by Brian DeChesare Comments (154)

Unknown State School with No Finance Background to Investment Banking: How to Make the Leap

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 the second category: A reader at an unknown state school who used aggressive cold-calling and cold-emailing tactics to win an offer at a boutique investment bank:

Origin Story: From Accounting to Merchant Banking to Rescinded Offers to Full-Time Offers

Q: Can you walk us through your story?

A: I became interested in finance my freshman year, but I had no background in the industry and no relevant internships.

I was at an unknown state school with no on-campus recruiting, and hardly anyone went into investment banking.

My first step was getting an accounting internship after my freshman year – but I told the MDs there that I was actually interested in investment banking, and they gave me referrals to local boutiques and merchant banks in the area.

I saw a few ads for merchant banks on my school’s website, but rather than applying online, I called them directly and told them I was interested.

I made it into a 3-step process:

  1. Saturday – I spent most of the day researching boutique and local firms online, including a review of their transactions.
  2. Monday/Tuesday – I cold called each bank to ask about positions and indicate my interest. Then, if I actually connected with a real person, I submitted my resume.
  3. Tuesday/Wednesday – I called back the next day to follow up and make sure they had received it.

I aimed to email at least five banks per day.

I kept calling until I received a response, and sometimes it took many, many tries to get through.

Eventually, I landed an offer at a local bank in the summer following my junior year.

I went through full-time recruiting after that, won an offer at a well-known boutique, had it rescinded because of “economic conditions,” and eventually won another full-time offer.

Q: Wow, that sounds like quite the journey.

Coming from that kind of background, you must have faced many “objections” in your recruiting efforts.

Why did bankers say “No,” and how did you overcome these negative responses?

A: There were three main “objections”:

  1. “You’re from a no-name school – why should I hire you over the guy from Princeton or Wharton?”
  2. “You have a pretty good (3.8) GPA – but what does that mean coming from your school? That’s equivalent to a 2.0 at an Ivy League school, right?”
  3. “Why didn’t you go to a better school? You seem like a smart guy, and I’m sure you could have at least gotten into a better-known state school.”

To overcome objection #1, I pointed out that it’s the person who does the work – not the school.

There are plenty of people from top schools who are privileged and unmotivated, but I was hungry to get in – and they could tell.

To answer questions about my GPA, I pointed out that I was also working 30 hours per week and paying for rent and my tuition – so I was working harder than many other students and still earning good grades.

For objection #3, I said that I couldn’t afford a “good school.”

I didn’t come from a privileged background and I had to pay for my education by myself, so I went to the best place I could, given my budget constraints.

Q: OK, but how well did that story resonate with everyone?

Some people in finance are not receptive if you don’t come from a wealthy background.

A: Most people accepted the story.

I did run into a few people with Ivy League undergrad or MBA backgrounds who couldn’t understand the concept of poor or middle-class family, but most people “got it.”

Q: You must have found a high percentage of “nice” bankers; that’s amazing.

How did you approach firms differently, given your background?

A: I was a lot more persistent, for one thing.

I never stopped at just speaking to HR or to an administrative person – I’d always try to speak with at least an Associate or VP, and if they didn’t call me back, I would call back two days later to get someone else on the phone.

I made sure every phone call resulted in either:

  1. Speaking with a real person; or
  2. Getting a real banker’s name and email address.

Q: What was your response rate when you were contacting these firms?

A: It started out at close to 0%, which was odd because my cold-calling skills were fairly solid.

I thought the problem might be my resume, so I went through your resume editing service, and my response rate improved significantly.

By the end, I was getting responses from around 50-75% of banks.


Q: No problem; I can’t take all the credit for that one, though.

How did you find the contact information for bankers in the first place?

When you cold call firms, sometimes they’re reluctant to give you anyone’s contact information or put you in touch with bankers.

A: If I couldn’t find it on the website, I called the secretary or assistant to ask about it and said, “Who can I speak to regarding recruiting / employment here?”

Sometimes they would transfer me, and sometimes they wouldn’t.

