Ideas for career progression

Futures
#1

Hey guys just wanted to get some ideas from some of you more experienced forum posters here. see what you think.

My educational background is in civil engineering from city university, which is not great in terms of reputation. Im currently working as a futures and options trader for a small firm for the previous 3 years and have been trying to make a switch to a bank/large institution without much success for a few months (personal reasons). I have international experience, a strong trading track record, multilingual (German and Arabic), experience in many areas of work and knowledge in computer programming to boot. I am generally open to the types of roles Im applying for, but want training, more international exposure and career progression. After a period of unsuccessful job hunting I have been offered a place for a masters in International Management at Queen Mary. Im considering taking it to improve the odds since the university has a better name and the subject will be more relevant to my field of work.

At the moment i feel that my un-prestigious university name and work experience with a small company are working against me in some of these much very competitive training programs where of course I am competing with some of the best talent globally.

Now what Im trying to figure out is how much value would such a degree add to my CV and will this in terms of name and content? Will it be enough to make me able to compete for the level of job that I am aiming for? This will also give me the opportunity to undertake many extracurricular activities which at the moment are lacking a bit. Any thoughts on the matter are appreciated.

#2

What specific type of job are looking for and in what type of firm? Based on your post I’d say you’re probably looking for front office trading role in an investment bank, and I think you’ll find the difference between QM and City in terms of reputation is marginal. In fact, I’d say City has the better reputation, because of Cass, and its links with the top banks (albeit for middle and back office roles). If you are interested in pursuing a career in trading I dont think a Masters in International Management will add much value to your CV.

#3

I agree with “Zweihander”, a degree at Queen Mary wont pump your CV at all. If you are going to quit your job to go back to Uni for a masters then you need to go to UCL, LSE, Cass or Imperial if you are based in London. Those can help you get into the Tier 1 Banks. The other ones you can forget.

But mate, if you are already working full time and have trading experience why dont you network your way into the bank of your choice (or one of them)? You know how it goes…you meet the right person and they like you, you get a job. I mean once you work in the industry networking is much easier. As a student its more difficult. Find the right type of networking events and try your luck.

If you really want to pump your CV you could also look into the CFA, CAIA or any other financial qualifications. Although at the end of the day it is up to you to meet the right people who can/will hire you.

#4

first of all thank you two for the replies. i really appreciate some frank input here.

i am currently putting my feelers out for various positions. ideally id like to be with a top tier bank. but not necessarily in a trading capacity. i have traded my way through jerome kerviel, the credit crunch, the housing bubble, all the bankrupcies, the whole greece thing etc etc. while i have come out of it much better than most, i have seen alot of people suffer and loose their life’s fortunes and careers. this has put alot of things into perspective for me, and while i will always continue to trade the markets, im starting to question the logic in continuing to pursue this as a full time career because of its fleeting nature.

long story short, throughout my work i have not only been a trader, but have also had alot of exposure to the management side of things and have performed exceptionally (setting up new trading offices, the IT side, recruitment and training etc etc). pursuing a career in general management with a big bank, would be my ideal gig at this point in time.

as for pushing for a job through contacts, i dont think this is an option for me at the moment since most of the people i am currently networking with are not in a position to make such offers. unfortunate but i guess the search continues.

so im back to my initial dilemma now…