This thread may be old, but is surprisingly relevant to my life situation. Maybe I can offer a bit of insight when it come to the analyst/accounting career path, at least as it relates to corporate analysts and corporate CPA's. I took an undergraduate physics major, then decided to pursue a career in accounting/finance. So I got a masters in accounting (MPA) from Texas and slid in for a quick 15 months of work experience as a big four auditor. Was laid off last April and am now a Texas CPA. I really love finance and particularly enjoy the mathematical and statistical problem solving that relate to the various financial instruments. Currently, I am a CFA level II candidate for next year.
I can attest to the fact that trying to get in as an entry level corporate analyst isn't really happening now. The number of general accounting, auditing, and financial reporting roles available is quite large despite the economy. Corporate analysts, in comparison, are much more expendable and are currently very top heavy with applicants who have tons of experience. Just look at the size of a corporate finance division compared to the mass number of accountant roles.
I spent seven months looking for any comparable finance position and could not land one. I didn't even get a second look despite pertinent academic background and a CPA. I decided to look at financial reporting roles about two weeks ago. I have my first job interview scheduled for next week as a result.
Unless you end up knowing someone or have an 'in' otherwise, job hunting will largely involve recruiters and hiring managers with eyes glued to your resume. They really do not look at anything else other than your work experience followed by your academic background and other relevant professional achievements.
My thinking way back a long time ago was that I wanted to learn business and eventually start another firm on my own (ran small blue collar business earlier in my life). My idea would be to eventually create freedom of time to pursue my studies as I see fit without the need for a standard job (as mentioned the mundane daily tasks in most fields are not terribly interesting, but end up taking up so much of your valuable time).