by Brian DeChesare Comments (47)

The Credit Analyst Career Path: How to Get Into Finance Through the Side Door

Credit Analyst Career Path

One of the problems with discussing credit analyst roles and the credit analyst career path is that no one agrees on what they mean.

Adding to the confusion is the presence of jobs with very similar names, such as “credit risk analyst,” “credit specialist,” and “loan officer.”

Unfortunately, they’re all somewhat different – despite the similar names.

The commonality is that they can be useful side doors into the finance industry, especially if you got started late, earned lower grades, or did not complete enough internships:

What is a “Credit Analyst”? And What Do They Do?

Credit Analyst Definition: A credit analyst analyzes external parties, such as customers and borrowers, and uses qualitative and quantitative analysis, focusing on “downside” cases, to make lending recommendations, assign ratings, or determine credit limits and other terms.

This definition is so broad that it could refer to dozens of roles.

For example, if you work in Debt Capital Markets or Leveraged Finance or a closely related area such as corporate banking, technically, you are a “credit analyst.”

The same applies if you’re working in sales & trading on a fixed income trading desk, such as corporate bonds.

And if you’re in a more specialized role, such as structured finance or real estate lending, you might also be a credit analyst.

You could even argue that buy-side roles such as direct lending, mezzanine, and credit hedge funds fall under this definition.

We’ve covered these areas in previous articles, so we’re going to focus on three specific, previously unaddressed “credit analyst” roles here:

  1. Commercial Banking – It’s similar to corporate banking, but you work on smaller loans for smaller/local businesses, and you’re less linked to the capital markets.
  2. “Normal Company” Credit Analysis – You might determine customers’ credit limits (i.e., how much in products/services they can order before submitting cash payments) and how your company’s cash flow will be affected.
  3. Credit Ratings Agency – You analyze companies and assign credit ratings, such as Aa3 or Ba2, based on their financial performance, risks, and outlook. Investment banks, investors, and lenders then use these ratings in their analyses.

These three categories have a lot in common:

  1. External Parties – Unlike corporate finance roles such as FP&A, in credit, you always analyze external parties such as customers, borrowers, or clients paying for ratings. This also means you get more interaction with these other companies.
  2. Analytical Work – You always focus on the downside cases, companies’ credit stats and ratios (e.g., Loan to Value, Debt / EBITDA, and EBITDA / Interest), their financial statements, and how they compare to peer companies.
  3. Reduced Compensation But Improved Work/Life Balance – These jobs tend to pay less than other entry-level finance roles but also offer “close to normal” workweeks (think: 40-45 hours).

On the other hand, there are quite a few differences in the exit opportunities, the recruiting process, and the day-to-day work.

Also, while the compensation is lower than in roles such as investment banking and private equity, the averages and ceilings differ based on the category.

The Credit Analyst Career Path: Day-to-Day Work

If you look at the corporate banking article, much of the day-to-day description also applies to commercial banking.

You’ll still analyze clients’ financial statements and create projections for different scenarios, write memos, monitor borrowers, and build relationships to sell them other services, such as corporate credit cards or cash management.

The difference is that the clients tend to be smaller, such as companies below $100 million or $500 million in revenue (depending on the bank’s size).

If you’re at a credit rating agency (S&P, Moody’s, or Fitch), much of the analytical work is similar, but there are a few differences:

  1. Macro Analysis – You often focus on broader economic trends, such as inflation or demographic changes, and aim to “connect the dots” of these trends to the companies you cover.
  2. Concrete Credit Ratings – After completing your analysis, you assign a specific credit rating to the company. In commercial or corporate banking, you’ll factor in these ratings, but you do not assign them yourself.
  3. Different “Relationship-Building” – You want clients to keep coming back to pay you for more ratings, but credit rating agencies do not offer the same array of services as corporate and commercial banking groups.

Finally, if you’re doing credit analysis at a normal company, the key differences are as follows:

  1. Internal Analysis – Since you’re evaluating customers, you look at not only the normal credit stats and ratios but also internal data such as A/R Aging Reports (i.e., how long it takes customers to pay invoices), Days Sales Outstanding trends, and the Cash Conversion Cycle.
  2. End Goals – The aim is not to assign a credit rating or propose an interest rate on a loan the customer wants but to determine the credit line they can open and the conditions that come with it.

