Looking for advice - recent graduate with non-finance background

marble285's picture
Rank: Chimp | banana points 7

I wanted to post my situation here in case anyone has advice they'd be willing to share with me. I recently graduated from a semi-target. I didn't really know much about investment banking until I graduated and started reading a lot of this forum, went through Rosenbaum & Pearl, etc. and became quite interested in the field.

Here's the problem. I don't have any finance internships, and it seems like most banks hire from their intern class. And I can't get into the intern class because they're only open to college students.

So I've been trying to fix this by networking. I've sent out a few emails so far, but I can definitely send out a lot more. What I'm trying to accomplish with this post is to figure out an overall strategy. Basically, is it worth it to network with BBs, given that their internship programs seem so regimented and bureaucratic? Could I get on their radar as a recent graduate? Or are they not willing to consider people who are not current college students? (If it's relevant, I have a 3.9 and good test scores, and a pretty good internship, but not finance related.)

As I see it, I have a few options.

  1. Try to network with BBs. Get an internship somehow? Not sure I could get FT because (a) FT recruiting seems like a disaster with no spots available and (b) I have no IB experience.
  2. Try to network with boutiques and hope that their internships will be more flexible and open to recent graduates. (But will this close the door to the "cool" exits like PE/HF? Could I try to lateral to BB in the future?)
  3. Go back to school. This is not really an option because I already have too much student loan debt and need experience, not more school.

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Comments (4)

Best Response
Dec 21, 2017

The most viable option is to try to get a foot in the door with a local boutique (assuming there are some near where you live) and trying to lateral upmarket from there (say after a year or so). That being said, it's going to be a tough road, and you'll have to be really proactive in terms of networking to get any kind of opportunities with larger shops. Since you already graduated, are you currently working? If so, is it in an industry that you can at-all spin in your favor? It sounds like to the extent you are, it's not in a finance capacity.

Dec 21, 2017

Definitely would be helpful to hear your major, geographic area, and previous internships/ if you're currently working. Assuming a completely non-business or quantitive major (non finance, economics, math, computer science) and unrelated internships, your best bet would be to try to lateral into the closest thing to a business role at wherever you're currently working / interned (ie if a biology major working at a lab, try to move into a FP&A role there) and then either

A. Network your ass off and try to move into a small local boutique ASAP, or

B. Do great work for a few years, pay off your loans, and aim for a top MBA program.

Best of luck

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Dec 21, 2017

Thanks for the responses so far.

My major was humanities. I did do some math, but not as a major. I haven't been working full time, mostly bouncing around in short term stuff. Most of my work experience so far has been through university (helping professors etc).

I decided not to commit to any particular path yet because the field of finance was really overwhelming when I first started looking into it, and I didn't want to make a step in the wrong direction that would pigeonhole me into something that I didn't want to do (I didn't understand the difference between back office and front office until relatively recently).

It sounds like the best idea is to try to hit up some boutiques. There are some in my area, so maybe I'll give that a shot. Unless that long shot JPM Junior Analyst application comes through, which would be amazing. (Does anyone know any other programs like that?)

Dec 21, 2017
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