Q: I am interested in getting into the institutional investing career field. Where should I begin my search for companies in this field and qualifications to enter this career? I have been in the investment arena with sales since graduating in 2002. Do you recommend going back to school to get my masters in business administration first?
M. Byers, Via Internet
A: To reach your maximum potential in terms of position and salary, you will have to return to school to earn an MBA. At this point, however, it is most important that you seek to gain experience at a large financial institution. You say that all your experience is in sales. It would be more advantageous to secure an entry-level position as an analyst — a position that would require more strategic training for future growth, as analysts are required to assess all aspects of prospective deals. There is no particular bachelor’s degree concentration required for analyst positions. The job only requires that candidates have a strong numbers background, can handle heavy workloads and can meet strict deadlines. You should also use this time to find mentors and sponsors who will guide you toward the necessary steps to advance in your current work environment. Consider becoming active with The National Association of Securities Professionals (www.nasphq.org) and the Urban Financial Services Coalition (www.ufscnet.org), both of which have job postings.