What Should You Pick For Your Major?

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Investment Banking MajorSo, which major has the highest chance of getting you into investment banking?

You might think that only undergraduates have to think about that one, but it comes up even when you’re that beyond that stage: when you go for Master’s or MBA degrees, you need to pick a concentration or major.

You shouldn’t pick classes just to get into the industry – but you also need to make sure you’re not reducing your chances of getting in by picking the “wrong” major.

Considerations

You need to consider 5 factors when picking a major:

  1. Enjoyment – Even if you pick something “easy” like Art History, it’s tough to get through it if you’re not at least somewhat interested.
  2. Your GPA – Quantum Physics might sound cool, but not if you get a 2.0 as a result.
  3. Time Requirements – You also don’t want to spend all your waking hours at the lab, because that reduces networking and activity time.
  4. Your Story – Will your major support the “story” you tell interviewers? Or will it be as illogical as The Joker?
  5. How Bankers View It – They may not know the specifics behind every single major, but they view some as “easy” and some as “hard.”

It gets complicated to weigh all these factors at the undergraduate level.

But it’s easy to do that at the MBA and Master’s levels, so let’s start there.

Business School

You won’t have a “major,” but you can usually pick a concentration or focus with your classes.

GPA is irrelevant because many top schools don’t even award grades – and while some classes may be more difficult than others, the perceived and actual differences are smaller.

So this decision is simple: pick a concentration that supports your story.

If you did sales & trading, got tired of it, and now want to move into corporate finance it won’t seem logical if you pick algorithmic trading classes.

But if you worked in banking and now want to move into venture capital, then “Entrepreneurial Finance” classes would make sense.

Master’s Programs

You applied to a Master’s program to take another shot at recruiting and to gain some prestige if you went to a lesser-known university.

So you only have one choice: do a Master’s program in Finance.

It makes absolutely no sense to go through the trouble if you’re going to spend your time analyzing English literature.

Related areas like Accounting, Management, and so on can work but Finance is the safest bet and the best way to support your “story.”

Undergraduate

Now we get to the fun part.

The choice of a major at the undergraduate level is more difficult because you actually need to take into account all 5 factors – enjoyment, GPA, time requirements, your story, and how bankers view it.

Rather than doing a SWOT analysis here (I’ll leave that to the consultants in the room), I would summarize it like this:

Pick a major that you’re at least somewhat interested in, where you can get a decent GPA (> 3.5 in the US system or equivalent abroad), have time for at least 1 major activity outside school, and that supports your story.

Interest

Ideally, we would all pick something that matches our interests precisely: video game design, the history of sports, or physical therapy.

But bankers won’t take you seriously if you have a major like this on your resume / CV.

So you have to compromise – one option is to do a more serious major and then pick something “fun” for your minor.

GPA and “Easy” vs. “Hard” Majors

Since bankers only spend 30 seconds looking at your resume, they have a simple classification system for majors:

  1. Liberal Arts / “Creative” Majors – Easy
  2. Economics / Finance / Some Sciences – Medium
  3. Engineering / Physics / Math – Hard

Before you reply or leave an angry comment, remember that these are not my own personal views – this is simply how bankers in a rush for time view the relative difficulty of majors.

Bankers expect you to have a lower GPA if you did a “hard” major and a higher GPA if you didn’t.

You still can’t waltz in with a 2.5 and expect to get interviews, but a 3.3 or 3.4 GPA doesn’t look as bad if you had a difficult major like Chemical Engineering.

Go for one of the “medium” difficulty majors – that way you can get a decent GPA and have time for activities outside of school.

Time for Activities

Once you’re out of school, activities don’t matter – but as a student you don’t have full-time work experience, so you need to rely on being “interesting.”

You can substitute internships, studying abroad, sports, or networking in for “activities” here.

Regardless of how you spend your time, you need to be able to talk about something outside of school work and summer internships.

If you’ve picked a more difficult major and really have no time, try to clear one semester or one quarter and use a study abroad experience as your “interesting fact.”

Story Support

Similar to the “Why investment banking?” question, there are 2 story categories:

  1. Non-business/finance major moving into business.
  2. Business/finance major moving into investment banking specifically.

So your major has to support whatever you’re saying here.

