Can I get into investment banking from non target school?

I will be attending UW-oshkosh this fall, and want to get into investment banking. I realize that Oshkosh is not a target school, so I was wondering how I can't get into IB still. I read that if I graduate from Oshkosh, work 2-3 years, then go get and MBA at a target school, I can get a job as an associate. Is that true? and where would I have to work for those 2-3 years. Also are there investment banking jobs in Wisconsin? and are those less competitive then New York jobs? I just feel stuck because I didn't try in high school, so couldn't get into a target school, and now it seems like my chances are very slim of getting into IB. If anyone with experience or knowledge on this can help me out that'd be great.

According to some earlier post I found, think:

Tier 1A Claremont McKenna, Vanderbilt, WUSTL, Virginia

A majority of my peers are international students. It has been difficult for them to find placements. American students do well assuming they know how to interview/network.

Thanks. Program is pretty rigorous, especially the first semester when you're balancing the coursework alongside the recruiting process. Every class you're in has a mix of MBA (graded pass/fail) and MSF's (graded on GPA scale) so that makes for an interesting dynamic. MSF's are working 4-5x as hard as MBA's IMO. Definitely like drinking from a firehose the first 5-6 months.

What MSF program was it? If you aren't comfortable telling us the school, can you at least give us an indication of similar programs to the one you attended?

Use more debt than your competition or get out of the business. Any other policy is either self-limiting, no-win, or a bet that the competition will go bankrupt before they displace you. - Bruce Henderson

So when I have nothing better to do, I enjoy trying to track down these success stories. I usually never mention anything when I get a hit, but this one I have to call out b/c I'm an alumnus of the school. I have a contact at the school and (s)he confirmed with me that this guy did not get BB, nor did he get IBD. He got non-IBD at an arguably soft MM bank (in the Midwest). My contact was also concerned that this guy was making public posts that were blatantly false that could so easily be traced back to the school.

I say all of this because I hope those of you still in undergrad (or out of undergrad for that matter) realize how easily you can **ck up your reputation by one narcissistic post on an internet forum. It will be interesting to hear if any of this gets back to his future employer or the school. I out this guy because finance, especially IB, is built upon trust and respect and if you can't even cultivate those attributes anonymously on the internet then IMO your veil deserves to be pulled away.

For those of you who think I am possibly just trolling, look up the characteristics he mentioned on LinkedIn. He literally mentions the company's he has worked for and the school he goes to - all in the midwest (hint: worked on the shores of Lake Michigan, went to undergrad where the hawks have eyes and are black/gold, grad school along the Mississippi river). Thats how I found him. Per WSO user guidelines, I can't actually link his profile, but its easy enough to find. Just watch it over the next couple months and see if I am right.

Cheers to you my friend. You put your mind to it and received exactly what you put in.

People on this site drive me insane sometimes - telling stories of how impossible the transition is / how you need to go to XYZ University to be even remotely considered... That is just absolutely absurd! Hard work, possessing an interest to learn, common sense, a TON of networking, and having a hard enough head to keep swinging until you land one is all that is required!

I went to a non-target state school and didn't know what investment banking was until my senior year of college. I realized quickly that it was exactly where I needed to be. So I worked at it - networking, reading, and surrounding myself in the industry. Boom, a year later I stick it to the man and land a job that I would have never dreamed of.

Buck, you just get it. Congrats to you my friend. Keep up the crushing.

Congrats, sounds well-deserved. I hope that the position is all you desired and more. Your story is a bit of an inspiration for me; I'm currently debating whether to go to NYU for my MBA (admitted for the fall full-time) to career switch into equity research from a non-finance background (policy analysis and compliance). Given your experience, would you recommend MFE/MSF programs over the MBA for this? I face a similar situation to you in that I have a comfortable, well-paying job now, so it would entail opportunity cost and risk for sure. What specific hustle and networking strategies did you find most helpful? Reaching out to alumni? Faculty connections? Just cold reaching out to target firms?

