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Can a masters help compensate a lack of experience ?

  • 07-11-2021 4:09pm
    Registered Users Posts: 85 ✭✭ BK92

    I'm 29 years old and for years I've struggled with ADHD and being on the autistic spectrum without knowing it. Over the years this led to poor social skills which led to not making many friends. This led to not being exposed to many experiences in life such as summer jobs, playing in sports teams etc. Only in August of this year did I get assessed, it was a relief as I finally knew what needed to be done to progress in my life. I am taking ADHD medication and receiving therapy, things are much much better already !

    My absolute focus now is how to get into the area of work I have a passion for, the financial services industry. I already have a 2.2 in Business and French (Economics & Finance major) which is skewed 70/30 towards Economics. I got an A grade in the Advanced Corporate Finance module and thoroughly enjoyed it.

    The only thing that I feel is holding me back now is my relative lack of work experience. My last real work experience in financial services was an 8 month internship in the corporate finance department of a well known gambling company in Dublin. For me, I have two options:

    • Get work experience in the area of financial services. In Kerry, where I live, the major financial services player is Fexco. There's plenty of good experience to be found there. I worked for 3 months there over the summer in 2015 in a customer service role. 2 weeks ago I contacted my line manager who's still working there, unfortunately she said there's nothing going in her department at the moment. I have submitted a speculative job application on their online careers page. I've also spoken to someone high up in their Training & Development department and the company very much encourages (and in certain cases pays for) people to specialise in a masters in their area.
    • Do an MSc in Financial Services. Over the past 6 months I have been reading books of all types on mergers and acquisitions, pricing bonds and stocks, the 2008-9 financial crisis etc. I really have a passion for it. It just speaks to me. As a person (mildly) on the spectrum its easy for me to focus for hours on this.

    My question is:

    Will the masters go in some way to compensate my lack of experience ? I don't want to explain my lack of experience by 'pouring my heart out' at an interview telling sad stories about why things didn't work out for me in the past. I can imagine this being quite off-turning for potential employers and don't want to be seen as someone who makes excuses. My idea of getting the masters would be to a) show that I really want to specialise in financial services and b) go some way to compensate my relative lack of experience

    Should I:

    • Get any job I can for the time being until I start the masters next year ?
    • Hold out for a job in Fexco (or somewhere like Northern Trust in Limerick) and do my masters while there ?

    Thanks for reading and looking forward to hearing your suggestions


  • Registered Users Posts: 8,981 ✭✭✭ Ficheall

    Get a job (I couldn't advise whether to hold out for a particular one or not) _and_ do one of those online masters - maybe Springboard. That way you'll have money, experience, and one of those silly pieces of paper some workplaces put a silly amount of value on.

  • Registered Users Posts: 208 ✭✭ exitstageleft

    I did an MA while working (in a somewhat flexible job). It was tough at times but quite doable. Plus you get the best of both worlds, the MA and work experience. I think it also shows prospective employers you're willing to work hard.

    An MA is also a good way to segue into a new field and it can take the focus off your undergrad results (if they're poor). But in the end, good work experience will trump a lengthy academic paper trail every time.

  • Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 9,460 Mod ✭✭✭✭ Manach

    Just based on my own experience. A masters did assist me in breaking into a new job market (IT) when I was starting out, but I reckon as other posters mentioned some work experience is equally good / if not better.

  • Registered Users Posts: 3,620 ✭✭✭ C3PO

    I work on the operations side of Financial Services and I’m currently in the 2nd year of my MSc in Project Management thanks to the support of my employer. The problem for the OP is that in order to be employed in the Corporate Finance department in our place you would either need a Masters to get into our graduate programme or lots of relevant work experience.

    Please don’t take this up the wrong way OP but your autism diagnosis might actually be an advantage as many companies are genuinely trying to be more inclusive and diverse in their hiring policies these days.

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,491 ✭✭✭ wench

    I would suggest contacting Specialisterne. They provide a range of supports, from helping you with interview technique, to matching you with companies looking for your particular skills.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 3,733 ✭✭✭ OMM 0000

    A masters won't compensate for a lack of experience, but a person with a masters is more desirable than a person without a masters.