Accepted into an investing education program, worth it?

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Accepted into an investing education program, worth it?

Postby sccuman » Thu Jun 27, 2013 1:12 am

Hello everyone,

I'm an accounting/finance major at a state school. I'm 23 and a senior. I recently got admitted to a program within my school where we're put in charge of a $900,000+ portfolio. Roughly 20 of us students are responsible for managing the fund. The program grants you a finance degree, but it's more specialized and more valuable then a strict academic Finance BBA. The program lasts one year and I'd graduate with a degree in accounting and finance come May 2014. If I do not do the program I'd graduate with an accounting degree come December 2013 (if I pulled a 27 credit semester I could have both degrees come December). I'd pursue the CPA immediately after as well as getting back into public accounting, but this time focus on Audit instead of Tax.

Throughout the year you create news updates on your sector (I'm TECH for instance), research securities in your sector, and prepare four separate investment proposal for re-balancing your portion of the fund. Your present your proposal to local and state business leaders who can either approve or reject your idea after a Q&A session.

We get key cards to access a special lab in the business school. The school is open for us at all times of the day/night if we'd like to in. We have our classes in here and we're expected to spend a large portion of our time in the lab during the school year.

In January, during our winter break, you get flown out to NYC or Chicago and get to meet investment bankers. The program leader worked in NYC, Chicago, and London. He's a very knowledgeable man.

Deep down I know this is a very valuable learning opportunity. Thing is I don't know if it's right for me. I respect your opinion and wanted your insight.

Why I should:

- I'm not at Wharton. I need any edge I can get to compete with those who went to better schools.

- Will expand my business of knowledge and analytic skills.

- Will keep more doors open for me as I did not enjoy my tax accounting internship.

- Will only cost me one extra semester.

- I'm not longer stuck with apathetic undergrad students. I'm now working with bright and motivated students.

- I receive a great deal in grants, etc. School is cheap for me.

Why I shouldn't:

- Really no desire to pursue a career in finance. I even stated during my application interview I'm doing this more from a knowledge standpoint than I am as a way to land a career.

- I'm perfectly satisfied passively index investing. Find it as a nice way to balance risk/reward with low effort.

- Will delay me another semester before graduating.

- I do not have the passion or drive that the other students have regarding this.

- This has little to no tie-in to my long term goals/plans. The closest thing it relates to would be real-estate investing which I'd like to do down the road.

- I feel like a lot of the business knowledge developed in this program could be gained from a job as an auditor.
___________________________

If I could rattle off a career plan and tell you I was the most excited about it, I'd say I want to become a police detective. I'm not sure if this program will really help me get there. One hand I know it's a great learning experience (perhaps overkill as my aspirations are not in equity valuation), but on the other I feel like I should get my nose to the grindstone and start building my nut. Regardless this program will sharpen my business skills.

Logically my brain says do it, but my gut is telling me to bow out. I know I can intellectually handle this rigorous program, I just don't know if I have the passion to enjoy myself doing it.

Thoughts?
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Re: Accepted into an investing education program, worth it?

Postby sccuman » Fri Jun 28, 2013 12:13 am

I have a few more days to think about this, but any thoughts?
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Re: Accepted into an investing education program, worth it?

Postby northernisland » Fri Jun 28, 2013 12:33 am

I was with you until you got to "police detective." To me it sounds like what you are studying is almost the exact opposite of police detective.

If it were my call... it sounds like a fun program and nice change of pace. It helps you stand out. It offers some connections.

When you say your gut is telling you to bow out is it because you are stressed about the amount of work involved, afraid you won't be good at it, or just genuinely are uninterested. I'd answer this first.

Other questions to consider:
-Do you have good job prospects in January if you don't do this?
-What was the problem with the internship? Do you have the possibility for other programs that will provide training, networking, etc.?
-What is your game plan for police detective?

Good luck with it! I know these are tough decisions to make.
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Re: Accepted into an investing education program, worth it?

Postby nedsaid » Fri Jun 28, 2013 1:03 am

I would be all over that like polka dots on a bikini.