For #1, your major should be either your starting point (“I was interested in biology, but then got interested in finance…”) or your growing interest (“While in the biology major, I got exposed to finance in this one class / internship…”).

Some Examples, Please…

I knew you’d ask, so let’s go through them.

Example #1 – The Biology Major: She picks Biology (not “easy” but not as difficult as other choices), gets a 3.6 GPA, and has time to lead a volunteer group outside of work.

She does a lab internship her first year but then moves into business development at a biotech company, gets more interested in finance and does a couple related classes – and she gets into banking to advise biotech companies in the future.

Example #2 – The Accounting Major: He goes to a state school, majors in Accounting, gets a 3.7 GPA, and has time to be on his school’s Track & Field team. He did an internship at a Big 4 firm, got some exposure to Transaction Advisory Services, and now wants to move into banking.

While he learned a lot at the Big 4 firm, he wants to have a more direct role in shaping transactions and knows he can leverage his Accounting background to hit the ground running in banking.

Finance vs. Non-Finance Majors

You might now say, “Wait a minute – isn’t it always to your advantage to pick something like Economics/Accounting/Finance so you can tell a story around it and get decent grades?”

You can’t really go wrong with one of those choices, so if you have no other preferences then it’s a good idea.

Especially if you go to a lesser-known school, it’s in your best interest to pick a finance-related major because you have to work really, really hard to prove your interest.

At “target” schools you have more flexibility, because bankers assume you can handle anything.

School-Specific Considerations

One special case occurs when your school is well-known in a specific field.

The classic example is MIT – if you go there and major in Political Science, that would raise eyebrows no matter how accomplished you are. You’re better off picking something technical that plays to the school’s strengths.

At a place like Wharton, specific classes may be important in the context of networking – hundreds of alumni have been through the same courses and you can “bond” over the experience.

Are There Any Classes You Definitely Need?

Super-advanced math classes are not helpful, so forget about those.

If I had to pick 1 absolutely essential class, it would be Accounting.

When you start working, you don’t want to be figuring out what an income statement is – you should be familiar with all the lingo and know how the statements link together.

If your school actually offers modeling or valuation classes, those would be helpful as well – but not as essential as accounting.

What If You’ve Picked the Wrong Major?

There’s a decent chance you’ve already picked a major and completed a good portion of it – so what do you do if it’s the wrong one?

If you’ve picked something that’s too easy, the best way to fix it is to add finance-related classes and turn them into a minor.

If you’ve chosen something that’s too difficult, take the path of least resistance and do the bare minimum needed to finish it.

Adding in finance classes in this case would not be a smart move, because you’re already overworked – you’re better off showing your interest through internships or activities.

Undeclared?

Your major itself doesn’t matter.

It’s more about your major in the context of everything else: your GPA, your “story,” your internships, and your activities.

So make sure yours fits in with those and tells a good story – and if you really can’t decide, just pick Finance like everyone else.

About the Author

is the Founder of Mergers & Inquisitions and Breaking Into Wall Street. In his spare time, he enjoys learning obscure Excel functions, editing resumes, obsessing over TV shows, and traveling so much that he's forced to add additional pages to his passport on a regular basis.

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388 Comments to “What Should You Pick For Your Major?”

Comments

  1. Jesse says

    Hi! it’s a very helpful article. I’m a freshman in a liberal arts college,I’m considering majoring in economics and political science/environmental science with a foreign language, and probably going abroad in Germany for senior year. Does this qualify myself for IB?(in other words, does this undermine my competitiveness for the job?)If so, should I transfer to an ivy league school or comparable schools?

    I’m now still not so clear about my extracurricular activities. How about being a member in student government and finance club?

    Do I have to get a internship in the summer vacation of the freshman year?

    Thank you very much!

    • M&I - Nicole says

      Transferring to a target school if you aren’t already in one will help

      Sure, being in any finance/investment club will help

      No, but your junior summer internship will be important

  2. JoJo says

    Hi,

    Got a question, I’m doing a studying Accounting in UBC (uni of british columbia) and I’m currently in my final year of study. Question is, Should i spend another year to do another specialization in Finance or should I start working instead(I’ve interned in PwC Singapore and a small local CA firm in Vancouver and I could return to either firm)? Which would be more favorable to IB employers in my current situation?

    Thanks!

