Entering the finance field as a grunt with a low GPA at a low-tier public university. Any hope?

912jake's picture
Rank: Chimp | banana points 12

I will be graduating with a bachelor's in finance in about 2 years. I will be looking for a job as soon as I graduate. I want to eventually become a financial analyst and am looking for a modest starting point to enter the field of finance considering my less than spectacular credentials.

Here's what I plan to graduate with:

Western Illinois University Graduate
3.1 Cumulative GPA
3.6 Major GPA (Finance)
Minor in Accounting
Spent a semester abroad at Hong Kong polytechnic University.
Fluent in Mandarin Chinese.
summer internship at Masco Corporation (Contractor Services)
Passed CFA level 1

I obviously don't have a chance at getting into a BB investment bank right now(ever?). What are some attainable entry level jobs that people like me can aim for to enter the field? Thanks in advance.

Just from browsing around people have put out resumes with awesome credentials and only get about 1 response for every 100 resumes. So it seems pretty hopeless for me.

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Comments (17)

Mar 28, 2012

I anticipate a lot of negative comments coming your way about how you don't have a shot. So before those start flowing in I just want to say that IB is only a piece of the finance pie. And BBs are just a subset of that piece of pie. That said, you have 2 years and there's a lot you can change from now until then.
I'm guessing the project 3.1 and 3.6 is assuming you ace every single course from now on. If not then try harder for fucks sake! you have 2 years!
If you are driven enough there's always a way. And if not, there's always business schools. so no, don't say never.

Don't self-eliminate. IF (and think about this part) IB is what you want, then there's lots you can do in 2 years to have yourself an IB offer by graduation. Not saying it's easy. Lots of people have gone down that route.

Jun 24, 2017

This post is stale but hoping you can add value to my situation. You can find my post through clicking my username, it's posted to IB forum.

Mar 28, 2012

Nah the projected GPA is actually a little lower than my current to be realistic about the more difficult courses up ahead.
Thanks for warning me of the gtfo onslaught though. I'm ready!

Mar 28, 2012

Keep it above a 3.0 and check out some middle market commercial banks in Chicago. PM me for the name of one who I know for certain has many Western IL grads.

when you're accustomed to privilege, equality feels like oppression

Mar 28, 2012

Not sure how many Leathernecks are working on Wall Street, but it doesn't hurt to ask the career center for any leads. I'd try to leverage your knowledge of Chinese into some kind of investment analysis role. There's gotta be relatively strong demand for people who can dive into an annual report written in Mandarin to help with analysis.

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Mar 28, 2012

True I figure I could use my mandarin to get my foot in the door at a firm that does business with china.

Mar 28, 2012

I think you have a pretty legit chance on the West Coast due to the Mandarin. Check out places like Matthews Fund (Asian mutual fund). There's also usually at least a couple of CFA Institute job line posts for Mandarin speakers.

Mar 28, 2012

Wait, I'm confused: OP are you military? If so, you have a really strong network in IB, finance, business, law, whatever. Tap it, start asking people for help and information.

Mar 28, 2012
D M:

Wait, I'm confused: OP are you military? If so, you have a really strong network in IB, finance, business, law, whatever. Tap it, start asking people for help and information.

No, don't ask why I went to western. Bad choice on my part.

Mar 28, 2012

Lots of regular businesses have a finance department.

Mar 28, 2012

Use the search function..I feel like this gets posted 10 times a day. You are going to do the same thing as every other non-target did to get their job, work hard, network, make trips to meet people, cold call, cold email, everything. I see so many posts about people with below 3.5's that say they want to get into finance, well work harder/

Mar 28, 2012
Monkeyman2:

Use the search function..I feel like this gets posted 10 times a day. You are going to do the same thing as every other non-target did to get their job, work hard, network, make trips to meet people, cold call, cold email, everything. I see so many posts about people with below 3.5's that say they want to get into finance, well work harder/

Good point but I guess I'm selfish and want to know what people think of my individual situation. For example, did any of you guys travel to Hong Kong for an internship or study abroad before? I'm leaving next semester.
Should I be able to come back with a plethora of contacts?

Mar 28, 2012
912jake:

Should I be able to come back with a plethora of contacts?

You better. Otherwise don't let anyone catch you 2 years down the line complaining about how you don't have any contacts in the industry ;)

Mar 28, 2012

I really need to stop with the yes/no questions. Feedback? Personal experiences? Hateful comments???

Mar 29, 2012

Transfer to NIU (or even better UofI), major in accounting, work for big 4 in chicago, and then there's your pathway for finance. (still be hard.)

Anyways, you will probably want to stay at WIU I suppose. All you can really do from your school is get some type of finance/controller position at some company. Leverage that job for a better one and then keep doing it till you are at your dream job.

Mar 29, 2012

Your estimates for a GPA are ridiculous if you can't pull at 3.5+ in Finance/Accounting disciplines you don't want it.

'Before you enter... be willing to pay the price'

Jun 24, 2017