Finance jobs - economics degree - international student

I have an interest in finance and I plan on pursuing an undergraduate economics degree in the US. I am going to apply as a transfer student. I'm worried about the job prospects that I will have with the econ major. I am choosing economics because at some universities it's STEM designated so I will be able to work two more years post graduation, otherwise I would choose the business degree. My goal is to work in corporate finance or even IB. I've spent a lot of time reading about target universities, GPA, what banks sponsor, H1B etc.

I would like to ask, how tough will it be to get a finance related job as an international student without a directly applicable degree? If I do my homework, is it just a matter of networking? Should I consider other degrees that build some type of skill as well, such as MIS (which is a mix of business and IT) in case that I'm unable to find a job in the field?


Comments (9)

Oct 23, 2021 - 9:08pm

You are well ahead of the game. Most international students don't think that far ahead. I studied engineering and will likely be working in Tech when I graduate, but I tried hard to find something in Asset Management. It's probably advisable to pick up some skills working with data though, I know a lot of internationals from targets who weren't able to get offers/good offers at graduation and went home. Some basic Python and/or R for machine learning will be so helpful for a wide variety of jobs and roles that you may not even know you are interested in yet. Given your mentality and preparedness, I'm sure you'll land something good regardless. I wouldn't bother about the specificity of the degree, it's all about how well you craft the story to your DSO.

Oct 25, 2021 - 1:37pm

I'm coming from a small city in Europe and this is going to be a huge investment, so I'm trying to confirm that I'm making the right decision. This is very encouraging. Thank you very much for replying and for the advice!

Oct 25, 2021 - 1:45pm

Literally every international student gets a job in the US. A few don't get their dream job but many do. I wouldn't worry too much about it if you're at a good college. 

  • Prospect in IB-M&A
Oct 25, 2021 - 8:50pm

The quality of your school will play a huge factor in your ability to recruit for IB. For example, if you're a top-target such as H/W/S you have a solid chance compared to the slim chances if you're at a non-target liberal arts school like Skidmore.

Begin networking with international students in your desired field ASAP and take advantage of all resources at your school.

Most Helpful
  • Incoming Analyst in IB - Gen
Nov 12, 2021 - 12:04pm

International from a nontarget here who landed an FT offer this fall. Recruiting as an international student is ridiculously difficult given all the visa shit. The number of firms that you could realistically recruit at are ironically the most competitive ones (the likes of BB/EB/MFPE/ large MM). I'd say that your major doesn't really matter as much as long as you have some kind of internship experience or finance-related extracurricular activities to show for in interviews. The biggest hurdle would actually be getting through the HR screening round in the first place because you have to disclose your visa status. With that said, if you decide on the US, network early and join the most relevant finance/IB/investment/business club there is on campus as a freshman.

From my own observations, other successful internationals (at undergrad level) often speak very fluent English with minimal accent, are able to assimilate into US culture and get along with other Americans. On top of that, I can't stress enough how much LUCK is involved when it comes to recruiting. This past fall I happened to interview with people who are very familiar with the companies/deals I've listed on my resume, and the seniors have also travelled to my home country extensively - so we were able to connect well on a personal level and ended up landing the offer. 

Feel free to ask any more questions.

  • Incoming Analyst in IB - Gen
Nov 12, 2021 - 6:58pm

not sure why the MS, everything I've mentioned is the truth. Better to put it out there now so that OP and other viewers who are making the same decision could be as informed as possible

Nov 14, 2021 - 10:57am

Thank you for sharing your experience and congratulations! I have actually decided to graduate debt-free in my home country and pursue a master's degree in the US. In this way, I will not spend 60-70k for only two years of undergraduate education, limited opportunities for networking as I would transfer as a junior and fewer chances of winning the H1B. By getting a master's, I will get a more advanced degree, hopefully be able to network and increase my chances of winning the H1B lottery if I manage to secure a job.

  • Incoming Analyst in IB - Gen
Nov 14, 2021 - 1:04pm

I'd say the one caveat is if you pursue the masters route I'm not sure if you'd be able to recruit for SA positions given the programs are usually one year long. You might have to jump straight into recruiting for FT which is kind of a shitshow from my experience. I think one advantage of coming in at the undergrad level is you're able to get US-based experience and build those connections earlier on. I'm not too familiar with recruiting at the masters level so maybe someone else could chime in

Nov 14, 2021 - 3:24pm

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