Land FT Offer Without Graduating

Is it possible to land an entry level full-time role without graduating/not completing bachelors?

I completed an investment banking internship at a BB (GS/MS/JPM) during summer of 2021 with no return offer. I've never liked or wanted to be in IB, my passion has always been in markets and I always wanted to be a trader. However, as a non-target, my options were very limited. I managed to land that internship and took it without hesitation, with plans of eventually moving to S&T or something. While I didn't mess up or leave a bad impression or anything, I guess my relative lack of enthusiasm for IB was reflected in my work and there were simply other summer analysts more deserving, so no return offer.

Having a very prestigious internship under my belt (esp. for non-target) and no terrible reasons for not getting a return (perhaps even a decent spin since I want to pursue trading), I was in a solid position at the time, similar to many others with no return offers. All I had to do was spend the year networking hard and I'd land something good by graduation.

However, a unique personal situation arose and I took time off from school. The situation is very understandable for taking time off, but I took a lot more time off than I should have which perhaps isn't as understandable, and to make matters worse when I first got back I failed some classes. This has all pushed me back from graduating in spring 2022 to either fall 2023/winter 2024 (thats like 5.5-6yrs of undergrad).

At this point I'm very disheartened and unsure what to do. I truly don't want to wait 2 more years to graduate at this point and I just want to start working. Like I mentioned, I passionately want to pursue a market facing role, preferably as a sellside trader/path to trader, but idc at this point whether it be that, prop trading, sales, or equity research. My ultimate goal down the line is to move to a hedge fund. I feel like I am more than qualified for an entry level role despite no diploma. I know for a fact I wont learn anything new thats relevant for the remainder of my non-target liberal arts education that I have not already taught myself over 4 years. At the risk of sounding hubristic or arrogant, I know my technical knowledge of markets (specifically equities, equity derivatives, and fixed income) is significantly greater than what is wanted for an entry level role and I can easily display this during interviews. I truly believe at the right seat I can add a lot of value for my firm. In the most pragmatic terms, given a baseline set of knowledge, skills, and talent, a paper diploma should not matter to firms, but rather how much value an individual can add. Given what I have so far, is there any way whatsoever to break in without completing my diploma if I can adequately highlight my knowledge as an offset to obtaining the degree? Or is having the bachelors an absolute must with no room for negotiation and I should just put my head down and continue my bachelors for two more years. I'm open to any suggestions or alternatives I haven't mentioned.

Thank you to everyone who read my post, this is my first post and any insight would be appreciated.

Comments (1)

DjDsol19, what's your opinion? Comment below:

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