by Brian DeChesare Comments (824)

Age and Investment Banking: How Old Is Too Old to Break In?

Age and Investment Banking: How Old Is Too Old to Break In?

UPDATE: Please see the “Part 2” follow-up article to this one, on 6 ways to beat the odds and break into the industry as an older candidate. That article expands on what’s here and gives you tips and advice for what to do as an older candidate.

There’s no issue more sensitive than age.

Ok, maybe the CFA, GPA rounding, and Brazil come close.

But I’ve gotten many panicked “How old is too old to break in?” questions over the years.

Rather than skirting around this issue yet again, let’s jump in and see:

  • Why the problem is not your age at all
  • Why some experiences make you “older” than others
  • Why banks like less experienced and capable recruits
  • What to do if you are “too old”

Misnomers

The question “How old is too old to break into finance?” is a misguided one: in the US it’s not even legal to ask for your age when applying for jobs.

Internationally, this is not true and in some countries they will ask for your age, photos, and other information that would result in lawsuits in the US.

Still, most large banks are US-based and have standardized recruiting processes – so even if you apply in another region they’re not likely to ask explicitly how old you are.

Which means that most of the time, banks cannot measure your age precisely.

Or Can They?

Instead, they assess your “age” by looking at how much full-time work experience you’ve had after graduating from university.

Chances are that 10 years of full-time work experience makes you at least 30 – unless you were a child prodigy and graduated university at age 15, but then you wouldn’t be doing finance anyway.

And when banks see those 10 years of experience they mentally switch into “Too old / experienced to be an analyst” mode.

This has some interesting implications:

  • If you’ve done military service, worked full-time, or done something else full-time for a few years in between high school and college, this won’t necessarily “count against you.”

So even if you’re slightly older than a 22-year old college graduate, banks won’t say “You’re 3 years too old for this job! Go away!”

If you’re a recent graduate, you’ll be placed in the same category as everyone else – unless you have a really unusual situation (you started a business when you were 18, ran it for 10 years, then sold it and started college at age 28).

Yes, finance is the only industry where experience can actually count against you.

This applies to both Analysts and Associates – it’s tough to do something else for a few years after business school and then move into banking.

  • Full-time experience after university makes you “older” than full-time experience during or before university.

So if you’re tempted to take a year off and become a ski bum or do volunteer work or anything else “full-time,” then taking a leave of absence from school and returning once you’re done is a better idea.

This isn’t logical in the slightest, but nothing in finance is.

Guidelines

In the FAQ I gave 30 as the upper limit for Analyst-level hires and 40 as the limit for Associate-level hires.

Those were both under the assumption that you graduate around age 22-25.

And those guidelines are mostly correct, but it’s not because of your age itself – it’s because of how much experience you’ll have by then.

  • Analyst-Level: Banks rarely hire anyone at the Analyst level with more than 2-3 years of full-time experience.
  • Associate-Level: If you’ve done an MBA banks usually want 3-5 years of experience but not more than 10.

For Associates, it’s less about the years worked and more about the level you’ve attained.

Someone at the mid-level could potentially come in as an Associate, but a top executive will not take a pay cut and start correcting spelling mistakes in pitch books 100 hours a week.

Keep in mind that these are guidelines rather than absolute laws.

I’ve seen relatively senior people join banks as Associates, despite having more than 10 years of experience – if you find the right group and tell the right story it’s doable.

…But Realistically

On the other hand, no, you will not be hired as an investment banking analyst if you are 50 and have 25 years of work experience.

You won’t even get hired as an Associate with that kind of background.

Yes, you can break in coming from very random backgrounds, but there’s a limit when it comes to years of work experience rather than the experience itself.

Why Do They Do It This Way?

If you’re in this category you might now be asking, “Why? Shouldn’t they want people with more experience who are better leaders and problem solvers?”

And I agree with you – it’s silly to be this rigid.

But banks don’t see it that way – they have 2 main concerns with more experienced candidates:

  1. You can’t prioritize work above all else and be on-call 24/7.
  2. You won’t do whatever senior bankers ask you to without questioning orders.

Concern#1 applies mostly to Associates.

Banks assume that if you’re older you might have a family and actual responsibilities outside work, reducing your willingness to stay at the office until midnight all the time.

Concern #2 applies to everyone – banks know that only less experienced hires are likely to follow instructions all the time without pushing back.

This is why it’s difficult to break in if you’ve started a company or done something off the beaten path that required a lot of independent thought – you might not be able to follow orders.

No, not everyone in the industry thinks like this.

But it is a numbers game, and bankers want to maximize their chances of finding workhorse Analysts and Associates – so they target people in very specific categories.

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So What Do You Do If You’re “Too Old”?

It might be difficult to break into investment banking if you have too much experience, but there are other options:

And if you’re frustrated with the rigidity, find a less structured industry.

As bankers might say, “It is what it is.”

UPDATE: Please see the “Part 2” follow-up article to this one, on 6 ways to beat the odds and break into the industry as an older candidate. That article expands on what’s here and gives you tips and advice for what to do as an older candidate.

M&I - Brian

About the Author

Brian DeChesare is the Founder of Mergers & Inquisitions and Breaking Into Wall Street. In his spare time, he enjoys memorizing obscure Excel functions, editing resumes, obsessing over TV shows, traveling like a drug dealer, and defeating Sauron.

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  1. Hey Brian. I have a question regarding my situation and unorthodox background.
    I decided to go back to college in hopes of making into IB or S&T. I’m 27 at the current moment and will be 30 by the time I get my degree in math/ finance from eu university. I stopped going to school because I worked in a funeral home and became the MD. That helped me to get confidence in talking to customers and to get strong in sales. I also handled all the arrangements for burial and funeral services of the deceased, in accordance with the family’s wishes. I performed a wide variety of duties, such as planning and allocating the resources of the funeral home, preparing the body for burial or cremation, arranging for transfer of the body to the place of rest before the funeral, managing staff, and handling marketing and public relations. I gained knowledge of financial statements, accounting and the ability to run a funeral home efficiently and profitably. Through my experience in speaking with families I have gained strong communications and interpersonal skills. Also, I am able to handle numerous tasks for multiple customers, often over a short timeframe. I’ve always wanted to be a banker or investor but I got side tracked and was wondering if it is still possible to break into it after I graduate? In the time between my 28 and 30 I will have acquired relevant intern experience.
    I have been talking to some IB guys. They told me that I should go into a Boutique or maybe MM Bank. Others said, that it will probably be much easier to win offers in S&T, at hedge funds or prop trading firms, and unlike IB/PE, they don’t require multiple previous internships and so on, just raw ability. Those firms are more interested in raw talent than in pedigree. Compared to IBD, markets are less structured in terms of ‘prestige of Uni’… is way more meritocratic and skills based. Another option could be client facing roles. PWM, RE or Sales. What do you think about that? What job would suit me? Do you think it is still possible to get into S&T or IB? Thanks in advance

    1. I think you can potentially get into one of those; it just depends on how you present your pre-university experience and how well you can hide your age. S&T is more about raw ability than prestige or multiple previous internships, so that’s probably the best option. IB is basically grunt work for years until you become a salesperson at the top levels, so it may not be what you’re looking for. Your best options are probably S&T or maybe something like real estate brokerage that also depends on sales skills and raw ability.

      1. Thanks for taking the time to respond. Much appreciated.

        How should I present my pre-university experience and how should I sell my story? Do employers give me some type of advantage because of my experiences? If so, what division or sectors would be the best fit for me? Maybe Healthcare or Consumer? I’ll take a look at RE brokerage. What are other types of sales jobs in finance?

        1. I would just simplify it and say that you spent some time in another business before attending university and not even state the exact amount of time. It won’t help much for IB roles but may help for sales-based roles. On your resume/CV, maybe don’t even list that experience and just start with your university and internships there instead.

          1. Hi, thank you for this great reply and for clarifying things up. I appreciate it very much.
            So, do you think IB is still possible? I am at a non target school for London. What banks or boutiques should I target?
            Or, should I pursue a sales role or should I start a career in Tech Industry? What would you do if you were in my shoes?

          2. IB is possible, but it’s always more difficult coming from a non-target school. I would recommend reading this interview and follow the same strategies as this London-based reader:

            https://www.mergersandinquisitions.com/private-equity-internship-to-investment-banking-networking/

  2. Avatar
    Julien

    Hi Brian!

    Many thanks for this article and for taking the time to answer everybody! Respect!

    I have a question regarding my situation:

    I am 25 Years old and in my 2nd year of my Bachelors in Business Administration
    and planning on doing a MSC at a european target school in Finance and Invesments. All in all, when having rounded off all academics I will be 28/29 years of age. In the time between my 25 and 29 I will have acquired relevant IB intern experience. Is 29 too old to enter an analyst role?

    What else can you suggest? Are there any alternative routes you can think of?

    I would like to thank you in advance!

    Kind Regards,
    Julien

    1. It’s not too old, but again, it comes down to your full-time experience so far. If you’re going to say that you had no full-time work experience before all of this, then it’s fine.

  3. Avatar
    HighlyLeveraged

    Hi Brian

    I was always an interested reader of your site. So I graduated with a bachelor in business administration in 2018 and did an internship in S&T 6 month and then got a trainee in the same bank in a FoF of private equity. As I did a great job they offered me a full time position which I accepted just recently. I have to say that the longer I am there the more I get interested to do direct investments. So my thought was to break first in M&A and then after 2-3 years join a middle market fund.

    In the mean time I am doing the CFA as I am supposed to in my actual role. After I have passed level 2 which is like a waiver for the part-time MBA (2 years, top business school in my country) I would like to work in M&A or even consulting to then make the jump to a PE fund.

    Can you give me your opinion on it? I am not sure if it will work as I will be 30 when I finish the MBA.

    Thank you in advance for any advice from you!

    1. That seems like a really indirect path. Why not just push to work on more co-investments at the FoF or use the experience to move to a FoF that does more co-innvestments, and then move into traditional PE from there? You don’t necessarily need M&A if you have other transaction experience and you’re willing to move to a smaller fund.

  4. Hey Brian,
    As always, thanks for the informative post. Currently, I work for a BB in Manhattan but in a commercial banking role. Although I attended a semi-target, my undergraduate career was lackluster due to extenuating personal circumstances. I am considering obtaining a MSF while working to mitigate my poor undergrad GPA. If I started the MSF this August I would be 26 upon completion (which seems to fall in the acceptable parameters you outlined). The issue is that I may have to wait until the following August to start which would make me 27 by graduation. Would 27 be too old to enter IB in an analyst capacity?

    1. It really depends on the years of full-time work experience you’ve had by then. If it’s past 2-3 years, then yes, you might be too old to win Analyst role, in which case an MBA is more appropriate. But an MSF could still be useful for other types of roles outside IB if you’re interested in those.

      You might also want to think about moving to corporate banking and then going from there to a related group in IB, such as DCM.

      1. Thanks for your response. If I start the MSF this year, I would be able to stay within the acceptable full-time work experience range. I will keep the corporate banking transfer in mind. That is not an option I had considered.

  5. Hi Brian,

    What does this situation feel like to you? I’m 34 y/o, no kids, no wife/partner, business mgmt degree, worked for a small VC firm for about 3 years, then went into firefighting for the last 10 years…. wanting to leave career firefighting to become a trader. I’ve traded exclusively as a retail trader with my own capital. Looking to gain a deeper knowledge and understanding by being involved on the institutional side.

    Any hope?

    1. I think it will be very difficult to get into a large bank with that background, but you might have a shot at prop trading firms if you can get results (i.e., make money) quickly.

  6. Hi Brian, my name is Tim. I am a 27 yr old Math/Finance student at German university. Previously I’ve been working in a small business(VP) in the consumer services industry. At the time of graduation, I’ll be 29/30 y/o and I would like to go into London or Frankfurt IB.
    I want to apply for 3-4 internships in FFM and London. After graduating I am planning to apply for a Master in Finance or math. Do you think it’s possible to break into IB in London or Germany? Am I too old? What do you think about PE vs. HF? Any thoughts on both of those as career options for me? What would be the best way to break into the field?

    1. The main obstacle to winning an IB offer is having too much full-time work experience. If you have been working full-time for more than 3-4 years in actual companies (not the military), then it’s not going to happen unless you go to a top MBA program. SO if you’re still in university and then do a Master’s program, sure, you could do it, but I’m not clear on how many years of full-time work experience you have had.

      1. Thanks for reply
        I have work experience of >4 years in a small company (less than 10 employees) in Germany. So, what would be the best way to break into the industry?

        1) after bachelor -> master in Finance or MBA?
        2) after bachelor -> IB?

        What about HF, PT, S&T or PE? Do you think it’s possible to break into one of them in London or Germany out of undergraduate? Do you think that I should give up?

        1. OK, so you had this work experience before or during your Bachelor’s degree? If so, then your best bet is to say it was a part-time role or something like that so you don’t seem over-qualified. Try to get in right after the Bachelor’s degree, if possible. If that doesn’t work, do a top MSF program like some of the ones offered in London and recruit there. An MBA should be “Plan C” because it’s the most expensive and time-consuming of these.

          It is difficult to get into PE or HF roles right out of undergrad. Some firms do now hire Analysts, but it’s still difficult without doing IB first (or S&T for certain HF roles). You can get into S&T out of undergrad, but you need more of a coding/math/statistics background these days to have a good shot.

          1. You got that right. I quit my job for university at 26. So, I have work experience before pursuing a bachelor. But wouldn’t that come out in my favor for PE or HF? I know of funds that invest in companies that are very similar to the company I have worked for. Do you think breaking into a BB is still possible for me? Or should I target MM Banks or EB? I am strong quantitatively (math major) so I can target classical or quant roles.

          2. It’s still not a good idea to mention this experience or claim several years of FT experience because banks like to hire fresh graduates for Analyst roles. You could bring it up for PE interviews later on, and it may help there. I can’t really say which type of bank you should target right now because it depends on the quality of your current university, your grades there, and the amount of networking you’re doing. Honestly, if you’re studying Math and you like math/programming/statistics, it will probably be much easier to win offers at quant funds, and unlike IB/PE, they don’t require multiple previous internships and so on, just raw ability.

  7. I’m French, lived in the US and China my whole childhood, but went to high school in Italy, which is typically one more year than other European high school programs. Right after, I went to do my Bachelor’s in the UK at a target school. As in most UK unis, this was a 4-year degree program. During that time, I had one 6-month internship at an IB boutique in Hong Kong. I’m 22 years old and I’m currently in the last year of my undergrad program. I just got accepted to a French target school (HEC Paris) for a 2-year master’s degree. For those who don’t know, most kids in these masters’ do a gap year in between the two years and take two off-cycle internships of 6 months at large European or US IB banks (BNP, Goldman, etc). This is quite normal, especially in Paris and London. BB banks usually prefer those profiles (at least in Paris and London). You usually get a full-time offer during those, go back to school for the last year of the master’s and go back to the firm right after. I’m planning to start my career in IB in Paris or London for a few years.

    The thing is I’m also planning to move to Hong Kong, Singapore, or Shanghai after around 3-5 years of experience in Europe. Why? Because it would be too hard to directly start in Asia as a foreigner and also I think I’d rather get my first years of experience in Europe (and leverage that). Basically, my life plan is to settle in one of these cities (I know that it’s hard to break in in Asia as a foreigner but I don’t think it’s impossible especially if you get relocated). To do so, I would need to speak perfect Mandarin. I already have a decent level, but very far from being fluent. So I was thinking to basically take another gap year in between my two years of Master’s degree to go to China and take intensive Mandarin classes for one year. After one year, I can expect to be fluent. Just so you guys understand better, I legit really like the language and honestly, I really see myself living there. I’m just so bored of Europe and the US in general.

    So basically, I would do my first year of Master’s, then one year of intensive Chinese classes, one year of Internship, and my last year of Master’s (or a double degree somewhere else – maybe in Asia then). At the time of graduation, I would be 27 years old. Honestly, I’m having doubts about the whole thing. This is really something that I would want to do and I think I would have a background that could lead me far, but it’s also a kinda risky move (maybe not) as I’ll be 27 years old. I don’t know. Starting as a full-time IB analyst at 27….. what are your thoughts about that and my whole plan?

    Thanks guys

    1. I think this sounds like a very complicated plan with multiple failure points, but the biggest problem is that it is already exceptionally difficult to work in China/HK without being a native Chinese person. It doesn’t matter if you know the language perfectly and can understand detailed books on nuclear physics – culturally, they just won’t accept it. It worked 20-30 years ago, but not today. I think you should get work experience ASAP wherever you are, and worry about what to do later. Real-life experience usually reveals the best path, while detailed plans often lead you astray.

  8. Hi Brian,

    I am 41 years and working in Internal Audit for long 11 years and now developing interest in IB & would like to move to IB, any options you can suggest. I have CIMA, CGMA, CISA & CIA.

    1. I don’t think you have a realistic chance of getting into IB at this stage. My advice would be to find some other position in the Big 4 or other accounting firms that’s related, such as valuation or transaction services, and then maybe try to leverage that to get into corporate development or something else deal-related. They just don’t hire auditors with 10+ years of work experience for traditional IB roles.

  9. Hi, Brian

    I am from Brazil and also have a European citizenship.
    I have a BSBA with a major in Finance and a 4.0 GPA from a relatively small State University in Ohio, where I played tennis at the NCAA Division I level.

    I had two internships during college. One at a small venture capital firm and the other at Morgan Stanley Wealth Management. I am 24 years old and currently have 11 months of full time work experience at an investment brokerage firm in Brazil as an investment advisor.

    I would like to get into IB. I am considering a Masters in Finance in a top US School (but would only start mid 2021). Is that too late and would I be too “old” in terms of work experience to get an Analyst position in IB? Should I wait a little bit longer and go for the MBA instead and try the Associate position?

    I appreciate any help you could offer and congrats on your work with M&I

    1. No, I don’t think you would be too old because it depends more on the amount of work experience you have and not your age. So if you start the MSF program after about 2 years of full-time work experience, that should be fine. I would not bother with an MBA in that case, especially since you’ve already done something finance-related.

  10. Brian,

    To be completely transparent, I’m here for the money. I graduated 12/2014 from a respectable school majoring in Accounting as well as Finance. I’ve worked in two different commercial banks as a credit analyst (combined just over 4 yrs). I am on the verge of securing an entry level IB analyst role with a regional boutique IB in town, but was also considering getting my MBA. Any thoughts on if maybe a change in direction would be more feasible to achieve that big paycheck?

    Thanks

    1. Should probably add that I’m 28 – I mean that is the whole reason I came here.

    2. If you’re about to receive an IB offer from a regional boutique bank, you should accept that and work there first before doing an MBA or thinking of other longer-term options. You can then decide whether you want to aim for a larger bank or go back for an MBA and use that to move to a bulge bracket or other large bank. An MBA is generally not worth it if you already have a pathway into the industry. It’s more useful for career changers who need something drastic to win interviews and offers.

  11. Hi,
    I was a coaching client – I tried moving to REPE but ended up in Advisory IB as a senior analyst. I’m old (26) and am about to get promoted to Associate. Having ~4 years of IB experience (REIB and then natural resources), is it too late for PE? Would you guys provide coaching (helping me make a decision between staying in IB and moving to PE – no interest in MBA)?

    1. I don’t think it’s necessarily “too late” for PE, but you’re probably not going to get into a mega-fund directly at this stage if you’re on your way to being promoted as an Associate. A better strategy might be to target smaller / newer funds that don’t use on-cycle processes and then network your way into PE, and then move up to larger firms over time. If you’re at one of the top BB/EB banks, you might still have a shot at large PE firms, but only with aggressive networking outside the normal process and some luck.

      Feel free to contact coaching@mergersandinquisitions.com if you want to ask about coaching for this one, but it’s not really intended to help you make a decision like this – it’s more for how to execute your plan once you’ve already decided on something.

  12. I am 27 years. I graduated 3 years ago with Masters degree in political science. I have since developed interest in finance and want to get into banking. Should I apply for traditional graduate schemes or am I too old/unsuitable at this point for entry-level investment banking roles? Unfortunately, I do not have internships at prestigious banks behind my belt either :(

    1. At this point, you will probably need an MBA to have a realistic chance of getting into the industry.

  13. Hi Brian, would you be able to give me some advice? I would greatly appreciate it.

    I graduated in dec 2014 with BA degree from SUNY Albany. I have been working in the car business since then; however, I really want to switch career to IB. I plan to go to MBA in Fall 2019. Am I too late to do such things? What would you do if you were me in this situation? Thanks

    1. Not necessarily, but it depends on what you mean by “working in the car business.” I think you should read about the typical requirements to get into IB at the MBA level first:

      https://www.mergersandinquisitions.com/how-to-get-into-investment-banking/#Path3

      The short answer is that you’re taking a big risk unless this is a top MBA program and you’ve been preparing long in advance. It’s very tough to get into traditional IB roles from outside the top few MBA programs.

  14. Avatar
    Darko Nedic

    Hello Brian,

    I was born in Bosnia and finished BSc at State University there when I was at age of 24 and after that 1 year later moved to Austria and finished learning course of german language. I had my first internship in Finance at Generali Insurance company and after that got internship at State Street Custodian Bank in Vienna and I am still enrolled there. I have 29 years now and almost 2 years of experience with this internships. I wish to pursue my career further in Investment banking and my question would be if I should do a Masters degree in Business Administration with the fact that I Did my BSc on the University with a very low reputation or if it is too late for a MSc just to try to find a full time employment.

    I would appreciate your answer

    Kind Regards,
    Darko

    1. If you’ve only done internships so far, a Master’s program is more appropriate. I don’t think you could even do an MBA without true full-time work experience.

