Hello, after quite a long time lurking, I've finally decided to join 300Hours, and here I am looking for some career advice. I'm 23, I've recently finished a 4-year undergraduate degree in Economics at a good European university (most financial firms hold quite extensive recruitment campaigns there) and I will be sitting CFA level I in December.
Last year of uni was quite tough so I ended up not putting much thought into what I would be doing afterwards. I have worked for several MNCs in the past, but have no direct finance experience. When I started applying for finance jobs after finishing uni, it was pointed out to me that while I had the credentials for Analyst jobs, I didn't have any industry experience. Most graduate programs had long stopped recruiting, so I ended up taking a job for a small but reputable Investment Fund, in a middle-back office capacity, where I look after the operations of a Hedge Fund and a UCITS Fund (trade compliance and settlement, reporting, some PnL, margin calls etc). I have only been there a short while, and I am learning a lot. The company is small, and while this is good because I have significant responsibilities, it means that there is also little internal mobility. People move on to more advanced roles within Operations, but there are no signs to suggest that there is an Analyst position waiting for me. Analysts seem to be mainly hired from the Big 4, which is something I had the opportunity to do but no real interest in pursuing.
My plan is to sit CFA level I in December, and hopefully level II in June next year, and use that, together with the experience I am gaining, to quickly move out of back office and into an Analyst-type position. I am also thinking of applying for graduate programs, and an MSc in Finance, just to keep my options open. My main worry is that what I intend to be a short spell in the back office will turn into something more long-term, and I will end stuck there forever. Any advice?