HOME Case Studies & Reader Success Stories

This page lists all the “breaking in” success stories by category, such as getting in from a non-target school, or from an MBA program, or from the back office.

There are a ton of other interviews on the site, but on this page we focus on recruiting success stories as opposed to “on the job”-style interviews.

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From Quant Trading in Singapore to Fintech in Mexico: How to Enter a More Exciting Jungle

When I published an interview about the future of sales & trading last year, I mentioned that fintech was a popular exit opportunity. The only problem is that there aren’t that many “real” trading roles in fintech outside of crypto. But there is another approach: leverage your finance skills to move into entirely different areas, […]
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From Investment Banking to Freelance Financial Modeling: The Undiscovered Exit Opportunity

People often complain about the hours and stress in finance jobs. But there’s another downside that receives far less attention: everyone tends to be boring. Especially in areas like investment banking, people mostly come from similar backgrounds: well-off parents, private schools, top universities, and resumes with the same student clubs and internships as everyone else. […]
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From TV Broadcasting to Investment Banking: How to Jump Off the Airwaves and Into the Abyss

Recruiting moves up earlier and earlier each year. Soon, banks may recruit elementary school students for internships 15 years in advance. So, what happens if you complete a liberal arts major, have no finance-related experience, and then decide to apply for investment banking roles in your late 20s? Most people would say it’s impossible – […]
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How to Conquer the Super-Early Investment Banking Recruiting Timeline and Win Offers – Even If You’re at a Non-Target University

Ask any undergraduate student about the “investment banking recruiting timeline,” and you’ll always get the same response: everything starts ridiculously early. Back in ancient times, recruiting took place during your 3rd year of undergraduate, and you interviewed for summer internships several months before they began. But then banks realized that Facebook and Google also pay […]
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From Non-Target Engineer to Investment Banking: How to Make the Leap

Once you go quant, can you ever go back? Yes! There’s a ton of hype over quant hedge funds, AI, machine learning, and anything else with “quant” in the title, but those fields are not right for everyone. Even if you come from a technical background – like our reader today – you might still […]
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How to Move from the Military to Investment Banking at the Associate Level

If you want to move from the military to investment banking, you might be wondering about the best approach. I don’t know that a single strategy will always work best, but there is one that several readers have used successfully: Applying for an MBA program without having full-time work experience first. If you do not have […]
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From Venture Capital to Investment Banking: The Best Pathway into Finance?

No one doubts the need for multiple internships before you win a role at a large bank. But it’s harder to say which specific internships are best. You could make a solid case for boutique and middle-market banks, real estate, hedge funds, or even private equity, but they all have downsides. For example, if you […]
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From Biology to Investment Banking: How to Become an Even Better “MD”

A long time ago, an angry reader kept leaving comments saying that my estimates for MD-level compensation were off. He posted an analysis showing why my estimate of $1,000 per hour was wrong and explained why MDs make more like $100-$200 per hour. His numbers lined up, but then I reached the end of his […]
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How to Move from Medical School to Investment Banking

Is it possible to make a 180-degree career change after you’ve already attended and graduated from medical school? We get a fair number of questions about this one, but in the past, I’ve always said, “Sorry, keep dreaming.” But… I might have been overly pessimistic. I recently spoke with a reader who made it into […]
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How to Break into the Finance Industry by Creating Your Own Brokerage Job

What should you do if you graduate with a not-so-great GPA in a relatively small market? Most people would say, “Give up” or “Apply to a Master’s in Finance or MBA program and turn yourself around there.” But there is another option: Create your own job. And then leverage that experience to break into the […]
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How to Break into Investment Banking as a Pre-Med at a Non-Target School

We’ve covered quite a few different career transitions before, but one that escaped attention – until now – is how to get into banking from a pre-med background. And to make things even more difficult, what if you’re also at a non-target university and you have a lower GPA? Should you transfer universities? Just network […]
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From Coding and Consulting into Venture Capital: The Dream Goal of Every Engineer?

What is every engineer’s secret dream? Easy: To become a venture capitalist. Or, more broadly, “to move to the business side” and stop coding. The only problem is that it’s a pipe dream unless they start out in investment banking or complete a top-tier MBA degree first. At least, that’s what I thought until a […]
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From Consulting to Private Equity: How to Make the Leap

The “consulting to private equity transition”: every consultant’s secret dream goal, right? OK, maybe not everyone’s goal, but “work in private equity” could easily be a goal for a good number of consultants. The only problem is that it is notoriously difficult for consultants to get into the industry. Not only are private equity professionals biased against […]
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From Valuation to Corporate Development: How to Skip Investment Banking Altogether