  15. Hi Brian,
    I am 31 years old and I had my undergrad degree from Singapore with information system management and marketing. I’ve been working for the same retail company for 7 years, two of which are here in Paris. I speak “ok” French, which I am sure will improve overtime as I am continuing to learn. I am sick of this job and thinking a career change to IB. Seeing the comments above, I know that my chances of breaking through IB in France are pretty slim considering my background and age. Even then, I am ready to give it a shot. My plan is to get an MBA from one of the Grande école and doing CFA at the same time. What do you think my chances are? And which Grande école would you recommend? Thanks in advance.

    1. I would read this entire article first so you understand the industry in France and why you probably *don’t* want to work there (consider an MBA in another country instead):

      https://www.mergersandinquisitions.com/france-investment-banking/

  16. Avatar
    Michael Smith

    Hi Brian,

    I’m a 30yo with an entrepreneurial background, setting up and running 4 companies in the leisure, construction and retail industries – with varying levels of success – since leaving school with A levels in London 13 years ago.

    I’m considering completing an undergraduate degree and an MBA. Starting in 2020 and then applying for an entry level IB position, at which point I will be 35.

    I have no children, am used to putting in long grinding hours and have set aside enough to fund living costs for 3-5 years of study.

    I have 3 questions for you:

    1. Do you think I will stand a strong chance of ‘breaking in’ at 35 with this plan?

    2. What else can I do to improve my position/attractiveness to the big banks? Between now and starting the degree in September 2020 as well as during the study period.

    1. You’re going to face a lot of “So… you started 4 companies and had some success in real life, why would you ever want to go into investment banking?”-type questions. Your age will hurt you a bit, but the bigger problem is that former entrepreneurs tend not to make good bankers. See: https://www.mergersandinquisitions.com/entrepreneur-to-investment-banker/

      If you actually complete a top undergrad and then a top MBA, yes, potentially you could get in, but you’ll also need a lot of finance internships along with that to have a good chance.

      1. Avatar
        M Smith

        Thanks for taking the time to respond. Much appreciated.

  17. Avatar
    Jane Doe

    Hey Brian! Thanks for the great article! I am 26 years old and this year I graduate from MSc programme from top French business school with specialization in Strategic Management. I also have 2 years of full-time experience in pharmaceutical industry at business analyst positions. I just recently realized that I want to break into investment banking in London, ideally in healthcare teams. Do you think I stand a chance to find an Internship in London next year, one year after graduation at 27 years old without relevant experience?(sounds bad, I know) Maybe an advice how can I increase my chances?

    1. You might have a shot, but you need to act quickly and get relevant internships ASAP. For a few ideas about healthcare IB in London, please see:

      https://www.mergersandinquisitions.com/medical-school-to-investment-banking/

  18. Avatar
    Taroon

    Spent 2 years in S&T at BB in the US and keen to move to investment banking. Hard to move internally despite good performance reviews. Curious if you would recommend I focus on applying to business school or start networking with boutique banks to break into investment banking. Currently 24 years old. Graduated from a target school.

    1. I think business school is completely unnecessary in this case. Focus on networking with boutique and middle-market firms, or even other bulge brackets, as you sometimes need to move “down market” to move from S&T to IB or vice versa.

  19. Avatar
    Gaurav Joseph

    Hi brian,

    I have a bachelors in marketing.
    I recently got admitted into a french grande ecole – institut mines telecom. I am 29 now and have some experience in finance software & Business development. I am from India. I do speak basic french and am improving on it. What are my chances of breaking into french investment banking sector if I take the financial systems track ?

    1. I’m not really sure it’s a great idea to even aim for investment banking in France, per the comments here:

      https://www.mergersandinquisitions.com/france-investment-banking/

      I think you might have a decent shot coming from a grande ecole, but you need to speak French at a professional level to get in. And even then, France is not exactly the most welcoming country for expats…

      1. Avatar
        Gaurav Joseph

        Oh wow. Thank you. I will keep your advise in mind. I have heard that french is very important . I have to choose between financial systems & IT consulting. I couldn’t find my comment and decided to write again and bookmark the page. my apologies.

  20. “Associate-Level: If you’ve done an MBA banks usually want 3-5 years of experience but not more than 10.” Does this refer to pre-MBA experience, or post-MBA, or a combination?

    1. Pre-MBA experience

  21. Hi Brian,
    I am 50yrs old and had ran a retail and wholesale apparel operation in Japan for 15 years, but due to my love and passion for Finance, I am currently a senior at a university here in Missouri. Also I am planning to pursue an MBA in one of the top US schools and all in hopes to transition into Private Equity/Hedge fund/ IB.
    Please what is your advise?

    1. My advice is to follow one of the 6 paths here instead: http://www.mergersandinquisitions.com/too-old-for-finance/

      It’s going to be nearly impossible to move into IB/PE as an entry-level hire if you already have 20-30 years of work experience.

      1. Thank you so much for such an informative advice!!

  22. Avatar
    Richard Horn

    Hi Brain,

    Don’t know if the best thread for this question, but posting anyways. I’m currently 22, graduated from a larger well known private school in May with lower GPA (3.3) and have been networking/interviewing full time since. I have deferred a few Financial Analyst offers due to low salaries, but have not received a full-time offer for IB Analyst positions. This is primarily due to my technical knowledge being a bit robotic in a sense (lacking an understanding of the underlying meanings behind the technicals for scenario based interview questions). That being said, which option would you recommend:

    1: Pursue a Financial Analyst position to begin my career ASAP and try to develop my technical skills in my free time
    2: Immediately focus the next 1-2 months towards studying/programs to gain a deeper understanding of the technicals necessary for where I want to be (Including mock interviews and additional modeling practice to improve efficiency), then begin the IB interviewing process again with a much more solid understanding of the information.

    Basically, the gap since graduation is growing quite significant. Would it be best to bite the bullet and accept a less relevant finance position to gain some real-world experience while I develop my technical skills further? Or will extending this gap in work even further to work on these skills for a month or two before returning to the recruiting process make me even less desirable in the eyes of an IB due to lack of work experience?

    1. I would go with option #1 because in all likelihood, part of the reason you are not doing well in interviews is because you are not currently employed. Bankers may try to spin it differently, but you always have a better chance of finding another job when you already have one job. So I don’t think you can attribute everything to a lack of technical knowledge. A lower GPA is also hurting your efforts, and you could offset that a bit if you were working full-time.

  23. Hi Brian,
    Thanks for the article. I graduated with a BS in finance from a non-target school in U.S.then went straight for my MBA after that back to back. Now I have 1 year of commercial banking experience with a regional bank. While doing my MBA I had a private equity internship as well. What are my chances of breaking into the IB industry? The bank I work in does not have a IBD.

    1. Not very good because your story doesn’t match what banks want to see – you’re supposed to work for a few years first, and then do an MBA, and then apply to IB roles at the Associate level. You are going to get tons of questions about your story if you apply to IB roles right now. I would recommend first going to corporate banking (should be easier to get into coming from commercial banking) or an independent valuation firm or something like that and then aiming for IB roles at smaller firms. Otherwise, commercial banking to investment banking post-MBA is probably too big a leap.

  24. Great site M&I!

    I’ve purchased your courses and I am very pleased so far.

    Here is my story:

    -28 years old now
    -Bachelor in Finance (non-target); summa cum laude (3.9 GPA)
    -Began career at a very small boutique M&A advisory (1-3 deal closings/year). Spent nearly 3 years at the firm, but working there was very unstable due to volume and non-bonus comp was significantly below average for IB.
    – I ultimately left and I took a position at a mid-sized CPA firm as a valuation consultant. This really sharpened my valuation/analysis skills which complemented my M&A experience, imo

    Here’s where things get a little messy…I left the CPA firm after nine months because I had the opportunity to co-found a fintech startup with a few friends. I spent 1.5 years on the startup and got a lot of experience while building my network. Unfortunately, the startup remained in a pre-revenue phase and we couldn’t get much traction (despite our efforts). While working on the startup, I came to the realization that IB was my true passion. I just really love working on deals.

    Obviously, I’ve spent a lot of time jumping around and getting a handle on what I really want to do, but after careful consideration, I’ve come up with a plan: I would like to re-enter the industry as an analyst with a regional M&A boutique. I want to spend 3-4 years at the analyst/associate level (33 y/o by the end of my tenure) and then move into a lower middle market P/E firm. My end goal is to start my own PE fund (around age 45-50).

    Questions:

    1. How feasible is this plan? I realize my age is a little on the high end, but I feel that I’m young enough to where age still shouldn’t be a real issue. I recently spoke with an associate at a boutique IB and he expressed that my experience is in line with someone they would bring on as analyst.

    2. Would you recommend that I get my MBA or CFA in the future?

    Just wanted to get your .02

    Thanks,
    Taylor

    1. 1) I think the biggest problem is not your age, but the fact that you already have a good amount of full-time experience. Some boutique banks may not care about that, but others might not know where you should be in the hierarchy. You might also be perceived as a career changer due to the fintech experience.

      Your overall plan might work, but I still think it will be tough to win an entry-level Analyst role at boutiques, and moving from a boutique bank to a lower-MM PE firm is also challenging (see all the PE recruiting articles on this site… it requires an extreme amount of effort).

      2) CFA, no, but the MBA might be useful if you cannot get into IB initially because people think you have too much work experience.

  25. Avatar
    John Lin

    Hello Brian, I’m new to this website.

    I’m now 21, studying finance in National Taiwan University (should be the best in Taiwan) and I’m now in the 4th year pursuing bachelor’s degree. I double major in law so I might extend my college life to 5, maybe 6 years. My overall GPA is 3.85/4.30.

    My concern is that if I’m finding a chance of IBD internships without relative experience, it might be pretty tough. Obviously I didn’t begin to prepare early enough (Especially my first and second year in the school) and tried some of the other fields.
    I had a summer internship in compliance division of a local bank and will on board in June for a 1-year PTA in McKinsey & Co.

    If I’m aiming for a 2019 summer investment banking or M&A intern, say Goldman, Morgan Stanley IBD or HSBC Global Banking(hk), is it possible(after all, it’s my 5th year as a college student and I’m kinda “older”)? What should I do or learn in advance?

    Many thanks.

    1. I think this really depends on where you want to apply for internships – North America? Europe? Taiwan? Hong Kong? Elsewhere in Asia?

      Recruiting is already over and done with for many 2019 summer roles in the U.S. because everything is hyper-accelerated, but it moves more slowly in other regions. The main issue for you isn’t age, but how far in advance you need to start recruiting.

      With McKinsey on your resume and a good GPA and top university, you should be able to win IB internships at least in Hong Kong (I think the market in Taiwan is very small, so probably not worth applying there) since the process starts a bit later than in the U.S. You should read this article as well:

      https://www.mergersandinquisitions.com/investment-banking-summer-internship-recruiting/

      1. Avatar
        John Lin

        Thank you for the response.
        Well I’m open to opportunities in Greater China zone, while HK and Taiwan should be in the upper of the list.
        In Taiwan, 2019 vacancies should be available around this September till December. MS has a later schedule in 2019 March. The main concern is that I don’t think I’m fully prepared. I should dig into some cases and other online resources relating to modeling and valuation.

        Again, thank you so much.

  26. Avatar
    Kingston

    Hi Brian
    I am a 30 year old. I recently completed my MSc in Maths, I am also completing the CQF. I have also been doing some data science through WorldQuant University and Am also doing an MScFE with WorldQuant. I have spent the past 5 years as a Teaching assistant at a University till recently. Currently I am a parttime lecturer. I wanted to pursue a Masters in Finance or a related field. Would that boost my chances of getting employed. I was looking at a 1 year MSc in Financial Engineering or Financial Maths. What are the odds I get a job in the financial sector. Most likely will complete the MSc when Am 32.

    1. Avatar
      Kingston

      I am in Zimbabwe and was looking at doing the MSc in either UK, Canada, Australia or Ireland even the USA

    2. Yes, you would probably need some type of degree to move into the finance industry at this stage. But your chances still aren’t great because you’d be competing against people with more relevant work experience. However, sometimes on the quant side you can get in if you have good enough side projects:

      https://www.mergersandinquisitions.com/quant-research-jobs/

  27. Avatar
    Shruti Kansa;

    Hi Brian. Thank you for this article. I am 29, currently a CFA Level 2 Candidate, After my undergrad in Commerce, I started my Accountancy course in India. I did my 3.5 years of internship (which apparently is not covered under Work Experience by Companies generally) as required by the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India, and yet to pass my Final 4 papers of the course. I had a work gap of a few years owing to a few personal issues followed by an accident and health issues.

    Just to get back to work, I started working with this company in the Compliance side, but not related to Finance or Investment Banking. I am interested in PE and Invesmtent Banking. Plus, I have lost years of employment which doesn’t look too good. What are your thoughts on it ?

  28. Hi Brian,
    Thank you for this article, super helpful information. I graduated with a marketing degree and have 3 years work experience at the moment. I’m trying to figure out if I can still break in on the analyst level or if I need to wait to get an MBA and then break in at associate level. Any thoughts?
    Best,
    Ram

    1. You would probably need an MBA at this point because you have 3 years of work experience in a completely unrelated field.

  29. Hello Brian, thank you very much for your article. If you have time I would like to ask you to assess my possibilities of entering into one of the big names in IB. I recently turned 29, graduated as a mechanical engineer in Venezuela, did a masters in finance at one of Latin America’s top 10 business schools (4.0 GPA). Worked at Kraft Foods as a corporate finance trainee, then joined a multinational asset management firm (+1.5BN A.U.M) and became partner in less than 3 years. I feel I have peaked at this firm at a way too early stage of my life and I’m currently considering applying to a top MBA program (starting in the summer of 2019 when I’ll be 30 yo) and then testing my luck at one of the big names in IB in NYC. What do you think about my odds of getting in?

    Thank you very much.

    1. If you can get into a top MBA program, you have a fairly good chance of winning an IB offer at a large bank.

  30. Hi Brian,

    I’m 25 and about 2.5 years out of college, where I majored in finance and earned a 3.6 GPA. I attended a Pac12 school that boasted a decent business program but didn’t necessarily attract IB recruiters. So to bolster my resume I’ve worked in Fin sales since graduation and I’m currently a financial advisor at JPMC. I’m trying to break into an entry level IB analyst role hopefully within the next year or so. I spoke to one of our internal recruiters and he thought that my experience wouldnt measure up to some of the open IB Analsyt roles but I might be a better fit for the junior program which is meant for soon to be graduates or candidates with 3 years or less experience (applied to the junior program last week). I know I have the mind and skill set necessary for an IB role but I can’t help but get the feeling that my window of opportunity is closing. I’ve worked in fin sales roles out of college for the sole reason of blustering my resume to apply for an IB position but now I worry that I might be getting too old. Is my window of opportunity closing? Or was it never open to begin with?

    1. Yes, it gets harder to win IB roles the longer you’ve been out of school and working full-time. Your best bet at this stage is to go for the junior Analyst roles (they’re not the same as FT Analyst roles but can provide a pathway into it) or to attend a top Master’s in Finance program and use that to get in.

  31. Hi Brian, my teaching experience are in undergrad university level and originally my background is with a MS in Electrical engineering from the US. I see Columbia and New University feeding their students in highest number s in the IBs, but with experience in a different sector, how is that possible? Does the executive MBA in Columbia University help anyway to make careers in IBs starting from associate level?

    1. Please see my other response to your question. It is tough to just apply to MBA programs, accept admission, and win offers these days unless you have some other experience that looks quite relevant.

  32. Hey.. I am trying to apply for a good MBA school so that right after graduating, I can join any if the major investment banking firms as an associate? I have six years if teaching experience in applied science and engineering and 5 months of managerial experience in a small local investment firm, so is this possible? I did CFA level 1 and somewhat of level 2… I asked this to Cornell University 1 year MBA program, they said, it’s not possible from 1 year program to even get an internship as an associate. So what do you suggest to prepare myself from my country to get into MBA for an IB associate job?

  33. I just wanted to give my 2cents to this discussion. I am almost 27. I have no M&A or PE experience. However, right now I got 7 offers for M&A and PE jobs (no BB, but I have 0 experience and applied in Dez. for jobs starting in Januar to not loose time. Im still in the process for MS though). How did I get those jobs? Good universities were an asset. However, I broke into M&A and PE due to my character. I travelled over 1yr with a backpack, and was fighting professionally (thaiboxing). Recruters now have 100s of persons applying with the same generic CV. Try to prove that you are smart (with GMAT or comparables) and especially be different!! If you manage to become the Person that is more interesting than most of the others, thats as valuable as having the best grades from top universities and having the most work experience. Then age won’t matter (that much)..

    1. Thanks, but I think we’ve emphasized those points many times as well:

      https://www.mergersandinquisitions.com/gap-year-investment-banking/
      https://www.mergersandinquisitions.com/how-to-tell-your-story-investment-banking-interviews/

      Of course you need an interesting story to win these roles. No one is arguing with that. But there is still some point past which it will be very difficult to win entry-level offers at finance firms, regardless of how interesting you are. For example, you’re not going to win IB Analyst offers as a 40-year-old candidate even if you’ve climbed Mt. Everest, cured cancer multiple times, and also started your own traveling reggae group in the Caribbean.

      “Almost 27” is not even close to being “too old.”

  34. Hi Brian,

    I’m a 27 year old junior majoring in finance (3.85 GPA) and graduating in Fall 2019 when I’m 29 years old. I have started school late for I joined the Air National Guard and have a deployment on my resume. Will age count against me?

    Also, when I was younger, I filed for bankruptcy. Will this make it impossible for me to get into investment banking or asset management?

    1. As long as you do not have prior full-time work experience, no.

      The bankruptcy charge could be a bigger issue. This story had a reader in a similar situation, and he ended up having to go into real estate instead: https://www.mergersandinquisitions.com/commercial-real-estate-to-real-estate-private-equity/

      1. Thanks for the reply. If I go into real estate instead, do I have a chance of breaking into asset management when the bankruptcy is off my record (I will be 33 years old)? I also have the opportunity to commission to become an officer in the Air National Guard and work for them full-time and wait until my bankruptcy is up. Which do you recommend?
        Thanks

        1. Yes, potentially. I would not recommend waiting for your bankruptcy to be wiped away, as the better solution is to work at a smaller firm that does not care about those issues.

  35. Hi Brian,
    I’m a 27 year-old with a pHD in chemistry currently working in research in industry. I’m interested in being a VC and would like to go through the IB route. Here’s my plan so far:
    -1.5y more in research (2.5 years total). I’ll study in my free time and finish at least the first level of CFA before I finish.
    -1y MBA in a top school with a focus on finance
    -internship in IB
    -2-3 years of IB (I’ll be 30 when I start)
    -start as an associate in a VC firm

    Does that make sense? Is it possible? Will I be too old? Should I cut the research short to 1.5y total? What do you suggest?

    Thanks

    1. It’s possible, but if you have a PhD, you may be able to get into an early-stage life sciences VC firm without IB or an MBA first. So you might be spending a lot of time, effort, and money for little gain if that’s your goal.

  36. Avatar
    the1whoknocks

    Hi, Brian!
    I’m 30 yo and have 6,5 years of capital markets experience in local boutique Investment banks in Brazil (structured finance / debt, front office role, participated on many big deals).
    My goal is to break into a Leveraged Finance (some overlap of knowledge with my prior experiences) team at an Investment Bank or boutique in NY or London.

    I’m planning to apply for an MBA next year (Schools in US and Europe). I can probably be accepted by a Top 5-20 School.

    Do you think it’s a good plan? Will I have good chances to break in Post-MBA?

    Does it worth to get an MBA in Europe, even with less MBA recruiting for IB roles?

    Thank you very much!

    1. If you can get into a top school, yes, it is a good plan. There is relatively little MBA recruiting in Europe, so you’re better off going to the U.S. if you want to do that.

  37. Avatar
    Adam Orlowski

    Hi Brian,

    I will be graduating from WP Carey Business School with 3.8- 4.0 GPA at the end of next year, Mutual Fund Club Member, and trying to network into a good internship next summer before I graduate in the Fall. I also have volunteer experience. Here is the kicker though – I didn’t start school till later. I will be 33 when I graduate. I absolutely love learning about investment banking and spend the majority of my FREE time learning more about the markets and tracking them. While the money is good, the real reason is I truly believe in the phrase “if you love what you do, you never work a day in your life”. So if I am too old what would you recommend?

    1. As stated in the article, whether or not you’re “too old” depends on your prior work experience. If you can spin it into sounding like it wasn’t real work experience, you might be able to pull it off. And if not: https://www.mergersandinquisitions.com/too-old-for-finance/

  38. Avatar
    NewIBGuy

    Thanks M&I for the great article,
    Do you have any idea if age issue is relevant only to US citizens or anyone?
    Thanks again!

    1. ??? Banks are global enterprises. The age issue is relevant for anyone who wants a client-facing, front-office role advising on M&A and financing deals at an investment bank anywhere in the world.

      1. Avatar
        NewIBGuy

        I’m sorry, should have been clear.
        In US, it is illegal to discriminate a candidate based on his/her age. Is it applicable only to US citizens in US? Will a foreigner be discriminated because of his/her age in US?

        1. Banks will always discriminate based on age because you cannot do the job of an Investment Banking Analyst as a 65-year old; you just won’t have the energy and ability to pull all-nighters. They’ll just frame it differently and say that you have too much experience for an entry-level role or that you’re over-qualified.

          1. I am 31 years old, I want to enter the M & A market, private equity. I have taken several courses in financial modeling, valuation and now I am studying for CFA level 1. I have knowledge and skills but I want to put into practice. I have little experience in the field of finance what should I do? which paths should I do? Can I still work in this segment? maybe in small boutiques.

          2. I can’t say without knowing your past work experience, academic background, and so on. Start with:

            https://www.mergersandinquisitions.com/how-to-get-into-investment-banking/

  39. Avatar
    Jennifer Kane

    Going to graduate from an Ivy League school in May 2018. Was an athlete all 4 years D1. Really would love to somehow get into a large financial institution and get hired in a rotating type situation. Have a great resume.
    Freaking out because I don’t know anyone on Wall Street.

