by Brian DeChesare Comments (387)

How to Write an Investment Banking Resume When You Have No Real Work Experience

How to Write an Investment Banking Resume When You Have No Real Work Experience

“Ok, I’ve followed your resume templates, but I don’t have any real work experience and I’m applying to internships… what do I do?

How do I compete with the guy who already has finance internships on his resume?

This one is very common if you’re still in school and you’re going for internships or even full-time offers.

And it applies even if you’re more experienced – but you don’t have much in the way of finance experience.

So here’s how you spin your resume to win investment banking interviews – even if you don’t have much “real” work experience.

Get the Templates Right Here

How to Spin Non-Finance Experience: “Before” [Download]

How to Spin Non-Finance Experience: “After” [Download]

Wait, Resumes Still Matter?

You might be wondering why this matters at all: doesn’t networking trump polishing your resume?

Yes, any day of the week. And spending dozens of hours “perfecting” your resume is still a waste of time.

But you still need a solid – if not perfect – resume. That’s especially true if you’re not coming from a well-known school and you don’t have brand-name internships.

And if you use cold-calling or cold-emailing to contact banks, they will judge you heavily based on your resume – so it needs to be good.

The Tutorial

To make all of this more concrete, we’re going to do a “resume makeover” and show you exactly how to change this university student’s resume to make it far more effective.

You can watch the video tutorial below:

And here’s the text version:

Key Mistakes

This resume is certainly not “terrible” – but there is one big problem:

Nothing on here indicates any interest in finance or desire to do a finance internship.

What’s wrong specifically?

  • He lists too much experience, and most of it isn’t relevant. 2-3 solid entries is far better than 6 thin experiences.
  • He does not highlight what’s most relevant to finance here, and instead treats everything as equal.
  • He fails to list a highly relevant entry that should be counted as “work experience” rather than an “activity” at the bottom.
  • He’s not specific enough with the finance-related experience.

So how do we fix all that?

Magnify Tiny But Relevant Experiences

Repeat after me: relevance trumps time when it comes to work experience.

This student should focus on just 2 experiences:

  • JP Morgan Investment Banking Case Competition
  • Investment Fund

And then he can briefly write about his retail job over the summer and the student newspaper.

Unlike the others, the retail job is “real” work experience, in an actual workplace – which shows banks that you’re capable of functioning in the real world.

Right now this student barely mentions #1 and #2 above, but he should expand on both and pretend they’re work experience.

Even if the case competition only lasted a week, you need to draw attention to it because of the brand-name and because it’s more relevant than anything else on there.

Turn Your Hobbies and Clubs Into “Work Experience”

Examples of hobbies, clubs, and activities you could turn into “work experience”:

  • Day Trading / Your Personal Portfolio (works better for Sales & Trading)
  • Professional Organizations (e.g. Society of Securities Analysts)
  • Finance Website You Started
  • Case or Investment Competitions
  • Student-Run Investment Funds or Finance / Consulting Clubs

What if you’ve racked your brain and you really can’t think of anything that seems remotely related to finance?

Your best bet is to re-position some of your experience as “consulting,” emphasizing the recommendations you made and the results rather than the technical details.

Remember, anything could be called “consulting” – and if you never had a formal title, all the better. More on that one here.

Cut Out “Work Experience” If It Won’t Impress

Forget about telling the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth: there’s no “law” that you have to list every last detail on your resume, and most of the time you shouldn’t.

What should you cut?

  • Part-time experience at the library, student center, etc.
  • Retail/restaurant work.
  • Anything you’re listing just to make a “laundry list” of activities – move this to the bottom instead.
  • Anything over a year old that’s not relevant.

One exception: you may want to leave on retail/restaurant-type work experience if that’s all you have aside from activities.

Don’t focus on it, but it’s good to keep at least 1 entry on there to show banks that you have some real world exposure.

Forget Chronological Order

While you should usually use reverse chronological order for your resume, there’s no “rule” that says you have to strictly follow it.

So if you have “JP Morgan Investment Banking Case Competition” please put that at the top of your Work Experience no matter what the date was.

If you’re no longer in school this gets harder to justify and you should stick more closely to chronological order.

Move Your School to the Bottom

In the case where you have brand-name companies on your resume and a non-brand-name school, you could move Work Experience to the top and put Education below it instead.

That may raise some questions if you’re still in school – but it is an option if you’ve recently graduated and you feel that your work experience looks more impressive than your school, GPA, or major.

We’re not using this strategy here because this student is applying for summer internships and because his university – while not a “target school” – is also far from unknown.

The End Result

You can see for yourself right here.

We’ve using the exact same experience, but we’re presenting it differently, focusing on different points, and excluding what doesn’t matter.

And this student now has a much better chance of getting interviews and landing offers.

What to Do When You’re Out of School

If you’ve already graduated or you’ve been working for a few years, you can still apply some of these strategies.

The main difference is that you can’t get away with turning all your activities into “work experience” as a student might be able to.

You can still list them on your resume, but you need to focus on “bankifying” your real work experience by focusing on the business results and the big picture.

Wait, Is All of This Legal?

You might also be wondering if everything I’ve suggested here is “legal.” Will you be flagged during background checks? Get your offer rescinded because you omitted something?

No.

While you shouldn’t omit major summer internships, leaving out part-time, unpaid, or informal experience is fine.

And spinning experience into sounding bigger than it really was is not lying – it’s just spinning.

All of This Helps, But…

Also note that while the strategies here will help you get interviews and will make your resume look more substantial, you’re still not going to “beat” the guy or girl with a Goldman Sachs internship and an Ivy League school on his/her resume.

So you won’t be able to level the playing field completely, but you can give yourself a boost and reduce the gap between yourself and everyone else applying.

What Now?

If you’re applying for internships or full-time positions and you don’t have much real work experience think about what you could spin into sounding relevant: Clubs? Activities? Your Own Portfolio?

What are the 2-3 most relevant experiences to focus on? What could be omitted to make room for more relevant entries?

Think about all that, and then re-write your resume and spin your way to success.

Still Need More Help?

Introducing: Premium Investment Banking-Specific Resume/CV and Cover Letter Editing Services

We will take your existing resume and transform it into a resume that grabs the attention of finance industry professionals and presents you and your experience in the best possible light.

When we’re done, your resume will grab bankers by the lapels and not let them go until they’ve given you an interview.

Specifically, here’s what you’ll get:

  • Detailed, line-by-line editing of your resume/CV – Everything that needs to be changed will be changed. No detail is ignored.
  • Your experience will be “bankified” regardless of whether you’ve been a student, a researcher, a marketer, a financier, a lawyer, an accountant, or anything else.
  • Optimal structuring – You’ll learn where everything from Education to Work Experience to Activities should go. Regional badminton champion? Stamp collector? You’ll find out where those should go, too.
  • The 3-point structure to use for all your “Work Experience” entries: simple, but highly effective at getting the attention of bankers.
  • How to spin non-finance experience into sounding like you’ve been investing your own portfolio since age 12.
  • How to make business-related experience, such as consulting, law, and accounting, sounds like “deal work.”
  • How to avoid the fatal resume mistake that gets you automatically rejected. Nothing hurts more than making a simple oversight that gets you an immediate “ding”.
  • We only work with a limited number of clients each month. In fact, we purposely turn down potential clients in cases where we cannot add much value. We prefer quality over quantity, and we always want to ensure that we can work well together first.

FIND OUT MORE

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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Comments

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  1. I’m ~5 yrs out from undergrad, working full-time & in grad school in aerospace engineering, and continuously come back to this page for tips to younger folks and reminders for myself. The critical lens you impart on your readers is advantageous for any industry. Thank you!

  2. Avatar
    Khadir Mohammed

    Hi Dear,

    This Is Khadir Mohammed. I have two years of working experience customer services and administration with MBA, and want break into investment banking. I looking for your advice please

    1. I would need more information to give you an answer… where did you do your MBA? What was the school’s reputation? What kind of alumni networks do you have access to?

      In general, if you *already* did the MBA and graduated, it will be extremely difficult to get into IB via any method. But there are some tips here:

      https://www.mergersandinquisitions.com/non-target-mba-to-investment-banking/
      https://www.mergersandinquisitions.com/back-office-non-target-mba-to-investment-banking-associate-canada/

  3. Avatar
    Sudheer Mambra

    Hello Brian,

    It’s a great article and highly informative. Many thanks indeed!
    I am 44 year old and have been working as an accounting staff (currently as an Assistant Accounting Manager) for the last 17 years with an automobile dealer in Oman. I started my accounting career with just B.Com and then enrolled for ACCA during 2012 and became a ACCA member in 2017. It was during the learning of ACCA syllabus I noticed that I was interested in finance. However, my current job responsibilities do not have anything related to finance. But I am very interested in finance and IB.
    My doubts are :
    1. Is my age a barrier to break into IB ?
    2. Will my low GPA in B.Com be a negative point while I attempt the career change?
    Kindly help me .
    Thanking you,
    Sudheer

    1. 1) Yes. Think about the other options here: https://www.mergersandinquisitions.com/too-old-for-finance/

      2) Yes, potentially, but it depends on the path you pursue (IB is not a great idea at this stage).

  4. Avatar
    Abraham

    Hi Brian,

    I’m currently a sophomore at a US target and worked in operations and research at a very small PE firm over the summer. Would changing my title on my resume to “Private Equity Summer Analyst” be lying if I am still truthful in my bullet points about what I specifically did during the internship?

    1. I think that’s quite a stretch, so I would not recommend it. You can still call it a private equity firm and describe the tasks as being PE-related. But it’s better to use your actual title or make it clear that you were in operations/research.

  5. Hello Sir, I am studying in one of the top B-schools(top 10) in India but my grades are average nothing great, moreover i am an engineer and have very little experience in finance (2 internship Tata Power and Stock Holding Corporation India limited) but with not specified roles. I have few certificates like Equity Research by NCFM, Bloomberg Market Concept, Credit and Operation Risk by NCFM and candidate for CFA level 1. Can you guide me how to make resume so it will attract finance recruiters (other than investment banking job). And what should I do in next 5 months as campus placements will start from December.

    1. India is an extremely tough market unless you’re at one of the top IIMs, so often the best approach is “Move to a country with more IB jobs.” Another approach might be to network with boutique banks focused on advising startups in the country or to aim for Big 4 roles instead; there are some India-specific tips here:

      https://www.mergersandinquisitions.com/investment-banking-india/
      https://www.mergersandinquisitions.com/startup-investment-banks-india/
      https://www.mergersandinquisitions.com/india-big-4-transaction-services/

      1. Thanks a lot Sir, BTW I am student in an old IIM (top 6), but due to large batch size it is difficult to get shortlist for interview in final placements. And I am not interested in investment banking job, I just want to enter in Bulge bracket banks and work in roles like risk management, treasury, portfolio management and other similar profiles. Will CFA will be of any use here and what else can I do to make my resume more strong for final placements.

        1. Yes, you could do that if you want, but I don’t know if a CFA would help that much for middle-office roles. We don’t focus on those types of roles on this site, so I can’t advise you any further here.

  6. Hello,
    I earned a Msc in quantitative finance and a Master in corporate finance (both with top grades),
    Can I omit the bachelor degree (bad grades) from my resume?

    1. You have to list the degrees you earned, but you could maybe show some type of combined GPA or just the GPAs from your Master’s programs.

  7. Avatar
    Tommy Petrillo

    Hello Brian & Nicole,
    I just wanted to know if it would be beneficial for me to list my A.S. in accounting anywhere on my essay. Will financial firms even care about it, or are they just gonna laugh about it lol. Thank You

    1. Avatar
      Tommy Petrillo

      *Resume. And to be more specific. I’m currently a CC student that’s going thru the transfer process

    2. It won’t help much if you’re already completing a 4-year degree at a university.

      1. Avatar
        Tommy Petrillo

        Thank you for the advice. Your website is awesome!

  8. Hello,
    I started Industiral Engineer degree, swithc after 2 years to Economics degree, how should I mentiod this, if at all on my CV? I have now 1 year working experience in related field and a MSc Finance.
    thanks!!

    1. You can just add it in parentheses after your main degree or in one of the sub-bullets. It’s not terribly important, so if you don’t have space, leave it out.

  9. Dear Brian,

    Your advice can go a long way and your site has been my homepage for a while now. The thing is..I got accepted at a target school in London for an MSc Finance ( not LSE or Oxbridge). I have a BSc Economics (4 year degree, 2.1) from an unknown uni in Greece. I was playing basketball at a competitive level until my fourth year, hence no internships . Internships in Greece are aimed for final year students and there was nothing even remotely related to IB/Finance. However, I was managing my own portfolio (virtual of course) ,mainly as a way to get my hands on analyzing financial statements and financial modeling.
    The only real work experience I have besides basketball is my frequent contribution in my city’s sport magazine and some retail experience as well. I don’t state the latter two anywhere on my resume/cover letter because I believe they have nothing to add regarding my goals right now. Do you think this is bad/ non advisable?

    P.S : Other than that I have interesting research projects stated during my BSc and volunteering.

    1. Forgot to add. Immediately after my graduation a spent nine months in the army, which is mandatory in Greece so I couldn’t apply for off cycle internships or any other role before my master’s.
      Thanks!!

