Breaking into I-Banking w/ NO experience

Cj993's picture
Rank: Chimp | 3

So I'm a recent Ivy League grad with a Liberal Arts background who's currently working in Account Management, but would like to transition into Investment Banking/Finance in the next 1-2 years. Although I have no finance or b-school experience, I thought about taking the StackSocial finance courses, becoming really good at those, and then setting up informational interviews with local alum from my alma mater who are in the industry.

Would any one have any insight on how one would go about making this jump? I'm still in the early career stage, so I figured one to two years of work experience would allow me to make the transition easier. Any advice would help.

Comments (66)

Apr 16, 2016

It will be almost impossible to lateral to a BB or MM without experience first, especially into IBD. I would suggest you aggressively network with alumni who work at regional boutiques and work there for 2 years before making the transition. I think it's a good idea to stay in your current role for a year, but I don't think any longer is necessary.

The key is going to be working on your story, You need to be able explain how you become so interested in finance so suddenly.

Apr 16, 2016

Yeah, someone else recommend boutique firms which I'm not opposed to at all. I would definitely do a boutique firm if I knew my chances were at least possible being a non-experienced liberal arts educated person. So, 1. Aggressive networking, 2. Prep materials 3. Solid story?

Apr 16, 2016

Know your stuff hard (invest in TTS or WSP to learn modeling), network aggressively with alums from your school in IBD (you'll get a better response from boutiques then from BB) and know the reason you want to get in really well. It's a pretty competitive industry and if you come in not being serious, it'll be tough to impress someone enough to give you a chance. If all else fails, make sure you can set yourself up for a top MBA program.

Apr 17, 2016

You'll probably be really competitive for a switch around 2 years or a promotion, whichever comes first. Network and work on the modeling and understanding what the job entails, your story, etc. in the meantime. You want to be ready as soon as an opportunity comes up. Target boutiques if you want the best shot possible.

"Even if you're on the right track, you'll get run over if you just sit there" - Will Rogers

Apr 17, 2016

First, with no W/E AND no MBA, you definitely aren't coming in as an Associate. I guess I'll never say never, but you should probably give up on that for right now. However, what you can do is put yourself in the best position to get an analyst slot. In this case, that likely involves cold-calling/emailing and setting up informational interviews with boutiques in your area. I hope you have a good answer for the "why IB" question and good spin for your year off. What are you doing now?

"Even if you're on the right track, you'll get run over if you just sit there" - Will Rogers

Apr 17, 2016

What is a graduate scheme?

Apr 17, 2016

Go for an internship. Off-cycles are equally competitive. You cannot go FT where people have done internships before without having offers generally apply.

FYI - graduate scheme is a FT job, UK term.

Apr 17, 2016

1) Have seen this happen in top BB's only as an exemption - i.e. where the candidate was extremely good (top 1% GPA at top uni etc.). Perhaps they find your background interesting and feel like you have certain experience that may count towards your readiness to work. Maybe they focus on a specific industry and you have experience in that field?

2) If you are going for full-time recruitment they are looking for people who are "ready to work" instead of "highly capable" (relevant for SA). I have been in both SA and FT interviews and FT interviews were far more technical and thus focused on (advanced) accounting and valuation. Note that I had no previous finance experience for SA interviews and did when interviewing for FT. If you are serious about the job then I suggest picking up one of the industry standard guides on interview preparation (WSO/BIWS etc.)

DYEL

Apr 17, 2016

I didn't intern in IBD but got a full time offer. You just have to prove you know what you're getting into, can do the job, and are likable.

Apr 17, 2016

Many thanks Waving Wind!

Apr 17, 2016

just to add a few: I heard the HR are usually conservative in terms of hiring some one who has not done the job before in such economy which I guess justifies why first-round interviews are usually only given to those having relevant internships before..

Apr 17, 2016

Well considering that there is a limited number of spots and big applicant pools, it would make sense that they will take applicants that have relevant experience(or some other major accomplishment/work experience).

Apr 17, 2016

Harder in the UK since there is no OCR. Yes the firms recruit from the 15 target unis in the UK but you submit applications online with every body else. So there is literally thousands of apps per place. Yeah being a target gets you networking opportunities but HR handles everything so networking doesn't matter until you're at an interview and can name drop.

Obviously when it comes to picking interviewees HR looks at what uni you go to, your work experience and your score on the psychometric tests but it is still super random.

Apr 17, 2016
t-jfk:

Harder in the UK since there is no OCR. Yes the firms recruit from the 15 target unis in the UK but you submit applications online with every body else. So there is literally thousands of apps per place. Yeah being a target gets you networking opportunities but HR handles everything so networking doesn't matter until you're at an interview and can name drop.

Obviously when it comes to picking interviewees HR looks at what uni you go to, your work experience and your score on the psychometric tests but it is still super random.

