Ideal College/Recruiting Timeline

Put simply, I'd like to know while I still have time to spare what the ideal timeline is for getting internships, networking, transferring, recruiting applications, and whatever else it takes to secure a FT offer before graduation.  

Current Year (HS Senior)

  • Done some low-level networking and relevant internships, but nothing special.

Freshman Year (Penn State)

  • Explain everything I should start doing ASAP to maximize chances

Sophomore Year (Transferring to a better school)

  • Likewise, what should I have already done, be doing, and plan to do. (SA internship?  If so, focus BB or MM? Etc.)

Junior Year

  • Fill in the blanks

Senior Year

  • Fill in the blanks

End Goal: Secure a FT IB offer at BB/EB by graduation, preferably NYC and M&A

All (useful) advice is appreciated, thank you for your time.  


Agree if ur really ambitious, maybe talk to a girl who doesn’t share your DNA


I’d just have fun for now like the other people in the comments said.

When you get on campus, try to join any relevant IB club (think they have one w good placement if I’m not mistaken). Or any other Finance club that places people.

Other than that, get involved w a extracurricular (Greek life, club sport, club, volunteering), outside of Finance.


Is this supposed to be helpful or what?  Obviously I'm gonna join the relevant finance/IB clubs and yes of course I have interests outside of finance.  "Having fun" on the other hand is not helpful and won't get me anywhere.  I want to know well in advance what I should be doing so that I can be prepared and guarantee an offer, not just hope for one.  I'd rather not find out Senior year that I should've done x, y, and z when I had the chance but now it's too late and I'm fucked.  Should I max out grades freshman year or pursue internships?  Should I focus on elite internships or middle markets during freshman and sophomore year?  Is there a special this or that I have to do if I want to go into M&A?  Or better yet, what are the things that I don't know I don't know, and would be very helpful to me now?  I'm not the kind of guy who can afford to be lazy and care-free in college because his dad is Head of IB or something, I need to know before the deadline has already passed.  


Shut the fuck up you stupid kid. You act like you're some special 1-in-a-million amazing hard-working talent with a chip on your shoulder when you ended up at penn fucking state. The wrong Penn. If you were really that kid you wouldn't be at PSU trying to transfer out. Please don't give me some excuse or sob story, everyone has one. Listen to the advice people on here generously give you instead of being an arrogant prick acting like you're too good for it. You want advice? Here's advice.

In freshman year your only goal should be to transferring to a target. This means get a 4.0, and get involved in extracurriculars that look good to AdComs (nonprofit clubs, academic clubs, try to pursue a leadership role or awards in competitions). Freshman summer, get any business related internship. This can be PWM, valuations, corporate jobs, whatever, it doesn't matter. Also freshman year, even if you don't take many classes for it, pick up a double major in a non-business field like polisci, sociology, history, philosophy, etc, maybe even math or CS if you can handle it, because it looks good to adcoms.

Sophomore year, once at a target, join the requisite investment/finance clubs at said target school and do what everyone else seems to be doing. Network winter of your sophomore year and start recruiting in the winter/spring. Come back to WSO when you transfer to ask what you should be doing then, it is different from what you need to do freshman year and not a concern of yours right now.

People think being "good" or "successful" is about landing some flashy internship or pursuing something impressive. That's not true. You just need to do the unsexy thing day in and day out, and be really really good at it (not make mistakes), even if it is something you don't want to be doing or only need to do for optics. This is pretty much what banking is too. If that means getting good grades and doing non-finance extracurriculars, then so be it, that's what you should do for the next year.

Would echo other posters and recommend that you make physical contact with a woman with whom you do not share DNA as well.


