 21, 2018, 10:03:25 PM »
Another MBA in corporate finance who has moved around frequently. No accounting background but my favorite jobs were the ones that allowed me to really play deep in Excel and make macros.

You are doing six month rotations, you already hardly know much due to your age, your only sticking around for six months so its not like they are going to let you do anything interesting. So odds are they are 'finding you work' which means the super boring crap that you can't mess up too baldy?

You have been in 2.5  years. How are your prospects about moving around in the company? I have found in most big companies you can just start to work on pet projects that interest you on the side of your main tasks. Get a few of those projects off the ground, show them to management, put on your review etc. Then you will probably get assigned some more work like the type that interested you in the first place. Just go out and find some work that interests you and somehow tie it to your current role convincing your manager that it will make him look good.  This is a great way to learn holistically about big corporations.

Completely agree with this. 6 months means that they're handing you the peewee stuff. It's possible that you might be bored with the company overall but it might also be that you're feeling the effects of being handed the baby projects that don't really matter. Large companies are great if you want to try out different things and move around, but 6 months is almost ridiculously fast. At my company staying 2-3 years in a role is standard. After about a year you become a ninja and people trust you with the fun stuff. Then after a certain point of building a reputation in a role, the next opportunity finds you. And those roles start fun because you have the power to choose the best boss at that point.

Project managing merger integrations was my favorite role (the boss was a macro aficionado) and I also enjoyed capital planning and strategy. Financial reporting was a struggle because the business unit I supported was 90% politics, 10% actual modeling. YMMV

How did you get into managing merger integrations and capital planning and strategy?

Also.  Since I plan to live a mustachian lifestyle, I should hit FI in the next 6 years (although I want more of a fat FI so when I do get married and have kids).So even then... if I plan to retire in 10 years... Is it worth attempting to get management positions?  Or just grind it out in analyst roles until then?

DeepEllumStache

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Re: Finance Career advice. What jobs did you love?
« Reply #9 on: November 22, 2018, 09:14:35 AM »
Networking by reaching out to friends, coworkers, and old bosses to let them know you're looking. To me, the focus is less on how cool an organization is and more on finding the next boss. You can be in the most amazing org and your life will suck if your boss isn't a good manager. But the right boss could make scooping elephant dung fun.

I got into capital because a friend had worked in the org and introduced me to potential bosses there. After 2 years in capital, the program management boss found me because he needed help in an esoteric system and was told to reach out to me. After an hour of walking him through what he needed, he recruited me to his team. That role started as program managing efficiency projects, but after a year we had automated the chaos via macros. Smart grandbosses notice when you automate yourself out of a job and reward you with more interesting work. Eventually we were assigned merger integrations because the process was similar to our prior ones. The Strategy role found me after I mentioned to a friend from my capital days that it was getting to be time to move on.

Managing depends on your personality and desires. I spent most of my career trying to get promoted (which would then include managing analysts) and did one stint managing line workers but it is probably a good thing that it never happened. The promotion would have been nice for the potential for more interesting work and the extra money but it comes with a lot of baggage of being the type of boss you'd want to work for - ensuring your direct reports are motivated and fulfilled, managing those above you so that the crap doesn't roll downhill onto your people, having a pipeline of potential future direct reports since people do move around, making sure you have a team with necessary diverse skills (for example if everyone is good at fast and pretty and no one is good at checking details, you're going to go down in flames... but that's a different story) - in addition to being good at your job.

I'm close enough to reaching FI that a promotion would only be worth it if the role and boss were amazing. Otherwise, it's not worth the stress.

FatFI2025

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Re: Finance Career advice. What jobs did you love?
« Reply #10 on: November 22, 2018, 09:39:21 AM »
I went back for an MS in Finance in '10-'13 with the plan to transitio into IB. When my IB friends found this out they ALL discouraged me except for one guy who had moved out of IB to become a VP at a commercial bank. So instead I continued consulting, where you do a little bit of everything, and then moved to a defense contractor role two years ago. At my current role I analyzed cost proposals for a $2.5B project and now work the execution of that project. It's a mix of science, finance, and politics (both office pettiness and actual congress stuff) which I really like, but it's not for everyone.