Let’s say that a large customer wants to open a $100K credit line with your company, so they can order up to $100K in products and receive them before paying in cash.

You analyze this customer’s credit stats and ratios and your internal data and find the following:

  • Debt / EBITDA: This company might be at 4x vs. 3x for peer companies.
  • EBITDA / Interest: This company is at 3x vs. 5x for peer companies.
  • Days Payable Outstanding: It takes this company an average of 60 days to pay invoices vs. 30 for peer companies.
  • A/R Aging: This company has paid its invoices in 45 days vs. an average of 30 days for other, similar customers.

Based on this data, your firm might propose a credit limit of $75K rather than $100K because this customer seems riskier than others in the industry.

You might also propose faster invoice payment terms or ask for a small percentage of upfront cash payments to reduce some of this risk.

How to Recruit for and Win Credit Analyst Roles

Especially on the commercial banking side, these roles are not super-competitive.

If you have at least one related internship, a decent GPA, and you know the basics of accounting and credit, you should have a good chance.

Interviews are rarely technical: expect many fit/behavioral questions and basic accounting and credit ones (the corporate banking article has a summary).

These roles are available directly out of undergrad, and you do not need special qualifications/certifications/credentials to win them.

In fact, you might even seem “over-qualified” with something like an MBA or CFA.

Credit rating agency roles are more competitive and usually require more technical knowledge and related internships/other experience.

You’re also more likely to get questions about evaluating specific companies and issuances and how you might approach the process (“mini-case studies”).

You can still win these roles out of undergraduate; they’re much less competitive than investment banking roles but more competitive than commercial banking ones.

Finally, credit analysis roles at normal companies are rarely advertised in the same way that corporate finance rotational roles are.

Candidates tend to have experience in corporate finance at the company or in credit analysis at a bank, and it’s more common to see MBA or Master’s degrees.

That said, interviews are still not super-technical, and you can expect similar questions.

Potentially, you can win these roles directly out of university, but you’ll need to do some networking because companies don’t necessarily post online applications.

The Credit Analyst Career Path

On the commercial banking side, there are two main options in the credit analyst career path:

  1. Stay in credit, keep analyzing new issuances and monitoring the portfolio, and advance up the ladder to become a “Portfolio Manager.”
  2. Move to the sales side and aim to become a “Loan Officer,” “Lender,” or “Relationship Manager” (the names vary by firm).

It might take ~8-10 years to reach the top of the hierarchy, depending on the role you’re targeting (sales takes longer because you need to build more external relationships).

As a Portfolio Manager, you make the final decisions on new and existing loans so that the Lenders can spend their time winning deals.

That translates into quarterly/monthly covenant testing, document collection, and flagging potential issues to the risk team and the Lenders.

Lending jobs (sales roles) tend to pay more but are also more stressful due to the sales targets; also, not everyone can sell effectively, so some credit analysts will not reach this level.

Banks “poach” Lenders from other banks all the time if they want to target a certain industry or market segment in which the Lender has many relationships.

At credit rating agencies, the career path and hierarchy are more like those in other finance roles: Analyst, Associate, Director, Analytical Manager, and Managing Director.

The Analysts do the work, the Associates and Directors coordinate and manage those below them and interface with clients, and the MDs win new clients and assignments.

There isn’t quite the same split between “sales” and “credit” roles, and advancing to the top can be challenging because hardly any senior staff leave the role willingly.

Finally, at normal companies, the credit analyst career path is similar to the corporate finance career path: Analyst, Senior Analyst, Manager, and eventually a VP or even the CFO.

As with other CF roles, advancement can be very, very slow because many people at these large firms plan to stay there forever and grind it out over several decades.

The Credit Analyst Career Path: Exit Opportunities

The exit opportunities are the main advantage of the credit analyst career path – at least if you leave the job relatively quickly (within 1-2 years of starting).

