Best way to break into the world of finance?

I went to a state school (3.3 gpa, got NSF grants, etc.), did some contract work in my field (archaeology), and have been working for a law firm as a secretary/assistant/paralegal for almost two years now to see if I wanted to become a lawyer, and I do not. Accordingly, I'm looking to change careers again. However, I'm not sure exactly what part of finance I want to do.

I think I would be decent at trading (had a 10% return from knowing nothing about stocks a little over a month ago, but the S&P 500 has had a similar run), but even better at consulting. I've streamlined workflow in my office, built filing systems from scratch, and am looking at the possibility of starting a business.

What would be the best way to break into the field? Take a job as a admin assistant, show potential and hope, or go straight for the consulting/trading job?

Comments (65)

Sep 28, 2010 - 10:40am

I would say that your best bet at this point is go to B-school. Where you stand right now, you're not going to get a lot of opportunities in any area of finance with your background (unless you have some unbelievable connections). Going to B-school is a pretty common way to switch gears and get into finance coming from an unrelated field.

As far as trading vs. consulting, just going by the info you gave us I'd say that consulting sounds like it would be a better fit for you than trading, as trading is very quantitative and is much more about programming these days than stock picking.

Sep 28, 2010 - 10:45am

You seem to be in a similar position as me except replace law with economics.

Nix on consulting and probably IB. The rule of thumb, that I have found, is that the less actual qualifications are needed for the job (hey in consulting you just talk to people and work hard!) the more necessary it is that you know the right people and come from the right place. They need a way to weed down the applicants and if technical ability is not needed then they'll filter by pedigree and the ability to kiss behind. As far as IB goes, if you haven't been doing internships from the beginning forget M&A, although depending on your research ability you might try Equity Research. Stay away from PE and VC; that is a whole bunch of cold calling for two years before you can build your book.

Ok, trading. What you want to try and do, and what I am currently doing God help me, is apply for a Trading Assistance-ship. You'll be coffee bitch for the first three months at least but after about a year they let you trade on your own account.

First apply to the big firms out there and see if you get any call backs (although you probably won't);


Next apply for everybody else and cross your fingers:

Some notes:

If they ask you to put money down (couple grand or whatever) DONT! It's more or less a scam and the company makes money on the guys losing their chips at the bottom (See PYRAMID SCHEME)

Look for all the places that will pay you a base salary or have a careers section. If they don't run far away. See above.

Find out what a firm specializes in. A firm that is very good will probably specialize in repackaging a product and selling it to the bigger boys for essentially free money. This is called being a market maker. Also, many firms specialize in a part of the trading world - the High Frequency trading firms do HF (obviously) but as such will probably want someone with much more mathematical experience than you. Equity options, FX trading, Fixed Income, Derivatives are some but not all of the different specialties. If you can't get into the best firm, but you can get into the best on FI, then that's really good.

On the above note, everybody has to trade. If you can't get into a prop trading firm, try hedge funds and mutual funds and sign up for all the careers that have trader in the title. It might help you get your feet under you.

And I can't stress this enough. Stay away from bucket shops, or any place that is in any way smelling of scam. Always know what the take home is net of fees or you're going to shoot your dick off.

That's all I've got. Best of luck to you, because as I always say, it's smarter to be lucky than lucky to be smart.

the illustrious monkeysama

Sep 28, 2010 - 2:42pm

No offense, but just because you had a 10% return in a month doesn't mean you'll be a good trader, especially since you're prefacing that with "I know nothing about stocks"

Sep 28, 2010 - 11:07pm

Zer0zero, you are correct. I should have prefaced it as "I knew nothing..." All I did was read one book, skimmed another, about trading stocks, and set up the account simply as a practice run (while I was reading the books). In terms of knowing the markets inside and out, I still know almost nothing given how vast the subject matter is. However, I believe I am capable of learning - and the account was set up as a learning tool. I believe, if I somehow got a job trading, that my strengths would be in identifying trends, and being able to cut through the noise. However, I also realize this particular style of trading is not in fashion at this time as more traders rely on 'blackbox' trading.

Further, I was not a mathematics major, or even majored in a "hard" science. Instead, my major was Anthropology - the study of cultures, and, ultimately, being able to identify similarities, differences, trends, and relationships among different groups of people. A skill that I believe is easily translatable to the business world, particularly in emerging markets, but also domestically.

