Any advice for an Incoming College Freshman?

I will be attending Fordham in the fall. I just wanted to know if anyone had advice on things like networking, internships, and literally anything you think would be valuable for me to know. To preface, I've been following finance for almost 4 years and have read many books, I also attended summer programs for finance. I have a deep love for investing and it's truly something I'm passionate about (not a robinhood or reddit trader, I do more value and event driven investing). I have connections to someone at a top 10 HF and know what the industry is like. I'd be extremely grateful for any advice!

Thanks in advance!

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Comments (46)

  • Analyst 1 in S&T - Equities
Apr 12, 2021 - 3:44pm

Many of your professors and peers will try to brainwash you. Continue to hold your own set of beliefs and opinions, use critical reasoning, be yourself.

Most Helpful
Apr 12, 2021 - 4:04pm

focus more on your gpa than anything else. don't overload on hard classes. don't take early morning classes if you won't be able to wake up at 7AM consistently. Don't take a hot steamy shit in the girls lacross team's shower while they are practicing because you might get caught

Apr 12, 2021 - 4:16pm

CollegeMonkey663

What range should I keep my GPA in? I was thinking 3.7+ would be ok. I know for a fact I can get As on all my B classes but gen Eds might kill me.

4.0 is the goal. 

"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
Funniest
Apr 12, 2021 - 4:18pm

BumbleBee45

Don't take a hot steamy shit in the girls lacross team's shower while they are practicing because you might get caught

-

"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

  • 4
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Apr 12, 2021 - 9:39pm

NycHardo69420

hey so when you say high GPA with easier classes can you elaborate ? 

Scope out https://www.ratemyprofessors.com/ and be educated on which teachers are easy. Get a 4.0 at all costs. If you have to email the dean to get in a class, do it. 

"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

  • 2
Apr 12, 2021 - 4:55pm

Keep your GPA up, network with peers and share investment ideas (there's a ton you can learn from others if you keep your ears open), take part in student organisations, attend insight weeks and apply for internships early, but most importantly: have fun, socialize and enjoy the experience - it's the years you will never get back.

  • Intern in IB - Ind
Apr 12, 2021 - 5:05pm

Transfer. (Source: Went to Fordham freshman year then transferred)

  • Intern in IB - Ind
Apr 12, 2021 - 6:12pm

If you have to ask the question "why should I transfer" you won't follow through with the process. Figure out first what you want and then decide what you will do to get there. If you want IB, learn about it first, get 4.0 and ECs, and do absolutely everything you can to get ahead. People from Ivys with great GPA and clubs get denied from these internships. You've got to look good on paper and be polished and well-liked. Better school = better on paper = better CHANCE of an interview. 

  • Analyst 1 in AM - Equities
Apr 12, 2021 - 9:36pm

transferred from Fordham to a target as a junior and found the difference to be night and day. Fordham is a great institution and a fun place to be if you like NYC, but nothing beats being at a target for recruiting. Was literally a student at my target for a week and got interviews that I had no shot of at Fordham. 

  • Managing Director in S&T - Other
Apr 12, 2021 - 5:21pm

You are falling into the trap that being super excited about finance and having a connection is going to get you through. Unfortunately it is not like big tech or starting a company. Treat your first year like a job, aim to get a super high gpa and maintain over staring at bloomberg all day. Coming from a non-target 3.9+ should be your goal. Unless your connection is blood and they own the fund.

Apr 12, 2021 - 5:41pm

Thank you, Should I transfer or stay at Fordham? The reason Im going there is because it's the alma mater of my connection. He doesn't own the shop but he has other connection in IB/PE. Also, I'm actually not that crazy about my connection. He is the one who actually pushes that he'll be able to help going forward. The reality is that I know it's not going to be easy and I know that I need stellar grades but i feel that maintaining a good GPA, like a 3.7 or 3.8, mixed with networking and making good friends is better than a 4.0 and no network other than my one connection. PLEASE let me know your thoughts.

  • Managing Director in S&T - Other
Apr 12, 2021 - 5:49pm

Have you looked up "Point 72 Academy" or similar programs? Transferring is an issue after you get the GPA, first get the GPA. Great to have this connection your initial interests you will be bored in IB/PE. Went to school with people as gung ho as you coming in, but they all got GPA and then were on school fund etc...Got to get the GPA to start with even then was a semi-target.

You are incorrect with the good friends/networking, you going to Fordham not a Top20 school. I am glad hes alum, if he told to goto Fordham over Stern as an example I think everyone on here would be confused. Look at the countless threads on here recently some dude with 5 different top20 acceptances, arguing if they should go to an ivy or full ride etc...

  • Analyst 1 in IB - Gen
Apr 12, 2021 - 6:30pm

Lose the passion talk and never bring it up in an interview, if you're truly passionate then it will show in your gpa and your ability to communicate. Also avoid being seen as a hardo, just prep hard but don't make finance your personality. 

Apr 12, 2021 - 6:46pm

Thanks! You're right and I'll try to be more mindful when it comes to that. I didn't think of it in that aspect so I appreciate your advice. I'm just really young and excited but after today I'm going to try and take a more stoic approach to the way I think about finance. Sorry if I came off in an annoying way. I'm truly grateful for what you said and I think you had an impact on me. I hope you have a great evening.

  • Analyst 1 in IB - Gen
Apr 12, 2021 - 8:37pm

Don't be sorry. There is nothing wrong with being passionate or finding it interesting but just come across as a chill person and let your results reflect your interest.