      1. Then you should definitely mention that somewhere so you can give more of an explanation for your lack of work experience.

    2. Not necessarily, but you do need to cite some type of activities/interests if you don’t have any real work experience. Research projects and volunteering are better than writing about magazine or retail experience.

      1. Thanks Brian. I will incorporate it into my “story”. I will also try to network my way into any tiny corp.fin/ PE firm so as to gain relevant experience during the course. If possible.

  10. Avatar
    Harry Kane

    I completed an internship at a firm’s “financial advisory” department that is responsible for helping them raise funds and optimizing their capital structure. While the work i did was mostly qualitative is it dishonest to call it investment banking ?

    1. Avatar
      Harry Kane

      for helping firms** raise funds

    2. Yes, that is probably going too far and could get you in trouble in the future.

      1. Avatar
        Harry Kane

        Agreed. Out of curiosity, what is the qualifying feature of an Investment bank? Underwriting debt? Lazard doesn’t underwrite debt and labels their service “financial advisory”. They do however officially title their employees investment banking analyst.

  11. Avatar
    kamaluddin

    i graduated last year 2016 my course i earn bachelor in economics and master in international relations when both degree from reputable university in india when i completed my MA then i return to my country and start business dealing with trading. i got investor 15.000.000 $ but confused to do what that money? then i decide to have work experience in investment banking so in future after having experience so then i will return to my company again mean in future i want to become businessmen . the question is
    1. am i too Late to start my career as IB as planning to start from low level i am now 27 age ?
    2. am i eligible to for IB as i earn my Master degree on international relation it’s related to International politics but i did my bachelor in economics what are the potential for me to get a job or potential for IB job. IB job now is passion. i really need anyone of your advice.

    1. 1) Not necessarily, but you need to move in ASAP… see our other coverage of the market in India.

      2) I don’t understand your question. Basically, the solution to getting into IB in India is “Leave India and move to a bigger market with more opportunities.”

  12. I study Law at a top target school in the UK. I took part in a commercial negotiation competition organised by my Law Society in collaboration with Allen & Overy. I negotiated multiple transactions and I got to the semi finals (top 4) of the 148 participants.

    These were just pretend transactions. However, one transaction was particularly relevant to IBD. It was an M&A.

    I’ve described the experience as:

    ? Negotiated a $100M transaction on behalf of a VC firm acquiring a 55% stake in a start-up.
    ? Innovated solution (using financial derivative instruments) to protect the client’s equity (thus profits in a future IPO) whilst addressing the founder’s requirement to control the company.
    ? Top 5% – of 148 participants, reached semi finals of the competition.

    Do you think this is okay?

  13. I’m a mechanical engineering major who wishes to change my career path and get into an investment banking role. Currently a penultimate year student still in university. I have interned at Rolls-Royce (the aircraft engine maker) in a project management role, and I have telemarketing/telesales experience (summer vacation job). Any tips for crafting my resume?

    1. Too add on, I’m looking for a summer internship in an investment banking role before I enter my final year of university. I have applied to some banks and I am still applying to other banks whose application deadlines are in december (APAC region, I’m from Singapore). I have taken an introductory business finance elective in school, but it was a pass/fail subject. Any tips pertaining to crafting a solid resume would be greatly appreciated, thanks!

    2. I would recommend following these tips for off-cycle internships; your resume matters less than networking at this stage:

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

  14. My most recent experience is a research assistant position. I got to work with 2 professors, one from my school and one from UCLA. I was employed under my prof. However, do you think it would be a good idea to list UCLA instead (Anderson School of Management) since it’s a bigger brand name? To be honest, I coordinated with the UCLA prof more (through email and skype meetings)

    Thanks!

    1. Avatar
      M&I - Nicole

      Yes, I think that helps, especially if you have been coordinating with the UCLA professor more often.

  15. Hello,

    I noticed that none of the templates you have on M&I include a “Profile” section on top of the resume. Do you just not feel like it’s of any use at all? Would there be a case where you would include it?

    Here’s a rough sample of what I currently have

    “3rd year Finance student at….in pursuit of a CFA designation…. Organized leader with initiative…. Enthusiastic team player seeking new opportunities to improve understanding of finance….Proficient with Microsoft Office Suite. Fluent in English, Mandarin, and Spanish”

    1. We don’t feel it’s useful unless you have 10-20+ years of experience and therefore have a real need to summarize it. Language like what you suggested is very generic and doesn’t really improve your chances – every candidate thinks he/she is a good leader, a team player, etc. For university students, basically your resume comes down to: 1. Good university? 2. Good grades? 3. Good internships?

  16. Hi,

    At the beginning of the semester, I independently sought out my Finance prof to help me learn more about finance (i guess this shows some level of initiative too). In particular, I asked him if he could help me manage my own portfolio. He ended up giving me sort of a side project where I manage a mock portfolio. Should I list this as an experience (if so, under work experience or leadership experience?) Or should it just be a phrase on the bottom beside “Activities”?

    Thanks

    1. Depends on how much other experience you have… if you have little to no formal work experience, sure, you can list it as a work experience entry on your resume. But if you already have 1-2 solid internships, it’s better to list it at the bottom under Activities.

      1. Also, should I mention that I sought out my prof at the beginning of the semester for this side project (not for marks) or is that just something for the interview?

        1. Avatar
          M&I - Nicole

          Yes you can include that if you choose.

  17. Hi there!

    I am a sophomore majoring in economics at a target school looking for an investment banking internship this summer. However, I currently don’t have any experience in finance, which I assume is a turn off for most firms. I regretfully did not participate in extracurriculars freshman year. This summer I went to Chinese study abroad program to enhance my Chinese skills. What do you recommend I do in the upcoming year so that I might have a chance in getting an offer this summer?

    Thanks!

    1. Avatar
      M&I - Nicole

      Join an investment/finance club, and take on a part time internship in finance if possible.

  18. Hello Brian & Nicole

    Thanks for all these awesome resources. I am a recent graduate with bachelors in Finance and actuarial science. I had a few questions:

    1. My experiences are mostly regarding customer service, entrepreneurship and assistant management of a small business. The only thing that relates to finance in my experience is my participation as an analyst of Heavy Machinery sector for the Investment society at a non-target university in Texas. How much space do you think I should give to this experience compared to others.

    2. In the resume I noticed you purposefully omitted MS Office skills. Is it necessary to do that? I had also used Bloomberg and SAS. Do you think I should mention these or omit them?

    3. I also noticed you did not include any qualitative aspect of the student like claiming to be disciplined and/or other similar qualities. Do you think it is a good idea to add any of these or are they inherently assumed of all students or they would not judge them from the resume but from the interviews?

    Thank you in advance.

    1. Avatar
      M&I - Nicole

      1. I’d say around 30-40% of your resume since you don’t have other relevant experience
      2. Yes I’d list Bloomberg and SAS
      3. Yes I think such qualities are demonstrated through references and interviews so we don’t think there’s a need to list them on your resume

      1. Thank you Nicole for responding. It helps a lot. Based what you have said and what I have done I elaborated the Investment society experience as:

        • Used Bloomberg to analyze and import data to MS Excel for further analysis
        • Selected suitable criteria based on the industry to build a model to evaluate each company’s performance
        • Compared the performance with the market to decide to retain, long or short the stocks from the portfolio
        How do you think I can make it sounds more profound IB business-like and what type of lingos I could use to make it better?
        Thanks a million!

        1. Avatar
          M&I - Nicole

          I’d talk about the investments/stocks you chose, what kind of analyses you did (i.e. you can elaborate on compared the performance) and what your analyses showed.

  19. Would you say that recruiting for a bulge bracket bank in Singapore is relatively similar to stateside? I go to school in California but would like to opt for a bb in Singapore. Thanks

    1. There are quite a few differences, though not necessarily in the recruiting process itself:

      https://www.mergersandinquisitions.com/singapore-investment-banking-private-equity/

  20. Hi Nicole, I have a phone call with the MD of investment banking at a bulge bracket (thanks to your networking tips) coming up soon. It is not an interview but rather an informal chat regarding an inquiry about an ib analyst position at his bank, are there any particular ways you would recommend I steer the call? Thanks for your help

    1. I don’t think you need to worry about too much – make sure you can articulate why you want to do banking, read up on recent deals the bank has done, and ask him questions on anything the bank has advised on recently. Most students do not take the time to properly research deals the bank has worked on, so this can set you apart.

      1. Is it possible for MD’s to directly hire? I am aspiring for this to happen down the line with him

        1. Avatar
          M&I - Nicole

          They can have a say, but no it still depends on hiring needs and the team’s perception of you. Of course, if he likes you your chances maybe significantly higher but MDs usually don’t directly hire candidates.

  21. Avatar
    M&Abhi

    Hi Brian, I am a third year from a non-target school (UC Santa Cruz) and I am vying for an investment banking analyst position next year. I wanted to know how good of a chance I had to break into investment banking. For my experience I have an Assistant Manager position at a restaurant, a quantitative analysis research associate position at ThermoFisher Scientific and am currently an M&A Legal Analyst at a large corporation. I am a law major and am currently taking a financial accounting class online with a GPA of about 3.6. My M&A experience largely revolves around financial due diligence work as well as analyzing valuations, often done by firms like JPMorgan and Deutsche Bank. Do you think I have a good chance of breaking into the industry?

    1. Avatar
      M&I - Nicole

      I think your experience can be useful given your DD and analyses work you’ve done. I think you have a 50/50 chance of breaking into the industry, and I’d focus on boutique/smaller banks to increase your chances. You may also want to transfer to the M&A department in your corporation and move to a bank from there.

      1. Avatar
        M&Abhi

        How about BB banks? Would I have a shot through networking or even just applying online? One large concern is my non-finance background but I think I have effectively spun my resume to focus mainly on the financial aspects and quantitative skills. Is there anything else I can do to prove to banks that I am capable with numbers or is it simply a matter of chance? I really appreciate your feedback. Thank you!

        1. Avatar
          M&I - Nicole

          I’d say networking through LinkedIn and your connections would be the best bet. For BB banks, the application procedure is pretty standard so if you have a high GPA, target school background, plenty of extracurricular activities, and relevant experience this will help. Otherwise I’d try to connect with alum who work at BB and see if they can introduce you to more contacts at BB and improve your chances. You can prove that you’re capable of numbers with your grades etc but this isn’t the only and most crucial thing banks are looking for; they’re looking for people with relevant experience. You can still apply online to BB but I’d focus on smaller banks first.

          1. Avatar
            M&Abhi

            Just one last question! So I have a connection at Houlihan Lokey but going by a lot of people’s insight, Houlihan has extremely technical interview questions. I believe that I’d be able to more than sufficiently prepare for these questions but are banks which require a lot of technical knowledge going to opt for finance majors instead? Thanks again

          2. Avatar
            M&I - Nicole

            It depends. Some do prefer finance majors but I wouldn’t worry about this and apply to the bank anyway.

          3. Avatar
            M&Abhi

            Thanks Nicole! Your advice goes a long way :)

  22. M&I,

    I have two experiences, directly related to banking, listed on my resume; the most recent was an official internship with a BB and the other was an unofficial experience where I was mentored by an individual rather than a company.

    What would be the most appropriate and professional way to title this unofficial experience?

    Thank you.

    1. Avatar
      M&I - Nicole

      It depends on what you’ve been doing with the mentor. I’d focus on the tasks you’ve done and the results you have achieved, depending on your responsibilities.

  23. Hi, I’m from the caribbean where there’s no target school or any great opportunities for investment banking. I would like to get an internship with a BB bank.

    Education
    Unknown school – double degree accounting and economics – high gpa

    Work experience
    I do not have any relevant work experience.
    I was thinking of applying for an internship with a big 4 firm in transactions & restructuring because the big 4 are the only big-name firms on the island and also because of the relation of transactions & restructuring to IB.
    Do you suggest another service?

    Extracurricular activities
    Student Council – Vice president
    There is not many student clubs at my uni so I was thinking of starting an investment club and get a leadership role.

    Skills
    I was thinking of doing the breaking into wall street courses for the lack of experience in IB.

    Will my plans help me get a summer internship abroad with a BB bank? Are there any other suggestions?

    I also want to network with bankers abroad and possibly go on a weekend trip to meet.

    1. Avatar
      M&I - Nicole

      Yes, if you don’t have any experience, your plan of “applying for an internship with a big 4 firm in transactions & restructuring because the big 4 are the only big-name firms on the island and also because of the relation of transactions & restructuring to IB” would help. I’m not 100% sure if your plan can get you a summer internship abroad at a BB https://www.mergersandinquisitions.com/breaking-into-investment-banking-accountant/ but having some experience will improve your chances. And of course weekend trips will help.

  24. Hi, I’m trying to break into ER and I wanted to ask if I should focus more on my research writing competition(which involved dcf modeling & spreading comps)and independent investing(using fundamental & technical analysis) as they are the most relevant experience in finance that I have rather than my internship as a legal intern doing administrative work in the top 10 commercial banks in my country? Should I list the internship last? Thanks!