Given the above facts, that is why I believe I would most likely be a better consultant than a trader.

Sep 29, 2010 - 1:02am

You'll definitely get further in consulting with an anthro degree than you will in IB but that isnt saying much (Think: the difference between the front door and the lobby). But that being said, its not impossible, shit there is a VP at PNC that started as a teller while studying for his CFA. Just gotta get on the grind.

PS 10% in an account of fake money isn't fantastic and you may not want to mention that in your resume, interview etc

If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses - Henry Ford
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Sep 29, 2010 - 1:03am

Transitioning into finance? (Originally Posted: 09/04/2014)

Is it possible for me to transition into finance? I graduated in 2008 from Cornell University. I majored in Psychology and premed with close to a 4.0 GPA. I worked in medical research and healthcare before attending medical school. I left medical school after a year because I realized it wasn't for me. My family is Asian and I had pressure from family to go into medicine. Is it possible for me to transition into finance now? And how can I find internships? I am also thinking of signing up for a course on financial modelling. If anyone has any advice for me, I would really appreciate it.


Sep 29, 2010 - 1:05am

Advice, career transition to finance industry (Originally Posted: 03/22/2017)

Hello WSO, I wanted to ask for advice pertaining to my plans and goals for the future. TL;DR where can I fit in to the finance industry? First a bit about me, I am 31 married, with a child. I was a horrible student in highschool and never planned to go to college. I was a linecook in restaurants for about 10 years, after my son was born I decided to get a Bachelor's degree. I majored in Anthropology and Geography, and now I work in social services. My clients are extremely low income, and have problems with physical/mental health, alcohol and drug addiction and homelessness. I teach tenant readiness courses, and generally help folks connect to area resources, find and stay stable in their housing. I am on the west coast USA where we are experiencing a housing crisis.

Recently my spouse found employment at a university and I have become eligible for tuition remission of 95%. The school is small and they only offer a few graduate degrees a MSF is one of them. Finance and economics appeals to me, but I have only ever studied its effects from the viewpoint of "soft" social sciences and social justice (Ex authors like, Amartya Sen, David Graeber). Globalization and developing countries featured heavily in my undergraduate courses, and now I work tangentially with the real estate market via "Affordable" housing.

As I sit down to do an online Micro/Macro economics course - part of the prereq's for the MSF I am wondering: "where will I go from here?" and "Do I stand a chance?" My loose plan is to enroll and complete the MSF, then head towards CFA. Hopefully along the way I'll figure out WTF i'm doing? any advice is appreciated. Thanks in advance.


Sep 29, 2010 - 1:06am

Hi Tyler, although I don't have as much life experience as you do, here's my 2 cents.

The finance industry is huge and rewarding. You need to figure out which part of it appeals to you. Do you like doing operations (helping the sales people manage client issues) or being the sales people themselves? Or perhaps somewhere in between managing the risks or helping the organization comply with certain regulations and laws? Of course I have just touched the tip of the iceberg as to the possibilities in finance.

On this site you will find many useful sources. My advice is to only take the dive if you are convinced or have a goal in mind and not do it for the perceived sense of money. Many other things make lots of money too - tech, entrepreneurship, marketing, etc.

Also a CFA is a bad idea if you do not know what you plan to do with it. It is a very niche and costly designation, both on the pocket and on the clock (thousands of dollars and 600-900 hours of studying) and its assuming you pass it all in the first try (very difficult) if not be prepared to add on more costs to the above.

Good luck!

Sep 29, 2010 - 1:08am

Transitioning into a finance career? (Originally Posted: 02/26/2017)

Hi all,

Background: 25 year old with a double major in Sociology & Political Science, and passed CFA level 1 in June. Out of university I got a customer service related job working for a big transportation company. Ive always had an interest in the stock market and invested my own money since I was 20 after reading countless books on the subject. I want to transition careers into private equity, equity research, or capital markets.

Ive had zero luck getting any internships or positions at banks or firms so I am considering going back to school for an undergraduate degree in Finance or get an MBA. Which would you recommend? What else can I do? Good or bad idea?


Sep 29, 2010 - 1:10am

Getting into Finance Advice? (Originally Posted: 04/03/2012)

I posted this in the business school barrage section to but there is obviously much more traffic here so I figured I would throw this in here too.

So I'm new WOS... Warning long post, but advice would be appreciated.

