1st Year Uni Student Advice to reach IB - Australia

Hi WSO,

Firstly, thanks for taking time to read this!

Bit of background about myself, I graduated high school in Australia in 2020 with an ATAR in the high 99s. I transitioned straight to a GO8 uni doing commerce and should finish the year with a WAM around 90. I have always been interested in Finance and investing - in fact i remember asking my Yr 6 teacher if we could short stocks when we started the ASX sharemarket game in class much to their bemusement. Also I currently work a lot and have managed to build a pretty decent (for a uni student) personal investing portfolio. My goal is really to work in investment banking as finance, business and economics have been my passion since a young age - it's not a flash in the pan thinking.

However coming to end of first year i already feel behind, I'm not a leader on any committees and don't have contacts/networks in the space and feel my extra-curricular activities are lacking - does personal investing count???. I work in hospo and tutor so not directly related to IB also.

Coming to the summer months i don't have an internship but understand i will need to start applying for one. So my question to WSO is what can i do in this upcoming summer break to put myself ahead? any suggestions? What are my chances of getting a decent internship and where should i target?

Also, a bit more long-term i may have the choice between doing a diploma in maths or a JD to further my chances by providing more time to get internships/contacts/networks. Obviously, a diploma will simply add one extra year whereas, the JD effectively will add 3 but i suppose is more likely to lead to IB job - any suggestions, i suppose i want to jump into rather quickly and the two extra years i would love to avoid - anyone have experience with this?

Thanks again for reading, looking back it's quite a few questions but i suppose having not been able to go into Uni this year (no prizes for guessing which state i live) i feel lost as to where i sit compared to others. 

Comments (15)

Most Helpful
  • Analyst 1 in IB - Cov
Oct 20, 2021 - 3:58am

Focus on getting one good pre penultimate internship whether that's in your second year or third year. If you intern at great private equity funds or leading boutique advisory firms it'll put you miles ahead of the competition. I've personally done lot of societies, case competitions and internships in uni days but in hindsight it really is that one valuable internship that pushes you forward for your penultimate banking internship.

To get this experience, cold email, read AFR street talk, prepare your story (walk me through your resume, why banking), practise financial modelling/technicals and invest. Doing committees and case comps help meet people who can notify you of openings and you can learn basics of excel/ppt but not necessary at all. There will be opportunities (interviews) at credible shops you just need to be patient, build yourself, develop true passion/curiosity and remain humble.

Every smart kid thinks one internship/committee/HD WAM makes them a finance genius destined for banking. People like genuine humble people who are curious and passionate. Marks/experiences/extra cirriculars are just tick in the box (ie. most of the competitive candidates have it, if you don't it'll be hard to pass screening). So work hard and remain grounded 

  • Analyst 1 in IB - Cov
Oct 20, 2021 - 4:29am

Good stuff overall but why is there this random belief among college students that you need to invest to get into IB lmfao

No one cares about your Robinhood portfolio, being a good investor doesn't make you a good banker and having good returns doesn't mean you're a good investor.

Modelling is also not the best use of your time. You're never going to walk into an interview and be handed a laptop and asked to start modelling. Just focus in your finance classes, read the M&I400 and mock interview a lot.

  • Analyst 1 in IB - Cov
Oct 20, 2021 - 4:48am

Agreed but investing does help people form commercial views and debate them. You don't need this in banking (for most of time as juniors) but definitely helps show that your thoughful, commercial and not just an output monkey and investing does develop these skills. Obviously, not some crypto/WSB type of stuff but in depth security analysis

Everyone reads M&I 400 and classic accounting stuff. The hardest technical questions aren't in the guides. If your competent and competitive candidate you would've nailed the basics anyways. It's about building skills and developing passion not for the sake of nailing the interview but because you want to improve. This in turn leads to better and more competitive candidates.

Some people only do the stuff that will be in interviews (eg. technical guides, brain teasers, standard behaviourals) and get by fine. But, as a male candidate having that intrinsic interest and going beyond the typical not for the sake of interviews but for learning helped me receive +4 final rounds and be ranked top bucket. 

Feb 2, 2022 - 7:43am
wso345, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Currently in the same position as the dude who created the thread. Do you think staying on the sell side in your second year internship is helpful? Eg is interning at PE less helpful than being at a small IB?

  • Analyst 1 in IB - Cov
Oct 20, 2021 - 4:50am

Would echo the sentiment above, landing a PE or boutique IB internship is crucial.

Assuming you're in Melb/Syd, there are a ton of boutiques. I would send out emails/linkedin messages to a ton of people from these firms asking to catch up for a coffee and let them know you're interested in interning in corporate finance. Would say you're open to doing it over the summer or during the uni semester.

If you can land 1 or 2 relevant internships before penultimate summer recruiting and maintain your WAM, you will get look-ins from most top places.

Oct 20, 2021 - 8:31am
ardlize, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Thanks really appreciate the advice, any tips (or don'ts!) for the email/message - don't want to look like an idiot and come on too strong. 

Oct 20, 2021 - 6:13am
Deliveroorider, what's your opinion? Comment below:

I think your over worrying. I am in my penultimate year and have a WAM of low 70s in a GO8 and I managed to get a HireVue with most BBs (waiting to see if theres first round).

Think what you could do is to cold email boutique or similar firms to secure an internship during your term breaks (be it paid or unpaid), which is what I am doing currently

Oct 20, 2021 - 8:30am
ardlize, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Thanks - i probably am just hard to have a feel on it. What do you recommend for the cold email, do you get straight into asking for an 'internship' or 'work experience'?

