Non-target to BB IBD SA Offer as a Sophomore

jaah94's picture
Rank: Monkey | 49

I have been an avid reader of WSO for the past couple of years and the stories that I have enjoyed reading the most are about non-target kids breaking into Wall Street. I always looked at them with admiration and dissected every article to gain the most valuable information possible to use in my path from non-target to the street, and I dreamt of one day sharing my own story. Now, it looks it is my turn and it has come earlier than expected. I sit here today as a sophomore from a non-target school with an offer to join a BB for the summer as an IBD analyst. So, I want to share my story to the WSO community who has been an integral part of my success.

First, let me share a little bit of my background. I am an international student and I attend a non-target state university (35,000+ students). Still, I carry a strong GPA (3.9) and I am heavily involved.

Before starting college I knew I wanted to be somewhere in finance but I did not have a clue of what IB was. I knew about Wall Street and for me it looked interesting. So, I decided to research online, I stumbled into WSO, and since then I have become an avid reader. Then, during my first month in school while reading WSO I saw a post about the Campus Rep program. I decided to apply even though I was a freshman, did not know much about finance and had very few connections at my school. I had the opportunity to join the amazing team and looking back at it, it has been one of the most rewarding experiences I have had so far, and it was the experience that defined my interest in IB.

Now, I knew I wanted to be in IB, but how could I break in? I had no connections, no experience and a very limited financial knowledge. However, I had an advantage, I had time. I was still a freshman but I had the drive and desire to achieve my goals and nothing was going to stop me. One night I was talking with my dad and he pointed out that he had a friend who was an MD in PWM at a BB in New York, so I asked him to put me in touch as I was heading to visit a friend in NYC during winter break. I reached out to my dad's friend and he invited me over to his office. I was expecting not more than a 20 minutes chat and cup of coffee. However, he invited me to spend the entire day at the office working with his team. That day I met a person in his team who became a mentor to me and has been an integral part of my success.

Later that semester I got invited by a BB to attend a freshman discovery program over spring break. I had applied to this program earlier in the semester and I was very excited when I got the invitation. However, until this day, I still wonder why they invited me over other target school kids considering the application requirements where an essay and a resume, and I had no connections in the bank. This event opened doors I never imagined to open that early. During the program I met bankers from every level and industry, and after the event I knew I had the chance to break into Wall Street.

As the summer came along I tried to get an internship. However I was limited because I am an international student and the few options I had fell through. Instead, I had the opportunity to study abroad with my school. Now, when I came back to start school I knew I had the opportunity to get a summer analyst position as a sophomore. So, I decided to put all my effort into it.

Once sophomore year started out I put all my focus into recruiting season, I polished my resume, read both WSO guides and started calling the few people I knew in banking. As they saw my interest in banking the few people I knew started putting me in touch with their friends around the industry and my whole semester became a networking frenzy having at least two phone calls a week and sending countless emails. All this reached a climax when one of the bankers told me that if I really wanted to land in a superday I needed to go to NYC before Christmas and meet the people I had talked to personally. That was on a Thursday afternoon, I was on a plane to NYC that Sunday and spent three days visiting everyone I had talked to before. Some of these meeting were pretty casual while other became straight formal interviews (I got interviewed by four different bankers in one of my visits). After this I just had to wait. Throughout winter break I got first round interviews, and by early January I landed two Superdays. One of the Superdays was at the bank I was part of their freshman program while the other one was at a bank I knew few people. In the end I ended up getting an offer from the bank I knew less people and got waitlisted in the one I thought I had a better chance.

As I sit today waiting for the summer to start, I look back in what I have done and think of what advice I can give to students that are like I was a year ago and I can summarize them into a few things:

- Network: as everyone else says, it is the key to landing that offer if you come from a non-target, so don't be afraid to pick up the phone and call alumni or your parents' friend. Just try to get in touch with as many people in finance as possible, you never know who is going to open a door for you and if you can afford it, don't think twice about making a networking trip.
- Know your stuff: if you get a chance to talk to bankers know why you want to do IB, the basic technical stuff and what is going on in the world. You don't want to blow up your chances because you didn't know what are different techniques of how to value a company (get the WSO guides!).
- Don't get discouraged because you are from a non-target school: you would be impressed how many bankers don't care about your school once you demonstrate that you know your stuff and are equally or better qualified than a target school candidate. Also, the bankers that came from non-targets will open the doors for you (they know the struggle)

Again, I want to thank the WSO community for being a big part of this story and being a guide throughout this process.

