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Steps into corporate finance

Published on Friday, 31 May 2013
Andrew Oliver

After completing my engineering studies, I joined a knowledge process outsourcing (KPO) consultancy where my role was to assist the market analytics team for a Big Four firm. I'm interested in getting into corporate finance and wonder whether a CFA would be helpful in making the move. Currently, I'm pursuing an MBA in finance. Rahul

Corporate finance is one of the most desirable career paths for many graduates and young people seeking to work in financial services. But there are steps that will make a move more likely.

Qualifications are key. Ideally, you will have studied a technical subject in a directly related area at college, such as accounting and finance or economics. If not, you need to look at ways of augmenting your existing qualifications by taking exams. The CFA is the most widely recognised, and while time-consuming and certainly a lot of work, it is specifically designed for a job in the investment banking or management process. Alternatively, you could consider a part- or full-time master in finance or MBA. These will also help give you the technical skills for a move into corporate finance. The fact you have taken the time to achieve the qualifications will show an employer that you are committed to making the move.

In terms of work experience, a technical role for an accounting firm or in a role in a corporate requiring strong financial analysis is the best foundations. The role must contain a high level of rigorous financial analysis, and this means looking at company accounts, forecasts, and valuations. This could be in a bank, as an adviser, in an accounting firm or within a corporate, most likely the finance or strategy and planning department. As core technical skills are the backbone of the job, several years of technical analysis is essential.

Andrew Oliver is a co-founder of Profile Search & Selection and has worked in Hong Kong for over 14 years

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