I am 22, I have my Associates Degree from a Junior College in Business Management, 3.3 / 4 GPA.

I always kind of went through the motions in high school and junior college till my last 2 semesters (ive finally turned it on academically and closed out junior college with a 4.0 both semesters).

I really wish I would have tried harder in high school and the beginning of college, I'm 22 and should have had my Associates 2 years ago if I went fulltime and didn't dick around.

I'm naturally pretty intelligent, always tested in the top 1% in Mathematics, received a 32 on my ACT score (i know alot of you guys do SATS) but 36 is the highest you can score.

Its not like I have been lazy in life while going through college, I took Junior College slowly because I make great money for 22, making over 100,000 as a Waiter in one of the top restaurants in Chicago.

I don't want to serve food forever, nor do I want to get into restaurant management (i already could have).

I've traded stocks since I was 18 (pretty solid increases although with an account only worth $7000 at the moment), been interested in the market since I was 16.

I feel kind of old to just be a junior in college this fall, is this going to hinder my career bigtime? I have to choose between Depaul and University of Illinois Chicago, I've been accepted into both finance programs.

I want to go to Depaul but its pretty much to late to get any scholarships, and my parents make to much money for grants or aid. It will be $30,000 a year in loans to go to Depaul (and I dont even know if I can secure the loans). I have great credit but they only want to loan me $9000 and want my parents to cover the rest.

UIC would be less than half the cost of tuition that it would cost to go to Depaul?

If I go to UIC and I have a great GPA and great gmat score can I get into a good MBA program?

Should I go for my MBA right away, or at all? I think I want to get into investment banking, or just learn how to trade and get into hedge funds.

I'm great at math and done well in the markets but I think my best attribute is my networking ability, I can talk to anyone. Plus I have great connections for a 22 year old because of the restaurant I work at, and a couple of the places I hangout at. I know and have gone out for drinks with multiple CEO's, top business executives, hedge fund traders, day traders, and know alot of Chicago's big politicians.

A couple of the hedge fund guys and day traders didn't go to college or at least didn't come out with a bachelors degree and they are making millions.

Another twist is that I just went through 4 interviews and was hired as a financial representative for a finance company. I got my health and life insurance licenses, im taking my series 6 next week, will take the series 63 after that, and then the Series 7 they are paying for all the licenses. They supposedly rarely ever hire representatives without bachelors degrees or experience with another firm but they said I interviewed very well. Of the other 4 representatives from my firm that were in my series 6 class they all had bachelors degrees and were older then myself (so maybe im not so old in the business after all, but I wish I would have got my bachelors by now).

I know a couple people that do very well on the sales side of it and I'm getting all my licenses but I don't really want to make it my longterm career. Im looking for something more prestigious I guess.

Also what are some different options for me in getting my finance degree? Of course there is trading and investment banking, but what else is out there?

* 22

  • Associates in Business Management (3.3 GPA)

  • Accepted into UIC and Depaul for the fall semester but Depaul is almost $20,000 more a year (looking for opinions)?

  • Wondering if I can get into a a great MBA program with 2 very good years at UIC or Depaul (both decent schools but not in the top finance programs in the nation or anything) ??

  • Should I even go after an MBA?

  • Other notes I have a great job through college right now over 6 figures working at a top notch restaurants.

  • Just received a job as a financial representative (sales) where they are paying for me to get licensed with Health, Life, Series 6, 63, and 7.

  • Great Network know alot of CEO's, Politicians, Business Execs, Traders, and Hedge Fund guys (great stack of business cards on my dresser).

  • What should my plan be??? What are some options with my finance degree besides trading or investment banking?

Sep 29, 2010 - 1:11am

I will let others give you the advice you need since I'm not qualified to do so, but I should let you know that your network is a great asset. Make sure you keep in contact with them, ask them questions frequently (without being annoying) about breaking into finance, and generally just make sure that they can see your dedication, ambition and love for finance. It will go a long way.

Sep 29, 2010 - 1:12am

Thanks, I plan on staying in touch with all of them. Usually we just shoot the shit about things like sports, ladies, and anything but finance but when I do ask them about the markets, career advice, or how they got started they all are more then willing to talk my ear off which is nice.