    1. As of 2017, you need a sequence of internships to have a good shot of working at a large bank out of university (https://www.mergersandinquisitions.com/investment-banking-university-student-high-school-student/). So, if you don’t have that, your best option might be to go for something outside of IB (wealth management, etc.) or something at a Big 4 firm and then move over later.

  40. Hi Brian,
    I’m currently a rising junior from a (prestigious) non-target liberal arts school that’s definitely not known for finance (it’s very “social justice” oriented), with a 3.7 GPA, majoring in Economics.
    I’m considering taking a gap-year for personal (health-related) issues, but I’m contemplating the potential benefits/drawbacks of doing so (in terms of full time recruiting for junior summer, etc.). If I took this “gap year” between sophomore/junior year, my goal would be to prep for IB and take accounting, learn how to model, etc. on my own. I had a finance related internship summer after freshman year (interned w/small RIA), but this summer I got a non-finance related role at a F500 insurance company (researching potential clients for Sales team).
    If my ultimate goal is IB, have I screwed myself with my current internship role? Is taking a gap year and obtaining an internship in IB/HF/Startup a good idea if I wanted to show banks that I am serious about Finance, and is it realistic? (I wouldn’t financially be able to accept an unpaid role)
    Would taking a personal gap year affect my eligibility on how I would look to banks for SA recruiting for summer before senior year (since I technically would be in school for five years, but attended for four)?

    I would really appreciate your thoughts — thanks for your help.

    1. Your biggest problem is that internship recruiting now (as of 2017) starts a year in advance of junior-year internships, at least at many banks and schools. So, taking a gap year at this point is probably your only shot at winning a summer internship – get an internship at a boutique IB/PE firm, change your graduation date, and then get to work networking so that you’re prepared to apply for internships 1 year before the internships begin.

      1. Hi Brian,
        I appreciated for your response earlier.
        If I decided to continue studying the fall semester and take a gap Spring ’18 semester for personal reasons (w/an internship ideally) and delayed graduation for a semester, will I still be able to virtually “reset” my SA recruiting chances w/Junior standing provided that I didn’t apply to the SA roles this summer (and aimed at boutiques?)
        I’m concerned if BB/Elite Boutiques would reject my application automatically if they see that I had applied for two consecutive years with different graduation dates.
        I really appreciate your thoughts — thanks for your help.

        1. Recruiting is based on your current graduation date. Given the volume of applications to banks, they don’t track individuals unless you make it very far into the process and everyone remembers you.

  41. Hi Brian. I am law student (21) and I have made two bachelor courses in Finance and Economics in Germany. I am planning to apply for the Master in Finance in the Frankfurt School of Finance and Management and I would like to know your opinion if it is really worthy to make MoF or an MBA to break into investment banking and how is te environment in Frankfurt to get a job and if this Master is well-recognized over the world.
    Thanks

    1. Well, it’s in the top 30 worldwide according to FT (http://rankings.ft.com/businessschoolrankings/masters-in-finance-pre-experience-2017). Maybe not the best option in Europe, but I think you could easily win a front-office finance role from that program. For IB in Germany, please see: https://www.mergersandinquisitions.com/investment-banking-germany/

      1. OK.Thanks!!

  42. Avatar
    Philippe

    Hi Brian,

    I will have 40y old soon and have more than 10 years experience in financial markets (middle office in Europe). And have a master degree.
    Do you think it’s possible to switch into PE since i already have experience in financial market ? Also, i wanted to get an MBA at a top business school if that help.
    Thanks for your response

    1. No, probably not. Think about other options such as working at a PE portfolio company, corporate development, corporate finance, etc.

      1. Avatar
        Philippe

        Thanks for your response Brian.
        The use of the term corporate finance varies between Europe and U.S. Does that include M&A (i would like to work in M&A actually).

        And last question, is it still possible to try an MBA or not worth it ?
        Thx

        1. No, corporate finance is different and refers more to budgeting and planning. Corporate development is for M&A. I would not recommend an MBA at this stage because banks usually want candidates with less work experience.

          1. Avatar
            Philippe

            Thanks Brian, really appreciate your help.
            And love your website.

            Plz keep up the good work !
            ;-)

  43. Hi Brian,

    Thanks for publishing the article – it was very informative. I was wondering it if you could let me know your thoughts on my current situation would really appreciate any advice you could give:

    I graduated in 2014 from a target UK undergraduate uni and tried to get into IB back then but did not get any offers (had quite a few interviews/assessment centres with bulge bracket banks for summer internships). So with no IB offers i ended up taking a job with one of the big 4 firms in tax. I have been working there for almost three years now and am close to complete the ACA (UK equivalent to CPA). I am thinking of giving IB recruitment another try and have applied and got an offer for a masters at a UK target uni with the intention to apply for IB summer internships/full time roles while doing the masters. I am just wondering if you think this is a good approach and would my 3 years spent in big 4 tax disadvantage me? Many thanks.

    1. It will be tougher to win a role as an Analyst with 3 years of work experience already, but yes, it is possible. Please see:

      https://www.mergersandinquisitions.com/investment-banking-masters-programs/

      1. Thanks Brian. So in this case would you recoomend going down the masters route or going to business school to do MBA instead?

        1. I would go for a Master’s degree. 3 years is borderline in terms of work experience, but it’s still almost always better to enter as an Analyst if you can do so (especially in Europe, where there’s less MBA-level recruiting).

          1. I see. Thanks very much for your advice Brian it was very helpful. Looking forward to more contents on the site in the future! :)

  44. Hi Brian – I graduated from UC Berkeley back in 2011 (GPA 3.5 in biology) and did a lot of random stuff after. I volunteered a year abroad, traveled, and my only work experience is as a medical technician for 2 years. Basically I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life.

    I am a bit unsure how I can get into IB at this point. Starting Jan 2017, I am back in school and taking undergrad classes in math/stats/econ. My main goal is to try and get an analyst internship over the summer (I realize it is quite late already). Worst case, I might take classes for another semester, and later apply for masters programs. What do you think of this plan? Thanks for any advice

    1. It will be very tough to get into a formal IB role at this stage if you graduated 6 years ago. My advice would be to go for Big 4 roles, valuation roles, or corporate finance roles, and then think about an MBA or MSF and move into banking from there.

  45. March 13, 2017
    Thanks for the article.
    I attended the military after high school, and attended a solid but non-target state school. I have been at a top restructuring/advisory firm for the last two years (promoted with excellent reviews), but would like to make the jump to to a Restructuring/Special Situations banking group. I am about to turn 30, so the natural fear of being too old has crept in. Thoughts?

  46. to point #2:
    If one is used to working in an ambiguous environment with only a order of “just get it done by day xyz,” and thrives in that environment, then IB is not for him/her?

    1. ??? Not sure I understand. The point is that if you’re older/more experienced, bankers will assume that you won’t follow orders as blindly as a fresh graduate would.

  47. Left being an FA because it was entirely sales, no analysis*

  48. Series 56*

  49. Spent 1 year as a prop trader after earning my bba in finace (series 57), 7 months as financial advisor (series 7, series 66, insurance license), then decided to go back to school for MBA. Finished mba in august while working in aerospace project finance 3 1/2 years. I left trading even though i loved because I am passionate about building relationships and working with people, left being an FA because it was entirely sales and no relationship building. I want to pursue IB because I love finance and have all my life, greatly enjoy analysis and can sit for days on end doing analysis, work with people and build relationships, and very interested in structuring transactions. Im approximately 30. MBA was a 1 year while in Aerospace at a non-target. Thoughts?

    1. I think it will be tough to get in if you already finished the MBA because banks mostly recruit from MBA students at top schools who are still in school. Maybe focus on smaller firms and see if you can gain traction there.

  50. Great article! I am obsessed with finance, fp&a, and intrigued with IB. I’m in a unique spot. I am 32 and only recently achieved my bachelors (BA in Marketing Research). I have a passion for finance and am wondering if there’s any hope for getting into IB at my age. I can go any route at this point, as I’m not tied down in any way, and have only 2 years of FTE experience in finance (strategic sourcing) for large Biotech company. I could go for my MBA, or begin applying to small boutique firms, etc… What are you thoughts on strategy and approach here? or am I no longer eligible? Willing to do whatever it takes. Curious of your thoughts.

    1. to clarify the story a bit – between ages 20 and 25/26 I owned my own small business and was successful. I sold my clientele to fund my bachelors which I received in 2014.

    2. It’s unlikely that you’ll get in as an Analyst if you already have 10+ years of work experience. Your best bet is to do an MBA or to consider fields outside of IB.

  51. Hi, thank you for the useful contents !
    I am currently considering to go to army for 2years ( compulsory in Korea) after my first year and apply to IBD . However, it is better for me to study with my colleagues now rather than make friends again after I get out from the army.

    So do you think it is okay to go army after I graduate uni and apply IBD during summer before I start my masters?

    1. Finish the army first, and then go to university.

      1. Can you tell me more specifically why it might be a bad choice to go army after graduating uni and apply for graduate scheme before applying masters ? rather than the other option?

        1. Because you don’t want that much of a gap between internship and full-time experience.

  52. Avatar
    Faraz Khan

    Hi,

    Your article was extremely useful and would be grateful for any insight you could provide. My background is a Masters in Finance and Accounting from LSE and I have worked as a financial advisor in the energy sector with USAID. I am now looking to transition more towards finance and investment banking.

    I am currently pursuing some professional qualifications (CFA, CAIA) as well. My question is whether an MBA would be a useful addition (given the time and money). I just turned 31. Also what is the best way for me to break into the investment banking circuit.

    1. No, an MBA is probably not useful at this stage. Please do a search for “MBA” on the site to see why. Please see this page for the rest:

      https://www.mergersandinquisitions.com/get-started/

  53. Hi:

    I am a 35 years old

    My Background:
    Bachelors in Engineering from India; Masters in Civil Engineering from USA
    Worked in the Environmental Engg field for about 8-9 years; Currently a Senior Project Manager in an Environmental Engg company in India.

    From the past few years, owing to my experience in bringing in clients and deal making, I have been very much interested in the Finance field. I am preparing for the GRE now. I plan on completing my MBA by 37. Is it a good age for me to break into IB? I very much would love that.

    However, in trying to be practical, what other way would you suggest?

    1. Yes, you could do that, but you should be aware of what it takes to get into the industry in India first (AKA it’s impossible unless you’re at a top IIM):

      https://www.mergersandinquisitions.com/investment-banking-india/

      The easiest way to get in outside that is to leave the country and complete your MBA in the U.S. or U.K., where there are more openings.

  54. Avatar
    Chris Perez

    Hey Brian, Great post!

    I just turned 32 this past October, have my MBA (not a top level program). I spent 5 years in the military (Got out in 2009, age 24) and have been “in & out” of the financial services arena since 2011 as a financial advisor for the largest wirehouse in the country. I would love to get out of “sales” and move into investment banking either as an analyst/associate. I just applied to Citi’s full time associate program which stated they require an MBA and 3-5 years of professional work experience. Do you think I have a decent chance of getting accepted (or to any firm for that matter), or has that ship sailed. Thank you again for all of your advice.

    Chris

    1. If you finished the MBA a long time ago, you won’t be able to get into IB as banks mostly focus on recruiting current MBA students. You’re better off focusing on some of the options here:

      https://www.mergersandinquisitions.com/too-old-for-finance/

  55. Hey Brian – I am from Europe, but want to break into US investment banking. I will finish undergrads now with 26 and have completed one full-time internship within M&A services. Would you recommend a one year MS Finance program in the US, or would it only be a waste of time? I later want to pursue the MBA anyways and guess that work experience is now more important than such a MS degree, although it would help me with the one year working permission, better placement options, and maybe a nice university reference on the CV. How would you plan ahead in my position? Internships abroad?

    1. If you have no existing connections in the U.S., yes, and MSF program would be helpful for branding and gaining access to recruiters and companies.

  56. Hello Brian,

    My case its different, I joined University at almost 24 years old (personal issues), when I finish it I have in mind to do a Master to get better chances to join IBD. So I’ll be 28-29 years old with no experience, at the same level as 23-24 undergraduate guys but just older than them.

    What I should do then? Applies to the same to me, or in my case the age matters. Thanks you.

    1. I don’t think it matters much as long as you have no full-time work experience.

  57. Hi Brian
    I recently graduated from a target university in the U.K. However, my degree was sponsored by a commercial bank, tying me into internships with them and leaving me unable to get an IB internship. I am now working for said commercial bank on a two year placement. Would I still be able to apply to IBs next year (to start the year after) 12 months after I graduate? What would be a realistic target?

    1. You could still apply, but it would be tough to win offers without prior finance-related internships. So you would need to complete some type of off-cycle internship first to have a good shot.

  58. Hi- really want to give my best shot to get into IB,can you tell me what do I need to do please to have chance with my profile,I am networking hard!

    1. Your question is so vague that I can’t answer it. What’s your background? Prior academic/internship experience? Current position?

  59. Avatar
    Neetu Singh

    Hi – I have been offered Msc in Finance part time in LSE.i am 33 years old with CIMA and 8’years of accounting experience in local government.what are my chances of breaking in to IB? What else would be my option after completing Msc in finance?

    1. Have you done any IB or finance-related internships? If not, your chances are not good. You need to get internship or other work experience first to have a good shot. A Master’s degree won’t do much unless you get the experience first or during the program. If you don’t have that, maybe consider corporate finance roles at normal companies instead.

      1. Thanks for your response. No I don’t have IB internship or experience ,would the accounting experience not count ?
        Should I abandon the idea of going to LSE?

        1. I have corporate finance experience in Local government

          1. I don’t think you have a good shot at IB roles with that background. Corporate finance at a normal company or perhaps other finance roles at banks, sure.

  60. Thanks for the quick reply!

    When you say I probably need business school to make the change back, do you mean going for a focused MBA? At this time it ill be a big financial burden for me and will probably be done by 37/38 making me much older to re enter no? I just don’t see myself going for an MBA any time soon. Private Banking/WM seems to be the right path at this stage I guess.

    Thanks for your time again!

    1. Yes, going for a dedicated MBA at a top school. If you don’t want to do that, private banking or wealth management are better options.

  61. Hello. Great article! Thanks for the insight.

    I graduated late 2006 with a Bachelors in Finance. Immediately after graduation I landed a 3 month internship at a Top Tier Bank in its International Private Banking and Wealth Management division which eventually led me to be hired full time as Relationship Associate doing mostly middle office work, but dealing directly with very hi net worth clients of the Private Bank as well and the bank’s PE division. So I had a bit of sale’s (assistant) experience. However, this only lasted until Dec 2008 when the finical crisis shook the industry and the International Private Bank was forced to divest. At that time it was really hard for me to find a job in the Banking Industry and I decided to go for another career path in Audio Engineering (a big passion and hobby of mine). Since then I’ve worked in that industry as an Engineer and Music Producer, as well as running my own music events and promotion business, taking on Management, Clerical and other financial duties. However, the industry at the moment is suffering and business and work have slowed down.

    I’ll be 34 this year and I’m looking to restart my career in the Financial sector. I would love to know your thoughts on what are my best options to return to Finance. IB? PE? WM? CA? Private Banking? Other? What do you considered -given my circumstances- are my best options? I have no series 7 or other certifications but I’m confident I can pass the necessary tests. By the way, do I need to be sponsored by an institution to acquire these?

    Thanks so much for your help and your time!

    1. At this stage, you probably need business school to make the change back into finance. IB would be tough but plausible, but wealth management or private banking would be easier.

      I wouldn’t bother with certifications, as they won’t help much in this scenario.

  62. Hi, thanks for the article.

    I’m currently an analyst in a private equity house in Korea. I’m thinking of advancing to an MBA program next year, and apply for investment banking associate roles in the States. I would have had about 2 years of experience then. I’m more concerned about the number of years of experience than my age (I’d be 30 when I graduate – did 2 years of military and 1 year of masters). Would this experience be too short to apply as an associate?

    1. Usually, they’ll only bring you on as an Associate if you have worked as an Analyst for 3 years. But in this case, they might not do it at all unless you’ve worked at the bank for a year first. I would apply now, push for them to hire you as a 3rd Year Analyst, and take it from there.

  63. Hi Brian,

    This is a bit late, I don’t know if it you’ll answer it but here I go.

    I graduated at the age of 24 and started FT in somewhere in my country(auditing). Then I decided to go to Business school at the age of 25 in Europe. The program is Mim and it will take either 2 or 3 years depending on whether I will take the gap year in between the first and second year which means I’ll be a graduate either at 27 with less than a year of experience or 28 with experience between 1-2 years(if the latter happens, I hope at least half of that experience will be in IB). Is it realistic to target IB in Europe after this or will I simply too old for it?

    1. Just to update, both my undergraduate and grad school is No.1 in the country they are in.

    2. Again, it’s less about your age and more about the years of work experience you have. So I think you’ll be fine if you have full-time auditing experience.

  64. hi i am ajay i m from india.i have query please advice.I am mba finance regular from college under state university.I am doing job in japenese mnc in accounts department as senior executive and i have 5yr & 9 months experience total.but i am turning 35 in september 2016.I am giving CFA level 1 in this December. I really want to do job in USA . what is my chance to do job in IB in usa.or what is the best route to do job in USA.

    Please advice.

    Thanks
    AJAY

    1. Avatar
      M&I - Nicole

      https://www.mergersandinquisitions.com/get-a-banking-job/ should help you. In terms of getting a role in the States I think its best you obtain a role in India first and ask for a transfer internally. https://www.mergersandinquisitions.com/investment-banking-india/

  65. Avatar
    PE hopeful

    Hi I am a gum surgeon and have a doctoral in basic science as well. I have clinical experience and experience in academia and would like to start working in private equity. I got accepted at Duke and will pursue finance + healthcare concentrations. I am looking to work in PE in Europe or MENA region after graduating and I would be 35 by that time. How likely is it that I can land a position in a top PE firm? What position would be suitable at that level? And how can I improve my chances?

    1. Avatar
      M&I - Nicole

      It is hard to comment on your chances since we don’t know of your presentation skills, networking efforts, etc – too many factors at play. But PE firms do prefer people with relevant operational or/and deal experience. In your case, I’d go for Associate level roles, and you can gain experience through finance case studies/deal experience. This article will be useful: https://www.mergersandinquisitions.com/private-equity-recruiting/ I’d also check out healthcare PE firms and start connecting with GPs there.

  66. Avatar
    Ahmed ElBaz

    Hi there,
    Thanks a lot for the post, I have a different story I am 28 now, a plastic surgeon in Egypt. I want to shift my career to finance, I am taking the CFA level 1 this December.
    Is it too late for me to join Investment banking and should I pursue MBA?
    Thanks,
    Ahmed

    1. Avatar
      M&I - Nicole

      Yes an MBA will help you. In terms of age, that is hard to say. In your case though, getting a top tier MBA will help you retool yourself and re-evaluate your career. And 28 is a good age to pursue that MBA.

  67. First off, thank you for this post. It is very informative.

    I went to a good, but non-target, school in Los Angeles and graduated with a 3.1 GPA in business administration. I also took a financial modelling and valuation course after I graduated, but I don’t have any practical experience in M&A.

    I’m turning 28 in September this year, and will then have four years of work experience. Two years in audit and two years in TAS (due diligence) at a Big Four firm in Eastern Europe. Should I apply for an MBA program this fall, or should I try to make the move to M&A at another TAS department in say, London, and apply for an MBA next fall?

    My goal is to get into a boutique IB, or potentially a mid-cap PE fund.

    Assuming a top 15 MBA program, what is the trade-off between gaining relevant experience and being an older candidate? Should I get pre MBA M&A experience at all costs, or should I just hit the reset button with business school? Is a post MBA move directly to PE possible given my DD background? Is a 1 year MBA program more desirable in my situation?

    Thank you for your insight.

    1. Avatar
      M&I - Nicole

      I don’t think it matters that much. If you can get into an MBA program this year (and want to do so), I’d do so sooner rather than later.Since you already have TAS experience I’m not sure if gaining more TAS experience will help you. If you can break into banking now, I’d move directly. If it’s taking you a bit longer than you’d like to move and you’d like to retool yourself, an MBA can potentially help you. I’d say an MBA at a school like Wharton, HBS, Columbia maybe the best bet. https://www.mergersandinquisitions.com/private-equity-recruiting/ maybe a good article for you to refer to.

  68. Hi, I’m in a dilemma regarding my future. I’m an international student and have completed my undergrads (21 years) in Engineering with a 2.9 GPA (lost interest) from a US university. I wanted to switch to finance and due to visa rule of not staying in the US if job is not in the field of study I moved back to my home country. After moving back without loosing further time, I studied for CFA, FRM and CAIA exams and completed all levels within 2 yrs. And now planning for MSF with stem focus (giving me 3 years to work without work visa) in the US. By the time I complete my Masters, I will be 26 yrs, perhaps would have 1.5 yrs of work experience, which includes 6 months on internship. I want to enter BB as an IB/PWM/AM analyst. I’m worried whether will I be overqualified for the job and a reason to reject? If it doesn’t workout, what can be my other options as a job?

    1. Adding to the above, i’m planning a study in non-target school in NY primarily as I want to stay near the finance firms and the MSF program there doesn’t require immediate sponsorship, thereby, giving me enough time to work without a worry. Do you think staying in NY looking for BB jobs helps?

      1. Avatar
        M&I - Nicole

        Yes, being in NY will most definitely help in your case.

    2. Avatar
      M&I - Nicole

      No I don’t think you’d be overqualified for the role. If it does not work out, you can look at start up roles perhaps in the finance capacity, as well as buy side roles.

