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I just graduated and currently have two job offers. One is for a commercial lending credit analyst at a community bank and the other is a sales support associate at Prudential. I am under the impression that the credit analyst role will give me more valuable skills (financial statement analysis, excel, etc.) and the role at Prudential will only serve as a stepping stone to other jobs within the company (ideally move into something like fixed income there). Also the job at Prudential will have me taking the series 6/63 and I am taking the CFA level 1 in June. I am aiming to end up in some kind of research role down the road. Does anyone have any insight on this about which path may be a better choice? 

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I would do Prudential as pretty much anyone has heard of them... it will look better on your resume than random community bank. Plus internal postings will be more lucrative.

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If the compensation is roughly the same (base salary + bonus [if any] + benefits [401K match, healthcare costs], etc.) then indeed Pru is the better name to have on your resume. If, however, the community bank is offering a significantly superior compensation package than Pru, either use that to try and negotiate a better offer from Pru (than the community bank's offer)  or go w/ the community bank's job.  If Pru is already offering a better compensation package, then w/o question go w/ Pru.  (If the community bank wants to match or beat Pru's offer, then you can try to leverage that to get an even better offer out of Pru).

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Being the first job out of college, I think one should consider which job will give OP the ability to learn/grow and leverage it to the next job, say 2-3 years down the road. Name recognition is one factor but OP's specific responsibilities in the two jobs would be significantly more important IMO. I dont have much insight in this area but believe the decision must not be solely based on salary/total compensation and name recognition.

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What do the overall compensation packages look like? Your first salary is important because it more than likely affects how your future raises and potential bonuses are calculated.

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The credit analyst at the community bank starts a 30k a year and the role at prudential starts at 44k a year with much better benefits. I've been trying to ignore comp and figure out if one job would be a better option in the medium-longer term.

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cbiland said:   The credit analyst at the community bank starts a 30k a year and the role at prudential starts at 44k a year with much better benefits. I've been trying to ignore comp and figure out if one job would be a better option in the medium-longer term.

I don't know why it's so hard to decide base on this information.

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I think it is great that you are evaluating each job while ignoring the compensation - at least in the beginning.

Continuing with that frame of mind, I would weigh heavily on the possible ability to progress in the job - as in moving up the ladder so to speak. It sounds like with Prudential you might have almost unlimited ability to move up - it is a huge corporation. With the local comunity bank you would only be able to go so far.

And now money. Think about if you took the community bank job. Every time you look at your pay statement are you going to be envisioning what it would look like if the Prudential numbers are there?

Another thing that I look at only because I've been there / done that. With a small bank like that, I feel there would be a lot of "politics" imvolved which I avoid like the plague. Let's say an officer's position opens up with someone retiring. You are easily qualified to move into that position. But the bank's president's brother's son's nephew who is a deadbeat needs a job. Who do you think gets it?

I knew a gentleman who worked for Prudential from the time he graduated colege all the way to retirement. He had a fulfilling career since he was able to move up into different divisions as he gained knowledge and expertise.

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cbiland said:   The credit analyst at the community bank starts a 30k a year and the role at prudential starts at 44k a year with much better benefits. I've been trying to ignore comp and figure out if one job would be a better option in the medium-longer term.
  
Dude, 46% increase in pay. This is a no-brainer. Go with Prudential. 

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cbiland said:   I just graduated and currently have two job offers. One is for a commercial lending credit analyst at a community bank and the other is a sales support associate at Prudential. I am under the impression that the credit analyst role will give me more valuable skills (financial statement analysis, excel, etc.) and the role at Prudential will only serve as a stepping stone to other jobs within the company (ideally move into something like fixed income there). Also the job at Prudential will have me taking the series 6/63 and I am taking the CFA level 1 in June. I am aiming to end up in some kind of research role down the road. Does anyone have any insight on this about which path may be a better choice? 

Prudential. No brainer.

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cbiland said:   I just graduated and currently have two job offers. One is for a commercial lending credit analyst at a community bank and the other is a sales support associate at Prudential. I am under the impression that the credit analyst role will give me more valuable skills (financial statement analysis, excel, etc.) and the role at Prudential will only serve as a stepping stone to other jobs within the company (ideally move into something like fixed income there). Also the job at Prudential will have me taking the series 6/63 and I am taking the CFA level 1 in June. I am aiming to end up in some kind of research role down the road. Does anyone have any insight on this about which path may be a better choice? 
  I don't think we have enough info to really make a recommendation.  What does a Sales Support Associate at Pru actually do?  What is the position? 
There are loads of crappy positions with little future at large companies.  You can work for a cool tech company like Amazon, they have plenty of ground floor openings with tons of potential at a warehouse in PA, become a "distribution specialist" and see how fast you can load boxes.
I remember attending my high school reunion and talking with a guy who worked for one of the big name banks, I forget his actual title.  People were impressed.  When you boiled it down to what his position was, he was a guy with a 2 year degree who worked in a boiler room selling crappy stock to retirees. Someone has to do it, but he wasn't in a job that was going to get him to where you want to be in those banks.

I understand what a credit analyst job is, it is a decent starting position to have depending on where you have it and what credit you're analyzing.  Sounds based upon pay that this may not be the one you want to have.  However, is the Pru job really a stepping stone or not?
 