Apr 12, 2021 - 6:55pm

Party a lot

Have fun

Don't sacrifice your GPA

Don't drink and drive

Don't do anything extremely stupid that has consequences

  • 2
Apr 12, 2021 - 7:48pm

Do something outside of classes and being a finance wonk

And I don't mean "community service on the weekends cos it looks good on the resume" or "be an RA/TA for the same reason", I mean do something real like varsity sports or having a side business or even leading your local chess/bridge club. Anything not related to finance/resume building. Something that really interests you.

You'll look back fondly on those times in the years to come.

Apr 13, 2021 - 4:40pm

Keep a solid GPA, reach out to any people in the industry that you even have the weakest connection to so that you can learn about the field of finance. 

Don't network for the goal of getting an internship - as a first year, this is highly unlikely. Run calls with people to learn about the field as a whole - when I'm on call with someone in M&A, I'm asking about the type of work they get exposure to, and the type of deals they're exposed to.

With people in coverage, I ask about trends in their industry, what they look for in companies, and even valuation methods. It really gives you a lot to talk about. For example, if I talk to a banker in infrastructure and they tell me about the importance of modelling downside risk in the worst 1% of scenarios, I can talk about that with an infra PE guy and come across as actually interested. The name of the game is cross-referencing information - this way, the PE guy thinks I'm smart enough, and I can ask them if they know anyone else I might be interested in talking to. 

This really gives you genuine knowledge that isn't AS easy to find online. Armed with this knowledge, apply for finance clubs. In my interviews, I could talk to some obscure comps methods used in industries like early stage biopharmaceuticals, which helped show my genuine interest, because no one else in my year or even upper years knew that stuff. That kind of stuff is what shows the difference between a freshman who wants finance because of genuine interest, versus one who just watched the Wolf of Wall Street.

Have fun too LOL. No one wants to talk to a kid who has no personality other than finance. Be able to smoothly talk about finance, but also be able to talk about sports, movies, etc.

  • Analyst 1 in AM - Equities
Apr 13, 2021 - 8:16pm

Lots of great advice floating around this thread. The two biggest pieces I agree with most:

1) Keep the GPA high. I understand the beginning of college can be overwhelming (balancing making friends, getting involved with clubs, drinking) but definitely keep the GPA 3.8+. You realistically won't have any wild/eye-catching jobs on your resume during your freshman/early soph year. A high GPA is what checks the "this kid isn't an idiot" box in resume screens when your experience can't differentiate you

2) Network early and cast a very wide net - talk to people from all walks of finance. This is how you really start to develop an understanding of what job you want down the line, and get some golden advice on how to get there. It's one thing to think you want to work in IB because you read some posts on an internet forum, but it's genuine conversations with folks in the industry where you learn what you're actually interested in

Although it goes without being said, have fun and enjoy the trip. 

  • Intern in IB-M&A
Apr 13, 2021 - 9:16pm

Might be going against the grain here, but I would recommend going in with an open mind (don't just gun for that IB offer right away). Take classes outside of finance (I would recommend taking some intro comp sci courses in particular since there are so many threads about tech vs finance, so it would be good to get some firsthand experience early on there).

When I came to college I was like you - super interested in finance/IB, had been trading for a while, reading a ton about the markets etc.. I worked super hard to get that IB offer (doing what everyone said above- keeping a high GPA and networking and all that good stuff), but now that I finished the internship and am taking a few comp sci courses out of interest, I'm starting to realize that I really do enjoy coding and maybe could have pursued a career in SWE/Tech, but now that I'm a senior it would be really hard to switch.

I know it's hard to balance the work needed to land those competitive IB spots, but if I could do it over again, I would have taken freshman year to just explore interests without a particular career in mind, then take the summer to reflect and decide if I want to recruit for that junior summer SA during sophomore year. Whatever you decide, continue to explore interests outside of finance anyway throughout your four years. You just don't want to go into college with a super narrow focus and then wake up one day after college and realize that you wish you had taken the time to learn about something else. College is pretty much the only time in your life where you can just learn about cool shit, so just don't spend those four years trying to get some job in IB or HF or whatever. 

Apr 14, 2021 - 2:31am

Just my take, none of this is absolute gospel but it's the less obvious stuff I found useful in my personal experience:

Appreciate that it's 10x easier to switch career paths in college than later in life. It's good to have an idea what you want, but it's also good to really be open to that optionality. There are a lot of good paths out there, try and find the best one for you instead of a good one for you. I was so incredibly sure I wanted to work on Wall St for years until I actually bothered to check out other paths and realized consulting was a much better fit. And if you stick with finance you'll know it's what you really want which is valuable too.

Make a lot of friends freshman year, talk to everyone

Keep a good GPA like everyone is saying but also get involved with clubs and orgs. Honestly the GPA is just to check a box, the experiences you've had are how you sell yourself as better than the other 20 people with high GPAs too.

Learn how to prepare for interviews and seek internships from freshman year. Understand that your freshman and sophomore year snowball pretty quickly into junior year internships which lead to return offers. It's more of a sprint than it feels like, especially for most freshmen. Also means you should really load up on easy classes at the start if possible.

Start networking early with people (informational calls), start with alumni from your school. Try to actually learn about the job and convey an actual interest in the field/career path and come off as likable. 

Develop good life habits. Work out, don't eat like total shit, get a lot of sleep, learn to internalize and analyze your feelings, read a lot, don't waste too much time on your phone, etc. Once you're in your career you'll have less time and energy to expend towards this stuff, so if you can get your life in order during college you'll be giving yourself a great foundation for everything later in life.

Take psychedelics (from a trusted source, in a calm environment)

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