    1. Avatar
      M&I - Nicole

      Yes I’d focus on your research writing competition and independent investing experience. Yes I’d list your internship at the bottom and spend most of your efforts on your analytical skills.

  25. Hi M&I,

    First of all, thanks for the templates and endless amounts of information on this website. I recently bought the IB networking toolkit and interview guide and they’ve been a great help but I have some questions on how to differentiate specific activities on an IB resume.
    I am the vice president of the case competition club at my school and currently have it listed under College Activities and Leadership. Under that i have events such as out of state travel competitions.
    I see here that the JP Morgan investment banking case competition is listed under Work & Leadership experience. I have participated in a KPMG consulting case competition that was external to my schools club and won second place. Should I list the KPMG consulting case competition in a different section of my resume or should I include it under the Case Competition Club since they are similar?
    Not exactly sure what will put me in a better perspective to prospective employers and could really use some insight.
    Thanks!

    1. Avatar
      M&I - Nicole

      It depends on how much space your resume has. If you don’t have enough space on your resume, I may group them together. Otherwise I may separate the experience. I don’t think you need to worry too much about this. I don’t think it will make too big of a difference. Please let us know if you have other questions.

  26. Thanks for article and templates! What is your opinion on mentioning a work experience you WILL have by the time you would start whatever you are applying for. For example, I have accepted an offer for a semi-brand name finance internship (F500 life insurance company, Financial Representative Intern is job title) for next semester. Is it okay to put this in work experience with an asterisk by the date and then list what your responsibilities will be? and then, if my other work exp is relatively unimpressive, is it okay to put this first in the work experience section?
    Thanks!

    1. You can do it, but you need to indicate that it’s expected future experience and hasn’t actually started yet. Yes, putting it first is fine but don’t go into much detail on it since it hasn’t happened yet.

  27. Hi M&I,
    I have been out of school for two years in a teaching program but have no real financial experience. Although not relevant, the experience on my resume is high quality. My biggest concern is my GPA (around 3.2). Through networking I have gotten in touch with and maintained contact with people at several middle market, boutique, and bulge bracket banks. Without finance experience, is it mandatory to include GPA on a resume even with several years of other work experience? Would not including it at this point seem bizarre/hinder my chances?
    Thank you!

    1. Avatar
      M&I - Nicole

      No, many people include their GPA and they may ask you to fill it in during applications. You can choose to exclude it, if they didn’t specifically ask for it on applications

  28. limited working proficiencies* in Arabic and French

  29. Hi M&I,

    I am a rising senior at a target school with a GPA just above 3.45 (major finance and minor in economics and international business). I’ve had 4 internships through my undergrad years (2 of them international: one in europe and one in the middle east). The summer after my freshman year I interned at a European investment bank with an office in NY (not bulge bracket, more middle market). I also interned as an oil and gas summer analyst at a research and consulting firm, a VC firm in the Middle East and at the OECD headquarters. I also have limited working experiences in Arabic and French. I am looking to apply for bulge bracket firms in the fall and I am worried that my lack of IB experience and my GPA. What is your advice?

    Thank you very much for your help. Your website is very useful!

    1. Avatar
      M&I - Nicole

      I’d network a lot and try your best to boost your GPA if you can. Your previous experiences can help, and I’d leverage your network from such experiences if possible.

  30. Hi Nicole/Brian,

    Thank You so much for creating such a amazing platform for IB aspirants.

    I have just completed my MBA (Finance). I am seeking an internship program to get experience in financial analyst job. I have no real time work experience but I have excellent command over corporate finance, Valuation (Public and Private companies) and Excel. Unofficially I did valuation for dozen companies for value investment and even I made handsome money by doing so. Could you help me that how can I present above skills and knowledge in MY CV.

    I would really appreciate your kind help.
    Thank You

    1. Avatar
      M&I - Nicole

      You may want to highlight experiences where you’ve used your valuation skills. If you’re interested in CV services, please go to https://www.mergersandinquisitions.com/services/

  31. I am a 17 year old currently in my first year reading English Literature at the University of Leeds in the U.K. I have little relevant work experience (Administration at a Golf Club for 5 months and then working in the pro shop for a further 2 months), good academic results from school, and am track to get a good grade at University.

    I would like to land an Internship or even insight week at literally any bank I can just so I can have something on my résumé that would make bankers think seriously about employing me.

    Have you any advice on what I could do to make them notice me at the moment without previous finance experience?

    Thank you for your time

    1. *on track

    2. Avatar
      M&I - Nicole

      If you can gain some experience, even at clubs in school, that may help you. If you don’t have any previous finance experience it can be hard to spin your resume. You can still discuss your work experience and focus on the impact you’ve made. With the above being said, you’re still very early in the game so I wouldn’t worry too much.

  32. I noticed that the case competition was used as a work experience, Should I do the same thing for workshop such as training the streets – investment banking bootcamp?

    Regards,
    Bryan Fong

    1. Avatar
      M&I - Nicole

      Yes you can do that and put that under Finance Training or something along those lines

  33. Hello,

    I’m a Masters student at UK target-school without any banking internships. I do have previous experience in Real Estate Investment working in my Family’s business, but no brand names.

    I was wondering if I could include the events I have attended which are branded. For instance – a Financial Markets Conference sponsored by all the major banks. Or a ‘skills informational session’ delivered by BlackRock at my school. Can attendance to these events be included in my resume?

    thanks,

    Anas B.

    1. Avatar
      M&I - Nicole

      Yes you can

  34. Hi,

    I’m aiming for a IBD summer internship but I did a trading internship this summer – back then I thought I wanted to be a trader and completely changed my mind after this internship.

    Now I’m trying to bankify my trading internship on my resume but I rly dont know how to.

    What I did apart from fetching coffee:
    – summarized key daily news and macroeconomics data that might affect interest rate markets (i’m interning at rates desk);
    – booked the trades for three senior trades on my desk;
    – compiled derivative desks day end commentaries and sent them to the trading floor
    – initiated a detailed report on a new financial product and distributed it to the sales team so they can refer this report when talking to clients
    – random admin stuff like update their holiday calendars for the next 10 yrs

    As you can tell,
    it doesn’t look that technical and it’s really hard to use NUMBERS to show the RESULTS, which I know, is the key.

    Any insight would be helpful!!!

    1. Avatar
      M&I - Nicole

      Perhaps you saved time/costs/efficiency and you can list that (i.e. 2nd bullet point)

  35. Hi,
    I graduated from top UK university last year and starting a Master in Finance at top school in the UK this September. Have a previous internship in back office for top american bank (GS/MS/JP…). and spent the last year working for another bulge bracket…doing the same(not very happy I ended there)
    I was in the Financial Reporting function both times dealing with accounting stuff only. Literally…even posting double entry journals in the systems from time to time.

    How can I make this sound even remotely related to finance and banking? My work had nothing to do with modelling, the market environment etc. The closest to analysis and modelling was the review of the PnL & BS of the company itself.

    I am struggling to bankify the experience for my CV.

    Any advice?

    1. Avatar
      M&I - Nicole

      This experience is not be directly relevant to front office IBD roles. Perhaps you can focus on the accounting and analytical skills you’ve gained. Remember to quantify your impact (i.e. how you saved costs) if possible.

  36. hey great site by the way.
    I was wondering what is more prestigious. informal work experience at a bank where you did usual crap like fetching coffee and work shadowing someone or another amazing company in a completely different field to finance but you had real responsibility?
    thanks

    1. Avatar
      M&I - Nicole

      I think the bank name maybe more relevant to finance roles. You can always try to spin your shadowing experience. While your experience in a different field maybe useful, it may not be relevant to finance.

  37. Hi Brian,

    You mentioned that it’s okay to avoid listing your work experiences in chronological order–Is this generally acceptable for someone who graduated from university 3 years ago? My work experiences thus far have not been impressive due to the recession, and would like to put my leadership/internship positions in college (very heavily finance related) at the top of my resume. Please let me know if this is fine.

    Thanks,
    Will

    1. Avatar
      M&I - Nicole

      You can do that though I think its best to list your work experience first because employers will doubt why you’ve changed around the chronological order.

  38. I will be a senior at a non-target University of California in the orange county area. I’m hoping to break into a BB iBank or top middle market firm. These are my work experiences so far
    2nd year summer – small middle market ibanking summer analyst
    3rd year school year – corporate finance intern at F500 company
    This summer I’ll be working at another middle market ibank as a summer analyst. Should I forgo this internship and apply to the NY School of Finance if I want to land a job at a top tier bank?
    Also a note, my GPA is only at a 3.3 range.

    1. Avatar
      M&I - Nicole

      I think your summer experience should help with your goals. I’m not quite sure if forgoing your summer internship for NYSF is a great idea. While the program offers candidates experience at an investment bank, private equity firm, venture capital fund, or hedge fund, it isn’t guaranteed that you will land a job at a top tier bank. If your GPA is 3.3, you’ll probably have to network quite a bit and get your name out there this summer.

      1. Dear Brain
        I m 32. I have been working as a general manager in medical clinic for 7 years. I don’t have any IB experience. I m going to start a top MBA course from this Sep. Do you think I should do the 15/07-23/08 NYSF internship. Or should I wait for now and do a autum session next year after I graduate from my MBA course.
        Which way do you think it gives me a better chance. Thanks a million.

        1. Avatar
          M&I - Nicole

          I think you can wait and do it next year so you can do your internship right after the course.

  39. Hello Brian and Nicole,

    I´ve a question regarding how deep you must go in extraacademic merits, for example, if I recruited a lot of people for a business event in the university,

    Would it be ok just to mention that I was the one who recrutied most people of all the recrutiers or should I remark the achievement with the specific numbers/percentage? (I´m struggling with the space, otherwise I wouldn´t think twice)

    Do you think that would be an impressive enough merit to include in the CV?

    1. If you don’t have space, leave it out. Otherwise you could include it.

  40. Spring Weeks seem to be quite important in the UK, especially when someone has little work experience. How would you portray these experiences on a CV?

    You can’t take a project/results approach, as that’s not what they are! But more presentations, shadowing, extremely great exposure to the industry.

    What would you suggest?

    “Learn about FX trading – exposure to . . .” etc?

    1. Avatar
      M&I - Nicole

      You can just list them at the category below your education under Internship Experience and use our M&I format:

      [Firm Name] [City/State]
      [Spring Week Intern] [Month, Year – Month, Year]

  41. Sorry for adding another comment, but I wanted to add onto my previous question. I’m trying to “bankify” my PWM internship, but since I have a vague memory of the terms my supervisor used and did not know what a lot of them meant, I’m having some trouble.
    I want to say:
    -assisted a team of advisers and client service associates with maintaining client data and creating performance reports for high net worth individuals
    -took charge of creating monthly cashflow reports for about 50 clients

    what kind of words or phrases should i use to bankify this experience?

    1. Avatar
      M&I - Nicole

      What you listed is decent, though you’ll have to focus on the analysis you’ve done (i.e. what kind of analysis have to done to create the reports and what did your analysis show?) and quantify your impact. The words you’ve used are decent.

  42. I’ve downloaded your template and wanted to ask: is it worth listing study abroad on your resume? Would you list it as a bullet point under XYZ University, or separately? If I list it separately, is it okay to only write the name of the school since one semester of study abroad does not give out a GPA or honors?

    By separately, I meant:
    Home university name (in bold)
    -GPA, Honors, Coursework

    Study abroad university name (in bold)

    Thanks so much.

    1. Avatar
      M&I - Nicole

      Yes you can list your study abroad experience on your resume, and not list your GPA/honors. What you listed is fine.

  43. Hi Brian,

    One quick question, I am currently working in a Corporate Advisory division and has been working for 6-7 months, under Corporate Banking. I have assisted my senior manager in providing market analysis, due diligence for M&A deals and of course pitching presentations, but valuations or financial modeling. So question is, am I considered as someone with experience or not?

    Thanks,
    Rifki

    1. *But no valuations or financial modeling.

    2. Avatar
      M&I - Nicole

      Yes you are considered as someone with some experience – more experience than a fresh grad and will still be considered a junior (first year analyst in an IB). If a bank (most IBs do) specifically wants someone with solid valuation experience, you may have to start building up your financial modeling foundation before applying to such roles. You’ll have to convince your interviewer that you have solid valuation skills despite your lack of financial modeling experience. Chances are, if the interviewers really like you, you might start off as a first year analyst given your lack of valuation experience.

      1. This helps a lot. Thanks for the input Nicole!

  44. As a career changer, albeit with an MBA, I have been told by an MD that gaining a certification in Financial Modeling or Valuation would help with some of the technical requirements that could be inhibiting me. The modeling course you guys offer looks fantastic, but is there an appropriate way to weave this into the resume/interview process? Thank you, love the site

  45. I m 32. I m networking for a intern at present. I m also going to do my MBA at LSE in London this Oct. Should I put this on my resume. Thanks

  46. I m networking for a intern at present. I m also going to do my MBA at LSE in London this Oct. Should I put this on my resume.

