Can I get into investment banking from non target school?

rafitaa's picture
Rank: Chimp | banana points 11

I will be attending UW-oshkosh this fall, and want to get into investment banking. I realize that Oshkosh is not a target school, so I was wondering how I can't get into IB still. I read that if I graduate from Oshkosh, work 2-3 years, then go get and MBA at a target school, I can get a job as an associate. Is that true? and where would I have to work for those 2-3 years. Also are there investment banking jobs in Wisconsin? and are those less competitive then New York jobs? I just feel stuck because I didn't try in high school, so couldn't get into a target school, and now it seems like my chances are very slim of getting into IB. If anyone with experience or knowledge on this can help me out that'd be great.

Investment Banking Interview Course

  • 7,548 questions across 469 investment banks. Crowdsourced from over 500,000 members.
  • Technical, behavioral, networking, case videos, templates. All included.
  • Most comprehensive IB interview course in the world.

Comments (178)

Aug 12, 2017

1) Stop feeling bad for yourself
2) Kick ass your freshman year (4.0, clubs, etc)
3) Transfer to a better school and kick ass at your new school

See: KeyBanc and Stephens for midwest banks

Aug 10, 2017

No, bai boi

Learn More

7,548 questions across 469 investment banks. The WSO Investment Banking Interview Prep Course has everything you'll ever need to start your career on Wall Street. Technical, Behavioral and Networking Courses + 2 Bonus Modules. Learn more.

Aug 12, 2017

Thanks for the encouragement. I'm definitely not going to stop networking but I'm really not sure why my response rate is so low. Am I too late on the recruitment timeline?

Best Response
Aug 12, 2017

Wait a minute, did Goldstein just give constructive advice?

    • 3
Aug 12, 2017

It is quite a bit late for the recruiting in my opinion, not to say that it's impossible, but it's just a late. Most BB's and EB's (from what I've heard/read/seen) start recruiting for summer junior year around December - May the year before.

If you've exhausted your options in terms of BB's and EB's I would look into other regional banks and firms. There's plenty of them out there and your experience would definitely get notice. Along with that keep in mind that it's not just BB's and EB's that get full time offers. You'll read across this website, plenty of stories of people breaking into IBD with diverse backgrounds and different experience. Don't count yourself out, but work hard on networking.

Best of luck

    • 1
Aug 12, 2017


Aug 12, 2017

That's a bit of an arbitrary question because it really depends on how well the people at your firm like you. In all honesty, if they said they'd give you and interview and were adamant about not guaranteeing anything, then I wouldn't be too hopeful within the firm. That being said, make sure to really impress upon them the fact that you have the experience and love the culture etc...

Rotating in a firm isn't likely in general, but I wouldn't necessarily count it out. Every case is individual and there really is no telling until you just know yourself.

Aug 12, 2017

You should be fine, don't overthink it. Keep reaching out to boutiques & MM IBs, add associates and analysts on linkedin (or just email) and PM them asking to meet and learn about the firm. A common mistake is asking them to push along your resume, my advice (take it with a grain of salt if you want) is do NOT do this. Learn what you can, talk about non-IB things (not everyone working 90+ hours a week wants to discuss banking further in their free time), and try come across as a motivated and driven individual. Keep reaching out multiple times (Up to 3-4, waiting 2 weeks in between each message/email), always be polite and respectful, and just keep at it. I come from a non-target with a similar GPA and it took reaching out to 50+ firms before I found my PE internship, and i reached out to 75+ guys on linked in. To be fair, a lot (40+) of guys from my non-target break into IB, so I had a pretty high response rate on linkedin. In the end, my personal cover letter and ambition (not my networking abilities) got me the position, but this is relatively rare. You have great experience, a good GPA, and you just need to keep trying.

    • 1
Aug 12, 2017

Congrats! I'm a freshman at a non-target and it's motivating to hear stories like this.

Aug 12, 2017

I can't post links here because I'm a new member but I have a couple suggestions just from browsing this forum.

  1. I'm not sure how many people or what positions (titles) the people you're emailing are in. There seems to be a sweet spot as far as who to email considering first-years don't have much say in hiring decisions and managers don't respond to emails from outsiders. Associates may be your best bet but someone can correct me if I'm wrong.

How many emails have you sent out? If it's not close to 100 then you need to keep cranking them out. You should also make sure you're structuring your emails appropriately. Everything from the title of the email to the actual content matters. There are a few threads on here but you'll have to search them.

2.If you're getting in contact with people but it's not going anywhere then you might need to "upstage" your responsibility at the PE firm you were at. Don't lie but simply talking about your Excel experience isn't going to differentiate you enough. Not saying that's what you're doing. Maybe you could let us know what you've said to people you have been in contact with if any.

Hope is not lost though man. Just need to get a feel for what you've done so far to make further recommendations.

    • 1
Aug 12, 2017

Thank you for responding. I've recently read that people have had success reaching out to middle management/higher-ups. However, I have mostly tried connecting with analysts and associates with the mentality that they were most recently in my position and may be able to offer the most relevant advice and ultimately refer me to the decision makers.

I haven't kept count, but I've likely sent out anywhere between 50-150 emails and LinkedIn messages, and made only a number of cold calls to front offices, which have been mostly unsuccessful (referred to HR a.k.a. "the black hole").

My messages are generally concise and to the point - something similar to the following:
"Good morning/afternoon ____,

My name is ____ and I am a junior finance major at _____ university with a fundamental interest and knowledge in ib/corp.fin./business val., etc. I am reaching out to you regarding my interest in ____ firm's SA/full-time position for 20XX. If you have availability in the coming weeks, I would greatly appreciate the opportunity to speak with you about your background/skillset and how you came into your current role. Please feel free to reach me anytime at my email or cell (listed in the signature). I hope to hear from you soon.



It's usually some variation of what's written above. With respect to the PE role, I don't begin that SA position until late April/early May, so I can't exactly speak to what I've learned or what my responsibilities are as of yet. The reason this is problematic is because lots of the BB firms have moved up recruitment several months, leaving non-target students like myself, who usually utilize time in the summer to network, at a disadvantage.

As you would expect, every so often, someone responds and I schedule a phone call, which typically consists of telling my story, asking well-thought out questions (I am always well prepared), and learning about the opportunities at said firm, if any. I've been told I am a good speaker and that I'm good on the phone. I've definitely gotten lots of positive responses and even interviews from boutique firms, but not even so much as an email or LinkedIn response from anyone at a BB, which I imagine has at least something to do with my university.

I have a great resume, an almost 4.0 GPA, diverse and applicable experience in finance and accounting, and good campus-involvement experience as well. I'm not sure what else I can try to reach these people and convince them that I'm worth their time. Again, any advice is much appreciated.

Aug 12, 2017

I suggest narrowing your LinkedIn search from schools that may be similar to yours (could be academic reputation, geographic location, etc) and focus on them. I did the same from a non-target and found that they are more likely to respond and respond favorably, as they faced a similar challenge.

    • 1