Majoring in Wall Street?

SaintsBanker's picture
Rank: Monkey | banana points 32

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!

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Comments (169)

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.

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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

what's a PM?

Sep 11, 2017

portfolio manager

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.

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 used work in Insurance in a back office role and am now trying to move up in my career the hard way, would love to give you advice if you are finding success in finance isn't coming very easy to you either.

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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 used work in Insurance in a back office role and am now trying to move up in my career the hard way, would love to give you advice if you are finding success in finance isn't coming very easy to you either.

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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.

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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".

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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 5, 2018

....

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.
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Apr 8, 2018

Just because you aren't going to a target school doesn't mean IB is out of the question. Start off right, focus on getting a good GPA, and start networking immediately. The opportunity is there if you spend the time to find it.

With that said, if your goal is to end up in the finance industry then obviously majoring in finance is going to be the best decision. The accounting knowledge is invaluable, but personally I think that getting a second major in it might be overkill unless you think you could juggle both without it affecting your grades.

Apr 8, 2018

Definitely do IS, because of the tech skills that boost overall employment prospects

iS and acct or

iS and Finance, then depends on both your interests and risk appetite, with acct being the safer option.

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Apr 8, 2018

If you want lucrative, there are three industries you can go Silicon Valley/Wallstreet/Sales.

I got this from WSP, but the idea is that if you are proficient and talented in any of these, your starting salary will generally be higher, or even lucrative. (i.e. If you are a top analyst @ BB IB M&A, then you may get a comp of $150K all-in)

If you are set for finance, just do a finance major and nothing else. Use your free time to either 1. build skills for your side business 2. make yourself interesting by learning salsa or foreign languages 3. Invest time in networking & join student-led finance society.

If you are unsure about what to do in the finance industry, like say "should I join the capital market or M&A or S&T or business development", at least in my opinion you cannot go wrong with joining IB M&A. It gives you necessary skills and reputation to jump ship if you hate the work, especially to Capital market, business dev, hedge fund, or PE.

If you are not perfectly set for finance, do computer science for Silicon Valley money. Although this means that once you get your first job, it will be hard to move industries.

Honestly though, you will find your ground once you take classes and internships.

Apr 8, 2018

Finance or Econ should be your first pick, a good business major can get you into just about any non-technical/ arts job. I also don't necessarily know if doing a double major is the best idea, I would give it a year or two before deciding if a double major is the best option, maybe get a minor, and if you like it/ have enough time, move it up to a major sophomore or junior year.

Also make sure to get involved Freshman year, be it a club, greeklife, intramurals, start something freshman year and continue it through senior year. Hold a leadership role or two too during your time there. Add more clubs/ activities/ jobs as you get older and learn better time management.

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Sep 11, 2017

go to a target school

save yourself the heartache

Apr 8, 2018

Regarding your major check out https://www.wallstreetoasis.com/faq/does-my-major-... as far as your D1 experience I do think that helps a lot simply because banking requires stamina without sacrificing performance and recruiters will love to hear stories about you balancing training with classes, exams, social activities etc. Though you will probably still need a 3.5+ to be competitive

Apr 8, 2018

^Thank you for your response. Much appreciated.

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
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Apr 8, 2018

Math/Stat/CS all have a good amount of overlap once you reach the higher levels more so with Math and CS. I would say go with Math or Stat and learn to code in your own time (start with Python and VBA), the logic for programming will follow from Math/Stat work. unless you are interested in high level CS like Machine Learning then you probably need to focus on CS. If you are really interested in a quant fund you may want to look into a M.S. in Quant/Math Finance or Financial Engineering.

As for your Finance/Accounting/Econ side, Finance and Accounting are probably more applicable to working in the HF world than Econ. Since you seem pretty set on the Finance major maybe pick that with a quantitative compliment major and either take a course or two in account(may already be part of a finance degree) or do some independent learning of the basics.

Apr 8, 2018

I just wrote a whole thing and then changed my mind. I completely agree that your top 2 are the best 2 options. I think the double Finance/Stats majors are better if you plan to go to b-school and the double CS/A minor is better for practical career use. So I would say Finance with double minor in CS/A if you aren't doing b-school and are going to focus on a L/S HF as a career.

Apr 8, 2018

Well, interesting thing is I may look to rebrand myself for HF's by going to b-school after doing something like IB out of undergrad.. with that in consideration should I still go finance w/ double minors?

Apr 8, 2018

I'm not an expert but I am assuming the double major would be a great addition to your b-school app (there will be no doubts about your quant ability and that you can budget time), where as 2 minors won't add as much value vs another entire major (180 units vs like 30? Totally different). I suggest taking as many comp sci classes as you can on the side to learn the basics and self-learn the rest (you could maybe even take comp sci classes at b-school? Not sure though). So knowing that, I would do Finance/Stats double major because it will help your b-school app more so than comp sci/accounting minors will help get you a HF job (because ultimately your MBA prestige and previous WE will land you the HF job so maximizing your b-school app is the most important IMO).

Apr 5, 2018

I would recommend a finance major coming from a non-target.