If you have the energy to work really hard for a couple years, I would encourage you to consult for either the Big 3 consulting firms or Big 4 accounting firms. They will demand a lot from you as a junior analyst, but you will learn an incredible amount and it is killer for a resume. Also doesn't hurt to rebaseline your salary at $150k-$250k. If you do manage to get into the Big 3, they will pay for your MBA -- there's typically a one or two year commitment but right now competitors will buy that out if you want to move.
« Last Edit: November 22, 2018, 09:42:28 AM by RyaninLA »

teltic

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Re: Finance Career advice. What jobs did you love?
« Reply #11 on: December 08, 2018, 09:48:13 AM »
Quick update:  My company posted 2 FP&A positions, that I've been wanting to do for a long time.  The problem is, I just started in a new department (overheads) 2 months ago...  Am I burning a bridge if I apply?  Maybe it makes sense for me to stick around my current department for a year before switching elsewhere...? 


Next update:  Talking to my old boss (more of a friend than a boss), he told me if I wanted a big raise, I'll need to get an offer from another company, in which my current company will match/counter.  He's confident they'd match (our competitor has been kicking our ass, stealing employees with higher offers... We have a new CFO and he's trying to stop it).  Has anyone done this?  I understand I'll need to be ready to walk away if my current company doesn't counter....  I imagine my salary will go from $66 to $80-$85k...

Any advice greatly appreciated!

teltic

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Re: Finance Career advice. What jobs did you love?
« Reply #12 on: January 02, 2019, 03:14:46 AM »
If you have the energy to work really hard for a couple years, I would encourage you to consult for either the Big 3 consulting firms or Big 4 accounting firms.

How hard is it to get into consulting?  What do I do now to prep myself for applying/interviewing? I've read a bit about consulting.... and it seems appealing to me!


I've also been looking into a business analyst...  Seems more of a IT career, but I love the idea of identifying inefficiencies in the company and making solutions.  I love making macros to make my reports easier to do... It seems BA's do similar things to make things more efficient.

Any business analysts out there?

Jon Bon

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Re: Finance Career advice. What jobs did you love?
« Reply #13 on: January 02, 2019, 07:21:41 AM »
Quick update:  My company posted 2 FP&A positions, that I've been wanting to do for a long time.  The problem is, I just started in a new department (overheads) 2 months ago...  Am I burning a bridge if I apply?  Maybe it makes sense for me to stick around my current department for a year before switching elsewhere...? 


Next update:  Talking to my old boss (more of a friend than a boss), he told me if I wanted a big raise, I'll need to get an offer from another company, in which my current company will match/counter.  He's confident they'd match (our competitor has been kicking our ass, stealing employees with higher offers... We have a new CFO and he's trying to stop it).  Has anyone done this?  I understand I'll need to be ready to walk away if my current company doesn't counter....  I imagine my salary will go from $66 to $80-$85k...

Any advice greatly appreciated!

I generally like FP&A, its where I spent a few good years. I find it generally interesting and you get to learn a lot about the business. Specifically you know where all the bodies are buried and if you need to start looking for a job before anyone else does!

Job market is super strong right now, so its worth a shot. A half measure might be to mention to your boss in your one on one that you feel a bit underpaid, your friend at company X is making a bunch more, you are thinking about looking etc. Not sure how your company handles salary bumps and promotions. But often managers have discretion to give you a small bump or bonus on the spot.

I cant speak to consulting much, I have dealt with them on the company side. You are on the road all the time and not exactly welcomed at the business you consult at.

January is a great time to look for a job. Most folks are not looking, and most companies get their new headcount approved so they are able to hire for the new year.



 

MrBurger

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Re: Finance Career advice. What jobs did you love?
« Reply #14 on: January 05, 2019, 10:47:21 AM »
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« Last Edit: May 01, 2019, 09:21:18 AM by MrBurger »

Joel

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Re: Finance Career advice. What jobs did you love?
« Reply #15 on: January 05, 2019, 12:08:44 PM »
Have you considered working for a smaller company / start-up environment? Iíve thoroughly enjoyed all the challenges that present themself when you are the finance and accounting function for a small company. I come from the CPA background so after public accounting, my focus has been on the accounting side but Iíve naturally moved more into the FP&A side and thatís what I enjoy the most. But I think Iíll forever be sticking with small growing companies instead of large established places. Tried that immediately after public accounting and hated it. Wasnít enough challenging work to do, way too many clock watchers, and nobody wanted to listen to any ideas that could make things easier.

If you want to geek out with excel. I highly recommend teaching yourself Power BI / Power Pivot. Endless opportunities to automate processes and garner valuable data insights.