If I got transferred to voicemail, I would immediately hang up, call back, say I got disconnected, and then ask for the person’s real contact information.

The gatekeeper was more likely to give me the first and last name of the person in charge of recruiting on my second try.

Since I said, “I got disconnected,” they assumed it was a problem on their end.

I also did this to figure out the company’s email format.

To make it seem like an innocuous request, I asked for the secretary’s email address first.

I didn’t care about his/her address, but I used it to determine the email format of the company (e.g., or

I then used that format with the first and last name that the secretary had just given me, and I emailed people directly like that.

I also got a few referrals from the alumni database. Hardly anyone was in IB, but a few alumni over the decades had entered the industry.

In those cases, I emailed the alumni first and pointed out where I found them.

Sometimes I also did simple Google searches – “,” for example, would give me contact information for anyone who put their address online.

Finally, I looked through old job postings on Doostang and, and I wrote down names of firms I wasn’t familiar with.

On Doostang, I looked through users’ profiles to find firm names as well – this approach gave me names that weren’t listed in any boutique database online.

NOTE: Today, LinkedIn is far more effective for finding firm names and individual bankers at firms. This reader did not use it because this story took place before LinkedIn was as widely used as it is today.

You will not get great response rates if you contact people through LinkedIn – email is always better – but it is a great place to find people.

Q: OK, so you found the contact information like that, and then called and emailed everyone.

Did you do anything to make yourself stand out or get their attention more effectively?

A: In my initial emails, I made myself sound more experienced than I actually was.

I said that I had been in the market before, so it seemed like I wasn’t just an undergrad looking to break in.

I always wrote something like:

“I’ve worked at ABC and XYZ firms before in DEF industry, and I’m interested in learning more about opportunities at your firm.”

I didn’t want to sound like too much of a student, and I wanted to avoid listing my school’s name anywhere since I knew it would count against me.

Q: How did you follow up with these local/smaller firms ?

A: After I emailed a firm with my resume, I waited two days to follow up with a phone call.

Then I’d wait a few more days and email them, call again, and if there was still no response, I would email them to suggest a date and time for a call.

If I still didn’t get a response after four separate follow-up attempts within a week, I would wait for 10-14 days and try again with a series of follow-up calls and emails within a week.

Some banks didn’t respond at all, and some did – there was no real pattern, and it was more of a numbers game than anything else.

Q: You were quite successful in your recruiting efforts.

Is there anything you would have done differently, looking back on it now?

A: I would have started earlier.

Even if you don’t know 100% whether or not you want to do banking, it always helps to start building relationships early.

Outside of recruiting, I would have focused more on “fit” questions rather than spending all my time on the technical ones.

While you do have to answer the technical questions reasonably well, bankers care more about them if it’s your second or third internship; they’re not necessarily going to grill you on advanced/obscure concepts if it’s your first time at a bank.

I found myself well-prepared on the technical side, but stumbling when it came to basic “fit” questions, such as “Tell me your strengths and weaknesses.”

Finally, lower your expectations.

If you expect everyone to say “No,” or you expect the worst in interviews, then even a slightly better outcome is a success.


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Q: Sounds good.

Any parting advice for students still looking for internships or jobs, or for anyone who’s out of work right now?

A: Keep at it. If you don’t get something right now, don’t give up until you have something lined up.

A friend of mine was about to graduate without any job offers, but then he went around and started offering to work for free.

That allowed him to be far more competitive, and he won several unpaid opportunities that could turn into paid options later on.

Also, look at my own story – I had my offer rescinded, but then I went around and continued to recruit until I found something else.

You just never know, and giving up too soon is a huge mistake – especially when you’re dealing with small firms that recruit year-round.

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. Hello,

    I am finishing my studies from the University of British Columbia in Psychology and Economics. I am interested in Analyst roles in Capital Markets. Is there any advice you would give me in terms of getting a job? I have been applying but not hearing back.

    1. I would start by reading these articles to understand the recruiting environment and what banks want to see in candidates:

      If you don’t have multiple finance internships, you won’t be competitive for IB roles, especially in Canada.