I’d summarize the exit opportunities by area as follows:

  • Commercial Banking: The most obvious exit is corporate banking; credit-related groups in IB, such as DCM, might also be possible. You could also move to a credit rating agency or a similar role at a normal company. Direct exits to buy-side roles such as direct lending, mezzanine, or credit hedge funds are unlikely, as you normally need IB or other capital markets experience first.
  • Credit Rating Agency: You have similar options, but you also have a better shot at direct exits into the buy-side roles mentioned above and fixed income research – depending on the companies and products you covered. You also have a higher chance of getting into investment banking or groups like structured finance if you have matching experience.
  • Normal Company: It’s most common to move around to other areas in corporate finance, such as FP&A, Accounting, or Treasury. But it is also possible to move to a credit rating agency or corporate/investment banking. Like commercial banking, direct exits into credit-related buy-side roles are unlikely unless you’ve had deal or capital markets experience before this.

The bottom line is that you should not accept a credit analyst role with the expectation that you’ll be able to move into private credit at Ares or Blackstone.

You may get there eventually, but you’ll have to move through other roles, such as corporate or investment banking, to do so.

Credit Analyst Salaries and Bonuses

Unfortunately, it’s very difficult to find hard data on compensation, partially because of how “credit analyst” could refer to dozens of different roles.

Therefore, I’ll give very broad ranges here (data as of 2022):

  • Commercial Banking Credit Analyst: Expect to start at $60 – 80K in total compensation (bonuses are 5-10% of base), move up to $100K+ over several years (with steadily increasing bonuses), and top out in the $150 – $200K range within ~10 years on the “credit” path. If you move to the sales side, some Relationship Managers can earn $300K+ or even above $400K for top performers. But the average is probably in the $200 – $300K range. To go above these levels, you’ll have to move into more of an executive role.
  • Rating Agency Credit Analyst: The compensation here seems to be closer to the corporate banking numbers, i.e., expect to start at $100K+ all-in and move up to around $500K as an MD. “Associates” at credit rating agencies might earn around what “Analysts” in IB do, with the main difference being much lower bonuses.
  • Normal Company Credit Analyst: Expect something similar to the “commercial banking credit analyst” progression above, with pay starting at $60 – $80K and topping out at around $200K+ until you reach the VP or executive level.

Compensation is lower along the credit analyst career path because the fees are lower, and in the case of normal companies, it’s not even a revenue-generating function.

Clients pay far less for credit ratings and opinions than they do for M&A deals or high-yield bonds, and the fee percentage on commercial loans is lower than on corporate banking products.

Also, banks have fewer products to “upsell” to these smaller companies, so it’s more difficult to justify high compensation.

The Credit Analyst Career Path: Pros and Cons

The best parts of credit analyst roles are:

  • Winning entry-level roles is much less competitive than in other areas of finance, especially if you started late, you’re older, or you went to a non-target university.
  • It’s a fairly stable career, at least if you stay on the “portfolio management” side rather than sales in commercial banking.
  • It offers great hours and work/life balance compared with almost every other finance role discussed on this site.
  • At the top levels, the pay can be quite good when adjusted for the reduced hours and stress.
  • You learn valuable skills and gain access to many exit opportunities if you leave within the first few years.

And the main downsides are:

  • The work can be somewhat boring/repetitive, especially if you focus on monitoring existing clients.
  • The pay for entry-level roles is quite bad next to investment banking or even corporate banking. And sure, you can “adjust for the reduced hours” – but absolute numbers also matter, especially in high-cost areas.
  • There is some risk of automation, as quite a few “monitoring” tasks do not require constant human involvement.
  • And the pay ceiling is far lower than in fields like IB, PE, mezzanine, direct lending, or even commercial real estate.

In short, the credit analyst career path is great at the beginning and the end but not so great in the middle. It’s best if:

  1. You’re in it for the long haul, and you want to work your way up to earning $300K+ eventually while working 40 hours per week.
  2. You missed IB/PE/HF recruiting in university or otherwise did not receive offers, and you want to get into one of those eventually via lateral hiring rather than paying for an expensive MBA.

The biggest problem with this career is that if you get tired or bored in the middle – say, Year 5 or 6 – and you want to earn more money or do something different, you don’t have that many options (outside the MBA route).