  69. Hey,
    I am turning 22 this year and I am finishing my bachelors degree this year at a decent B-School in in Europe, but then I’ll have to complete the national military service for 2 years. I will be around 24 years old afterwards, but I’m planning a full year of internships and preparation period for grad school, then start a 2 year masters in finance at the age of 25 – so I’ll be around 27 when starting FT.
    Will I be considered too ‘old’?
    The 2 years of military is inevitable and I will probably need 1 year to do the GMAT (to apply for grad school, doing this during my military service is not possible) and do relevant internships (to aim for SA positions after my first year of masters)..

    1. Hey Nicole, it would be great if you can give me a response :D

      1. It’s fine, not too old

  70. Hi,
    Before elaborating my question, please allow me to tell a bit about myself. Currently I am pursuing an MSc in FInance in Germany (specializing in Financial Economics), a highly quantitative and rigorous subject. I have also completed an MS in Engineering, and BS in Physics and Mathematics including internships – one of the academic internships being a published paper in Stochastic Finance, and other being with a Private Equity for 2 months. Unable to land on a Quant position in an IB on time, I had to return back from the US to my country Nepal since my visa was expiring. Prior to enrolling for the MSc. Finance program here in Germany, I had worked for a software company on a short term project as a developer for about a year in my country, then taught Mathematics on a part time basis to high school students, and joined extensive class in Indian Classical Music which has been my innate interest. Now that I am readying to embark on an IB career either as an intern or junior recruit, I am wondering whether my candidacy would allow me to join an IB directly as a Associate given that I am over 30 now. In short – do I need to have all experiences/expertise which Analysts possess in order consider an Associate position? I read somewhere on your website that first year Analyst and first year Associate are basically “treated” (?) the same way.
    Sorry if anything was unclear …

    1. If you already have all that work experience, you will pretty much need an MBA to get into investment banking at this point. I think you might be able to win offers, but you’d still be at a disadvantage even in a top MBA program because your work experience seems quite “scattered” – banks generally prefer candidates who worked at 1-2 places full-time over the course of a few years and then want to transition into banking.

      1. Thank you Brian for your response. Really appreciate it.
        – As with MBA … as I mentioned, I am currently finishing MSc in Finance which, as my professors have emphasized and as it seems clearly obvious to me, will a help a candidate ‘stand out’ among MBAs? I have also done a bit of research on courseworks for MBA degree vs. MSc Finance, where for the later I have taken all the advanced MBA courses in addition to several quant-oriented subjects in financial economics. So could you suggest whether MBA is the only degree that seems to catch the employers’ eyes for the reasons you have mentioned on this page? — here’s a short video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oSZq_LBRHUk

        – And I have only about two years of full-time work experience, others where mostly internships, part-times, community involvement/unemployement..
        – My university – MSc Finance program is ranked atop, and quite popular among global players, at least in German-speaking countries.

        – I’m still not sure whether I need to have expertise of an Analyst in order consider an Associate role given my background?

        Thanks for your wonderful website! Also, where do I contact you to buy your product?

        1. Wow … didn’t know you’ve already covered a plethora of such questions and so extensively in your website! Though I didn’t find the rationale for MBA vs. Master of Finance in your website, I have found the answer now. And can’t wait to buy your services. These are truly Godsends. All the best …

          1. Avatar
            M&I - Nicole

            Anytime.

        2. Avatar
          M&I - Nicole

          – Not really, but a top tier MBA will open you quite a few doors.
          – Yes, it will be useful if you have finance experience to be considered as an Associate so I’d suggest that you apply for Analyst roles. However, since you have a MSc degree, you may still be qualified for Associate roles, but it is likely they prefer someone with relevant experience
          – You can view our product offerings here: https://breakingintowallstreet.com/biws/breaking-into-wall-street-courses/

  71. Hi ive been working since part time since the age of 16. At the age of 20 i became full time. I just started college at the age of 24 and i should be finished by 27 . Im not sure if i should try to get a job once i graduate at the age of 27. Or should continue and get my MBA at the age of 29 and then try to get into banking.

    1. Your age matters less than your university graduation date… so probably best to apply to jobs before/as you’re graduating rather than doing an MBA.

  72. Hi Brian

    I was wondering does this post apply to the UK as well or just the US?

    1. Avatar
      M&I - Nicole

      I’d say both, internationally.

  73. I’m 30 years old and have 3 years working experience. Some of the work I’ve done are finance-related, such as doing sell-side valuation, due diligence, and have participated buy-side deals including technology venture capital investments. However, the company I’ve worked with is not knowledgeable in the U.S and no recruiter knows me. Also I haven’t been trained well such as the valuation method and the deal process that IB analyst usually do. I’m so interested in doing deal and eventually want to work in PE, but the question is I don’t know how I can be recruited into a good PE firm. I heard that PE recruiters always pick candidates from IB analysts. Should I try to apply for a IB analyst role and then PE or should I apply directly to PE? If I apply for IB analyst, is it too old to get in?

    Really like your website. I’ve learned a lot and thank you for your help!

    1. Avatar
      M&I - Nicole

      I’d start with approaching a boutique/mid size IB firm first to gain some experience, and move to PE from there. I wouldn’t let age deter you. I’d also read: https://www.mergersandinquisitions.com/private-equity-recruiting/

  74. I am 32 years old, finishing my PhD in Economics from a top UK university. I do not have any work experience in banking or finance industry, plus that it took time for me to find what I really like to do. As a result, I ended up doing a PhD which its topic is rather theoretical and never tried to get an intership. My undergraduate degree is on maritime transport (a business type degree for the shipping industry), and worked for three years in the maritime sector as a ship broker – gaining some skills which I believe are quite relevant to the finance industry. I also have a year of military service, plus a gap year – wasted in the unemployment pool and spent on reading mathematics to prepare for my PhD.

    So far, I noticed that my set of skills or experience might not be sufficient or competitive enough to compete with other PhDs for Associate roles requiring a PhD – an in fact I was unsuccessful to get any interviews – so I am wondering what’s a good option or strategy for me.

    You think I am too old ? Do I have a chance to get an intership, if I try so ?

    1. Avatar
      M&I - Nicole

      I’d connect with your alumni and see if there are any roles for you. While you may not have the experience, I think connection may matter most and you can always convince them to test try you for a few weeks. I don’t think you’re too old, and I’d focus on maritime finance given your background. https://www.mergersandinquisitions.com/maritime-shipping-investment-banking/ If you’re open to roles in Singapore, this maybe an interesting area for you to explore.

  75. I am a Managing Partner on the Wealth Management side for my broker dealer so I basically manage financial advisors who are entrepreneurial in building their books of business. At age 35, feeling like I’ve peaked in this side of the industry I’ve been researching a career change in getting into working for a Hedge Fund or Investment Banking. Having just a bachelor’s degree in Marketing… is it realistic for me to try to get into these types of companies?

    1. Avatar
      M&I - Nicole

      Perhaps, if you have a rolodex of HNW clients. Otherwise I’d look at say retail banking as well as wealth/asset management roles

  76. I am currently in a FLDP Program – think FT 500 manufacturing. I am currently 25 years old but really would like to do IB. I know MBA would be the ideal method but i feel like it is too costly. I thought about MSA as well but still expensive. Am i too old for an Analyst role for IB? What is the best route to take to maximize my chances of getting into IB?

    Thank you so much!

    1. Avatar
      M&I - Nicole

      Not necessarily. I’d say an MBA at a target maybe best route. Otherwise I’d use your alumni and LinkedIn connections.

  77. Thank you for writing this article.

    I wanted to ask a question about breaking into IB and Sales and Trading if you graduated at 23.

    I got the grades from university (non target) and all (including trading part time). However I didn’t get the software skills that analyst positions nowadays are asking for like SQL. And masters at target universities in London want an A-level in Math at grade A (I didn’t do math).

    I’m sure that in 2-3 years I can get these skills and qualifications. However I’ll be 25-27 by then with 2-4 years of work experience by that then.
    (let’s say I’d have 3-4 years of experience when I’d be applying to target masters universities)

    Would you say that going through this plan would be worth it, or would I be too old to break into IB and/or Sales and Trading?

    1. Avatar
      M&I - Nicole

      I think you maybe older than most analysts but you still have a chance of breaking into IB/ST. I think getting a masters at target universities can potentially help you.

      1. Thank you.

        I’m assuming its about networking (especially if I get into a target) in addition to my “business plan”? As the business plan is really just a “don’t be filtered out” plan.

        But you answered the key bit that by age by then won’t be a hindrance.

        Since in this scenario I’d graduate around 28, am I right in assuming age-wise 30 is the upper limit for analyst/jr roles in IB/ST and 5yrs of experience being the upper limit (while pushing it) for analyst positions?

        1. Avatar
          M&I - Nicole

          I’d say so.

  78. Hello,

    I am 37 and just graduated with a 3.8 GPA from Harvard Extension School with my Bachelors (Concentration:Economics Minor: Quant Analysis). I also spent a semester at London School of Economics, which was an increincredible experience and provided numerous contacts in Europe/Asia. I had been pursuing a professional hockey career through age 25, which did not pan out as I would have liked, at which point I went into real estate. I have 5 years of Commercial & Residential experience, including leadership roles. I also have 3 years of mortgage banking experience and 1 year of Financial Advisory exp with a well-known ins based firm.

    I am looking to break into IB in some capacity, but the age factor is of concern. I have minimal outside responsibilities, would have NO ISSUE working 100+/hrs a week, have no issue taking orders from someone 15 years younger than me and keeping my mouth shut along the way.

    Realistically, what are my options in Finance? Should I be trying to leverage my RE experience into a real estate buy-side role? Any chance at landing an Analyst/Associate role with an IB, possibly at a Boutique or Regional bank? Would an MSRE from NYU Schack or a similar program help me at this stage or would an MBA be the best bet? Would I have better chances with a HF/PE/VC? Where would Internships fit into the mix?

    Sorry for so many questions, and I completely understand if you can’t get to everything.

    Thanks,

    Mike

    1. Avatar
      M&I - Nicole

      Yes, leverage your real estate experience can help. Perhaps you can look at real estate investment banking at a boutique. I am not familiar with the NYU program you mentioned of; I believe an MBA can potentially improve your chances.

  79. Is 27+ too old for entry level if you graduated in 2015?

    What about other areas like sales and trading?

    1. Avatar
      M&I - Nicole

      I’d say you’re a few years older than most graduates, in IB/ST etc. But I wouldn’t worry too much about it; apply first and see how that goes.

      1. I see. Thank you!

        I wanted to ask about areas you can get with an MBA like associate level positions in banks or VC, HF and PE?

        1. An MBA mostly leads to Associate-level roles at banks. The other areas are tough without prior banking experience or buy-side experience prior to your MBA.

          1. Thank you.

            Does banking experience have to be any part of banking with relevant skills, or a particular part of it?

            Thanks again.

          2. Avatar
            M&I - Nicole

            Yes this refers to IB experience (experience working at the investment banking division of a bank) doing analytical/valuation work.

  80. OK I’m too old to do investment banking I’m 34 years old just restarted my bachelors degree and I would like to get into hedge funds her own one become a portfolio manager or trader since I’m starting now let’s see for five years I’ll be 39 or 38 and I know that’s way too late to get into IB although, a company might take me when I’m forty or over.. But I need to work for la company on wall st to get clients to go on my own, what’s the best route for an old man like me to take I know I’ve written before on this post on this page about that but I want to clarify go mourn depth about this can we go more depth?

    1. You might want to see this article for some tips on getting into hedge funds: https://www.mergersandinquisitions.com/hedge-funds-institutional-asset-management/

      You can still get into those fields at an older age, though IB would be tough.

      1. But how would I get into IB over 40 or 50+? Any ways .. Or even back door ways?

        1. Avatar
          M&I - Nicole

          If you can demonstrate your ability to source clients and originate deals that would help.

  81. Hi,

    I am 26 years old with a low GPA of 2.6 finance undergraduate degree, which I obtained about 2 years and 6 months ago. I currently have 1 year and 7 months of sales experience that have nothing to do with finance.

    What would be the best strategy or steps to take to get an investment banking job at my age? Should I go and try to get my MBA, and what would be the best way to approach this?

    Hopefully you can help me with my questions, I would appreciated it very much.

  82. I graduated at the height of the financial crisis in 2009 with an Economics with Banking degree, and started my own business to keep busy and get work experience. The problem is that I have now stopped trading and I am struggling to find work in my area of study. I am aged 40.

    I have tried the online recruitment agencies and I’m also getting help from a “recruitment expert”. However these have not helped find a job.

    Anyone with a similar experience please?

    Thanks

    Chris

  83. Hello,

    My story: Finance college degree – US School (honours), 2.5 years in a Fortune 500 as a Financial Analyst (multi-country roles). Master in Finance. Then, Analyst (1 year FT Internship – 2 Years Full Time) & Associate (2 years) at an Inv. Banking Firm. Starting MBA next year (maybe. I will be 33 y/o by then). Is this bad if I would like to break into PE? What if a want to jump as a VP in banking at another bank after the MBA? Curious since I don’t work in the US/Canada/Europe area. I would like to know what my chances are in these regions (obviously-target school MBA).

    Thanks!!!

    1. Avatar
      M&I - Nicole

      No, but having IB experience will increase your chances in PE quite a bit – https://www.mergersandinquisitions.com/private-equity-recruiting/ Yes, working in IB can help you!

  84. Hello,

    I’m a 32 year old who’s had nearly 4 years work experience at bank, 1 year in back office, 1 year mortgage analyst, 1 year project management, etc. I’ve got in a semi-target like BC. I’m doing a modeling program and just purchased interview/networking from your affiliate BIWS. Other than that I’ve done 6 years running a fund investing for clients, friends, relatives done fairly well. My question is should I go get MBA at BC THIS YEAR and try breaking into IB for Equity Research/M&A associate when I graduate OR should I apply at a target school (My latest GMAT went from 640 to 680 84th Percentile) and try to get in that way at say a UNC, for next year and try to gain a preMBA internship at an asset management firm in the meanwhile? Or does either way work? The latter option will require a year’s wait, and I’ll be 35/36 by when I get my MBA. I’d love your thoughts on this.

    1. Avatar
      M&I - Nicole

      I’d say an MBA is most useful if it is from a target school. However, you don’t want to wait too long to go to a target school. So in your case, I’d say it depends on the number of firms that recruit at BC. If they have a strong alumni connection in finance (you’ll have to call career service up), this may not be a bad idea. If not, I’d wait till you get into a target school.

  85. Hello BIWS!

    Great article!

    My background is the following:

    Top Undergrad School (Top 15)
    MBA from non-target school (but Top 50 ranked)
    5-6 years work experience (sales & operations analysis and most recently, 1 year in a non-IB finance position)
    Age 30

    I caught the IB interest in my most recent job working in a non-IB financial analysis & management position for a conglomerate that acquired many businesses domestically and internationally. My goal is to work in IB in NYC.

    My question is this: Given my background, what position and types of banks should I target in the USA?

    a) Based on the article, I should be applying only to Associate level positions. But should I be open to Analyst level positions too?

    b) Are bulge bracket level banks out of the question? Should I focus on middle-market and boutiques instead?

    Any suggestions are warmly appreciated! Thanks. :)

    1. Avatar
      M&I - Nicole

      a) Yes I think you should look at analyst roles
      b) I wouldn’t say so but you may have higher chances at middle market/boutique firms.

      1. Thanks for the feedback. :)

        1. Hello again. I have an update and 2 questions since this post a few months ago. I apologize in advance for the long post.

          I have followed some of the Networking Guide’s tips on how to network my way into IB – cold-calling, contacting alumni, applying for full-time and internship roles. I have applied to 30 – 35 companies (directly through cold-calling, Career Websites and indirectly through recruiters) during the past month focusing on boutiques and mid-market banks and some corporate M&A roles. I have had very limited success because: (1) I don’t have directly related financial advisory work experience on my resume and (2) am in-between Analyst (too old? 4 years non-finance work experience) and Associate roles (not enough experience?) – though I think I should start at Analyst level given my current ACTUAL finance work experience.

          It’s November now and I have heard from many recruiters that banks will generally stop hiring from Thanksgiving – New Years. At this point, I plan to: (1) take a job (even non-finance related) to earn some income and not stay out of the market too long and (2) start building up my connections with sell-side financial advisory professionals and continue my networking efforts. (3) Prepare as best I can on Valuation, M&A, technical topics in anticipation for financial advisory openings in February/March of next year.

          Surprisingly, I have had success reaching out to IB professionals (including non-alumni) through LinkedIn and they have offered valuable insights. I think that is the way to go in my situation.

          My questions are: (1): would it HURT me to take a non-finance job temporarily now while I network and prepare for openings in early next year? (2) Any other suggestions to improve my chances of getting a sell-side financial advisory role in the future?

          Thanks! And continue to keep up the great work on this website.

          1. Avatar
            M&I - Nicole

            Tony, thanks for your note. No, as long as you continue to network, I don’t think it will hurt you to take a non-finance role in the meantime. Yes, I’d suggest that you continue to network. While this is not ideal, you “may” have to take a role that is of “lower level” than your current one to improve your chances of getting a sell-side advisory role as a side note.

      2. Avatar
        M&I - Nicole

        I’d say so, though you’ll be competing against people who are younger who potentially have a bit more relevant work experience than you do, so I’d say 50/50 chance

        1. Thank you so much for all of your suggestions/advice Nicole! I have been working in a non-IB related role the past 9 months and it definitely gave me a better perspective on the realities of breaking into the IB industry without a background. Time is not on your side and I have accepted the realities that my window may have passed for this opportunity, but it’s not the end of the world. You learn, adapt and move on. The good news is I now have a much clearer direction for my career and life in general. :) Thanks again for the feedback and wish you and the website all the best! :)

  86. Hi

    I’m 32 and am studying my master of applied finance at a pretty good school in australia

    I’m a geologist originally and want to become a mining analyst, am I too old to break in? Am I doing the right thing in order to get into the industry?

    Thanks

    Alex

    1. Avatar
      M&I - Nicole

      Perhaps you can explore metals and mining banking roles: https://www.mergersandinquisitions.com/metals-mining-investment-banking/

      I would say you maybe older than most associates, but your background maybe most relevant to such roles above.

  87. I worked as an analyst at a hedge fund in structured products from age 25-27, then got my MBA at a non-target. After MBA, I launched a hedge fund and ran it from age 29-33. I have burned out on running the fund solo, and it never got big enough to add employees. Now I’m at a bit of a crossroads in that I’m unsure of which direction to go next. I’ve always been interested in IB, but I have zero experience in that space. Is it worth me pursuing IB now at 33, or should I focus on trying to latch on to another hedge fund? Or should I look into other areas like PE or AM?

    Thanks.

    1. Avatar
      M&I - Nicole

      I’d probably look for a role at another buy-side firm. Without IB experience it can be challenging to do PE.https://www.mergersandinquisitions.com/private-equity-recruiting/ AM may work.

  88. hi
    I m 34 and I m planning to continue my studies in business and want to become an investment banker ,My goal is to work in wall street .But I do not know what is the age criteria to be an analyst or an associate .Because now if I start my UG program and by the time I m done I m like 38yearsold .So do I stand a chance in getting a job as an investment banker in Wall street?.As a matter of fact I do not even have a work experience as I was a homemaker till now.

    1. Avatar
      M&I - Nicole

      If you haven’t had any experience in finance, you may want to check out buy-side, asset management roles – this maybe more suitable for you. Most analysts and associates are below 30, and unless you’ve had some sort of deal experience under your belt, you maybe a bit older than the usual age.

  89. Hi, I am 30 years old and have 6 years of professional expereince in the real estate industry as a property manager. I have been doing my MBA (finance concentration) part time now for almost three years from a mediocre school and will be finished this December. Ive also completed CFA level 1 and will be registering for level 2 next

    Do you think it’s possible to break into Investnment Banking at this point in my career? If so, would I most likely start as an Analyst? Or is an Associate level a possibility? Or am I better off focusing on buy-side opportunities?

    Note: I’m in Canada so the CFA is often considered an asset for IB job postings. I also wanted options to go buy-side…

    Thanks!

    1. Avatar
      M&I - Nicole

      I’d look at real estate buy-side roles in your case to improve your chances. You may start of as an associate depending on how releant your experience is and if the firm values you. Yes, CFA is useful if you want to move to the buy-side so you made a good call here.

  90. Hi, I’m 25 and graduated from a red brick university in the UK in 2012 and interned with a bulge bracket for 4 months after graduating in a trade analyst role. I made a mistake in taking a job in a completely different industry and am now trying to get back into investment banking, but not in operations. What would be your best advice? Thanks.

    1. Avatar
      M&I - Nicole

      I’d try your best to transition internally if possible. Otherwise, perhaps getting a Masters/MBA can help you rebrand yourself.

      1. Sorry, I meant I no longer work in the bank so internal wouldn’t be possible. I have two offers outside of banking right now – junior market analyst in a small financial services and associate researcher in one of the top consulting firms. Would either of these be worthwhile experience to try and move back in? I don’t think a masters or MBA would be feasible right now financially. Thanks!

        1. Avatar
          M&I - Nicole

          Perhaps working for a top consulting role maybe a better idea given its credibility…

  91. Hi,
    i am 37 and a student in comunity college in first year. I think that i will finish BA economics when i am 41-42. Is it too old to find an investment banker job?
    I graduated 2002 in my country with a computer science major, and i had 7 years experience working in IT field and 1 year in sale (about software product).
    Now i am living in the US, and i go back to school in economics major. I really want to work into investment banking. Can you please give me some advices.
    Thank you very much.
    Soooo sorry that my English is not good.

    1. Avatar
      M&I - Nicole

      I’d suggest that you look at middle office roles in finance. Without relevant deal experience it can be challenging to break into IB at your age. If you start with middle/back office roles first the transition maybe easier.

      1. Thank you so much for responding so quickly. It really help me.

  92. If I’ve done my graduation from distance degree and mba regular.. Can i be a investment banker?
    PLease PLease reply me..
    Is distance degree is like a curse, but mba is regular not distance.
    I’ll appreciate, if anybody will answer me .

