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Transition from boutique front office to bulge bracket back office

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Transition from boutique front office to bulge bracket back office  [#permalink]

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New post 24 Jun 2017, 11:46
Hi, I am from India. I am currently an IB Analyst at a "less" known mid-market investment bank. My role is front office (client facing). I have an opportunity to work for a bulge bracket investment bank (think JPM/GS/MS) as an IB Analyst. The role involves supporting the front office foreign team with financial models and IMs.

I would like your opinion on whether a transition from a front office boutique to a back office bulge bracket would reflect poorly on my future MBA application.

I do have valid reasons for the transition though,

a. Low current deal flows with no closure in my current experience and spending most of my time providing valuation services at the boutique;
b. Much higher pay than the current role. Current CTC in line with those earned by fresher IITs. New role will have CTC in line with those earned by fresher tier 1 Indian MBAs;
c. Opportunity to work at a bulge bracket with 1 year of work exp for a role which requires at least 2-3 yrs of work exp, stellar academics and a top undergrad (or b-school MBA);
d. Brand name on the resume with front office training (India office) and/or possible full-time front office (abroad) opportunity at the bulge bracket.

FYI, my Engineering GPA at a US Big ten university is 2.9/4, cleared all levels of CFA and FRM exams and a 730 GMAT. My post MBA goal is to work in a corporate finance role. I am aware of how competitive the post MBA IB opportunity is, so don't want to narrow down my end goal. My main intention is not the salary rather an opportunity to work at a bulge bracket which was a distant dream given my low GPA. I plan to enter b-school 4-5 years from now and would like to leverage onto my possible experience in bulge bracket to get into well known front office role in IB or in VC, pre-MBA. My target MBA programs are US Top 11-25 (programs with avg. GMAT score up to 705), LBS, INSEAD and ISB.

I would like to know if such a possible transition help my future MBA application or hurt it. Also would like to know if b-schools consider the pre-MBA salary progression as a factor in the decision process and will it weight more than the responsibility played within a firm, i.e. Does lower salary, higher responsibility at a boutique trump over higher salary, lower responsibility at a bulge bracket.

Your input here will greatly help me. Thanks.
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Re: Transition from boutique front office to bulge bracket back office  [#permalink]

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New post 30 Jun 2017, 04:53
IBfellow wrote:
Hi, I am from India. I am currently an IB Analyst at a "less" known mid-market investment bank. My role is front office (client facing). I have an opportunity to work for a bulge bracket investment bank (think JPM/GS/MS) as an IB Analyst. The role involves supporting the front office foreign team with financial models and IMs.

I would like your opinion on whether a transition from a front office boutique to a back office bulge bracket would reflect poorly on my future MBA application.

I do have valid reasons for the transition though,

a. Low current deal flows with no closure in my current experience and spending most of my time providing valuation services at the boutique;
b. Much higher pay than the current role. Current CTC in line with those earned by fresher IITs. New role will have CTC in line with those earned by fresher tier 1 Indian MBAs;
c. Opportunity to work at a bulge bracket with 1 year of work exp for a role which requires at least 2-3 yrs of work exp, stellar academics and a top undergrad (or b-school MBA);
d. Brand name on the resume with front office training (India office) and/or possible full-time front office (abroad) opportunity at the bulge bracket.

FYI, my Engineering GPA at a US Big ten university is 2.9/4, cleared all levels of CFA and FRM exams and a 730 GMAT. My post MBA goal is to work in a corporate finance role. I am aware of how competitive the post MBA IB opportunity is, so don't want to narrow down my end goal. My main intention is not the salary rather an opportunity to work at a bulge bracket which was a distant dream given my low GPA. I plan to enter b-school 4-5 years from now and would like to leverage onto my possible experience in bulge bracket to get into well known front office role in IB or in VC, pre-MBA. My target MBA programs are US Top 11-25 (programs with avg. GMAT score up to 705), LBS, INSEAD and ISB.

I would like to know if such a possible transition help my future MBA application or hurt it. Also would like to know if b-schools consider the pre-MBA salary progression as a factor in the decision process and will it weight more than the responsibility played within a firm, i.e. Does lower salary, higher responsibility at a boutique trump over higher salary, lower responsibility at a bulge bracket.

Your input here will greatly help me. Thanks.


Well, maybe you are overthinking.
I think the first thing is that you don't want to be too unambitious. If you proposed for me to move from front office of your current firm to front office of BB, I would say "why not"? You have the experience.

It's true you lack the grades, and maybe some pedigree. But it seems better to me to aim a bit higher (as long as it's logical).

Regarding your school proposals: I think your range for the US is fair. LBS is probably totally out range due to the GPA. INSEAD a maybe, and IMD doesn't really make sense (very small class, mostly focused on industry and not banking).

Hope this gets you started!
If you have anything else, let me know!
Best,
JF
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New post 30 Jun 2017, 09:24
Point taken but I would like to highlight few points here about the Indian markets.

Bulge brackets in India mostly focus on $1 bln+ deals (~20 deals in 2016 for all bulge brackets combined), so, the front office teams are really small and super selective. Below this deal value threshold, mostly boutique players are active. Issue with boutiques are the no. of deals are skewed only to a handful while the rest are starved out of deals and doesn't pay as much as I am currently paid (currently paid on the upper band of most boutiques). My attempt to laterally move to another front office role in active boutiques proved unsuccessful given the supply of talented people here. Possibly with a bulge bracket name on my resume, I might be able to move onto these elite boutiques at a later stage. I am open to suggestions here if you have something to add.

I will surely consider your argument here. Thanks for your feedback on the schools. I will update my list.

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New post 01 Jul 2017, 00:59
I hear you. And you are certainly right in terms of how things look in-industry.

But keep in mind one thing: That this is more about telling a plausible story. The people who you will be writing towards, i.e. your audience, are generalists. They likely don't really know anything about how Indian IB works. and regardless of the actual deal size from one to the other, the question is more: Do you have the skills.

So try and think of it in terms of story (yes, it should also make sense). You want it to be plausible, logical, ambitious.... And you don't have to get soooo deep into detail. This is about a dream of yours. The schools know that you, like most applicants will probably simply end up doing something entirely different than what you propose here in your application. What is important is that your proposal have logic and clarity.

Best,
JF
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Jon Frank
Founder, Admissionado

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***NEW Admissionado Products & Services! ***

If you like the post, give it a KUDOS!

Now, read up and get smart:

That'll get you started. Still have questions? Reach out, and let’s gab. 
Our only requirement is that you don’t prefer warm milk over cold milk. Everyone else, 100% welcome.

Email: claudia@admissionado.com
Young People: WhatsApp or WeChat (@JonFrankHBS)
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