Oct 20, 2021 - 8:45am
Deliveroorider, what's your opinion? Comment below:

I guess you could probably start with expressing your interest in an internship with the firm in the heading and detail your circumstances in the content of the email.

I attached my resume and transcript and ask them for serious consideration if they have an available position.

Don't be disheartened by the lack of reply, it is normal not to have a reply since its a cold email.

You could try the Linkedin way as an above poster mentioned as well. Alternatively, you could try your university career portal. At least for USyd, I have seen more than a few postings from buy-side firms looking for interns. I usually get a better response for those and they are more willing to share what they are looking for in their ideal candidate. There's no harm asking what you could do better for the next interview even if your rejected in boutiques or smaller firms and they are usually more personable in that sense

  • Consultant in Consulting
Oct 21, 2021 - 4:51am

Hi mate, you mentioned Go8 and are considering a JD instead of pursuing a joint LLB, so will assume you are at UniMelb. If you want to extend your time until graduation I don't think a ~$120k degree is necessary, could just start doing units part time, pursue honours (1y) at your uni or apply for UNSW/USYD, or do finance masters at UNSW / USYD. Also consider dropping to 3 units coursework and doing 2 day internship/work experience during semesters, this is possible to negotiate with boutique firms. These are alternative options but you probably won't have to do this because I don't think you really are behind.

For this summer, focus on picking up an internship/work experience at a boutique. There are small HFs, RE shops, AMs, corpfin shops etc all over the place. You will have to do a cold message approach. If doing this, try look for UniMelb alumni to reach out to and also find out something unique about that team / shop and mention you admire it in your message (if genuine). Sorts of funds you would consider would be like Maven Fund, Aoris, etc. If you are really hungry for this, consider cold calling, it is an a skill that takes practice so start with companies lower down on your list but learn different techniques to get past gatekeepers etc. and you will be able to schedule meetings with decision makers in boutiques fairly easily. 

The tried and tested golden formula is: HD, finance committee, boutique internship --> big 4 TAS/M&A/etc internship / corpdev internship --> SA but there are so many possible paths do not use this as a standard. As for your ECs being lacking, paper portfolios / personal ER are good but probably more relevant to AM internships than IB, don't really stress about this though because as long as you get something sorted for this summer you won't really need ECs and will probably land a committee position next year.

For next summer, make sure you are prepared with a shortlist of firms to target for internships because you want to land a decent penultimate internship. AusSuper have their offices based in Melb for example.

Tl;dr: you are not behind where you need to be. A little hustle over your break will have you exactly where you need to be. 

Oct 21, 2021 - 10:25am
toxicpuzzle, what's your opinion? Comment below:

3rd year G08 here, and I also kind regret not gunning in first year. Most of the students I see getting offers from GS/MS/UBS are quite involved in finance societies such as FMAA and UNIT, so I would strong encourage you to join them.

Even if you don't get a leadership position initially, I'm sure that as long as you continue working hard like you do now you should be able to get a VP position by 3rd year. The precondition for this is that you contribute a lot as a subcommittee member when you first start and continue to network with your peers in the society. Doing so ensures you can obtain rapport/votes during student society elections.

Also, start doing finance related case comps such as the UBS Investment banking competition. If you can win a few, that would definitely get you to the interview stage for most BBs.

Oct 24, 2021 - 10:39pm
drizzydrake74, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Voluptatem quasi dignissimos debitis laboriosam suscipit nesciunt atque natus. Maxime deserunt ducimus quis molestiae fugiat. Itaque perspiciatis dolorem nobis sit nostrum animi. Eaque sit ipsam placeat totam.

Sint ipsam est voluptates atque et. Et assumenda ut optio in laboriosam sed. Ullam atque dolor modi.

Animi rerum incidunt quam reiciendis. Quo animi reiciendis sed autem incidunt vero. Ad nulla suscipit voluptatem sunt. Ad veritatis ut ipsa porro voluptates quod consequatur.

Start Discussion

Career Advancement Opportunities

September 2022 Investment Banking

  • Jefferies & Company (▲05) 99.6%
  • Lincoln International (= =) 99.2%
  • Bank of America Merrill Lynch (▲04) 98.8%
  • Financial Technology Partners (+ +) 98.5%
  • Evercore (▽02) 98.1%

Overall Employee Satisfaction

September 2022 Investment Banking

  • Jefferies & Company (▲12) 99.6%
  • Greenhill (▲07) 99.2%
  • Evercore (▲01) 98.8%
  • PJT Partners (▽02) 98.4%
  • Macquarie Group Limited ABN (▲21) 98.1%

Professional Growth Opportunities

September 2022 Investment Banking

  • Jefferies & Company (▲05) 99.6%
  • Lincoln International (▲03) 99.2%
  • PwC Corporate Finance (▲12) 98.8%
  • Bank of America Merrill Lynch (▲05) 98.5%
  • Houlihan Lokey (▲05) 98.1%

Total Avg Compensation

September 2022 Investment Banking

  • Director/MD (10) $613
  • Intern/Summer Analyst (319) $406
  • Vice President (38) $392
  • Associates (209) $257
  • 2nd Year Analyst (130) $163
  • 3rd+ Year Analyst (19) $160
  • 1st Year Analyst (438) $151
  • Intern/Summer Associate (83) $150