  2. Hey

    I am looking to break into investment banking. I have done Bachelors of Science (completed in 2012) and followed it up with MBA in Finance (completed in 2018) from a non-target school. I also worked on my CPA and have that now. I am 28 with about 3 years of experience. How should I go about landing an investment banking job in US?

    1. It will be almost impossible to transition from India, which I’m assuming is your location, to the US if you’ve already finished an MBA and have significant work experience in India. The most realistic way to do this would be to work at a large multinational company and then ask for a transfer. Otherwise, you’re not going to get a work visa if you try to make the move independently.

  3. Avatar
    Worried Graduate

    I recently graduated with a BSc(Hons) in Politics and International Relations from a British University that tends to have a good number of graduates that go into investment banking (Top 10 University in league tables).
    Sadly due to extenuating circumstances, I graduated with a 2:2 as opposed to a 2:1. I do not have banking internships either. Is it likely that I will get accepted into banking internships now/ Graduate scheme considering the above?
    I am fully aware that my 2:2 puts me at a disadvantage, thus am tempted to do a Masters in International Relations to make up for my 2:2 as I am confident that I shall be able to achieve a 2:1/1st. Would this help get my foot in the door in Investment banking, or do I need a masters in Finance/ Economics? (Am applying for I.Relations as I do not think any reputable university would accept me for a finance masters).

    Additionally, any advice/ links on how to get an internship in Investment banking would be greatly beneficial and most appreciated.

  4. Good evening,
    I am in my senior year looking for some advice. I attend a top 100 business school ranked by Bloomberg Businessweek. Majoring in finance and minoring in economics and have solid GPA. My problem is that do not have any banking experience and I do not now how I should start pursuing an IB position. I have quite a few outstanding applications for full time roles and internships but no offers have came in yet. My question is what should I do next? There is no limit to the effort I am willing to put in but I am not sure where to focus my efforts. I would consider getting an MBA if it helped my chances significantly. And what should I do in the meantime before getting an MBA to help me build a competitive resume. Many thanks.

    P.S. Thank you for supplying such an informative resource.

  5. I am about to graduate from high school and am eager to get my feet wet in the investment banking world. Is it realistic that a firm would give me an internship or entry level position at this point?

    1. No. There are some opportunities in the UK, but not the US in most cases.

  6. I’m an International Relations major (Economics minor) from an unknown school as I couldn’t afford any better, and I recently started thinking about breaking into investment banking. Will firms take me seriously with this major? Should I do my Masters degree in Finance to help prove myself? Or should I just forget about a life in Finance? I’ve also been taking online courses in finance related stuff and I have an Associates degree in Management.

    1. Major matters less than your work experience… if you have the time to get finance internships, you can get in. If not, consider an MSF.

  7. Hello M&I !!
    I am from India and I’m interested very much in investment banking.
    Is studying in a reputed business school an advantage? as I’m not from those.

    1. ….Yes? Studying at a top school is always an advantage. What is your question?

  8. Hi, I am in a somewhat similar situation as what a previous person (Cory) recently said, I graduated with a degree in Business Economics with an accounting emphasis (which was the main program the university had) last year in 2015, but it wasn’t until my last year when I took a finance course that I realized it was actually finance that is what I am interested in pursuing. I know now that accounting is different from finance, but what skillsets from accounting can I leverage to break into finance? How should I spin it in a resume or interview?

    Some more on my background, I have completed an internship in finance before college (where I was exposed to ratio analysis, put together an investment fund, and made a recommendation to sell a stock), While trying to figure out what I wanted to after college, I also completed marketing internships.

    I’m located on the west coast, specifically in San Francisco. I took a part time job that sidetracked my job search for a while, and have been looking for internships in investment banking that could help me develop the skillsets necessary in finance, but the opportunities I have found on job search sites have been very few, and only for the next summer. Because of my current financial circumstances, I’m not really considering an MBA and I’m hesitant in applying for unpaid internships. However, if I were to consider an unpaid internship, how long should I have one for before I should or could I look into full time positions?