So, I think it’s risky to spend your “peak earning years” here unless you’re certain you can make it to the top and stay there for a long time.

But as long as you understand that it’s more about the start and finish and less about the journey, the credit analyst career path might be a very appealing side door into finance.

About the Author

Brian DeChesare is the Founder of Mergers & Inquisitions and Breaking Into Wall Street. In his spare time, he enjoys lifting weights, running, traveling, obsessively watching TV shows, and defeating Sauron.

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  1. Hello Brian,

    Thanks for the great read. I’m currently pursuing my BBA with a major in finance from a non-target (4.0 GPA), and I was fortunate enough to be hired as a full-time commercial credit analyst despite being a student. I’m highly interested in IBD, ideally M&A or industrials, but I got a late start to internship recruiting and it looks like I won’t have anything lined up during 2025 (my final year of school). In your opinion, would I realistically stand any chance at full-time recruiting with my prior experience? I’m alternatively considering a MS in Finance for another shot at SA recruiting. Thanks again.

    1. I can’t say because I don’t know what your internship experience looks like. You normally need at least 1-2 finance internships to be competitive for full-time IB recruiting without a previous IB internship, but even then, it’s very random because banks do not hire that many people outside of internships. It’s probably a better idea to accept the full-time credit analyst offer, work there for a year, and then lateral to a more relevant group (may not be able to go into IB directly, but something like corporate banking or a combined CB / IB group might work). Not sure I would recommend an MSF just to get another shot at internship recruiting (again, depends on your internships).

      1. Thank you! I should have clarified, I’m in the unique position of currently working as a credit analyst while completing my degree. I started out as a consumer loan officer with the bank to put away money during school, but networked my way into the credit analyst position just under a year ago. I should have around 1.5 years of experience in credit analysis by the time I graduate, with no internships. I’m also hoping that the full-time school+job combo will showcase the type of workload that I can handle. At that point, do you think I may have a chance at full-time recruiting after graduation since it’s similar to a lateral move?

        1. If you think you can actually recruit for full-time roles while also working full-time and still finishing school, sure, give it a shot. I just don’t know how the logistics would work since you’ll have to recruit just before/during your final year of university. I guess you could do it over the summer as firms decide how many interns they’ll bring back.

  2. I am currently one year into big 4 audit and would like to work as a credit analyst in commercial banking. I have an offer to be a residential property credit analyst at a non-bank lender. This means I won’t be dealing with any financial statements/accounting. Would it be better to take this offer and start learning more about general credit or stay in big 4 audit a little bit longer than try to transition to commercial banking? (Australia)

    1. That is a close one, but I would still probably recommend taking the property credit analyst offer because credit work anywhere is closer to credit work in commercial banking. The main benefit of Big 4 audit is the brand name, but you already have that benefit if you’ve worked there for a year.

  3. How feasible is it to move from a credit analyst role at a normal company to a credit analyst or portfolio manager role in commercial banking after a year or 2 at the normal company? My goal is to be a commercial lending relationship manager, but I might have to start at a normal company. I’ve seen other forums say a typical career path is credit analyst to portfolio manager to relationship manager, but they seem to be talking about credit analyst roles at banks in those forums so I want to know if the same applies to credit analysts at normal companies.

    1. You can usually move around within credit fairly easily, so I would assume it’s possible to go from credit at a normal company to a credit role in commercial banking. I assume they would probably make you start from a lower level or may not give you full credit for your experience, though, depending on how commercial banking at the large bank is set up. But I do not have firsthand/verified accounts to prove or disprove this, so these are my guesstimates based on previous knowledge.

  4. Thank you, Brian, it was an amazing read. I have a question regarding career paths. My goal is to eventually break into private equity, so I might need an IB role first. However, as you mentioned in the article, I have failed in IB/PE recruiting, but I have received offers from a boutique investment bank and a credit analysis role that supports wholesale banking in Asia at HSBC. I am just wondering, in your opinion, which position is a better choice for getting me into an investment banking role at firms like RBC or MS in the future.