Jesus where is that pent-up hate and attitude coming from? I would recommend getting that checked instead of sweating for an IB role that early

P.S.: nice troll post


Currently working at an EB (think LAZ / PJT / OPPY / MOE) and spent my first few years getting laid and partying. Enjoy life while you’re still in school instead of wasting time on this site


It sounds like you want advice, but you only want to hear the advice that you want to hear. Your mindset is the right one- it's good to come prepared. However, if everyone else on this forum who is in the exact spot that you want to be eventually is telling you the same piece of advice, you should listen. Chill the fuck out, you will get no advantage by learning how to do a dcf a year or two early. You go to Penn State, your chances at IB at a BB/EB already are slashed in half and close to 0.  The only, and I mean the only thing that matters for you right now, is to just keep a great GPA, for you probably a 4.0 since anything <3.9 from a school like Penn State will be frowned upon heavily. In the summer between Freshman/Sophomore year, start reaching out to bankers and talking to them, trying to build relationships. Use this time as well to study your technicals. You need to be technically elite to get over the disadvantage penn state puts you at. Some apps open nov-dec, most open after winter break in January. Fire out applications as soon as they open, ramp up networking like crazy, and practice interviewing skills. After that, you literally can't do anything else, it's all luck.

Just to clarify, I don't want to sound like i'm being an asshole, but I see a lot of myself in you. I came in with the same mindset/situation (albeit I go to a target) and I was that "hardo" trying to get super ahead. I got the same advice that you're getting now- I followed their advice, and now I'm an incoming summer analyst for 2025


Very well, is there anything in particular I should know about trying to max my GPA?  For instance, are there different levels of classes one can take that may be harder but look better on a resume?  Or is it just "get good work in on time?"  (Congrats on SA offer btw)


Thank you. As far as classes go, it's all a game and you need to play it. Take the standard courses you have to for your major, but always take a gpa booster class when you can. The only thing that banks look at is that number out of 4.0. Only a very few look at transcripts, and even then, as long as you have a few courses tailored to your major you'll be fine. Do NOT take hard classes that will tank your gpa. Take those in your 4th semester/after your 4th semester when recruiting is done or underway and they wont see your 4th sem final grades


take an accounting class, it'll build a foundation for the stuff you need to know when you do start going through the 400Q guide. Other than that, read the news, keep up with markets and M&A deals


Work at a top EB (think CVP / EVR / PJT) and have a distant family member who runs PS admissions. For one, I recommend you turn anonymous mode on when posting on wso. I already can tell who you are based from triangulating info across your comments (e.g. based around NYC, incoming PS freshman, etc). You won’t be getting looks from here. Also recommend touching grass


Have fun, make friends and do stupid shit that a college freshman would do. Start thinking about recruiting sophomore year and hopefully have some finance internship by then. Jesus I didn’t even know what IB was till sophomore year. This is getting out of hand.


Jesus kid I’m reading your posts and you seem like the most finance hardo ever.

My genuine advice to you and I’m not even joking here is to take it down a notch.

When recruiting comes there will be 4 key questions that every interviewer/receuiter will think about:

1. Does he know his shit (technicals)
2. Does he know what IB is and does he seem genuinely interested (previous IB/PE internship & College Clubs )
3. Does he have a drive to learn and a good attitude (leadership experience)

4. Do I like to be around this guy? Do I see him as a colleague? Does this guy have a life outside of finance? (NETWORKING and outside interests/ extra curriculars)

You can hit all 1,2,3 but if you come off as a hardo with no personality and life outside of finance I can guarantee you you won’t get into IB.

I have friends who recruited and were total IB geniuses and could build a full accretion dilution model sophomore year but had their whole life be based on finance and ended up with nothing; I have friends who knew the bare minimum about finance but was likeable and genuine and landed many offfers; and there were also total idiots who partied their way through COLLEGE but had some frat bro who worked at X bank that got him straight to a superday.

Work hard but also play hard. You are young and what you should be doing now is making genuine connections and friends, getting good grades, get into business clubs and enjoy college. Don’t lock yourself in a room studying technicals or trying to network with bankers who are trying to coffee chat sophomores as an incoming freshman. This will get you no where. In your shoes, transferring will also help.

Just be a genuine, hardworking, likeable college student, you don’t have to be Bobby axelrod.


I’m going to kind of echo what others are saying here. IB internships and offers do go to some of the smartest most hard working people around. They also go to people that those at the office like, so when people say have fun they mean develop yourself outside of what you want to do. If you keep moving forward with your current mindset you might get an offer but you will not be liked nor fit in. You are also going to burn out quickly if you approach IB or any area of finance with this mindset. Go enjoy college, network, and do more than the bare minimum everything else will work out.


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