    Although I know my chances are slim, I have been also applying to bulge bracket internships. I want to become more proactive and look for experience and develop the interest in the markets/finance industry that I can gain as soon as possible, so in the meantime, what are some things I should I look for? Should I look into volunteering?

    Currently I am looking into networking but I don’t know yet how to approach that and cold-calling. In addition, I am also considering off cycle internships that are abroad. Some questions I have regarding off cycle internships include: if they are abroad, does that mean I should set aside money for housing and what are other things to consider?

    Do you think I have a chance or should I look into other options within finance (i.e asset/wealth management)? What do you suggest my course of actions should be? Thank you for this website!

    1. Please see:

      I would strongly recommend going for internships at smaller PE firms instead and following the examples here:

      If that doesn’t work, get the most relevant job you can at a Big 4 firm or something else accounting/finance-related.

  9. Hi, I graduated with my an International Business degree last year. It wasn’t until the end of my senior year did I start to enjoy the Finance classes and want to pursue a banking career. After I graduated, I took some time off to do some traveling. Now that I am back, I am still very interested in Finance. I have no experience with internships or jobs relating to the field. With the exception of the Finance classes I took in school, I certainly don’t know enough to have a coherent coversation with someone in banking. I did attempt to structure a commercial real estate deal when I returned home. I procured capital from investors, financing, jumped through all the legal hoops to get all my ducks in a row. Perhaps that can be of value? I believe IB can offer similar challenges that I am after as it marries my interest in critical thinking and quantitative analysis. Not to mention the huge network that it can offer. Deal making was exciting to me. Being involved in putting together deals is super exciting to me. I’ve scoured your site. Can I learn this info from the courses you offer? Combined with my constant reading up of articles and continuing to absorb all the tips on your site, would this offer sufficient knowledge to start engaging in interviews? Thanks so much in advance. The site you’ve put together is amazing

    1. My recommendation would be to focus on real estate, win some type of commercial real estate role, and go from there. Getting into investment banking without prior internships in today’s environment (2016) will be almost impossible. Maybe you could cold call your way in, but it would still be quite tough if you graduated a while ago.

      1. If I could get into a post-grad internship of some kind, what are your thoughts on that? I have a few strong ins with some banks. If I could talk them into giving me an internship, would that provide me with a solid platform that would then allow me to springboard into a full time IB role?

        Thanks again.

        1. Sure, if you know people you could reach out and ask. But it depends on what the available internships are. CRE beats a lot of internships because you’re actually working with clients on deals – whereas a lot of “investment banking internships” are actually not client-facing.

  10. Avatar
    Irish Lad


    So I’m from Non-target Uni from Ireland (that being said it is the top university in the country). I was just curious if doing any additional online courses would benefit me from websites such as Coursera? Especially since I’m not studying an economics based course? Would recruiters be impressed if but such online degrees from reputable Colleges? Currently I’m going into my 2nd year of University.

    1. Online courses help you develop the skills and demonstrate interest, but they’re not a substitute for university because of the lack of accreditation. So your best option is usually to transfer to a target school or do a Master’s in Finance program at one (the LSE option is common for candidates in Ireland/the UK/Europe who want a better school).

  11. Avatar
    Gregory Aviles

    I am a freshman at Iona college who has no financial background could you help suggest where I should get my foot in the door please give me advice.

  12. Hi sir
    Im Vikram(from India), im in the first year of my graduation but not in a good college. (Have to change however in second year.)
    (Im really not in good mood now….alot financial problems since I entered high school)
    So which type of interships should I try to find and where because im in first year and as need money and want to get some experience
    No one really showing any path and im clueless.

  13. Hi, I am a current junior right now I am from an “unknown” school. My major is economics/finance. It’s a more unknown school in NC- I had the chance to go to UNC, I almost transferred there last year because I know it looks better to employers and MBA programs, but I love living at the beach and felt I would be miserable elsewhere.