Can you move from a valuation role into investment banking? Yes, but a better question might be: Would you want to? Bankers tend to approach recruiting with tunnel vision: Even if you have the right skills, you may not have any luck in the recruiting process if your experience doesn’t look correct. If that happens, […]
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How to Break into Investment Banking from a Non-Target MBA Program

Is there anything more difficult than breaking into investment banking at the Associate level coming from a non-target MBA program? Yes! Breaking into investment banking if you also have spotty work experience, a non-target undergrad degree, and not-so-great GMAT scores. When a reader with that background contacted me, I was skeptical at first. But then […]
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How to Break into Investment Banking at the Last Minute and Win a Role in the Industrials Coverage Group

Can you get into investment banking at the last minute? Back in 2005-2007, the answer was “Yes” – at least if you had good grades and had attended a well-known university. Plenty of students “became interested in finance” when full-time recruiting began, and then made frantic efforts to pass on-campus interviews. Over the past ten […]
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How to Make a Career Change into Equity Research: The Best Path for Older Candidates?

If you’ve missed the all-important investment banking analyst experience but you still want to work in finance, what do you do? Go to business school? Join a Big 4 Firm? Go to a PE or VC portfolio company and try to move in from there? We’ve covered options for older candidates before, but an oft-overlooked […]
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From Non-Target School to Elite Boutique: How to Make the Cross-Country Leap

Can you get into a top bank from a university that’s completely off their radar? Sure. But what if your university is also far away from New York and other financial centers? And what if you realize you want to do investment banking fairly late in the game? Then it might be a bit harder. […]
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How to Go from No Return Offer in Your Internship to a Full-Time Investment Banking Offer… from a Non-Target School

What happens if you screw up? For example, what if you put time and effort into recruiting, you win an investment banking summer internship, but then you fail to get a return offer for silly reasons? You could go back and start networking again, but most banks prefer to hire from their summer intern pools. […]
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How to Win a Full-Time Investment Banking Offer as an International Student in a Non-Target Master’s Program

Is a Master’s degree your best chance of getting into the finance industry? It might be – if you pick the right program. Master’s degrees are useful for “Plan B” scenarios where you didn’t get the job offer you wanted the first time around – though you came close – and now you want to […]
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From Quant to Equity Research Associate: Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?

Once you go quant, can you ever go back? Or would you ever want to go back? Most people would answer that with “No, never!” After all, quant hedge fund jobs are glamorous, pay well, and exclude the drudgery associated with most finance roles. But the quant route is not for everyone. Our interviewee today started […]
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From the Back Office and a Non-Target MBA to Running Deals as an Investment Banking Associate in Canada

Can you get into investment banking from a non-target MBA program? Most people would say, “No. Keep dreaming.” But what if you add a few more handicaps? Not only is your school a non-target, but it’s also far removed from any major city. You’re in Canada, which has far fewer openings each year than the […]
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From Sales to Investment Banking at the MBA Level: Glengarry Glen Gekko?

Are investment bankers just highly paid salespeople? Pretty much. You might even call them “salespeople with a finance problem.” But despite the skill set overlap, it’s notoriously difficult to break into investment banking from a sales background. And when you add a non-target part-time MBA program, no previous IB experience, and an attempted West-Coast-to-East-Coast move […]
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From Regional Audit to Investment Banking: How to Break in *Without* the Big 4 Pedigree

Can you break into investment banking as an accountant? We’ve published so many success stories from accountants that the answer seems to be “yes.” Just one problem, though… They were all at Big 4 firms and therefore had the benefit of a strong brand name; in some cases, they even had firsthand experience working on […]
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How to Move from Compliance to an Equity Research Internship: Internal Mobility 101

Can you escape from the middle or back office? It’s tough. There are some success stories from readers, but it’s unquestionably difficult. On the other hand, it’s easier when you’re moving from a middle or back-office internship to another group. Our reader today made this move, and managed to turn a year-long compliance internship into […]
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From Insurance Sales to Investment Banking: How to Make Up for an Unknown School, a Low GPA, and No Relevant Internships

What background makes it toughest to break into finance? Engineering? Accounting? The back office? Being a male escort in Tokyo? Each of those careers presents different challenges. But there’s one particular background that bankers do not like: insurance, and specifically insurance sales. If you attend a university where “everyone” does it, though, you could easily […]
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From Boutique Consulting Firm to Top Bulge Bracket Bank: How to Dominate the MBA Investment Banking Recruiting Process

You know you can’t buy bottles with Starwood points, but what about investment banking internships? It’s still tough. And if you haven’t worked at MBB, it’s even more difficult to move from consulting to IB. But it gets easier if you combine that boutique consulting experience with a stint doing internal consulting at a PE firm […]
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From Transaction Advisory Services to Investment Banking: How to Use a Top-Tier MBA Degree to Break In

