Are finance majors retarded?

I hate having to use clickbait titles, but it always gets more responses. But really, is there any advantage to a finance major?

Assume you have leadership positions in finance clubs and multiple relevant finance internships. For IB recruiting, if you're a computer science major, is that

a) a disadvantage because it doesn't show interest as much as a finance major

b) an advantage because you'll get easier technicals

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Comments (33)

  • Intern in IB-M&A
Jul 27, 2021 - 1:54pm

It might. Might.

I think showing a demonstrated interest in finance, whether through internships or your major, is a strength for applicants. Any relevant experience would probably set you up to expect at least some technicals

  • Investment Analyst in AM - FI
Jul 27, 2021 - 2:15pm

One thing students don't realize is that having a cookie-cutter finance or econ background is good but not great. I'm close with the recruiting process at my AM shop and we always like STEM candidates, especially those in computer science or know how to manipulate/use data. 

Financial concepts are easy to teach, but the ability to tackle highly complex subjects such as mathematics and computer science is much more enticing to the employer. 

Jul 27, 2021 - 2:20pm

Finance major is good and traditional but not necessarily the "end all, be all" to going into IB. From what I have learned there is such an emphasis in IB on accounting and financial statements so Accounting is also a good major to pursue. Also, you can major in anything you want but if its not business related/Finance?Accounting, make sure you can speak on it if asked "why did you choose to major in (insert major)" 

  • Analyst 2 in IB - Cov
Jul 27, 2021 - 9:22pm

The real answer is yes, finance is easier

Let's be honest, while this career is great and all the real reason why most of us chose it is that we have an easy education and good pay. But unlike being in CS, you will work significantly more hours, work with actual psychopaths, and have grey hairs by your early 30's.

My advice, from someone at a top EB, stay in CS. You'll have more work satisfaction, possible more pay, and actually get to live your life

  • Prospect in IB-M&A
Nov 10, 2021 - 7:11pm

just curious: do you think this is a grass is greener thing? especially since analyst years are the shittest, the real reason people do IB is for 10 years down the road

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  • Analyst 1 in IB - Cov
Jul 28, 2021 - 12:37pm

I pulled this move where I started out college majoring in engineering and then switched to finance over near the second semester of my sophomore year, but it timed perfectly (this was luck) to align with recruiting so when I submitted my resume to all the banks it looked like I was majoring in engineering still and as if that would be my long term major and it worked to impress all of my interviewers really well cause of the STEM meme (they all liked seeing it especially cause I also had some solid internships for a sophomore and I looked all science-y and nerdy and "quantitative"). By the time I'd switched out I'd gotten my internship offer signed and once that's done nobody really cares what you do or what you've done and then I officially became a finance major and since finance is a binary, low-effort garbage degree (literally, you either end up making $150k in banking or you're getting paid $25k selling insurance or some other scam salesmen job), once I'd gotten the offer I had a lot more time to work on my own projects and work without pressure. I'm a non-target, so this helped tremendously and have to say it is the most impressive "hack" I've pulled to date in my life.

Jul 30, 2021 - 11:03am

150k banker or MLM? Your stance on finance careers is patently false. Every single business from a small regional business all the way to the international banks has a finance team. BO, MO , reporting, corpfin, the amount of the middle of the pack finance jobs available is endless because it's a bread and butter necessity at any company.


  • 1
Jul 28, 2021 - 1:47pm

It's mixed. as mentioned, a lot of firms don't care about what you study, as long as you are smart. someone who is intelligent, learns easily, and fills out all the boxes is better than someone who has more relevant academic experience but lacks in other categories. a lot of your traditional "target" schools don't even have dedicated finance majors but candidates from there won't have any issues getting in the door if they have good experience/credentials.

