Ib Advice for high schooler?

Im a sophomore in high school planning on going to Uc Berkeley after (my families paycheck to paycheck so a Ivy League tuition is out the picture) and pursuing a career in ib after. I think I discovered what I want to do earlier than most people so I'm trying to find out resources and get a head start on anything that can ease me along my way. Already doing volunteer work around city and keeping my gpa above a 3.5 at the very least. Thanks for any input.

Comments (55)

  • Analyst 1 in IB - Ind
Jan 27, 2021 - 3:09am

First off, enjoy your high school experience. That being said it's great you know you're interested in the financial services industry this early. Follow the markets and sign up for the Morning Brew newsletter/WSJ/NY Times Dealbook (see if your high school gives students free memberships for the latter 2). Find relevant internships if at all possible. Most if not all Ivy league / top schools offer stellar financial aid and if your parents make

Jan 27, 2021 - 10:53am

Thanks I've had enough of the "high school experience" for one life already I don't do parties and occasionally smoke with the small group of friends I have. I was wondering if you had any websites geared towards beginners trying to break into ib or maybe some books I can check out.

Feb 9, 2021 - 7:44pm

Investopedia can be pretty solid for building the basics in finance related concepts. In my senior year of high school I spent like at least an hour a day sifting through the articles.

  • Associate 1 in IB - Restr
Jan 27, 2021 - 11:56am

Because its true. Banking isn't what it used to be, and it will continue to trend downwards. It's the life cycle of an industry - It starts off small, then grows into a mammoth powerhouse where the gvt doesn't really know how to regulate it. People are paid obscene amounts of money, and then everyone and their mother wants to be a banker which causes lots of issues and ultimately results in oversaturation and attrition. Sound familiar? Tech is in the growth stage right now. Finance is on the decline. If you haven't noticed, every chad who has watched the Wolf of Wall Street wants to be a banker. Sure there will always be finance jobs, but salaries will eventually normalize, things will become automated, and people will lose interest. Just the way it goes. 

Jan 27, 2021 - 4:42am

Following .I do think you should apply to ivies assuming you get in low income earning families mostly get full rides but UCB is solid so ... .I am also a highschooler you should definitely check up the college timeline thing in my bio just click on my name and you should find it.

  • Intern in IB-M&A
Jan 27, 2021 - 11:14am

If your parents are paycheck to paycheck, Ivy League and equivalent schools will give you a full ride or close to it, would be far cheaper than even your state schools. 

Most Helpful
Jan 27, 2021 - 11:22am

First off why do you want to be an Investment Banker? Is it for the money? The prestige? You said your family is living paycheck to paycheck so I'm guessing that you haven't been given the silver spoon, so does that have anything to do with your decision? Maybe an unpopular take here, but you are way too young to even be considering banking in my opinion. Do you even know what it is? Yeah I'm sure you've read about it on WSO, saw the threads on bonuses and comp at different firms, the prestige lists, the lifestyle stories, and this has caused you to become enamored with the job. This is a very dangerous bias base to base your entire career, and in your case, college selection as well. My advice would be, take a step back, and enjoy your time in high school. Play sports, hang out with friends, chase girls, indulge in hobbies, and all the other shit you can never do again. It gets harder and harder as life goes on and I PROMISE you that if you base your entire high school and college experience on getting a job at goldman or wherever the fuck, you'll be pretty miserable. Don't even think about banking for at least another 3 years. Read about things you are interested in and actually find engaging. Focus on personal development and becoming a well rounded person. Another note - if you come across like you've been preparing to get a summer analyst job since you were 15 I'll think you are a mega try hard and someone I don't want to hang out with. I know you will probably disregard everything I just said and go try to build a DCF or the like, so I most likely just wasted 10 minutes of my time typing this out, but at least consider it.

Jan 27, 2021 - 11:38am

The money is partly why I want to do it, prestige is out the question I never cared for it much. I'll admit i am new and have been browsing these forums for general information. Everyone says it's a grueling job but no one ever says it's a "hard" job from what I've gathered the hard part is landing an internship and getting analyst positions not the job itself. Also pertaining to the high school part I've done 2 years of football for my school and don't care for it much either, the parties wear me out and there's not much in it either than the relationships you can build with teammates but you can do that off the field too. Thanks for the input and while I appreciate it I'll probably continue on my path and see where it takes me. Also I've always been passionate about money growing up how we did so that's another factor. If you want to recommend other jobs you think would be better that are finance related shoot me a reply and I'll check them out. Thanks.