You need to do at least one internship (preferably two) before anyone will think about hiring you as an analyst. As for studying IB skills, you do not really need to do that unless you like learning thing twice, because they will train you about all that stuff when you do the internship. The main reason they say that you must do an internship is because they do not want to have to train you on those basic things when you start as a first-year analyst. As for recruiting, you can go to the companies' sites and apply there, but I would say networking is the best way. Networking can include things like information sessions with bankers, superdays, etc. As far as linkedin, you can follow banks such as Piper Jaffray, Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan, and so on. But alumni from your school is a really good source. get connected with them because they have personal connections with the banks that you want to apply to and this can give you an advantage.


There is a page called searching for a summer internship under the IB forum on WSO. Search for it because it has the names of many banks ranging from bulge-brackets to boutiques. You can use this list and search the names in that list on linkedin and follow them. This will allow them to notify you when openings come up. Also, there is a site called Mergers and Inquisitions that has many good articles on getting hired and the like. That being said, let me know if you have any other questions, and good luck!


More information on your Major/prior internships would be helpful.

At this stage in the game, it's going to be a huge uphill battle to land IB post grad. Staying at school for another 2 quarters is definitely helpful so that way you can qualify for 2018 summer internships, but most everywhere is done recruiting for that already. Your best bet would be to look at very small/no-name boutiques with alumni you can network with. Good luck

EDIT: forgot to address the part on how to actually connect with people on LinkedIn... usually the best strategy for that would be to find them through LinkedIn (using their search feature w/ school designation) and then emailing them directly at their work email address (pretty much every companies format could be found online - ie [email protected]). Much more effective than depending on LinkedIn messages only with the hope they actually respond.

It normally sits within ECM/DCM with DCM doing most derivs and ECM doing equity derivs. Typically team names will be something like "Strategic Equity Derivatives" or "Corporate Equity Derivatives" on the equity side and "Corporate Risk Solutions" on the debt side. I don't think they do a lot of work with governments, there's no need for any of that stuff to be done on the private side, with the exception of EQD hedging of remaining stakes in privatisations etc.

Don't know much about the US recruiting process unfortunately. In Europe, they either recruit separately (rarely) or from within the S&T pool. Usually the IBD skillset is not that compatible with the team so it might not be the best way in.

A lot of corporate clients are covered out of S&T as well, so you're probably better off looking there than at IBD if in terms of interests that's what you want to go for.

All of the banks do. You have to be a top student.

"Look, you're my best friend, so don't take this the wrong way. In twenty years, if you're still livin' here, comin' over to my house to watch the Patriots games, still workin' construction, I'll fuckin' kill you. That's not a threat, that's a fact.

Yes, you can definitely get a position at a bulge or top boutique coming from a non-target (though bulges are easier b/c they take more people on as analysts). You may need to network harder to get your resume in front of someone but a top candidate is a top candidate.

Also, many top liberal arts schools are non-targets but banks regularly hire people from those places. At the end of the day, it's just much easier for a bank to spend its time recruiting at a larger school like Cornell where hundreds of kids are interested in banking than to go look for the ten kids (not an exact number) at Swarthmore who are interested.

All banks will take some non-target candidates. To break in though, you need to be a stand-out, either on paper (academically, extracurriculars, or stacked experience) or in person by networking like a legend. At my GS superday there was a girl from Manhattan College, I live in the city and literally hadn't heard of it, and I know some kids in the year ahead of me had kids from outside semi-targets and non-targets in their analyst class as well. Anything is possible.

I am permanently behind on PMs, it's not personal.

Ok that is good to hear thanks for the info. I currently have a job in accounting but want to try to have some investment banking experience before I go back to school for my MBA. Will 2 years of work experience kill my chances for an entry level analyst posistion? I start working at the company in the fall and plan on trying to work in their M&A and business valuation department if this makes any difference.

Networking will make the difference, but I would do it fast. More work experience will make it even harder to come in as an analyst.

