low gpa, any hopes for me in buy side?

clau5's picture
Rank: Chimp | 5

Hi guys, a friend of me showed me this wonderful website and has allowed me to do even more research. I was hoping you guys can help me answer some questions, it would greatly be appreciated. Like many other people who post on these forums, I am a young college sophomore with about 3 years of schooling left at a non target school (with a surprisingly large amount of equity research internship listings from boutique banks) Fordham University at Lincoln Center who wants to pursue a job or career in finance.

I attended a crappy school for my first year of college because I slacked in high school, thats what happens when you're young and stupid. I didn't do well at all, I had a 3.3 GPA for my freshmen year at the college. However, things happened at home and I was forced to return to New York. The economic crisis was tough on my family, and this meant I had to take care of my sister often and work many hours on my own in order to pay for my books, living expenses, and save to pay off my college loans. My overall college gpa stands at about 3.0, 1910 SATS(yes laugh it up), and I am an International studies major. I realize that my gpa is absolute crap and I need to secure at least a 3.5 for the next few semesters to raise it up but it becomes difficult with all my responsibilities.

I was wondering if there is any hope for me or any path I should take to secure a buy side job as an investor (Analyst, PM) anywhere? I know I can't expect any stellar BB jobs because I lack a high enough GPA and that my school lacks a finance major or clubs. Yes, I came to this school at first thinking about a career in liberal arts but I have changed my mind due to my increasing interest in investment. I think going to fordham was the worst decision of my career, but there isn't much I can do as I don't want to transfer again without losing credits. The only thing I can do, is to transfer to the Gabelli School of Business Undergrad or do a minor in financial accounting / business admin.

I have begun to read several investment books, The intelligent investor, A random walk down walk street and Security Analysis. I have begun a paper stock trading portfolio on Investopedia. My only previous internships were at a Nonprofit organization organizing community events, and my last one was at the Museum of Natural History designing tours and giving them to the public. What would be the best route for me to take from here on out?
I understand that I need to improve my GPA diligently, otherwise my only asset when applying would be my Mandarin skills.

I was looking at least passing CFA 1 but that requires work experience. I was also looking at the Bloomberg Assessment Test in order to market myself. What would be your best advice for me? Should I try to begin cold calling and applying for internships? If anyone even reads my huge wall of text, thank you so much.

If my gpa is too low, I guess it'll have to make me work harder in everything

I have narrowed my current plan into a small list

  1. Improve GPA as close as I can to 3.5
  2. Read more books on investment and analysis to make up for my lack of finance classes/ LEARN ACCOUNTING
  3. Do personal equity research on stocks I buy and trade on my paper stocks account
  4. Learn Excel somewhere???
  5. Study for Bloomberg assessments??
  6. Prepare for CFA or MBA?
  7. Cold Call and network every botique in this city for an internship after raising my gpa

Comments (9)

Sep 20, 2012

Well, I read your huge wall of text. Now let me summarize what you just told me. Pretend you're a buyside guy thinking about which candidates to interview.

Along comes a new one to consider:

1910 SAT
3.0 GPA; raising GPA "becomes difficult" due to his responsibilities
Fordham
Last internship was a museum tour guide
Poor grammar
No Excel
Makes excuses for low GPA (due to economic crisis, working, sister, etc.)
Can't transfer to better school due to low GPA
Doesn't want to transfer anyway because he would lose credits ("there isn't much I can do")

I'm going to give you some tough advice, same advice I'd give a friend I cared about.

Your root problem goes deeper than GPA. I've seen guys out there facing the same issues and doing better. There are guys who do 1.5 years at a shitty school (while working) to establish a high GPA, then transfer to a better school. Then they start over again at freshman and do another four years, paying their own expenses with no parental help.

These guys are finding the loans. Paying the bills. Skipping the fun stuff. Loading all their classes into two days a week so they can spend the other three days working ten-hour shifts at the internship. Coming home from a ten-hour shift and spending the night studying for finals.

It may take every ounce of their energy and discipline, but these guys are not fucking it up.

You need to assess whether you have what it takes to do that. Then you need to assess whether you even want to. And then you have your answer.

    • 1
Sep 20, 2012

Yep, I am only classified as a sophomore because of the credits lost so I have time to do everything better. Basically I have one years worth of credit, the reason why I ask now is because I want to improve, that is why I have taken the initiative to set out goals and a plan for myself and ask for some tips on how to go on from here.