    1. The boutique IB role is better because it’s directly relevant to IB at larger firms. Wholesale banking is much less so. Yes, HSBC is a much bigger and better-known bank, but you’re still generally better off working at a boutique bank and then using it to move to a larger bank.

  5. Hi Brian,

    Brilliant read – some of the best info I’ve seen on Credit related career options. I can see it’s a while since the last comment but hopefully my question reaches you.

    My goal is to reach a Credit related Buyside role (e.g Credit related HF Analyst, Private Credit, PE LevFin). I am starting my career on an Analyst Program with Citi in their UK commercial bank – which services 9 figure financing proposals, trade finance solutions and cash management products etc to UK businesses generating between $50m and $3bn in sales.

    After reading this article and the related comments, I believe prevailing away from the traditional relationship banker ladder and pursuing the Credit Analyst path then a more specialised role in the teams distressed debt / restructuring functions could be a good start in positioning myself for an internal move to a LevFin / FIC Desk within Citi (arguably a position where you can begin to think much more realistically about buyside positions than in Commercial/Corporate Banking).

    Would be amazing to hear your thoughts. Many thanks.

    1. Yes, doing something in a distressed / restructuring role would be better if you want to move to LevFin or something else at the bank that could set you up for buy-side roles. It is very, very rare for anyone to move from commercial banking directly into any type of buy-side role. You normally need IB or something capital markets-related first.

      Being a relationship banker can be a good career move if you understand the trade-offs, but it’s not the best place to be if your eventual goal is buy-side credit.

  6. Hey Brian – thanks for doing this. What are your thoughts on Counterparty Credit Risk jobs at BB banks?

    1. I don’t know much about them, sorry. They are potentially good if you want to get into S&T roles eventually, but I don’t know enough to state their pros and cons without doing some research.

  7. Hi Brian, are you familiar with the role of hedge fund credit risk analyst from the broke dealer or trading floor of sell side bank? Their role is to place credit analysis for the counterparties (mainly buy side funds, eg, hedge fund, pension funds, other regulated funds) about their fundamentals, credit rating and finally issue the credit limits for the credit products. What do you think of this kind of credit work? Comparing with the tradition credit role in corporate banking, what is the exit opportunity for this? Can the credit analyst ended up in leverage finance or even buy side funds?

    Thank you.

    1. Sorry, I don’t know much about this role. I would have to research it a bit more and get back to you on this. But I don’t think it’s very common to move directly from credit risk into LevFin or buy-side credit funds. You normally need something a bit more transaction-related first.

    2. Hi Sean,
      I work in the counterparty credit risk department of a BB bank within the funds team covering hedge funds, PE etc. My experience is limited but I’ve seen people transitioning into very different roles such as equity research, LevFin or IB. However, as Brian said it is not common. Transitioning into LevFin or IB is more common for folks working in the corporates teams (still within counterparty credit) because they review financing transactions and are also involved in financial modelling, thus they simply have some sort of deal experience. I am also currently trying to break into asset management or IB, however not sure if my experience is not enough or it’s just not enough under the current market environment. I’ve seen people do it from funds focused teams as well a few years ago.

  8. Vandilson

    Hello Brian,
    I don’t know if you still replay the comments, but I need a help with a role that I did on a commercial banking (a Portuguese Bank), as a credit risk analyst there was a period in which my function was to analyze the performance of the credit portfolios and provide a report on them and on the performance of the department’s activity and several other variants linked to credit (loans) from disbursement to collection and debts. Translating the name of the function from Portuguese to English is Credit Controler but in English Credit Controler is a different thing, so my question is, if exist any role in English linked to this type of fuction and what is the name? Because most the roles that I found doesn’t match with the description.

    1. I’m not really sure and I can’t say much without seeing the work described on your resume or CV. But I think “Credit Analyst” is probably fine if it was different from the Credit Controller role, but it still involved analyzing credit portfolios. Maybe “Credit Portfolio Analyst”?

  9. Kevin Gonzalez

    Got an offer as a credit analyst and want to eventually get into investment banking and stay there. Is this a good job to lateral into a regional boutique investment bank?

    1. It depends on the type of Credit Analyst (commercial banking vs. normal company vs. ratings agency). If it’s commercial banking or a ratings agency, yes, it could potentially be a good way to move to a regional boutique investment bank eventually. It would be more difficult to do that coming from a normal company.

