Is this a feasible plan to get into investment banking with an accounting background?

So far this is how I have it. From my understanding, school prestige doesn't matter nearly as much for accounting as it does for IB, and Big 4 recruiting is extremely regional. So I've concluded that my best bet for undergrad is to save money with my education while trying to go to school in New York City. That said is this a feasible plan:

For undergraduate, I'd study accounting at Baruch mainly because of its ideal location. I'm motivated so while there I'd join relevant financial clubs, do tons and tons of networking, maintain a high GPA, and try to pick up an internship at a Big 4 firm which should let me up nicely for a job once I graduate. After graduating, I'd work for four or five years and apply to business school for an MBA with finance concentration. Ideally I'd go to an M7 and land in a banking analyst position at some large investment bank like Goldman. I'm confident that I can make it happen.

Two questions.

  1. Is this a good plan?
  2. Should I try to have my company pay for my MBA at the cost of me staying there for a few more years? Or should I leave and study full-time.

Comments (54)

Mar 19, 2018 - 10:30pm

If you haven't even entered undergrad yet don't be so concerned with an MBA. Join clubs, get leadership positions, maintain a high GPA, network and get as many relevant internships as possible and you can break in out of undergrad if you're dead set on banking. Try and stay open to other paths as well throughout college as there may be something else that peaks your interest.

Mar 19, 2018 - 10:39pm

Thanks for commenting. Is it possible to get into banking with an accounting degree? Baruch mainly sends finance people into operations/back office at banks but for accounting, it's a completely different story as PwC, KPMG, EY, and Deloitte all recruit heavily there. Should I double major in finance and accounting? I would but I'm scared of sacrificing my GPA.

Mar 19, 2018 - 11:04pm

Sounds exactly like my school, I actually doubled in finance and accounting and I've found it incredibly helpful. The accounting curriculum has really made my finance classes easier and interviewers really like when you have knowledge of both, I would highly recommend doubling. Try and knock out some gen eds in the summer if you can and the course load is very doable.

Mar 20, 2018 - 7:13pm

If your primary objective is to work in IB, you do not need to jump through all the hoops you've mentioned. I agree with the first comment that while you're in undergrad, network, land relevant internships and join clubs/orgs that can bring you closer to wall st.

While Baruch may not be known for sending X amount of students to IB, there are definitely a substantial amount students who land soph & jr summer IB roles and even seniors who recruit successfully for FT. A quick LinkedIn search for people who work in IB and attended Baruch would surprise you.

Mar 20, 2018 - 7:33pm

Post MBA you'd be recruiting as an associate, not an analyst. You also wouldn't be the first person to go Big 4 -> MBA -> IBD. That being said, if you want to do investment banking, why not pursue that now? This is like a five to six year plan.

Mar 20, 2018 - 8:28pm

My main concern is that it is almost impossible to break into IB from a non-target as an undergraduate, though there is a slim chance. That's why I made the conscious decision to pursue accounting rather than finance. Also what do you think of entering graduate school after a year of work to pursue an MSF?

Mar 20, 2018 - 8:48pm

Unfortunately, Baruch doesn't let people double major in accounting and finance. I guess I'll be minoring in finance. Everybody who works on the Street that I've spoken to has told me that nearly all Baruch students land in MO/BO/operations at the bulge brackets. I wasn't willing to take that risk. I thought Big 4 would be a good place to start since for accounting they recruit heavily out of Baruch and they look good on resume/CV and pay well after your first promotion. If I were to aim for IB right out of undergrad, would you recommend majoring in finance and minoring in accounting? Also what do you think of pursuing an MSF instead of an MBA?

Mar 27, 2018 - 2:59pm

I agree with the bulk of the message but the hate is strong, is finance in undergrad hard? Accounting is boring but Lol

Best Response
Mar 20, 2018 - 9:30pm

Finance major is key. Doesn't matter what your other major or minor is. It's true that Baruch is a back office pipeline but that doesn't mean no one makes it FO.

Stop thinking about MSF or MBA. If you fuck up all IB interviews, then go Big 4.

Do something like this.
great GPA -> freshman finance internship -> sophomore IB internship (no name boutique) -> junior year IB internship -> return offer

Just get the best gpa you can and network your ass off and you'll be fine.

Mar 28, 2018 - 11:09am

After reading this post, I feel inclined to make an account to comment. First, if you intend to be a banker, why are you majoring in accounting? It makes no sense at all. Sure, it is true that most graduates at Baruch end up in MO/BO roles. But it is also true that those people didn't know what they wanted to do or have the drive to even attempt for a FO role. It's fair to say that they are just elated at the fact they landed a role after graduation.