  47. I am appying an internship at the present. Just because I m going to do MBA in a target school later this year should I highlight this. Or am I better off just concentrate on Magnify tiny but relevant experiences. Many Thanks

    1. Avatar
      M&I - Nicole

      Highlight any finance experience you have and yes maybe you can list your MBA school

  48. Besides having a Bachelors in Finance and serving 1 year as student government president in college I have no relevant work experience. How would I spin working 6 years as a sales consultant at an auto
    dealership? I negotiate deals, make recommendations, and process the paperwork to secure loans. Is this enough?

    1. Avatar
      M&I - Nicole

      Best if you have experience in finance but if this is the only experience you have you can spin that

  49. I have gone through the financial modeling training program (BIWS Premium). Where should I mention that on my resume.

    1. Avatar
      M&I - Nicole

      Bottom of your resume under Certifications

  50. Avatar
    Matthew Shuck

    I just read your pdf and noticed that as far as the resume part goes I have nothing that can be reasonably spun to sound like banking experience, I’m not going to request your service for free but if you have 2 minutes to quick skim my resume would you mind helping? (I’m sorry I work at a very low end job and $300 is two weeks of my pay that I need to just survive)
    Well I do currently have a 2nd interview at a completely unrelated “professional” job coming at the end of this week, and that (may) offer something to work with if I would take the job but it would just push the search back a year (and being as I just graduated with my undergrad it feels like a critical time)

    Thank you for any assistance or for reading.

    1. Avatar
      M&I - Nicole

      I think the article should provide you enough information.

      1. Avatar
        Matthew Shuck

        I have read the article (along with the large majority of the website, still reading when I have available time) but my degree is in something so obscure that it is unrelated, and my most recent (and relevant) job experience is working at 1 of those horrible part time stock shelves retail jobs (with no ability to word it so it sounds like it deals with making money or sales) but because of how my work/school lined up I was unable to spend time volunteering or any other beneficial bonuses.

        My current best lead for a job is through networking *yay networking* a major bank (noninvestment but at least still financial experience)

        1. Avatar
          M&I - Nicole

          If you can find someone in the industry who can take you under his wing this will help your career big time!

  51. Hey,

    Great article. I just have one question. For various reasons I have no work experience at all (literally nothing). I have lots of ECs and have done some volunteering though. Do you think that I could swap the work experience section for extra curricular activities section and just list it all there? Thank you so much.

    1. Avatar
      M&I - Nicole

      In your case, yes because you wouldn’t have any work experience to write about otherwise

  52. Avatar
    Bhaven Mistry

    Hey,

    How can I present my work experience at an insurance company that I did for a week when I apply for spring weeks and internships at IBs? There, I shadowed some underwriters/actuaries, shadowed a broker for a day, and spent a morning with an underwriter in the Lloyds Building in London. Is there a good way that I can link it to the skills I’ll need at an IB? Many thanks

    1. Avatar
      M&I - Nicole

      Yes. Talk about skills you acquired and what you did there.

  53. Brian,

    On my resume, I want to place emphasis on my year of study abroad in China and also the fact that I have a knowledge of various languages. To make this stand out, would you recommend I include an “International Experience and Language Capability” section on my resume, in addition to the ones you outlined on the sample CV? Thank you in advance.

    1. Avatar
      M&I - Nicole

      Sure, or you can just highlight your experience at the bottom of your resume under Skills, Activities & Interests (We change the title of this line around a/c to candidates’ resumes)

  54. Hi Brian/Nicole,

    I have a quick question regarding work experience on the resume section, and would be grateful for your advice.

    I am doing a Master’s in Business and while I do not have internships in finance, I have spent the past year contacting companies and doing business research projects for them using research from my course that is relevant to finance and specifically tailored to those companies, which in some cases has been sponsored by such clients. On my resume, how would you recommend I list this? Under a heading of “Independent Consulting Projects” or something similar?

    Thank you in advance.

    1. Avatar
      M&I - Nicole

      Yes you can list them under this heading

  55. Avatar
    lady zee

    Hey

    I just wanted 2 know,what would happen if I put ‘none’ under work and leadership experience when applying for an internship.would that work negatively against me or is it fine?

    1. Avatar
      M&I - Nicole

      Yes it will work negatively against you. I’d suggest you to leave it blank.

  56. Avatar
    lady zee

    I’m really grateful for your helpful Nicole.Thank you!

  57. Avatar
    lady zee

    Hi

    I’m a first year student in south africa,and I attend a non-target business school.I would like to apply for an internship,the problem however is that I don’t have experience.Therefore I would like to know what can I do to get experience?where can I volunteer at,because I tried looking for voluntary work at banks but I can’t find anything.

    1. Avatar
      M&I - Nicole

      https://www.mergersandinquisitions.com/finance-low-gpa-no-experience-non-target-school/ should help you

      Challenging I know, but don’t give up

  58. Hey,

    missed my opportunity to get into the top tier business school in canada due to GPA issues.
    i was planning to try networking my way into banking, but i don’t have any relevant experience in clubs or anything in finance. can you recommend some things i can do now to add those experience on to my resume?

    1. Avatar
      M&I - Nicole

      Get an internship at a boutique/second/third tier IB/financial institution first (Paid or unpaid)
      If you want to break into the buyside, take the CFA

  59. Thanks again for your website.

    I believe this article is the most relevant to me since I’m not a student nor am I currently an investment banker even though I have accounting / commercial banking experience.

    You mentioned on here that you shouldn’t list dead end jobs like retail/fast food. However, I feel like I want to somehow portray that I’ve been working since high school to the recruiter/interviewer. Would you recommend this? Possibly just listing under Other Skills that I’ve worked in the retail/fast food industry?

    Thanks again for everything.

    1. Avatar
      M&I - Nicole

      I’d list that at the bottom of your resume if you really want to portray that point

  60. I’m currently a first year at Oxford wanting to go into Sales & Trading. I haven’t had any previous work experience of any kind. How would I go about writing my CV?

    1. Avatar
      M&I - Nicole

      Focus on your leadership experience at school. Highlight anything relevant to finance

  61. I spent about four years in a 12 Step program called Debtors Anonymous. I was badly in debt at the time and the program taught me how to become solvent. Part of the greatness of 12 Step programs is that you are supposed to pass on the knowledge to other people. So I spent four years going through other people’s personal finances and teaching them how to become solvent. Later I became a financial advisor.

    How can I use the invaluable experience I gained as a member of Debtors Anonymous on a resume without it hurting me? I am now in law school and I am seeking a summer internship with an investment bank. I plan to focus on my experience as a licensed FA, but would also like to use DA experience too.

    Any thoughts?

    Thanks!

    1. Avatar
      M&I - Nicole

      I don’t think you should list your Debtor Anonymous experience. However, you can spin your experience of teaching people how to become solvent & your experience as a financial advisor

  62. The premise of this article is that your are helping people with no work experience. The article’s example and focus is with a person listing too much experience, having 6 different points to discuss. What if someone doesn’t have 3 relevant financial positions to spin? What if they don’t even have one.

    1. Avatar
      M&I - Nicole

      While the sample person had a few different entries to discuss, only one entry-Student Investment Fund-was related to Finance. The point is to highlight experience in your work that is related to Finance, or spin work experience to being “Finance-related”.

  63. I’m currently doing a year of part-time work in retail (alongside an accounting course); next year its university for me.

    So the rule of thumb is to mention all the finance related experience I’ll, assumingly, have by the time I make my CV; ensuring I mention this retail experience too?

    So would it be like:

    “Worked in XYZ retail… ” with a short/succinct outline of what I did there?

    1. Avatar
      M&I - Nicole

      Yes

      1. Part time admin work and retail experience.

        Would I structure it the same as Jimmy’s, with the only difference being adding another line for the admin work? (Thinking of it as its for an an investment property firm.)

  64. I currently go to Harvard and am studying neurobiology. I was initially pre-med but after talking to people, attending fairs, and reading about finance, I got hooked. I am really interested in behavioral finance. SHOULD I SWITCH TO ECONOMICS/APPLIED MATH OR CAN I STICK WITH NEUROBIOLOGY? I am a sophomore and I have time to switch but it might hurt my GPA to load in all courses into my last 2 years. Thanks so much.

    1. Avatar
      M&I - Nicole

      You should follow your heart and be prepared to deal with the consequences of your actions. I can’t answer the question for you. Either way, it wouldn’t hurt you too much though if you really want to do finance, having Economics/Applied Math will be more useful. However, it will be harder for you to go back to Neurobiology if you switch.

  65. Avatar
    River Cheung

    Hi mate, I just want to say thank you for all the resources you have here for us. It really makes a difference. Cheers, River. (From Australia).

  66. Hi, I just have a few questions regarding my resume. I’m a sophomore right now and my overall GPA isn’t the best, but my 1st semester 2nd year GPA is above a 3.0 so should I list that right now? When applying for internships, can I list classes that I’m in the process of taking as well?

    Also, I have a very small portfolio, but my father created it for me in high school right before the recession began so it took a large hit then and in the last few years communication between us has been sparse, so I cannot access it on a computer since there’s a problem with the security question. Should I still mention that I have a portfolio even though it’s not doing too well right now? My parents refused to let me get a job in high school, during the summer, or while I’m in college so I don’t even have any relevant (or irrelevant) work experience I can list. I have some leadership roles from high school clubs, but that’s about it …

  67. Hi,

    Is there any way you could provide an example of a way to turn a consulting club into an entry under “work experience?” This is all I currently have:

    • Member of student-run consulting club which holds career fairs, case competitions, professional development workshops, mock interviews and resume critiques to prepare students for recruiting processes and future careers.

    To be honest, I am a member but haven’t been to any of the events that the club holds – is there any way to expand on this anyway?

    Thanks so much for all of your help!

    1. Avatar
      M&I - Nicole

      Focus on the cases that you’ve done – have you done any IB related cases? Expand on those.

      1. I haven’t at all.. so would it be better to delete that entry and instead use a marketing internship I had (in which I actually did things) that I can spin in a finance direction? Even though the consulting club is actually finance?

        1. Avatar
          M&I - Nicole

          Sure

  68. Since I don’t see too much on graduates out of school already working in non-investment banking, I have a couple of questions. I’ve recently graduated from an Asian university, now working in Singapore/HK in a BB firm PWM- mainly products and investments, no client interaction so far.

    1. Is it “safe” to aggresively network for an IBD role in a financial sector that’s quite close knit in these cities.

    2. How useful are the resume/cover letter and coaching services for someone who’s in my situation? I just want to know if the breaking into IBD tactics here apply just as well to someone like me too?

    1. Avatar
      M&I - Nicole

      1. Yes
      2. Yes.

  69. Great Article,

    Should one put their ACT score if they did not take an SAT for college? I went to school at Belmont University and Middle Tennessee State University, both in TN, and most people do not take SAT here.

    Thanks!

    1. Avatar
      M&I - Nicole

      Sure.

  70. Hi,

    Just writing with a quick question re internships. Yes, banks seem to place a big value on them, but what does an intern actually do? e.g. If I was to go work as an intern for JPMorgan on a Monday morning, what tasks would I be assigned?

    I ask this because I intend on applying for full-time opportunities and want to make my own experiences sound relevant and as valuable as internships.

  71. Hi, I’ve been following your site and it is very informative. Keep up the good work!

    One quick question regarding resume/experience.

    I have two unique opportunities in place. One is for an internship for a private tax/accountant and the other is a bank teller position at BAC. I in no way intend to be an accountant, but this is all I could currently get (being a freshmen in college). Which of the two do you believe is the more favorable position for someone looking to get into IB in the coming years. Again, I am a freshmen so take this with a grain of salt. Thanks !

    1. Avatar
      M&I - Nicole

      Accountant given the accounting skills you would gain from the role

  72. Hi,
    thanks for all the useful information. I am in charge of the family stock portfolio for the last 2 years with good results. Due to the fact that I have limited work experience should I put it in work experience or not. Thanks for your time and attention.

    1. Avatar
      M&I - Nicole

      Yes esp if you have achieved solid performance

  73. I am a junior at a non target majoring in Mathematics. I am very interested in finance/IB and have taken some relevant courses (fin accounting, econ, entrepreneurship). I am applying for internships at some MM boutiques this summer, but I have no relevant work experience. All I have is a 6 month internship in a research lab (biophysics) and part-time retail job. I am not sure if I should include either of these on my resume. Any suggestions?

    1. Avatar
      M&I - Nicole

      Yes unless you have other finance related experience you can put on your resume.

  74. New to the site but I’ve wanted to be in investment banking since I graduated from university. I’ve been out of school since 2007 and doing other jobs since to pay the bills because I couldn’t land a job in the industry. How would I spin this 4 year gap into making me more marketable? Also I currently work in sales/finance but not the type that will get me to where I want to be. Thanks In advance.

    1. At this stage the best approach is to go to a top MBA program to re-brand yourself – otherwise you probably can’t overcome that gap, at least if you want to IB.

  75. Hi,

    I’m just writing with a query regarding work experience. I’m currently a Master’s degree student in Economics and I’m undertaking a student banking survey project with two major bank branch competitors near my college.

    Essentially, I lead a team which is currently surveying students at my university regarding student banking, what are the most important factors for them when choosing a bank account, what would they most like to see in their bank account, etc.

    I am currently collaborating with the two branch managers to devise the questionnaire and then present a business report providing recommendations to the two banks based on our findings. They have agreed to provide funding for the purpose of promoting the project, e.g. iTunes vouchers, other prizes, etc.

