Majoring in Wall Street?

Right now, I'm a freshman at a non-target school majoring in finance. My question is three-pronged:

1.) I've heard that Finance, Econ, and Accounting are by far the best degrees for landing on Wall Street. I've heard that Finance is slightly better in terms of entry-level opportunities, and I prefer finance as a major anyway. But is General Finance the way to go? Or International Finance? Or a different type? And then, B.S. or B.A. degree?

2.) Is it worth double majoring? I'm not sure what my second major would be, but what are some good ones? And do they truly make a difference in the application process?

3.) Is it even worth it to get a minor?

Thanks for helping me out, I know its alot but I'm just starting out and want to make sure I make the right choices.

Thanks!

Comments (23)

Sep 7, 2017
  1. Finance is finance. As long as that word appears on your degree (that piece of paper with fancy font you get after 4 years) - you're good. Nobody on the other side of the interviewing room's giant table will care whether it's international or not. As long as it says finance, your butt is good.
  2. Double majoring is worth it if it gives you actual know how. If you want to be a Quant on wall-street, you need to know MATLAB, SQL, and a few other programming languages. R is a very important language for WS.

Anything that teaches you relevant languages for wall street, you should major in. R and MATLAB, Python, relevant.

  1. A minor in computer science - if you can prove that you know R, Matlab, Python, etc, that'd definitely help. But then you could learn that online and just put down that you know it on your CV without taking the minor in school.

If you want me to be genuinely honest, i think none of these even remotely matter as much as the school you go to. Companies are so stingy, they'd hire someone in NYC or interview someone there because the talent pool is just bigger and they don't have to pay someone from say Florida to fly in.

A guy with a econ degree from Columbia is more likely to bag a job in your dream WS firm than someone with a Finance Degree and a minor in actuarial science from the University of Idaho.

My experience. B.Sc Finance 2015.

D.I.

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Apr 5, 2018
oligarch:

If you want me to be genuinely honest, i think none of these even remotely matter as much as the school you go to. Companies are so stingy, they'd hire someone in NYC or interview someone there because the talent pool is just bigger and they don't have to pay someone from say Florida to fly in.

Sad (for those of us outside NYC) but true.

Sep 7, 2017
  1. BS, as much math as you can take - Calc 1,2,3, diff eq and linear algebra if you can
  2. Yes. Math, CS, SE
  3. Probably not
Sep 7, 2017

Going forward, if I had to do it all over again, this is probably the path I would take. But I'll also say to OP depending on what kind of role OP wants after undergrad your major has an impact. banking for instance I've seen majors ranging from english to math.

Sep 7, 2017

I'm ChemE -> work -> Econ w/ machine learning papers. Wish I did CS/MA -> Econ / MFE.

Don't think there's much point to anything besides a CS degree with a strong second major and some experience with applied econometrics unless you're client facing. You're just asking to get rolled.

Sep 8, 2017

agreed. i know some PM's that won't even hire the typical finance-major fundamental equity analysts; favors math/comp sci majors. one PM told me thats the future of PM'ing and I'd have to agree (although im pretty sure quant funds are underperforming discretionary)

Sep 8, 2017

Models haven't caught up. Computers are too fast and too hard working.

Sep 11, 2017
Sep 11, 2017
Apr 8, 2018

I'm reluctant to pile on the Math hype train. Being a BS math person, I've struggled against the image that I'm a back office quant. Unless you're going hedge fund, I've found people don't really care that you studied math. A high SAT score in math and a moderately quantitative major (applied science, economics) is sufficient to clear the bar.

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Sep 7, 2017

1) Finance is best because it teaches you a lot of skills in its coursework but it can literally be anything if you take the time to learn what you need for technicals. Not in IB but I am a Biology major who has found good success doing a lot of studying about finance in his spare time.

2) Yes if you can get good grades in the major. Pick something that would mesh w/ the industry coverage you are most interested in. A second language, CS, Math, Econ, Accounting, even Film Studies I think can all add something to your profile as a second major.

3) Yes because its one of the few chances in life where you learn for learning sake. Physics Econ Math or CS are the only ones that will help for your career though.

I work in Insurance. Its not bad.

Sep 7, 2017

WHATEVER YOU DO. Don't listen to the failed premeds who complain on here saying they really wanted a career in business. They could still have one if they weren't sobbing all the time

I work in Insurance. Its not bad.

Sep 11, 2017

OP - while there are numerous success stories for non-targets on Wall Street and I don't doubt their abilities at all, I do advise that you should aim to have a high GPA and transfer to a target. Being in a target itself saves a ton of hassles in the recruiting process.

That being said though, I would still pick a major I like.

Best Response
Sep 11, 2017

Forget the majors. Transfer to a target school. You could be studying "Women History" in Brown University or "How to Raise Cow" in Cornell University and still have a much better chance to getting an IBD at BB rather than "Double Major in Finance and Economic with Triple Minors in Accounting, Tax and Math".

Sep 11, 2017

This is so true. Plenty of Harvard sociology majors doing sales at BB's and International Studies or Government majors taking banking and other coveted roles from Ivys and targets.

We're not lawyers. We're investment bankers. We didn't go to Harvard. We Went to Wharton!

Sep 12, 2017

This unfortunately is the truth. School + GPA matters far more than major. 3.7 English major > 3.4 Electrical Engineering for purposes of IBD recruiting

Apr 8, 2018

100% this. The finance/accounting trend seems to be a consequence of self selection. People who know they want finance pick finance majors, and they probably would have been strong candidates regardless. I picked a really hard, really technical major for myself, and it really doesn't push me ahead of other students at my university.

I regret not going with something more interesting and having a better quality of life in college.

Sep 11, 2017
  1. Major in accounting. Highest degree of options even if your ib or bust path explodes in your face.
  2. Not really. Experience, good grades, networking is 10x more important.
  3. Not necessary. You're just adding classes that you probably won't need anyways. Just take some cool electives.
Sep 11, 2017

go to a target school

save yourself the heartache

Sep 11, 2017

Picking a target school is more important than anything you mentioned. Get a high GPA and transfer to one.

  1. Any of finance, econ, accounting will do the trick. Even math or engineering but you may not have access to OCR.
  2. Double major if you want to. Some people may notice, others may not - do it if you want to and study something that either complements your first major or something you have a profound interest in. In any case, your GPA is highest priority.
  3. Do a minor if you want to, same logic as #2.
in it 2 win it
Apr 5, 2018

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