You will have an opportunity to help manage a real life investment portfolio. There is something about working with real life, real situations, and real money. You will learn far, far more than these silly stock market investment games. There needs to be real consequences to your decisions for you to really learn something.

You will learn more about economics, the markets, business, and investments doing this than in all of your classes. Picking investments for a real life portfolio will be a tremendous education.

Go for it. You are getting a tremendous opportunity. You will kick yourself for years if you turn this down.
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Re: Accepted into an investing education program, worth it?

Postby stlutz » Fri Jun 28, 2013 2:13 am

Really no desire to pursue a career in finance. I even stated during my application interview I'm doing this more from a knowledge standpoint than I am as a way to land a career.

- I'm perfectly satisfied passively index investing. Find it as a nice way to balance risk/reward with low effort.

- Will delay me another semester before graduating.

- I do not have the passion or drive that the other students have regarding this.

- This has little to no tie-in to my long term goals/plans. The closest thing it relates to would be real-estate investing which I'd like to do down the road.

- I feel like a lot of the business knowledge developed in this program could be gained from a job as an auditor.


Speaking as someone who works in finance but never planned to (my undgrad was in history), I'd consider the program if I was you:

--First off, this program is a pretty low-risk way to find out whether you really would/would not like to work in finance. Sometimes trying things is a way to discover new interests; sometimes it confirms that you really don't have the interest.

--Second, lots of people who work in finance are index investors. (The people who are active on this board are evidence of that!)

--There isn't a lot you can do with the six months you would "lose" that would provide more substantive experience.

--Business knowledge is very discipline-specific. Skills are what move you forward. Will the skills you develop be helpful for you?

I would never encourage anyone to something like this if they have no interest whatsover in it, but does that really describe you?
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Re: Accepted into an investing education program, worth it?

Postby sinman » Fri Jun 28, 2013 3:07 am

I agree with previous posts. This sounds like a valuable opportunity. I graduated with a degree in Accounting and realized in my Junior year that I wasn't interested in Accounting. I couldn't afford to change my major, so I stuck it out. Upon graduation I reluctantly accepted a job in Auditing - and ended up loving it. After a few years I moved to a Fortune 500 company and have worked in various financial analyst/planning/support roles for 30 years. Based on my experience, 99% of what I've needed to know has been learned on the job. These real world experiences will expand your business contacts and expose you to new opportunities. You never know where these opportunities will lead. You may just be surprised.

In closing, it doesn't look like your list of cons really carry a lot of weight-with the exception of delaying graduation a semester. I can promise you the benefits of signing up for this investing program will far outweigh your cons. Best of luck to you!
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Re: Accepted into an investing education program, worth it?

Postby inbox788 » Fri Jun 28, 2013 7:58 am

But beware of the dark side. Anger, fear, aggression; the dark side of the Force are they. Easily they flow, quick to join you in a fight. If once you start down the dark path, forever will it dominate your destiny, consume you it will, as it did Obi-Wan's apprentice.
Luke: Vader... Is the dark side stronger?
Yoda: No, no, no. Quicker, easier, more seductive.
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Re: Accepted into an investing education program, worth it?

Postby ILnative » Fri Jun 28, 2013 8:14 am

I would do it.

As a bit of background I am a CPA and spent almost 16 years in public accounting (8 years Big 4, 8 years top 10 firm - ending up as a tax partner). Public accounting will be a great career for you - but this will show you something else in a short amount of time that will provide context for you throughout your career. It may seem like a bit of a detour - but it isn't - you will reap personal and professional benefits from this for years to come. As someone who has hired many many accountants fresh out of college - this would be very appealing to me on a resume - it would show a keen willingness to learn and do something outside your comfort zone. We need more of that in accounting.
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Re: Accepted into an investing education program, worth it?

Postby core5 » Fri Jun 28, 2013 8:21 am

I would first say you should follow your goals and plans. If you want to do something and you enjoy doing it, then you should pursue it.

However, you will get opportunities in your life that only come once, maybe twice. Sometimes they may not be golden and launch you to new heights, but if you don't take advantage of rare opportunities, you'll never know what you missed.