A little bit about myself, I am an upcoming Baruch graduate and will start my FT S&T role in June at a BB. I did not apply to any summer internships. That's because I was fucking around too much and did not know the recruiting deadline until it was over. Also, the fact that I didn't know I wanted to become a trader until junior year. So how did I approach it from there? NETWORK! Whether it was sending cold emails or LinkedIn requests to current traders in the industry, asking for coffee meetings or at the very least a phone call. In addition, attending info sessions and kissing ass to the recruiters. I was way behind the people whom landed internships and I had to do whatever it takes to even have a chance at getting an interview. Although this road was indeed tough, think about the depression that I was once in, when I keep asking myself "Why didn't I attend a target school?" , "Why didn't I started networking early and landed a summer internship?", etc etc. Then I realized I can keep making excuses for my shortcomings but it's simply a waste of time to keep looking back. Now, looking at those days of hustling, it's all worth it.

Baruch may not be a "target" for FO roles. But it's fucking doable. I have buddies who are starting their FT program after graduation in IBD in banks such as BofA, JPM, and etc. With that said, don't start your semester thinking you are at an disadvantage. You have the resources provided in school, such as info-sessions and career fairs. The key is how you approach these events and what to do when you're there. I'm sure WSO has great tips regarding that. And plus, think outside the box. You can always attend info sessions at other schools. I remembered my days of attending events at target schools, one of which was a Citi's event at Columbia. It just depends on how bad you want it and that will dictate how far you're willing to go to get that role you been aiming for.

Finally, the fact that you know your career path at such a young age, that is certainly an advantage. Unlike me, I didn't even know what the fuck I wanted to do until I had to play the arduous catch-up game.


Mar 29, 2018 - 12:59pm

I agree with most part of it but also don't want to comment too much since I didn't attend a non-target and currently working outside of the States.

But I wouldn't say majoring in accounting is non sense for someone who wants to work in ibd. I have done both s&t and ibd so I would agree to an extent that it doesnt make sense to do s&t with accounting.

A college finance degree cover something like CAPM, portfolio allocation, etc. It rarely goes deep enough to cover the "real" corporate finance. It covers more of the "corporate" finance which is like budgeting, calculating bond yield etc. Sure many knowledge in finance major are way more useful than accounting in s&t but I highly doubt it is the case in ibd (except for a few schools that ug covers a lot of in-depth m&a topics).

On the other hand an accounting degree (at least at intermediate level to my understanding. I did not major in accounting), gives u a better picture of cash flow statement, knowledge on working capital (dso/dpo/etc.), treatment of goodwill in a merger, etc. So I would say courses in accounting is way more helpful unless ur school offers m&a classes which are applicable to ibd.

The reason accounting is bad is because people think accounting majors should become accountant, so the perception limited their career options. In Asia (where I work at), people care much less about this and I think at the junior level, my colleagues with very advanced accounting knowledge do have better fundamentals to begin with. They work more on excel than kids in other majors and they also know the accounting treatment well.

I know in US it is slightly biased. But to other readers here, I would still suggest them to do finance and accounting (preferably minor instead of major) if u wanna do ibd. And for s&t, do economics and finance (might also take a few entry level programming courses with python as well if u want to do derivatives trading etc.)

Mar 29, 2018 - 1:25pm

In all fairness, I can agree to an extent that majoring in accounting can be helpful towards IBD. Especially when one takes coursework pertaining to financial accounting.

Having taken M&A courses, I can say that is definitely more beneficial than any accounting courses. After all, in M&A, at least on a undergrad level, I was exposed to valuations (DCF, comparable comps, and etc.) and other more interesting subjects. I cannot speak for universities in other countries, but I think in the U.S, being a finance major is undoubtedly more helpful to break into the industry than an accounting degree.

I'm glad to hear that in Asia, people could care less about the majors. And you are indeed right about the bias. Having an accounting degree or perhaps even started an entry accounting role after graduation, it will be that much harder to break into IBD.

To other readers out there, please note my prior comment is based on what I've seen in the U.S.

Mar 29, 2018 - 10:02pm

nothing wrong with doing accounting. take it this way, you can learn finance and ib from M&I guides and WSP modelling courses. you can't learn complex accounting from those courses and can only do it in school.

easy to just say accounting is important to both accounting and IB so i chose it. i know i can learn about IB from other sources. a lot of ex accountants make this switch so clearly its beneficial

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