High School Student Seeking Path Into Investment Banking

Hi Guy,

Im 16 years old nearly 17 and from Australia. I am wanting to study finance in America but I want to know the target universities I can get into with a 3.7 GPA and about a 1380 SAT score? Also would you recommend to do accounting as a subject rather than legal studies in my final year of high school?


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Comments (113)

May 10, 2017 - 8:36am

im assuming the 1380 is out of 1600 right? any chance you know what it is out of a 2400 scale? That being said, if you have a 3.7 / 4.0 unweighted and (im assuming here) a roughly 2000 SAT out of 2400 then id say schools like Notre Dame, UVA, St.Louis, Boston College are possible. I wouldn't expect Ivy admission but crazier things have happened.. here in the states you can get a perfect 4.0 unweighted in HS with 10 AP's and a 34 ACT and not get into any ivys (not exaggerating)

May 10, 2017 - 8:56am

But you are missing one point: He is from Australia. Go apply to Ivy and play the "diversity card".

Don´t say this in a banking interview: Which superhero would you be and why? I want to be like Robin Hood, stealing from the rich and giving to the poor - me.
  • 1
May 10, 2017 - 3:10pm

A while back I watched a video of some basic hoe (who was pretty hot) explain how she got into Stanford. She clearly wasn't the sharpest tool in the shed, but somehow did it. I'd suggest looking up the video (I'll post the link if I can find it). You need to find a way to not be too mechanical for the top school's process. And, just like the other poster, I'm thinking being from Australia will help. Go to the target schools.

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May 10, 2017 - 10:29am

Harvard denies more perfect SAT scores than it accepts, every year.

It is NEVER (at any school at any level) as black/white as "you need X GPA and Y SAT scores with Z amount of extracurricular activities." It is all about the story you tell.

+1 because this applies largely to securing a job in banking as well as admissions at highly ranked colleges

May 10, 2017 - 5:57pm

Definitely do Accounting in high school. I'm a HS senior as well and I started learning accounting when in 9th grade. It is really the fundamentals and the language of business. It seems boring - debit, credits, accounts, etc. but it really helped me deepen my understanding of business concepts.

May 10, 2017 - 6:56pm

Thanks for your responses!!! I currently haven't taken the SAT but preparing for it. My tutor said I should get over 1380 easy, he is expecting me to get in the 1400's he told me this morning. My high school grades are currently:

Maths: A-
English: B
Business: A-
Science 21: A
(Changing from legal studies which is a B- to accounting which should be around a A-)

I just guessed around what my GPA would be because in Australia we do not calculate a GPA its just a report card you get every semester. So what you guys say my GPA is?

Finally, with those grades will I get a solid enough GPA and with a SAT in 1400's or just under what are the chances of getting into the ivies or universities like NYU and University of Chicago? My safety pick is going to be Vilanova University.


May 10, 2017 - 7:15pm

UChicago denies more kids than most Ivys.

Girl I went to HS with had 35 ACT (1550 SAT), was president of national honors society, a senators page, year book editor in chief, etc. denied.

You can't just ask what schools you'll get in, it's really kinda a best fit once you get past the minimum academic requirements.

Jan 6, 2018 - 3:59am

Sorry to break it to you, the only Aussies I've met at US target schools are athletic recruits. Unfortunately Aussies aren't seen as diversity and generally academic requirements are a lot more stringent.

Scotch, Sydney Grammar, or Melbourne Grammar are the only schools that consistently get looks.

As for the Visa situation, you would go OPT to E3. The E3 is not an issue and is basically a guarantee from what I've heard vs the H1B lottery.

Jan 6, 2018 - 4:52am

Don't listen to Lifestylemna, I know of plenty Australians/NZers who have made it to prestigious US schools without athletic recruiting. It's all about how you tell your story and show initiative in your community

Jan 6, 2018 - 10:10am

You are right, but they are obviously top students academically and otherwise.