    1. Avatar
      M&I - Nicole

      It is hard to say on this forum, since we have not met you in person. I’d say if you have relevant finance experience and a target MBA this can most definitely help. Otherwise, you may have less chance of breaking into the industry (versus someone with relevant experience, target MBA, etc).

  93. I have almost 2 years of venture capital experience as a seed/series a stage analyst at a small, probably little known venture fund and 1 year of academic researcher/programming. I am 25. I’m guessing I have a shot at small shops but would it be possible for me to get to an elite boutique (ideal) or Tech Banking at a BB (given how competitive these groups are, and their stringent undergrad focused recruiting schedules). I remember reading on your Private equity/Venture capital out-of-undergrad thread that it would be difficult to go from buyside to banking so I’m concerned. I also went to HYP, did engineering (and got engineering grades…) to add more color.

    1. Avatar
      M&I - Nicole

      I’d probably focus on boutique banks in the tech space first given your experience and then move to a BB to increase your chances, because boutique banks are more likely to be accepting of someone with your background. Otherwise what you can do is to transition into a larger VC fund / go back to a target grad school.

      1. When you say boutiques, do you mean places like Perella and Qatalyst or regional players?

        1. Avatar
          M&I - Nicole

          Yes you can say so, but Perella is probably considered an elite boutique.

      2. Also when you say “move to” do you mean start with the boutiques then apply to BBs in the same cycle or get a job at a boutique then seek to lateral?

        1. Avatar
          M&I - Nicole

          I meant get a job at a boutique and then seek to lateral.

  94. Hello,

    I am 35 years old & targeting a top business school. I will graduate at 37-38. Will i be too old to be hired at a management consultant associate?

    Thanks,
    Anamika

    1. Avatar
      M&I - Nicole

      Yes you’re probably 10 years older than the associates, but yes you can still give it a shot.

  95. Hey I graduated in May ’14 and I’ve been trying to break into I.B. I have a degree in Sociology from an elite liberal arts school. I recently accepted a position as a Customer Service rep at a very reputable Investment Firm. My main concern is that I’ll get stuck only being able to do customer service jobs. I really want to start moving up the chain. I don’t have a degree in finance but I would really excel in anything that focuses on consulting, project management, operations, human resources, etc. I’m 23 years old. Any tips/advice?

    1. Avatar
      M&I - Nicole

      I’d connect with alumni in the industry and see if you can gain some experience there. I may also obtain your degree from a target university to increase your chances.

  96. Hi,

    I am 28 and have two years of doing due-diligence at a consulting firm. My academic career isn’t very good, so I plan to get a Masters in Finance before applying to a target school. I currently am not able to get a finance job. My plan is to work as an analyst for two years and finish my MBA at 34.

    Is that too old? And, what kind of banks or jobs should I seek out after my Masters in Finace? I want to get into a top school and get a solid internship.

    1. Avatar
      M&I - Nicole

      No, that is not too old. I am not 100% sure which roles fit you after your Masters, but this should help you: http://www.goldmansachs.com/careers/why-goldman-sachs/explore-goldman-sachs-careers-quiz/

  97. Avatar
    JC Transfer

    How bad would being a junior college transfer hurt your chances of starting as an analyst on the street? If I went to Santa Monica College (which has top transfer rate to UC schools like UCB and UCLA) and transferred to a UC target school how bad would this hurt my chances of scoring good internships and starting at a top IB out of college assuming grades etc were excellent?

    1. It might hurt you a bit, but it doesn’t matter that much if you transferred to a UC target school as long as everything else looks good for you.

  98. I’m 22 and just started college at Berkeley and I’m majoring in Business Administration. Assuming I maintain an excellent GPA, score internships, complete the Level 1 CFA will I have a good shot at getting a good analyst job on Wall Street? I’ll be starting at 26, is that too old?

    Also I know Berkeley is a good target school for west coast banking but will I have a chance on The Street?

    Thanks, and please be brutally honest.

    1. Avatar
      M&I - Nicole

      Yes you may a few years older than most analysts but 26 is still ok. Yes there are quite a few Berkeley alums on Wall Street so I’d reach out to them.

  99. Hi Brian,

    I wasn’t sure where to post this question, so here it is: I graduated in May ’14 and have been looking for a job since. I finally got an offer at a Bulge Bracket bank in their CIB as an Analyst (more specifically, CIB –> Investor Services –> Alternative Investment Services –> Private Equity Fund Services). I would like to know what my exit opportunities from this type of role and the probability of being able to move into a front-office IB / PE / HF Analyst role in the future (1-3 years). Thank you in advance for your time!

    Sincerely,

    Anonymous

    1. Avatar
      M&I - Nicole

      I presume you mean Corporate & Institutional Banking (CIB)? It depends on your job description and what you’ll be doing there. If you’ll be involved in deals/valuation work then yes IB maybe easy to transition into.

  100. I am an English teacher in Malaysia and I have passed by CFA level 2. I guess I will finish all the levels when I am 30 years old. Will my education-related working experience and age be an issue when I apply for a position of Research Analyst with an investment bank by the time? I am quite scared that my efforts in doing CFA will go down the drain if the recruiting officers in investment banks think I’m too old to consider for any junior posts. Please provide me with an answer. Your time and kindness will be dearly appreciated. Thank you so much. :)

    1. Avatar
      M&I - Nicole

      Peter, please refer to my answer in your other duplicate comment. Please leave the same comment only once on the site. Thank you.

  101. I am an English teacher in Malaysia and I am doing CFA now. I have passed CFA level 2. I guess I will finish all the levels when I am 30 years old. Will my education working experience and age be an issue when I apply for a position of Research Analyst with an investment bank by the time? I am quite scared that my efforts in doing CFA will go down the drain. Please provide me with an answer. Thank you so much. :)

  102. Hi Nicole,
    I am 34 year old Indian male, living in UK, with 13 years’ experience in IT Consulting. My entire work-exp has been on Oracle’s ERP (Financial product). I am now looking to make a career change and move into IB. For this effect I’ve completed three levels of CFA, thinking it would help me. But till now it hasn’t. I am also looking at doing MBA from one of the top universities in UK.
    Please advice- whether my dream of moving into IB is achievable at this stage or should i chart a different career path for me, such as move to Consulting. I am very keen to move into IB and I am ready to put more effort, but only if it is realistically possible to move.

    1. Avatar
      M&I - Nicole

      I’d say you may have a higher chance in consulting given your previous experience.

  103. Thank you, Nicole. This is very helpful.

    1) Could you refer any other names? Tier II or good Tier III (I just want to avoid big four firms; let me know if you think that a big four in the Uk is a good choice as well)
    2) How good are the following in your opinion? Houlihan Lokey, DC Advisory and Quayle Munro

    Thanks a lot,

    1. Avatar
      M&I - Nicole

      1) I don’t have a list on hand, but if you do an online search on Bloomberg FT you can find articles on how some random banker left GS/other BB to form his/her own boutique firm. You can compile a list through such sources
      2) Houlihan is a good firm. I have not heard of the last 2.

  104. Nicole,

    this is my 5th year in an Spanish M&A boutique. I am 31 years old and previously worked as a credit risk analyst both in Spain and Portugal (I am fluent in both languages and in English). I finished my masters at IE Business School.

    Currently, I am an associate 3 and will sooner than later be promoted to VP (I joined the firm as analyst 3). I am able to manage processes from the very first moment to closing with limited help of my senior colleagues: drafting marketing materials, modeling – DCF, LBO, Acc/Dil -, reviewing legal docs – NDA, LOI, NBO, SPA, etc.

    I would appreciate advise re the following:

    (i) what are my chances of breaking into a good boutique or bank in London (I mean not the Tier I ones; i.e. GS, JP, BAML but Tier II), I am flexible in case I identify a good opportunity so I may ‘repeat’ as an associate 3.

    (ii) What tier II places would you list as recommended? I do not mind to work in a sector oriented team but I would rather go for a generalist

    (iii) Any other tips or HH references to get to relocate to London?

    Thanks a lot,
    C

    1. Avatar
      M&I - Nicole

      1) I think you’ve got a decent chance given your language and valuation skills.
      2) I don’t have a list of London boutiques but you can look at firms like Evercore, Moelis
      3) Not really, I think readers may have better suggestions on HHs to recommend for roles in London. But something like a Heidrick & Struggles can potentially help though they do mostly senior hires. But it’s always good to reach out and see what comes up.

  105. Avatar
    Raveesh Babu

    There are some top Business Schools in the Europe offering MSc in Investment Management . Does doing this course help me to get a break into Investment Banking ? I am currently a 1 year experienced SAP consultant after my undergraduate Engineering program .

    1. Avatar
      M&I - Nicole

      Raveesh,

      Thanks for your note.

      I’m not sure if you were referring to our course? Since you don’t have any experience in banking, the Fundamentals course can provide you the tools and valuation skills you need for interviews and roles in IB. So to answer your question, yes the course can help you break into the industry, though it is not a magic bullet – you will still need to do the work. And having the relevant work experience is probably key to breaking into the industry.

      If you go to https://breakingintowallstreet.com/biws/excel-financial-modeling-fundamentals/ you can see the details of the course.

      Please let us know if you have other questions.

  106. Nicole,

    Thanks for your time, support and honest advice to all previous posts so far! I am sure you can not be thanked enough!

    So I’m probably the oldest person so far (39) and turning 42 by the time I make some serious consideration to an actual career change (ie. I’m pretty guarded and make wise decisions after considering all options). This article seems fairly unbiased as I have a younger sibling in trading and finance who thinks I am crazy and will be doing “coffee runs” for people in their 20’s if I consider the following:

    I am in the medical field and do a lot of freelance work and am currently pursuing an MBA in Healthcare Administration (ie. school is not in the top 50 according to US News reports and I can switch my HCA focus to finance if advised or opportunities exist). I am also considering writing the CFA exams (prep in progress) and am doing this for personal interest and self-improvement.

    If I pass the CFA exams, what part time jobs are available outside of usual business hours? My goal is to gain experience and use my skills and knowledge from the CFA accomplishment to help people or better society. I am not sure if I am “talented” in finance, but will settle for mediocore if there is a part-time job initially? I have read briefly about prop firms and I am not going to graduate from a “top” business school nor do I have “results”. What are your recommendations to the following:

    1. What is the best way to get finance experience (ie.utilizing CFA skills) outside my regular day job (7-6)?
    2. To the best of your knowledge has anyone succeeded in their late 40’s at investment banking or obtained work at a hedgefund with a mere 5 years experience or so?
    3. What are my optimal career options with an MD, MBA, and CFA designations?

    Look forward to your recommendations and thanks in advance!

    1. Avatar
      M&I - Nicole

      1. Perhaps it would be useful to utilize LinkedIn and get in touch with say asset managers who are investing in the healthcare sector and see how you can contribute to them. Off top my end, perhaps you can offer to help them (you need to find out what they need help with) for free first, and then do free lance consulting projects for them. Thereafter your options will emerge.
      2. I can’t say. I’m sure there are but maybe few and far in between (any readers here who’ve done this?) given the energy and experience required in banking
      3. I’d say asset management but only if you have passion for investing: https://www.mergersandinquisitions.com/associate-portfolio-manager-jobs/ You can even focus on healthcare sector. Otherwise you can try working for a corporate

  107. I’m very glad that I found this site and I’ve honestly haven’t been able to get off of it since finding it! Super informative! Thank you.
    Ok, I live in NYC. I graduated with a BA in liberal arts in 2009. Nothing to do with finance, might as well be BA in oceanology or something. Haha
    Thus far all of my working experiencing has been in retail(sales professional) in high end fashion stores, working with pretty affluent clientele at times in the 5th ave and madison ave area of Manhattan…with the exception of a corporate position(creative services) at a top tier fashion brand.
    I have about 3-3 1/2 yrs tops of working experience outside of school. I graduated late at about 26 after taking time off and having lack off focus, no mentorship, or direction.
    I am now 29 yrs old and I will be 30 next year. My girl friend is 23 and currently taking up business, she inspires me a lot.
    Any way, recently I randomly landed a job in retail banking at JP Morgan chase at the position of personal banker. Very entry level.
    I was lost during a lot of my 20’s and really trying to find myself. Trying to make it in NYC and really searching for what I really wanted to do career wise. I realize that you say that you have to relay a story, i’m not sure if that’s exactly what recruiters in finance want to hear but it’s my story. Everyone doesn’t always know exactly what they want to do early on in school/life and the focus isn’t always there but when your ready you go for it.
    The truth is though, as a kid I always had an entrepreneurial spirit in starting businesses and such.
    This current job(JP Morgan) has awakened me and brought me back to my childhood, I really want to get into finance and I believe that I can have a successful career in it. I read your post so I know it’s tough, I have never been a stranger to hard work, consistency, and ambition. New York in general beats you up a lot so you become resilient. I also have dreams of one day starting both a non-profit and a profit business of my own.
    So here it is…knowing pretty much nothing about finance, I have been reading a lot, your site, and anything in finance that I can get my hands on. Plus now I have this entry level job I feel humbled and good about. I want to immerse myself in finance. I feel like I have my second wind and chance at life. I’m very baby faced with a youthful look(I look about 21) and my body/mind are working fine haha.. I know as you said they can still find out your age but at least I would certainly look the part. Seriously, I’m more focused and more driven in my life than I have ever been.
    Knowing my stats now…would it be worth it to go back to school and get another BA in business this time around? Mba after that? What should I do? I don’t what to be a branch manager or any of the other jobs like that which seem to be the only exiting option or promotion after retail personal banking. I want to strive higher.
    The areas I have been closely scouting on your site have been in asset management, investment banking, and wealth management so far. I know it’s probably super difficult to go from an entry level retail banking job to a IB or AM. Not sure one can “move through the ranks” that way but if going back to school is more ideal I will.Whatever it takes for my future. I just want to know what you think my chances are? Do you think it’s too late? What are my options? Realistically, can a retail pb skill set get you to these areas? Networking? Cold calling? I just want to know which route is best. Please answer back and thank you in advance. Thank you for everything you do with this site, it’s amazing!

  108. Avatar
    Miguel Lança

    Hi,
    I´m 30 and i have finished my bachelor degree in business Administration this June. Now i´m going to start a Master In Finance program in a university partner with CFA institute. The program follow the CFA level I and II. Between the program and the dissertation i will have 33. Do you think that is possible to get into the industry?
    Before this i have worked in a family company for +-10 years.

    1. Avatar
      M&I - Nicole

      Perhaps you can look at family office/private wealth management roles if you have connections? IB maybe difficult without the relevant deal experience. CFA is more useful for buy-side and private wealth management roles…

      1. No i dont. I worked for 4 years as head of sales. That helps?

        1. Avatar
          M&I - Nicole

          Yes that can potentially help…

  109. I’m 38 and have worked in the construction industry since completing my engineering degree 14 years ago. I completed the CFA last year with a view to making a career change into finance. I now have two offers – the first for a VP role at an infrastructure private equity firm and the second an equity analyst covering the construction sector at a bulge bracket investment bank.

    Do you have any advice for me on how to weigh up the two offers? Thanks.

    1. Avatar
      M&I - Nicole

      Congratulations! Do you want to work in PE or on the sell side? If you’re interested in PE, the PE role maybe a good start. If you are interested in other buy-side roles and perhaps even IB roles, the role at the BB may give you more exit opportunities. It also depends on how credible the PE fund is. If it is along the likes of Carlyle yes I may take that one.

      I’d also make sure you get along with the team, and figure out how the company and team is doing – the last thing you want is to work for a company that is not performing well and not able to keep you on going forward.

      1. Thanks Nicole!

        I’d love to work at a hedge fund at some point in the future, or even start my own. So the sell side role probably offers the better exit opportunities in this regard.

        But I found the team and the culture at the PE firm much more compatible, and the work seems more exciting than equity research. However it’s a pretty small firm so it doesn’t offer name recognition, and also because it’s small the offer is a lot less than the equity research offer. But the PE firm seems to be doing well and growing.

        Hence my conundrum…

        1. Avatar
          M&I - Nicole

          I see. The PE sounds more promising, though the research role may offer you more exit opportunities…I’d go with the research role personally, unless you get along with the PE guys a lot better, and you are very confident that the fund will grow… (because you can grow with the fund and upside can be high)

          1. Thanks for the insight. I’ve been a bit hesitant about the PE role because of the small fund size so your stamp of approval for the research role has helped me make up my mind! Here’s hoping for an exit into a hedge fund in a few years.

          2. Avatar
            M&I - Nicole

            Good luck!

  110. I’m 31 years old and 6,5 years of experience working as a sales manager at an ad firm focused on digital marketing. In 5 years I’ll have my bachelor and a Masters degree in Corporate Finance from a target school in Sweden.

    My question is how hard will it be for me to break into IB? Thanks

    1. Avatar
      M&I - Nicole

      Without any valuation or deal experience, you’ll be competing against people who have such experience, from target schools and possibly younger. You have a slight chance, but you’ll have to demonstrate your value vs. your competitors

  111. Lots of you won’t like this but in going to ask anyway. In 16 and I want to be rich. I’m not money crazed or anything but one day before I’m too old I want to be financially set. Again I know this may come off wrong but I’m not looking for a get rich quick scheme. Just something that I can do to help make my odds better. I’m very ambitious and willing to work very hard. No vague answers please I’ve read a lot on the subject. Thanks

    1. Avatar
      M&I - Nicole

      Valid comment. I can’t give you the exact career path because there’s no career path: https://www.mergersandinquisitions.com/myth-career-path/

      I’d recommend, however, that you read: http://www.amazon.com/Think-Grow-Rich-Napoleon-Hill/dp/1604591870

      1. Thank you I have read think and grow rich. I know there is no set career path. But more specific tips as to how to obtain the resources I’ll need. For example what should I do to to start gathering contacts for networking? Answers to questions like this, if you can’t or don’t have the time to write out the answers, please give me a way to get them. Thanks again.

  112. I have a couple of concerns and questions.

    1. Age: 22 background info
    Not until recently I have did not know what I wanted to do for a career. When I first graduated from high school I went to a university (forced by parents) and after two semesters I left, then I went to a community college (again forced by parents) then left, I have been working full time since 2012.

    I have finally decided that I want to major in math minor in computer science and go on into investment banking (after a ton of research and which included talking to friends of my parents who are in the field). However I dont know if I stand a chance since my education background is not pretty so to speak. My higher ed is full of c’s and f’s, though I was a part time calculus tutor for the university and I was a research assistant in the physics department. Overall I just didnt care.

    Well now I want to get back at it. I plan to enroll at community college here in the spring semester then transfer to a university. (I have talked to the transfer adviser for the university and she thinks I have a good chance of getting in if get a 3.5 or higher gpa (dont think it will be a problem). She also said my SAT score was fantastic (they still require it, even though I will be a transfer) and my outside activities are good.

    2. Age and Summer Activities Questions
    My first question is do you think I could still pursue a career as an investment banker or is it a little too late. Also what should I do during my summers I have some ideas but I dont know if they are that related to the over all goal?

    1. Avatar
      M&I - Nicole

      Yes I’d still go for your dreams and try to build up experience in IB be it in a boutique bank or third tier firm

  113. Apologies for the confusion, and thanks for the prompt replies. let me re-phrase:

    Pre-MBA: I have been working in *IT* as a *software engineer* for investment banks.

    Post-MBA: I want to recruit for the associate role(banker) in IB.

    What are my chances of getting that associate role?
    (I am 35. I will finishing my MBA from Tuck at the age of 37. My undergrad is from IIT and GMAT score is 760.)

    Many thanks.

    1. You could get the associate role, but you’ll need a pre-MBA internship to have a good shot at it given that you’ll be competing with former bankers. Age is a bit of an issue, but the bigger problem is that you haven’t had transaction-related experience before (if I am interpreting your comments correctly).

      1. Ahh – Idont have time for that now as MBA starts in a month. What can I do to improve my odds? Thanks

        1. Avatar
          M&I - Nicole

          In that case, I’d network a lot during these few weeks on LinkedIn, cold call people etc to get your name out there.

  114. Hi Nicole!

    First of all Thank You Very Much, for building this website which provides valuable information related to IB.

    Currently I am 24+. I did my graduation in Electrical Engineering at the age of 21. Since then I have been working in India’s leading Private Power Sector Company (Tata Power). First two year I had worked as an Operation & Maintenance Engineer i.e. purely technical job. Since last year I have been working in techno commercial field – Regulatory and MIS department. I have prepared a few Financial Models for new upcoming projects which includes Thermal Power Generating Stations, Power Transmission, Power Distribution Franchisee. Now I want to break into IB. My queries are:
    1. How do I bream into IB?
    2. Do I really need an MBA?
    3. If at all I need an MBA, Can I pursue CFA instead of going to a B School?
    4. How do I get Placed in IBs. I don’t have any network?

    1. Avatar
      M&I - Nicole

      Thanks for your comment and for visiting the site. We’re glad the site is useful to you. Just to clarify, Brian built the site – https://www.mergersandinquisitions.com/about/
      1. https://www.mergersandinquisitions.com/get-a-banking-job/
      2. https://www.mergersandinquisitions.com/mba-investment-banking/
      3. https://www.mergersandinquisitions.com/cfa-investment-banking/ Perhaps, if you’re aiming for asset management/buy-side roles
      4. Then you’ll have to build your network! https://www.mergersandinquisitions.com/network-investment-banking-5-simple-steps/

  115. To clrify I work in investment banking *IT*, and shall be aiming for the associate role. Even then they would expect more from me – ability to generate revenue and bring in deals?

    1. Avatar
      M&I - Nicole

      If you’re aiming for IB IT associate roles, then no I don’t think they’d expect you to generate revenue/bring in deals.

  116. Hi – I am 35. I will finishing my MBA from Tuck at the age of 37. My undergrad is from IIT and GMAT score is 760. I have been working in investment banking IT so far.