I will say, in my experience with AM recruiting, firms seem to like people with dedicated accounting/finance backgrounds. it's a more concrete baseline to build off of than someone who doesn't know their way around financial statements. they can focus on teaching you investing principles and frameworks as opposed to starting from the ground up. however, as mentioned, companies will almost always look for the most well rounded candidate, regardless of academic background. work hard and it'll pay off.

Jul 28, 2021 - 2:17pm

I did not study finance but instead am a CS major - this went down very well with interviewers because of strong internships and pretty decent technical knowledge. Definitely think it made me more competitive while also allowing me to qualify for other roles that preferred STEM majors

  • Intern in IB - Gen
Jul 28, 2021 - 2:49pm

Thank you for response. Two follow ups:
1) What type of undergrad school did you go to?

2) If I'm currently a CS and Finance double major, would there be any downside to switching to be a pure CS major? The finance classes are so boring to me.

Jul 28, 2021 - 2:52pm

1. I did go to a target school but that said if you are at a non-target I have found that studying harder subjects (STEM) is actually better as you're credited with being smarter in the eyes of some. 

2. No downside at all in my mind - as long as you can study IB/PE technicals you'll be fine. Down the road it may even benefit you if you want to do VC because they may ask for candidates with CS backgrounds (fund dependent of course)

  • Intern in IB - Gen
Jul 28, 2021 - 4:33pm

Thanks. I do have an interest in VC, so that is a consideration. My only concern was that for IB recruiting I may get pigeonholed into tech groups even if they aren't strong at that bank.

  • Intern in S&T - FI
Jul 28, 2021 - 4:17pm

now days if you dont know jack shit or any techinals but you are a history or some stem major the recruiter will stroke your big black cock for you

Jul 28, 2021 - 4:45pm

IMO economics, accounting and finance have a better overall chance to get you into good finance jobs. Let me explain, at first getting finance jobs doesn't really require you to have a finance degree a lot of STEM students break into finance however one thing that a lot of people seem to forget is that to break into finance where you study matters more than what you study. Lets compare a history student studying at harvard vs a CS student at a low ranking university who has a better chance? definitely the harvard person. imo studying something that u love and excel in it thats your best bet. now are finance majors retarded welll yes and no i met a lot of d*cks and a lot of cool people so its a mix but usually finance majors get this reputation since we deal with money which can arise someone's ego etc etc

  • Intern in IB - Gen
Jul 28, 2021 - 5:07pm

Yeah I more meant once you're already at whatever school you're at. For example at like UVA if you're a CS major or an Econ/Commerce major.

  • Intern in IB - Cov
Jul 29, 2021 - 11:46pm

I took a lot of finance courses early on (Corp fin, m&a, lbos, and 2 levels of accounting) and because of that I barely had to prep for technicals. Now I'm prolly only gonna take just one more finance course my whole second half of college and focus on something else. 

Jul 30, 2021 - 11:00am

Regional firms/smaller companies tend to actually prefer business background majors because they have a less structured training program compared to larger banks,


Jul 30, 2021 - 1:35pm

I am in high school and can answer technicals from DCF, Capital Asset Pricing Models to black Scholes option pricing.

all you need to read is CFA textbooks and some generic corporate finance and valuation books.

i was laughing when I saw a private equity technical where the question was; when can delta be negative?

Nov 9, 2021 - 6:44pm

Unless you're at a top UGrad Business School (UT, Michigan, Cornell, UVA, etc. etc.) finance is an absolute joke imo. (Disclaimer: I don't go to a top UGrad B-School)

If you're at one of those schools, I think there is actually a lot of merit. Buddies of mine at said schools have adjunct professors and shit from hedge funds and such. You will learn things you can't just self-study for.

For everybody else, I don't see how STEM isn't a major advantage. Huge separator from the future BO plebs over in your bschool.

At No-Name State:

Math/CS/Physics > Finance/Business/Accounting

  • Intern in PE - LBOs
Nov 10, 2021 - 12:56am

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  • Incoming Analyst in IB - Cov
Nov 9, 2021 - 9:08pm

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