Product Controller or Business Analyst, Which Do I Choose?

I have two offers from two big investment banks; one as a product controller in structured credits in finance and the other one is front office business analyst in IT for exotic equity derivatives area where you will deal with risk and pricing.

What are the carrer prospects for both of them? I am not sure what I would like to do in future however I know that I would like to gain as much product knowledge as I can and have deeper understanding of business. Business analyst position pays 10 -15 k (in pounds) more compared to product controller position.

Business Analyst role seems more dynamic as it is a change management role where as product control seems more repetitive and not very challening in that sense ( or I may be wrong). Which one should I choose, please help?

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3 Responses to "Product Controller or Business Analyst, Which Do I Choose?"

  1. jd0601   March 6, 2011 at 3:05 pm

    I know that $10k sounds like a lot of money when you are first starting out, but it really isn’t in the overall scheme of things. The real question is what you would rather be doing and where each would take you. Having worked in risk management and as a product manager (i.e. not product control) for 15 years, I can say that being a business analyst is not as great as you might think. Yes, you will be supporting the risk and pricing, but you won’t be doing all of the analytic work in creating the risk and pricing models. You are part of IT, which is more of a support role. I know of few people who ever make it from IT to the front office. If you go this route, you should look at a quantitative degree program such as the Courant Institute at NYU, Carnegie Mellon’s MSCF program, etc. so you will have skills that will be noticed by the front office people. You could target being a front office quant person, with a potential compensation of about $200-500k. But, if you do not go this route, then being a business analyst for IT is not really an incredible job. Remember, you will still spend a lot of time with programmers explaining what needs to be done and testing out the applications. Please do not tell the IT colleagues that I interact with.

    On the product control side, you could learn a lot about different products and pick up some good skills supporting the desk. You could also learn how they value their portfolio and manage risk. From product control, you could move into Risk Management. Or if you could also pick up some good quantitative finance skills, you might be able to impress the front office. I tend to think that product control has the better career track between the two jobs unless you can somehow move to the front office. You might also want to look into being a CPA in Product Control, because you could target being an overall controller or CFO.

    Just a few random thoughts. I would chose Product Control for myself.

  2. Online Help   March 6, 2011 at 3:05 pm

    I am happy to hear this that you know Product Controller vs. Business Analyst. You can find more information here.

  3. Dinesh   April 4, 2012 at 4:14 pm

    I am trying to get into prodcut control but finding quite difficult as my background is in Operations. what do you suggest I do to get into prodcut control?. I have a CPA (Australia) but dont find it useful as prodcut control requires more on product modelling,risk management etc which CPA didnt cover so much in detail.


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