Learn from my college mistakes to become a successful investment banker

mmw1's picture
Rank: Monkey | 38

I'm writing this to give you guys some insight on the exact path you should take if you want to land a job at BB or top tier bank. I've made every mistake you could possibly make in a business career and in my late 20s I have nothing to show and am literally living in my car with $2,000 cash in my bank account. DO NOT MAKE THE MISTAKES I DID!!!

1.) Let's assume off the bat you didn't make it to a top tier school and if you did good for you you're well on your way to a job in IB. Your first step is to select a major in finance or economics but the latter is preferred.

2.) Join the student council at your school, this shows great initiative to become a leader and also creates some valuable connections. Also I would recommend joining a fraternity, not for the parties but rather for the connections. Look for a business fraternity to join that could help you network with other individuals in your field. Lastly, join a sports team/rowing team. etc. Playing sports is another great way to build leadership and team skills.

3.) Get a part time job. Nothing shows more initiative than getting your hands dirty and humbling yourself working as a waiter, server, bar tender, delivery driver, cashier whatever. You only need to work 15-20 hours a week which will help you start saving up some cash to pay for student loans or maybe even your monthly rent. Also you will build even more connections which could possibly open up some amazing opportunities.

Wow, so far that's a lot on your plate and may be wondering how to achieve all these things, well another tip would be to start going to bed earlier and waking up earlier say around 5am-6am.

4.) Exercise, getting to the gym is extremely important for both your physical and mental health, don't put this off! The best way I've learned was to go each morning. Not only does this wake you up but it gives you a lot of energy to start the day and is a really good habit.

5.) Study, study, study. This is a no-brainer, you absolutely need to get a GPA within the 3.8 - 4.0 range to land a job at a major bank. Networks are definitely going to help but a solid GPA is your security blanket and will make you stand out amongst the rest of people.

6.) To get the CFA or not to get the CFA? The CFA is a great resume booster even if you only pass one section of the test but here's the reality. Studying for the CFA sucks, it really sucks. On top of that it cost in upwards of $1,000. I tried taking the CFA in the last semester of my senior year and it was a total disaster not only on my GPA but I didn't even pass level one. So here's the plan, level one isn't really that hard it just takes a good amount of preparation and time management skills. My suggestion if you want to take it is to plan to take it immediately after your summer break or spring break. I'm not exactly sure what date the tests fall on, I took mine in June, so if you were going to take it in June start studying a year prior to that date and when spring break comes by in April spend those weeks doing quizzes and practice tests. Over the next two months continue to review for about 5-10 hours a week and when it comes test time make sure you hit the quizzes and practice tests again heavily before you sit for the exam. If you can manage your time well and fit studying into your schedule you should be able to pass.

7.) Try and internship in a relevant IB role. Most schools have internships programs and you have to be on your game to land a good job. Make sure to know when the A-round submissions are and make sure you are part of that round, the early bird gets the worm in this case.

8.) Stay away from drugs and alcohol. This may sound completely lame and I'm not saying don't go out every now and then and have fun but don't get hammered 3-4 times a week. It's a complete waste of time if you do it too often and could potentially completely ruin your life. So my advice is go out and party maybe once a week if you really need that relief but try not to become addicted to partying. Also I'd suggest staying away from any other drugs as well because they're just flat out not good for you and especially weed will make you lazy and have you overthinking everything.

9.) OK, my last bit of advice would be to do some extracurricular activity whether that be joining the debate team, playing an instrument in the schools band, spending time with the entrepreneurial community, joining a charity or just doing something that you like involved with the school. Once again you will create more connections and open up new doors to even more opportunities.

So that's it, hope this helps, if you do all these things you are nearly guaranteed to be very successful in your career after college. Also as a side note make sure to know the deadlines for IB applications and possibly seek help from a student advisor or job advisor that can help you plan these things out.

Best of luck,

Comments (27)

Nov 1, 2018
mmw1:

3.) Get a part time job. Nothing shows more initiative than getting your hands dirty and humbling yourself working as a waiter, server, bar tender, delivery driver, cashier whatever. You only need to work 15-20 hours a week which will help you start saving up some cash to pay for student loans or maybe even your monthly rent. Also you will build even more connections which could possibly open up some amazing opportunities.