    I want to get your opinion as to how I can best present this on my CV in a way that sounds relevant to banks- so far, I am emphasising the collaboration with branch managers on the survey, regular client contact, and the fact that the branches are funding the project.

    Any further suggestions as to how I can properly present this experience on my CV?

    1. You need to emphasize the dollar value of what you’re doing. How much in additional revenue could it generate? How many new clients could it bring in? Focus on the results or potential results rather than just working with branch managers or clients.

      1. Hi Brian,

        Many thanks for your reply. So, what would you recommend in that instance? How could I leverage this project to gain new customers for the bank or raise revenue from the project?

        1. Avatar
          M&I - Nicole

          Are you making an impact with your project? Are you helping your bank generate higher revenues given the results of your project? You should be able to answer these questions.

          1. Hi,

            After having done more work on my project since, I just have a quick question following on from what we discussed previously. Yes, you’ve provided enough pointers, but I just wish to ask if emphasising marketing of the bank to increase the number of customers is an effective way to focus on impact of the project.

            i.e. I cannot actually sign students up to an account myself due to legal restrictions, so my only option for this project is to market the bank while conducting student surveys.

            So, my question essentially: Is emphasising the marketing aspect in order to increase customers an effective way of focusing on potential results of the project?

          2. Avatar
            M&I - Nicole

            Yes.

  76. You’ve made a mistake in the CV, if you look at the final one, under languages after you put a semi colon you spelt conversational with a capital C, it shouldn’t be capital.

    1. It’s after a semicolon, so it’s fine in this case. Normally you capitalize items in a list separated by semicolons.

  77. Hi Nicole,
    Furthermore, how would you put trading simulator on Investopedia on the resume? Should it be in the SKills and Interest or be a single entry in Activities?
    Thanks alot,

    1. Avatar
      M&I - Nicole

      Interest. I don’t think this matters too much. Focus on your work & leadership experience

  78. I had State AP scholar (one male and one female from each state) and I was the only junior with National AP scholar in my state ( most ppl get it in their senior years). Should I also put this on my resume? In of the articles on here I read that you should leave out your high school. But i think I did quite well, SAT, GPA…
    Thanks alot.

    1. Avatar
      M&I - Nicole

      You can put your SAT scores. Unless you are a freshman, no one really cares about your HS experience.

  79. Hi Brian!

    I want to work at Wetseal in a retail as Sales Floor? or what should I put in a complete position if I required? And I put Sales Floor, is it still unappropriate or appropriate position?
    I did put my name/last name, address, cellphone and email address now.

    Should I put…
    1st page:

    – Objective
    – 4 list of history employments
    – Education

    1st page with 2nd list:
    – Activities or skills?

    What if they asked me, I should put an activities?

    3nd page:

    On my 4 or 5 list of references? How many references list do I required?

    You have an awesome and advice in a tips! I’ve never seen like this before! I just start to come here and found you in a suddenly. Great tips!

    Chai,

    1. Avatar
      M&I - Nicole

      Our resume template should help. The template is for people who want to break into banking. Not sure if it is applicable to Wetseal but you can give it a shot
      https://www.mergersandinquisitions.com/investment-banking-resume-university-student/

      1. Thank you, Brian!

        I couldn’t find the right websites, but again, Thank you!

        Chai,

  80. Hi –

    My career center advisor said students should NOT include SAT scores on their resumes, but your “after” resume lists SAT scores and I scored extremely well. I don’t want to look ‘tacky’ per se on my resume and include something that shouldn’t be there, but I think it is a good way to show mathematical and verbal/writing aptitude. In your experience, do IB recruiters mind (or even want) SAT scores on resumes? Thanks for your reply.

    1. Avatar
      M&I - Nicole

      You know what? I think you should just “screw it”. Many people have shoulds or should nots. Really, who cares. Its your resume. If you have got a great SAT score and you want to put them on there, do so. I don’t see why your scores would hurt you

  81. Hello Brian,

    Great site. It is more valuable than Jim Cramer’s “The Street” if you ask me.

    Please allow me to ask few questions.

    1. I have a gap in my resume from late 2007 to now. What should I do?
    Here is my “real story”: I graduated late 2007 cum laude with honors from a California state university with a Finance major, my GPA is 3.78. I finished an internship with Merrill Lynch PWM working with high-net-worth clients. I am also the founder of Investment club, team captain to represent my university for a business case competition. The last four years has been really tough for me and my husband. We are dealing with issues relating to start a family. In the end, we had a huge medical loan to pay off, no success, but heartbroken.
    How can I explain or tell my “story” to employers about my last 4 years of not working?

    2. I have investment banking work experience (Business Development Manager)back in Shanghai, China before I relocted and studied Finance in a California state university. However, the experience was not good. We were working on bring Chinese companies IPO to Singapore stock market. One of the partners had sex with one of the my co-worker and promoted her for no reason (not work performance). I was not happy, so I was gone on bad terms. The company went down soon after I was gone. But I had my own consulting company in the end. Do you think I can put all the investment banking experiences with the bad firm under my own consulting company? Or should I leave this IB experiences out in my resume since it was not building financial models anyway?

    3. If I want to get into a small investment bank here in California, I can. But, again, my husband and I need good health benefits to start a family. As you said, only 1% chance for a non-target to get into BB. Is it stii true? I think I can get into an investment banking analyst position in Hong Kong with BB due to my background. However, I am not sure Hong Kong employees will have the same health benefits as the employees working in US? Should I go for BB in Hong Kong or a small IB firm in California? How much will be the salary for an analyst there?

    4. Should I go for “Financial Advisor” position like my internship instead with the BB?

    I am so sorry for my long message. Thank you for your time and help.

    Anna

    1. Avatar
      M&I - Nicole

      1. While I empathize with you, you should just say personal issues w family. Don’t try to go into details. Also try to spin other productive pursuits you have been doing w your time i.e. learning a new language, traveling, etc. That will make you stand out. Just spin sth.
      2. Yes, as long as you have good references (do you?) If not, I’d probably leave it out unless you have learned a lot in your previous finance experience. Again, no details required in interviews
      3. Yes. HK employees have great health benefits are you kidding me. However, working for a BB in HK is harder than you think my friend. It is not exactly easy to find a job here either FYI
      4. Depends on what you’re looking for. Your call. You should apply to both

  82. Hi I Have recently completed my CV and I have looked at the C.V format and structure you have suggested. My CV is one page long and I am little worried the format is different from yours, am I placing myself at a disadvantage?

    1. Avatar
      M&I - Nicole

      Yes. Use our template and keep it to less than a page

  83. Should I put (fake) portfolio management for one of my class as a work experience?

    1. Avatar
      M&I - Nicole

      don’t fake/make things up. but spin if you have any experience related to that

      1. I meant, we had to manage a virtual portfolio for a hypothetical client. So, I meant, a non-real portfolio.

  84. Hey, website is great. I am currently a freshmen at a school that is top 50 but non target. Like most, my goal is to get the best internship i can after my sophmore year. My question is, what should i do to boost my resume for next year? I know an internship is ideal but is it realistic as a freshmen? Also,besides summer work what else can I do to make my resume standout to banks?

    1. Avatar
      M&I - Nicole

      Yes. Network and try to land yourself an internship if that is what you really want. Try investing in the stock market and have something to show for it in your interviews

  85. I am a Phd student in Material science and maste in math, I passed CFA level 2. But I have no any work experience related to finance, could I write my research project in work experience, but my research projects are also not related to finance. What could I do? thanks

    1. Just write about the research if you have no relevant work experience. But if you have anything even remotely related to business try to include that.

      1. Thanks for your quick response. Right now I am hunting an investment banking job, But I haven’t get any interview yet. Do you think, based on my background, is that possible to work for IBs. Also what could I do now? Thanks

        1. Honestly it would be tough unless you went to a really small boutique firm – maybe try cold-calling around to find one that matches your background.

  86. Hey Brian,

    I’m a fresh International Studies/Chinese graduate teaching English in Korea for fun. Here are the things I’d emphasize in my CV–would you recommend the same?

    1) Near native fluency in Mandarin Chinese with strong economics-related vocabulary.

    2) Substantial research experience for undergraduate thesis–included original premise, novel approach, and heavy quantitative analysis using SPSS (and also was the top thesis at my institute)

    3) Teaching experience in Korea taught me to manage and mentor groups of students, learn their personal strengths and weaknesses, and to multitask heavily.

    Thanks, and fascinating blog, by the way.

    1. Agreed on those but try to find something a little more business-oriented if possible.

      1. Thanks for the quick response.

        The biggest business-related item I can think of at the moment would be:

        Finance and Logistics Manager for freshman-year trip to interview tax evader. Responsibilities included planning activities, flights, and sundry details as well as managing our team’s budget. We ended up being able to complete the interview and more with funds to spare and no logistical snags.

        Forgot to mention it in the original post, but I’m looking to work for a foreign firm in Mainland China. Do you have any China-specific advice or could you point me in the right direction?

        1. Avatar
          M&I - Nicole

          Do you speak Mandarin? It would help if you do. Working in China is also very relationship-driven. Make sure you develop a good network there.

          1. Yes, very fluently. I suppose I need to build up my network then. Thanks for the input.

          2. Avatar
            M&I - Nicole

            Anytime!

  87. Hi there,

    I am a college senior at a target school. I recently became interested in I-banking and have no relevant work experience.

    There are two internship paths available for the fall semester. I could work at an Investment bank for 40 weeks basically for free (for a small stipend) or work in a big name wealth management firm for decent pay. I would ideally like to become a i-banker, so which path should I pursue?

    Thank you

    1. Avatar
      M&I - Nicole

      If IB is your ultimate goal and you are not concerned about the pay difference b the two roles now, I wld work at the IB for the small stipend they offer. Adding to your working for free comment, you might find https://www.mergersandinquisitions.com/unpaid-finance-internships-jobs/ useful

      1. Thanks Nicole. Your tip & suggested web link was very helpful! Very glad to have consulted M&I before making big decisions.

  88. Hi, I’m a software engineer fresh graduate with a Masters degree from a reputed university. But I have lost interest in my field and would like to foray into investment banking. I started writing my resume but I have pretty much nothing related to banking to boast of. How can I turn my resume around to make it more appropriate and relevant?

  89. Avatar
    What should I say what I want to do

    Will meet a MD in lev fin soon

    I want to join lev fin because I want to work in PE in future And lev fin is the closest one among all chances I hv got now

    But if I am asked by the Md what I want to do in long term
    Should I say PE or I should lie I like to be in lev fin in long term?

    Thxxxx

    1. Say you’re interested in all aspects of debt and are open to different options within that area, including lev fin, possibly PE, mezz, etc.

  90. Are there any online courses that i could undergo which would boost my internship chances ?

  91. If I expanded my Education section – since I participated in school trading competitions and economics projects, won various relevant (and irrelevant) awards etc. etc. while having not a lot of work experience, though some personal trading – would you simply discard a CV like that if it came up?
    ??

    1. Avatar
      M&I - Nicole

      Are you in a target school? Do you have a good GPA?

      If you’re looking for jobs in the smaller funds, you would probably have a shot.

      Otherwise, it might be difficult to pass through the resume cutting round. However, you can always eliminate that round by networking w bankers; hard but not impossible

      1. Thanks for the quick and concise reply, Nicole. My University (UK) is no longer in the general/arbitrary “Top 5”, though it was when I applied, and is still ranked thus for the subjects I study. GPA doesn’t exist here until you’ve graduated, as far as I’m aware, but my school exam grades were spotless.
        I’ll heed the advice, though – networks are paramount – thanks.

        1. Avatar
          M&I - Nicole

          Yes, always network. Anytime!

  92. Interesting how inconsistent the banks demands are with what they are in fact hiring for (which your site abruptly reveals). I now see that when an IB is quoted as simply seeking “highly talented individuals who can bring something different to our organization… [whose] academic credentials… excellent communication skills, creativity, perseverance and tenacity [are sought after]”, translates rather to: ‘Someone who has demonstrated a fixation with making profits in finance, while successfully exerting power over other people, having attended the same school, got the same work experience and same superficial interests as fellow bankers’.

    Is it the just one large trick question then, to misdirect those who are perhaps not yet fully in lust with the banking salary/lifestyle and whose real creativity, and experience threatens to evolve the ‘corporate culture’ into something broader (and therefore perhaps less profitable in the short term)?

    I was attracted to IBs for their seeming ability to make use of more than one or two aspects of a person’s personality/experience, but it seems that is not a luxury to which they can truly concede… (With the bizarre exception of being a Tokyo Host – although in reality most are from Osaka, and almost exclusively entertain sex-industry workers for a living — or have I fallen for a joke?)

    1. (of course I believe that there is a most time-efficient, or money-efficient way of operating, but to an outsider, at least, the evolutionary trends in these respects seem to be held-back by current practises…)

      1. (please excuse typos)

    2. Avatar
      M&I - Nicole

      No, I don’t think its a trick. The IBs just post what they’re looking for and choose from the pool of candidates who apply. It just happens that they are choosing from a large pool of qualified, ambitious candidates from top schools.

