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Career Decision
03-31-2005, 11:06 PM,
#1
Career Decision
AOA all,

I have a pretty important decision to make over the coming weeks and would like to hear a few opinions from those of you who regularly use this forum, in particular, from DT [D] and those of you currently working in Pakistan.

Right, being based in the UK, I am currently working in Tax at a small firm where upon my graduation in June this summer, I can begin my ACA training with the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England & Wales. (ICAEW) with the possibility of transferring to one of the Big 4 perhaps next year. However, very recently, I've been offered the opportunity of working in Product Control at what is probably the most prestigious American I-bank and the chance to study for the CIMA qualification.

If all of you had the desire of ultimately returning to Pakistan to work in a few years' time, which one would you choose as the most sensible of the 2 options? Would firms in Pakistan view the ACA more favourably than the CIMA or vice-versa?

Any comments would be greatly appreciated.

K. Hafiz!
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04-01-2005, 08:52 AM,
#2
 
Which investment bank are we talking about here? Goldman Sachs or Morgan Stanley? If it's GS then take it over anything on the planet. If MS, I would be bit hesitant considering the changes that have taken place in last few days there. Two of my friends (fairly senior) have already left MS to join competitors.

If you are talking about other US banks like JPM, Lehman etc. than I would say stick with the ACA route. If you get the opportunity to work for a Big 4 then that's going to be a real plus on your CV when you will look for jobs in Pak. Also, if you work for any Big 4 then you might get relocated to their member firm in Pak. I'm not saying this is going to be easy step but a possibility. Anyway, Big 4 experience would definately get you a job in Pakistan.

So, if it's Goldman Sachs you were talking about then that should be your first priority. Otherwise, any of the Big 4 or the possibility that you mentioned within your current firm.

Don't hesitate to put more questions on the forum.

DT
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04-01-2005, 06:30 PM,
#3
 
Thanks DT!

And yes, it is GS that I am talking about here. Good to hear your views, although I'm intrigued to know why you have such a fascination with GS! Admit, they are right up there as the very best in the business but MS, JPM, Lehmans and the few others all have their distinctive specialities.

Anyways, I'm going to ask one silly question and a few more (and apologies if the silly question sounds ignorant!) but if I were to go ahead with GS, would people in Pakistan appreciate the prestige of working in a bank like GS? Also, how good a qualification is the CIMA in your opinion? And finally, what if we see a recession in the next couple of years or something and all the I-banks go out on a massive restructuring and job redundancy strategy? Should I be concerned with such potential risks at this stage?

Thank you very, very much, and hope all is well with you and your studies.

K. Hafiz
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04-02-2005, 12:24 AM,
#4
 
GS and MS are pioneer in their fields and so are some of the other banks. But if you go into past only GS and MS were the banks that introduced new products in the market. This is the main reason they have the best talent but they would pay you probably below industry average. Again due to supply and demand.

I would think that having GS on your CV any employer would take you on (provided you are competent too!!). I agree not many people may have heard of their name as compared to accountancy firms but I can assure you people within the industry all know its reputation and the quality of work they produce.

I would still say take GS over anything!!

DT
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04-03-2005, 08:56 AM,
#5
 
Gambler,

You are talking about two different professions, being an investment banker or a professional auditor/accountant. These are specialities within itself. Although ACA (UK) may be widely accepted in Pakistan in the industry and the Big 4, Working for a bank like GS etc. would ofcourse be a specialisation well sought after in Pakistan, within the investment banking industry.

Well, just one thing out of my experience of the Pakistani market/economy. As an ACA you would have a much wider market to go out to and ofcourse more possibilities. As an investmenet banker / CIMA you will have some what restricted options. Having said that ofcourse, like many other industries Investment banking is picking up in Pakistan too.