    I have an upcoming phone interview for a summer analyst internship at a very prominent bank that could potentially lead to a job in IB… I had a preliminary interview before the first interview- apparently to see if I had market knowledge and interest in finance because my resume has no previous experience.

    I know that a lack of internships and experience (besides schools) doesn’t make me an “ideal” candidate, but I have yet to make a “B” at school and I’m involved in many clubs, have held leadership roles in all of them, and have been a supervisor to over 200 employees (some older than I am). The main thing though, is I have no experience at all (my clubs are not finance related). I am very unsure how to prepare and I know I had a preliminary interview because I am not “ivy leauge”. Do you think this hurts my chances? Is there a way to contact you through email and discuss? I could send you my resume, I included my linkedin above, but anything would help at all.

    I have spent a ton of time researching, I am just not sure if what I’m researching is a waste of my time. Please help!!!!

    1. Avatar
      M&I - Nicole

      I wouldn’t worry too much about it, especially since you already have a phone interview set up. This means that they have liked your background enough to give you a chance. I’d focus on refining your pitch – why you want to do banking – and improve on your presentation skills to others.

  14. Hello, my name is Thomas and I am a sophomore at an Ivy League school (I decided to omit the name of the institution in fear that this post would not make it to the message board). I graduated from high school in 2012 and decided to take some time off from school and work. I attended an electrical training program in Long Island, NY and, upon graduation, I was awarded the title of ‘Electrician’s Apprentice’. Anyways, I worked ~2 years as an electrician and ultimately decided to go back to school in the spring of 2014. I enrolled at a local state school, studied business with a concentration in finance, and developed an interest in investment banking. I forgot how I first heard of investment banking, but I remember it catching my attention. Somewhere in-between researching what an investment bank is and what an investment banker does, I discovered the so-called ‘target schools’ of Wall Street, the lucrative nature of the business, and the importance of a network. I was immediately hooked to becoming an investment banker. I quickly turned my efforts to getting excellent grades in school, joining clubs, and getting my feet wet with any internship I could find. I joined three economics/finance related clubs, established a financial management club, and became an accounting intern in the non-profit sector. To make a long story short, I transferred out of the no-name state school with a 4.0 GPA, a college essay that I have been told is a “masterpiece”, 2 excellent letters of recommendation, life/working experience as an electrician, finance experience as an accounting intern, and was lucky enough to be accepted by arguably the best school in the country. I started this fall and must say that I absolutely hate it, I’m miserable. I worked my tail off to get here and I want nothing more than to get out. The academics are extremely demanding, far more rigorous than I had expected; the student body is very competitive; teachers conduct lecture at lightning speed; and assigned homework and problem-sets as well as tests and quizzes are designed almost in a way for students to fail. Not to mention tuition is 50k per year and I need three years to graduate! I’ll be taking on 150k in debt to finance my undergraduate education. I’m at a crossroads between staying here or returning to my old school. I don’t know what to do. I do not want to waste my time at a school I do not want to attend. Although my old school has no Wall Street name recognition, I could try to network my way into a summer analyst internship at a boutique bank. What do you think? Also, I can graduate sooner at my old school (approximately a year to a year and a half sooner), save $120k in student loan debt (which is continually accruing interest until I graduate), be a much happier, person and graduate with honors or possibly as valedictorian. Please let me know what you think. ANY advice will be GREATLY appreciated! I look forward to hearing from you soon. Thank you!

  15. Avatar
    James Freeman

    Here it goes-

    I just turned 45. I started buying houses when I was 18. I always self managed 4-6 houses between the ages of 23-37. I’ve sold cars, originated mortgage loans including hard money. I’ve been a real estate agent, mostly so I could buy for myself as I didn’t care for flaky buyers or sellers. I’ve structured and managed a portfolio of hard money seconds mortgages at title companies and funded them with my own money. I caught the biggest ride in real estate history in Las Vegas. It was about time since I had been buying , flipping or holding since 1989. In 1999 I started trading stocks and options for my own account. I’ve had accounts with Brown and Company, Schwab, Datek, Ameritrade, Etrade and more. I have millions of dollars of trades verifiable from 1999- 2012. By the summer of 2005 I was a self made millionaire with 1.1M net worth, having dropped out of high school in the 9th grade. I took particular pride in having a million dollars and never graduated high school nor took a college course. I’ve tried everything with stocks and options one could imagine. I lost everything by 2009, went to college to obtain a BSBA in Finance, and at times slept in my old 100k 2005 BMW 760i car before finally selling it. I graduate next September and want to trade for a firm, or do M&A.