      • JoJo says

        Hi Nicole,

        If I am unable to obtain a finance internship this year, and given the constraints of my options:

        1.Finish school and work in either pwc or a small ca firm

        2.spend an extra year to complete the finance option

        Which would be the better option in my case?

        Thanks! :)

        • M&I - Nicole says

          If you think that you can use that one year in (2) to secure a job in finance then it may be worth it. There is no guarantee though. Experience with PWC and small CA may help you gain experience in accounting/finance. With the above being said, it may be challenging to move into IB

  3. Marcol says

    Hi M&A

    I’m an African-American attending the University of Georgia majoring in business economics. My major GPA is 3.0 on the dot but i only have taken two of my major related classes so far. i have a 2.9 overall GPA, but it is only low due to a horrible sophomore year which was a tough time in my. How hard will it be for me to fight my way into investment banking.

  4. Ivy GPA question says

    Hi, I am at a critical decision point in my academic career at a top 5 school. Do I pursue an economics degree with a gpa of ~3.3 or a history major with ~3.7/3.8 with some banking classes? My plan is to get a BB analyst role and eventually go to a top 5 business school.

    Thank you so much for your help in advance.

    • M&I - Nicole says

      I’d try to get a GPA above 3.5/3.6 to be safe. Majoring in finance/accounting would be more useful. Economics is good too

  5. says

    I am interested in two of America’s most elaborated subjects. These are Political Science and Finance for either of two careers, which are the office of Senate and Investment Banking.

    Again, this information is very helpful.

  6. Jason Castner says

    I will be attending an Ivy League school this coming Fall and I have a question regarding my major. I aspire to be working in IBD in a BB after I graduate after I gain experience through summer internships. I am an extremely analytical persion and assuming a high GPA (3.85+) either in Engineering or Applied Math Economics, which major would you advise me pick up? I feel like if I do end up pursuing Engineering while taking a lot of Economics courses, I’d still get stuck on the “story” part of the interview. Any advice or recommendations are welcome. Thank you!

    • says

      They are both about the same, but Engineering would let you hedge yourself a bit by opening up more options outside of finance, and could actually help with your story in terms of explaining why you’re interested in a group like tech, industrials, aerospace, etc.

  7. About Wharton says

    You spend a lot of time talking about how to move from a state school or a low gpa to investment banking, but I have the opposite problem. I was just accepted to Wharton… so now what? I’m interested in getting a dual degrees with UPenn’s College of Arts and Science in Mathematics, but what are some key things I should do before, while at, and after Wharton? Help!

    • M&I - Nicole says

      Congratulations! I’d suggest you to join an investment club and start being very involved in it, learn as much as you can about the financial markets, try your best to pick courses related to finance & ace them, and get yourself an internship as early as possible.

  8. Connor says

    I go to a semi-target school and am a sophomore. My school’s undergraduate business program in general is okay, but is well known for their economics program. In the coming days I have to make a decision regarding my major; either finance or economics [managerial concentration]. Your opinion will be very much appreciated.

  9. Etienne says

    Hi, I was accepted at McGill in honours economics and honours finance undergrad. Also accepted at HEC Montreal (lesser know) but with a large reputation in Europe for a BBA, should I go for the business degree as the accounting is more important or stick with the brand name from McGill in order to get into IB? Thanks

    • M&I - Nicole says

      Congrats. Given McGill’s reputation, I’d probably choose this school because of its network and credibility. I believe most banks recruit there too. I am not 100% sure of which banks recruit at HEC so I’d suggest you to speak with their career center and ask them re. their placement statistics and firms that recruit there. This will probably be more important, especially since economics and finance are also highly valued. Of course, it is best to have accounting as a major, but the brand name, network and # of banks that recruit at the school are more important

  10. Felipe says

    I have two options:

    1- Dual, Commerce/Economics majoring in Finance and Quant. Methods

    OR

    2- Single Commerce with 2 majors, Finance and Accounting which would mean graduating earlier but not having the Bachelor of Economics.

    How do you see a candidate with option 1 vs option 2?

    Do you think option one with about 1 year of work experience in an accounting firm would be preferable over option two?

  11. says

    What if I have a bachelors in Business Administration Emphasis on Finance ( not necessarily Finance) is that considered within the realm of finance and in the “middle” major listed above? And in the article I never saw anything related to business majors in the undergrad section, yet I heard a lot about business majors breaking into I-banks.

