I know what you’re thinking: impossible.
How could a male escort ever become an investment banker?
Well, I’m not saying that it has actually happened – only that it could.
See, a lot of people think you need a 4.0 GPA from Harvard and a Rolodex of family connections to break into investment banking – but nothing could be further from the truth.
Even if you’ve been a male escort in a former life, you can get in.
Don’t get me wrong: you do have a big advantage if you go to an Ivy League or equivalent school, you have high grades, and you have family connections.
But you don’t need any of those to break in.
The Most Common Problems
I’ve seen that 3 problems cause a lot of fear, doubt, and frustration when it comes to recruiting:
Here are 4 methods you can use to overcome these obstacles and regain your confidence:
Applying to Master’s in Finance programs helps you if you don’t have a brand-name school or you have a low GPA.
Don’t even bother with these programs unless you aim for the top – schools without investment banking recruiting won’t help you at all.
Master’s programs let you “re-do” university and get a better-known name on your resume – and earn good grades to cover up a low GPA.
Read more about the trade-offs and benefits of Master’s programs right here.
And there’s a good site with information on specific programs right here.
If you don’t go to an Ivy League school, getting internships at bulge bracket banks – or even well-known Fortune 500 companies – will help you make up for this “lack of prestige.”
Internships at these places are far easier to get than full-time jobs – and even unpaid internships, informal work, or spring / autumn programs (more common in Europe) can help a lot.
When bankers read your resume, they scan for brand names – so if your school name doesn’t stand out, make sure that your company names do.
I know, I know – it’s all I ever seem to write about on M&I.
Still, I must note networking here because it works. If you’re passionate about finance and never give up even after hundreds of rejections, you will get in.
There are dozens of articles on networking so I’m not going to repeat everything here – I’ll just remind you of these 2 points:
And then there’s business school.
As with Master’s programs, don’t bother unless you can get into the top schools in the world – Harvard, Wharton, INSEAD, and so on.
If you’ve been working full-time for 3-5 years and you have “too much experience” to be an analyst, business school is your best option.
It won’t erase a lower GPA or a lesser-known school, but it will make them less relevant.
What If None Of This Works?
Sometimes you can’t do much to break into investment banking as an analyst or associate.
The classic example: you’re in your mid to late 30s, have an MBA, and you already have 10-15 years of work experience.
In this case you’re too experienced to be an associate, and banks wouldn’t know what to do with you.
Banks rarely hire outsiders for mid-level positions – you either get in as analyst or associate, or at the top as an MD or Partner.
So if this is you, your best option is to advance to a C-level executive position and then move into finance from there.
Show Me the Examples
For some inspiration, check out these interviews with readers who broke in against all odds:
My favorite story out of all of these?
The one about the part-time MBA guy who broke into banking – after he had been in another industry, gone to a tiny boutique, and then quit and gone into yet another industry.
You always hear about “fatal mistakes” that are impossible to recover from, but this story proves all the naysayers wrong.
And before you ask, no, I still don’t have any interviews with male escorts or pole dancers who broke in – although there is a reader Q&A column here that addresses the topic:
And if you really were an escort in a former life, you’d better sell your “client relationship skills” in interviews.
In all seriousness: with this type of background, don’t say that being an escort was your full-time job.
Instead, point to an activity, a part-time job, classes, or anything else and say you spent most of your time on that and did some “entertaining” on the side as your “interesting fact” in interviews.
What to Do Now
If you’re at an unknown school, you have a low GPA, or you have too much experience, think about how you can use Master’s programs, networking, brand-name internships, or business school to break in anyway.
And even if none of those apply to you, check out the articles I linked to above for some inspiring stories anyway.
You can always overcome the odds – just like Sylvester Stallone did when making Rocky.
P.S. Get here from an email forward, a friend’s link, or a random Google search?
This lesson is part of The Banker Blueprint newsletter – which gives you all the tips and insider information you need to break into investment banking. Learn more about it and sign up here.