Securing a MM IB Internship from a Non-target and Late Start

I am a first-gen college student. I grew up low income. My university is a low tier public party school, I learned about IB in the summer before my junior year. If you look at this situation from a traditional IB recruiting sense, there was just no way I was going to be able to enter this industry. 

What I realized though is that all of that should not matter if you are truly committed to the process. My timeline started right as I was entering my junior year. I knew I missed the junior internship recruiting process for most of the big banks so I knew I had to get in another way. The other way was cold contacting like 100+ people, but before I did that I knew I had to be a serious candidate for them to even consider me.

The one positive I had going for me was that I was working during school, which allowed me to save up some money. In October of my junior year, I bought the CFI financial modeling program for $500 and this was the biggest investment I had made for myself. It really doesn't matter what program you buy, and it is more about making that physical commitment to do something beneficial for your career. Another kicker is that the material in these programs isn't rocket science, and all it takes is reps to learn these finance terms, excel shortcuts, and modeling best practices. I finished the program in 14 days, putting in 8 hours per day on top of my school involvement and work. I won't lie to you - I had to sacrifice the quality of my studying and work to get this done but it was well worth it.

My next step was to polish up my resume, cover letter, and interviewing to suit IB. I cut out all of the flowery nonsense that most kids in college highlight, so no more of "VP of Starbucks Cashiering" as an experience item and no more of "organized a multi-faceted quad-lingual business seminar of surfing instructors in Pi Kappa Alpha International Fraternity". Everything became X, Y, Z format. I hear you are looking for X, Y, Z. I demonstrate these traits through having done X,Y, Z, which allowed me to learn X, Y, Z. I went through a lot of failed interview processes at boutique shops, but this helped me refine my speaking ability and develop some confidence in myself. This was the crucial part because initially I was under the impression that being from a non-target school made me less competent than candidates from targets, but I realized this: an analyst from Harvard would be fixing slides and updating models all day...and an analyst from my school would be fixing slides and updating models all day...not rocket science.

The last step was the easiest but hardest. I made an excel sheet for recordkeeping and started cold contacting people from any firm I can think of through any medium I can think of. I know there are a lot of posts about the right way to contact people but it should not matter as much as your first impression. I started my emails with a brief hook that told them who I was, then did my X, Y, Z bullet points. The ribbon at the end of the email would be my request for a call and some attachments: a sample work I was proud of and my polished resume. Sent out around 100ish of these emails with a very low hit rate. At most 5 had responded with an interview arrangement, but with the preparation I had done to get to that point, that 5 was plenty.

I am now interning at a well known MM investment bank. This was a broad overview of my experience and hopefully this can shed some light to folks from non-targets with everything stacked against them. If you want more detail on any part of my journey, feel free to reply or message me directly.

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Jul 22, 2022 - 4:04pm
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