age old questions


I'm about to ask the most over-asked questions so forgive me lol. I'm in my second year of university studying economics (considering switching into finance) and I should end up after my next two years with about a 3.5~3.7GPA.

Background info:
I'm from Canada and would like a job in New York optimally but obviously that's easier said than done and therefore would also be happy with a job in Toronto Canada at one of the 5 BB in Canada. I don't have much work experience that would relate to investment banking. I'm going to try to see if I can learn how to get an internship through school sometime this month (I currently have no idea how it works). I go to a university that wouldn't be considered Ivy league in America but maybe just right below it. None of the major universities in Canada are much better than the other, and they're far more balanced out here so I don't believe there are any 'target' schools here in Canada.

So my questions are:
1) Is economics a good field of study to go into investment banking with or should I switch into finance (I have until the start of this summer to decide otherwise I'll just be wasting credits/time/money if I decide to switch after that)?
2) Is my GPA high enough for me to have a chance at landing an investment banking job?
3) Given the info, what steps should I take now to best achieve my goals of becoming an investment banker (while still maintaining a balanced lifestyle - I'm not some workaholic freak who only cares about my career and nothing else (no social life) like some students I've met are)?
4) At the moment, do I look like I have a chance at becoming an investment banker in 2 years when I graduate, given the info?

Thanks for reading, please let me know if you'd like to know any more information

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Comments (3)

Mar 7, 2014 - 7:30pm

My opinion:
1) Everyone who applies is a finance major - do something to stick out. But you still have to know finance
2) Above 3.5, you're good. Below 3.5, you'll need to network pretty hard to break in
3) Don't say things like that. In IB you are going to work 120 hour weeks sometimes. When guys are interviewing hundreds of kids and looking for reasons to knock you, giving any indication, however slight, that you aren't a hard worker or would prefer an industry with better work-life balance can get you dinged.

Aside from that, the most important thing you can do is to start networking. I personally don't like the volume approach that a lot of the guys on here use. Instead, I would connect with a professor who has been around your university for a while - he may be able to refer you to a banker. Otherwise go to your school's career development center and find some bankers that you have something - similar sports, similar clubs, same hometown, etc. - in common with & reach out, introducing yourself and providing a resume. Keep it very casual - you're not interviewing yet.

Close second to networking is to find an internship or other experience that shows you are interested in finance. In this department the best skill you can have is hustle. You're chances of getting stuff by applying online like all the other kids aren't good just by numbers. Find a connection - your friends parents, your neighbor's college buddy, etc. & leverage that. People are happier to make intros and help young people out than you think - you just have to ask for what you want. If you can't find an internship, make one. For all of my internships prior to BB, the position didn't exist before I asked. I told them I'm smart, I'll work damn hard, and I won't slow you down plus I'm free - find me something I can do for you. This will likely only work at boutique or middle-market shops and you have to 1) show a real interest in what they do and 2) be decent to talk to. I don't know if anyone can teach that, but especially if guys are hiring you for something informal you're going to have to make them laugh and want to have a conversation with you - they're doing you a favor.

4) Good GPA & good school - sounds good so far. Gotta nail down some internships though.

You can't kill the guys you trade with
Mar 7, 2014 - 7:39pm

Awesome :). I'm not so good at networking to be honest. It makes me feel like I'm using people, but I'm going to try, and keep working hard to do the best I can. I really like that professor idea since I was thinking of talking to my professor and asking him for advice just the other day. I'm still confused about all this internship stuff to be honest, but I'm going to try my best to figure it out. I was thinking of asking my local bank about a position and saying exactly what you said "I'm smart, I'll work damn hard, and I won't slow you down plus I'm free - find me something I can do for you." Thank you for your awesome, thoughtful and kind response :) I hope you have a great day, and maybe I'll be able to return here one day after achieving my goals to help, advice and encourage others like you've done for me today :). I wasn't expecting this great of an answer to be honest. So thank you, thank you very much! :)

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