    I am also planning to get an MBA at a semi top school, UCBerkeley. And was wondering if that will help my chances of breaking into I-banks.

    Thanks for your time.

    • M&I - Nicole says

      Yes an MBA at UC Berkeley may help. Yes business majors do break into finance, you just need to have relevant industry experience and know how to value companies, and why you want to break into banking (your pitch)

  12. says

    Hi I graduated with a Bachelors in Business Administration Emphasis on Finance ( not necessarily Finance ) is this still considered within the realm of Finance? I also heard people with business degrees breaking into I-banks, yet it was never mentioned in the undergrad section of this article.

    I am also trying to get into a semi top school for my MBA, UC Berkeley and am wondering if that can help me more into breaking into a bulge bracket bank.

    Thanks for your time.

  13. says

    Hi there! You guys have a pretty awesome, detail-oriented website. I have a few concerns of my own though after reading the article above:

    First, I know this is a weak question, but from my research of this I wanted to post it here so I can better understand it. I know many people get financial licenses and certificates instead of the actual, formal degree. Does that help them break into banking jobs like people with degrees do? Or do the licensing/certifications have limits? I know Ibanks need degrees, but after I get my MBA, is added years of getting finance license/certificate going to help my resume and my pitch more?

    I am planning to get my MBA at UCBerkeley’s business program and was wondering if that is a targeted school by BB’s?

    I read on here that junior summer internships are the most important and am wondering if thats necessarily the case?

    Thank you!

  14. Sharad says

    I go to a non- target college and I am majoring in Economics. I have the option of pursuing a second major in either mathematics or computer science. Which major do you think will be a better complement? Also, I have done a ton of math/ computer science classes and I really enjoy them. Do you have any suggestions for a job within investment banking that requires a lot of math and programming skills?

    Thanks for the post.

  15. Jake says

    It’s really sad to see articles like this — articles that proclaim that the equation to employment in finance can be reduced into 5 variables — five sole factors.

    Take the lagrangian to establish f.o.c. to optimize prospectus for landing a job in finance? Claim taking “high-level math” will not help (I’m assuming that the author thinks beyond Linear Algebra is “ultra-advanced”)?!

    The purpose of pursuing postsecondary education, for most students, even those who attend the most “intellectually [v]rigorous” universities and colleges, increasingly obsess over obtaining 4.0’s (or higher at my alma mater) by taking that easy-“A” or by taking the bare minimum of challenging courses (those must really be worth the possibility of a getting *gasp* a “B-plus”)… but nevertheless have some promise of securing an elite job or getting into a top L/B/M-school. In doing so, students do not necessarily make themselves more marketable– come graduation –and perform the disservice of failing to pursue their academic passions. While the article does suggest that the number one factor in selecting a major — that of “enjoyment” — is indeed preeminent above all others, I hope that current (or soon to be) university students who are reading this article do not neglect the value of pursuing non-preprofessional academic paths. I hope that for the few upcoming semesters, that some will take Russian Literature, or Astronomy, or an obscure course in Ancient History, or Egyptology–anything that piques your interest — rather than take ANOTHER accounting course. I am not writing this with the intention of sounding pretentious, patronizing, or omniscient, but with to reassure: Respect your individuality — your quirks, your obscure interests — and your honesty with yourself will pay off in many ways. Even music majors (*gasp*) made it to McKinsey.

    JAI

    • M&I - Nicole says

      Thanks for your input and for visiting our site. The goal of our site is to help students break into banking, so our article’s goal is to help students increase their chances of breaking into IB. Of course, one can still break into finance majoring in Liberal Arts/Music/other majors not related to finance/accounting, but the chances may not be as high. And Brian did encourage students to major in subjects student enjoy, though they will have to take other factors listed in the article into consideration.

  16. Charlie says

    I currently got to the University of Chicago and am debating whether or not to major in Economics or Law, Letters & Society with a specialization in economics. My gpa is a 3.46 and will probably go down or stay there if I double major. If I do law, letters, & society, I could get my gpa above a 3.5. I want to go into sales and trading, and have worked part-time all year at CME in client services with OTC products. I currently am doing credit risk at the CME clearing house for the summer. Would you recommend sticking with econ, even if I cannot get my GPA back up? I’ve already taken a bunch of econ classes as well as some classes at Booth too. Also, do you think that it is feasible to want to go into sales and trading after these experiences?

