Can you get into I-Banking Without a College Degree?

ssd82's picture
Rank: Baboon | 128

I know, you may all be laughing. But seriously, was there
a time when you didn't need a college degree to get into
investment banking?

Has anyone ever gone through a stack of resumes and seen
an applicant with a community college degree (associates
degree) sitting in the pile.

Comments (56)

Feb 15, 2007

the only way you will get into an ibank without a college degree is if you wanna clean the floors

Feb 15, 2007

not banking - possibly work your way up in trading

Feb 15, 2007

dont worry i went to a community college and then to uva im not in ibanking yet. im still looking for a job, thats only because i wanted to be an Acoountent.

Feb 15, 2007

accountant

Feb 17, 2007

what do you mean? you wanted to be an accountant?

Feb 17, 2007

A lot of traders have done this but think it is rear in IB. I met one guy who had, he left school became an accountant and moved into banking and works in IB division. He was intelligent but didnt go uni as wasn't standard in his day. But now it will be close to impossible.

Feb 17, 2007

Like the guy before me said, it's possible to become a trader but nearly impossible for banking.

Feb 18, 2007

Can you get into ibanking today without a degree? No.
Was there a time when you could?
Yes, Sidney Weinberg who was one of the greatest ibankers at Goldman Sachs is a clear example of this.

Jul 27, 2012

Weinberg, who was a MOT and thus had a real connection to GS, had a military stint which really helped him. Honestly, I would go into the military and try to do some kind of educational practice inside of it. I've known a few who do and become accountants afterward.

Go MOTS!

anamerican

Jul 27, 2012

if you can dream it, you can do it

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Jul 27, 2012

I believe I can fly~~~ I believe I can touch the sky~~~ I think about it every night day~~~ Spread my wings and fly away~~~

Jul 27, 2012

Weinberg actually did attend college. According to Wikipedia he was sent to Brooklyn Browne's Business College..."to improve his penmanship." Sorry to dash everyone's hopes :(

Jul 31, 2012

.

The Auto Show

Best Response
Aug 1, 2012

During the 80's and 90's it was common for high school grads to make it to the trading floor by being runners at the exchanges. One of my friends (whom I consider a mentor) is at best poorly educated, but continues to bring in serious coin at a top bank through their trading desk. For me, he represents the last of those glory days when the street was a meritocracy, not the dysfunctional system we see today.

    • 2
Aug 1, 2012

Possible? Yes... Probable? Not so much...

In the past, there may have been more "old school", apprenticeship-style routes available, but I think most of these have closed now.

    • 1
Aug 1, 2012

If you think you can outperform/outwork anyone, why don't you shut the fuck up and go prove it instead of carrying your pathetic 3.0 GPA around and posting dumb questions?

Aug 1, 2012
Flake:

If you think you can outperform/outwork anyone, why don't you shut the fuck up and go prove it instead of carrying your pathetic 3.0 GPA around and posting dumb questions?

Lol, talk is cheap.

I don't think you have to graduate from a Target...I think you can also graduate from a Kmart.

Aug 1, 2012
Flake:

If you think you can outperform/outwork anyone, why don't you shut the fuck up and go prove it instead of carrying your pathetic 3.0 GPA around and posting dumb questions?

This.

What exactly are you using as your basis to say you can outperform people who have shown they have the ability to work harder than you in the classroom? How do you know you've got better skills than people who have thus far shown better skills than you?

Do you even have a job offer?

Aug 1, 2012

maybe back in the 70s. I've never heard of it happening. Since youre so close to finishing, it's prob worth it to stay honestly.

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Aug 1, 2012

I am sick of this self entitled "But mommy said I was special" group.

KermitBee:

I honestly think that i would out-work/out-perform 95% of the Finance majors graduating at the top of the class, though.)

Drop out and make sure not to mess up my coffee, bitch.

Aug 1, 2012

Accounting and economics are two studies that have high returns for people who keep their heads down and work hard. If you can't work hard in college why should anyone believe that you'll outwork anyone in the professional world? No matter what your rational is (whether it be grades are bull shit, or college isn't an adequate proxy for professional success) you're not above playing the game the rest of us have to play.