      1. Thanks for the reply, Nicole… and I’m sorry to be so antagonistic, but according to elsewhere on the site:

        75% of interviewees will be selected because one of the Analysts or Associates reviewing resumes knows them from school or elsewhere.
        25% of the rest have impressive resumes or accomplishments and happen to catch someone’s attention.

        So is it really not psuedo-nepotism that’s believed to breed success?

        1. Avatar
          M&I - Nicole

          Can’t comment on your question. But the stats of the article were meant to show that candidates should go the extra mile of emailing and following up and not to underestimate the competition.

      2. Oh, perhaps this is why:

        You could argue that living with someone is different from working with [them], but in banking you basically live with your co-workers.

        (Apologies for this stream of consciousness).

  93. Hi Brian,

    What’s your take on academic research? I am a rising junior looking for a summer analyst position at a bulge bracket. I had a summer analyst position this past summer at a boutique investment bank, which will of course be the most important entry on the resume. I also have a paid research assistant position with an economics professor at my university. However, the research is not directly related to finance. How prominent should this position be on my resume? How can I bankify it? Many thanks.

    1. Avatar
      M&I - Nicole

      This position should not be as “important” as your last summer analyst position. Not sure what you did in your RA position but perhaps you can focus on your research on the world economy and how it affects the stock market. Bank-ify it by showing your knowledge of the markets and passion in finance as well as your research and analytical skills..most importantly attention to details (ATD)

  94. I am currently learning financial modeling and will be purchasing your program soon so I was wondering how can I spin this onto my resume? would I simply just put it in skills ? or are there any ways to demonstrate my knowledge of financial modeling?

    1. There are several recommendations in the FAQ under Financial Modeling Programs #13: http://breakingintowallstreet.com/biws/faq/

  95. I see that your resume templates do not have it, but what are your thoughts on having a “Summary of Qualifications” section on the top part of your resume? Many thanks.

    1. I don’t like it unless you have 10-15+ years of experience.

  96. I did a case competition and got into the top 5 out of 25+ but wasn’t the team leader even though I did most of the work. Any way to write this in?

    1. Sure just say you led certain aspects of the competition.

      1. As in “equities leader”? What would be drawbacks of just saying leader even though on paper you weren’t at the time for the purposes of identification?

        1. Just say “Led the work for the [X, Y, and Z] portions of the project” if you didnt have an official title no one can really check so it doesn’t matter

  97. Hi there,

    I really like your website. I just had a few queries about my CV and I was wondering if you could help.

    I don’t have a formal Banking internship but I did a Spring Insight Week at a BB Bank. I also worked at the research dept of an international NGO doing Exce work, Data Sourcing on population data and misc. Admin work. Obviously, the NGO is NOT relevant to finance but I did for substantial work there which is why I gave it around 6 lines whereas I gave the Spring Week 2 lines, since we just did one presentation, some group activities (not too relevant to banking anyways) and attended a whole lot others. I also included 2 lines in my interests section about the relevant banking events I attended on campus. Is this okay if I want to apply for some second year summer internships?

    I am from a UK target school and my first year grades and A Levels were all much above average.

    Fazal

    1. Bad move, focus more on spring week even if you have to heavily BS it. Interests really doesn’t matter but sure that is fine.

      1. Thanks for the quick reply.

        Would you happen to have a few words of wisdom as to how I can make attending presentations sound appealing to the recruiter?

        Also, my work at the NGO involved working with a mathematical model for which I had to find data, and some excel work – both of which are required in IBD. It is a little relevant I would presume. What do you think?

        Thanks again.

        1. Just focus on what you learned, how many people you met, etc. NGO experience is OK but it seems much more distant on paper.

  98. Avatar
    Andy Gray

    If you personally have an investment portfolio, how would you write about that in your work experience section?

    1. Summary sentence with overall strategy/performance and then write about specific investments you made.

  99. Avatar
    Andy Gray

    If you personally have an investment portfolio, how would you write about that in your work experience?

    1. Summary sentence with overall strategy/performance and then write about specific investments you made

  100. Hi Brian,

    I actually have a bit of a resume dilemma…I’ve graduated a year ago from college, and my past internship experiences are all related to finance. However, I am still having trouble landing a full time job, which then I have resorted to working as a temp for various companies to keep cash coming in.

    My question is, should I reference my various temporary positions, thus adding an additional non-relevant block on my resume to show I am keeping myself busy? Or should I leave it off, and keep my other relevant internships on there?

    My main concern is that when employers see my “older” resume, they will think I didn’t do anything for the gap and will not take my resume seriously.

    Thanks

    1. Eh I would keep off the temp positions and say you were traveling or doing some kind of other project during that time

  101. Hey!! Your website is really helpful.

    Currently, I am very much confused regarding what should I do. I have done BBA from a well reputed business school in Pakistan, and also gave CFA level 1 along tht. Just after a month of my graduation, I started working for a microfinance bank locally, which I left after two years of esperience.

    I gave CFA level 2 this June and awaiting results. Now I want to do my masters or MBA in the field of finance and accounting. The problem I see is that even the postgraduates from top universities in the UK, USA and Australia are doing odd jobs, (firstly because they are international students and therefore have immigration concerns for employers, secondly, the recession ). Therefore, I am planning to do my MBA from a non target school (as business schools are really expensive), and continuing my CFA, then try to get into an international financial institution. Do you think is it the right approach? Some people are advising to do ACCA instead of MBA and get into Transaction Advisory services?

    Your guidance shall be highly appreciated.

    Regards,

    Saad Sarmad

    1. I meant MBA from a Non Target University in the UK**

    2. I would skip the MBA unless you can get into a top school, otherwise it’s pointless (do a search here for MBA)

  102. Avatar
    Michael

    Hello, many thanks for all the useful tips on how to write an investment banking CV, it will inevitably of great value.

    I have two main questions I hope you can assist me with:

    1) Is it OK to state on my CV that I am a regular trader on investment simulators such as Investopedia, etc? Or should that be omitted unless I manage a real portfolio or have entered a significant investment competition such as JPMorgan as listed above?

    2) For my final year at university, I want to start a stock trading society to show my interest in the financial markets and also develop my leadership skills. My idea is to hold competitions where students trade on a simulator such as Investopedia, and whoever made the highest “returns” would be given a cash prize at the end of each competition. Is this a worthwhile endeavor and would it impress a potential employer from your experience?

    I would be very grateful for your assistance with my questions, and thank you in advance.

    Michael

    1. 1) Yes. 2) Sure but I wouldn’t spend too much time on it as internships always help more

      1. Avatar
        Michael

        Thanks a million for your advice.

        Regarding internships, I have a quick question about that.

        I am currently studying for a Master’s degree in Economics. Usually, the top-tier banks offer internships to penultimate year students, but I was studying for a year in Shanghai during the penultimate year, and this prevented me from getting an internship as I was in a country where I could not legally work.

        Is it possible for a Master’s student to get an internship with an investment bank before commencing full-time work?

        1. Yes it’s possible

  103. Hello, I’ve been following your site for a while, and I have to say it’s really great and helpful. I’m reworking my resume and was wondering about what I should do about these 3 bullet points on my resume. As a rising senior, I should be taking off high school activities, but what if they are related to finance and my story? I participated in stock marketing comeptitions and banks-in-action, both of which my friends and I have won as a team. also, if i have a portfolio in e-trade, do you think I should place it as a hobby? Thanks in advance.

    1. Just include one bullet point or make them both into hobbies

  104. I’ve done some trading on the JP morgan portfolio competition and i used technical analysis to trade. Shoud I still include the experience if i am applying for the M&A division as technical analysis is not that relevent is M&A?

    1. If you have nothing else more relevant, then yes

      1. i’ve also done some part time job as sales n captain of a football team. Should I put the portfolio competition at the top of the section?

        1. Yes that’s fine

  105. Where on my resume would I show that I have been trading stocks through a website like sharebuilder and have made a 300% and 600% profit on two seperate stock picks over the course of a month?

    1. Just create a separate listing for it under Work & Leadership experience and label it Independent Stock Trading

      1. thank you for the help

  106. Avatar
    Alphonse

    Hi,

    My last major work experience is working as a tutor and teacher in a challenging school. How would I bankify this? Is relationship management/ work ethic the best way of doing this?

    Thank you kindly for your time,

    Alphonse

    1. Yes, talk about how you had to manage all the students and mentor everyone there despite the challenges.

  107. this is a great site and thank you so much
    I am having a little trouble and not knowing what to do

    I did not do so well in uni, even I grad from a “target school”. My GPA is around 2.8 which i know is very bad

    I have 1 year and a half working in financial media sector however. But not a bulge bracket nor a boutique investment bank, even though from time to time i work with people in there

    When I write my CV, should I bother putting my GPA down or can I totally skip that and just mentioned where I graduated (like a one liner?)

    I know you said not to ask much about CFA, but I am doing CFA in hopes to cover up my bad grades. I am not taking my first exam until this coming Dec, but is it worth mentioning in my CV?

    Thanks a lot, and keep up the great site

  108. Hi there

    First of all, thank you so much for the website, it is, to quote one of the most used English word worldwide, awesome!

    Anyway, I have a short question, currently I am working in a software vendor company as a client service help-desk position
    My company sells software to investment banks (such as Goldman Sachs) in which we provide a back office system for them to handle and reconcile trades (focusing on Futures and Options)

    My job is to mainly assist client to reconcile their trade.
    Much similar to what a back office IT guy would do.

    I am also exposed to business analysis as well, such example would be an exchange wanting to launch a new set of derivatives and I am part of the team to go through the formulas and how the trades actually work and how the exchange wants to charge etc.

    Anyway, my question here is very simple. I really want to get into an investment bank (like everyone else on here!). But my problem is, I have been struggling to find the best way to spin this work experience in terms of job title. While what I do is very specific, calling myself helpdesk just does not sound right!
    It would be grateful if you could provide some ideas or suggestion for me?

    Many thanks for your help, and please let me know if you need more details

    1. Say that you are a trading reconciliation assistant and that your main task is working with traders to ensure that new products are launched effectively and that their trades go through

  109. I am a college student. I have taken a verifiable, professionally administered IQ test, and I am a member of MENSA. Would my IQ or MENSA membership be worth including on a resume? I’ve been told not to include my IQ as it invites efforts to challenge it, but I feel it is no different than SAT scores. I’ve also been told not to include it on my resume but to offer it up in the interview, but that seems rather pretentious to mention uninvited. Thoughts?
    Thanks.

    1. No do not list that or bring it up in an interview as it sounds pretentious and is like saying, “I’m a genius” – just invites a lot of skepticism.

  110. Hi,

    I’m working on my resume right now and I have a dilemma. I have work experience but nothing necessarily finance related, I have spent 3 years in an international airline working as a flight attendat while I got masters of investment banking (graduated June2009). How can I apply for a finance-related job now? Should I even list this kind of work experience on my resume?

    Thank you for your time and help!

    1. You can apply but your chances aren’t spectacular unless you go strictly for boutiques and spend a ton of time cold-calling… you have to list it, otherwise you have a big gap on your resume.

  111. What are your thoughts on offering to wire-transfer funds within a cover letter in return for an interview?

    1. Um horrible idea (assuming you’re serious, can’t detect jokes over the Internet), your CL would be forwarded around everywhere and your life would be destroyed.

  112. Hii,
    Good work with the website. I am working towards my resume right now and want to incline it towards I-Banking. I have a 5 year part time sales associate which I did when I was in my bachelors of engineering in electronics. I did good for the company. I can spin it as full time considering the fact that I worked in my family business (consumer electronics stores).
    1>Its the only real world job experience I have.

    Then I started my Masters in Electrical (target-school), had a full teaching assistant scholarship, – my second work experience.
    2> Is it good? I can spin it off as mentoring, but not bankify.
    But I got disoriented in 2 years and left for another masters/phd program in another school (non target) for computer engineering.

    Now after another year and a half I left it because I do not want to do it. My roommate is in portfolio management in a BB firm in NY and kept talking about I-bankers which got me interested in I-Banking.

    3>Can I write those years in MS as “extensive graduate coursework in engg”? (i didnt complete the degrees though)
    How would you as an interviewer judge? how should I spin it?
    I was also the VP of the student body organization in public relations.

    I am self studying a corporate finance webcast course of a business school in NY, and I will start a good project and would finish it in a week. I will also look at online case competitions, pick a topic and do it.

    4>Can I list these (self-done) projects and cases in work and leadership section along with the sales associate job and teaching assistant job…..
    5>Plus I have run a marathon and several half marathons? should I list it in activities, and would it help?

    Thanks for your time and help..

    1. 2. It’s OK but won’t help as much as real work experience.
      3. Yes you can right coursework but make it clear that you didn’t get the degrees.
      4. Yes.
      5. Don’t list it under Experience, just at the bottom.

  113. Hi:

    I have a SA offer lined up at BB in New York for this upcoming summer, but have a lit hole in my resume. I have listed a mentorship that I did while in high school at a large Fortune 100 company, but I was never officially registered with the HR. I have the contact that I mentored under, and am on good terms. These leaves me with three questions: (sorry :))
    1. Is her word good enough as a form of verification?
    2. If I have my title down as “intern”, is this a big deal?
    3. Who should I contact (if anyone) to speak about this potential issue before the background check?