Feb 4, 2021 - 10:27am

I don't think this is good advice, at all. Someone who is from a lower income, non-connected family needs to be grinding from as early as possible to get a shot at IB. He/she is competing against kids who's dads are CEOs, MDs, clients not just to break into IB, but to get into a good college (friendly reminder 30% of Harvard admits are legacy). Sure, enjoy high school and enjoy college - but that doesn't mean he should completely forget about IB / career while doing so. He's already incredible disadvantaged compared to the average investment banker and needs to make up for that. 

  • Associate 1 in IB - Restr
Jan 27, 2021 - 11:49am

My god is this what the world has come to?? 15 year olds wanting to be M&A advisors? When I was 15 I wanted to be a fucking basketball player. I didn't know what banking was - I didn't even know what finance and economics were. It's insane hardos like this actually exist.


I'm going to go out on a limb and say you don't even know what banking is. You don't even know how to drive yet and you already know you want to be a powerpoint monkey in your 20's? Bro, WHAT??? What kind of outlook is that?


Bigstonks said it well. Completely put banking out of your mind. You WILL get burned out. You WILL be miserable. You WILL regret it. Chill tf out and do some dumb shit a 15 year old would do. Revisit this when you are 20 and then you can really decide.

Feb 9, 2021 - 7:48pm

Well, things are getting tougher and tougher. I know many new banking analysts who tell me they hardly even know what IB was until they almost graduated. Kids still in uni found out about IB and gained an interest by their second year, which once again made them pretty competitive. Now, we've got freshmen coming in who can build DCFs and already know several people at investment banks. It's all about a continuous process of making oneself competitive. I know for sure that being a keener has helped me.

  • Prospect in IB-M&A
Jan 27, 2021 - 11:51am

Berkeley is pretty fucking hard to get into, even if you're instate. Keeping your GPA above a 3.5 is not a good enough goal. You're also going to need top APs, a very strong SAT score, and really improve on those ECs. Random volunteer work doesn't mean shit, it needs to be legit ECs. What clubs are at your HS? Which ones have you joined? Which ones can you get high leadership positions in? Do you have any research experience? Any entrepreneurship experience? These are all things to think about.

Wanting to do IB or a similar competitive job isn't a bad goal to have, it's just there's a road to follow here. First, you have to get into as good of a school as possible.

Jan 27, 2021 - 12:08pm

Are there volunteer opportunities that'll look good on a transcript outside of school? My schools pretty small and there are not that many clubs and the ones we do have are based on ethnicity (islanders/African American) which I'm not. (I've tried to join Pacific Islanders, they wouldn't let me.) I've already applied for food bank and tutoring opportunities at a town near me just waiting to hear back.

  • Prospect in IB-M&A
Jan 27, 2021 - 3:44pm

Firstly, a transcript doesn't have your extracurriculars. A transcript just shows the classes you took, the difficulty of your courseload (accelerated, honors, AP, etc), and your GPA. You don't have any clubs that aren't based on activities? If I'm being completely honest, that's a blessing. It's an opportunity for you to start a club. Either start a brand new investment club of some sort where you paper trade or start a different activity based club like Model UN or start a chapter of a club at your school like FBLA or DECA or JSA. My HS had over 200 clubs so if anyone wanted to start a club, they literally just said no, so you're kind of lucky. As for things outside of school, cold email professors asking for research opportunities in economics and finance. Volunteering and tutoring are basic and cliche and don't do shit anymore.

Jan 27, 2021 - 3:49pm

Yeah, I agree with the other posts to not think too much about banking rn. Just keep it in the back of your head. You should focus on ensuring that you get into a top college. Take difficult classes, but don't stretch yourself thin. Get good grades (hopefully mostly As) and score well on the standardizes tests like APs and SATs. Make sure during your junior year that you find a teacher you really get along with and perform well in his/her class so they can write a killer rec. All of this stuff is the prerequisite to get into a top college. You are allowed to mess up a little, but you need to show that you are overall a capable student. Beyond these baseline requirements, it's imperative that you really excel in one or two activities beyond academics. If you like debate, you could become a nationally ranked debater. If you care about a cause, you could found a non-profit and find a way to grow its recognition. If you like tech, you could try to develop your own apps and grow your user base. Again this is just to name a few options. You have to be creative and come up with something that suits your interests. This kind of stuff will give you a good shot (not a guarantee) of getting into the Ivy+ schools, and a really good shot imo of getting into schools like berkley. Btw, Ivy+ schools have large endowments and generous need-based financial aid programs, so your family's income should not be a barrier to attending these schools. Once you get into a top college, then you can think about what options you have and your career.