    • 1
Aug 1, 2012

I don't know how many times I heard this while networking my balls off.

"Well about XX years back, I could get a gig here pretty easily."

I truly believe succeeding in anything comes down to grit, hard work, brass balls, and a splash of optimism. However, without schooling these days, you're probably gonna rub your face raw for a lot longer than you want.

    • 1
Aug 1, 2012

Hahh.. thanks for the insights, my fellow Monkeys.

-KermitBeee
gurmitbhatia[.]com

Aug 1, 2012

Was just a question. I'll be finishing. Good looks for the helpful responses.

-KermitBeee
gurmitbhatia[.]com

    • 1
Aug 1, 2012

I heard a story of one alumni at my university, this guy was given a full time offer on como trading after his 3rd year internship, he took the job and agreed with the dean just to take final exams, he failed the exams but he still trade in Geneva for the Trading house that hired him.

Aug 1, 2012

Vince_T : Yes, i've heard many stories that correlate similarly to this one. Obviously education is important, however in today's society if you've got the skills or if you know the right people, anything is possible. Why take the rugged trail if a paved road is an option? Unfortunately, I do not have Blue Blood and I'm not as fortunate as the "alumni" at your university. I was merely looking for opinions. Good looks for the response. Banana for you.

-KermitBeee
gurmitbhatia[.]com

Aug 1, 2012

Im sure if you have been trading very successfully and have a proven strategy along with killer profits they will find you. But I can assure you that the no college route is not the path of least resistance and doesn't add any real benefit to where you are trying to go. I'm getting into the oil business so I'm no expert, but firms look for the street smart guy with the degree nowadays for sure.
When Im in Southern Cal playing poker theirs a regular player down there i know that traded his own account with consistent profitability and and a proven strategy for years then sold himself into a trading position through balls out networking. So nothing is impossible, just don't be surprised if you end up digging ditches to fund the trading account.

We're running out of oil....sike!

Aug 1, 2012

In Switzerland it is still possible but not as common as it used to be

Aug 1, 2012

Good Looks for the responses, Fellas. Cheers. I have "Family Ties" in Switzerland and the Islands. Might have to implement Plan B and move my ass abroad worst comes to worst. I think the opportunities will lie in the emerging markets in the near future. I may be mistaken, but I think it's going to get a lot tougher here in the U.S.

-KermitBeee
gurmitbhatia[.]com

Aug 1, 2012

I know people who have done this and I would give a 99.9% chance that it never happens again. This is for trading.

Aug 1, 2012

I have seen this and it isn't impossible, but if u are already in college it would be stupid not to just graduate. The people I know who have done it came from really bad backgrounds and didn't have the opportunity to go to college and then worked there way up through real back-office-type jobs. I love a story like that but its a bit different then "I just got sick of college and preferred to spend my time in AC". So finish college...its not like graduating is that hard in this day and age.

Aug 1, 2012

no

Aug 1, 2012

Sales; sales; sales. I cold-called the ceo of a wall street broker dealer and landed a job. 2 years later im at JP Morgan chase as a financial adviser earning well into the 6 figures and loving it. Remember money never sleeps. Be advised though.. if you want a real technical job it probably wont happen until a ba or mba-- they sleep less. Be ruthless, if youre not hanging then pretend you are and don't wear tight pants; If you do a good job then they wont notice. Take my word for it.

Aug 1, 2012

Answer: No.

Aug 1, 2012

Yes, if you started a company and sold it for 10M+ and had connections with high level execs/MD's. I could see you breaking in...then again, that's probably even harder than getting a college degree now and then going for IB

Aug 1, 2012

Nope.

Aug 1, 2012

I'm always the optimist and don't like to think anything's impossible, but FO IB without a college degree is impossible unless you want to be a secretary. It's really tough if you didn't graduate from an Ivy or other target.

Aug 1, 2012

No bank is going to take you for a FO job if you never graduated from at least an undergrad institution. They can't run the risk the risk of having someone without a degree being in front of clients. Not because people without degrees are less intelligent/qualified, but just optically it doesn't look good. A client is unlikely to want to hire someone who never graduated from college

Aug 1, 2012

I used to work with a guy that had a college degree, but did something completely unrelated to having a desk job (i.e. construction, electrician, etc.) for ~20 years then was left broke and unemployed and ended up buying a stock and selling it, buying another stock, etc. then eventually got hired at a PWM firm and now makes 150k+.