@LifestylemnaI don't know where you got the idea that there are that many Australian athletes? Sounds very odd

Jan 6, 2018 - 2:03pm

Did some research - let me rephrase. It's disproportionately difficult for 1) internationals and 2) internationals with no legacy or athletics, to get in top target schools.

Take Harvard as an example. 33 Australians in undergrad in total (I believe this double counts dual citizens). If OP is male, sample size goes down to 17. Quick look at their athletics site, 6 of the 17 are student athletes.

If we're just playing the statistics game, 2% acceptance rate for internationals is skewed by 100% acceptance rates for student athletes, so the real rate is closer to 1%. This of course varies by school but means internationals have to be even more cream of the crop than Americans.

Jan 6, 2018 - 1:48pm

With the SAT, aim for 1450+. Also considering taking SAT subject test to increase your odds. And yes, do accounting.

“If you're afraid - don't do it, if you're doing it - don't be afraid!” ― Genghis Khan
  • 1
Jan 6, 2018 - 2:10pm

How can a Canadian High School Student break into IB? (Originally Posted: 07/09/2016)

Hello, I am currently a student at a mediocre public school in a moderately sized Canadian city. For the past year I have been researching potential career paths and have settled on finance, largely due to it being an interest of mine, as well as of course the money. I only have a 90% average, however I never really study so I'm sure that I can get it up to 95%+ fairly easily for my grade 12 year so I can get into a top school. My parents are middle class - upper-middle class and they are the only issue with my plan. They think that I should go to university in my home city (solid non-target) and live with them during university. I have tried to explain to them that no investment banks hire from my home university but they won't listen. The most that they say they will pay is 10k towards tuition. I am responsible for the rest or tuition and living expenses. I don't know their incomes yet but I estimate that I will only be able to borrow about 10k from the government. I am not sure what to do here, I don't think I will be able to afford to go to Ivey or Queens because their tuition is on average close to 20k per year. I was leaning towards McGill because of the cheaper tuition (>10k), but I'm not sure if the recruiting there is at the same level as Ivey or Queens. My goal is to break into IB in Toronto or NYC. What would you do if you were in my situation


Jan 6, 2018 - 2:01pm

Right now, focus on getting your SAT as high as possible. Assuming you're minimum 1380, I would apply to about 5 targets, 2 semi-targets and a safety. Really look into what makes each school unique(special student investment fund, programs, unique curriculum, study abroad options, etc) and have a damn good story of why their school is a great fit. Once you get past a certain GPA and test score level(usually around 3.7 or 3.8+ and 1400+ for targets) it's all about your story, the fit and your essays/recs/ECs/work experience. Best of luck to you.

Jan 6, 2018 - 2:27pm

Senior in high school interested in IB (Originally Posted: 08/31/2016)

Hi, newbie here, I am currently in that phase of high school where im stuck with choosing a major for college. My current options are physical therapy and business, i feel like business is going to be the better route in terms of exit options and career choices. Id just like to know what IB is really all about and where it can take me and what not.

Jan 6, 2018 - 2:30pm

Breaking Into IB: High School Phase (Originally Posted: 03/28/2017)

Hello WSO members,

I am in high school and am interested in breaking into the IB world. I was wondering what internships, courses, camps, conferences etc. I should try and take to bolster my application to not only my target school (Wharton, Ivy's, London Ec. etc.) but to future job recruiters. I know I am not the only high schooler on this site that is wondering how it is we can get into finance in the super competitive world we live in and I would like to ask this question for all those with the same interest as I.

Thanks to all those who respond!

Jan 6, 2018 - 2:37pm

High school student looking for a way to casually build up knowledge of IB (Originally Posted: 08/10/2017)

I'm a high school senior looking to learn the basics of IB. Any recommendations of newsletters, youtube videos, books, etc. that I could look into to expand my knowledge? So far I've only taken a microecon course, and I'm going to take macro second semester senior year, but I would like to study more specialized content.