    • M&I - Nicole says

      I’d try your best to get a GPA >3.5. For S&T, economics is probably more relevant than law, letters & society. Otherwise, you’ll have to demonstrate that you have some sort of econ/finance experience. Your internship helps. Perhaps you can minor in Econ if you are really worried about the GPA. Is there any way you can take easier classes to get your GPA back up? Yes you can still break into S&T after these experiences.

      • Charlie says

        if I did law letters, it would be a specialization in economics (we don’t have an economics minor), and I’ve already taken a majority of the classes for the econ major. However, I’m going to be a senior next year and need to take four more econ courses that will definitely not help my grades…

        • M&I - Nicole says

          Tough one. I still think getting a GPA above 3.5 is best bet so you can get into first round…

  17. colton says

    I would really like to talk to you personally! I am currently enrolled at the University of Memphis and would like some help.. I will be starting college in the fall of 2013. Just reading through your article I found that you really knew what you were talking about!

  18. Andy says

    Hi,
    I messed up my chances to go to the B-School at my University and am forced to choose a different major. I would like to stay here and do a B.A. in Economics instead of a BSBA in Business Economics or Finance (since I can’t get into the business school). I have guaranteed admission into another B-School in my state that I could transfer to, but it would take an extra year to graduate. Does it matter if I do a BA in Economics at the school I’m at right now or should I transfer to get a Finance degree? Both schools are unknown and I have a good GPA.

    • M&I - Nicole says

      A Finance degree maybe more helpful though it doesn’t make a big difference because your alternative is economics and both schools aren’t target. If one is a target and the other isn’t I’d go for the target. In your case, you’ll still have to rely heavily on networking so no I don’t think it matters much. Try your best to read as much as you can about the news, it will help you.

  19. Mike says

    Hi Brian and Nicole,

    Great article!

    One quick question-Is it better to have one area of specialty other than finance/economics? For example, a double-major in finance and biology might give you a competitive advantage so that you can advise biotech companies if you are doing consulting, does this apply to IBD?

    Thanks!

    Mike

    • M&I - Nicole says

      Good question. Yes you can spin it that way. With the above being said because you haven’t had too many years of experience in biotech this may not be too convincing. If you can maintain a GPA above 3.5 relatively easily with another concentration, I’d do that. Otherwise, just one major in Finance/Accounting is fine.

  20. Ben Silverstein says

    Hi Brian. I’m planning to use your services in the future when I attend university. I was accepted at both UC Berkeley and UCLA. I initially chose UC Berkeley because I wanted to get a job in the San Francisco bay area, but I feel that I like UCLA more. I read on your site that UCLA was considered a target school but others have told me its only good enough for LA Investment Banking, and Berkeley was better for both SF and NYC Is it possible to get a job in San Francisco from UCLA assuming I major in Business Economics, or will it be significantly harder? Thanks.

    • M&I - Nicole says

      Yes UCBerkeley may have a better reputation in my opinion. Yes I’m sure you can still get a job in SF from UCLA though it maybe easier if you graduated from Berkeley.

  21. Melody says

    Hi there,

    I recently graduated with a degree in Biology, but would like to pursue a career in the equity investment banking field with a focus on healthcare. Unfortunately, I didn’t take any accounting or finance related classes. Would it be best to first get a MSF or is it still possible to get an entry level job as a financial analyst?

    • M&I - Nicole says

      Yes an MSF or MBA may help you though it is still possible to get an entry level role assuming you network a lot, gain the relevant finance experience in school (outside of school) and obtain relevant finance knowledge (i.e. perhaps taking a finance course outside of school)

  22. Antoine says

    Hi,

    Thanks for the great website.

    I’m currently attending Laval University (same province as McGill) in software engineering. I’m in my sophomore year. I got a OK but not stellar GPA (3.51). I have enter software engineering because I want to work in a Quant/HFT position. Last year, I got a mentor who came from Laval University who has been working in HFT on Wall-Street in a lot of big firm(Bear Sterns, JP Morgan, etc.)
    My real passion is finance. I love math and CS but, well, i’m a finance addict. I’m not sure that I want to finish my undergraduate with an OK GPA, in a non target University, in a degree that i love but that i’m less passionate about than finance.