Also, don't be so set on your plans, that you ignore something awesome out of nowhere. I enjoy learning about things now that I never even knew existed when I started college.
[size=85]The problem with closed-mindedness is it that it's rarely accompanied by a closed mouth[/size]
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Re: Accepted into an investing education program, worth it?

Postby sccuman » Fri Jun 28, 2013 11:45 am

Thanks for the advice so far guys.

I'm trying my hardest to spark my interest in doing this program, but I just can't do it. I'm not worried about the workload or the difficulty as I know I can learn it. I listen to people discuss economic policy, interest rates, etc. and I just tune out. Seems out of the scope of my interest. The only thing holding me back is the fear I'll kick myself in the butt for not doing it.

I was reviewing a credit file at work and I noticed there was a 25 year old who already owned three rental properties and was trying to acquire a fourth. Seeing the kids hustle with a lack of education really lit a fire under me. It was the most excited I had been about my career plans ever. It was like I was being "shown" to get out of school ASAP and get my nose to the grindstone. I felt like I had to start working and building a nut.
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Re: Accepted into an investing education program, worth it?

Postby playtothebeat » Fri Jun 28, 2013 1:11 pm

sccuman wrote:Thanks for the advice so far guys.

I'm trying my hardest to spark my interest in doing this program, but I just can't do it. I'm not worried about the workload or the difficulty as I know I can learn it. I listen to people discuss economic policy, interest rates, etc. and I just tune out. Seems out of the scope of my interest. The only thing holding me back is the fear I'll kick myself in the butt for not doing it.

I was reviewing a credit file at work and I noticed there was a 25 year old who already owned three rental properties and was trying to acquire a fourth. Seeing the kids hustle with a lack of education really lit a fire under me. It was the most excited I had been about my career plans ever. It was like I was being "shown" to get out of school ASAP and get my nose to the grindstone. I felt like I had to start working and building a nut.


You should absolutely not compare yourself to others. I used to think just like you - friends were starting businesses while I was/am working in the corporate world, or buying fancy cars while I was driving a used beater. It used to get to me. Then I realized that there's a place and time for everyone and everything. Be patient. Just because this kid has 4 rental properties does not mean he'll do well - for all you know he bought them all at the peak of the market and now can't get out of them.

You mentioned something about being a CPA and doing accounting - the extra 6 months won't make a difference, believe me. However, the experience you can get in this financing program could be invaluable. Same for the networking aspect. There are many different paths in finance, and perhaps investment banking is not for you, but something else is.

Having this experience, in my opinion, is a "win win". Plus you get to stay in college for an extra 6 months, that's not all that bad either. Of course, you gotta look at the cost/benefit analysis from a purely financial standpoint - how much will these extra 6 months cost you? Do you already have a job lined up in January which you'd have to turn down? etc
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Re: Accepted into an investing education program, worth it?

Postby Mandrale » Fri Jun 28, 2013 1:25 pm

I would do it in a heartbeat. I am also a 23 year old, and in the finance field working as an Analyst at a Fortune 20 company. There is no doubt in my mind that having that experience, along with two great degrees, could get you into almost any job you wanted. Looking back at my college career, I finished in 4 years. That's something that not too many people do now days, they take 5 maybe even 6 years. I don't think in the long run you will look back and say "Wow, I wish I finished school 6 months earlier" if you get that sort of experience.

It could lead to a dream job, give you ideas of what you DON'T want to do for sure, open you up to meeting industry leaders, professional networking with brilliant people, and also just increase your knowledge base.

I honestly don't really see a downside to it unless you consider being in school for 6 more months and enhancing your education level downsides.
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Re: Accepted into an investing education program, worth it?

Postby spencer99 » Fri Jun 28, 2013 1:48 pm

sccuman wrote:If I could rattle off a career plan and tell you I was the most excited about it, I'd say I want to become a police detective.


I'm not sure if the finance program helps but your accounting background is a perfect fit for especially certain kinds of federal law enforcement positions. If memory serves, at one time the preferred background for new FBI recruits was either a law or accounting degree.

Good luck,

S
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Re: Accepted into an investing education program, worth it?

