Aspiring Wall Street Student: Where do I start???

devul's picture
Rank: Senior Orangutan | 411


I am a young student looking to learn about the market and the different areas of Finance. I have always been fascinated with Wall street and I am trying to start early to put myself in position to break in eventually.

I have been following the market and reading articles online but I was wondering what are some other steps I could take to get a more detailed look into what specific areas of a bank do. I am basically looking for any advice or direction from an experienced person in Finance that you wish someone told you when you first got started. Reading/Study recommendations, tips how to understand and follow the market better, good areas of a bank that have promising futures that I should look into, etc.

Simply put: I want to have a better understanding of finance/markets/wall st, and figure out some sort of direction and path I want to head in. Where do I start?

I like the idea of sales, I enjoy making new friends and building relationships and this is something I think I would find myself to be good at, but sales is such a broad idea that from my understanding can apply to all aspects of a bank. Trading seems exciting too.

Any advice is appreciated and i am new to WSO so if you want more clarification lmk.


Comments (18)

Jul 10, 2018

How old are you exactly?

"He who makes a beast of himself gets rid of the pain of being a man" - Samuel Johnson

Jul 10, 2018


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Jul 11, 2018

I guess that isn't considered young lol

Jul 10, 2018

I was the same exact way at your age except I wanted to get into the more trading/investing side of things rather than banking/investment banking. Good news, your not to late to start and learn if you want to get into either business. As for me i began trading on my own in college, learning how investing worked, the different philosophies, strategies etc. I have read close to 50 full books by now on the topic (im currently 23) and i would have to say, whenever anyone asks me how to get started about markets/investing are the following two books: (either will do or both)

  • The Neatest Little Guide to Stock Market Investing: Fifth Edition - Jason Kelly
  • The Only Investment Guide You''ll Ever Need - Andrew Tobias

this site called investment masters ( is also an incredibly useful starting place. check out the tutorials.

If you like those and wish to learn more and take it a bit further when it comes to investing the following are still good beginning books that in my opinion can be used as a great investing foundation and really help with having an understanding of financial markets:

  • The Dhandho Investor - Mohnish Pabrai
  • Common Stocks and Uncommon Profits - Philip Fisher
  • You Can Be A Stock Market Genius - Joel Greenblatt

And if you wanted to go further at a more higher level these are a must read and are the best:

  • The Most Important Thing Illuminated - Howard Marks
  • The Intelligent Investor - Benjamin Graham
  • Narrative & Numbers - Aswath Damodaran
  • One Up On Wall Street - Peter Lynch

As for investment banking:

  • Investment Banking for Dummies, (actually not that bad of a read)

The best thing to do is read and interviews on youtube. Interviews with people like Buffett, Munger, Nelson Peltz, Bill Ackman, Joel Greenblatt, Mohinsh Pabrai, Aswath Damodaran (check out his site he puts all his classes online and material and you could practically use his site alone and build your own MBA curriculum, Corporate Finance class great one to start with). Other guys include Howard Marks ( my favorite), Paul Singer, Bruce Berkowitz, Seth Klarman, Whitney Tilson, Dan Loeb, Stanley Druckenmiller, Ray Dalio, David Einhorn, Francois Rochon, Jamie Dimon Lloyd Blankfein.

Real Vision TV is also a great learning spot with interviews from some of the best in finance and inexpensive for students. I think its $12 a month.

Everyday reading places that i use/like:

  • Value investing world
  • Farnam Street
  • CNBC Buffett Archive
  • Base Hit Investing
  • WSO

As for figuring out what you wanna do, something i read that made a lot of sense for me in college was find what type of intelligence you have and leverage it as much as possible during your life, but make sure you enjoy what it is!

-Hope this all helps.

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Jul 10, 2018

Thank you so much that does help a lot.

I have my foot in the door through connections now I just need to learn and go from there. I am currently interning at a mid sized investment bank however I am in more of a back office role. I don't think it is too late for me to break in but WSO would tell me otherwise as I have read many posts.

However, I think its just up to me to control my career. I just need to learn as much as possible over the next year and a half.

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Most Helpful
Jul 11, 2018

You're off to a good start given your internship and willingness to post here looking for help. I would definitely recommend sites like WSO, Mergers and Inquisitions, Street of Walls, etc. for learning more about investment banks. If you're looking to talk in person with investment bankers and actually run through mock interviews, you could try something like The Lobby to directly schedule a call with an investment banker. Know quite a few people who have gotten jobs off of advice/guidance they've gotten from people on the site

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Jul 11, 2018

I have been meeting with guys at my firm in banking while here on internship. It's tough not having any experience or being in the program but I am building relationships at least. Any reading materials, videos, practice, etc you suggest?

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Jul 13, 2018

What exactly is it that you fear you do not know. I think the first step here is being sure you know what it is you're trying to know. Otherwise you'll just waste a bunch of time reading irrelevant WSJ articles. To get the juices flowing:
1) Are you afraid you don't know the technicals?
2) Are you afraid you don't know how to properly answer behavioral questions?
3) Do you not know the difference between different areas of an investment bank and how they interact with each other?
4) Do you not know what the career progression and expectations are for a banker?

All very different questions to answer. Brainstorm and let me know, and I may be able to help you better.

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Jul 16, 2018

Does The Lobby really work? I remember seeing it when I was in recruiting and didn't expect it to be any good

    • 1
Jul 25, 2018

I mean it doesn't guarantee you an interview or anything, but it's the best/cheapest thing I've found for doing mock interviews with actual bankers literally at the banks you're applying for with no worry that if it goes poorly they'll ding you. Up to you/what you value your time at/how wide your existing network is, etc., but I like it, and I know a lot of people who have had positive experiences with it, so now I recommend it occasionally.

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Jul 13, 2018

Read Jonathan Jones' advice on Quora. He runs talent at a big hedge fund at Point 72. You can also check this post out to create a plan to land a good finance job from scratch:
In general - just cold email people, find friends who've gotten top finance jobs, and ask smart questions when you talk to them. Write those things down. YOu'll learn like crazy.

Jul 25, 2018

Do you have any personal mentors in the industry that you could reach out to? Or know any recent graduates who've gone into the space?

Jul 26, 2018

Do you have any personal mentors in the industry that you could reach out to? Or know any recent graduates who've gone into the space?

Yes I have many close family friends that are successful in the industry. The consensus advice I have received is to find something that I truly like and find interesting and go from there. So I am in the process now of trying to find out exactly what that is for me, and first I think I need a better broad understanding of finance/wall street.

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Aug 16, 2018

Here's my advice. If you have people you are truly close with, tell them you know nothing, and want to learn more about what they do. If you're close with them, this doesn't need to be some fancy outreach email, just see if they can talk on the phone or via email to give you advice.

In my freshman year of college I was in a similar situation where I literally knew nothing and wanted to know everything. I asked a ton of people and made a lot of mistakes (many I still cringe at to this day). But by the end of my freshman year, I had found a great mentor at my college and figured out the path to getting an IB internship at my school. I felt ahead of the curve and did pretty well in my interviews, despite starting out with nobody I knew well in the industry and no clue where to go.

Just read a lot on sites like this, M&I, Street of Walls, The Lobby, etc. Don't take what people say on these forums too seriously. Try to find longer pieces of content to read and alums at your school to talk to. This will help ensure the advice you're getting is actually legitimate and (hopefully) tailored to your situation.

Jul 26, 2018


Aug 16, 2018