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Desperate former VPs trying to get back in as associates

The head of recruitment at one major bank says he’s begun receiving CVs from former VPs who’ve graduated from MBA courses and are trying to get back into banking as associates.

It’s a move that’s likely to become increasingly common as out of work bankers resort to MBAs to fill their time and improve their employment prospects. Business schools say applications from former bankers have increased substantially – at LBS, there’s increased interest from financial services professionals with 3-8 years’ experience; at Cass, financial services applications for the February MBA programme were up 30%.

However, with most banks only hiring MBAs into associate positions, VPs who take the course may find themselves over-qualified when it finishes.

“I would not hire a former VP as an associate,” says the head of recruitment. “You just know that he’d be ok for a year or so and would then start to complain that he was really a VP and wanted a pay rise.”

Other MBA recruiters agree. “I wouldn’t hire someone back into an area in which they previously occupied a more senior position,” says one.

On the other hand, some previous banking experience is increasingly becoming a prerequisite for MBAs who want to get into the industry. “At the associate level we are looking for people who can hit the ground as quickly as possible,” says Ros Hillard, an MBA recruiter at Goldman Sachs.

Comments (20)

  1. the MBA….a magic bullet to solve all your career problems!

  2. So the recruiters are saying they would prefer to pay the same for a less experienced hire ? Sounds pretty stupid to me !

  3. You know what…?
    I surely like when I am told the truth about the market trends;
    but I am starting to believe that you guys (headhunters), are turning into some kind of real estate brokers! playing with people’s psychology
    Maybe those situations you are describing exist, but are not the general case…Every single day, you are pulling out one of those scary articles that basically says: “you have to sell yourserlf at a huge discount on this market, otherwise forget it !”
    Well, I am not convinced that is the case…

  4. Ah yes this is one of the great pitfalls of employment in banking – you’ve always got to be on the up. It’s a tricky space to be if you fall off the ladder.

    It’s probably not too silly to suggest that in life you always pitch upwards, regardless of your current circumstances. You look less desperate and you never know, someone might buy it!

    That said this is just another example of why you’ve got to network your way into things and avoid pinning your hopes on formal recruitment processes.

  5. MBA’s/grad programs are great, but there is so much they dont tell you. I wish I had found this site when i was starting out:


    it would have saved me from making so many mistakes. I hope you find it useful

  6. I dont believe it! Maybe these VPs are taking Executive Level MBAs, or maybe they want to change their careers, or maybe they were never really front-office professionals, but middle office or research or working in compliance dept risk management etc… and now with the MBA they want to shoot for the front office job.

  7. Haha, what a bunch of failures. Imagine being like 26 years old and applying for Assoc positions.

  8. 26 is the typical age for assoc, dude.

  9. Not with any of the people I associate with it isn’t.
    Associate 23-25, Vice President 25-27/8 is the norm.

  10. Director by 30?

  11. Henry has fallen of the moon…..

  12. Henry is somewhat misguided..

    Analyst from 21 to 26

    Associate can be anything from 24 – 32

    VP anything from 26 – 38

    Titles from one firm can be used very casually – I know many associates who make more than VP’s at other firms!

  13. russian cutie..I will fly you to the moon and back…if you will be my baby…

  14. Henry is not misguided – he is just a twat. See his other posts. I suspect his career will go down hill when he is let go from the postroom.

  15. Henry, what kind of slackers do you move with?

    25 – 28 and still a VP? I bet you all work for a s*** firm.

    My crew role like this 17-20 Analyst, 21-23 Associates, 24 VP, 25 Director, 25 and 8 months MD.

    27 hit the PEs or VCs and make your millions.

    If you can’t follow this track, you are a failure and don’t matter much in life.

    Aren’t you and your associates ambitious enough? Why are you guys not that good? Who do you work for that have not thrown your likes out as failures? Genesis Investment Bank Ltd of Zimbabwe?

  16. vp sounds kinda too important for a 28 year old. people outside the industry may suspect you of lieing or exagerating. at my place we use the more boyish sounding associate director instead..

  17. “vp sounds kinda too important for a 28 year old. people outside the industry may suspect you of lieing or exagerating”

    Fortunately I have Vice President on my business cards, my email signature, my Facebook work info and my LinkedIn so people know I can’t be lying. This has worked me wonder. Btw by 28 most people will be at Director level not still a VP.

    Don’t know why you guys are mocking Henry, for British people those numbers were very accurate, its only if you’re a Swede and spend 7 years at university will you be a lot slower to progress.

  18. tom you re at a swiss bank rite? only the swiss would replace something as american as vp..

  19. ubs

  20. With your ego’s so blown up Its no wonder the Investment banking system crumbled. And now governments are busy taking money from the competent and giving it to the incompetent (26 year old VPs).

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