So let’s say you got interested in consulting in undergrad… And then you were “sold” on joining a boutique consulting firm right after graduation… But then you realized you wanted to move into finance and move to another country. What would you do? Network a lot? Move to a more finance-related role first? Apply to […]
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How to Win an Investment Banking Offer from a Non-Target MBA Program – Without Any Full-Time Work Experience

A lot of people want to go to business school. Some even want to do it without having any full-time work experience first. And I always respond the same way: “Nooooo! Don’t do it! Step back and re-think your life first.” But sometimes I’m wrong. While it’s difficult to win full-time offers or internships at […]
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From Compliance to Fixed Income Fund Management in Mexico: How to Accomplish the Impossible

The back office. It doesn’t exactly get a great reputation. And I must admit that some of that is my own doing. Inspired by too many students who equate “any position at a bank” with “investment banking,” I wrote an infamous article years ago explaining why you should not work in the back office… …But […]
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From Community College to Fortune 500 Investor Relations: How to Defy the Odds Even When Everyone Tells You “No”

The “path.” It never seems to die. And neither does the assumption that you need to follow a certain “path” to get into the finance industry. It’s like a cockroach: no matter how many times I drop nuclear bombs on it, it just won’t stay dead. That’s why I wanted to share this story of a reader […]
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How to Break Into Investment Banking as a Big 4 Accountant in South Africa

If there’s one profession that bankers don’t respect, it’s the poor accountant. Sure, consultants also get a lot of hate … but hey, at least top management consulting firms recruit at the same universities and MBA programs that bankers flock to. For some reason, though, accountants always seem to attract skepticism and scorn from financiers. […]
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From Valuation Advisory to Investment Banking: How to Make the Lateral Leap

Ask around about lateral hiring at investment banks, and you’ll hear a few comments come up repeatedly: “It’s impossible if you haven’t worked in IB before because they only want people with previous experience.” “Seriously, who would ever leave their job suddenly in the middle of the year when it’s so hard to get the […]
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From Private Equity Internship to Bulge Bracket Investment Banking: How to Cold Email Like a Pro and Win the Offer

You would think that after 5+ years of covering networking tactics across hundreds of articles, videos, and even a full-fledged course on networking, there would be nothing left to say about it. But you’d be wrong. I was skeptical when our interviewee today contacted me and offered to share the story of how he went […]
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From Liberal Arts Major with No Finance Experience in the UK to Equity Research in… Mexico

Ask anyone what banks have been doing over the past few years, and you’ll get the same answer: “Laying people off! Cutting! Downsizing!” Now, that’s not quite true because hiring has actually fluctuated from year to year, but the basic point is true: the finance industry has shrunk quite a bit from the last bubble […]
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How to Break Into Investment Banking at the Associate Level from a Part-Time / Evening / Weekend MBA Program

If there’s one feat more difficult than breaking into investment banking coming from a non-target school, it’s breaking in from a part-time / evening / weekend MBA program. Not only do you contend with inferior access to recruiters and on-campus presentations, but you’re also working full-time and therefore have limited time to network and learn […]
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How to Defy the Odds and Create Your Own Investment Banking Job

If you’re interested in finance, you probably have a Type A personality: You’re highly competitive; You care a lot about achievement and money; You love multi-tasking, you’re a perfectionist, and you’re always rushing around to finish work. And normally the finance industry would be a good it for you – except for when there are […]
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From Physics Major with Low A-Levels and No Finance Experience in the UK to Investment Banking… in India

When I first started doing interviews about 3 years ago, one question in the comments of an early interview really surprised me… “Long time reader, first time poster, big fan of the site. Question – how do we know that these stories / case studies are true?” I see where he was coming from… many […]
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From the Military to Sales & Trading: How to Defy the Odds and Land a Full-Time Bulge Bracket Offer from a Non-Target School

One of the most important – and commonly overlooked – tips for breaking into finance is to focus on people who are similar to you. This is especially important when you’re making a career change from an unrelated field – engineering, marketing, public policy… and yes, also the military. If you think it’s tough breaking […]
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How to Do Everything Wrong and Still Land an MBA-Level Investment Banking Internship

You often see people with perfect grades at Harvard or Oxbridge, family connections, and brand name internships break into investment banking. And then sometimes there are career changers who prepare long in advance, attend top MBA programs, network like crazy, and win offers from top banks. …And then you have people who don’t follow any […]
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From International Student at Non-Target School to Bulge Bracket Investment Banking: How to Beat the Odds and Break In

You might say that it’s “pretty tough” to break into investment banking in the U.S. – even if you have perfect grades, an Ivy League degree, great work experience, and you’ve networked so much you never want to “meet someone for coffee” again. Now imagine that you come from a… slightly different background: You go […]
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How to Defy the Odds and Break Into Private Equity in China as a Foreigner – Even as Everyone Else is Getting Deported

