Accountant Transitioning

Accountant Transitioning

Hello all,

I've been meaning to post this since joining, but I am just now getting around to it. I (like many others) am trying to make the enormous leap from accounting to finance. So far, I've compiled a few possible ways for myself to break in to the industry, and I was wondering if I could get some feedback/alternatives. Any advice is welcome (and cherished) though advice from someone who has followed the same path is especially valued.

I am a semi-senior (weird limbo between senior and associate due to an employer change) tax accountant. I was an accounting undergrad from the University of Washington (UW). I went on to complete my Master's in Tax at the UW as well. (3.46 and 3.79 GPAs, respectively). I have my CPA. I worked 1.5 years at Deloitte before switching to a (significantly!) smaller firm in NYC where I am currently (1.7 years total experience).

The way that I see it, there are three ways for me to attempt to get into investment banking.

1.) target and continue to apply to small firms while developing my own financial knowledge on the side.
a.) This, to me, is the most painful of the alternatives, and frankly, despite the prolific myths indicating the contrary, I'm not sure if it's even possible. Does anyone have actual success this way?

2.) I have applied for and have been accepted to Columbia's EMBA Saturday program.
b.) This is a huge financial commitment, and one that I'm very, very reticent to jump into. My understanding is that IB rarely pulls "career converts" from EMBAs. Basically: unless you're already in the field you want, an EMBA won't do much for you. Is there any insight into just how true this is, or general success stories from people who have pursued this route?

3.) Cycle back to Big 4, and gun for transaction services. Serve a couple of years in that department and then try again later.
b.) This alternative is only slightly better than the first, in that it's a little more accessible and I am MUCH more familiar with the needs of the employer/have a network in place. Still, jumping from tax to transaction services will be a minor feat in and of itself.

Unfortunately, I feel that all three of these methods have relatively low chances of success, and as such I'm getting a little discouraged. Even still, I know that I have to choose one and apply my efforts. My question becomes: If you were me, which of the three (or different) alternatives would you pursue?

Again, thank you for your feedback.

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