Request: London Success Stories

Hi all, I'm a UK monkey that is soon going to graduate without any high finance exp. I enjoy reading success stories, especially those that offer insight into how the non-target approached it.

However, almost all networking success stories seem to be from the US. Is the UK that structured so only target kids make it? I have had a few cases when they flat out say "sorry you are from X university, we will not hire someone from there".

Can a UK non-target that made it share their experience? Thank you.

Comments (12)

Most Helpful
  • Analyst 1 in S&T - Comm
Mar 28, 2021 - 9:06am

From my experience in the UK... a strong amount of non-target kids that make it into high finance are diversity candidates (i.e. black/female)

Browsing Linkedin, I don't think I've ever seen an Asian/white male from a non-target get into a decent shop from campus recruiting... only target school ones

I'm sure those unicorns exist somewhere... but your realistic success stories from non-targets would be: "I'm a black female, went to Loughborough, joined SEO/Rare, landed 5 Spring weeks and now have 3 summer internships and a FT offer. AMA"

Apr 1, 2021 - 4:48pm
chumpchimp, what's your opinion? Comment below:

I thought so too, but a quick LinkedIn search shows there is some truth to this comment.

  • 1
Mar 31, 2021 - 7:13pm
intern_forever_x, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Yes but most banks require at least Russell Group uni. There's a difference between non-target & non-RG imo. Non-target.. we're talking anything above UK top 35 ranking (as an example).

What I have personally seen is consistent with the most upvoted comment. That's just how the game goes.

Apr 1, 2021 - 5:28pm
SLB00, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Agreed. Something like Exeter or Leeds (Newcastle less so) to high finance is pretty achievable - there's a decent alumni network that will be willing to share some knowledge. Southampton or Liverpool? Much tougher. UEA or Strathclyde (both "good" non-RG unis that are exceptional in a few subjects)? Almost impossible.
The rankings vary quite a lot, but I'd broadly suggest that anything within the top 15-20 or so will give you a reasonable chance if you have a diversity pull or do lots of networking and really excel academically.

  • Analyst 1 in IB-M&A
Aug 23, 2021 - 9:34am

Won't go into the details here but a mentee of mine landed in top tier BB SA in London from pretty humble beginnings (run-of-the-mill high school and complete non-target university). The guy, to the best of my understanding, is a straight white male. I say mentee but the guy was so switched on from day one and knew exactly what he wanted so it wasn't too much work on my part, good grades and generally decent with people but nothing that would blow your lights out. Speaks no language other than English fluently. Guy only got one chance to hit the top tier BB or EB for a Spring Week and he made it count.

I post this here for the inspiration but also as a caution. For London, coming in as non-target there is nothing you can do to guarantee that you get the offer. Follow the guidelines as much as possible and be prepared but at the end of the day it's a big game of luck. At least you know it's doable now.

Aug 23, 2021 - 10:23am
Ovechkin08, what's your opinion? Comment below:

For the highly standard "graduate scheme" entry path you will have a tough time getting into an IB/FO program from a non-target. However, the door is not 100% closed to you. I went to Leeds Met (yeah a crappy ex-poly) and yet I found a way in after starting at a Big 4 role in a Northern office. You just need to get that first job in a reputable company and use that to apply for junior roles. Plenty of guys in the UK did the ACA at a Big 4<<internal transfer to Big 4 corporate finance << external move to IB or MM PE fund.    

  • 3
May 6, 2022 - 11:27am
Leeeeemmmmm, what's your opinion? Comment below:

I was a in a non-target Uni (not terrible though, lower Russell group). I started out in back office (for a couple years), learned a niche skillset (project finance / modelling) in my free time and leveraged that to move into the Infra PE sector.

I think this is quite common in London, non-targets starting in BO and making their moves 

  • Analyst 2 in ER
Jun 7, 2022 - 10:43am

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