Sep 29, 2010 - 1:14am

Tips for breaking into the world of finance. (Originally Posted: 04/22/2017)


I am a recent graduate from a non-Target school with a sub-par GPA and no financial work experience looking to eventually break into the field of Asset Management (Hedge Funds, Buy Side, Sell-Side, etc). I have been working at a back office of a broker dealer for the past few months to get my foot in the door and gain some type of experience, but so far I have realized (both from reading online and my day to day work) that most skills that I will acquire here will not be related to the markets whatsoever. So I am here to ask for a strategic direction from those with experience.

My main goal in the nest few years is to eventually get into some financial analysis role where I can start from the bottom and learn everything that there is to learn. But right now I can't seem to decide what direction to take. Should I continue working at my current job, do really well and take certain Licence tests and try to transfer internally to another back/middle office department where I can stand out more? Should I retake classes to boost my GPA (3.0 undergrad) and go back to school? (I live close to USC/UCLA so maybe in the years to come I will have the stats/experience to go for either MBA/Masters). Or should I try to study on my own, read books, and even work on the CFP? I know that there is no real answer and no one way of succeeding, but I just want an input from you all.

Ideally, I plan to work for about two years at my current job, pass some license tests, get another job more related to investments (either internally or externally), then after about one or two years get my MBA/Masters then land the job that I actually want to begin the real journey through the jungles of Wall Street.

I have a lot of ideas but I don't want to jump from one to another with no real direction. I have learned that extreme concentration and prioritizing are more effective in achieving my goals, so a concrete plan would be really helpful.

Thanks in advance!

Sep 29, 2010 - 1:16am

At the risk of sounding mean, Step #1 is to understand where you want to go. AM isn't half the things you listed. AM is basically running/managing mutual funds and similar products (ETFs, SMAs, Etc.) The advice given is highly dependant on where you want to go.

If you want a back office job in AM, sit for your charter. It's brutal and no guarantee. Something like 19% of people who begin the program ever get to put "-, CFA" after their name. Even after that it took me almost 2 years to break into AM. If you want sales, then network, network, network.

The only difference between Asset Management and Investment Research is assets. I generally see somebody I know on TV on Bloomberg/CNBC etc. once or twice a week. This sounds cool, until I remind myself that I see somebody I know on ESPN five days a week.
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Best Response
Sep 29, 2010 - 1:18am

How do I get my first job in finance? (Originally Posted: 09/03/2016)

Hi all,

First-time poster here! I'd like to start a thread about looking for VALUABLE employment/ experience while at college/ university. I'm currently a first-year business (finance) student and I have aspirations of getting into the IB/ M&A space. As many of you probably know, gaining employment in this industry is tough. That's why I'm trying to do what I can to stand out from the enormous pack of finance graduates.

More specifically, I want to gain employment into something valuable that will be looked upon with favour when it comes to internship applications next year.

What are the valuable areas of experience to complement an IB Resume?

What are some valuable areas of employment, in finance, that a student (with little to no experience in the industry) can attain whilst at university? Has anyone found an area (e.g. financial planning, or PE) that is relatively easy to get a foot in the door? Has anyone found a particular company that likes to hire current students?

Note: By employment, I mean junior positions, internships, or even admin/ support positions.

Note #2: Please consider Australian financial institutions in your responses.



Sep 29, 2010 - 1:19am

As you already mentioned, it's easier to get a foot into the PE industry and then enter the IBD of a major bank or an EB. A typical way is to try to get an interview at KKR/Blackstone/Apollo/w/e and then leverage this experience to get an M&A internship. Maybe you even make important business contacts you can use to get an M&A internship offer.

Sep 29, 2010 - 1:20am

Wait, what? I've never heard that in my life. I've only heard of people trying to leverage IBD into major PE firms

Make Idaho a Semi-Target Again 2016 Not an alumnus of Idaho
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Sep 29, 2010 - 1:23am

Shit I got trolled

Make Idaho a Semi-Target Again 2016 Not an alumnus of Idaho
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Sep 29, 2010 - 1:25am

Breaking into Finance - Performance and rewards (Originally Posted: 09/23/2010)

I posted the below in the trading forum and was wondering if I posted it here I might get some more advice.

Hi guys, I have a question for those who may know more about this sort of thing than I do.

Right now I am looking for a job in finance. Specifically I want a job that compensates based on performance and rewards people who work hard.

