Entering high finance without relevant experience

Hi all,

TLDR: graduated in 2017, no finance internships, how do I break in?

Background: I graduated college in 2017 from a semi-target with a BA in Economics and a 2.95 GPA . I was originally pre-med and scored decent enough on the MCAT. I also held several leadership positions and was involved in neuroscience research. I did not want to retake courses and prolong med school for a year so I graduated college early and went to an offshore med school. In the second semester, I withdrew (for several reasons), came home and took upper level bio courses at a local non target and got a 4.0. I was working odd jobs part-time and now currently work in supply-chain/logistics as an analyst. Today, I'm a 24 year old with a job I like but also have debt from med school that will take another year to pay off.

Question: Do I have any options in high finance at this point? I like investing, CNBC, and reading Damodaran. After meetings with the pricing team at work, I always leave wanting to learn more.  I was interested in economics and math coming out of high school but wanted to open a medical practice. Ideally, I'd like a career where I can earn a lot and volunteer frequently. I'm not averse to hard work and am confident that I can stomach 60+ hour weeks in this field.

Are there low cost masters programs that I can do to get me on track? (MS Finance, etc.) I'm open to an MBA in a few years but would like to gain experience in the field before that.

Do I just need to network like crazy and conduct many informational interviews?

Is there no hope for me in finance?

Thank you all for your time, any advice is greatly appreciated!

Comments (4)

Jan 20, 2021 - 3:06pm

To be blunt, you face long odds. Recommendations/thoughts:

  • You need to network to have a chance. No offense, but your resume likely doesn't make it past HR screening software; you need someone championing your application from the inside. Spamming job applications will not alleviate this issue.  

In order to network, you need to:

  • Figure out what exact roles in "high finance" interest you, and why.  
  • Come up with reasons why a firm should hire you instead of a more traditional applicant. Try to provide tangible examples instead of mentioning interests. 

Unsure on the value of MSF, or chances at worthwhile MBA so I will leave that to others to answer.

Jan 20, 2021 - 3:39pm

Thanks for the response. I've been using my LinkedIN network and alumni base to try to talk to people. I also have a few friends in finance who can help me with my resume.

Do you have any advice on what I can do to  learn more about high finance? From reading, wealth management sounds most interesting and impactful to me. IBanking sounds like the most active and I would enjoy negotiating deals. 

I'll work on tangible examples to speak about. My experiences at work and school can probably be spun the right way. 

Most Helpful
Jan 20, 2021 - 4:04pm

I don't work in ibanking, but have many friends who do. My intuition is that you're better off recommitting to med school or making something of your current path. "High finance" is probably too competitive for you to be able to count on landing an entry level gig. Your are neither a first year analyst nor a proper lateral, so I'm not sure what the entry point would be. For every occassional1st year analyst opening that pops up at a shop, you'd be competing with folks breaking in from corporate finance, analysts trying to lateral from "lesser" banks, and/or anyone else with a more cohesive and relevant background.

Basically, these places could hire anyone, so why would they take what looks to be a massive risk on paper by hiring you? Just don't want you to waste time...

Edit: You might have a chance at a small sell-side boutique or "business brokerage," but those jobs may well come with really low salaries, toxic work environments, and no benefits. Be careful what you wish for!

Jan 20, 2021 - 5:53pm

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