Even with 2 years work exp, you will need to look mostly at boutiques. Most BBs have very limited opportunities outside of their standard recruiting process.

At lesser BBs, you could potentially get in as a lateral hire with a strong contact and killer interview. Unfortunately, most GS/MS/etc. lateral hires will be people from banks a tier down looking to move up, and even transaction services won't let you compete with people who have actual banking experience.

Yea I would be happy to work for a boutique I would like any banking experience before I go to business school "hopefully Wharton" so this way I have a better chance for an associate posistion in a BB after getting my MBA

Kid from complete nontarget with a chance at MM/BB here.

There is almost nothing harder than breaking into a NYC BB from a nontarget assuming you have no resources and have to do it from scratch. Start your freshman year with all knowledge and help? Doable.

I have had 1 day of free time in the last 2-3 years. Everything else is a constant grind. Wake up at 6AM every day, and if I am lucky I get to bed by 10PM (I am not very lucky). Those 16 hours? 90-100% of that is work... every single day. And you know what happens when I try to have fun? The gnawing thought of having to do homework and then if projects I could be doing. Kills anything. No matter how hard I work I will always be behind the kid who got went to a target school and has never known what it is like to work and go to school. He got a freshman internship at a firm that won't even look at my school.

On the other hand I worked up to 13 miles in 3-4 weeks from never running at all.

Let me hear you say, this shit is bananas, B-A-N-A-N-A-S!

Breaking into IB is much harder. The difference is: you run a marathon for yourself (just have to complete it) and in IB, you have to convince other people that you can run the marathon (kiss ass, are competent, responsible, etc.). Persuading other people, while there are much more attractive candidates is the hardest thing you can possibly do, imo.

Breaking into IBD is most definitely harder. To break into IBD you have to have at least two of these to get an interview, if you miss two, than you have no chance. 1.Went to Target 2.Fantastic Grades 3.Networked you ass off

ALSO you have to have been planning this since about sophomore or junior year. You can run a marathon at any point in your life.

You will have a better chance of landing a full time IB offer by bolstering your resume now with internships, participating in the school's investment management club, etc. and networking than running straight into a sub par masters program with no work experience.

If you have a good GPA and school involvement a MM or boutique bank internship will not be too far out of reach (still will require a lot of work) which will most likely turn into a full time offer or can be later leveraged into an offer at a more desirable bank later on. Depending on what year you are in school (if a freshmen or sophomore) your sole focus should be on landing internships, in my opinion.

You miss 100% of the shots you don't take

It is quite a bit late for the recruiting in my opinion, not to say that it's impossible, but it's just a late. Most BB's and EB's (from what I've heard/read/seen) start recruiting for summer junior year around December - May the year before.

If you've exhausted your options in terms of BB's and EB's I would look into other regional banks and firms. There's plenty of them out there and your experience would definitely get notice. Along with that keep in mind that it's not just BB's and EB's that get full time offers. You'll read across this website, plenty of stories of people breaking into IBD with diverse backgrounds and different experience. Don't count yourself out, but work hard on networking.

Best of luck

You should be fine, don't overthink it. Keep reaching out to boutiques & MM IBs, add associates and analysts on linkedin (or just email) and PM them asking to meet and learn about the firm. A common mistake is asking them to push along your resume, my advice (take it with a grain of salt if you want) is do NOT do this. Learn what you can, talk about non-IB things (not everyone working 90+ hours a week wants to discuss banking further in their free time), and try come across as a motivated and driven individual. Keep reaching out multiple times (Up to 3-4, waiting 2 weeks in between each message/email), always be polite and respectful, and just keep at it. I come from a non-target with a similar GPA and it took reaching out to 50+ firms before I found my PE internship, and i reached out to 75+ guys on linked in. To be fair, a lot (40+) of guys from my non-target break into IB, so I had a pretty high response rate on linkedin. In the end, my personal cover letter and ambition (not my networking abilities) got me the position, but this is relatively rare. You have great experience, a good GPA, and you just need to keep trying.