    Thanks!

    1. 1. Yes. 2. No. 3. No one at the bank. Talk to your contact at that company and list her as the person you worked under on your forms.

      1. Thanks!

  114. Hey,

    I’m working on putting my resume together right now and I am considering what I should/can include on my resume “bankify” it. I have work experience but nothing necessarily finance related. Two things I am considering putting on there are 4 cases I did in my business statistics class and the group project I did for my marketing class. In the cases we had to evaluate and analyze specific business situations and decide on the best set of circumstances to satisfy that situation, so I thought maybe that would look decent since it has to do with business, evaluation, calculating, statistics, etc. The group project was a semester long project in which we had to create a business plan. I was the clear leader of the group, put the final project and presentation together.

    I was wondering if I could include those on my resume, if so, under what category I should/could and how I should go about wording them.

    Thank you for your time and help.

    1. That sounds good, include them under Work & Leadership Experience

      1. Thank you for your quick reply I really appreciate it! How should I go about wording these two experiences so seem better related to finance/make me a stronger candidate for banking? Thanks again!

        1. Also just to be thorough and clear, the cases I did in the managerial statistics class were based on hypothetical companies and situations, that is still fine?

        2. Use a lot of numbers and focus on the specific results you achieved

  115. Hi,

    I am from an engineering background with several internships and work experience, but my key strength lies in my academic results (being in the Dean’s List for several years and topping my level in my university).

    Where would I insert this in my resume to really highlight my academic strength?

    Also, two of my prior work experience is pretty much being a salesman, both of which I have done very successfully. Is there a “banking” way to write this in my resume to break into investment banking?

    Thanks

    1. Under Education. Sales is very applicable, just write about how much in sales you brought in / how much you boosted the company’s overall sales.

      1. Is it just a myth that investment banks hire engineers? Or do we really stand a chance if we’re good academically, with decent work experience.

          1. Thanks again M & I, I’m currently touching up my resume according to your tips.

            Just one more question, how would you relate a previous job of mine where I worked in a laboratory performing research to investment banking?

          2. That’s tough unless you have numbers or results… maybe highlight your attention to detail and how much depended on you.

  116. Hi,

    If I don’t have much to put on my resume, is it okay to 1.5 or double space ever?

    Thanks.

    1. 1.5 should be fine

  117. Hi Brian,

    I have a somewhat similar dilemma. I got 2nd place in a bulge bracket’s investment banking M&A case competition just a few weeks ago. I’m a junior at a target school so I am just about to send in my resume for summer analyst programs. Anyways, I do have finance experience (two summers at a hedge fund in NYC) and I’m a finance major, but I’m struggling with how to put the case competition on my resume. Should I put it above my hedge fund experience (since it is the most recent) under my work experience, or in my leadership section? Also, my top two entries in each section (work and leadership) is pretty substantial, since I spent 6 months at the hedge fund and I am president of a prominent finance club at my school – so if I put the case competition above them (again, chronologically) would I need to devote multiple bullets to keep the structure of the resume (most bullets at top entries, less as it goes down)?

    Your advice would be greatly appreciated.

    Thanks!
    Sam

    1. List it under Leadership as the 2nd activity there and don’t stick to chronological order.

  118. Avatar
    internship request

    I have no real finance work experience either.
    But I have a real money account in an online forex brokerage. I have been trading foreign currency since a year ago.

    Besides, I also have a brokerage account back in my country (I’m an international student), with real money and real stock.
    I’ve been trading stocks since 3 years ago (right after I graduated from high school)

    I’m a junior majoring in maths with concentration in finance. Currently work as a part-time server in a restaurant while taking full-time course in the college.

    The two trading experience I mentionaed above are the only relevant ‘Working Experience’ I have in finance area.

    Should I put these two in my resume?
    How would you spin it to make it more sense?
    Thanks

    1. Just list the restaurant work and the 2 trading experiences and write about your returns or rationale for investing

  119. Hey Brian,

    I have a question about spinning an S&T resume. Now I have no internships but I am doing pretty well on the Investopedia simulator. Not asking for you to write my resume for me, but how would you spin it into relevant work experience? It’s not like I’m trading real money, it’s just virtual, I’d hate to say something like “Independent Trading: Monitored and analyzed underlying stock market, selected and traded options, managing a $100,000 portfolio, generated X return in Y months” and the interviewer digs deeper and finds out it’s just an online account. I’d feel a little deceived if I was in the interviwer’s shoes. Should I just go ahead and mention it is a virtual one on the resume?

    1. Yes just say it’s a virtual account on Investopedia and frame it in terms of returns rather than dollars so he doesn’t feel tricked.

  120. Hi there, I have a question about putting sport activities into the CV. I have no real work experience, I have done volunteering, but still my biggest accomplishment is Sailing as I have done both world and European results, I am an official “1st category” athlete. But do the banks and financial world care about it? how strong is it on my CV and should it even be there. Unfortunately I have no better things to fill my CV with.

    thank you

    1. If you have nothing better, yes, leave it on. And banks certainly like people with athletic backgrounds – sailing is less popular than skiing or popular televised sports but it’s still good to have.

      1. I was competing in skiing when I was younger, but I don’t I achieved the results which are worth putting on a CV. Should I put it as an activity since I still do ski quite a lot?

        thank you

  121. Avatar
    Needachance

    Hi Brian

    I have two questions regarding what to include in my resume. Thanks a lot.

    I want to apply for trading or market division. Should I emphasize an international mathematic modeling contest experience, in which I only won 3rd prize? If yes, I wanted to list it in the “work and leadership experience” section. But the contest lasted only 3 days so it just seems a little odd to put it in the section.

    Another question is that my undergraduate major is math, which I think helps demostrate my quatitative skills. Should I list some of my courseworks in the resume to show that I have taken very hard courses?

    Thanks a lot!

    1. List a few courses but keep it to 1-2 lines. If you have no better real work experience then yes, list that international competition, it’s fine even it was only 3 days

  122. I spare the obvious thanks for your website. It’s great. (oops, I didn’t spare it, did I – but seriously, it’s great)

    Well, I got a problem. And I would really appreciate your help.

    First off, economics master at German #1 faculty according to ranking and still where no company hires from, however.

    Namely, I don’t have any work experience – I disliked investing time into something I would not like and working at a local low profile company has already cost me time and seemed to prove that people rather play soccer and talk about soccer than work, very annoying)

    I don’t have student activity either, since I stopped being interested in extracurricular acitivies. Mostly, becaue at my university it was either blatantly ignorant women who were in charge of management and entirely incapable of rational thought – no offense, you hear the sarcasm of the defeated – , or all you found were some unwilling, incompetent, arrogant pricks that that seemed to enjoy having the activity on their resume and apart from that prefered drinking beer rather than working. (I was an idealist when younger, and as such you can’t handle this actually)

    I also have not engaged in a competition. I actually have, but I spent more time reverse engineering the software and asking about how to model my opponents with game theory rather than play the game and got bored ( that was some case studies on logistics). In other cases I was mostly shocked by the limitedness of hte models and did not even start to participate.

    On the other side, I never enjoyed investing virtual money and I did not have any money to invest, so I did not do anything like that either.

    So all I did was basically socialize the old-fashioned way, by going out and meeting up with people of interest. Doing pickup just for the sake of learning to game people. And studied about every discipline in my spare time there is to be found in academic institutions.

    I also failed with finding investors for 3 startups during the seed phase.

    And I turned down a lot of actually good jobs for my resume because I thought my studies where more important than serving coffee to

    Well, my perspectives have changed, of course, I got older and more mature.

    At the same time, however, I feel like sending an empty resume. I don’t know how to spin anything here. I mean, I don’t think that I am in any way challenged compared to my peers with more orthodox CVs, but when it comes down to the hard facts of what I could write into resume, I think I am lost.

    Should I become a ski bum? Or buy a surf-shop in hawaii? (I actually considered that as an alternative years before reading this here. And I actually hate skiing. )

    I would really appreciate your opinion on this. And in any way, I guess other readers will have a good laugh at my pitiful fate.

    ( I am actually currently progressing my BA in mathematics, but reading about “not working for toys r us” statement I would almost think it would be better to start an entrepreneurs loung student club than wasting my time solving exercise sheets on problems totally irrelevant for anything but quantum computation or alien-weapon re-engineering ;) )

    Cheers!

    1. Honestly I don’t know what to tell you there if you have no work experience and no activities. Maybe start doing some volunteer work? Otherwise you don’t really have a shot with a blank resume.

      1. Mmh, ok. I tried anyways.

        Thanks for the quick response. And keep up with the site.

        BR

  123. Hi,

    A few of quick questions, if you don’t mind, regarding what to include on my CV. I am a second year university student applying for a summer internship. I am not from a brand name university, but one that is well within the top 100 internationally, studying Economics.

    1. Whether or not to include that I managed numerous sales teams and was personally one of the highest volume sellers for a gas & electricity company (door-to-door).

    2. That I was an assistant manager of a restaurant.

    3. That I am currently a professional sponsored poker player (I understand this is somewhat unconventional, but I think it has a great degree of similarity with IB).

    4. I have started 2 of my own successful companies – one selling mobile broadband and the other dealing in used and new books.

    5. I have worked as a club promoter, including putting on my own regular nights.

    6. Chairman of the Student Union of my college (I’m from the UK, so I’m referring to when I was between 17 and 18).

    I would of course ‘bankify’ whatever was going to be included.

    Thank you very much for your help, I’m sure it is needless to say that you’re running a great site.

    1. List the sales team manager, 1 of your companies, and the club promoter role. Only list poker when applying for S&T.

      1. Thank you for your reply. Do you think I could list the poker in the interests/activities section?

  124. Hi Brian,

    Thanks for the hard work you have laid down in developing this website. I currently work at a boutique corp. advisory firm which does transaction advisory as well as consulting. Irony is that I have hardly worked on any transaction deals since the last 8 months of my life at this firm. This is my first job and I am confused about my future in the firm. If I stay here for long and do not get much exposure to transaction advisory, it would be hard to me to switch to another firm later on. I am currently an associate here (I’m an MBA). If I try to switch to another firm right now, it would be a new start as due to less exposure to transaction advisory, i would have to start as an analyst again, and I am not even sure if other banks would look at my CV for the second time if i mention the exact details of work I have done at my current firm. Also another question, does networking ninja course work for banks in india as well? Thanks for your time.

    1. I would try to switch firms as soon as you can – 8 months is enough time to assess how well it’s going and to make changes if necessary. Lack of deal experience is a common reason to switch – you can just position it as wanting to work on larger/more complex deals.

      There is contact information for banks in India in the course but the strategies covered are not specific to regions, e.g. they work anywhere but may be more or less effective depending on where you are in the world.

      1. Thanks Brian, Sorry for replying after so long. Had been really really busy. The thing is, that since its not been even a full year at this bank and most of the vacancies in the Indian market are for people with over two years of experience. Indian iBanking workforce is much smaller when compared to its US counterparts and hence a switch is possible only when there are vacancies. So cold calling is less effective here.

        I wanted to know how feasible is the idea of working for a couple of years in India and then try to switch to a bank in US, and what would be the easiest way to do that. Is it a necessity that I need to take up a course in US and then try for placements? Or while working here in India there are chanced that I could be hired for a US based position. I really want to work at the heart of the Financial Hub..

        1. I would try to work at a US or other international bank in India and then transfer elsewhere. All you can do is network, get your name out there, and wait for spots to open up. It is not a good idea to go to the US / other countries without having something lined up – your chances are low if you go in without a plan.

    2. Hi, Jay Could u plz tell me which IB u are wrking at in India??

      1. HI MAIB,

        Sorry I cant disclose these details on a public forum. Email me for further queries.

  125. Just graduated and landed a job as a research analyst in PE. It’s not directly in PE but it’s working for a company who conducts research of PE funds performance. Would this enable to move directly into a more suitable role within IB or for a PE firm after a few years experience doing this?

    Thanks in advance.

    1. Maybe, though IB is more likely than PE… PE really wants former banking analysts most of the time

  126. I am going to do a Masters in Management, but have no relevant work experience, as in nothing related to Finance. It seems like I have no chance.

    1. Then create your own experience… start a finance or investment club, set up your own workshop, do something different and you will get noticed.

  127. Hi,

    Thanks for the post. This is a great site and has been really useful.

    I’m expecting to graduate from Imperial College in July 2011 with a first degree but I have no relevant work experience. Not even any JP Morgan competitions. Just some engineering work experience and membership of finance societies at university. I was wondering what my chances of breaking into investment banking were?

    Thanks for the advice!

    1. It will be difficult if you have absolutely no work experience, but in Europe that situation is more common so maybe not the end of the world.

