Taking a gap year before MSc Finance?

I am currently in my final year of university and hoping to work in IB one day.

However, I haven't been able to secure any IB internships for summer 2024

How would it look if I took a gap year after graduating? My plan would be to get a high GMAT score, travel the world, volunteer, maybe do CFA level 1 and try find some internships in local boutiques.

Would this be viewed negatively for recruiters? I would be applying for top masters programmes after my gap year.

Thank you!


Hey there, future finance whiz!

Taking a gap year can be a great idea, especially if you use it to boost your profile and gain some valuable experiences. Here's how I see it:

  1. GMAT Score: A high GMAT score can definitely tip the scales in your favor when applying for top masters programs. It's a solid indicator of your academic abilities and commitment.

  2. Travel: Traveling the world can provide you with a broader perspective, which can be a valuable asset in the diverse world of investment banking.

  3. Volunteering: Volunteering can demonstrate your commitment to making a positive impact and can also provide you with some valuable soft skills.

  4. CFA Level 1: The CFA can be a valuable credential in the finance industry. It's a rigorous program that can demonstrate your commitment and knowledge in the field.

  5. Internships: Internships at local boutiques can provide you with some practical experience in the industry, which can be a big plus when applying for jobs or masters programs.

Remember, it's all about how you frame these experiences. If you can show that you've used your time productively and have gained valuable skills and experiences, it shouldn't be viewed negatively by recruiters. In fact, it could even make you stand out from the crowd!

Just make sure you keep that relationship with your firms and hiring managers going. Stay in front of them, even if you're taking a gap year.

And remember, always have a backup plan. You're making a smart move by thinking ahead and considering all your options. Keep it up!

Sources: Ask mbaMission about Business School Admissions, Does the CFA® help you get into Business School?, JP Morgan Officially about to Cancel Summer Internships and Freeze Hiring

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

The majority of people doing a MiF in Europe take a "gap year" before starting their master's degree. However, most of them use that time to gain internship experience. The MiF alone won't help you land a spot - and for top jobs, you are in desperate need of more than one internship.

From a career perspective, I'd strongly advise against volunteering, doing CFA level 1, or traveling the world. Use that time to do 2-4 off-cycles

Most Helpful

Take this with a grain of salt, as I’m also in the final year of my Bachelor’s (Central Europe).
From my friends that also wanna go into IB, nearly everyone is taking a gap year.

I also think that doing internships in the field will make your CV look much more well-rounded, with a clear goal in mind (IB). Recruiters like this. Especially from talking to recruiters and industry professionals (though most were in the DACH-region), everyone thought that a gap-year would be great.

For you, a gap-year will also help to see whether IB is truly something you see yourself doing long-term, and to find a firm / team that you wanna stay in. Additionally, you might find a shop with great fit and decide to not even do a Master’s.
Even if you don’t, your CV will be much stronger for internships and FT recruiting after your Master’s.

So yes, take that gap-year.

Only time I wouldn’t is if you are on the older side already - even then one could debate it though.


Very helpful, thank you. I am 22 so I don't think age will be a factor!


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