Thanks for the input, t-jfk. BTW, do u know about the HK recruiting, would it to more open-minded towards ppl without straight IB xperiences or is it more random in some sense?? Could you enlighten me on "OCR", not came across this term before.

Apr 17, 2016

Speaking of relevant internships, do you guys think two IMD internships at boutiques is good enough to get my foot in the door at IB boutiques/MM for my Soph summer?

Apr 17, 2016

Your experience is fine coming from a target. With your GPA, you will get interviews, and the rest is up to you.

I would definitely recommend taking networking trips into NYC if at all feasible for you.

Apr 17, 2016

Do you think that will be more beneficial than a PWM experience? I could definitely make a handful throughout the fall semester

Apr 17, 2016

Quick bump, interested to hear other thoughts!

Apr 17, 2016

At this point, coming from a target with a GPA like that, I think you're well poised for interviews. In terms of your experience, it's all about how to put it. Place emphasis on doing industry and sector analysis or other buzzwords that resume readers like. I think wording that right, paired with a high GPA puts you in a good spot, not needing the PWM internship. It's a great call to use those Fridays grabbing coffee with as many people as you can. Your proximity and access to NYC provides a much higher luxury compared to other applicants than the difference between your resume now and your resume with a PWM role on it.

Apr 17, 2016

Yeah I definitely agree that it'll be key to word my limited experiences well to make the most of them. I'm just nervous because I know kids with similar GPAs who have also gotten PWM + IB/HF/PE experience on their resumes. I'm going to definitely try to make as many trips as I can down the NYC to meet with people, I think if I can make a few connections and make a good impression then I'll be okay for getting interviews at least. Thanks for the feedback!

Apr 17, 2016

One last bump!

Apr 17, 2016

Networking is the right approach. You might focus on alumni who have taken nontraditional paths to get ideas about how they broke in. Also, as you talk to people, if a convo goes well, you can ask if there's any internship opportunities they know of during the Spring. I would be open minded about smaller firms. Also you might also look into a one year masters in finance.

I would just caution you that it's not going to be easy to break in. Most fulltime recruiting is over, and for what's left you may be competing against candidates who've been trying for this for their entire college career. In any case, best wishes and good luck!

    • 1
Apr 17, 2016

Thank you!

Apr 17, 2016

It will be tough because most top firms source their analysts from LSE. Not saying its impossible but not having finance experience puts you at a dis advantage. IB workload is corporate finance x2. Having prior finance experience shows you have the attitude. My advice get one, and humble yourself and look at ALL IB firms MM and BB, because going for a top firm may end in disappointment.

Apr 17, 2016
Peter_27:

It will be tough because most top firms source their analysts from LSE. Not saying its impossible but not having finance experience puts you at a dis advantage. IB workload is corporate finance x2. Having prior finance experience shows you have the attitude. My advice get one, and humble yourself and look at ALL IB firms MM and BB, because going for a top firm may end in disappointment.

Understood. Most of the people I know going into the buldge bracket were pretty well prepared. Would you say I still have a chance at boutiques/middle market?

Apr 17, 2016

don't agree with above comment.

LSE is not the only place they hire from.

London business school is a very well known school. It will definitely help you to get into IB. And open opportunities in other places.

Your work experience does not really matter, as long as you have done something whether it is marketing, charity or whatever, just spin in a way that sounds investment banking style... and you'll have a degree from London business school, that itself should get you interviews, provided you are able to sell yourself well on CV.

Apr 17, 2016
eydey:

don't agree with above comment.

LSE is not the only place they hire from.

London business school is a very well known school. It will definitely help you to get into IB. And open opportunities in other places.

Your work experience does not really matter, as long as you have done something whether it is marketing, charity or whatever, just spin in a way that sounds investment banking style... and you'll have a degree from London business school, that itself should get you interviews, provided you are able to sell yourself well on CV.

That makes sense and is encouraging. I am normally pretty good at the sell so I'll hope for the best. what is your positon?

Apr 17, 2016

by trying you loose nothing

been offered a job in oil trading and my degree has absolutely nothing to do with it and had no finance or oil trading experience.

to be honest, i think what matters is LUCK.

just believe that you can make it and give yourself the chances. networking is super important, but i am sure at london business school, you will get a lot of opportunities to do so.

got some friends who have a lot of experience, and would seem to be getting IB jobs but fail to,and others with nothing get in.

there is not set rule on this should be that way or that way. everything is possible. so make it happen.

Apr 17, 2016

Plenty of people land IB associate gigs out of business school without previous IB experience. It will certainly put you at a disadvantage, but it can be done. From your background, it's seems to me like you'll have the best shot if you pursue a capital markets role in the tech space. Straight ECM for example is a good deal less technical than coverage groups so it will be less of an issue if you don't have previous banking experience. Look for banks that do a lot of tech IPOs.