  128. Hey just discovered your site and I am blown away. You’ve done a great deal helping everyone great work! I also need some serious advice! Here’s my odd predicament. I got my bachelors of science in bio DEC 09 at ‘some school’ on the path to med school (did it for my family to be happy). I started trading when I was 19(3 yrs ago)when I raised and managed .25 M dollars which I day-traded daily on 4x margin but this was right before the apocalypse and it was the worst year for my partner and I. I still trade daily and am addicted to numbers/charts/graphs and its always been a dream for me to break into this sector. Now my question is I have been offered a BACK office job as a Personal Banker at a BRANCH of Wells Fargo, which is pitiful then again I have no finance experience. Would you recommend me beginning here to break in, wait and get an internship, or just apply with my current experience (investing, self-employed, and sales exp)?

    1. If you are set on doing trading, then you could potentially get in from the middle or back office… but it’s probably better to go to something middle-office related like trade settlements instead. I’d say go for middle-office roles first and see if you can get those, then move into trading.

  129. Brian- Does the background check involve calling every single place on the work experience section on resume? I did some online work for pretty well-known organization, which I can spin to make it sound relevant finance. But it was just a volunteer experience conducted online, and I was no longer in contact with the person who assigned work to me. Really debating whether to put it on my resume or not because it really isn’t a real work experience (like one in an office setting, with contract etc), and it’s not gonna be really possible if the background check party wants to call the organization to verify. What do you think?

    1. Depends on the bank – I avoid answering background check questions because it changes all the time, every place does it differently, etc. I would leave it off if you’re uncertain.

  130. Hi, thanks you all for making such a helpful web. I am currently enrolled in the best program for our school and my school is pretty much the best school in this country, but the nature of our program is such that the faculty makes it really hard and about only 50% students can actually make to the second year and whoever left are really competitive . Within this program i dunt really have a good GPA. I am still looking forward to get in IB. Do you think i should switch program to get a better mark ? Our program has really high reputation within Canada.

    1. I would switch programs if your grades are low (below, say, 3.5 or equivalent in the Canadian system). No program is worth it if your grades suffer.

  131. Hi. A very insightful article. I am working at one of the world’s biggest bank and is reputed in IB. However, I am not working in their IBD. I am working as a cash operations analyst in one of the other departments and im unhappy as it has nothing to do with IB or trading/investments. Internal Job postings do not have anything for the posts of IB Analyst’s/Associates. My ultimate career aim is IB and im worried that my current job might not help my resume if i want to get into IB. I am a Bachelors Degree Holder and I plan to do my MBA a few years from now. What would you suggest? Also, how important is CFA to get into IB?

    1. The CFA is useless. You should try to get something more related to finance first, even if it’s not at a bank (corp. fin. at a large company, PWM, etc.) and then use that with the MBA to break in.

  132. I am senior graduating Dec 2010, but I dont have much IB experience. How do I write about my portfolio as part of working experience? I have passed the CFA LVL 1 exam but where and how should I include it in my resume.

    1. Just make each major investment you’ve made a separate bullet and write about why and how you made the investment. For CFA I would just list it at the bottom under Certifications

  133. I’m a junior at a top 10 liberal arts school, pretty non-target I guess, and my gpa is ~3.6. I have no real work experience and all I’ve been able to land is a wealth management internship for this summer. Is this internship going to hurt me? Apart from networking to death, is there anything else can i do to break into iBanking? Will I have a shot at an iBanking job after graduation since I won’t have any IB internships?

    1. Yes, you can still move in coming from a PWM internship. It is much better than having nothing finance-related. At this point you have to go through the networking grind, not much else will help in terms of IBD offers.

  134. I wrote on my resume that I invested in XTO energy stocks based on acquisition potential..(,which I did) and just found out that JPM advised Exxon and BarCap and Jefferies advised XTO. Guess what? I have SA interviews with them next week!
    I know about the deal ($41b in stock including $10 debt) from reading news, but what do you think they will ask me? What would you ask me if you were an interviewer? Please advise!

    1. I wouldn’t worry too much over this, just read up on it in the WSJ Deal Blog and see what they had to say… just be able to describe the rationale and give an idea of the relevant deal multiples (revenue, EBITDA, etc.).

  135. What are your views on including a photo of yourself in your resume?

    1. Don’t do it unless you’re in a region where it’s standard practice (e.g. parts of Asia) otherwise it looks very weird.

  136. Do you have any relevant, small resume boosters that a Sophomore undergrad could get together in the coming months before summer?

    I do all the Investopedia portfolio simulation type things, but I want something real that could make it onto a resume. Getting onto the student endowment management won’t happen until at least next fall, and I’m wondering if you can give some pointers on what to get involved in.

    Just so you know, I realize that I won’t be getting an awesome internship relevant to investment banking this summer. I am just hoping for a decent finance one that may lead to something better the following summer.

    Please post a response or send me an email if possible. Any help would be appreciated…

    1. It’s pretty much student activities, seminars put on by banks, shadowing programs, or doing some trading of your own – I don’t have any great suggestions aside from those, but it doesn’t matter that much as long as you do get involved with something that looks relevant by internship recruiting next year.

  137. What would recruiters think about listing poker in the interest section of a resume? I’ve found it makes for interesting conversation when I’ve mentioned it in interviews for internships in the past. I would see it as pretty relevant, especially for a sales & trading job, but I’m worried I could be dismissed as reckless or a gambler.

    1. It’s fine to list.

  138. Hi, If I have been trading independently in the equity market for 2 or more years. ( I just graduated from a non-target with 3.2GPA and dont have a BBA degree ) should I put it on my resume?? and should I put down some stocks that I actually research and analyze on ?? thats by far the closest thing I can get, my other experiences is all non-related to finance. ( mostly sales ) what other things I can do to improve the chance of getting an interview from middle / boutique firm ??

    Thanks so much for answering my questions

    1. Sure, I would list it if you’ve only graduated recently. Aside from that, it’s all about networking… sales experience is ok to list as well, but I would definitely put the trading entry at the top.

  139. Avatar
    Rahul Singh

    Hey M&I,

    I really need your advice…

    I am a first-year MBA student. I landed a Fixed Income Sales summer internship with a BB’s Mumbai office, largely because I go to a target b-school.

    What should I do to ace my internship? I am ready to read whatever books, etc, that will help me work in tandem with the full-timers.

    I really need a full-time offer and needless to say, competition is stiff. I have zero finance experience and I am no great shakes in Excel-related stuff either.

    I really wanted to break into IBD, but fate had other plans. Is there any chance to shift to IBD after starting out in Sales?

    Thanks a ton

    1. There are a bunch of articles on the site on how to exceed in your internships – the basic point is that you need to make everyone like you and come across as personable rather than trying to “act smart” or prove that you’re a genius. Be reliable and make people like you and you’ll get an offer. You can move into IBD after Sales esp. since it’s just an internship.

  140. Good evening from Wisconsin!

    I have been a dedicated reader of yours for the past 6 months and have enjoyed every article so far!

    I am a sophomore at the University of Wisconsin’s School of Business and have a business analyst internship at Target Corp this upcoming summer. Do you think this will be good enough experience to capture the interest of investment banks when I am a junior? Or do you think I should keep this internship in reserve and seek out more investment-related internships?

    Keep up the good work and happy new year!

    -Brandon

    1. That one is ok but I would try for something better.

  141. Thanks for a very insightful article!!

    Coming from a non-target, I was thinking about attending a target school’s career fair. If I do this, should I contact the school asking permission to attend or should I just go? If I do ask permission and they say no but I go anyway and can easily get in (without the school’s I.D. card or any confirmation), should I do it? Would banks ask me or someone else if I was granted permission attend? I’m a currently a sophomore looking for summer internships and I want build up my contact list, would be attending these career fairs as a sophomore be a good idea? Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

    Thanks for all of your help!

    1. Just go, it’s always a good idea. No need for formalities.

  142. I don’t have “banking” experiences, but have other finance-related experiences (campus-budget office, insurance company, accounting firm).

    You think it will be easy for me to spin these experiences and or will I be looked down as just an another non-banking guy, who tries to break into banking?

    1. Well, what other choice do you have? I would definitely spin them as much as possible.

  143. Would you say that VB.Net and Excel VBA skills are quite plus for an entry level analyst? Or not so much? Or does it depend on the banks/firms (like size, specialty, etc)

    1. Doesn’t matter much regardless

  144. Hey M&I,

    Thanks for this post, it’s really relevant to my situation.

    I have participated in 3 different competitions from bulge bracket banks (they are my only finance related experience other than a few courses and some consulting type extracurricular), would you recommend listing them separately (equity research comp, trading game, finance trivia game), or grouping them into a general category and then specifying what I did for each? The equity research competition entailed a lot more work than the other two, which is why I’m hesitant about listing them separately, but I didn’t want to leave the other two out since I’m scarce on experiences.

    Thanks!

    1. I would probably list the equity research competition as 1 entry, and then combine the other 2 into a separate entry.

  145. Hi,

    I signed up for the Networking Ninja Toolkit but there seemed to have some technical problem so that I ordered and paid for Networking Ninja AND Financial Modeling program which I don’t need. I have send an email to you on this. Could you help to fix that and cancel the order for Financial Modeling program?

    Thanks!

    1. I found that I had the access to the courses immediately after I paid, which made my previous post inappropiate. Thus, I would like to keep the order. I am sorry about that.

    2. Janet: Just emailed you about this.

  146. Avatar
    Fishingnet

    Slight diversion from the topic, Is applying through the career section of websites of bulge brackets, a good idea if you have been working in an M&A boutique (for about 2 years). Does any one care to look at the resume submitted there?

    1. In general no one will look at it. Sometimes you do get responses, but don’t spend much time submitting blind applications online – focus on talking with real people.

  147. If a bank sees “entrepreneurship” on your resume will they think you won’t be a good fit for the culture? I had a suspicion about this and just changed it to “part time”

    On a related note, is there a best way to spin entrepreneurial experiences? In my case I got involved in a startup project that was research based and actually involved going through 10-K’s and financial statements but sometimes I feel like employers won’t take it seriously if I try to sell it hard.

    Thanks!

    1. It depends how you present it – in your case I would spin it to make it look finance-related and just write about your work with the financial statements. I would not use the word “entrepreneurship” because banks want docile people – saying it was “part-time” or down-playing it is the better bet.

  148. Quick question,

    I am a freshman at a top target and I am looking at middle market and smaller firms (mainly real estate investment banking and private equity) in my local area for this summer just to get some kind of finance experience. I have found about 20 firms with alumni from my school and was wondering when I email them should I include my resume in that initial email.

    I have about a 3.7-3.8 gpa based on my first semester. I know it’s a good GPA, but if I include my resume, they will know right away I am a freshman and will probably disregard me without talking to me first. What should I do or go about talking to them?

    Thanks so much

    1. If you’re contacting alumni I would not include your resume – just email them to set up a time to speak on the phone or meet in-person first rather than asking directly for an internship.

  149. How much will a Rhodes scholar help for IBD?

    1. It helps but less than a solid internship.

  150. For SA recruiting if I’m a sophomore but I’m graduating in 3 years is it okay to apply as a Junior?

  151. Any plans on coming out with PE interview guides? case studies?

    1. Thinking about it but the PE interview guide would have a lot of overlap with the modeling program and IB interview guide so not sure if it would be a completely separate product.

  152. I am a college student who recently got an internship from a local PE firm.

    I will be doing some finance related works, but when I told my interviewer that I have some visual basic experiences (working for school IT), he seemed really impressed.

    As I reviewed necessary documents (employment paper, school papers, etc) regarding the hiring, I realized that my supervisor wants me to do tasks involving “intranet development”, along with other finance stuffs (he did not specify, just wrote stuffs like scope of blah blah blah and financial blah blah blah stuffs).

    I am afraid that I won’t be doing much, or at least relatively less finance related work once I start working.

    How should I tell my supervisor I am more interested in finance-side of the business, and will I able to transit eventually?

    What are your suggestions?

    1. Make a good first impression the first few weeks, and then ask for more finance-related work once everyone likes you and views you as reliable.

  153. If I get an internship at Morgan Stanley M&A or something like that the year before freshman year, do I have a shot at getting into PE at Carlyle/Blackstone by the time I graduate?

  154. How do I list my own portfolio as work experience as a last resort? (when I have nothing else to list? no previous employment or student activities…?)
    Truth be told, my bank manager tightly controls my money, so I don’t know anything about my own portfolio, but unfortunately that’s the only item that I could put on my resume.
    In my case, I believe I should only focus on networking and forget about my resume, as I go to a target. But my resume looks very shallow… please advise.

    1. Similar to what’s on here for the student investment fund experience – just write about a few stocks you invested in, or a few stocks you followed and were interested in. Very similar to the language on here. While focusing on networking is good, you still need *a* resume to apply in the first place.

  155. Avatar
    Ryan from UVA

    Brian,

    As always, thanks for the post. Why don’t you state the names of the mining and natural gas companies? Because they’re assumed to be not well known? Would you state the names if they were well known?

    1. Because I couldn’t think of anything clever on-the-spot. :) But yes, if you have names and could disclose them you should mention them here.

  156. Hi, just a quick question on a minor detail, is there a standard on which verb tense to use for resumes? I’ve always used present tense for things I am continuing (build DCF model) and past tense for things that I have completed (analyzed FCF). Or should I not be worrying about this small thing?

    Thanks lots.

    1. It doesn’t really matter – I prefer using past tense for everything but doesn’t matter either way.

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