I spoke with Andy a week or two ago about doing an AMA regarding my path from non-target to banking and beyond - so here it is. To sum up my path for those who may not know:
I didn't apply myself in high school, and saw a bunch of my friends who did care about their work move on to great schools across the country - ones that I couldn't get into due to my grades. I wasn't pulling a 2.0 or anything, I was just firmly middle of the pack at a school full of strong students, when I should have been near the top. So I took a scholarship offer at a non-target in the SEC, not the best school I got into but not the worst.
I knew that regardless of whether or not I wanted to transfer, it was in my best interest to crush it in school. And I did crush it - 3.95 GPA, joined a fraternity, accepted into the honors college, and so on. I was having a great time, but I wasn't really feeling challenged, nor was I seeing my peers land killer finance internships.
So I decided to apply to transfer to a few schools - some privates (Duke/Georgetown caliber) and some publics (Michigan/UNC/Texas/UVA caliber). If I wanted to have a shot at investment banking or a lucrative finance career, I felt I needed to move on to a school where the employers would come to me.
I ended up getting accepted to 4 of the 6 schools I applied to, and ended up transferring out after my sophomore year. It was really tough - I made my best friends from college during those first two years, but I had to make a "40 year decision", not a 4 year decision.
I was not a world beater at my new school, but it was enough to land me a SA position at a non-NYC MM IB. I received a return offer, and came back for FT in July 2013.
I recently started in corporate development in media and entertainment, and while the pay cut was tough, I am really enjoying it.
I do want to say thanks to Patrick and WSO for the wealth of information available on this website - I don't know where I would be had I not discovered it.
So, there you have it. AMA about transferring, IB, corp dev, SEC football, or whatever!