Each semester I have to take out around 30k in loans, its the reason why I want to finish school early and not lose another years worth of credit. Which is why it is more important for me to do better in my next 3 years.
I spent a year at a shitty school and transferred to Fordham, is there anything else I should focus on aside from GPA?

Yes my previous internship was at the Natural History Museum because I wanted to do something related in history and international studies. It was a competitive internship with a pool of around 500 students and I believe 5 percent were chosen. It was a month of paid training on developing themed tours for special camp groups. It was the best opportunity for me as a freshman. But now , I guess it was a summer wasted.

Sep 20, 2012
clau5:

Yep, I am only classified as a sophomore because of the credits lost so I have time to do everything better. Basically I have one years worth of credit, the reason why I ask now is because I want to improve, that is why I have taken the initiative to set out goals and a plan for myself and ask for some tips on how to go on from here.

Each semester I have to take out around 30k in loans, its the reason why I want to finish school early and not lose another years worth of credit. Which is why it is more important for me to do better in my next 3 years.
I spent a year at a shitty school and transferred to Fordham, is there anything else I should focus on aside from GPA?

Yes my previous internship was at the Natural History Museum because I wanted to do something related in history and international studies. It was a competitive internship with a pool of around 500 students and I believe 5 percent were chosen. It was a month of paid training on developing themed tours for special camp groups. It was the best opportunity for me as a freshman. But now , I guess it was a summer wasted.

Yep, I totally understand.

I think this belongs in the "Excuses" section of your resume.

Sep 20, 2012

I am not making any excuses, these are my current circumstances.
You have made comparisons about me to others who work extremely hard, I am very new and inexperienced to all of this.
But now I see how hard it will be, and it'll definitely make me plan out things better. Thanks

Sep 20, 2012
clau5:

I attended a crappy school for my first year of college because I slacked in high school, thats what happens when you're young and stupid.

clau5:

I realize that my gpa is absolute crap and I need to secure at least a 3.5 for the next few semesters to raise it up but it becomes difficult with all my responsibilities.

clau5:

I know I can't expect any stellar BB jobs because I lack a high enough GPA and that my school lacks a finance major or clubs.

clau5:

I think going to fordham was the worst decision of my career

See a theme here? It's a sunk cost. You fucked some things up, but stop being a downer. You can either dig yourself a deeper hole or start to climb out of it. Don't let the prestige whores on this site get to you, there are plenty of other jobs you can get in finance that aren't IBD/S&T/ER, etc. I was in a sort of similar boat a year ago, but turned things around drastically and I'm pretty confident I'll land something soon. No reason you can't do the same, but before you read any books, fix your attitude/general demeanor.

Learn More

Side-by-side comparison of top modeling training courses + exclusive discount through WSO here.

Sep 20, 2012

I've already read a few, its just after reading them I kind of realized that I needed some guidance and advice from people who had more experience than me. I can't learn everything from books! Yeah, you're right. I am just a bit lost on how to go about things, I understand I have to raise GPA but I am still thinking of ways to make up for the lack of financial opportunities or activities on campus. I was thinking of starting an investment club. But yes, I am being too negative. Its just I have been doing some reflection and seeing where my weaknesses lie and realize that I have some big holes I need to fill in and improve on.

Sep 20, 2012

Good. One thing's for certain: if you manage to dig your way out of this and get the kind of job you want, you will have some big old brass balls dangling between your legs.

And you'll need them. Because regardless of how much work you think it takes to get and keep a 3.85 (which is what you need to get for the next few semesters in order to have that 3.5 cumulative GPA by senior year recruiting season), it's nothing compared to first year IBD.

Sep 20, 2012

I think your issue (besides Bankerella's general on the mark lambasting) is the idea that you want to work on the buy-side. You clearly haven't experienced any other aspects of the financial industry, from corp. finance to operations or even wealth management. You probably are just going to set yourself up for major disappointment and that will sting a whole lot more. Guess what - you might never work on the buyside!

If I were you, I'd be more focused on obtaining a position in general that you can tolerate and then focus on improving yourself to get where you want later. You don't have to accomplish everything or make X amount of dollars in your early 20s, it can happen later.

For now, work on your GPA, continue doing what you have to support yourself, limit your dicking around and NETWORK!

You clearly have a massive uphill battle ahead of you but a hill implies there is a path.

Sep 21, 2012
Comment