Investment banking from Non ivy league school

underwood24's picture
Rank: Chimp | 2

Hello. I am a freshman in college. I go to Texas A&m university and currently study finance at mays business school. I want to hopefully do investment banking but I have come across some concerns that a degree from Texas A&M mays business school isn't good enough to help land a job on wall street and I am considering switching to engineering because it is ranked really high here. The plan would be to get an MBA and work on wall street alive. I hate engineering but I know that it can potentially help out later in the future because it gives me many options if I don't succeed as a i banker as I can rely on engineering, however if I continue with finance and don't make it to wall street it will be very hard to make over 100K.

Any thoughts and concerns would be very much appreciated. I am very naive in this whole field and any advice would help.

Region: 
United States - South

Comments (77)

Dec 29, 2015

Check out the Mergers and Inquisitions Q&A about breaking into IBD from a non-target/ non-IVY school.
It may shed you some light.

There is always hope unless you have an abysmally low GPA and come across as a retard while you engage in networking .

Jan 5, 2016

This phrase has been beaten to death, but contact alumni from your school that work in IBD. If you can demonstrate that you have good knowledge of the industry, they might be able to make a push for you to get your foot in the door.

Jan 5, 2016

i always thought my school, Northwestern, would fall under "tier 2." perhaps a better way to describe your school is Top 15, Top 30, Top 50 (shudder), etc.

coming from a non-target, you have a chance at a boutique ibank. the ones in chicago/nyc are a little more competitive since you have decent schools in those areas where everyone is willing to stab their brother in the back to make 100k out of college, so you may want to do a hefty amount of alumni networking.

the salaries will be comparable but bonuses significantly less than BB in nyc, but youll still be making more than all your bozo friends who are jerking each other off for 35k a year. and thats all that matters, being better than your peers.

im really not sure what non-targets are supposed to do to get a decent IB gig. all i can say think is get that gpa up to 3.7+, get some good leadership experience on campus, and network, network, network. read some books on networking and become a good schmooze. and if youre azn... good luck my friend.

Jan 5, 2016

Thanks for the reply. If I switch to math/econ there's no doubt I can get up to a 3.7. If I stay in Biochem....not even med school kids here have much over a 3.5. As far as the tier 2 thing, I'm going by Barron's rankings which is what grad schools and medical schools use which is tier 1-5. The ivies and MIT, Berkely, Michigan etc. are tier 1. My school is tier 2 which is on par with U of Rochester, Illinois, and Villanova. I'm thinking of transferring to Virginia or Michigan. But if I can't get in there, maybe I should just transfer to Penn State or Indiana as these schools seem to place well and I could easily get into either of those.

Jan 5, 2016

Study what you love!!! Don't drop your major if it is only to get a better chance for an IB job. Virginia and Michigan have strong networks, so if you can make the move, do so. The most important is still: NETWORKING! Send out 1000s of emails and make 100s of calls to alumni for a little chat. This is the best advice one can give you, besides getting leaderhip experience, good GPA and relevant internships or part-time jobs. Good luck!

Joker:

Thanks for the reply. If I switch to math/econ there's no doubt I can get up to a 3.7. If I stay in Biochem....not even med school kids here have much over a 3.5. As far as the tier 2 thing, I'm going by Barron's rankings which is what grad schools and medical schools use which is tier 1-5. The ivies and MIT, Berkely, Michigan etc. are tier 1. My school is tier 2 which is on par with U of Rochester, Illinois, and Villanova. I'm thinking of transferring to Virginia or Michigan. But if I can't get in there, maybe I should just transfer to Penn State or Indiana as these schools seem to place well and I could easily get into either of those.

Dec 29, 2015

Engineering will be a much more difficult curriculum (I know this from experience), so you will need to put in some extra work to keep the GPA high.

Going the finance major route (any other single major within the b-school, considering your goals, would be folly) will expose you to the topics you will need to know to be successful in any interview. A brief recommendation: don't plan on starting your career in finance after your MBA if you know now that's what you would like to do. Getting internships/starting to network as a sophomore and junior give you a major leg up when it comes to FT recruiting. lastly, what mrvoodoo said - check out the M&I Q&A section.