    Knowing the reputation of McGill and the great networking opportunities, I have sent my application in BCom for next Fall.

    Should I finish my software eng. degree and cold-call like crazy or go to McGill in BCom (and hope for the Honours in investment management.

    Thanks again for all the great information. I have read it ’till 4 am last night :)

    Regards,

    • Antoine says

      Oh and I forgot to say that I have an interview for an internship position at Google, so we will see but it’s hard to say no to Google…

      So if I really want to work in IB/PE/VC, I don’t really know what’s the best option for me.

      Thanks again.

    • M&I - Nicole says

      Thank you for your support. I am glad you find this article interesting. If you really like finance, I’d go to McGill given its name in Canada and that many firms recruit there.

  23. Shanila says

    Hi,
    I have a major-related background check question. I am majoring in chemical engineering and economics in college, but never really declared the engineering portion but kept taking classes in it.
    This is my last semester and I decided not to take the last 4 courses required to finish the Chem-E major. it just seemed like a miserable end to college.
    I just landed an offer at an elite PE company and wanted to know if its going to cause problems because they won’t be able to verify the second major listed on my resume. I gave them my transcripts which shows the course load etc. but since I never officially “added” the degree nor “dropped” it, is it a serious offense to tack it on the resume?

    Just paranoid about background checks..

    • M&I - Nicole says

      I don’t think so. If they ask, you can just explain your situation. It shouldn’t be a big problem.

  24. Jessica Shea says

    Hi,
    I am currently an Economics major at Boston University. Would transferring into the School of Management and majoring in Business Administration or Finance be a better option if I was considering IB?

  25. Saurabh Arora says

    Sir,currently I am in 12th grade and would like to pursue Investment Banking. I live in India and have chosen the COMMERCE Stream.Also,I wish to pursue my career abroad,preferably USA. Can you suggest any UG programmes In FINANCE/Economics. If you could provide me a step by step guide from high school to Investment Banking Related details,that would be much appreciated.

  26. Martin says

    Hello,
    I currently attend UCLA and am set on graduating with a degree in business economics. I have extra units left over because I took plenty of summer classes so I was thinking about picking up a minor. In your opinion what is more useful/sounds better in the business world, a minor in Environmental Systems or a minor in Global Studies. I am interested in both and I would only have to go out of my way to take an extra three classes for either minor. Or does a minor in this case add no value to my profile?

    Thank you in advance

    • M&I - Nicole says

      I’d choose the first one because it is more specific and you maybe able to use that for green funds. The latter is too general (What does Global Studies mean?).

  27. Luke says

    Hi, I’m a current first year at the University of Minnesota-Carlson School of Management, while it is not a top undergraduate program, it is definitely respectable especially for getting a Finance job in Minneapolis or Chicago. Is it still possible to get an Investment banking job in new york while being at this school and having a GPA of about 3.5-3.6, and being very involved with student groups (investment club & volunteering), and also already have an internship lined up in the Financial Department in QVC at the headquarters in New York this summer. Is that enough is basically my question to appeal to banks in New York and what more can I do?

  28. Etienne says

    Hi, I am currently doing my Bcom in finance and thoroughly enjoyed one of my core financial accounting courses. I enjoyed it so much that I’ve decided to double major in finance and accounting. Now, I am also in a co-op program, allowing me to pursue three internships or work terms throughout my undergrad. So I’d do my internships in finance, to get a better feel of the industry, as opposed to accountancy although i do have the choice of doing either one. Is it wise for me to spend a couple of years getting my CPA designation and then go into into investment banking or should I just do an accounting minor? Can I leverage a strong accounting background such as the CPA or is it too specialized to be relevant for anything in finance?

  29. Eric Laurin says

    Would joining a fraternity be helpful? I get it is a good way to network but would employers think it is a plus?

  30. Maxim says

    Hello, Brian! My name is. Maxim, and I have recently graduated from finance university under the government of Russian federation and have entered a master program in business valuation at the same universitiy. Simultaneously I am working in a German asset management company As a back office specialist to combine studies and job to get full time job experience . I realize the experience is not implicitly relevant for the Ib or private equity for a position of a junior analyst or intern,. I used your basic and advanced courses on financial modeling to write an undergraduate paper of linkedin valuation .
    Could you please advise what is better to consider to enter in the USA either a college or university Iin order to get a job in corporate finance industry at an entry level.
    Thank you in advance for your response

    • M&I - Nicole says

      Yes, getting into an MBA at a target university can increase your chances quite significantly especially if you want to work in the States.