  16. Do you think this is a good idea to break into BB IB from back office? Is it better to apply eg. for operations in BB or to front office in 2nd tier bank?

    1. Avatar
      M&I - Nicole

      I’d say front office in a 2nd tier bank.

  17. If you do unpaid work, how do you prove that you’ve done it if there is no financial/tax record of its completion?

    1. Avatar
      M&I - Nicole

      Recommendations from your employer can help

  18. Avatar

    I am a year 12 high school student in Adelaide Australia and I want to break into investment banking in New York City, next year I will be attending an unknown school in Adelaide as I cannot afford anywhere else. I will be completing a double degree in Law and finance and I plan to then go on to get my honours in finance at a more regarded university in Australia. As I am disadvantaged due to my education I am concerned about my chances of gaining a job in NYC in 6 – 7 years time. I presume that the principles outlined in the banker blueprint are still applicable to my situation however it would be greatly appreciated if you could suggest any ways in which I can gain a competitive advantage over my future competition especially as I am not from America.
    Thank you very much for your time,

    1. Avatar
      M&I - Nicole

      Thanks for your comment. I’d try your best to work for a bank in Australia that has an office in America. I’d work in Australia for a few years and ask to be transferred to America assuming you do well. Otherwise, I’d suggest that you save up and try to get into a target grad school in America; this way, you can get a job in the States after graduation and look for a role that suits you during that time.

  19. Hi Brian,
    I will be graduating this year with a banking and finance degree from University of London. It is a kind of distance education degree (I am from India). Before that I was enrolled in Electronics engg which I left after 5 semesters to work on my startup since 2011. Now I want to utilize my finance degree. How should I go about trying to land a job in US/ UK in Investment banking (my end goal is hedge fund-L/S equity) ? Any advice would be appreciated.

    1. Avatar
      M&I - Nicole

      Can you tap into your alumni network at UCL and participate in on campus recruiting? This will most definitely increase your chances.

      1. I can look into alumni contacts but there is no on-campus recruiting for distance education students.

        1. Avatar
          M&I - Nicole

          In this case yes I’d look into alumni contacts.

  20. Avatar
    Anyiti Nanyama

    This person is the real deal.

  21. I was able to get a phone conversation with a Managing Director at a small boutique investment firm dealing with biosciences and technology. It took around 10 emails over the span of several months. He seemed busy, but questioned my education, which is a Bachelors in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. I have also taken finance courses, and he asked me about why I didn’t do a duo degree in Finance/Econ with Bio… Regardless, he seemed a little on the fence about why I wanted to work there. He also started explaining how the culture was harsh, people get treated horribly, long hours, etc. But at the end, he asked me to give him the places I’ve emailed to see if he knew anyone and could get in contact with them for me for a recommendation. I’m willing to do that, but I also know that bankers are social butterflies. If theres a chance that he could speak well of me, there’s also a chance that he could sabotage my intent on getting in! I might be seriously overthinking this opportunity, but there isn’t much in our conversation that made me think he wanted to help. It would be a little more accurate to say that he was trying to tell me all the horrors of working in the industry. What do I do?

    1. Avatar
      M&I - Nicole

      I think he’s trying to help by letting you know of the industry’s downside. Perhaps he doesn’t like his job too much, or perhaps he’s seen people leave too often. If you trust him, then it doesn’t hurt to give him the places you emailed and see if he can help. However, since he hasn’t worked with you before, I’m not quite sure how he can give you a recommendation to be honest. Best to ask him for a referral, and perhaps you can be generic and told him say 2-3 banks you’ve emailed and leave out the rest. See how that goes first. With the above being said, he’s still spending time helping you so I’d be respectful and thankful of his time regardless. I don’t think he, assuming he has no ill will toward you, has an intention to sabotage you, though I can understand your concern.