Jan 6, 2018 - 2:40pm

High School Junior looking for tips (Originally Posted: 03/08/2011)

So i've been looking over this site for awhile and am kind of starting to look at colleges. I plan on majoring in Finance or Economics, or even a Finance degree with focus in Financial Analysis. I'm looking at going to Creighton University, which i thought was a good school, but evidently not in the IBanking world. The job i'm thinking that looks interesting is a research analyst.

Basically my question is, even i dont go to a top school, would i have any chance of getting in the biz with a Bachelors of Finance at creighton?? If anything i can work at a local firm for a few years after graduation then continue on to a MSF at Kansas/Tulsa, which most people recommend work before going on to get an MSF

Also, would an MSF be the best idea if i want to become a research analyst? Or should i go with MBA/MAcc?

Jan 6, 2018 - 2:41pm


Jan 6, 2018 - 2:42pm

Sounds like you got a lot to learn kid, good thing you're thinking about your career this early (I think?), but for now, just worry on trying to get into the best college you can (i.e. not Creighton). You may find that you want to do something completely different in a few years, just go to the best college you can get into that you also think you'll enjoy.

Just so you know, you mentioned MBA, IF you did decide to go get an MBA, it would be in about 10 years from now...Focus on the here and now.

Jan 6, 2018 - 2:43pm

See if W.E.B. will give you a job.

You can probably get a job out of Creighton, but you'll likely have to hustle. Lots of networking and calling people. I don't know if many finance firms will come to you. Maybe the Chicago market would be more open to someone coming out of Creighton? Have you considered any other geographies? Could you get into like a Northwestern or Univ. of Chicago in Chicago? Think Indiana has a good/fairly well respected in finance community program, but that's a little farther.

Jan 6, 2018 - 2:46pm

1- you need to get into as good a school as possible

2- no one gives a shit about an MSF from Kansas or Tulsa, you might as well get an associates degree from your local community college; you must be thinking of an MBA, which is often what people sometimes use to springboard into an investment banking-esque career from non-traditional backgrounds. You'd need an MBA from a top 10 Business School (e.g. Harvard, Stanford, Wharton, Columbia, Yale, Dartmouth, UChicago, UVA, Duke).

Also, don't listen to the douche bags who say "you should only be worried about getting laid and doing drugs, come back in 3 years." They themselves became competitive banking candidates by holing up in their rooms and studying all day and playing world of war craft all night.

Also, start networking your ass off... start now.

Jan 6, 2018 - 2:49pm

so from what you guys are saying, i should be looking at getting an MBA? It wouldn't be smart to first get an undergrad in finance at creighton then try and work for a local (omaha) firm or maybe trying to get into a KC/Chicago/Minneapolis firm and depending on the location, get an MBA from another university?

I'm trying to stay local for Undergrad then move somewhere for grad/job market.

Jan 6, 2018 - 2:57pm

But seriously, if you want to go to schools in the midwest look at an Indiana or Michigan as they place extremely well in finance. One of the most underlooked at things when choosing a school is geography and it matters so much. Going to a school in or around a big city provides internship/networking ops that simply wouldnt be available in a place like Omaha.

Jan 6, 2018 - 2:58pm

don't go to Creighton. It is private (so you will probably be paying a good amount to go there) and getting a job in IB is a shot in the dark with a degree from there. I think you'd have a better shot at going IB out of the University of Nebraska, simply because their alumni network will be far wider.

Jan 6, 2018 - 3:07pm

If you're really that gung ho about getting into investment banking (or some Wall Street job), BUST ASS. Get into the best school you can -- Chicago, Northwestern, or if you're willing to venture out of the midwest, schools like UVA, NYU, or even some of the Ivies.

Saying you want to just settle for Creighton (with no disrespect to Creighton) is sort of like a high school basketball player wanting to play in the NBA one day, but for some reason won't target a D-1 college.

Put it this way. Getting into a top undergrad that is a target school for Wall Street recruiting is easier than trying to get a Wall Street job from a non-target. By lowering your expectations for college, you end up making it harder on yourself to get that job you want longer-term.

You still have time. Work your ass off and get top grades and SATs.

