Florida/Latin America Investment Banking

Hello, lads, really need some help with this one. 

I was previously on the law school path. Found out about investment banking about a year ago, started researching (getting better at Excel, even learning modelling) in greater detail a few months ago. Now, I don't think I have much of a chance at New York BB because I'm at a non-target with an irrelevant degree. But do I have a chance at anything in Florida or Latin America? I think the biggest player in Florida is Raymond James, but South Florida is even better because I'd save on rent. I've lived in Latin America and speak Spanish; my mum was born there and has some local connections, although none in the industry. 

I'm also open to cities like Chicago or anywhere where the comp isn't too off. My ultimate goal is to work in Western Europe; I have two European passports (EU + UK), so visas aren't a worry. 

My profile:

  • University of Florida, second semester junior

  • Native Spanish, Italian and (British) English speaker; good French

  • Political science (can/will add economics major if helpful)

  • 3.91 GPA

  • No finance experience, aside from working at a pension manager

If I do have a chance, how's the comp in, say, Mexico City? Is the experience 'discounted' when you try to move back to the US/Europe? Would learning Portuguese help? 

Comments (15)

  • Prospect in IB-M&A
Dec 28, 2020 - 5:26am

A lot of Latin American IB work is done in the US and you're studying at an American uni, so you should stay in the US. Comp is better too.

My advice would be to find your value proposition and leverage it in your networking strategy. For instance, if you want to break into Tech IBD, your "South American" profile and knowledge of the language wouldn't give you an edge, but if you were interested in Infrastructure you could easily craft a strong storytelling with Latin America + Infra/project finance. You could even leverage your political science background, because infrastructure deals are heavily impacted by government policies and regulations and Latin America is a politically fragmented area.

Once you have crafted your story, the only way is to network hard. Make a list of all boutiques, shops and other banks with which you can leverage your profile. Look up old WSO threads, there are some US banks specialized in Latin American deals. Then just stalk employees on Linkedin and cold-email them. The idea would be to get an internship for next summer to gain relevant experience, then get a full-time offer at this firm or another once you graduate and keep networking to lateral to a big NYC bank after 1 to 2 years.

Dec 28, 2020 - 6:04pm


It's funny that you mention tech; tech (think SaaS) sales is the only area where I have US-based connections who've offered to get me in. Comp isn't bad and improves quickly, but it tends to be ~$70k for first-years. Do you think it would be feasible to do that for three years and then do an MBA to break in as an associate? I'd much prefer banking, but I'm working with several hindrances: being at a non-target and having no internships or connections whilst nearing graduation. The MBA would also get me that prestigious name on my CV, which may or may not be important. 

Also, I've taken about 1/3 of the courses in the economics major. Taking up a double major wouldn't really delay graduation, but it would possibly lower my GPA, as I'd have to take maths courses. It's too late to enter UF's business school for finance, so economics is the best I can do. Do you recommend it? I'm a second semester junior at 19 - plenty of AP/IB credit, in addition to a full scholarship, which is why I chose UF over my other options. 

As for the Latin America + infra/project finance, thanks for the idea, but how would I get my break in this without knowing anything about it? It seems like the plan would be:

find a shop that does infra/project finance globally -> tastefully spam people who work there -> tell them I'm a US-based student/grad, speak Spanish natively -> ??? -> profit

Dec 29, 2020 - 9:25am

This really doesn't seem a bad option for you as an international who's missed recruiting. I'd take the job and save up for future MBA programs, who knows whether your interest will change. A lot of internationals would be happy to be in your situation.

Dec 28, 2020 - 6:09pm

Yeah, I know Comp is basically NY-level, too. It's honestly quite surprising that most prefer non-BB New York banking to Tampa - same pay, cheaper rent, no state tax. 

I don't think I can get my hopes up for Raymond James, chiefly because I don't have enough time to complete the Warrington finance programme. 

  • Prospect in IB-M&A
Dec 29, 2020 - 12:37am

Fellow UF junior year here. You've missed RJ recruitment for summer 2021 already. They recruited back in like September/October. In general, you've already missed out on recruitment for summer 2021 with basically every bank that recruits at UF for IB and practically all large banks outside of the UF recruitment scene as well. You might have a shot for this upcoming summer if you hustle hardcore for a role at a small shop somewhere in Florida. Idk anything about LatAm recruitment. Otherwise, coming from CLAS, frankly, your best option is to extend graduation and do either MIB or MSM so you can get another summer under your belt, and then since you're Hispanic, apply for SEO and MLT and you could probably get something for SA22. I know quite a few CLAS kids who did that and SEO/MLT has hooked them up with internships. 

  • Analyst 1 in IB-M&A
Dec 29, 2020 - 2:05am

Have you thought about a Masters in Finance? I know UF has a good one. Like others have said, you missed the boat on typical SA recruiting, and even if you delay graduation your background may not be incredibly competitive. I'd look into MFin programs and start networking now to see if you could pull something off.

Dec 29, 2020 - 7:54am

The trouble with the UF Warrington MSF is that it's a combined degree for undergrads. They wouldn't even consider my application. As far as I know, my best bet at UF is to do the MIB or MSM, as was suggested above. I've been doing some research, and the MIB/MSM would be quite cheap - 15k at worst, potentially free depending on how much scholarship money I've got left. I guess the other option would be a finance master's from another, more prestigious university. Don't know if that would be worth the cost. 

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