Jan 5, 2016

I am from a non-Ivy school with a marginal GPA of 3.3 and want to enter the world of banking. I have interned at a private equity firm the past two summers and expect to graduate spring of 2007. I clearly do not have the background that BB are looking for but am wondering if it is possible to land an interview with a MM bank in NYC or Chicago. Does anyone have any advice that will help me get noticed by MM banks that do not come and recruit at my school?
Thanks

Jan 5, 2016

and if youre azn... good luck my friend.

explain. im not azn btw

Jan 5, 2016
quag_mire:

and if youre azn... good luck my friend.

explain. im not azn btw

im just talking about the nerdy asians at recruitment fairs who are super eager and desperate for IB jobs... they invariably have glasses that accentuate their squinted eyes, have poorly-fitting suits, talk way too fast, ask irrelevant questions like "What do you think about the equity markets?", have god-awful body language (hunched over, lean forward, fidgety, hands in front of their chest), and are just barely tolerated by recruiters with fake smiles and curt answers.

i had to stand in line behind these losers at the career fair at my school last year and just could not stand them. this doesnt apply to ALL azns... just the stereotypical nerdy ones with poor social skills. and it certainly applies to all nerds in general, but i just happened to see a prevalence of asians like this at career fairs... see the thread "About Asians" for further explanation. I strongly feel that these people are much better suited for med school than anything in finance except maybe quant work.

what im saying is, getting an IB job last year was tougher than usual, and this year might even be even worse. networking from my "semi-target" where only a handful of juniors get BB SA internships is ESSENTIAL in order to even have a chance at an IB gig. Networking means you need good communication skills, i mean close to perfect. im not saying im perfect by any means (im particularly long winded...like this post for instance) but the types of people i mentioned above are just hopeless. Nerdy azns lack these severely, and thus will never have a chance at the industry if they are from a non-target/semi-target. The only ones that will get in are the 4.0 gpa workhorses from top ivys who will sit there, shut up, and crunch numbers all day like robots.

i know this was super pretentious, especially coming from someone whos not in the industry. feel free to flame away.

Jan 5, 2016

go for it

Jan 5, 2016

Everyone knows how this industry works. Don't be afraid to write/call someone at the PE firm(s) that you got along with and ask them to put you in touch with anyone they know at either a BB or a MM bank. Even if you don't think you're cut out for BB, whoever you meet there can put you in touch with MM bankers. One contact can lead to many more. Be aggressive but cordial.

Jan 5, 2016

i'm sorry... what are bb and mm banks?

Jan 5, 2016

It's certainly possible, but will probably take a good amount of leg work contacting alumni or perhaps contacts from the PE firm where you interned. Noting that you have completed a Wall Street Prep or Deal Maven course may help with some of the boutiques.

Jan 5, 2016

Network network network.

Dec 29, 2015

A&M has a good network. Mays Business School is a great school and will place a bit of IBD in Houston.

"It is better to have a friendship based on business, than a business based on friendship." - Rockefeller.

"Live fast, die hard. Leave a good looking body." - Navy SEAL

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Jan 5, 2016

Thanks to everyone for the advice. I am actually going through DealMaven level 1 right now and will soon be on level 2. I'm also taking a couple graduate classes as an undergrad which will improve my financial modeling skills. Should I note this on my resume because the classes will not show up on my official transcript since the credits do not transfer as an undergrad?
Thanks again

p.s. Although I'm sure that there are plenty of wolverines who frequent this site, feel free to email me if you are in columbus so I can get you tickets to some Ohio State football games.

Jan 5, 2016

that was pretty spot on, especially the body language part.

whos signature is that that says, "no matter how fancy your job title is, at the end of the day your still a salesman"

Its just a lot harder if you can't sell yourself or ideas

Jan 5, 2016

don't sell yourself short!

Dec 29, 2015

A&M has plenty of people in IBD. Make sure you're involved with everything available to you such as Aggies on Wall Street. Not to be a dick, but might want to spend 10 minutes or so on LinkedIn and you'll find plenty of alum to reach out to.

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Jan 5, 2016

Depends on the non-ivy school. I went to SMU and about 5 or 6 BB's recruited directly... Many for energy groups in Dallas and Houston. There were some for NY though...

Jan 5, 2016

If they're so anti-social you have have nothing to worry about then. Your insecurity is showing ;)

Jan 5, 2016

I went to SMU also. We had no shortage of interviews. I think it just depends on the non-ivy school. I know that banks recruited pretty heavily from SMU and University of Texas.