    What are my chnces of breaking into IB?

    Many thanks.

    1. Avatar
      M&I - Nicole

      50/50; you’re likely to be competing against people with relationships, previous deal experience and ability to generate revenue and bring in deals.

      1. Thanks Nicole. So they expect more from older candidates?

        1. Avatar
          M&I - Nicole

          Yes, because of seniority and pay

  117. I am 28years old with a BSc Computer Electronics and I will complete my Master Degree in Finance in Lancaster University (UK), I am thinking of doing another Msc Degree in Investment Management or pursue MBA, please I need your advise because my Master Degree is not too strong and I am aiming to break into investment banking industry in Nigeria, should I pursue another Master Degree or MBA?

    1. Avatar
      M&I - Nicole

      MBA maybe more useful

  118. Hi, I’m 28. I have 4 years of working experience (1 year in a pharmaceutical company and 3 years in a consulting firm) after graduating from an Ivy with master degree. I have passed CFA level 2. What are my chances of breaking into IB? I’m also considering equity research but a bit concerned about the limited exit opportunities, your suggestions? Thanks!

    1. Avatar
      M&I - Nicole

      You can move onto buy-side from research so I wouldn’t say research’s exit opps are limited. If you want to break into PE, you may want to go for IBD instead.

  119. Hi,

    I am 36. I have about 6 years experience in branch banking rising to a branch head in South Africa. I also have a year experience in a small audit firm, another year as a budget officer in a manufacturing company. I have a Bachelors in Economics and hold the South African CPA equivalent. I am presently doing my MA Econs in a non-target US school. Any chance of breaiking into IB for my optional practical training program (2 year)? If yes, what particular function would you advise? Also what kind of IB firm?

    1. Avatar
      M&I - Nicole

      Yes you may have a chance of 50/50 or less of breaking into IB. You may want to aim for local firms. http://www.goldmansachs.com/careers/why-goldman-sachs/explore-goldman-sachs-careers-quiz/ is a good quiz to test which area suit you best

  120. currently 19 will a 3 year bachelor, 5 years military service and 2 year MBA be too old to break in?

    1. Avatar
      M&I - Nicole

      You’ll be 29 after your MBA. If you have some sort of work experience in finance before I think you have a decent chance. Otherwise you’ll have to get into a target MBA (Harvard/Penn/Columbia) to increase your chances as an Associate

  121. Hi. Iam 34 years old client relationship manager, sales person. With experience mostly client relationships selling financial courses. I have graduated from one of UK Universities in International Business management Degree in 2010. What are my chances of getting into IB or relationship management and which route should i take in order to g there (courses , MBA)? Isnt too late?
    I am also native Russian speaker, which must help. Thanks

    1. I think it would be tough to move directly into IB without an MBA and/or prior experience in finance… maybe try to leverage your experience to get into something like wealth management and then move in from there, or consider an MBA degree as a way to re-brand yourself.

      1. Thank yo. Do you think it is not too late to get somewhere serious in finance from the point where Iam now at the moment?

        1. Avatar
          M&I - Nicole

          No I don’t think it’s ever too late if this is what you want to do.

      2. Question, I want to break into IB but I have not got into any summer analyst programs. So what other options do I have? Will a treasury department internship help or an internship in my local state international trade committee?

        1. Avatar
          M&I - Nicole

          The internships can potentially help slightly, but having relevant experience in IB is most useful.

  122. Hello,

    I’m a 30 year old looking to break into investment banking. I did my BS at a top-tier, non-ivy (think Duke, Northwestern, etc) in Biomedical Engineering. I moved back to Asia after graduation and had the opportunity to be play an integral role in the forming an early stage cancer drug biotechnology company. Most of my experience and passion lean towards the biotech/healthcare sector and have started researching the top and mid tier boutique firms. Despite having a clear sense where I want to be, to be honest, I’m a bit lost where to begin. Am I too old to be considered for an internship? I’m leaning towards knocking down the door style for a full-time analyst position in a healthcare boutique firm. Your suggestions?

    1. You could do that, but your chances would be better if you targeted biotech-focused VC firms because you have the exact experience they’re looking for. You could go for boutique IBs, but your chances would be better with some type of finance experience + possibly an MBA later on to help with rebranding yourself and going for associate-level roles at banks instead.

  123. Hello, I’m a 16 year old high school student. I’m interested in sales/finance careers, I do pretty well in high school already, but, I want to know what can get me ahead of the game. I’ve done plenty of research on the subject and have witnessed it first hand, and want to know what I have to do to get started. I may be too young at the moment but, I want to do as much as I can now. I know networking/connections is vital, but I don’t have any, how do I? My main concern is becoming a mediocre broker/businessman spending my life stuck in a cubicle 40 hours a week. I know there is a lot of hard work, which I am looking forward to, but, I know I have great potential, and want to do as much as I can to get noticed and be successful. Any help is much appreciated, thanks.

    1. You cannot do much until you reach university and can intern legally – at this stage I would not even worry about it because you can’t even network / intern until you have an alumni network to draw on.

  124. i’ve done ug: Btech computers, pg: mba finance in 2005. now in would like to take up job. can u kindly tell me which courses helps me to get a decent job

    1. Avatar
      M&I - Nicole

      Perhaps an Accounting course can help you.

  125. Hi there

    I am currently an investment banker working for a boutique investment bank and previously the M&A team of a Big 4 accounting firm. I have 5.5 years experience and am a chartered accountant.

    What is the likelihood / possibility of going into the Trading department of an investment bank? will I have to start at the bottom? is this common or is it more common the other way around? Do you think I can add any value in trading with my skillset as an M&A banker?

    Thanks in advance

    1. Avatar
      M&I - Nicole

      I don’t think it is common but if you are very interested in the markets yes you may want to pursue that path. You may have to start from the bottom.

      In terms of trading, if you have had experience trading your portfolio and are confident that you can make solid trades and generate revenue for the firm then I think you can demonstrate this value

  126. “(you started a business when you were 18, ran it for 10 years, then sold it and started college at age 28).”

    What if this is EXACTLY my situation? I started a construction company years ago., But now want to pursue IB, would graduating at 32, make me old? Or would I omit the details of my company on the resume? I have a pretty young face Im 28 now and when I shave I could probably pass as a 23-24 year old.

    1. *Just to clarify I want to take my undergrad in Bcomm, whereby Id be a 32 year old graduate (however ‘fresh’ out of Uni)

    2. Avatar
      M&I - Nicole

      They can still figure out how old you are if they look at your documentation. Yes you can omit your previous experience, and this may be more beneficial since banks prefer “fresh” blood. However, if you’re going for a smaller and more entrepreneurial bank you may want to leave your experience on there because the entrepreneurial experience is relevant, especially if you can demonstrate your value and ability to generate revenue

      1. Thanks a bunch Nicole! So for a large BB you say to leave it out, and for a boutique, keep my endeavours on there. In your honest opinion do you believe I’m wasting my time trying to pursue IB? would I be ‘too old’ once I graduated at 32? (even though id be “fresh”)

        1. Avatar
          M&I - Nicole

          I wouldn’t say you’re wasting your time; if this is your goal go for it. I’d aim for smaller/boutique banks to be more efficient though

  127. Hello, I would be forty in another seven months. I had been working as a software consultant within the enterprise domain primarily for large clients i.e. IBM, Honeywell, US Government/defense etc for last ten years, although I never finished my school. I got really interested in Market couple of years back primarily on value investment and love the detective nature of the work . What are my chances of being able to break in the the buy side of the industry ( hedge fund, prop fund etc)? I am concentrating on learning to write case studies (from the materials in your website) as the primary tool to impress the interviewers, although I am not sure I can even get an interview considering my age, academic pedigree etc.
    Thanks.

    1. Avatar
      M&I - Nicole

      Yes it can be difficult to get an interview at this stage. With the above being said, it doesn’t hurt to contact some buy-side firms and see if you can help out in any way.

  128. Hi, I went to a HPY Ivy, but took a leave of absence after my sophomore year to figure out my goals: I was a TEFL teacher in China for a year, went to culinary school in ny for a year, and landed a job at a nonprofit in dc that deals with food insecurity for 2 years. I’m back at school finishing my last 2 years and I’ll be recruiting on-campus at the age of 25 and 26 when I graduate. With my unusual circumstances, I’m not sure how desirable a candidate I am for IB, more specifically for equity research and eventually VC. Thanks for your time!

    1. Avatar
      M&I - Nicole

      If you haven’t had experience in finance, I’d focus on getting that first. For IB and VC roles, they’d require people with deal and startup experience. I’d say it maybe less challenging for someone with your background to try research roles in buyside though this can still be challenging. If you don’t have any experience in finance at all a CFA may help if you’re looking for research roles, not IB/VC roles

      1. Thanks for responding so quickly. I just wanted to make sure that my not graduating in 4 years wouldn’t be a deal-breaker to getting an internship or other finance experience.

        1. Avatar
          M&I - Nicole

          If there isn’t much you can do to graduate sooner I wouldn’t worry about it

  129. Avatar
    Omar Javed

    Hi, I dropped out of London School of Economics 6 years ago due to anxiety and depression and have irrelevant work experience. I will be attending Cambridge University this year studying for a degree in Economics however I will be 31 upon graduation. Realistically what chances do I have of entering Investment banking and what advise could you give me?

    Regards

    1. Avatar
      M&I - Nicole

      You may be slightly older than the incoming class of analysts. Interviewers may also question why you started later than others. I’d suggest you to work as hard as you can during those 4 years, gain as much experience as you can in the industry, network (as usual), and be persistent.

  130. Avatar
    aNewBeginning

    hey! very informative article!

    I’m 24 and currently work in retail after dropping out of university due to incapacitating depression. I intend to go back to university at age 25 (hopefully king’s college london or ucl) to read Physics, graduating at age 28. Will that be too old to break into finance with only retail experience?

    In the meantime, I am applying for a year long apprenticeship at a BB in securities services. Assuming I get that and complete it before going to university, what are my chances of breaking into finance after graduation?

    Many thanks

    1. Avatar
      M&I - Nicole

      Assuming you have a decent pitch and some work experience you maybe a bit older than most incoming analysts so banks may be concerned that you can’t work as hard as your peers. You’ll have to demonstrate your passion and knowledge of the industry very well. I’d say your chances are 50/50

  131. Hey first off great article!! I have literally been searching to find a constructive article rather than a “too old so split” type article.

    Im currently 32 and half way through my undergrad with a dual emphasis in Finance and Accounting. I spent the previous decade doing a 4 year stint in the Marines and then doing odd jobs here and there but primarily at a non profit in a supervisory role, mainly due to lack of focus. I finally gained some sense and realized I needed to make a change and so here I am.

    A job at Goldman or J.P Morgan would be ideal but it’s kind of unrealistic, so Im shooting for a boutique bank. I plan on going for my CFA I during my senior year.

    What would you recommend my course of action be if my ultimate goal is to end up in Private Equity.

    1. Avatar
      M&I - Nicole

      I think you’d find this article useful: https://www.mergersandinquisitions.com/private-equity-recruiting/

      I’d focus on obtaining some experience in IB first, and applying for boutique banks are a right way to go

  132. Hello, I am 33, i willing to start my career in Equity research in USA again after 5 years of gap, due to family reasons(as i mother of 2) right now i am living in USA. I have work experience with wealth management industry back in India with masters in Commerce and MBA in Finance from top business school.

    Am i too old to start my career in Equity research with 5 years of gap?
    Please advise!!

    1. Avatar
      M&I - Nicole

      Yes 5 years can be perceived as a long time, especially in the finance industry.

      I’d start contacting people in ER on LinkedIn and start getting some informational interviews. Chat with people, get back in the loop, and slowly weave your way back to a job in the industry.

    2. Annie, a grammar review could also help!

  133. Hello, I am 34 now and plan to attend B School next year. I am interested in I-banking. I need your feedback regarding difficulty in having an Associate level position after MBA. I am a university lecturer with more than ten years of teaching experience.

    1. Avatar
      M&I - Nicole

      Yes with the lack of experience this can be challenging in your case unless you have clients and can originate deals.

  134. I want to transition into either an Investment Banking Analyst or a Venture Capital Analyst from Asset Management without going the MBA route (25 years old).

    Graduated May 2011 from Non-target state school (3.6 GPA)

    -Very well know Investment management firm-1.5 years (currently working there)
    -Corporate sales Intern with Top Tech company in Silicon Valley
    -Analyst intern with small asset management firm

    Do I have a solid chance as an entry IB or VC Analyst? I Took the BIWS financial modeling course and feel pretty confident cold calling for informational interviews as well as networking. Would your resume critique packages help someone in my situation (less than 2 years of full time experience)?

    I just wanted some honest feedback from someone who’s seen it all. Anything would help.

    Thank you so much guys!

    1. Avatar
      M&I - Nicole

      Yes you have a chance in an entry level IB role perhaps at a boutique. You may also want to take the venture capital test by Guy Kawasaki http://blog.guykawasaki.com/2006/11/the_venture_cap.html

      Thank you for your interest in our services. In terms of our resume editing packages, please visit https://www.mergersandinquisitions.com/investment-banking-resume-review/ for more details and you can contact us there should you have further questions.

  135. Really great website. I am wanting to do an MBA at york university and get into investment banking. I will be 33 years old when i start. I have a Bachelors and Masters degree in electrical engineering and have been working as an electrical engineer for the last nine years with progressive responsibilities.

    Am i too old to start a career in investment banking or management consulting ? I am really interested in finance. please advice.

    1. Avatar
      M&I - Nicole

      Yes you maybe older than most especially since you may not necessarily have a client base which others have at this age. You may want to consider other roles in finance like asset management if you have experience with the markets.

      1. Nicole- I really appreciate your input. Honestly, do you think it is a good idea for me to venture out in the finance industry? I have no issue working at the same capacity with people 5-8 years younger than me but I am not familiar with the mindset of the hiring manager. I really do enjoy watching business news channels like CNBC, BNN and always felt like I belong to that industry.

        I am in Canada and would be targeting bay street and not wall street. Is York university a good brand name at Bay street ? Is asset management the only thing I should aim for in my 30’s ?

        Thanks again!

        1. Avatar
          M&I - Nicole

          Yes I think York University is decent, though the issue is that IB in Canada is relatively small so I’d suggest you to expand your focus if you don’t have experience in the industry. Yes AM is one of the industries you can aim for, though you can also work for other areas in finance like retail banking, corporate banking, or even financial service providers if you want to be close to this industry. Of course, all the areas I mentioned are very different so I’d suggest you to do more in-depth research on the topics, as well as gain in-depth understanding of your skills, likes and dislikes. Below articles may help you:
          https://www.mergersandinquisitions.com/value-investing/
          https://www.mergersandinquisitions.com/investment-banking-canada-recruiting/
          https://www.mergersandinquisitions.com/corporate-banking/

          A great book – http://www.amazon.com/What-Color-Your-Parachute-2014/dp/1607743620/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1389239269&sr=8-1&keywords=parachute+color

  136. Hey, I have a son who is 12, and he has wanted to be a investment banker for years… Do you think he could start doing somethings now, would that help him?? And also do SATS, & GCSE’S & A Levels matter to be a investment banker? Thankyou.

    1. Avatar
      M&I - Nicole

      Reading about investment banking can help. Yes I’d suggest him to get into a target school to increase his chances. In order to get into a target school, he’ll need to have good test scores (i.e. SAT, GCSE, A Level) depending on the university he goes to. So his test scores matter.

    2. Did he want to be an investment banker as a fetus?

  137. I’m 31 turning 32 in 2014. Currently work as a relationship banker and want to switch to the investment industry. Through hard work, dedication and networking are my chances slim to none to becoming an analyst?

    1. Avatar
      M&I - Nicole

      You’ll have to network hard and smart. Demonstrating your passion for the markets and obtaining your CFA will also help. You may find this article interesting: https://www.mergersandinquisitions.com/value-investing/

  138. I am 25 and just started as an analyst in corporate banking at a BB. I have a BBA in Finance and graduated in 2011. I most recently worked in a small commercial bank for 1 year and held other finance related roles before that. After working for a year in this department would I be able to lateral into IB at the same bank?

    1. Avatar
      M&I - Nicole

      Yes though you may have to network extensively internally and prove that you have knowledge in IB and the drive to succeed

  139. Hello,

    I’m 19 years old and graduated in Germany beeing 17 years old. After graduation I did one year voluntary work in sports and after that year I started a year abroad in Canada. During this year I’m actually working fulltime in a skiresort.

    I’m interested in break in into the IB. Therefore I want to figure out which my best way would be:

    Starting out as a trainee bank clerk at a german federal state bank for 2 years and start studying at an university afterwards.
    Or otherwise start to study directly when I come back to Germany with the age of 20. The Bachelor degree will take me about 3 years.
    In both ways I’m not sure, which subject of study I should choose.

    Thanks in advance for your help.

    1. Avatar
      M&I - Nicole

      Yes studying at a target school in Germany, perhaps majoring in Finance and Accounting, can potentially help you. Quite a lot of financiers ski, so you maybe able to strike up a few conversations with bankers and network there.

  140. I am 24 and have two years of work experience in strategy and negotiations in retail/consumer products. My background is finance and marketing from top university. How can I switch to IB analyst position?

    1. Avatar
      M&I - Nicole

      Perhaps you can explore consumer coverage groups. This maybe the most straightforward way though the competition can be keen and you’ll have to demonstrate your finance knowledge.

  141. Hello

    I hold a bachelors in Engineering as well as Law. I am licenced to practice in India. I am 33 years of age now but my full-time work experience is only 2 years. A lot of years were lost in un-paid volunteer work for social causes & preparing myself for that engineering degree.

    I am preparing for the CFA Level 1 now. What do you think are my chances of breaking into the world of finance, especially the bond & the commodities trading scene?

    1. Avatar
      M&I - Nicole

      You may be older than most candidates. I think networking a lot would really help in your case. Perhaps you may also want to start trading your own portfolio if you haven’t already done so to demonstrate your passion

  142. Hey guys, great site. I’ve recently completed two years in IB and I was looking at a number potential exit options including doing a short 6-month stint in non-profit abroad.

    I was just wondering, if I were to go ahead with this plan, would my chances of re-entering the industry either continuing in an IB role, or potentially moving to the buy side be adversely affected?

    Thanks in advance for your help.

    1. It would be harder to go back to either of those, yes, but you could still do it. It would be tougher to get back into IB because they would be suspicious of a move like that.

  143. Hi,
    I am 30 and few months now,
    i am at amiddle mangement level in a securities services dept (custody services) in a multinational bank, and i passed CFA level 2

    do you think i can switch into an investment bank?

    thanks

    1. Avatar
      M&I - Nicole

      If you haven’t had much experience in IB, it will be challenging for you to move into a FO role at an IB, especially at your level – they’re looking for people who can potentially originate deals (i.e. rolodex of clients) and can execute deals (i.e. have deal experience). However, for MO/BO roles at IBs, yes I think your chances are higher

      1. thank you for the advice, a little bit depressing but its ok :) , do you think i should continue in earning the CFE L3, or i will be wasting money and time, also do you think i am having the same weak chance in breaking into portfolio manegment industry? thank you

        1. Avatar
          M&I - Nicole

          If you want to break into asset management, a CFA would be useful. I’m not sure about CFE.

  144. Hi,

    I’m 36 now. I graduated with BS in mechanical engineering 5 years ago and have been working as a mechanical engineer since graduation. I am a senior engineer now. I want to get into an MFE program next year and work as a quant later on. Can you give some advice if I should go for it or not?

    1. Avatar
      M&I - Nicole

      Yes an MFE program may help you retool yourself esp if you want to break into the industry. You may find the articles below useful:
      https://www.mergersandinquisitions.com/investment-banking-masters-programs/
      https://www.mergersandinquisitions.com/getting-a-finance-job-from-engineering/

  145. Hello

    Thanks for this article and recommended books to read.

    I think it’s quite different in the UK to what obtains in the US . In UK age and years of experience isn’t the barrier and they don’t care bout your qualifications from top schools but the fact that you’ve been in the industry matters most.

    Well I’m 36 with an MBA ACCA chartered accountant postgraduate in financial risk and years of experience in finance with CFA in view with no luck yet getting into any bank or financial services firm for a financial reporting accounting role in IB.

    Any thought on breaking through in the UK market?

    Thanks

    1. Avatar
      M&I - Nicole

      While this article is for undergrads, you may find the information in there useful https://www.mergersandinquisitions.com/investment-banking-networking-london/
      In your case it may be challenging if you don’t have the relevant experience & contact. What I’d do is build your network and try to work for a boutique/3rd tier bank first and then slowing transition to a more reputable firm.

  146. hi sir ,i am 22 recently completed graduation in
    engineering ,i want to shift my career to investment banker through getting into a ivy b schools
    my question is

    will the investment banker need any experience ?
    if i completed post graduation (mba) in ivy bschools like hardvard ,stansford

    plz reply me and help me out

    1. Avatar
      M&I - Nicole

      Yes you’ll need work experience to stand out, even if you graduate from schools like HBS and GSB. However, most people who go to HBS and GSB already have experience so that shouldn’t be an issue

      1. thank you sir for replying me

        can u figure it out what kind of experience
        and how many years required ?.
        is family business enough ?

        it is necessary for an i.b to need experience of other industry

        i am passionate man

        i already decided my future plan
        fistly becomeing an investment banker after that into private equity firm and after having own a private equity firm and after extending my business to other wings of business
        and many other thing to explain my passion in addition with gmat 780 and i believe these thing will surely help me in placing in bschools (ivy )

        my future plan might seem simple and common to you ,but i decided this kind of strategy
        living in a small undeveloped town

        please help me out sir plzzzzzzz

    2. Investment banking is extremely competitive and extremely difficult to break into. Additionally, you need to be extremely creative and have superb analytical to survive in this field. You say you have an engineering degree. That alone doesn’t give you a competitive edge. ( A lot of people seem to think so) Additionally, you need to improve your verbal and writing skills, which you clearly lack. IB attracts some of the best in the world, so unless you really have the edge, don’t waste your time.

