I Have No Degree, No Connections & I Want To Break Into The Industry. Any Suggestions?

I'm 27. I have extensive sales experience in the automotive industry and even some premature banking experience with a Credit Union. My resume outside of that is mainly managing retail locations. Went to college but didn't finish for personal reasons. I don't know much about Investment Banking in general. I know about investments on a lower level. I can discuss real estate, financial products and give general advice for where and how people should invest their money but not super extensive strategies. I feel like my talents are going to a waste. Was a killer in the car business but left because I never really cared about cars. It was just a good opportunity at the time to make amazing money. I just really wanna close deals. I get the job done. I'd bet on myself a million times over against anyone. Im a quick learner and I learn from practical experience. Once you show me something once, take off the chains and let me run free. I want to make big money too. I want growth as well in regard to a career. From some of the posts, that may not be a thing for a while. I don't come from an affluent background and unfortunately, a lot of my current and future decisions not only affect me but my parents as well. 

Didn't mean to make this a long post. I just generally want some advice on what you guys think I should do. Be straightforward, don't hold any punches. 


What industry?

You're all over the place, you're talking about investment banking (which is different than hedge funds which is the forum you're writing this post in), and then you're bouncing to real estate.

I'd highly recommend you go back and finish / start your bachelors degree.

From there try to get an MBA.


If I were in your shoes, I would go back into sales of some sort whether it be (luxury) cars, RE (realtor/broker), software, medical devices, pharma, anything. You say you like closing deals and you were good at selling cars. Why stray away from that then? You don’t need to love the product, you just have to convince others to love it enough to part with their cash. I would also go back to online/night school too just to make sure it can never hold you back.

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based on experience at a satellite BB office

There is a pathway into IB for you, but you need to start with getting an undergraduate degree. Your CV can essentially reset once you start studying, but will have some interesting relics you can speak to that may help you stand out.

eg 1) I came across an intern applicant that was very competitive (got to the top 10) and had a background as a professional chef before getting an undergraduate degree in engineering, which was followed by a masters in finance. He landed in M&A and he will eventually be able to lateral into IB.

eg 2) one of our best analysts started as an analyst at 30ish. His background was in recruitment for a few years before he studied law.

I imagine certain regions / cities are less competitive, so identify and aim for those. As another comment noted, I recommend ensuring you know exactly what IB is (ie advising clients on M&A and capital raising) and making sure it’s the direction you want to go in. It’s likely the best path for most high-paying careers in finance.

Networking will be critical given you need all the help you can get. You can get started by using LinkedIn to identify analysts (not associates or above) at all potential employers and meeting as many as you can. Use WSO to find out who the potential employers are; suggest you apply to all of them (incl. big 4 M&A / regional boutique advisors) when the time comes.

You can also use LinkedIn to look at what people have done (ie studies, extracurriculars, experience) before getting into IB and use that to craft up your blueprint.

You’ve found WSO (which is a great first step), so leverage the content on here to help you on your journey.


You might be able to break in if you get your undergrad and then MBA. However, it might not be worth it at that point. You'll have invested a lot of time and effort over 3 - 5 years to get those degrees while making little to no money in your late 20s/ early 30s. 

Personally, I think the highest value step you can take from here is to scale up and monetize your sales skills in new products, geographies, etc. Some tangentially relevant ideas are that you could get into a search fund and then use that to get into a small bank then big bank. Not sure about the success rate on this idea though.

If you are dead set on this idea PM me. I might have a few more ideas. 


like one of the commenters mentioned, "you are all over the place". I would start with trying to understand industry a bit better. Take some basic math and finance classes online, most everything is free or incredibly cheap can start with Khan Academy. Read a lot, no less than 3 hours a day, doesn't matter what, start somewhere and rabbit-hole it. And I don't mean over the next couple of weeks, I mean over the next two-three years.

If you do this (you probably won't), prep your brain to ignore the heavy emotional pain of hopelessness you will feel when you are putting in a lot of work with no result for months.

Also, the fact that you said " I'd bet on myself a million times over against anyoneis enough for me to tell you that you should NOT go into any type of trading, in fact stay away from making any type of monetary wagers in general until you take some statistics classes. Can start here (https://www.khanacademy.org/math/statistics-probability)


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