Dec 29, 2015

What these guys said. Wall Street is hardly an ivy league only place despite popular perception(although that does seem to make it easier). There's a ton of guys from places like UNC, Michigan, Indiana, Vanderbilt, Georgetown, A&M, and such who work in NYC investment banking. If you're open to leading regional firms or regional BB offices (which I would be because those guys seem to enjoy their jobs much more than the BB in NYC analysts/associates), then the net becomes even wider. There's usually pretty good number of guys from the top area finance programs in those offices.

Hell I've even run into guys from places like University of Denver and University of Oklahoma (both unranked business schools) in regional BB offices, in places like Denver, Texas, and Salt Lake City.

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Jan 5, 2016

Does anyone have any idea of the reputation (if any) of the University of Massachusetts Amherst on Wall Street? Or any bankers from there?

Its not exactly a public Ivy but it has a couple of top 10 rankings for its business school by Princeton Review and supposedly reputable economics professors.

Dec 29, 2015

@underwood24 have you done any research on recruiting at Texas A&M? Have you talked to any Texas A&M alums working in Investment Banking?

Not to sound harsh but if you did the above you would come to realize that Investment Banking from Texas A&M is very much a possibility. I'm not sure about outside of Houston and in areas like NYC but definitely have seen countless May's alums at firms like Barclays, Citi, JP Morgan, etc.

One common theme among the analysts I've spoken with is that quite a few joined the Titans of Finance program (or something similar) that May's offers. In addition sticking to Finance is much easier and directly inline with what you want versus engineering which will be VERY difficult at A&M.

Jan 5, 2016

You have just as good of a shot coming from a non-Ivy. Try to find out when a bank is presenting at a nearby campus. It will help to press the flesh and kiss ass in person.

Dec 29, 2015

Titans that's the one I couldn't think of the name of. Do this and you'll be fine. Unless you're stupid and have a shitty GPA, but then you're fucked anyways.

Jan 4, 2016

yeah I have talked to many alums. To be frank many of them are still looking for jobs and the jobs they are getting aren't very good. Only a few I have talked to have made it onto wall street and the majority work in the houston Dallas area however not front office.

Dec 30, 2015

Do not switch to engineering as a back-up. A&M engineering is notoriously hard. If you get a Finance degree from Mays, you'll do fine whether its in IB or corporate finance (heavily recruited from what I hear) or even other careers that pay well related to finance (cost estimation, insurance brokerage/underwriting, sales, etc.). Just for the love of god do not switch to engineering there unless you absolutely love the subject and want to be an engineer when you graduate.

"It is better to have a friendship based on business, than a business based on friendship." - Rockefeller.

"Live fast, die hard. Leave a good looking body." - Navy SEAL

  •  Jan 5, 2016

I also went to SMU - how odd...

Jan 4, 2016

Do not worry about your school and do not change your major.

If you focus on getting a killer GPA and networking with every one then you have a solid chance. I got coffee with a ton of graduating seniors heading to JPM, GS, Barclays, etc and that alone can change every thing for you. People from your school will help you A LOT as long as you don't sound like an entitled brat who was born to do investment banking. And of course, just get awesome grades and your good.

BTW, I am from a non target top 20 public business school. If you show you are passionate, a hard worker, and not a boner and a pretty cool person to be around, then you should have an opportunity.

Also, make sure you actually know what investment banking is. Can't tell you how many people have said that they love picking stocks so that is why they want to do it. Always gives me a chuckle.
Just my 2 cents and good luck with the whole process. You got a long way to go its just the beginning

  •  Jan 5, 2016

I went to a non-Ivy and I now have the option of joining Citigroup's analyst class of 2007. Just know what you want and go for it. I would highly recommend that you intern for someone who's in the industry. They can vouch for you when you need them. Good luck.

Jan 4, 2016

But what if your grades are really low but everything else looks good?.. (ECs, experience in IB, leadership, awards, etc)

  •  Jan 5, 2016

if u majored in finance or econ....and u don't break into IB, what other good jobs are there in these fields? and lots of oppurtunity to grow?

Jan 4, 2016

Sorry kid, but GPA is the #1 screening tool. You don't have a shot without a 3.8+ to be frank.

Jan 4, 2016

I'm a non target who ended up getting 3 bb offers and 5 mm offers. I have a 3.3. Don't spread the lie that if you don't have 3.8 you are screwed.

Jan 5, 2016

Try leveraged finance. Still get paid well and get to work on deals that typically have defined beginning and end in contrast to Ibanking

Jan 5, 2016

One word.

Horizons.