Jan 27, 2021 - 4:57pm

Put it on the backburner for a while. Try to get into a school with a substantial recruiting presence so you have options. Check the alumni page of a school on LinkedIn to see where people end up. I would hold off on networking and interview prep until you're settled into college. Mid first year is definitely early enough to make it happen if you're still interested four years from now. Get internships early, but not in high school. Sophomore year working at a boutique bank in the off-season is ideal. Enjoy yourself now while you're a kid. Skateboard with your friends, play video games, whatever. You have the rest of your life to work. You are at an advantage knowing you want to be in finance early on, but take some time to explore your interests before committing to something like banking. You can definitely make it in by brute force, but there are other doors that are wide open with much less competition. 

Jan 27, 2021 - 6:11pm

Do not bank on getting into a good school either, it will be much much harder by the time you get to where I am now.

More and more schools are going test optional for future years, meaning there are less and less objective standards for colleges to use. Many top ECs and many really good essays are the result of counseling and $$$, and they are really subjective and hard to judge your admissions off of.

  • Associate 1 in PE - LBOs
Jan 27, 2021 - 7:53pm

Developing social skills and enjoying HS will go a lot further toward getting you into IB than will reading Mergers & Inquisitions at 15. 

That said, try to get your GPA and SAT as high as humanly possible. Will pay huge dividends on college quality and cost (and also help with IB, should you go that route in 5 years). 

Jan 28, 2021 - 6:15pm

Here's what I would do

  1. Get a job (part time during school year and full time over the summer)

  2. Start learning excel through LinkedIn learning or a free tutorial/book, anything to just familiarize yourself with the software

  3. Go to Mergers & Inquisitions (basically free version of BIWS) and just watch the videos, take some notes (keep an organized notebook), learn some basics of finance, valuation, modeling etc.

  4. Read free daily newsletters (Morning Brew is a good start, Fortune Term Sheet/Axios Pro Rata/Daily Upside are more geared towards Product Group deals and IB/PE/VC news)

  5. If your means allow, do some real research on stocks (read 10-K's, earnings reports, analyst reports not just look at Yahoo Finance recommendations and motley fool picks) and invest whatever you can in stocks you're confident in (and follow their progress from a financial analyst's perspective)

  6. Read some books about banking like Monkey Business & Young Money. At your age, it's possible IB is nothing like what you think it is but at the same time I trust you did sufficient research if you are coming to this tentative conclusion as a HS soph

  7. When you are driving, walking around your neighborhood, on the bus, doing dishes (anything like that), listen to audiobooks or listen to finance podcasts (WSO is good, a lot of personal anecdotes of people and their career progressions, Wall Street Lab, WSJ, The PE Tech Podcast, there are plenty of good ones)

Obviously a lot of the other things mentioned on this forum you need to do and are more cliche (keep GPA, ENJOY HIGH SCHOOL, etc.) so I didn't add those, but here is what I would do if I went back to being a HS sophomore and was interested in the field knowing what I know now.

Start Discussion

Popular Content See all

This Fucking Sucks
+48OFFby Prospective Monkey in Investment Banking - Mergers and Acquisitions">Prospect in IB-M&A
Why would any associate+ banker choose a BB over EB?
+30IBby Intern in Investment Banking - Mergers and Acquisitions">Intern in IB-M&A
PE isn’t the best way to get into b-school
+26BSCHby 2nd Year Associate in Private Equity - LBOs">Associate 2 in PE - LBOs
Share a day that looked like a Suits/Billions episode
+21IBby Intern in Investment Banking - Generalist">Intern in IB - Gen
What's Wrong with Warburg Industrial & Business Services?
+16PEby 1st Year Analyst in Investment Banking - Mergers and Acquisitions">Analyst 1 in IB-M&A
Slow Weeks?
+15IBby 1st Year Analyst in Investment Banking - Mergers and Acquisitions">Analyst 1 in IB-M&A

Total Avg Compensation

February 2021 Investment Banking

  • Director/MD (9) $911
  • Vice President (31) $349
  • Associates (158) $231
  • 2nd Year Analyst (97) $151
  • Intern/Summer Associate (92) $144
  • 3rd+ Year Analyst (23) $145
  • 1st Year Analyst (366) $131
  • Intern/Summer Analyst (304) $82

Leaderboard See all

LonLonMilk's picture
Jamoldo's picture
Secyh62's picture
CompBanker's picture
redever's picture
frgna's picture
Addinator's picture
NuckFuts's picture
bolo up's picture
bolo up
Edifice's picture