Those who got into IB from 3rd world countries, what's your story?

Question: Those who got into IB from 3rd world countries, what's your story? More precisely, what was your path (hardships, obstacles, financing university, cold calling, moving to US/UK, etc.)? 

Regions which I have in mind: Africa, East Europe, South Asia, Latin America, etc.

Interested to hear your story.

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Comments (25)

May 1, 2022 - 3:37pm
T30Alumnus, what's your opinion? Comment below:

"Rich parents who afforded me a degree respected in the west despite a substance abuse problem and then I suck the juice out of Anglo norms while making high trust civilized living historically found in Western societies impossible"

May 1, 2022 - 3:49pm
MD Step Dad, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Yeah, thought of adding that such question doesn't apply to those who come from rich families. But who knows, maybe they also have an interesting path.

Most Helpful
May 1, 2022 - 4:02pm
Xeque-Mate, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Moved from Brazil to the UK nearly five years ago, had no idea what IB was but I knew I wanted to work in finance. No friends or family here, just my girlfriend at the time. Worked mopping the floor at Asda, bartender at Whetherspoon and kept working my way up. Three years later started uni in a complete non target, which was one of the few who didn't ask me for A levels. Was declined by student finance and have been working and studying full time to afford tuition. Applied for all the springs available but got none. Second year I signed up for SEO, did a bunch of extracurricular stuff, sent linkedin messages to about 250ish people to set up networking calls (none of them worked to give me a job), and got a lot of insight from those conversations. Applied again for summer got rejected by 99.5% of them but ended up with 3 offers: 

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May 1, 2022 - 5:21pm
Isaiah_53_5 💎🙌💎🙌💎, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Nice hustle

"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

May 1, 2022 - 11:34pm
luketr, what's your opinion? Comment below:

South East Asia. Came to Australia, fought hard for IB analyst stint, then got culled due to covid shortly after graduation, left with no job and 3k in savings.

Fought again to squeeze my way in a boutique derivative market maker shop, within 1 year climbed to run a small desk providing liquidity for both retail & small institutions, and also hedging services for other dealers. Then the firm went bust due to regulation changes that ultimately hit revenue stream.

Unemployed again.

Moved to another city, fought hard again. Landed a junior gig at a boutique fund.

The last couple of month I was pulling my weight by positive P/L contribution, hence the promotion to principal at fairly young age. 


  • 6
May 1, 2022 - 11:42pm
Isaiah_53_5 💎🙌💎🙌💎, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Appreciate the grind - cheers 

"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

  • 1
May 2, 2022 - 9:17pm
luketr, what's your opinion? Comment below:

No, it's impossible to have permanent work rights, but you will have temporary work rights.

But even with that temporary visa, big corporates (especially finance roles) will still ding you on the basis of permanent residency / citizenship. They might be more relaxed with tech workers.

It used to be open to foreigners to some degree, definitely not now.

Only way to break in is to get in some boutique shops on temporary working visa, and find your own ways to extend that visa.

But most people in finance (not accounting) in Australia are not eligible for permanent residency, most will have to leave. 


  • 1
May 2, 2022 - 5:15am
gekko98, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Long time lurker, posting for the first time.
I was about 16/17 when I decided I wanted to study finance. I am a big fan of film and was initially drawn to the meritocracy and lifestyle of finance represented in films and books. Grew tired of watching my highly educated parents work hard and barely make ends meet. I studied hard and prepared for the SATs on my own, coming from a public high school in a third world country as a non-native speaker. Got into a top continental target school on a full ride. Grinded for a few more years and graduated in the top 5-10% of my class. I am now finishing a top MSc in Finance and have received several IB offers. On my path I faced - many sleepless nights of self-doubt, sacrificing time with friends and family, often feeling out of place in social circles and breaking up with my girlfriend after a 4- year long-distance relationship. It's been a long time coming (~8 years), but I finally broke in.

May 2, 2022 - 8:53am
j11100, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Apologies for the bad formatting, I'm using the phone app. I wound up in ER though, purely by choice

I'm from an African country. Grew up dirt poor, barely had any food for weeks! (: I developed heavy interest in finance when I was young. The unfortunate thing is that I immediately knew that it's impossible to pursue that kind of stuff in my country due to nepotism and corruption, and systematic exclusion of the poor. I had no idea what IB was until I started reading about the financial crisis (the irony). I did a civil engineering degree from a pretty crappy uni at my home country, which was the best option I had still. During this time I saved up enough money for the CFA and luckily passed 2 level by graduation. I was doing freelance graphic design and translation while studying my degree alongside CFA, to just barely cover my own expenses. I hated my life, and thought about giving up more than I could count.

