Getting into a B-school seems like a done deal to break into finance. Is it?
Let’s say that you have an MBA degree from a B-school. Will it ensure that you get into finance? Are you 100 percent sure that you will easily get into a finance role?
It’s common to come across sayings like this – choose one of the top B-schools and you are good to go or an MBA is all you need.
Well, nothing can be further from the truth. B-school degree on a resume does make things easier when it comes to breaking into finance but there’s much more. What if the bank you aim to work for doesn’t recruit from the B-school you graduate from?
Breaking into finance takes much more than just getting into a top B-school. A top-notch finance curriculum with a robust pedagogy makes things simpler but your graduation in the past will matter too. So without beating around the bush, let’s see things that will help you get into finance.
1. Get into non-targeted programs
Top private equity firms and investment banks hire top b-school graduates, this significantly increases your chances of starting a private equity career or investment banking, However, top schools aren’t easy to get into, especially when your grades and academics aren’t favorable.
Your chances of breaking into a finance role are still high with non-target school. After all, the ranking of a business school gives its relative value. You may not get into a top 10 business school but use it if banks don’t recruit from your school. If you opt for a fairly prestigious school, your chances are significant. A good option is to go to a non-target school and ask students about how the recruiting happens at the school.
Additionally, you can go for an unpaid internship or take up temporary jobs at a few places and use the experience to move up the ladder.
2. Part-time vs full-time MBA
So far, part-time MBA programs weren’t considered valuable, but in the past few years, it has changed. Part-time MBA programs are now equally valuable and treated with as much relevance as full-time.
If you can’t afford a full-time program, pursue a part-time program. Before you enroll, take a walk around the campus and check whether banks or other financial firms recruit from the school. If you don’t it, you will end up in $150k in debt and no recruiters.
For finance professionals who are employed full-time and looking to move up the career ladder or transition to more senior roles like private equity manager, part-time programs are convenient.
3. Go abroad for studies
The US has the world’s top business schools but let’s face it everyone can’t get into them. There are other business schools around the world in Asia and Europe.
Most positions at financial institutions go to US business school graduates as major financial institutions recruit from top colleges. If you can’t get into a business school in the US, go to business schools in Asia and Europe.
4. No networking
You could be motivated to go for an MBA because you are frustrated with the idea to sit and cold call local firms to get your foot indoor. The idea of being in a college and waiting for recruiters to come and pick you sounds nice but only if your peers aren’t as competent as you are.
If you really want to go to a b-school, pick up your phone and start making phone calls to alumni of the school to learn how recruiting work and work your way up.
5. Earn Certifications
Finance certifications are an easy way to break into finance. You may not have direct access opportunities at large financial institutions but getting a finance certification will help you take a finance job at smaller institutions from where you can make your way up.
Investment banking and private equity certifications offer an alternative way to move up in a career for finance professionals.