  22. Hey everyone at M&I,
    I am interested in applying for an analyst position preferably in NY but since I am doing a BSc. in Architecture in Italy and I am from Greece I was thinking of adding the fact that I managed to gather $1m from investors and invested it in real estate making 23% in gross profits for the investors. How do I go about showing that sort of thing though? I would really appreciate some help.
    Thanks in advance

    1. Avatar
      M&I - Nicole

      You can do so on your resume. Mention “Sourced XX million from investors – list what kind; invested in XX project, generating XX% in gross profits in XX time period” Of course you can elaborate on the above but this should be the guideline

  23. Hello, I am 34 years old and will complete a double major in international business and accounting (BS) in 1.5 years. I would like to get into IB, but am concerned about being too far behind. Do you think 35/36 is too old to start a career in finance?

    1. Avatar
      M&I - Nicole

      You maybe slightly older than the average; you may want to try finance roles within corporates…

  24. First I just want to say thank you to everyone for taking the time to respond to all the questions. So far they have helped provide unique incite and inspired me to dig deep and work harder. I have a few myself I hope you can answer as well.
    I am currently a senior in high school with a 3.4 GPA. I plan on attending a 2 year junior college, to save on cost, and then plan on transferring to a state flagship (most likely U of U because I live in Utah.) I am going to try and find Internships in finance through cold calling and networking as soon as I enter college, using tips from people I have met as well as from websites like this one. I also plan on working hard, doing my research, and staying involved as much as possible to help my chances on finding unique and valuable opportunities.
    Looking at my plan, is there anything anyone recommends I change or do differently? What internships look good on a resume? Last but not least, would I benefit more from transferring or even looking for internships in a different state like California that may have more opportunities?
    Thanks in advance! I appreciate and welcome any responses.

    1. Avatar
      M&I - Nicole

      Yes I think transferring can potentially help and increase your chances.

      Internships that look good on your resume are front-office related roles I’d say, but if you can’t get that working at a boutique or a fund will help.

  25. I’m currently a freshman at a community college. I want to go into finance to be an investment banker so I want to a school that has a undergrad finance program like NYU for example. Even though I started at a community college is it still possible for me to break into finance?

    1. Avatar
      M&I - Nicole

      Yes you may want to transfer to a school like Stern as you’ve said.

  26. I found this post by googling for IB opportunities for people with no finance background, so I thought I’d share my story and ask for comments.

    In 2009, I acquired a Bachelor’s degree in International Relations in the most prestigious college in Brazil. I have since worked briefly in a couple different companies, and in 2011 I landed my current job in a multinational telco. I have worked in various departments in the company, including a little over a year in the Finance department and nearly 2 years in Sales. Meanwhile, I also registered for an Executive MBA at a renowned institution, which I will conclude next January.

    At work, I have performed above expectations and therefore have been promoted every year up to the topmost position before manager. My next logical step would be to become a manager before Summer next year, but I have instead decided to get into IB. I think the most logical way to bridge the gap between my current résumé and my intended job would be an MBA, so I’m applying to some of the top-20 B-schools in the US.

    Assuming I’m accepted to at least one of these, what are my real chances of getting into IB after finishing the MBA? From my understanding, having my first-year Summer internship in a financial institution would be paramount to this plan’s success.

    Finally, should I go for an MA in Economics instead? Or should I apply for a dual MBA/MA degree?

    I’d really appreciate any comments on my plan. Thank you in advance!

    1. Avatar
      M&I - Nicole

      Assuming you get into the top 5 MBA programs and follow our advice on the site, I think you have a pretty good chance of landing an IB internship. And I’d prefer an MBA to a MA. Not necessary to get a dual degree

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