  10. Hi Brian,

    Really good and comprehensive read! I’m going to be starting as a credit risk analyst at a U.S. bulge bracket, and although i’m happy with the position in terms of learning potential, it was not my first choice. I really want to go into derivatives trading, primarily for the fast paced nature. My question is what could a potential path look like to move into sales and trading from credit risk?

    1. Thanks. That is a good question, and I’m not 100% sure of the answer. But I think you’d probably want to move from credit risk to something like market risk or something else within “risk” that is closer to trading activity at the bank and then go from there. Another option might be to go from credit risk to a credit-related desk within FICC, such as one of the sovereign or corporate bond ones, or maybe even something like distressed debt if you can get a good amount of research experience in credit risk first.

  11. Do you think moving to a credit rating agency will lead to going to the asset management career? I am currently working in M&A at an IBD, and would like to go into AM rather than PE, VC, etc. (I am in my mid 30’s)

    1. I don’t think a credit rating agency job will help much with getting into AM vs. working in M&A in IB. A rating agency job might help with something like credit or fixed-income research or managing a credit portfolio, but it’s less applicable to equities (e.g., working at a long-only equities fund) or to something like high-level portfolio management where you just pick the allocations. If you want to do AM, something like equity research might be a better option assuming that it’s AM in the sense of “micro analysis” (individual companies).

  12. Hello Brian,
    I am graduating this year and just got an offer from a credit rating agency as a credit analyst – would you recommend to take the CFA exams or work towards an MBA during the course of the graduate programme? I might look into transition to corporate banking or PE in the future, so I was just wondering which would be more useful.

    1. I don’t think you need either the CFA or an MBA to move into corporate banking from a credit rating agency, so I wouldn’t recommend these. If anything, learn more about accounting and the other skill sets required in CB roles (see the article on this site). The CFA will not help much in this situation because credit rating work is already somewhat related to IB/other finance roles. An MBA is overkill for corporate banking in most cases and should be used only if you’ve already networked extensively and cannot get responses or interest.

  13. Thank you for the valuable information. I recently got a job as a credit risk analyst but I actually had no prior experience in this field as I’m a business administration major (not finance). It’s actually a GDP banking program (graduate development program) where I learn everthing about finance and banking from scratch. Finance was never my thing but the more I learn about it the more I like it but I’m still hesitent if I really wanna do it for the rest of my life. so my question is how will this job benefit me in the long run and when it comes to starting a business? Can I like after 3-5 years of the job switch into a totally different position, like project management for example (it’s what I initially wanted to do)?
    I really appreciate your response
    Thank you a lot

    1. I don’t think it’s common to switch from credit risk to project management, but you can probably move around to other roles within the bank or other firm. Most finance roles do not really help you with starting your own business at all, except for cases where there is customer/industry overlap (e.g., you are building tools to automate a process for financial institutions).

      So, it depends on what you want, but credit risk analyst jobs are not as flexible with exits/future roles as something like consulting. And, in general, working at any type of bank or finance firm tends to skew you toward other finance roles, even if they have a bit more of an operational mix (such as accounting/finance roles at normal companies).

  14. I’m looking to transition from Commercial Banking to PE, after getting a couple years of experience as a Junior/Senior Credit Analyst. Do you know if this is doable? If so, what would that career path potentially look like?

    1. I don’t think you can do that (easily) because it’s quite a leap to go from commercial banking directly into PE, when even most investment bankers do not win real PE roles, and IB is much closer to PE than CB. If you want to do this, you would need to get something more closely related first, like corporate banking or some type of credit investment role.

  15. Hello Brian,

    Out of curiosity, do you know about compensation analysts? Is that a good career as an analyst would you say? Or would a financial analyst or credit analyst be better suited for protectory?

    Thank you ahead of time for your insight!

    1. Sorry, but we don’t track compensation analysts and do not have much data on the role, so I can’t say much. My instinct would be that financial analyst and credit analyst roles are better because you’re closer to the transactions (or management) in those cases – whereas compensation analysis is more of a middle-office function.