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04-05-2005, 04:27 AM,
#6
 
Dear Pracs,
I understand your point but I hope you're aware there isn't a very strong dividing line between being an ACA qualified accountant and an Analyst or Associate in an I-bank- in fact, loads of I-banking vacancies every year are filled by ACA (UK) or ACCA graduates.
Also, I would disagree with you when you mention the term "professional auditor/accountant" to make your distinction and that's because in today's world, the Big 4 and the mid-tier firms do not only offer your typical audit and tax services- they're involved in a whole lot more which includes corporate finance work, other advisory work like leveraged finance and project finance, consulting etc.- a lot of stuff that previously only the I-banks were getting involved in. In fact now, in some case, the smaller I-banks are competing with the Big 4 for advisory and corporate finance work! Anyways, this is why the Big 4 and the other mid-tier firms now prefer to now be classed as "professional services firms". So, I guess what I'm trying to imply here is yes, although there are certain distinctions, entering into one profession doesn't necessaily preclude you from the other, at least in the UK, although making the move would be quite a challenge.

Thanks for your advice, and thank you too DT. Will keep you posted!!!

Let me know if you have any thoughts in the meanwhile.

K. Hafiz.
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04-07-2005, 02:55 AM,
#7
 
Did you make your mind up? If you are starting GS then which group and is it going to be PBC or River Court? Also, which side of the chinese wall?

DT
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04-08-2005, 12:59 AM,
#8
 
Ermmmmm, I think so...I'm edging more towards GS with each passing day! I'll be based at RC and will be in Fixed Income Product Control- so the Sales, Trading & Research side of the Chinese Wall.
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04-08-2005, 01:21 AM,
#9
 
<blockquote id="quote"><font size="1" face="Verdana, Tahoma, Arial" id="quote">quote<hr height="1" noshade id="quote"><i>Originally posted by GaMbLeR</i>
<br />Ermmmmm, I think so...I'm edging more towards GS with each passing day! I'll be based at RC and will be in Fixed Income Product Control- so the Sales, Trading & Research side of the Chinese Wall.
<hr height="1" noshade id="quote"></font id="quote"></blockquote id="quote">

Good to hear that. I have some friends in FICC, Prime Brokerage and IBD there. Please cheak your email and will appreciate if we could develop off-board discussion.

DT
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04-08-2005, 03:08 AM,
#10
 
<blockquote id="quote"><font size="1" face="Verdana, Tahoma, Arial" id="quote">quote<hr height="1" noshade id="quote"><i>Originally posted by GaMbLeR</i>
<br />Dear Pracs,
I understand your point but I hope you're aware there isn't a very strong dividing line between being an ACA qualified accountant and an Analyst or Associate in an I-bank- in fact, loads of I-banking vacancies every year are filled by ACA (UK) or ACCA graduates.
Also, I would disagree with you when you mention the term "professional auditor/accountant" to make your distinction and that's because in today's world, the Big 4 and the mid-tier firms do not only offer your typical audit and tax services- they're involved in a whole lot more which includes corporate finance work, other advisory work like leveraged finance and project finance, consulting etc.- a lot of stuff that previously only the I-banks were getting involved in. In fact now, in some case, the smaller I-banks are competing with the Big 4 for advisory and corporate finance work! Anyways, this is why the Big 4 and the other mid-tier firms now prefer to now be classed as "professional services firms". So, I guess what I'm trying to imply here is yes, although there are certain distinctions, entering into one profession doesn't necessaily preclude you from the other, at least in the UK, although making the move would be quite a challenge.

Thanks for your advice, and thank you too DT. Will keep you posted!!!

Let me know if you have any thoughts in the meanwhile.

K. Hafiz.
<hr height="1" noshade id="quote"></font id="quote"></blockquote id="quote">

Well, you do have a point there, so I come back to my argument and re phrase the ACA (UK) to Accountant/Auditor (and other assurance services) and CIMA to I.Banker/Corporate finance/FS Advisory etc. I hope that makes some sense.

Glad to see that you have made your decision and all the best for your career
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