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How do I best leverage my military experience into an investment banking analyst role without having a financial background?

Veteran

Kyle Fiebernitz Bancroft, MI

Although I'm currently in the early stages of applying to MBA programs, my reality is that it may not be the best move financially for me to pursue that route at this time.

1 August 2020 5 replies Military to Civilian Transition

Answers

Advisor

Megan Heaning New York, NY

Hi Kyle! Thanks for your question. First, I see you're in an ACP Mentorship, so that's a good step!

Many finance organizations are looking for the skills veterans have attained through their military experience, whether or not it is finance related. A number even have training programs that could be useful.

ACP recently had virtual events with Wells Fargo and Morgan Stanley that could be helpful to watch and learn more: https://www.acp-usa.org/news/acp-events.

In addition, the following articles and resources might have some good advice:

https://www.themuse.com/advice/want-to-break-into-the-finance-industry-heres-how

https://www.investopedia.com/articles/professionals/062413/no-finance-degree-no-problem-top-10-ways-jumpstart-career-finance.asp

https://veteransonwallstreet.com/

Good luck - I hope you find this useful!

Best,
Megan

3 August 2020 Helpful answer

Advisor

David Reagan Cardiff By The Sea, CA

Hello Kevin and thank you for serving.
Among the attributes employers like in veterans is their discipline, work ethic, integrity and interpersonal skills, especially financial services firms.
Am MBA can be helpful, but expensive. Wall Street likes MBAs, but unless from a top tier school, some have questioned whether the benefit is worth the cost, in time or expense. [full disclosure - I have an MBA, but obtained when they were less expensive.]
A somewhat lower cost alternative you may consider is the Chartered Financial Analyst [CFA] designation from the CFA Institute. The CFA is one of the highest distinctions in the investment management profession. See: https://www.cfainstitute.org/en/programs/cfa

In my own career I have worked with several analysts and portfolio managers who did not have MBAs or even degrees in finance. They had redirected their careers, as you are, by studying for the CFA. As Megan mentioned, many financial institutions will support continuing education for professional employees.
All the best.

3 August 2020 Helpful answer

Advisor

Frank Barratt Oak Park, IL

Hey Kyle,

You mention in your profile that you're interested in trading. Are you only considering IB? There is a fairly large world out there outside of debt / equity markets. If monitoring the markets, portfolio construction, client interaction is something you're interested in it might be worthwhile expanding your scope and taking a look at the equity research side of things or perhaps even pursuing a career in wealth management. Lots of options there and many do not require an MBA to break into.

Advisor

Jeff Martin Ashburn, VA

I’d suggest that you network at the target company or industry. Use LinkedIn to find people already working there and reach out to them. Ask them the process they used to get hired and ask them to help you navigate the hiring process and if they are willing, ask them to submit you as a referral. These activities require much more time on your part but in my opinion would greatly increase your chances for success. Good luck!

Advisor

Jerome Wong Scarsdale, NY

Hi Kyle,

Thank you for your service. I am the program director at Fordham University for their Masters in Global Finance program but have an MBA, worked at several Wall St. banks and did a lot of recruiting for the banks I had worked at. The first suggestion is to reach out to human resources at as many large and medium-sized banks as possible and ask about their Employee Affinity Programs for veterans to get an idea of which schools they recruit from and how many veterans they have hired recently. Then ask for references for veterans they have hired as they have went through the process you are considering so you can better access whether an MBA is worth it. Happy to discuss in more detail if you are interested.

Rgds,
Jerry

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