I'm a graduate from UIUC in a quantitative field and recently completed a two year position at a top tier economic research institution (entry non-phd level - btw I am now two years out of undergrad). I found that I wasn't enamored with research because the time horizon for projects was very long and also because I felt that for the amount of effort put in the rewards were just not enough motivation for me. That's why I decided not to go for my phd.

My question is is it still possible for me to become a trader or try and become an assistant trader or am I now too old? I have met with a little success in applying for research/back office type work in finance, but I'm worried that I might not feel as motivated as I could be - I don't want my work leading to others success and then not getting the credit. For those experienced in those type of positions know if that is the case in the industry for economic research positions? Would there be other positions in finance besides trading and economic research that I might look into?

I know my question is sort of all over the place, but if you could answer even a part of it I would be greatly appreciative.

Sep 29, 2010 - 1:26am

Two prop trading firms that I know of that you could apply to and possibly interview with are Chopper Trading and Rho Trading, both in Chicago. You'll work night shift at the beginning and start out as an assistant, but it's a start.

Some of these guys will tell you that since you didn't go to an Ivy League School and haven't had an internship with a major bank that you have no shot, and they may be right. That's where you have to decide and make your own path to success. Start out in the finance department of a company, learn the ropes, make some contacts, and then go from there. That's what I'm trying to do right now, and it may be working. I've been able to meet many business people who've become friends.

Go on monster and look at finance job in cities you're interested, get some interviews, and hopefully land a job. That's my advice.......

Sep 29, 2010 - 1:27am

Are chopper and rho market making firms? Do they require you to put down capital, or not pay a salary? I haven't heard much about them and there are a lot of shady trading companies (outside of big namebrand firms such as JSC, SIG, etc.) that just bleed people dry. But if you know or have heard good things I'll definitely look into those two.
Thanks for the reply.

Sep 29, 2010 - 1:28am

Chopper and Rho do pay a salary- a low one (around 40k-45k I think) with small bonuses. The work probably won't be too exciting, but you can work your way up to a trader.

As for them being shady, I really can't say. There isn't much information about either of them out there, so it's hard to find out, and maybe that's a sign. Send them your resume and call up the next day- you should be able to talk to someone. Judge it from there.

Sep 29, 2010 - 1:29am

Breaking into finance - Shift career path (Originally Posted: 01/26/2012)

Hey Guys,

In the last year I have developed a strong passion for finance and want to shift my career path into the industry. I have been steadily reading,researching, and taking part-time courses at university over the last year and am fully commited to do whatever It takes to get there. The problem is I only posses an electrical technology diploma and my high school marks were nothing to brag about (didn't take it seriously enough).

I am 24 years old and have been working full-time in the building automation industry as an install tech for the last 3.5 years(Think Siemens,Honeywell,Johnson). For the last couple years I have lost all interest in this field and having extremely limited potential with only a diploma, I want to position myself for a brighter future. Unfortunately I have no significant finance background/experience let alone a degree to back me up...

Ive been set on starting a degree in commerce at university this coming fall(canadian non-target), work my ass off and try to transfer to a semi-target(Mcgill, UofT, schulich, laurier etc). I will also have a decent amount of cash saved up to help soften the initial debt load.

Just want opinions on whether this is sounds like my best option given my age,experience,credentials etc. This is based on the assumption that I am not eligible to enroll in an MBA program since I do not have a degree or "required" experience.


Sep 29, 2010 - 1:32am

Getting first finance job (Originally Posted: 08/30/2012)


So I graduated from Baruch College in 2009 with a finance & investments major, GPA was 3.52

I was never able to get a finance internship or an analyst program while I was still in school and ended up working at this website management company (not finance related). It's an operations role and I get to manage interns. My options are to go to grad school and get an MBA hoping I'd get into an associate program at an investment bank. What do you guys think, how can I get into finance?

Sep 29, 2010 - 1:34am

Either MBA or slant your resume as much as you can towards finance/accounting and go for CorpFin. Try to do CorpFin in a top company in a relevant industry. Perhaps you can leverage that industry knowledge to get a market related job down the road.

I'll do what I can to help ya'll. But, the game's out there, and it's play or get played.
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Sep 29, 2010 - 1:35am

trying to break into finance (Originally Posted: 10/09/2012)

How do I get an internship? I have 12 years of IT business analysis, PM, and general management experience and an MBA (2007) but I can't find a job. How do I get an internship. Should I do Investment Banking Institute or New York School of Finance? What are my other options? I think these two may be worth the money by giving me some actual experience that I can put on my resume.