  31. Austin says

    Hello and thank you for your advice. I was hoping to get your opinion on my situation. I’m going to be brief because my browser just crashed while typing this originally.

    1. Came into undergrad at 16 in CSE. Large top tier uni, did poorly freshman year by skipping classes and getting involved in bad crowd.

    2. Now much later, more matured and switched to Econ and biology. Want to change to Econ and mathematics, if I cannot do both, which is better for trading?

    3. I am a 4.0 student but because of my freshman year I can not achieve a 3.4 cumulative. Is an MBA in finance my only option now?

    Thank you,
    Austin

  32. Sam says

    Hello,
    I have got my bachelor’s degree in mathematics and computer science.But actually I am not very interested in that major. So now I am planning to switch it. I more interesting in accounting but also in civil engineering. …I am confused and can’t decide the right choice! !!! Can you please help withi this..
    Thank you.

  33. vyom bhardwaj says

    hey!
    I am bit confused on choosing my major, i am an indian student and have got admission in ubc (university of british Columbia )arts wanted to pursue economics major or hounors but now i am confused between finance and economics it is is diffiult to decide as i am interested in both, please give suggestions..

    THANK YOU

    • M&I - Nicole says

      I’d do both. Otherwise, either works because both are related to business and macro-economics. Perhaps the finance major is more relevant to IBD roles, though the Econ major is useful for HF/buy-side/market related roles. Which one are you more passionate about and good at? I’d pick that one

  34. Gina says

    Hi,

    Thanks for the great article! It is definitely very useful for people thinking of going into IB. I’m currently a sophomore and am deciding between majoring in either ORFE (Operations Research and Financial Engineering) or Computer Science. I was wondering which major you thought would look better for pursuing a career in trading. I’d have a similar GPA with either major and I would enjoy both majors equally.

    Thank you!

    • M&I - Nicole says

      Financial Engineering would help I think. Operations Research isn’t exactly useful (yes you may not be able to separate one from another). CS can be useful.

  35. McCombs Student says

    Hey Brian! First off, I wanted to thank you.. Your articles been nothing but eye-opening and enlightening.

    Secondly, I am a student at McCombs. It’s accounting program is #1 and I honestly enjoy my classes. However, the finance program is also excellent. They do not allow for a person to double major (only minor), so would it be fine if I majored in accounting, and minored in finance?

  36. Scott says

    I’m a Sophomore undergrad right now at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities, and pursuing a B.A in Economics in the Liberal arts college. the U of M isn’t a big IB school but right now I have the option of transferring to DePaul in Chicago to study Finance instead
    Really interested in getting into finances especially investment banking.
    Should I leave my current school and go pursue a finance or is a degree in econ enough?

    • M&I - Nicole says

      If you prefer Chicago to Minnesota, yes.

      Chicago may offer you more opportunities. And I’d also transfer if you like the curriculum, people and culture at DePaul better. Econ vs. Finance isn’t too big of a deal in my opinion. If you can transfer to UChicago from DePaul this may help you quite a lot.

      • Scott says

        so an econ degree won’t lessen my chances of getting into IB compared to finance?
        I’ve seen the curriculum of a finance student taking portfolio mgmt, financial modeling, derivatives capstone, etc.
        are all things I won’t learn and it puts me at a disadvantage?

        • M&I - Nicole says

          No, because finance firms take Econ majors, especially if you’re looking at macro-related roles like credit, etc.

          However finance courses do have their purpose so if you want to learn more about the industry and are more interested in the curriculum I’d go for it

  37. Raj says

    I got dual degree admission at umich for compuer science engineering and ross bba. I can complete both in four years. Also I have admission at duke economy undergraduate. Which one you think will be better for investment banking?

    • M&I - Nicole says

      Both are great though Duke may have a better name and tighter network on Wall Street. You may want to check with their career services center.