Not a FO IB gig with no college degree(which I believe would be impossible), but thats about the strangest background ive ever seen.

Aug 1, 2012

In PWM it is definitely possible but there is a reason behind that....most people going into PWM already have years of work experience and that experience in many cases proves to be more valuable than the actual degree. That being said they still prefer to see it but someone with enough experience can squeeze in.

In IB, correct me if I am wrong, but aren't most people getting hired into an IB analyst gig at around 23 or 24 years old? How can someone reasonably aquire enough valuable work experience in such a short period after high school?

Aug 1, 2012

I already know the answer to my own question. Trade my own money. Make a track record. Do my own analysis and sell my ideas to people that would be potential employers/partners, get certified, make connections, done. The only reason I'm responding to my own post is because I couldn't figure out how to delete the original and I feel like an ass looking for confirmation on a forum. Just being impatient. Again, thanks and no thanks in advance. Comments and trash talk still welcome.

    • 1
Aug 1, 2012

Some douchebag entitled Harvard parents-paid-for-college and only got in because his dad went there little shit will come and tell you that you need a top tier degree and a 4.5 GPA (while he majored in Art History and never went to class).

Then a community college kid will come in and tell you how he called 10,000 firms and got into a boutique that had office space at Starbucks and then lateralled to Goldman.

Network (LinkedIn is good for this), send some emails, start cold calling and maybe you can impress an MD or someone with hiring power somewhere who had a hard time breaking in just like you did and get a shot.

However I will say that no undergrad degree at all is a little tough.

Array

    • 1
Aug 1, 2012

Yeah the no undergrad degree is what Im looking for criticism on. So I need a few credits for an associates in accounting but Ive been looking at the Finance program at Rutgers. I really dont want to spend the money but if that alone really makes a huge difference Im going to just go for it. Ive also been just looking at job posts around the world like Singapore and London, New York also, and they all pretty much say, bachelors, bachelors, bachelors, on top of skills of course but apparently if everyone has a bachelors and I dont then it looks like I will just be overlooked.

The only thing I was considering that could beat that is a track record with my own money and proper networking. Im a 45 minute ride from Manhattan and I live in Princeton so Im surrounded by these people everywhere. I work on their houses and they are in the bars. I really dont want to spend two years in school for a piece of paper when I can spend alot less with online education, invest 30-40k myself(cost of school for two years), manage the money and do analysis the way it is done in any proper hedge fund, and use that for leverage. If I know how to manage money properly and make money, what else really matters?

Aug 1, 2012

20 years ago, you could probably get a job at Goldman with this story...but those days are long gone (unfortunately).

I agree that going to college to get an undergrad degree (it sound like you would need 2-3 years to do it) would highly increase your chances of getting into an analyst program..but "analyst" can mean different things.

Do you want to go into classic investment banking advisory (mergers and acquisitions, restructuring, etc..) or are you interested in sales & trading (very different from IB...might as well be different companies)...or do you just want to work for a prop trading firm?

Aug 1, 2012

Honestly I want to work for Prop Trading firm based on my personality but what I think makes the most sense to focus on now is just getting into any sector of the industry. That would be in and of itself a huge leg up and give me the leeway to make new connections and find the right place for me to be. The first job I would ever take would be a one to two year contract maximum and from then on I would seek out the best opportunities.

So anyway I have already filled out application for school and am planning on starting classes in January. So that settles that. I will still be trading, working, and networking, so all systems go now and no time to waste!

Thanks for feedback and am still open to comments and advice, I really need it!

Aug 1, 2012

You're on the right track in respect of education. As someone has already posted earlier, without it you'll have a hard time to pass thru HR. Just a note about track record. It depends, but people will look at it and trust it in most cases only if it's audited. So you may consider setting up some structure like LP, LLC now and get a corp account with you broker.

Aug 1, 2012
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Aug 1, 2012