All the hype over emerging markets sounds great… …until you sit back and realize something: you don’t have a shot at breaking in, at least if you’re a foreigner with no connection to the region. And it’s especially bad in China, where, according to a previous interviewee and plenty of commenters, it’s nearly impossible to […]
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From the Back Office to Front Office Private Equity: How to Make the Leap

After graduating from Syracuse University, I took a back office position with a well-known custody bank – I didn’t know what I wanted to do when I graduated and I needed a job. Within 3 weeks I knew I’d jump off a cliff if I stayed there any longer, so I started emailing alumni and […]
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From Big 4 Restructuring to Investment Banking: How to Make the Leap

“Help! I hate my accounting job and want to move into banking, what do I do?” “What group should I transfer to if I want to get into finance?” “My Big 4 salary doesn’t give me enough cash for bottles!” If you’re at a Big 4 firm right now, you’ve had one of the thoughts […]
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From London to the Middle East: How to Break Into Investment Banking in Dubai

While you’ve learned all about working in Dubai and other parts of the Middle East from previous interviews, we haven’t focused on recruiting much – until now. The interviewee you’re about to hear from went from spotty A-Level performance and low first-year university grades to multiple bulge bracket offers. And if you think that’s impressive, […]
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Diversity Recruiting: Your Secret Weapon for Breaking Into Investment Banking?

“Can you tell me exactly what I have to do to get into finance? There must be a combination of grades, certifications, internships, and activities that will guarantee me a spot at Goldman Sachs, right? Give me the magic bullet solution for breaking in!” Ah, another day, another email. And if you don’t believe that […]
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From Non-Target School and Unpaid Wealth Management Internship to Full-Time Bulge Bracket Investment Banking Offer: How to Make the Leap

In this interview we’ll speak with a reader who landed a full-time bulge bracket investment banking offer with 0 banking internships and a non-target school on his resume. There have been a few interviews with readers from similar backgrounds – but I thought this one was great because he shares unique insights and unusual networking strategies […]
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How to Network Like a Ninja in London and Break Into Finance with Low Grades and a Non-Target School on Your CV

“You’ve written so much about networking, but it doesn’t work outside the US. No one in my country responds to cold calls or emails – what do I do?” It’s one of the most common objections I get to the networking advice on M&I. There are dozens of interviews disproving the old complaint that everything […]
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From Sales & Trading to Investment Banking: How to Hop Over the Fence

One disadvantage of sales & trading vs. investment banking is that exit opportunities are not quite as broad. It’s difficult, for example, to move into PE or corporate development coming from trading. But getting into investment banking may be a different story, as you’ll see in this interview with a reader who did just that. […]
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From Middle-Office Operations to Front-Office Sales & Trading: How One Reader Made the Leap and How You Can Do It Too

It’s no secret that I’m not a fan of the back office. Much of the work is mundane, and it doesn’t give you many options: advancing is difficult and breaking into front-office roles is even harder. Or is it? While it might be difficult to get into investment banking front-office roles, it’s easier if you’re […]
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From Nuclear Submarines to Investment Banking: How to Make the Leap from the Military to Finance

Can you get into finance coming from a military background? Just how many bankers each year break in from the Army, Navy, and Air Force? I get a lot of questions on these topics, but up until now haven’t had solid answers beyond “yes” and “quite a few.” But that changes today with an interview […]
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From Non-Target and No Finance Experience to 2 Full-Time Bulge Bracket Investment Banking Offers

“Help, how can I move from PWM / asset management into investment banking?” “I have no time left and need to find an internship! What do I do?” “How do I get internships with no finance experience?” I love this interview because this reader accomplished all of the above. Plus, you’ll learn about: A ninja […]
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How to Break Into Investment Banking as an Engineer With No Finance Background: Case Study

There’s no mystery why the article on How to Break Into Investment Banking as an Engineer is one of the most popular on this site, with over 100 comments: it struck a chord with many readers. You’ve studied engineering or you’ve been an engineer for awhile, and now you want to make the move into […]
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How to Break Into Investment Banking as a Career-Changer in a Part-Time, Non-Target MBA Program

No clever introductions for this one because this story already has more twists and turns than 24 or Lost – so let’s get right into it. Background Q: Walk us through your resume. A: I came from a liberal arts background as an undergraduate, and worked in commercial property management after I graduated. After a […]
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Unknown State School with No Finance Background to Investment Banking: How to Make the Leap

Is this site dedicated to Ivy League graduates with perfect grades? No! Of course not. At least, I hope not. We do get plenty of readers from “elite universities,” but many readers have also broken into the finance industry from unknown schools – often with lower GPAs and less-impressive work experience. Today’s story is in […]
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