College search for getting into HF

I’m a junior in high school and am trying to decide on colleges to apply to. I have a 3.33 unweighted GPA, 4.64 weighted GPA, and am taking 10 APs. I’m planning on majoring in finance and really want to work at a hedge fund post-graduation. I doubt I can get into any Ivy League so I’ve been looking at various semi-target schools but still can’t figure out what would be best. I like the sound of UT Austin but it’s still very difficult to get into especially since I’m out-of-state. I’m also looking at UIUC, UMD, UW, CU Boulder.

Any advice on what schools I should apply to, if and where I should get an MBA, and how to get into working at a hedge fund would be amazing.

Thank you!

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Kelly @ IU Bloomington should definitely be on your list as well -- seemingly a ton of resources to get into high finance. I've seen many UT Austin students placing well but haven't seen much visibility from the other schools you listed. Also, one thing is that many hedge funds explicitly ask for your SAT/ACT scores if you're recruiting for their summer internships, so if you can, maximize your score as much as possible now. I must say though, the barrier to entry into hedge funds is still pretty high even for students at top schools. You typically need to be really exceptional, lucky, or a nepo baby because hedge funds have minimal open seats for internships, and most only hire experienced professionals.

Also, you'll likely find out yourself, but don't blindly pay for an MBA if it's "just because." I don't think an MBA degree will necessary open more doors if you have little to no related work experience going into it/ coming out of it. If by then you manage to get into a brand name MBA program (Wharton, Booth, etc.), then it's a different story. Those are highly regarded, but then again, if you manage to get into them in the first place then that must mean you already have a lot going as an undergrad. What I'm essentially saying is securing relevant internships during undergrad is muchhhh more important than shooting for an MBA, specifically in terms of breaking into a hedge fund early on. 

If you are a woman, definitely apply for the Girls Who Invest program when sophomore year comes. Although acceptance rate into the summer intensive program is sub 3%, the guaranteed internship placements are fire. A few of the scholars this year are placed at hedge funds like Diameter and Baupost.


Thanks for the input! I’ll definitely add Kelly @ IU Bloomington to my list, and I’m definitely going to try to improve my SAT/ACT scores. I plan on retaking the SAT in June and August.

What internships are considered relevant, any hedge fund? Any bank? Or would it either have to be a hedge fund like Citadel or a big 4 for banking, like JPMorgan

Also, are there any thoughts on interning this summer in high school as a junior or next year as a senior? For example at a stock brokerage, or should I look more towards a summer program.


A Citadel-level internship wouldn’t be just a “relevant” internship LOL, if you get in something like that you’d basically be in the hedge fund realm already. Also, it’s nearly impossible to get into Citadel if you are not at least nationally ranked in math or physics. Their technical interviews are for Olympiad kids (exaggerating a bit here). 

The relevant internships would usually be at investment banks (ideally the big names but smaller names are absolutely fine). It also depends on the division you are aiming for at a hedge fund. Traditional long/short stocks? Try to secure an internship in equity or credit research. More on the macroeconomics side? Fixed income research or sales & trading. These are all divisions at banks that recruit for both sophomore and junior summers.

I’d say spending your high school summers self-learning how to pitch a stock or reading economics/finance books is helpful on its own. Also, try cold-emailing all the small investment firms in your area to see if you can shadow them or intern unpaid, etc. Some big banks might have programs for high schoolers, so definitely look into that. If you are extra ambitious, teach yourself analytical programming languages (Python, R, STATA) since many investing roles nowadays do ask for these skills.


I know (of) someone who got into it with a low GPA in something barely related to business (think marketing, communications, etc) from a weak school. But I'm sure you can guess another trait about her (hint: not Asian). 

But as you said, for the top ones it's insane - sophomore buyside seats at great firms


U sure she didn’t just get into the online one? Only the in-person summer one is highly selective with an internship placement. But either way, there’s definitely diversity within diversity even for the in-person program (very obvious once u see it).


Cornell ED is still a long shot with these stats unless OP goes to a high school sending a lot of kids to top schools. Still easier than getting into UT though so probably worth a shot


Used to be ~25% but I guess that's changed. Even so, I still think OP should ED there


ED Wake Forest/Tulane(Wake Forest is better) or IU Kelley, UF, SMU are pretty good. UT Austin is highly unlikely. However, you're guaranteed IU Kelley and all those other options are solid.

You didn't mention your SAT but if that's high(like 1470+) then these are fair game. 


I was in a similar position as you in the beginning of my junior year. I ended up at a target. don't be discouraged to apply to the top schools. Apply to as many schools as you can and just pray you get lucky with one target. That's what I did and it worked. It also helps having a 1400+ SAT.


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