Going to non target

I am an incoming freshmen in college and am interested in public finance and going to a very non target, no name college (not quite community college, but it isn't much better), but I intend on attempting to transfer to a target school from my sophomore to junior year. I am supplementing this with extracurriculars, like getting an internship with my democratic senator, where I am one of, if not the youngest one there. I intend on work my hardest to achieve my goals, but I am wondering if other people were in a similar spot, some roadblocks I may encounter, such as when looking for internships in PF, or IB in general as a result of going to a non target, and how to alleviate those.

WSO Elite Modeling Package

  • 6 courses to mastery: Excel, Financial Statement, LBO, M&A, Valuation and DCF
  • Elite instructors from top BB investment banks and private equity megafunds
  • Includes Company DB + Video Library Access (1 year)

Comments (5)

Jun 3, 2021 - 11:49pm

Currently at a non-target that has a very good reputation overall (Big 10). Personally, don't let the word "non-target" get into your head and prevent you from breaking into banking. I hated when recruiters/bankers used that term and it only made me even more motivated to prove them wrong. Currently, I accepted an offer to a top MM bank for SA 2022 and I am so happy to have achieved this. Obviously there is a lot of work ahead of me but the one thing you should take away is NETWORK YOUR TAIL OFF!!

That's probably one of the only ways you will get your foot in the door with some banks. Also, take some time to see what banks actually recruit non-targets. This is something I wish I had known because I wouldn't have wasted my time with other banks if I knew they weren't going to take me.

I hope this helps. Ping me if you want to talk more !!

Jun 4, 2021 - 12:14am

I want to echo what has been said above. The Non-Target Title isn't that bad. Just take a look around LinkedIn and you can see that there are plenty of non target kids at basically every top bank or consulting firm and those kids are in good groups (JPM M&A, MS M&A, GS TMT, EVR M&A, CVP to name a few that Ive seen/know personally). I think being at a target will obviously make recruiting easier and will open the door to buy side ops.

Additionally, I would consider trying to transfer to a target between freshman and sophomore year (I assume it's hard). Most of the networking you do will be during your sophomore year (in person if at a target or phone calls if at a non target). The target school on your resume isn't the sole reason these kids get interviews. It has to do with the ease of networking through in person events and ability to cultivate relationships in person. As well as the interaction with upper class men in finance clubs that vouch for you. So when interviews come around, the recruiting team for x target school knows who you are.

As far as getting internships in your current non target area, it shouldn't be too hard. I always recommend cold calling firms that are local because they prob don't get very many calls. I did this my freshman year and got a sophomore summer gig there as a result.

This was a little scattered brained as it's pretty late and I'm watching the lakers get creamed. But if you need any clarification or have any questions feel free to pm or ask here.

  • 1
Jun 4, 2021 - 12:37am

Roadblocks I've encountered are networking (from some perspective), and opportunities available.

From a networking perspective and by going to a non-target, I didn't find a solid group of alumni to reach out to. Not to say there are none, but I've gone through the alumni list several times on LinkedIn filtering job titles and firms with little yield. But there are a hand full of work arounds. First, check to see if the firm your applying to has a student recruiter/recruiters who can help. I'd also attend any early talent acquisition calls (with professional or student recruiters) as they're sometimes willing to connect and even foreword your information. I also spent some time looking through company pages of smaller firms to see if there were alumni I missed and indeed I had missed a few. Lastly, just cold outreach. This can have varying results, sometimes I'll hit a good string and other times nothing, but customizing connection requests when possible and if someone connects with you be sure to message them as soon as possible.

Secondly, available opportunities for internships. You may hear from some firms that they are trying to offer more opportunities to non-target students. I found this to be half true. It would seem that (from what I've noticed) opportunities for non-targets are skewed towards 3rd and 4th year students of non-targets where if you want to get experience early on, there may be more opportunities at a target school (not considering competition though which poses a different problem). Early on, try to find something related if not IB. I've seen lots of kids start in WM or more general internships and work their way to IB internships successfully. Alternatively, some small-medium sized firms may be another place to look for early experience as have noticed on occasion they are more open to various years applying to positions.

I hope this helps and of course as I said, this is just my experience and what recruiters have told me, so keep that in mind. Good luck

Jun 4, 2021 - 10:30am

Second the internship. I went to a school literally no one outside my state knows but was able to network around town into ER and accounting internships that both helped me get experience and references that pretty directly helped me get my analyst job. If you can get internships that are as close to IB as you can get and tell your story well, you can definitely make it work. Best of luck!

Start Discussion

Total Avg Compensation

June 2021 Investment Banking

  • Director/MD (9) $911
  • Vice President (35) $364
  • Associates (202) $234
  • 2nd Year Analyst (115) $151
  • Intern/Summer Associate (97) $145
  • 3rd+ Year Analyst (27) $145
  • 1st Year Analyst (420) $131
  • Intern/Summer Analyst (338) $82