Comments (28)

Apr 15, 2015

Congratulations on the offer! Keep working hard. It's a long road.

Apr 15, 2015

thanks for sharing your story!

WSO's COO (Chief Operating Orangutan) | My Linkedin

Apr 15, 2015

Well done and congratulations! I wish you the best of luck at your internship this summer; you deserve that spot!

Apr 15, 2015

congratulations!

Observe. Learn. Share.

Apr 15, 2015

awesome story, congrats!

Apr 15, 2015

Good on you man!

Best Response
Jul 18, 2016

If I might add one last bullet point to the summary it would be get dad who's friend is a Managing Director of Private Wealth Management at a Bulge Big Fucking Swinging Dick Bracket Bank

    • 9
    • 1
Apr 15, 2015

you seem upset about something? welcome to the real world.

    • 1
Apr 15, 2015

Mate, plenty of people would have connections like that, that they weren't able to it didn't translate to relevant connections in ib. Don't be a dick.

Congratulations OP, definitely impressive feat and you're clearly in a great spot - good luck this summer.

    • 2
Jul 18, 2016
theteam:

If I might add one last bullet point to the summary it would be get dad who's friend is a Managing Director of Private Wealth Management at a Bulge Big Fucking Swinging Dick Bracket Bank

Jul 18, 2016

(Please Delete)

Apr 15, 2015

Bunch of haters. Good job OP.

Apr 15, 2015

Congrats man. Getting an internship a sophomore is tough, being an international student is tougher. Keep up the good work.

Apr 16, 2015

Congratulations. Just curious, were you a girl or a minority or LGBT? How did you get invited to the Freshmen program?

Apr 20, 2015

The freshman program I was part of was a minority program. However you should still apply because I met people from different backgrounds who were not minorities

Apr 16, 2015

Congrats Jotin ! Well done. Keep up the great work. Kill it this summer and get a top group at a top bank for junior year.

Apr 17, 2015

Awesome story, congrats! Sounds like you really earned this spot! Keep up the effort and stay humble and you'll do very well.

Apr 17, 2015

I think one should focus on the strong self-belief that OP could break in and the huge networking efforts put in! Congrats!

Apr 17, 2015

How much did these networking trips to NYC cost you by the way?

Apr 20, 2015

A few hundred bucks. I was lucky enough to save on lodging because I crashed at a friend's couch

Apr 17, 2015

Congrats. The hard work was definitely put in, but the defining connection was his dad's friend who is a MD in PWM at a BB. To the other non targets out there, you will have to make 10 times the amount of calls and emails for maybe an opportunity. Harsh reality.

Apr 17, 2015

great motivation, but can you still do it when you almost graduate ? I will grad with accounting major in 6 months

Apr 17, 2015

If I may ask, which one are the companies that offered you an internship regardless of your Visa status? I am an international student as well and it seems that no matter how prepared I am for the banking world I keep getting rejected because they do not want international students. Thanks and congrats!

Apr 20, 2015

Most BB banks offer sponsorship for front office jobs. Also, you have OPT so take advantage of it. If you are good enough, this shouldn't stop you

Apr 18, 2015

Great story, thanks for sharing and good luck!

Apr 23, 2015

Maybe there's something I'm missing about this particular story that makes it special, but I don't think that non-target to a BB is or should be such a big deal. Certainly for you, it's the greatest thing in your career, but reading this site sometimes gives the impression that public school kids have almost zero chance at breaking in. I'm looking at the "related content" banner as I write this, and 7 of 8 of the links are "non-target breaks into IB." The rarity of this clearly isn't true. Getting on Wall St requires some preparation and networking and sweat, target or non-target, and it probably requires more work coming from a shitty school, but by no means is it the water to wine miracle that many threads would have you think.

Coming from a non-target myself and having occasionally read this site from time to time, I was initially discouraged by so many of these posts. Congrats on the internship, but with a 3.9 and being 100% in on IB from your first month in school, your story should be a more common one.

May 5, 2015
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Jul 25, 2015

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