Postby Grt2bOutdoors » Fri Jun 28, 2013 2:28 pm

Do the program. Get the CPA. Then, if you really want to work in law enforcement; apply to FBI and/or Secret Service (Department of the Treasury) or become an Internal Revenue Service revenue agent (firearm required along with a No. 2 pencil :P ) and use your technical skills to go after white-collar crime (stock or other various investment/tax frauds). Use your knowledge of investment banker behavior to bust them. :twisted:
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Re: Accepted into an investing education program, worth it?

Postby spencer99 » Fri Jun 28, 2013 2:42 pm

FBI Careers information:

From item #9

9. Do certain degrees provide a more desirable educational background for the Special Agent position?

The FBI does not recommend particular courses or schools. Any degrees that develop research and analytical skills are desirable educational backgrounds. For example, a Law degree is a desirable asset because Special Agents are charged with investigating violations of federal laws of the United States; an Accounting degree is also desirable because Special Agents trace financial transactions and review/analyze complex accounting records in criminal investigations; an Engineering degree is desirable because Special Agents often have to critically analyze large amounts of information in order to plan the next steps in an investigation; etc.

https://www.fbijobs.gov/114.asp
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Re: Accepted into an investing education program, worth it?

Postby Jazztonight » Sat Jun 29, 2013 11:44 am

When I read of your interests, FBI jumped right into my mind. I'm glad others have pointed you in that direction.

My advice is to contact the Bureau, get an application going, and pursue that goal. Why study personal finance if it leads to a dead end?

My wife was a labor attorney her whole career and regrets she did not work at the IRS instead. Now is the time to pursue your dream job. Good luck!
"What does not destroy me, makes me stronger." Nietzsche
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Re: Accepted into an investing education program, worth it?

Postby staythecourse » Sat Jun 29, 2013 11:54 am

Jazztonight wrote:When I read of your interests, FBI jumped right into my mind. I'm glad others have pointed you in that direction.

My advice is to contact the Bureau, get an application going, and pursue that goal. Why study personal finance if it leads to a dead end?

My wife was a labor attorney her whole career and regrets she did not work at the IRS instead. Now is the time to pursue your dream job. Good luck!


I agree 100%. Why pursue something you already know you have NO interest in in the future as a career. Worse, you would be taking a spot from someone else who really does want to pursue it.

It was mentioned to get real world experience in handling a portfolio. You don't need to do that. You wll be doing that investing your own money for your own retirement. Believe me those losses will teach you MUCH MORE then paper losses that don't affect you personally. That is why it is so easy for less then honorable FA to do a rotten job and not care as it isn't their money in the first place.

Good luck.
...we all think we're above average investors just like we all think we're above average dressers... -Jack Bogle
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Re: Accepted into an investing education program, worth it?

Postby sccuman » Sun Jun 30, 2013 7:44 pm

Think I finally decided what I'm going to do. I read and thought about every opinion that has been offered to me so far. I believe I'm NOT going to do the program.

It's a huge opportunity and it wouldn't keep me in school much longer, but in reality I shouldn't have to convince myself to do it. I should WANT it. The other students WANT it and are happy, if it were for me wouldn't I feel the same? A couple of these kids spend an hour a day, at minimum, researching different companies and keeping abreast of business news. Beyond acquiring money and plopping it into ETFs I do not want much more to do with equity investing.

Maybe this will be one of those times when I look back when I'm 32 and say, "damn I really wish I did listen to those who are wiser than me and did it". Maybe not. Perhaps I'm foolish for wanting to get out of school immediately. Whenever I think about getting the accounting degree and starting to build my nut I get excited. Most of the time in my life I made choices by using logic and seeking the highest benefit, I'm just getting a very strong urge to not do it this time.

I guess too that I'm realizing not everything boils down to what degree/educational background you have. If you want something bad enough you can get it. I didn't even choose accounting originally to be an accountant. I just wanted a more thorough understanding of business to benefit my day-to-day life or if I wanted to start a business in the future. While I may not land a financial analyst job out of college if I don't do this program, does that really set me back?
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