  147. Nicole and Team: AMAZING SITE!

    my background:I will be 33 this year in Nov 2013.
    Bachelors: 2004 – Computer Info Systems
    Masters: 2008 January – Management Information Systems

    Employers: CONSULTING FIRMS like Accenture, Deloitte and others where my main focus was Financial Clients and Healthcare clients.

    Currently working for HSBC Bank in the IT Strategy department.

    QUESTIONS:

    1. I have limited exposure to Financial Modeling and I am considering to take a class to break into the field along with everything else I read on this site.

    On a scale of 1-10; what do you think are my chances?

    2. I am networking, investing with my own money in the markets and investing has just been a sincere passion I have picked up at this age. I would have killed to be in this space if ONLY someone guided me but then again God has a plan for everyone. IS my approach something that can have a glimmer of hope?

    3. I am taking classes via IBI(investing banking institute ) who help with CV’s and jobs – your thoughts?

    1. Avatar
      M&I - Nicole

      1. A bit below 5…but take this with a grain of salt
      2. Yes there is, be persistent and network a lot
      3. We don’t work with them so I can’t comment.

  148. Hi, I’m considering doing 4 years in the British Army as an officer once I finish Uni, but ultimately want to be in banking. I was wondering whether you knew anything about whether this is still a viable career move, as I know it used to be very acceptable in the 80s and 90s, especially as there is a strong Army-City of London network?
    Thanks very much,
    Arthur

    1. Avatar
      M&I - Nicole

      You may have to go back to a top tier business school to retool yourself.
      https://www.mergersandinquisitions.com/military-investment-banking/ should be helpful to you.

  149. Hi, I am now 27 – have beachlor’s and master of city planning (from ivy), now in the city planning PhD program (at an ivy) which will be completed in 2 years. I will be 29 by then.

    I want to switch to finance sector and possibly get a job in IB or Real estate IB. I am now doing the fieldwork (collecting data) for my dissertation in Vietnam…..so I have a bit of time in my hand to work on my profile. There are a couple of options I am thinking.

    -Do a MBA program with a concentration in Finance at the University of London (by distance learning)
    -Take CFA Level 1
    -Get a summer analyst position at a PE firm in Ho-Chi-Min City (where I do my research)

    Do I even have a chance at IB? What would be the best course of action for me? Could you please help me prioritize my options? (Not sure I will have time to do all 3 next year as I wish)

    I want to start working by 2015. Thanks for your help in advance!

    1. Avatar
      M&I - Nicole

      You have a chance though you’ll be competing against people who’ve had experience in the industry so you’ll have to demonstrate that you can add more value vs them

      I think the summer analyst position is the best course of action for you.

      CFA – https://www.mergersandinquisitions.com/cfa-investment-banking/

      MBA – you already have a PhD. Distance learning at the MBA program may not necessarily help because you need to network on the ground and attend info sessions to increase your chances.

  150. I graduated a year ago ,now 24 ,have a Bsc and a Masters Degree in economics from a top tier university and currently waiting for my second masters degree from Germany which will say that I graduated in 2013 ,have a year full time experience in big 4 in audit (working right now),have successfully passed some Acca exams and currently studying for the Cfa level 1 ,how do you see my chances of landing a job or an internship in ib?

    1. Avatar
      M&I - Nicole

      I think your chances are 50/50 because you’ll be competing against people who’ve had experience in the industry. If you’re at a target in Germany, this may help you. Your exams might not necessarily be useful unless you’re looking at buy-side roles https://www.mergersandinquisitions.com/cfa-investment-banking/

      1. No i am targeting russian ib,here europiean masters degree is very valued by ib and as i heard from different places best case scenario is bsc from here and europian masters and you ll have high chances ,as well as transition from audit is as well quite comon …i been to the goldman sachs event and different mds told me that its quite ofen they take after big 4 experinece as a person already has the understanding of financial reporting and great excel skills compared to just graduated ….do you think this can be true ?

  151. Hi, I found your article very helpful. I’m a 28 year old looking for a career change. I work as an Electronic Engineer, qualified to HND level and currently working on completing my degree. I was wondering if there are many instances of engineers converting to working in banking industry? And whether my previous experience would be of any benefit to a particular sector?

      1. Thank you Nicole!

  152. I will be 25 when I get my bachelors degree in Business with concentration in finance.

    I served 4 years in the military then went right to college.

    Do you think it would be possible to break into a bulge bracket bank as an analyst at age 25?

    Do you think I would be better served to go right for my MBA and try to break in as an associate around age 27?

    What would you reccommend that a 25 year old who just finished undergrad do to take the best path to break into investment banking? Thanks!

    1. Avatar
      M&I - Nicole

      You may want to check out https://www.mergersandinquisitions.com/military-investment-banking/

      I think it maybe better after your MBA. Network a lot and be persistent!

      https://www.mergersandinquisitions.com/cold-calling-investment-banking/

      1. Thanks for your feedback!

  153. Avatar
    TokyoGuy

    What options can I think of? Please help after reading the longish post. I do apologize for the length..but i am in a spot of bother. Please skip to Point 8 if you are short on time.

    1. 2005-2008: With a Masters in Physics, then Economics, I was in the IR/Strategy Division of a leading Indian Bank from the age of 24-27. Writing Annual reports, SEC filings and research notes for the top management was my role.

    2. 2008: However, lack of upward mobility (no MBA/CPA) meant I needed an MBA and with the Lehman Shock hitting..I did my MBA from Japan in 2008-2010.

    3. 2010: I joined the research division of a leading Japanese commercial bank in the TMT sector in August 2010.

    The bet: Use MBA and the Japanese language as a bet and generate M&A deals/business opportunities between India/SE Asia and Japan. Technology seemed a sensible growth choice given the lack of activity in other sectors (I liked Pharma; but a few bad deals had literally slowed activity here)

    4. Reality in 2013 July: I passed the Japanese language exams with the second highest level of proficiency in September 2012. Appeared for the business Japanese test in July 2013. I can speak and read the language very well. Writing capability is limited.

    5. Track Record: Decent, in fact with me at an AVP Level, quite good as I helped the bank expand its global horizon by doing various helping originate cross-border deals and have even published a market report on e-commerce on a region that is not covered by anyone.

    6. Problem: However, my still growing ability in the language means that knowledge of Telecom, IT, Gaming, E-Commerce etc is rather thinly spread (deep depending on specific deals) and I am finding I am not liking technology anymore. I am dependent on colleagues for many deals as my Japanese is still not business level. It has changed since two months with me getting independent charge of a certain things..this would be good thing but only in the short term.

    7. I dont want to do consulting as I detest it. I have a strong feeling given my family commitments and health issues, 100 hours as a IB associate is not on the table too. Non-finance I am trying to find out more..but lower pay than banking implies I have to think as I have 4 mouths to feed and support besides me…

    8. Options/ Please help here..

    A. I can consider going back to India and acting as a bridge for my bank. But that would tie me to a lower pay and very slow career in my bank as it is a narrow role. —-> EASY But limited upside. I think that is risky.

    B. Be an India Specialist for my bank or another Japanese bank/company in India — This was my career plan to differentiate in a tough market.

    C. I can try joining another bank…but since I will be seen as tech guy, I am pigeonholed whether its IB or commercial banking. The brutal truth is my knowledge is not deep enough to survive in technology. In the past two months the aversion has been quite pronounced as I cannot understand gaming or IT services like i understand Telecom or E-Commerce and Satellites. My valuation knowledge etc is quite scratchy (can pick up in a few weeks)

    C. try to join a pharma company using my language as a ticket in Japan itself. —> TRICKY and I dunno why someone should take me despite the fact I can spin a story based on my Japanese skills. not impossible….but tough

    D. Join a Japanese manufacturing co in India. The pay could be on the lower side and my japanese fluency could be debated upon..but not impossible…def doable.

    E. Long shot..but could try going back to my old bank…an unpalatable choice

    F………SOS….Please be brutally frank….

    LASTLY, how do I know even if switch careers to a manufacturing company that I am not blundering by picking up a flavor of the month industry? I dont want to commit the same error again as only 3 years in technology has pigeonholed me….. and age is not on my side for long.

    Please help….others feel free to pitch in…

  154. Good Day!

    I would like to ask some advise about my situation if it is possible. I am 24 years old graduate with 2 years of experience in unknown regional commercial bank in one of the cities in Russia. Exactly i worked 1 year in precious metalls department and now i am working in project finance depratment. My duties are finance modelling, valuation and M&A analysis in industry of our region. Now i decided to get my masters degree and move to Moscow, because my previous university was from non-target school. I would like to ask if it is still possible for me to get in investment bank in Moscow, because i will be 25 years old when it will be possible to apply for internship positions in Moscow? Because as I realised, I am old and over-experienced to try to get into investment banking. But I sill looking for that opportunity to get there.Thank you very much!

    1. Avatar
      M&I - Nicole

      I don’t think you’re too old or over-experienced! I think your experience can be transferable to IB. And you’ll be interviewing for associate roles when you graduate so I wouldn’t worry about it.

      1. Thank you very much for the answer!) But I had in mind that I’ll move to Moscow to study in Russian master programm in higher school of economics for two years to have a chance in future to get in Russian ib. So I’m worrying about the future benefits of this study. I would like to study abroad, but it is difficult for me because of financial issue. So I would like to have your advice, what can I do in my situation, because my work experience and university background is irrelevant to ib?

  155. I am starting to worry a bit. I finally have decided to return to school after being away for 26 years and go into finance/business. My concern would be rather or not that is too late to start. I am starting my 3rd term at a community college and transferring to a university in either winter or spring.

    Now, my question is this, is 44 too old to start working on a education in this area? By the time I finish my masters I am looking at roughly 50 years old. I just hate spending 6 years in school and a large amount of money if I will be just “wasting my time.” Thanks for any advice and input.

    1. Avatar
      M&I - Nicole

      Yes 44 maybe a bit too old because many in the industry will have already achieved a certain level of success at that age, and you may be seen a bit older than other candidates so you will have to go through quite a lot of challenges. With the above being said, you can still try if you’re determined enough.

  156. I am joining a top tier MBA program at an Ivy League university this year but by the time I graduate I will be 35.

    I have 9 years of experience (management consulting, limited M&A advisory experience)and a one year general management MBA degree. The sole purpose of going for a 2-year specialized MBA is to break into IB. Would I be too old to join as an Associate? I am married and also have responsibilities beyond work place.

    Are the work hours for associate as long as those for analysts – 100+/week?

    1. Avatar
      M&I - Nicole

      Yes you may be 7-8 years or so older than the typical associate, and people may worry that you won’t be able to dedicate as much time to your job given your responsibilities. Yes the hours for associates are also 100+ especially if you’re working for BB. However, it does depend on the team and deal flow.

  157. I am a credit analyst at a commercial bank. I will have two years of full time experience this August though my other roles were only indirectly finance related, and I have only been in this analyst role 6 months. I have a BBA in Finance from a non-target school with a 3.46 GPA. I’m 24 years old. What are my chances of studying IB concepts and getting an interview and job as an analyst in IB for a middle market firm. I don’t want to work for a BB or leave Texas.

    1. Avatar
      M&I - Nicole

      You have decent chance, though you will still be competing with candidates who have had IB experience, be it with a BB or mid market firm. I’d suggest you to network a lot within the Texas community and get your name out there. This way, you can gauge the market, hiring needs, and find opportunities that suit you.

      1. Thank you so much Nicole! I am in Dallas and know that RMA (Risk Management Association) is a good place to network for commercial analysts. After doing my research, I learned that there is nobody in my direct circle of influence or even third level connections that are in IB. Would you recommend reaching out directly to associates or VP’s at companies I would like to work for? That’s how I got my current position. Also, what are some words of wisdom for networking my way into IB relationships without my IB aspirations being communicated through the grapevine to my current employer?

        1. Avatar
          M&I - Nicole

          Anytime! Yes, I’d recommend you to start making some cold calls and connections via LinkedIn. You’ll probably have to be discrete and discern who you talk to. When you network, use your personal email address, and try your best to schedule meetings during lunch time (and far away from your office vicinity if possible). Otherwise, you may have to take a day off to meet with bankers informally. It is also best if you could find out which clubs/bars/gyms bankers frequent in your area and try to hang out at those places.

  158. Hello,

    I just recently graduated with my Master of Public Administration, and previous to that, graduated with a dual major in criminal justice and political science. I have no experience in finance but would really like to get into IB or financial analyst. I am considering going back to school (Ohio State) to puruse an undergrade in finance. I am currently 25 years old and would be around 27-28 upon graduation. Is this a pointless venture, would I be too old upon graduation, what sort of things should I puruse while in school that can make myself more marketable? Thank you in advance.

    1. Avatar
      M&I - Nicole

      I am not sure if going back to school for your bachelors will help you because you already have a bachelors degree. You can demonstrate your interest in finance by taking the CFA since you don’t have any experience in finance. To make yourself more marketable it would be best if you can take some finance/accounting courses though I’m not sure if MPA offers that. https://www.mergersandinquisitions.com/finance-low-gpa-no-experience-non-target-school/

  159. IK:

    Hello I am 33 years old, I started late in my professional career, as I was working for my family business for the past seven year. I completed my BS degree in business at the age of 32. I was fortunate there was a small boutique investment bank in my town that gave me an internship position. I was there for an year, and I am currently working as an analyst at a mid-size investment bank, and pursuing my MBA in finance. My ultimate goal is to work at the larger banks, is still possible at my age?

    1. Avatar
      M&I - Nicole

      Yes I think it is still possible for you to move to a BB even though you may be older than most analysts and associates. Interviewers may have reservations on how hard you’re willing to work (because a lot of them presume that as you get older you have more obligations and probably less energy) so you’ll have to prove your drive, knowledge of the industry, and show them why they should hire you over someone younger

      1. Thank You

        1. Avatar
          M&I - Nicole

          You’re welcome!

  160. Hi,

    I found this great website after an emotional day finding out I almost got conned out of£150 by some crooks posting a fake investment banking job and offering me a telephone interview only to send an email saying I needed to have an IMC qualification added to my CV which I could buy from them.
    Anyway, this is my situation. I left Nigeria for the UK some 13 years ago, with a Financial Studies diploma and a work experience in the accounts department of NNPC (body responsible for the Petroleum aspect of the country). After deciding to have a family first, I went back to college in 2007 and did a sales job for about 3 years before going back to the university. I finished my degree in Business Management and IT in February and I’ve been considering going for an MBA in one of the top business schools in the UK. The problem is, you’ve just made me realise I may be too old to get anything now. I am 34 years old and I don’t have a real hands on experience in the relative banking field. However, I’ve got a few banking networks back in Nigeria. I have always wanted to work in finance of some sort and I know I am ready and now kids are out of the way too. Question is can I still break in as an analyst, investment manager, or trader of some sort when I graduate from MBA (age 35/36) or should I just make a better use of my £23k for something else? or indeed with my degree now, can I apply as a trainee or junior of some sort in any of these banks? Please be as honest as possible. My future depends on it right now.
    The truth is not going to hurt more than what I found out yesterday. Many thanks in advance.

    1. Avatar
      M&I - Nicole

      Thank you for your message. An MBA may help you retool yourself though you’ll be competing against people who have had experience in the industry for a long time so I don’t think it will necessarily help you in your case. You’d probably start as junior if you were to work for a financial institution (FI). If you already have financial responsibilities, I’d probably just look for a job at a FI now. You may want to look at IT/accounting roles in banks given your experience.

      1. Thanks a lot. At least I know where to look now.

        1. Avatar
          M&I - Nicole

          Anytime!

  161. Hi, I have completed my Bachelor of Business (economics and finance) in 2009 from a decent university in australia (RMIT). SInce then I have worked in a call centre for 2 years and landed a job as an underwriter at QBE insurance, I want to break in and don’t know how to go about it. Im thinking of either studying CFA or Masters in applied finance. Currently 25 years old.

    1. Avatar
      M&I - Nicole

      I think a Masters in Finance at a reputable school maybe your best bet (if you have time it may be a good idea to pursue CFA on the side for buy-side roles). https://www.mergersandinquisitions.com/investment-banking-masters-programs/

  162. I;m 21 years old and post graduate in commerce.
    can i make career in investment banking?
    show how can i make it possible.
    please reply as early as possible.

  163. hi

    I’m 25, currently working as an actuarial analyst. I only have a year of experience. How difficult will it be for me to break into IB.

    Thanks for the great article.

    1. Avatar
      M&I - Nicole

      You have a decent chance though you’ll be competing with candidates who have had experience in IB so you’ll need to demonstrate that you know some knowledge of finance and know why you want to transition from actuary to IB. While this link isn’t directly relevant, I believe you’ll find it useful https://www.mergersandinquisitions.com/getting-a-finance-job-from-engineering/

  164. Hi,

    I’m just curious about what my chances are for breaking into banking with my background? I’m a 25 year old graduate with good grades from a non target school. I’ve been working for about 2-3 years at an asset management firm in an operations role. If I manage to get into a top MBA program, can I network my way in or will I be too old to break in at the associate level? If banking isn’t an option, what’s the next best career path for me?

    1. Avatar
      M&I - Nicole

      Yes, there’s a chance you can network your way in, though you may be competing with other candidates who have had a few years of experience in IB. You may be a bit older than the typical associate, who is around 25-28. You can look at front office roles in AM, ER, PWM.

      1. Nicole,

        Thanks for the quick response! I want to sign up for the coaching session but was just wondering if that’s only for banking? Or can it be like a “career coaching” session? I didn’t get interested in finance until pretty late and didnt find this site until recently so I know my options are limited. I was originally an accounting major until I went to an investment conference my senior year and really liked it so I kind of switched my major to Finance last minute. I guess I’m just curious if there is someone I can talk to to discuss what my options are at this stage of my career?

        1. Avatar
          M&I - Nicole

          Thanks for your inquiry! Our coaching services are suitable for clients who are already in finance or want to break into finance (university students or professionals). Our page https://www.mergersandinquisitions.com/investment-banking-coaching/ should address most of the questions you have. Otherwise, please let me know and either my team or myself will contact you to address your other concerns re coaching.

  165. Hi!

    I’m an undergraduate studying Finance, though I won’t be graduating until I’m 24, turning 25 just a few months later (I was an idiot and couldn’t decide on a major). I was wondering if I’m too old to consider joining an investment bank and to take a MBA a few years later down the road? I’m freaking out over this, so any advice would be extremely helpful to me. Thank you!

    1. Avatar
      M&I - Nicole

      You may be a few years older than the analyst class. I’d apply and see if you get an offer first. If you do, you can still give it a shot. If you progress fast enough you may not need an MBA so that will save you time

  166. I am 33 and I have BEng in Electronics and Information Engineering. I have 8 years of experience in the Software Engineering field. Is it difficult for me to break into IB taking into account I have no MBA and my age is very old ? Also what is your best piece of advice for me ?

    1. Avatar
      M&I - Nicole

      You have a shot, but your odds are not great versus people who have had years of experience in the field. I’d suggest:

      1. Consider Finance Roles Outside of Investment Banking
      See the https://www.mergersandinquisitions.com/getting-a-finance-job-from-engineering/ on trading, and middle / back office roles. While these have some disadvantages compared to investment banking, they’re still much better than sitting around watching TV all day. You could also think about asset management, private wealth management, consulting, or anything else that takes you closer to business – investment banking is not the be-all end-all that some would have you believe.

      1. But investment banking is the higher paid profession compared to Trading, correct ?

        1. Avatar
          M&I - Nicole

          Not necessarily. It depends on your performance.

          1. Thank you Nicole.

          2. You are right the responsibilities of the Trader are much more interesting that that of an IBer but how best can I get my foot in the door do you know ?

          3. Avatar
            M&I - Nicole

            To break into trading – Focus on brokerage houses and cold call as many houses as you can. https://www.mergersandinquisitions.com/cold-calling-investment-banking/

            Prepare your pitch by knowing why trading, the stock markets and one or two of your favorite stocks. Understand how the market works and demonstrate your love and passion in the markets.

          4. Sorry I meant how do I get my foot in the door for a trader role with only SW development experience and a BEng in Electronics Engineering ?

  167. Hi I am a fan of your website. Thank you for all the advice.

    I am a double degree law and commerce bachelor degree holder from the University of Sydney and am a senior associate with two years experience with a big four m&a transaction advisory team. Will it be too late to break into investment banking at my current age (turning 29 soon)? Shall I go for anaylst or associate position? Thank you so much for your time in advance.

    1. Avatar
      M&I - Nicole

      You may be on the older end as an associate. I’d go for an associate role given your education and experience. Your big four experience may be useful for IB roles and I would not discount your experience, which is why I’d aim for an associate role.

      1. Thank you!

  168. Avatar
    Pavan Kumar

    Hi,

    I liked your article quite a lot. I understand you must have received my kind of questions quite a lot. I recently completed my Masters in Financial Mathemtics. I am currently 25 years and have no work experience. Due to lack of opportunities I am looking to work as a Business Analyst.

    Will I be too old for an associate level hire when I am 30-32 years of age? This assuming I complete my MBA by then.

    Appreciate the response. And keep up the great work

    1. Avatar
      M&I - Nicole

      Paven, you may be a few years older than most associates after your MBA because most associates are around 25-28, I believe. However, if you have the opportunity to start off as an analyst and work your way up (or even transfer from one firm/division to another), you may not need to do your MBA and can then reach the associate level before 30.