Alex Chu

Jan 6, 2018 - 3:11pm

16 year old...want to be a IB!! (Originally Posted: 04/10/2016)

So I'm 16 grade 11 really interested in finance, I love in Vancouver have a plan to go to sauder achool of business at UBC then head east then def go to the U.S. any suggestions how to build up to get there ? Like is there any u.s exams I could do early that I need ? I'm willing to do anything :)

Jan 6, 2018 - 3:13pm

I initially assumed this was a troll post, but, in the case it isn't, I figured I'd offer some more useful advice:

1) Don't worry about this stuff right now.
2) Not from outside U.S., but doubt you need to take U.S. college exams to work at a bank in the U.S.
3) That said, it's likely easier to get recruited by a U.S. bank if you attend a U.S. University. Places tend to have a group of schools that they actively recruit from, with geography playing a major role.

Best Response
Jan 6, 2018 - 3:15pm

If you want to work on Wall Street out of Canada, there are only three choices to optimize your chances. In order: Ivey, Queens, McGill. If you try UBC/Rotman or others, you really need to stand out immensely. McGill and Ivey seem to be the best at placing in the USA/Europe. Queens seems to have the edge with Bay Street (Toronto).

Jan 6, 2018 - 3:20pm

Wasn't going to respond, but I'll just say this: don't go to Rotman. In fact, don't go anywhere outside Ivey, Queen's, McGill, or UBC. In fact, don't even go anywhere other than Ivey unless you are confident you can get into the investment funds at Queen's, UBC, and McGill. If you can get into those investment funds, or do well in your first term at Ivey, then you can get a BB junior internship (or some pe roles as well).

It's not rocket science. However, what I've found is that those who end up with these BB roles tend to be well rounded. When you do a commerce program everyone is going to look (roughly) the same. Being able to form cohesive sentences, being well read (outside of finance), and being someone those interviewing you would generally like to be around are the differentiating factors. Work on being holistically intelligent, not whether or not you can do a DCF at 17 because no one cares and it most certainly won't be a differentiating factor when you're interviewing at 20/21.

Jan 6, 2018 - 3:21pm

Ok that is some very good advice ^^ I do read in my spare time at the moment and I see the value in being a proficient writer, so I should start writing on my own time and creating essay subjects.

Jan 6, 2018 - 3:22pm

Whatever you do, please don't apply to rotman. It has horrible grade deflation and its recruiting for finance related roles is very poor. It does churn out quite a few accountants, although waterloo might be a better bet.

McGill's HIM is pretty impressive, and places well into the buyside. UBC is not great (have friends studying there), but its PMF program places fairly well regionally. That said, Ivey and Queens are your best bets.

Anyways take the advice of the experienced monkeys out here - Just relax and enjoy your teenage years

Jan 6, 2018 - 3:23pm

I'll give you the same advice I give every high schooler:

  1. the number one thing you can control right now is the quality of the university you attend. make the right decision here. can't say more than that, I don't know your financial situation or anything about Canada.

  2. don't do something that affects you permanently you will regret: DUI, drug charge, knock up a chick, get a face tattoo

  3. have fun, you have 8 years to fuck around (high school & college), and 40 years to worry about work, don't waste it. the difference between a 3.7 and 3.8 GPA won't be worth the fun you'll have at parties the night before an exam/presentation. once you pass the checked boxes of GPA and experience, it's all social in interviews and in the workforce.

Jan 6, 2018 - 3:24pm

Ahahaha I party don't worry, but it's gets to be the same lol, I understand to also have fun, but I Struggle with girls lol it's not that easy to get laid in highschool, well atleast it seems girls simply only go for the hotter guys, confidence and personality mean jack shit unless your funny which I'm working on. I kinda am taking a break, the girl I tried for is going for some other guy...

Jan 6, 2018 - 3:28pm

why am i trolling you buddy? lol hahaha that's pretty funny cause i actually happened to be 16 years old, look up my accounts on Instagram of Facebook and DM me a message and i'll respond. This situation is real.... kindve weird you think im trolling or am fake.

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