Jan 5, 2016

I'm currently at a non-Ivy schooland am trying to align myself to bust into IBanking.

A few things I'm doing:
-Double major: Finance and Financial Accounting
-Extra Cir: Joining Finance Club and applying for VP finance in Mgmt club.
-Picking up extra Math/Quant classes with my electives vs. taking easier "GPA boosting" classes.
-Trying to land an internship this upcoming summer crosses fingers

  •  Jan 5, 2016

-double major is gd
-extra are weak
-math quant electives are not really "math". they're too easy to be of any practical purpose
- gpa boosting classes sound gd unless your recruiter looks at your transcript and realize that that is the reason for your gpa
-internship would be helpful, but it depends on where you are and what you do

Jan 5, 2016

You definitely do not HAVE to have a perfect GPA but it helps a lot just to get into the interview. But having a high one just makes things a bit easier for you so that is just my advice.

  •  Jan 5, 2016

vitaminwater are you in lev fin? if so would you be willing to talk offline as I am a 2nd year looking at other groups to transition to.

Jan 5, 2016

Thats true, to each its own.

Jan 5, 2016

what do you guys think of LSE in terms of Street reputation and Ibanking in NYC?

Jan 5, 2016

I attend Morehead State in Kentucky and I get laughed at when I call some of these PE and BB looking for answers. I am a Real Estate and Finance majors looking to get in somewhere on the west coast, any help?

Jan 5, 2016

test

Jan 5, 2016

word on the street is, network. find grads of your school who are somehow in the industry and call them for help.

Jan 5, 2016

LSE is top notch.

Either you sling crack rock or you got a wicked jump shot

Jan 5, 2016

Some firms look at online applications very closely. Don't neglect this route..

Jan 5, 2016

i went to a non-target school. very difficult to get involved but it was possible. those who got selected were smart, ethnically diverse, involved in their community, very polished individuals. that said, anyone can get involved if you're persistent -- that's what i'm hoping for.

  •  Jan 5, 2016

While it may help, graduating ivy is not required. Look at the profiles of Goldman's analyst. Most of the kids went to schools most of us never heard of. Be tenacious and follow-up. Most importantly, have a perfect gpa and great extracurriculars.

Jan 5, 2016

what

Jan 5, 2016

thanks

Jan 5, 2016

Does Indiana University really have large recruiting classes?

Jan 5, 2016
iwannabeabanker:

Does Indiana University really have large recruiting classes?

http://www.kelley.iu.edu/ibw/ourmembers/

Jan 5, 2016
iwannabeabanker:

Does Indiana University really have large recruiting classes?

Yes, here is a list of last year's placements for Indiana University. I posted this a couple of months ago.

Indiana sent 59 full timers to investment banking firms in 2006. Not all of them were in the investment banking workshop. Here is the breakdown:

corporate finance: 49
Sales & trading: 5
Private Wealth Management: 3
Other: 2 (1 in compliance for Goldman the other in valuation for Duff and Phelps)

By location:
New York: 31
Chicago: 20
Cleveland: 2
San Francisco: 2
Atlanta: 1
Charlotte: 1
Stamford: 1
Milwaukee: 1

Banc of America: 5
Bear Stearns: 11
Blackstone: 1
British Petroleum: 1
Brown Gibbons Lang: 2
Credit Suisse: 1
CRT Capital: 1
Deutsche Bank: 5
DRW Trading: 2
Duff & Phelps: 1
Goldman Sachs: 6
Houlihan Lokey: 2
Harris Nesbitt: 1
JP Morgan: 8
Lehman Brothers: 2
Lincoln Partners: 2
Merrill Lynch: 2
Robert Baird: 1
Think Equity: 1
UBS: 1
Wachovia: 1
William Blair: 1

For a state university, Indiana does very well. Outside of Northwestern and Michigan no school is better in the Big 10 at getting students into ibanking. That is at the undergraduate level.

Jan 5, 2016

So how do you actually get a hold of Alumni in IB. I've done numerous searches and have yielded no results. What else can I do?

Jan 5, 2016

I am a UT alum and plenty of banks recruited there, but only the best rise to the top.

Jan 5, 2016

I am a UT alum and plenty of banks recruited there, but only the best rise to the top.

Jan 5, 2016

If you went to NYU you'll do fine.

"We are lawyers! We sue people! Occasionally, we get aggressive and garnish wages, but WE DO NOT ABDUCT!" -Boston Legal-

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