Unknown undergrad school and ERCO
In less than a month I will hit my senior year at an unknown school in Eastern Europe (I’m studying towards B.S. in Finance) and the less time I have till my graduation – the more anxious I am about my prospects. Entering and succeeding in equity research has been my long-lived goal since, probably, the age of 15, but, being interested in valuation techniques rather than equity research industry itself, I was somewhat reluctant to evaluate my prospects in that industry. I naively believed, that pure meritocracy ruled the labor market in finance and that, therefore, substance (knowledge, skills) prevails over the form (the name of the undergrad school you come from). But trying to do some networking I learned, that not only does the practice of focusing exclusively on top schools undergrads persist among the employers, but it seemingly prevails.
Some guys I’ve asked to briefly review my future resume concluded that my situation is completely hopeless. I would highly appreciate, if I could get a feedback on my profile and some pieces of advice from the broader audience of this forum.
Main items, that I am about to include in my resume one year from now, include the following:
• CFA I
• B.S. in Finance, 3.9/4 GPA (~95th percentile, formally verifiable), Ukrainian B-School unknown outside the country
• Comp skills: advanced Excel, Access, VBA; intermediate C#, MS SQL; basic experience with Bloomberg terminals
• Foreign languages: Russian, Ukrainian, intermediate German
• Irrelevant internship in Ukraine
• Enthusiasm, ability and experience working 80 hours per week, passion towards securities markets
• Immigration status: green card holder
Now I wonder if there’s any way I could improve my resume in such short period of time. At the moment I’m considering following options:
• Publishing a research paper with my professor (who is just as well-known outside Ukraine as is the university)
• Gaining more quantitative skills (data mining, Matlab)
• Starting and promoting a blog on a narrow set of topics pertaining to to draw recruiters’/employers’ attention
• Finding a remotely relevant internship in Ukraine
• Signing up for GRE and packing bags for a Ph.D. program in a 2nd tier university in the U.S.
• Your variant
In the view of the above, I would appreciate if you answered the following questions:
1. What option would you recommend? How would you assess my chances of entering the industry if took this option?
2. What sort of employers should I focus on? Applying to bulge bracket firms really doesn’t make any sense?
3. Which of my skills should I emphasize? Is playing diversity/multilingualism card reasonable or, on the opposite, I would be better-off not even mentioning Russian language?
Thank you in anticipation – getting opinions from people actually working in finance is probably the most valuable knowledge I can gain at this point.