  169. Hey!
    I did my a-levels in 2009 (acc. B, business. C and eco. D and i know they are bad) and since then doing CA from Institute of chartered accountancy of pakistan. I have cleared my foundation ( module A and B) and will try to clear intermediate till mid 2014 (module c and D). By that time I’ll be 24. I was thinking to go for inv. banking after CA intermediate and continue CA professional (mod E and F) after that. I have no work experience. I am from asia but want to study inv. banking from london uk. Can you please help.
    Thanks :)

    1. What is your specific question? If you’re asking whether your age will be a problem, no, it won’t be, as 24 is a normal age for getting into the industry.

  170. Hi I am now 24,and a treasury analyst at a BB, recently I am struggle with my long term career. I always want to do trading and enter an asset managment firm. My recent job roles could lead me to three professional certification: CPA, CFA, FRM. If I switch into trading, CPA will possibily out of my life (Work experience not relevant). Someone would say CFA and FRM is good enough in the banking industry. Unfortunally I do the CPA because of my parents wish. And I want them to be happy. As the age of 26~27 I should be able to obtain my CPA. At that time. Would I be too old to break into trading?
    Sorry for asking stupid question, but is something I have kept in my heart for long. And I wish someone could give me some good advises.
    Could there be a possible of win-win situation..

    1. Not too old for trading, but those certifications generally won’t help a huge amount for AM… maybe the CFA but not the others. See:

      https://www.mergersandinquisitions.com/cfa-investment-banking/

      https://www.mergersandinquisitions.com/degrees-certifications/

  171. I’ll be 25 by graduation with about 3 years of work experience. But it is possible that I’ll be 27 if I graduate after a Masters programme with 4 years of experience.

    Would being 25/27 make things harder (but not impossible) in terms of breaking in? Would BBs be out of the options completely (unless I go for an MBA- though I’d be 30/31 by finishing that)?

    1. Mind you the work experience is really 1 year of full time experience (other 2 are part time) and post masters its expected to be about 2 years of full time experience.

      I’m only wondering due to this section:

      “In the FAQ I gave 30 as the upper limit for Analyst-level hires and 40 as the limit for Associate-level hires.

      Those were both under the assumption that you graduate around age 22-25”

    2. Not really, the bigger problem is that you’ll have 3 years of work experience which can make you seem “over-qualified” for analyst roles.

      But it depends on how you spin it… downplay the experience and if it’s really only 1 year of full-time, emphasize that aspect.

      1. Thanks!

  172. hi
    i am currently studying ACCA and will be qualified by september 2013, at the age of 25, actually my problem is i have been working for small organisations which lack support and growth for my career, however i am looking forward to a career in banking

    i have seen many profiles on linkedin and found out that guys with same qualification and of same age already having 2 to 3 years experience in banking as analyst or associate,

    could you advice if it will be too late for me to join banking sector

    regards

    1. Avatar
      M&I - Nicole

      You’d be a bit on the older side though you can still try

  173. Is 31/32 too old to enter as an associate after an MBA?

    1. Avatar
      M&I - Nicole

      Perhaps. A few years older.

      1. Too old to try?

        1. Avatar
          M&I - Nicole

          You can still try. Maybe a bit on the older end

  174. After reading this article, I’d like an option about my chances of breaking in.

    1] I’ll be 24 when I finish my undergrad degree (at a non-target including a work placement year).

    2] I am thinking of working for a couple of years after graduation and trying for a Masters at a target. If this works out, I’ll be 27 by the end of this.

    In get that this is do-able for analyst level. However say it gets to the point I need to do an MBA, I’ll be in my early-mid 30s possibly.

    Am I overestimating the age factor at both levels (analyst and associate)? Or am I missing something?

    1. *I’d like an opinion about my chances

    2. Avatar
      M&I - Nicole

      Yes you may be a bit too old as an associate after your masters.

      1. My guesstimate is that by the time I complete an MBA, with the info I’ve supplied, I’ll be 31-32.

        Would this be alright for an associate role?

        Any tips for what I should do in the present to maximise my chances?

        Thank you in advance!

        1. Avatar
          M&I - Nicole

          You may be a bit too old for an associate role. What you can do to maximize your chance? Network a lot.

  175. hi,
    i am 35 and been doing wealth mgmt in int’l retail banks for 5 yrs, and 6yrs of IT (ecommerce/CRM system) before that. did an mba after bachelor in a 2nd-tier uni. been wanting to switch to IB and been hearing diff advice… eg. do a 2nd mba in top b-school /cfa /some also said im just too old to breakin to ib.
    any comments on these 3 advices would be greatly appreciated + what kind of startup ib roles i can apply (realised im too old to apply analyst).

    many thanks.

    1. I would not even attempt to get into IB at this stage – aim for asset management because they care less about your school name / reputation there and more about what you can do. PWM to AM is also a logical progression.

      1. thks brian, that brings on a totally new angle… for asset mgmt, should i start with say any particular courses? or just try to apply some entry level roles in various fund houses to start with?

        also, not sure if this is the right forum to ask – as there are consistently lots of IPO activities (h-shares) from where i am living, based on my background, any path i can take to switch into this industry at this stage? (did a locally-recognised industry certificate on corporate finance earlier but didn’t really help with job app)

        thanks again for all the great advice, its very much appreciated =)

        1. Avatar
          M&I - Nicole

          Yes, apply to fund houses and see how it goes

          Working for a local corporate that is about to go public may be a unique and good move for you to interact with bankers (assuming you are in IR division)

          Perhaps look at Chinese banks like CICC which have ECM divisions.

  176. Hi Brian

    I’m 24 and a trainee solicitor with a leading Irish corporate law firm. I will be 25 when I qualify and will have had almost three years work experience by that time.

    I’ve a 1st class honours degree in Law and Accounting and have good quantitive skils. I find that working as a lawyer is too far removed from where the deals actually happen. I’d like to be closer to the money where the action happens.

    I’m very eager to break into investment banking. Is there any advise that you can offer? For example, what positions / level should I be targeting? I am looking at the London market in particular but am open to moving to the States (NY, Boston, San Fran) if the opportunities are better there for positions at my level.

    Any advice would be greatly appreciated. I’m genuinely passionate about investments and finance (I read stuff like Security Analysis by Benjamin Graham in my spare time!). I really feel that the law was a wrong career choice. It’s a mistake I made and one that I would like to rectify before it is too late.

    Many thanks

    Joe

  177. Hi,

    Not sure if this is the right forum, but i have a somewhat age related question.

    I’m 26 and a half, I work at a mid cap diversified conglomerate en South America, been here for 2 years. I’ve been interested in ibanking for sometime, and I’ve managed to get an offer from a Tier 2 bank’s local office (not Brazil, Mexico or Argentina). Normally I would jump at the opportunity, but my company just hired 3 banks to go public in NYSE. I think that this process would be hugely beneficial as well as the fact that I would get to meet people.

    However, the bank offer does pay more, and would allow me to save something (as opposed to nothing) to help pay for MBA, which i’m plannning on doing in 2014.

    My current company is more of a big name, and I would meet many bankers before, however the tier two bank does pay more and, while a hell of a lot less prestigious, the work itself would be more interesting.

    Any suggestions, comments and/or tips are welcome. Thanks.

    1. Additional info: I basically work in CorpDev at my company, although that area doesnt officially exist, and I dont get to really participate as much as I would like due to company culture and my being relatively young – hence why I looked for opportunities in banking.

    2. Avatar
      M&I - Nicole

      Can you wait till your company goes public before you switch?

      It seems like you are leaning toward taking the offer from the bank though you’re afraid of taking the leap. I may be wrong.

      1. I’m going to ask, but its doubtful a job offer would stay open for 6 months when they have an immediate need.

        you’re right in that i’m not sure if i want to take the leap. the objective is MBA in 2014 and i’m not sure if asking for recommendations at my new company would be looked on favorably after only 8-10 months on the job.

  178. I hope not to ask a precedently asked question, but it is probably similar.
    I got my undergraduate (NOT top score) at 26yo (various reasons), and luckely I started working immediately in a good company in italy, in management controlling&reporting area. I’m now 27, and I’m trying to break into finance (studing your fin,models course). I’m very interested in m&a but also in cap markets, sales&trading, financial markets, ecc.
    I was thinking to start in september (I’ll be 28 in aug) a 12months MS in Finance&Investment in England to find job more easily in the industry but then I will be 29.

    I’m not planning an MBA at the moment (very expensive, ecc).

    Would you think a good idea to have these 2years experience in a company, then MS, and then breaking into? Or is it a waste of time because I will be no pre-finance-experience AND old?

    Thank you very much and sorry for the long text…

    PS I have done a 3months internship in small inb.bankin boutique when I was 22.

    1. Avatar
      M&I - Nicole

      Getting a MS in a target school may increase your chances. I’d also suggest you to attend networking events and network with people in the industries you are interested in. You can then gain a better understanding of what working in such industries entail

      1. Thank you Nicole!

  179. Hello, I will be graduating from undergrad at 31 with probably about a 3.5 GPA in econ from Northwestern. I spent a few years working in Real Estate then taking care of a sick family member which set me back as far as school is concerned. I am working on getting an internship in IB before going into my final year of school. Will I be able to land an internship let alone break into IB at my age?

    1. Avatar
      M&I - Nicole

      I believe you are most likely a few years + older than most analysts and some associates. With that being said, I think you can still land an internship/break into IB.

  180. Hi, I have attended 3 semesters of school so far, but I took a few years off when I wasn’t sure of my direction. I spent some time in China running my own (tiny) English tutoring operation, and then later returned to my hometown to work with the family business (aviation) and also start an aviation-oriented side-business. None of that is finance experience, but I’m hoping it will at least give me something interesting to talk about for my “story” with interviewers.

    I’ll be entering University of Southern California next semester to try to get into the business school and then IB, and it will take me 2.5 years to graduate (I’ll graduate in Spring 2015, and will be 26 years old by then). From what I’ve gathered so far, 26 is old but not way too old to enter IB.

    My first question is, how is USC regarded by investment banks? I *think* it would count as a semi-target, but if that’s not the case please let me know, just so I don’t get my hopes up.

    My other main concern is that I will have to spend this first summer taking classes instead of doing internships in order to graduate on time, meaning I will only have one free summer for internships. And as far as I know, it’s difficult to get the really good summer internships after junior year unless you already had some finance experience from summer after sophomore year. Will I be mostly out of luck by then, or are there enough cases of people getting good internships in their 3rd summer without having finance internships previously?

    I started to ask people I know who work in IB about possible internships around my region this fall, but I’m afraid I got interested in IB too late, and I can’t realistically pull off anything like that since it would only last for a few weeks by the time I got anything going.

    So overall, I think I will have good grades and a somewhat different or interesting story/resume by the time I’m applying for IB jobs, but having only one shot at summer internships worries me, especially when that one shot is out of USC rather than a higher-tier target school. Any comments or advice about my situation will be much appreciated.

  181. Hello

    My name is Nash and I am 31 years old. I have two masters degree (MBA and MS Finance). I have four years of work experience but its in different field. Currently I am working as a Business Analyst and pursuing DBA (Doctor of Business Administration). I have a passion for Finance and no experience as a buy side analyst. Due to financial circumstance and the economy, I am working as a Business Analyst. Could you please guide me the best way to become a buy side analyst or associate.

    Thanks
    Nash

  182. Hi Nicole,
    Thanks for all the posts. I’m 31, previously worked for a NASDAQ listed independent film company. I wrote our S-1 registration statement, handled the majority of IR, and worked with IB’s attorneys and various others. I’m currently doing a low paying internship at 2 PE groups, one a pure middle market buyout shop, one more of a direct deal/PE fund focused asset management shop. Wrote most of our fundraising doc for the buyout shop’s first fund. I’m also applying to B-school (CBS, Wharton, Tuck). I had shitty grades at a highly ranked liberal arts school in Philosophy. I’m looking to get into late-stage VC/early stage PE, or the grey area known as Growth Equity.

    I have a strong amount of connections in IB (MS, Moelis, GS, Jefferies, etc) and PE (Audax, MSPE,Sun Capital, MatlinPatterson, etc.), limited number in VC. Couple in my target area. I’m a co-founder of a tech startup that’s building some momentum. I’m considering doing a semester’s worth of modeling training at one of the expensive in-person classes, because I really want to know how to do it, and because of weird circumstances at my job, I don’t have access to an Associate, VP, or Principal who can help me build my skill set.

    What’s your take on strategy here? I can still work until 2 am, I don’t have a family, I take orders pretty well, but then I’m not looking to get hit in the head with a football. I want to set myself up for success, but will be waiting to hear back from B-schools. I’ll be 33 when I get out. What’s my next move? Wait to hear back? What happens if I get the skinny letter?

    Love to hear your thoughts.

    1. Avatar
      M&I - Nicole

      Seems like you have quite a few options? My question to you is (1) What are your goals (2) What do you have on hand now – what is concrete?

      Sometimes you might be going around in circles thinking too much

      B-school might help if you truly want the experience which is why I asked (1) but it is NOT a guarantee for any sort of job security or doing the job/starting a company/building a life you love etc

  183. Avatar
    Astons Baker

    I am 38 yr old engineer in a hitech field with 10 yrs of exp. Can I make career change to investment banking?

    1. Avatar
      M&I - Nicole

      Maybe more challenging especially given this environment

  184. Avid reader of your site and this article was a great read. I do have a question however, for a early 30s individual coming in from the technology side background is an EMBA from a top b-school a valid way to break into IB as well?

    1. Avatar
      M&I - Nicole

      Did you mean executive MBA? Maybe – http://online.wsj.com/article/SB122245000101279341.html

  185. Nice article.
    I am a 22 year Commerce graduate with a specialization in Finance. I am currently pursuing my ACCA qualification. I have 10 months work experience as an Assurance Associate in Ernst & Young and am currently working as a fninancial analyst in an Investment Company. Would like to know if I can break into an IB as an analyst or in a graduate program. Am interested in working in an MNC to aquire diversified expereince both work related and personal experience. Thank You!

    1. Avatar
      M&I - Nicole

      I don’t think you’d be too old and I think having experience in IB will help so you might want to focus on gaining that

  186. hi!

    i’m 22 and just had to drop out of university for personal reasons (diagnosed depression). i will be taking a gap year off to get a full time job and (hopefully) starting university again at age 23, to graduate at age 26. all of this means that once i graduate i will have 4 years in between my high school grades (which were AAAB at a level) and enrolling at university. do i still have a shot at an analyst job at a bank? or is my cv straight in the bin?

    1. *sorry i mean 4 year gap between leaving high school and getting a job and 5 years between school and entering university

    2. Avatar
      M&I - Nicole

      Use those four years, network a lot, learn as much as you can about the industry and make sure you GPA is above a 3.5

  187. Hi M&I–

    I’m a 39-year-old corporate attorney, specialiazing in M&A, corporate finance and commercial lending transactional work. Five years ago I left a big firm in my regional market and established my own boutique corporate law firm.

    I love transactional work and would like to transition into Private Equity in a major market. I could go to business school, but I still have a considerable debt load from law school, and at this stage I’m not sure how spending two more years at school will help me get where I want to be.

    Any advice?

    Thanks!

    1. Avatar
      M&I - Nicole

      https://www.mergersandinquisitions.com/private-equity-recruiting/ could give you more insights

      Probably not. I’d network and start applying. You may want to look at legal roles at PE firms

  188. Hi Nicole,

    Your website has been very helpful. I am currently 35 years of age.

    After completing my graduation at the age of 21, I acquired 6 years of experience working in a bank in India. After that I left for China (got married) and found it very difficult to get a finance related job. Hence I took up studying for the CFA certification. I just passed the level III exam.

    Kindly look into my case and advice whether it will be possible (at 35 years of age and considering my past work experience) to a get a job as an associate in IB.

    Thank you.

    1. Avatar
      M&I - Nicole

      Yes it is possible – you just need to network a lot and demonstrate your ability to model and generate deals. I think it can be challenging if you don’t have relationships in IB/with major corps in China but it is not impossible. Cold call a lot!

  189. Avatar
    SRINIVAS

    hi,
    iam just turned 30years i am interested to learn a course of CFA is it possible to do this course would u give me suggestion.

    thanking you

    1. Avatar
      M&I - Nicole

      https://www.cfainstitute.org/pages/index.aspx

      You can still register at your age

  190. Avatar
    Isabella

    Hi Nicole,
    I am currently studying Bioinformatics at the Free University in Berlin (I am not sure about its reputation). Next year I will be finishing my master at the age of 25. I have many internship experiences in this field and I know certainly that I don’t want to live this lifestyle: loose and isolated. On the other hand, I really like the life of an analyst: full of action, communication and even the stress.
    BUT it is unable in Germany to get a job, which in unrelated to you major. So I want to try my chances in USA.

    Do you know, where I could get a job or at least an internship opportunity? What are my chances (not related major, absolute no experience in finance, not native speaker)?

    Thank you very much,
    Isabella

      1. Avatar
        Isabella

        Thank you, Nicole, for the quick reply!
        The article really motivated me. Although I have a slightly different background, a lot of information could be useful for me :-)

        Thank you and thank you to your team, this is a great website.

        1. Avatar
          M&I - Nicole

          Thanks for your support!

  191. Brian DeChesare,

    I am considering trying to enter into PE or IB now but wonder if it is even worth my effort at this point. Let me explain a bit. I have a PhD in organic chemistry, two year post-doc, and then 7 years of experience split between two of the largest bio-techs and pharmaceutical companies. I am now in my MBA program at a top 20 school and looking to make a move into PE or IB. With my age and lack of actual finance/business experience (my 7 years consisted of research with some work in actually starting up a lab) and my age of 40 when i graduate, will it even be worth the effort? When i think of the hours, i can tell you that it doesnt phase me at all as i worked the same if not more hours for the 8 years of graduate/post-doc schooling for much less pay. But i realize selling this to a PE or IB may not be all that easy to do esp in this market. Just curious your thoughts at this point in my career etc.

    thanks,

    Jon

    1. Avatar
      M&I - Nicole

      What about biotech & pharma VC firms? Your background might be interesting to those firms, and if you liked bio-tech (I presume you did or else you wouldn’t have been there for such a long time), you might find the work there more interesting

  192. Hi Nicole,
    I am turning 30 this year, meanwhile pursuing an MBA part-time at Stern. I work for one of the most presitgious Financial Services companies, but unfortunately on the Operations side (Been here for 21 months). I have another 3.5 years experience on the buy-side in Asset Management. How realistic given my graduation age at 32, and job exp. would it be to get into IDB as an Associate? Do you think I should map a contigency plan on the buy-side after I graduate if I will be married, with a child and owning a home? Please be as brutally honest as possiblE, thank you in advance for the advice.

    Thank you

    1. Avatar
      M&I - Nicole

      It can be challenging without the relevant IB experience though I believe having the Stern MBA/AM experience can help. You just need to network a lot, brand (have a great pitch) and position yourself well. I assume you shouldn’t have a problem getting interviews; having the deal experience to talk about, knowledge & passion of finance (IBD and recent deals in particular) & a good story to explain your transitions will set you apart from other candidates

      Contingency plan – its always good to have a plan B these days given the volatile markets. Even though you are working for someone else, you are ultimately working for yourself

  193. At the 32 can it be possible to join IB?

    1. Avatar
      M&I - Nicole

      Yes though you may be a few years older than other associates, and over 7+ years older than other analysts

  194. Hi, I am 28 years right now, doing my PhD in construction management, but willing to move to IB. By the time I graduate I’ll be 32, so I thought about quiting and trying to go for an MBA instead, yesterday I had an interview with a top MBA program admission officer, and he basically told me I’m already too old, to take the MBA parth into IB (I still need 1 year experience + the 2 years for the MBA = 31). Should I take his advice or ignore it?
    Which way do you think I should take? PhD and networking with no financial background, or MBA at a target school?
    Thanks!

    1. Avatar
      M&I - Nicole

      Putting IB aside, do you want to do the PhD? Does it interest you? Are you truly passionate about it?

      If not, I’d probably go for the MBA. You may be a few years too old to break in after the MBA as an associate, but no one is stopping you from doing so. And I believe an MBA at a target will probably open you quite a few more doors even if you don’t want to work in finance afterwards

  195. Hi, first of all great website.
    I’d like to know if there are any chances to get a job in IB beyond 30 years old. After I finished high school I had some economic problems and couldn’t study for a couple years so by the time I finish college I’ll be 31 years old. Will it be impossible to get a job then?

    1. Avatar
      M&I - Nicole

      You may be on the older end if you want to break in now. It is rather rare to have analysts in their thirties

      1. Rare. but, still possible? Thanks

        1. Avatar
          M&I - Nicole

          Anything is possible. It is up to you.

  196. Avatar
    Gabrielle

    Hi! Thanks for you website, the information you give is very helpful!

    I’m currently trying to decide which path to take. I’m 24, dropped out of university because of a death in my family, went on to work at a non-finance related consultancy and started a small import-export business. But I really want to break into investment banking. I’ve been accepted to study Philosophy & Economics (B.A.) at UCL in London or Economics at University Frankfurt (B.Sc.). At the Frankfurt Uni I might be able to get my degree in two instead of three years if I take a very heavy course load. But I’ve been living in Germany for the past years, so I’m more tempted to go to London, plus UCL has a better reputation (I think). But UCL would leave me with a very high debt (approx. 60 000 GBP) and Frankfurt probably hardly any or no debt at all.

    1) Where do you think should I study (UCL or Frankfurt) to have the highest chances of getting a front office banking job, hopefully at a bulge bracket firm?

    2) Or maybe I shouldn’t go to a university, but study for a distance learning degree and continue working instead?

    2) I’ll be 27 when I graduate. I know you said it’s not too old to break into banking, but will it be too old for a bulge bracket firm? Especially considering I’m a woman – I heard that most employers don’t like hiring women of that age because of the high possibility of maternity leave.

    Thank you in advance for your help!

    1. Avatar
      M&I - Nicole

      Congrats!
      1. I’d say UCL though readers may have better suggestions
      2. University degree works better if you want finance
      3