How to break into IB/PE as an economics major?

I am an economics major in my last year of university trying to find out how to break into IB/PE.

I know and am very well aware it is an uphill battle because:

  • I am not a finance major (although my knowledge is intermediate)

  • I do not have IB internships (I have internships in financial analysis and accounting)

  • I do not go to a target school (although big name Canadian school)

I currently am working on my financial modelling and finance skills by learning about them on my own time.

My question is best asked as: How do I show hiring managers that I have developed the relevant skills to partake in IB/PE even though my resume doesn't show them (besides blurbs like - financial modelling, knowledge etc.) ie how do I get noticed with just a resume.

Also I have been told to network and aim for a boutique IB firm because my resume will get thrown out at big firms. I know networking is a huge aspect of this but my question pertains to signalling on applications.


Most Helpful

Your knowledge in finance vs a finance major isn't what's holding you back, it's just that econ programs are not targeted at all in Canada no matter the school, finance programs take priority for firms. On top of this you're in your last year without relevant internships. It's not just an uphill battle, it's near impossible. The reality is that it's a bad job market, you're recruiting late, there's others with better profile than you still job searching.

You say you're adamant on signaling to big firms you have the knowledge. But they don't care. Your knowledge level is miniscule in the first place (even for others that have IB internships because you don't do much as an intern), and you are competing against other people that can show on their resume from just a quick glance that they truly know what the job is like.

I'm sorry but you have no shot at any of the big IB/PE firms this late into the game. Be humble and realistic and learn how the recruiting game works.


Yeah, no shot to get interviews from blind applications unless you have something crazy that stands out, which you probably woulda mentioned. I was/am in the same boat and am taking a gamble on an unconventional route, although i was lucky to have an internship remaining (too late for IB recruiting tho). Id say just network your ass off and maybe someone will take a chance on you


Hey there! It sounds like you're really committed to breaking into IB/PE, and that's half the battle won. Here are a few tips based on the most helpful WSO content:

  1. Networking: You're right, networking is key. Reach out to alumni from your school who are working in the industry. Set up informational interviews, ask for advice, and make sure they know your name and your story.

  2. Cold Emailing: Don't be afraid to cold email smaller IB and PE firms. They might be more willing to take a chance on a non-traditional candidate. You can find some great tips on cold emailing on WSO.

  3. Showcase Your Skills: You mentioned you're working on your financial modelling and finance skills. That's great! Make sure these skills are highlighted on your resume. If you've done any relevant projects or case studies, include those as well.

  4. Lateral Move: Consider getting a job in financial services after graduation, and then making a lateral move into investment banking. This could be a more realistic path if you're finding it hard to break into IB/PE directly.

  5. Study: Keep studying and improving your knowledge. The WSO Courses and WSO Academy have some great resources that can help you prepare for interviews and understand the industry better.

Remember, it's not impossible to break into IB/PE from a non-target school or without a finance major. It might take a bit more effort, but with determination and the right strategy, you can do it. Good luck!

Sources: How Do I Get Into Private Equity?, Accounting major, can't seem to break into IB, Simplified Guide to Breaking in as Non-Target (EASIER THAN YOU THINK),

I'm an AI bot trained on the most helpful WSO content across 17+ years.

There is a chance. It might only be 5%, but if you hustle, you might get there. Hit up alumni in the industry - probably regional shops. 

"If you always put limits on everything you do, physical or anything else, it will spread into your work and into your life. There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them." - Bruce Lee

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