No one is going to hire you as an analyst post b-school, that's just not how it works. You'll be an associate. It's fine, plenty of associates don't have previous banking experience. Is LBS 1 year? If it is that's unfortunate, a summer associate position would be extremely helpful. If it is 2 years, make sure you summer at an investment bank.

Apr 17, 2016

OP, which masters are you planning on getting at LBS? I was thinking about the masters in management myself.

Apr 17, 2016

Cold call/email them immediately. There is a month left before internships begin. If you need the lists of boutiques in NYC, Boston and Chicago PM me.

Apr 17, 2016

^^ would you mind shooting me a pm with the list, ny & boston specifically I'm in a similar situation. Also, congrats on your SA gig

Apr 17, 2016

Could you please PM the list of these boutiques as well? Thanks. I'm interested

Apr 17, 2016

Beny 23, could you PM me the list of boutiques as well?

Apr 17, 2016

Also interested in this, also what if you have been working in a relevant position since graduating (

Don't listen to anyone, everybody is scared.

Apr 17, 2016

What is your GPA since you've transferred? You might be able to list only that one on your resume.

Apr 17, 2016

Title could be Independent Stock Investor and you could have bullet points underneath talking about your analysis of individual investments (hoping you didn't just pick random stocks out of barrons) and/or investment strategies, models you ran, etc. 47% is good, but the markets did excellent this past year right till about the election so you need to make it clear that it wasn't just dumb luck. Chances for what? Do you have a specific career in mind? Prop trading is usually a good bet along with 401k portfolio management/private wealth management.
For branch PWM I'd go with either Merrill Lynch or UBS, and two NY based prop trading firms that are pretty easy to get into are Trillium and SMB capital. Good luck, hope this helps!

Apr 17, 2016

I add mine under experience this is what I put on my resume.

Investment Management
Investing Experience December 2007 - Present
* Managed personal investment portfolio of $65,000 with the oversight of Certified Financial Planner
* Developed specialized background on technology and healthcare sectors after completing thorough due diligence on relative price multiples and understanding the several challenges these industries face
* Perform company valuation, analytical research and time weighted return portfolio and sector analysis in evaluating and maintaining a competitive and diversified portfolio

Apr 17, 2016

Thanks for the comment guys.
I transfered with 2.97. Did well on business related classes but not on general education... Now it's 3.16
Emphasized in technology, retail, telecommunication and materials.
I've read dozens of books on investments and economics. That's the only thing i'm interested in. What position should I apply for if I want to trade in future. Should I attach my portfolio to the resume?
I have never worked anywhere, not even at MCD's. What are my chances of getting a job?

When the rich wage war, it's the poor who die

Apr 17, 2016
aset:

Thanks for the comment guys.
I transfered with 2.97. Did well on business related classes but not on general education... Now it's 3.16

I meant your GPA since transferring. I.e., not including your grades from any prior school.

Apr 17, 2016

im confused right now, if you are a junior then why are you looking for a full time job? You should be looking for a internship in IM for the summer, correct me if I am wrong. If you are trying to get an internship in IM than start cold calling and networking with any kind of IM company around your area, if need be say you will work for free. At least at this point you will have some real experience and you can leverage that to get a decent full time job.

Apr 17, 2016

I'm very socially awkward person. Not sure about cold calling...
Sorry, I'm new here. What does IM stand for? Investment management?
What is the easiest job in finance field to get? (that doesn't involve much social interaction )

When the rich wage war, it's the poor who die

Apr 17, 2016
aset:

I'm very socially awkward person. Not sure about cold calling...
Sorry, I'm new here. What does IM stand for? Investment management?
What is the easiest job in finance field to get? (that doesn't involve much social interaction )

And if you're socially awkward, might want to stay away from IBD. IMO that's the one where you need to be the most socially adept so it'll really be an uphill battle for you, especially coupled with the low GPA.

I don't know if there is an "easiest" job to get in high finance, per se. Landing AM/ER jobs out of UG is pretty difficult I think. Not too sure about IM though.

Apr 17, 2016

Trading stocks is completely different from IB. If you truly want IBD, I recommend you start with something like PWM and move up. At least this way you have something on your resume.

Apr 17, 2016

It's 3.43

When the rich wage war, it's the poor who die

Apr 17, 2016
aset:

It's 3.43

Put that on your resume.

Apr 17, 2016

Perhaps I should start with the lowest finance job? Maybe financial analyst? I wouldn't mind getting free internship. I just need a guaranteed job with good starting salary, 50-60k perhaps.

When the rich wage war, it's the poor who die

Apr 17, 2016
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Apr 17, 2016
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"When you stop striving for perfection, you might as well be dead."

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Apr 17, 2016