  38. vb says

    Hi,above you have written that finance or accounting is the best way to become a banker,but I read somewhere that most bankers have majored in economics.Also economics is the most popular major at the target schools like harvard, mit e.t.c.Since the top banks recruit at these schools this makes sense.So I’m confused by how you said that given an option between finance or econ to go for finance.Are the above statements false?And the target schools for the banks are the ones offering the best econ degrees eg. Harvard,Mit and not the best finance colleges like Boston college etc.Also I am interested in being a banker in nyc,but if I am unable to do so I want to become an engineer in the bay area.So if the major really doesn’t matter should I play safe and do engineering?I can probably make it to Duke,U chicago level college.If I go the econ/finance level I only want to do banking/consulting and nothing else,so do you think that engineering would be a better option for me since if I don’t land a banking/consulting job I can become an engineer?What are the chances of me landing a banking job if I go to a uchicago level college,major in econ/finance,network hard and get an internship?

    • M&I - Nicole says

      Yes if you want to have the option to be an engineer then you may want to major in that subject.

      UChicago is a great school and very famous for its Economics division so yes I think you have decent chance of landing a banking job from that role assuming you have decent credentials, work experience and presentation skills during interviews

  39. vb says

    Also in a few months I am taking ibdp and the subjects I am choosing are-HL pcm and eco. SL-ENGLISH and hindi(I am from India). Do you think these choices are appropriate if I want to keep my options open for both econ/finance and engineering?

  40. vyom bhardwaj says

    Hi, I have got admission at University of British COLUMBIA and intend to do MAJOR in ECONOMICS ,MInor in Commerce whereas another option is to do JOINT honors in economics and finance at McGILL university so could you please tell me which one is better option ?

  41. Bob says

    Going to be a freshman at University of Maryland, College Park in the fall to study Finance. Want to do investment banking, at top firm i.e. Goldman Sachs. Is transferring to ivy league school worthwhile or not so important?

    • M&I - Nicole says

      Yes it is but I personally prefer something like Accounting because it can open you more doors and give you a solid understanding of how businesses are run

      • Sam says

        Hello! Hope everyone is doing good!
        I decided to pick Accounting and Business Management for my master degree, could you please give me any observation about it? And could this major be easy for me especially if I don’t have any backgrounds?
        Thank you

        • M&I - Nicole says

          Sam, yes having accounting as a major is great. I may do Accounting and Finance, vs Accounting and BM.

  42. sai says

    Hi,
    My name is Sai. I’m going for a Master of Business degree major in International Business for Feb’15 to Queensland University of Technology. I want to get into the field of Investment banking but I’m confused if I can, taking my major into consideration. I have a bachelors degree in Science. I have no work experience either. What do you suggest me I can do to get into that field.

    Thank you.

  43. nina says

    i have taken AP classes and my GPA is 3.5 .I am interning at Chamber of commerce and am interested in IBanking what classes will be good ones to take in High school I am in 11 th grade.

  44. Jessica Z says

    I am a sophomore majoring in Finance at Baruch College. I am currently interning at a boutique investment bank. I am wondering what would be the most optimal minor for a career in IB to complement my finance degree.

  45. Pablo says

    Interesting and Helpful article! I’m a Political Science undergraduate from a Chilean University (so despite my totally unrelated undergrad, I am Bilingual, its something). I am planning on diverting my carreer into a more quantitative route and have been very interested in financial markets, primarily from economic history and theory classes. I am planning on getting a Graduate Diplomain Finance from a UK University. Are you familiar with the prospects of these kind of leveling diplomas? Would a proper postgraduate degree (masters in finance) also be required to go into banking after the diploma? Thanks for the help.

    • M&I - Nicole says

      No I’m not familiar with these diplomas. A Masters in Finance is not required for banking, though in your case, a Masters at a target school can potentially increase your chances.

  46. Sheldon says

    I attend a top 10 school and am considering a Economics and Political Science double major. My overall GPA is 3.3, my Economics GPA is 3.4, and my Political Science GPA is 3.7. I am considering only putting Political Science as my major, with my major GPA as 3.7, since my overall GPA is low. However I am worried that this doesn’t fit with my story as well as Economics does, and that banks won’t like the major as much as Economics. What should I do?

    • M&I - Nicole says

      Yes its best to include your Econ GPA if you can. However, in your case, you may have to include your PS GPA since it is the highest. There isn’t much you can do other than pulling your GPA up

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