The summer preceding covid I interned at an infrastructure company operating in a neighbouring country, and the project manager had an MBA from the UK. After chatting with him and simultaneously discovering this site I realised there was a way to pursue my dream in finance. I took the GMAT and scored a smooth 750 on my first attempt, which was mind-blowing. Funnily enough I had to borrow the $250 from my professor at the time bc I was broke asf. After scrambling for a way out, I found a very affordable target MSc programme in Europe. I took some debt (that my parents still don't know about), and applied for the programme, and was thankfully rewarded with a full tuition waiver for my 2 years of studying. Things weren't tough then, at the very least I was awarded for any effort I made. Had an unpaid IB internship at an obscure boutique while studying full-time as well. Most of my friends recruited for IB, and really couldn't be happier for them. I just couldn't vibe with IB. ER was a bit more intriguing. Went through the interviews seamlessly easy and got an OC offer. Starting next month as a full-time ER analyst at a BB in London (:

I wouldn't say I struggled much compared to others honestly. I'm always grateful for the circumstances that helped me and I'll always be humbled by my background as an extremely impoverished person. I will stay in London for 7-10 years, hopefully I can get the experience back to my home country and put it to use, which sounds like wishful thinking atm but never say never ¯_(ツ)_/¯

May 2, 2022 - 11:07am
Stonks1990, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Great story, huge amount of respect for you buddy. Keep that mentality going throughout your career, will serve you well. Always love reading these stories and seeing how when it's an individual vs. the world, sometimes the individual wins if they're dedicated enough. Obviously, you have that within you. Best of luck to you in your future endeavors, go crush that shit!

May 2, 2022 - 11:29am
tocovedulfheah, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Born and raised in Bulgaria. None of my parents have higher education. Mother unemployed for the majority of her life due to taking care of my brother with a severe condition of autism. Father a police officer who retired when I was 13 (I'm currently 24). At the age of 16, we immigrated to a small rural town in Germany, due to my parents hoping to find care for my brother (Bulgaria has, as you can imagine, no social security for disabled people). Parents take out multiple loans to afford the move, I start working after school in construction, retail, production line. Anything that would take a non-German speaking 16 y/o. Fast forward a couple of years, I graduate, stick around for a few years to help out my parents while going to the local university doing business. Eventually, I come across people who want to go into IB, I figure out that breaking in from my university would be impossible. It's either Frankfurt or London.

I go for a non-target in London (only one that would take my without A-levels, similar to one of the comments above) and restart my degree completely (none of modules were transferable). At this point my parents are barely getting by in Germany and eventually they have to go back in Bulgaria due to the financial fuckery that Covid caused.

I move to London, not knowing a single person. First year into uni I learn about spring weeks, I get rejected everywhere. I start networking (I must have reached out to over 800 people) and am able to get 7 interviews. I then again, similar to one of the people above, learn about and join SEO London, which eventually led me to meeting incredible people who contributed substantially to my preparation and success. At the end of the recruitment cycle I was sitting with the following 3 offers:




P.S. This forum and the generous people here have done more for me than any networking call or any organization could. I appreciate you guys.

May 3, 2022 - 8:06pm
GUHHHH, what's your opinion? Comment below:

I was a little boy from Bulgaria…

May 2, 2022 - 11:54am
pm461, what's your opinion? Comment below:

My parents and I immigrated to the US from Latin America with nothing to our names. Grew up happy but with very little. Parents slowly made their way from cleaning offices to middle class jobs (mind you they were executives at large companies back home). In HS decided I wanted to help change our fortunes by working in finance so I grinded to get into a top college. Got into a top college and grinded for the best internships. Ended up interning at MF and EB. Now going into FT at a top banking group.

Like many others, I'm very grateful for WSO. This site served as a guide when I had no one to show me the ropes.

May 2, 2022 - 4:41pm
Vagabond85, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Nothing to add except to say these are some seriously impressive and inspiring stories. Well done all of you. 

May 2, 2022 - 5:21pm
curiousprime, what's your opinion? Comment below:

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May 3, 2022 - 8:10pm
GUHHHH, what's your opinion? Comment below:

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