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The sales support associate role basically is just studying to take the series 6/63 for the first couple months and then it is providing support to the people selling annuities when there is an overflow of inbound calls. I figure that if I get into Prudential I can use the CFA to move around the company which is why I view it as a stepping stone (although not 100% sure if this is accurate).

The credit analyst role is looking at small businesses and determining whether they would be capable of repaying a loan. I assume that I will pick up a few marketable skills here.

Only thing I'm worried about with Prudential is working there for a few years and not picking up any decent skills if I am unable to move to another department.

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How much do you owe from college?  Sorry but it should play a huge factor on  which job you are about to choose.

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Money money money.

It's not always the answer, but between 2 decent jobs that aren't dead ends, go for the cash.

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My loans are only about 18k so I'm not too worried about them.

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OP - it doesn't sound like either of these jobs are your "dream" job, since you are talking about both of them in terms of building skills and moving up. So I would ask yourself "what job do I want in 5 years and which of these starting jobs will better prepare me for that?"

If the answer is clear-cut that the community bank will better prepare you for your future dream job, then foregoing $14K is a reasonable "investment" to make to get there.

That said, when looking to move to a new position, your prior employer's name recognition as well as your prior salary are two *very* big factors in the type of options that you will have. So unless the skillset at the community bank is substantially better aligned to your dream job, it seems likely that Prudential would give you more options to progress to your next job.

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C'mon guys, it's not as much of a no-brainer as some of you think. Let's face it - the Pru job is straight sales. Dime a dozen. Probably no marketable skills other than to go to another sales job (which OP doesn't seem interested in doing). Credit analyst will have financial statement analysis and other finance/business tasks which can be leveraged elsewhere. He'll likely learn far more from the analyst job.

That being said OP, the dollar difference here for an entry level job is huge. It's one thing to have a $14k difference when you're considering six figure offers, but at this level the disparity is too significant to ignore. I would likely take the Pru job realizing that while it will be unfulfilling, it will give you access to others in the organization. Schmooze your way around the place and make contacts within the company. This will be valuable to ultimately getting your way out of sales there whether it be internal or following somebody else out to another company. Who you know (and meet) is just as important as what you might learn and since you're just starting out, building your people network should be a high priority to allow you to access future opportunities.

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DealMavenGuru said:   C'mon guys, it's not as much of a no-brainer as some of you think. Let's face it - the Pru job is straight sales. Dime a dozen. Probably no marketable skills other than to go to another sales job (which OP doesn't seem interested in doing). Credit analyst will have financial statement analysis and other finance/business tasks which can be leveraged elsewhere. He'll likely learn far more from the analyst job.

That being said OP, the dollar difference here for an entry level job is huge. It's one thing to have a $14k difference when you're considering six figure offers, but at this level the disparity is too significant to ignore. I would likely take the Pru job realizing that while it will be unfulfilling, it will give you access to others in the organization. Schmooze your way around the place and make contacts within the company. This will be valuable to ultimately getting your way out of sales there whether it be internal or following somebody else out to another company. Who you know (and meet) is just as important as what you might learn and since you're just starting out, building your people network should be a high priority to allow you to access future opportunities.

  +1.
OP also mentions" :  " Prudential will have me taking the series 6/63 and I am taking the CFA level 1 in June". If properly leveraged, this can also help OP land well in his second job, either within or outside Pru.

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DealMavenGuru said:   C'mon guys, it's not as much of a no-brainer as some of you think. Let's face it - the Pru job is straight sales. Dime a dozen. Probably no marketable skills other than to go to another sales job (which OP doesn't seem interested in doing). Credit analyst will have financial statement analysis and other finance/business tasks which can be leveraged elsewhere. He'll likely learn far more from the analyst job.

That being said OP, the dollar difference here for an entry level job is huge. It's one thing to have a $14k difference when you're considering six figure offers, but at this level the disparity is too significant to ignore. I would likely take the Pru job realizing that while it will be unfulfilling, it will give you access to others in the organization. Schmooze your way around the place and make contacts within the company. This will be valuable to ultimately getting your way out of sales there whether it be internal or following somebody else out to another company. Who you know (and meet) is just as important as what you might learn and since you're just starting out, building your people network should be a high priority to allow you to access future opportunities.

  
+1 to this

I will also add, the most significant factor in landing a job is... having a job. Coming right out of school, you're damn near unemployable. But get that first year or two under your belt with Prudential and there will be plenty of companies with lots of different (and better) job openings willing to take a risk on you once you've shown that you could hold down a legit job at a place like Prudential for a couple years.

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I would go with the sales job, personally. I think it will be much easier to move from a sales role to an analyst role than vice versa. I've basically been a financial analyst most of my career, and I would love to have had a chance to try out a sales role early on.

Also, I think a sales role prepares you better for a lot of the soft skills of financial industry employment (schmoozing, speaking to clients, front office stuff, etc.), while an analyst job only prepares you for more analyst jobs. Once you get the soft-skills down, you'll be far more prepared to apply for and get front-office facing analyst jobs (if that's what you want), which will always pay more than the more back-office type jobs (like you're talking about at the community bank).

Combined with the bigger name on the resume, better pay and benefits, etc. It would be an easy choice for me (at least, knowing what I know now).

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Prudential. Bigger, more recognizable name, more training opportunities, compensation and benefits, and ability to move laterally if sales isn't for you.

Credit analysis does not guarantee you'll be looking at financial statements, etc. Trying to make back the $14k (per year) lost over time will take years to catch up.

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