  16. Hi Brian, I recently graduated and became a Credit Analyst during summer of this year. I have started off by making $70k base pay for my current position. Do you think in about 5-7 years from now I could be making $120-150k if I continue to stick to credit and become an AVP/VP portfolio manager?

  17. Hi Brian

    Thanks for the summary! For the 3 major credit rating agencies (S&P, Fitch, Moody’s), would you say that there is a “prestige” difference between the 3 rating agencies in terms of exit opportunities and work experience? I know that S&P and Moody’s is larger (80% of the market) and more well known than Fitch but wondering whether that would materially affect your exit opportunities.

    Have offers from multiple rating agencies and just trying to see if I should go more with fit or the differences in prestige/recognition between the 3 rating agencies.

    Thanks, Brian

    1. That is a good question. I’m not really sure, but yes, I would assume that S&P and Moody’s are probably better bets than Fitch for exit opportunities based on size and market share. But I have not looked at actual data or gone through LinkedIn profiles to verify this. If there’s a small difference in fit, you may want to decide based on size/exits, but if it’s a very big difference in fit, probably decide based on that.

      I don’t think it’s nearly the same effect size as joining the top bank vs. a mid-tier bank for investment banking.

  18. Hey Brian… I see that there’s a lot of credit risk analyst/associate jobs for GS at Salt Lake City/Dallas. Do you know the rough comp range for those roles and also the career path for those? Thanks!

    1. I don’t know, sorry. It’s very difficult to find real information on salaries in one specific office of one specific bank.

  19. Thank you for posting this, Brian! I’m in a similar predicament where I have a credit rating analyst offer from a Credit Rating Agency (Moody’s) and a commercial banking credit analyst offer at a BB (BofA).

    End goal is to go into investment banking, corporating banking, equity or credit research (buy or sell side).

    Based on my career goals, which offer do you think would be better in providing me a easier and more possible transition into one of the 4 target roles mentioned (IB, Corporate banking, equity/credit research)?

    Thanks, Brian!

    1. I’m not sure there is a huge difference here because they’re both brand-name firms and both could lead to everything you mentioned. But I would probably give the slight edge to Moody’s just because the pay is higher and the work tends to be somewhat more analytical / relevant to investing roles. But, again, I’m not sure there is a huge difference here, so you may want to decide based on other criteria such as fit with the team.

  20. Thank you for summary Brian,

    What kind of certificates would you recommend to look more appealing ?
    CFA or CPA?

    1. For credit analyst roles? I don’t think certifications help that much. The CPA is probably more useful at banks and normal companies, but the CFA is probably better for a credit ratings agency or other investing-oriented roles. But I don’t think any of these matter much vs. grades, work experience, etc.

  21. Would you recommend this career? I recently took this job, as I enjoy working with numbers and analyzing reports. This would be my first job out of college and I was offered 60k a year, not bad, but I would really like to get into the 150k mark within the next 5-7 years. Do you think this is possible? Would you recommend I work there a year or two and then see if I can get something more lucrative somewhere else. The manager said the last couple people made senior roles after about a year. If I can hit the 80k base with a decent bonus by the time I get a senior role I believe I would be pretty happy.

    1. I recommend this career if it aligns with your goals and desired compensation and work/life balance. If you would be happy earning $200-$300K per year in the long term with a 40-hour workweek and relatively low stress, it’s great. If your goal is to earn over $1 million, you’ll need to find a different career, start a business, ec.

      You can reach the $150K level in total compensation within 5-7 years.

      In terms of staying for 1-2 years and then moving somewhere else, again, it all depends on what you want to do in the future. If you’re using this to move into something more competitive, such as corporate banking or investment banking, then sure, it’s a good steppingstone role. It makes less sense if you’re moving around just to move around and marginally improve something about the job.

  22. Is credit analyst also called credit risk analyst?

    1. Yes, but it’s confusing because sometimes the “credit risk analyst” is more of a middle-office position at the large banks since you’re evaluating the risk of credit deals to support various IB groups and S&T desks. It’s really a whole separate topic, and this article was already getting long, so I held off covering it. But we may do a separate feature on it in the future.

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