What am I doing wrong?

Hello everyone!

I apologize in advance for the lengthy post, but I would greatly appreciate any insights from fellow MBA graduates who attended non-target schools and managed to break into Investment Banking (IB).

I recently completed my MBA from a non-target school ranked in the Top 40. It's worth noting that in the past eight years, only two MBA graduates from my school have successfully entered the field of IB, and they had the advantage of family connections dating back to their high school or undergraduate years.

After two years of relentless networking, I find myself in a challenging situation. I graduated during a downturn in the job market, with layoffs happening all around me. I'm now wondering if there's still a chance for me to break into IB.

To provide some context, I have nearly a decade of experience in Operations and Project Management, where I've handled large-scale Real Estate and Infrastructure projects with budgets of around $1 billion, primarily in the Middle East. During my first year of MBA studies, I interned at a Venture Capital (VC) firm. I also achieved a GMAT score of 760, although I now regret not waiting another year to pursue a spot at a target school, especially considering the generous scholarship offer from my current institution.

Over the past two years, I've diligently networked with more than 400 to 500 professionals across various organizational levels. This effort resulted in two interview opportunities, one with Raymond James and another with a European bank that was expanding its presence in the United States. Unfortunately, the Raymond James opportunity fell through because my recruiter informed me that the company had implemented an internal hiring freeze due to a series of layoffs. Interestingly, despite knowing some of the individuals I networked with at Raymond James, including the VP who interviewed me, had been laid off, I still see new analysts (not any Associates though) being welcomed on the company's LinkedIn page.

As for the European bank, I went through four rounds of interviews, only to be informed that they had selected an IB Analyst with over three years of experience for the Associate role I was interviewing for.

Given this situation, I'm left wondering whether there's still a realistic chance for me to break into IB, especially considering that it's been four months since my graduation in May 2023. Any advice or insights would be greatly appreciated.


MBAs are only worth it if you go to an M7 program. They're a reset or they're for PE professionals whose dumb firms still believe to become a Partner you need an MBA. You learn nothing in them other than how to network and the reason M7 is the only program worth blowing $1MM in opportunity cost for is because they're the ones that connect you with the correct networks. If you go to one of these schools you have to practically swat away IB offers.

Sorry to say, what you did wrong was go to the wrong school. 


You’re right about OP going to the wrong school but couldn’t be further off base with M7 or bust. Top 15 or even top 20/25 gives you an extremely likely shot. Places like Tuck, Duke and Darden get like 85-90% hit rates for people who follow the path to the end. Then places like UNC or Texas still get like 70% success. Even places like Georgetown are sending a dozen per year. So while it’s a painful truth that OP’s school being outside of this range is the reason (and strange given his/her gmat), the availability of IB post MBA is nowhere close to being M7 or bust.

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Companies are still bringing in analyst classes and would continue to do so if there's a blanket hiring freeze - they are cheaper labor with more upside potential, and letting the brightest go would be a strategic mistake. An MBA Associate is simply more expensive. Deal revenues and count are declining, so selectivity is heightened. Tough pill to swallow, but in the short and long term, you're likely less valuable, especially in investment banking, and on paper your intrinsic value isn't as paletable. That doesn't mean you aren't as talented as you believe (or maybe you really aren't, I don't know), but this is the time we live in, and it'll probably sustain itself. I'd recommend finding a different path and don't dwell on it 


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