Incoming MBA student with zero experience. Need advice on what to do for entering IB . I have six months to matriculate

Hi, as the title says, I think I'm going to Rice Jones the coming Fall for an MBA. I seek to enter investment banking after the MBA. I am from India with experience in public policy and government. Shifted to M&A team of a natural gas utility less than a year ago to learn finance.

I have six months to start school and I wish to spend these months in the best way possible.

I really seek to take advice from you guys on how will this time be best spent and what skills to acquire, etc. What would you have done if you were in my situation is what I'm asking I guess.

Comments (21)

  • Business School in CorpStrat
Jan 20, 2022 - 3:30pm

Start IB 400Q now or should it be advisable to start near matriculation?

Jan 20, 2022 - 3:56pm
Dumbanker, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Thanks for your response. I actually started to do that random bankers on LinkedIn thing! May I know why would you caution against it? I see networking written in all forums and articles...may I know what they mean when they say that?

  • Analyst 3+ in IB - Cov
Jan 20, 2022 - 4:21pm

It's one thing to cold email/message people with the intention of setting up a networking call. If you simply send connection requests to random people you have never met, it is weird.

If you are pre-MBA and you're going to a program with a proven track record of placement into IB, you should network with the current MBA students in the program's IB club. It's easy to get anxious about recruiting, but MBA IB internship recruiting doesn't start until September/October.

Most Helpful
Jan 20, 2022 - 4:38pm
Dumbanker, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Oh, I get what you mean now. I think I'm taking care of that part. I send a note along with my connect request to setup calls. A few generous alumni MDs took pains to talk to me for an hour even...!

I started to work part-time with a connection in LinkedIn on her PE fund launching in this summer. She was also super cool. I thought H/S/W people with experience will not even reply.

What actually still boggles me is how will this networking transpire into an internship/full-time interview? Should I ask them about this and give a heads up that I'll come back to them in the recruitment season again? 

Actually, this woman mentioned that I can have a post-MBA role in her fund if all goes well. But I am in no position to even comprehend what it means for my career. I read that IB will lead into PE because IB teaches basic skills. But I don't know what is the harm in joining an early-stage fund (if it's called that).

I'm so sorry lol. I don't even know where to begin...

Jan 23, 2022 - 1:32pm
reformed, what's your opinion? Comment below:

While I agree with what you're saying, does Rice fit under that category?

Can't speak broadly but at my bank, Rice is a non-core school and you'll definitely get ahead by starting to network now. If you were at Columbia or Booth, would agree to hold off and wait for now.

Jan 23, 2022 - 12:06pm
RedWhiteAndBlue, what's your opinion? Comment below:

I don't think there is anything to be gained from networking now. If anything a bad call can just hurt you later on. There are more than enough seats for MBA summer associates. The 400 questions aren't rocket science, but certainly getting the concepts down may be helpful.

As the first poster said, listen to your finance club and have a good why. That is truly all you need to do. 

  • Associate 3 in IB-M&A
Jan 29, 2022 - 3:21pm

Are you working in India or in the US/EU? Working in M&A at a natural gas is pretty good for Houston IB (assuming that's where you're aiming give school and prior job) I wouldn't say you have zero experience. Definitely go to the career services at school to figure out how to best showcase that on your resume.

Agree with other posters saying not to network now. One bad call will kill you at a bank, and Houston is a very small world.

Spend the time continuing to get finance experience, your current job is perfect for that. If you're still in India, try to find opportunities for English immersion. I think the biggest recruiting challenge for internationals is just cultural. Your English is pretty good from your posts but I think a lot of people coming to the US just for their MBA struggle with the culture and way of speaking during recruiting.

Jan 29, 2022 - 10:10pm
Dumbanker, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Hi! Thank you so much for your response. I really appreciate your taking time.

  • I'm working in India, at a natural gas investment platform of a US-based PE shop.
  • I'm a bit worried to showcase my current experience because it seems like i know very little about the oil and gas industry and the big Excel financial models my team builds for valuation of target m&a asset. How can I be better positioned to take advantage of this experience?
  • To be honest, i have no particular interest in oil and gas. I want to explore interesting groups further than these Houston oil ones. If you happen to have adequate time, may i please know this: when recruiting, do you recruit for banks or groups? How to know which groups are best and is it possible to shift groups after spending some time as full time associate in one? For instance, i spoke to an MD at an investment bank in Chicago yesterday. He leads public private partnership projects in the US. That's a very interesting thing for me long term, given my affinity for government and policy as tools for impact, coupled with powerful private capital. However, that man suggested that i need not get into that space right out of MBA, but focus on generalist ib roles to keep my options open. I didn't probe him on that. But I'm actually confused by these groups. Until now, i thought banks are monolithic with one IB department.
  • thank you for your compliments on my English speaking abilities. I prepared for a few years to learn the American culture and sensibilities. Although I struggle with regional variations in culture viz redneck states-South-West and East lol.

Thank you so much for your time again and please feel free to ignore all or some of my message. I completely understand your paucity of time in general and know it means a lot to spend that free time on internet strangers.


  • Associate 3 in IB-M&A
Jan 29, 2022 - 10:28pm

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