Advice for Incoming Freshman at Target School

I’m currently an incoming freshman who will be studying economics at a low-target school (Northwestern/Cornell/Vanderbilt), and I’ve decided that I want to pursue a career in the finance industry, specifically investment banking or growth equity. I’m looking for advice on how to spend my summer and freshman fall to maximize my chances come recruiting season.

I understand that this is the last free summer I’ll ever have, so of course I’ll be hanging out with friends, fooling around, and exploring my hobbies. However, I also understand that if I want to receive top offers (GS/MS/PJT/Q/GA) during the sophomore recruiting season, then I need to put as much effort as I can into the process. My school doesn’t offer a finance major, so I’m trying to take initiative now because I’ll be at a disadvantage when recruiting compared to the Wharton/Stern kids.

My question is, what should I be doing? Should I be reading Rosenbaum and Pearl? Should I be paying for WSP/TTS/BIWS courses and guides? Should I be learning corporate finance and valuation from YouTube videos? It seems like there are so many things I could be doing to put myself at an advantage now, but I don’t know which route to take. I understand that technicals are only part of the process of recruiting, but I’d really like to master them now to have a shot at recruiting for competitive school clubs and technical-heavy firms like Qatalyst.

I know that a lot of the advice I receive in the comments may be to stop being a “hardo” and to “get laid,” but I’m trying to set myself up for success. I have tons of free time right now, and I’d really like to work hard now to put my future self in a better place. I’d appreciate any advice… kind of lost right now.

Thanks guys.


Obligatory “get laid” and “have fun”, now is seriously not the time to worry about this. Notwithstanding that you’ll forget a decent chunk of whatever you study, technicals are really not that hard just grind for a month or two your sophomore year and you’ll be fine. I would recommend you read a lot. The news, books (not crappy technical books like Rosenbaum), make sure this is something you’re actually interested in pursuing. If you find the flashy headlines comatose you have another thing coming when you hit the desk. You definitely should not be feeling “lost”.

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Don't do anything over the summer – just figure out what the top clubs are the weekend before you start school or something. Also, I can't emphasize how important it is to try out everything you're interested in through internships/reading/case studies/talking to people. This is going to be way more important down the line compared to just grinding through a banking textbook. Everyone I know who genuinely found out what they were interested in and good at was able to achieve the same if not better recruiting success than the grinders who were just focused on prestige. Yes, you will have a short turnaround given how early recruiting is these days, but careers are long. Think with a long-term view and create focus. 

Also, don't stress technicals. If you're smart, you can pick up on techs by going through club education and maybe some very light studying outside of that by yourself. Banks like Qatalyst aren't actually that technical (the most technical shops are going to be your special sits/RX/distressed guys), candidates are just bad/not interested in tech (source: I got an offer there back in the day)


I absolutely second this. Find a senior who is where you want to be and reach out to them and ask them about how they got to where they are. Their advice coming from the same school will be the most valuable advice you can get.


Hi guys help me deciding between WashU and unc for bsba. I am international student and please suggest what second major should I take to become STEM designate. I am looking for a carrier in IB and where can I have the opportunity for maximum internship
Further should I stick to one of these or try for transfer at target school


Enjoy your freshman year. College is such a different world. Unfortunately impossible to realize until you graduate but it’s seriously special. Study technicals occasionally (like during the week, between classes) and go hard on the weekend. Get out and do shit, get out of your comfort zone, talk to everyone in your classes, make friends. I barely use my degree but all my college buddies are in finance now and it’s a network that’s hard to replicate while you’re working full time.


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