Sep 29, 2010 - 1:36am

Wait, you've been employed for 12 years, have an MBA and are looking for an internship?

[quote]The HBS guys have MAD SWAGGER. They frequently wear their class jackets to boston bars, strutting and acting like they own the joint. They just ooze success, confidence, swagger, basically attributes of alpha males.[/quote]
Sep 29, 2010 - 1:39am
Wait, you've been employed for 12 years, have an MBA and are looking for an internship?
This to all my hatin' folks seeing me getting guac right now..
Sep 29, 2010 - 1:38am

Go back to school for MSF, apply for internships, then drop out.

I'll do what I can to help ya'll. But, the game's out there, and it's play or get played.
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Sep 29, 2010 - 1:41am

I think that if you apply to an internship and someone sees your qualifications they will probably wonder what the hell is going on. Then throw it away.

This to all my hatin' folks seeing me getting guac right now..
Sep 29, 2010 - 1:42am

Prepare on your own so you know what you're talking about in interviews. (If you can get them)

Either you're slingin' crack-rock, or you've got a wicked jump shot. There's no honor in taking that after school job at Mickey Dee's, honor's in the dollar, kid.
Sep 29, 2010 - 1:43am

How to break into finance world? (Originally Posted: 12/31/2012)

-25 years old
-Degree in Electrical Engineering (barely passed, education isn't my strength)
-Work for one of the largest tech companies in the world as a sales rep - hence I make decently good money
-As a sales rep, I'm a big people person and love giving presentations and public speaking
-Started day trading in 2012 - seen some really good returns, all self-taught
-Addicted to making money, hence why I trade only trade options nowdays

Looking for
-A job in the finance world without taking a pay cut
-No, I don't know what job I want. Mainly because I don't know what jobs are exactly out there/available. Doesn't have to be a trader, I just want to make lots of money fast
-Not looking to go back to school at all
-Not work extremely long hours. Being a sales rep, my schedule is pretty flexible hence I'm able to day trade with a fulltime job
-Willing to take some type of certification test. Looked into CFA/FRM/CAIA but it requires work experience which I don't have
-If I want to make quick money fast why not just continue what I'm doing? I want to learn, grow, and advance my career more


Sep 29, 2010 - 1:46am

I think you should continue doing what you're doing unless you have a serious reason to consider a career change, such as you are dissatisfied with your current job. Moving into finance requires lot of hard work, time investment, and it does not guarantee success. There's a big chance you'll just waste a lot of time and not end up earning more than you are now. Also, if any of us knew how to make lots of money fast without working long hours, we wouldn't be on this website reading about finance. Haha

Sep 29, 2010 - 1:48am

How to Break into the Finance Industry? (Originally Posted: 02/20/2013)

Hi all,

I'm currently finishing up computer engineering at a decent Canadian university, and have been trying to figure out where to go next. My goal is to end up at Wharton/Sloan/some top MBA program in 6-7 years.

I've considered doing a BComm Fin after degree, Math/Fin after degree, or possibly an MFin/MFE to break into the industry, but if getting a job in Finance is possible without a relevant undergrad stream, I'm definitely open to that.

What would be the best path for me to take at this point? What kind of jobs (if any) could I land right now without any finance experience?

My main reason for doing a BComm Fin AD is to allow me to do some internships from within the co-op program. Is this a big advantage or should I forget about that?


Sep 29, 2010 - 1:49am

Bachelor of Commerce finance = BComm Fin AD I assume?

What type of computer engineering are you majoring in? If you have experience with MS Excel and even MS Database, a lot of Big 4 accounting firms (in the US think Deloitte, PWC, Ernst & Young, and KPMG) will hire comp eng majors to work in their advisory dep. which is comparable to a corp fin role.

I know a couple guys that were majoring in comp eng that worked for big 4 in these roles and eventually learned enough to get into more of a finance roll.

PM me if you have any questions.

Sep 29, 2010 - 1:50am

Desperately trying to break into Finance (Originally Posted: 06/11/2013)

Hello Folks,

I will be graduating with a BBA in Finance & Business mgmt from a state school in Texas this December. Unfortunately I was not born into a rich family with a long list of connections. I guess we're just a little above middle class and there is nothing my parents can help me to get into investment analysis. My gpa is around a 2.7 and my plan is to do my CFA or MBA not completely sure. Sometimes it can be very depressing to see kids getting the analyst internships because they go to big schools and come from wealthy families.

