The Financial Times ran a Q&A with some training experts this week.
The experts included Della Bradshaw, its Business Education Editor, Scott Rostan, a former M&A banker at Merrill Lynch who decided to, "draw more directly on his teaching gifts" and left to set up a training company, and Pablo Triana Portela, an academic specialising in derivatives, risk management and international finance at ESADE, who worked in banking in a previous life.
Della, Scott and Pablo offered advice to students/financial services professionals who asked questions. Sometimes wordy, often diplomatic, occasionally excitable, we have distilled their wisdom into the following points for you to take away and put into practice.
1. It's probably helpful to see a CFA or an FRM qualification as supplementary to an MSc or an MBA. Do an MSc or MBA first and then work out which professional qualification is right for you and do that next.
2. Don't bother doing an MBA if you have no experience and want to work in trading. If you have no experience and you want to work in trading, you need to apply for a job as an analyst and work your way up.
3. If you are old (41) and attempting a career switch into finance by studying BSc level university course and CFA, you will probably not get a job in an investment bank. You are most likely to get a job in asset management or consultancy.
4. If you're in India and are thinking of doing an MBA overseas as a stepping stone to the City or Wall Street, think very carefully before you make such an expensive move. Before you join an MBA as a lot of questions about how many people that school places as interns during the MBA course. Internships are often the route into a full time job.
5. If you are a lawyer and you suddenly decide that you want to work in banking, you must address the gaps in your skills. You will probably know nothing about: (1) financial statement analysis, (2) corporate valuation and (3) financial modelling. You could learn this by doing an MBA or MSc. On the other hand, Scott may have some courses for you.