I've been working those shitty jobs since my year of high school up until my first year in college, and you get laughed at if you bring these up to people in these industries.

Just speaking from personal experience networking. Not sure why this is stated so much on this forum. I had better results just leaving it off.

Nov 1, 2018

Yeah. I did a lot of networking to learn where I wanted to go and to get my spot. Nobody cared about anything besides what I'm doing and what I want to be doing.

Nov 1, 2018

You don't need to bring this experience up in an interview. Just do it so you have some money for yourself to pay for your college expenses.

Nov 1, 2018

You don't need to bring this up in an interview just do it for yourself. It creates good work ethic and keeps money in your pockets.

Nov 2, 2018

When I had a construction job on my resume, I feel that it didn't go over well. When I left it off, but brought up if there was natural place to do so in an interview, it played very well.

It's all dependent on who you're interviewing w/, but I literally had an interview with an MD who asked something like "We have a lot of bright, hard working kids interviewing with us today, what can you tell me about yourself that will make me believe you'll outperform them?" I gave him a spiel about how I woke up at 4am to shovel dirt and asphalt for 10 hours per day to pay for school, so I'd have more of a chip on my shoulder, better work ethic, and willingness to do any job to help the team than the other candidates. The MD nodded and said "It says your preference is city X? I think we'll find a spot for you."

I come from down in the Valley, where Mr. when you're young, they bring you up to do like your daddy done.

Nov 4, 2018

So you're telling me you got into an industry where even SOME Ivy League students with relevant experience still get rejected due to your experience as a construction worker?

I got shunned when I brought up my irrelevant work experience, never again.

Nov 5, 2018

Much respect. I don't see anything wrong with talking about your prior experience even if it's shoveling dirt. Everybody respects people who put in work even if its manual labor because it highlights good values such as work ethic and humbleness. If someone gave you shit about shoveling dirt then they are a pretentious prick and you probably wouldn't want to work for a loser like that. Most successful people are good people, hard workers and treat others with respect. If anything the right thing from an interviewer would be to respect your work initiative and not dwell to long upon the topic and accept it as a positive attribute.

Nov 1, 2018

Everything that I have read has recommended starting studying for June CFA level 1 in January

Nov 1, 2018

Do what fits your schedule. If January works best than take it in January. Just know when the applications are due for the IB jobs you want.

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Nov 2, 2018

L1 is offered once a year in Dec and June. Starting to study in Jan is the norm for most June takers. If you put the time in you'll pass, it's not too hard.

Nov 2, 2018

I followed that timeline for each level and it worked fine. I had enough credit hours to be a part time student my last semester so I could dedicate time to studying, but Level 1 really wasn't bad if you're taking business classes.

Funniest
Nov 2, 2018

** Forum full of actual investment bankers ** : Let's get the guy living in his car to give his abhorrent outsider looking in non-target advice.

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Nov 5, 2018

It's an article about mistakes I've made and some options of how you can avoid them.... Overall I thought I made a pretty good article with some good pointers to help others. If there's irrelevant information that you disagree with then by all means post some more tips.

Nov 2, 2018

What kind of car?

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Nov 2, 2018

Important question right here-- if you rip the seats out of a Grand Caravan you've probably got more space than a lot of people in midtown flex 2-beds.

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Nov 5, 2018

VW Jetta

Nov 2, 2018

I really hope this is a bad troll

Nov 5, 2018

No this is a true story.

Nov 2, 2018

This is most definitely a weird flex.

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Nov 5, 2018

Just being honest.

Nov 2, 2018

this is the shittiest advice I've ever heard. Damn man you really did make fucking big mistakes.

Ty

Nov 5, 2018

How is my advice shitty lol. I know kids who followed this exact path from a non target and now work at Goldman Sachs.....

Nov 2, 2018

thought id hijack this thread and give ppl some real advice... do not snort creatine

What concert costs 45 cents? 50 Cent feat. Nickelback.

Nov 5, 2018

...... I don't do drugs and that's not why I'm in the situation I'm in. I think the reason where I am is that I tried to be something I wasn't and didn't think creatively enough to build my own brand and business.

Nov 2, 2018
Comment
Nov 5, 2018