All I have in me is a 100% passion and love for investment analysis but it seems like even after calling about 150 firms I have no luck. I would really appreciate all the advice, comments, whatever you call it. Just one thing I love this stuff and make investment decisions based on the stock market. I would accept good answers and please don't tell me to quit because I'd rather die trying.

Thanks everyone,

Sep 29, 2010 - 1:51am


Hello Folks,

My gpa is around a 2.7 and Sometimes it can be very depressing to see kids getting the analyst internships because they go to big schools and come from wealthy families.


Really? you have a 2.7 and you are complaining about how you are screwed because you aren't rich and don't have family connections?

I am at a nontarget with no connections and not being rich and no connections is not an excuse. Your GPA as a finance major is not helping your case either.

Check out FLDP programs. There are a ton in Texas.

Sep 29, 2010 - 1:52am

you have a 2.7... kids aren't getting internships over you because their parents or their school. (well, its not the only reason...)

Rather than complaining about other people, look for ways to improve your own position. Get better grades, find unpaid internships, do anything, and keep networking. If you actually have the passion and drive it will show and something will work out.

Sep 29, 2010 - 1:53am

Not trying to be a dick here, but I think you need a dose of reality. Although in extreme cases having the right connections can guarantee you a job, usually only gets your foot in the door, after that it is still widely up to you to secure the job. Unfortunately I have to tell you some hard news that despite your seemingly judgmental and "the world isn't fair" view, the reason you aren't getting call backs is no one's fault but your own. By this I mean, if you knew that you had no family connections -- "your parents wouldn't be able to do anything for you" -- and you have "100% passion for investment analysis" why didn't you put any effort into it during undergrad? You can say you have all the passion in the world, but actions speak louder than words. Why didn't you take it upon yourself to go out there and create your own connections and network of people. Furthermore, why didn't you apply yourself more in school to get a decent GPA. Although you didn't say that you didn't I also imagine that you never did any SA programs or internships related to finance of any kind. All of these things are big red flags that say ultimately you aren't committed. Even if you now finally are, that doesn't mean you deserve to get call backs because there are tons of candidates who have been hustling all through out undergrad and have worked for it.

Good luck getting into an MBA program or passing your CFA exams with that attitude. I am not saying that sometimes life isn't fair, it's certainly true that after a certain point it really comes down to who knows who, but in your case it seems to be a complete lack of effort.

Sorry if this comes off harsh, but this forum is littered with people trying to make it in finance who are having just as much difficulties in finding a job, but at least have for the most part worked their butt off and are just waiting to be given a shot. I suggest you try and find one of these people either in person or even just by pm and try and explain to them why you deserve to get a job more than they do.

tldr; Stop whining, you are your own problem.

Sep 29, 2010 - 1:54am

With a 2.7 GPA it's unlikely to get anything through regular screening or applying online. You need to talk to your school alumni as soon as possible. They are your only chance to get your foot in the door. Try unpaid internship first. Prove yourself and get a FT position that way.

Sep 29, 2010 - 1:56am

I'm not sure if this a serious post but I'm going to assume that it is.

First, the liberal, hippie narrative of the world being divided down class line and according to pedigree simply isn't true. You're not a serf and the people working in finance are not all counts and dukes. Most of the people who work in finance, and in practically every industry for that matter, come from middle-class families. Next, the industry is just very tough/selective right now, and your meager GPA is hurting you. Hell, I'm having a hard time and I graduated with a much, much higher GPA. And finally, my only suggestion to you is to study really hard for your GMAT and network like a mofo. There's plenty of free material available online, especially over at the GMATclub forums, in case you can't afford the prep books.

Good luck

“Elections are a futures market for stolen property”
  • 2
Sep 29, 2010 - 1:55am

I've met people who went to complete non-targets and had no inkling of how finance works or what investment banks do, instead spending their entire four years partying and doing the bare minimum to get by and taking whatever shortcuts necessary, yet as graduation nears, they think they're the shit and getting the most prestigious job at GS is a piece of cake.

OP, unfortunately you sound like one of those people, even if you aren't. You messed up college, so if you still want finance that badly, you'll have to shell out for graduate school or study your ass off for the CFA.

Sep 29, 2010 - 1:59am

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