I recommend double majoring or minoring in something you are passionate about. It will make you happier and be a great talking point / diverse element on your resume in a stack of resumes with Finance majors and CS minors. Just my thoughts - good luck.

Apr 8, 2018

You can study Somalian Women's Rights History at Harvard and they'd accept you at Goldman Sachs .

However if you study that at a non-target everybody would tell you you're a waste of oxygen.

Never ever ever study anything non-hard science at a non-target. Math and CS are a good choice at a non-target.

D.I.

Apr 8, 2018

.

Apr 8, 2018

Doesn't really matter as long as you can prove your interest in finance via other ways. As mentioned above, the brand name of the school plays a major role as well.

In all honesty, there are three things people care about on your resume:

a) University brand name
b) GPA
C) Relevant internships

Double-majoring is fairly pointless and won't really differentiate or give you an advantage. You'd be better off using that time to network and get some relevant internships/leadership EC's.

To infinity... and beyond!

Apr 8, 2018

Major in finance because you'll learn some finance. Everything else should be dependent on self-academic interest. Don't do anything that'll hurt your GPA.

Apr 8, 2018

business schools don't care whether or not you do a double major, to give a short answer to your question. I don't think banks care either.

Apr 8, 2018

If you think of college as just an intermediary step between HS and career, then it's not worth it to double major, as yes, your GPA will suffer. Also, when all your friends are taking 2 classes during the spring semester before graduate, you'll have to miss a bunch of parties because you'll still be taking 4-5 classes.

However, if you consider college a place to enrich yourself intellectually, then go for it! I'm about to graduate with a double in Econ and Japanese studies, and I couldn't be happier. Yes, I'm jealous of my friends who are going part-time next semester, but my future employer said they appreciated my combination of analytical skills from the Econ and soft/linguistic skills from the Japanese.

Overall, college is your one chance in life to study whatever you want, so I'd recommend you go for it and double.

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Apr 8, 2018

To answer the question you asked, no bankers don't really care if you double major or not when they look at your resume. They may think its cool or whatever, but your Econ/PoliSci vs Econ isn't gonna give you a real leg up on the competition.

An answer you can actually use though, if you want to get a double major because the other courses interest you, DO IT. If you have the skills, networking ability, job experience, etc a .1 or .2 movement in GPA is not gonna matter. Having learned more in college will make you a better person. Life is all about balance, if you can tackle the extra classes and you want to without sacrificing your life outside of class go nuts.

College isn't just meant to get you a job, its also meant to give you a drinking problem, knowledge, and friends.

--There are stupid questions, so think first.

Apr 8, 2018

Does it matter. I really dont think so. It may be impressive to say to people but in the long run it comes down to experience and how you present yourself. Stand out as much as you can, however the experience of undergrad is worth a little bit of fun. I was slammed in college and it cost me a relationship or two. It just comes with the territory I guess.

I would rather see a 3.9 in a single major than a 3.65 with a double.

I agree with PowerMonkey....college is about more than getting a job. Enjoy the experience! It will be gone before you know it!

Apr 8, 2018

Not sure about your school's program. A major in fin or acct is a bba from the business college and a major in econ is a ba from the lib arts college. Also there is no way to minor in accounting simply a general business minior. That being said, if you are only getting limited exposure to to either subject, take accounting you will net a lot more out of it. Basic finance classes are a joke.

Apr 8, 2018

it really depends on your school...personally I'd pick Finance for the major instead of Economics...its more relevant.

as far as minor accounting would be best

As far as majoring/minoring ability, you need to read your student hand book/ask a councilor...all schools are different

---------------------------------------------------------------

Disclaimer: The post above has been made by someone who is not currently employed in IBD, and has not had an interview yet...

Apr 8, 2018

In order of relevance
1. Finance
2. Accounting
3. Economics

Do a double major if you have to and make sure you take the right classes, so that your interviewer sees that you know what you are talking about

Understanding of accounting (how to read and understand financial statements, not debits and credits) is essential to I-banking

Apr 8, 2018

Accounting you can pick up during training, I'd go with finance. Unless you're at a p.o.s. school, where it doesn't matter what you study since you won't get into IB anyways.

Apr 8, 2018

LB Banker....wat do u mean p.o.s school? and i guess not to be offensive to any of the schools you mite list as p.o.s schools wat are considered the good schools (other than ivy's of course...)?

Apr 8, 2018

he's talking about non-targets....here are most of the targets:

ivies
MIT
duke
uchicago
northwestern
UVA/Mich/Berk/...UCLA?
Stanford
Amherst
williams

Apr 8, 2018

Target Schools:
Amherst
Carnegie Mellon University
Cornell University
Dartmouth University
Duke University
Georgetown University
Harvard University
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
New York University
Northwestern University
University of Notre Dame
Princeton University
University of Pennsylvania
Stanford University
Vanderbilt University
University of Virginia
Williams

Apr 8, 2018
Scat Bateman:

Target Schools:
Amherst
Carnegie Mellon University
Cornell University
Dartmouth University
Duke University
Georgetown University
Harvard University
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
New York University
Northwestern University
University of Notre Dame
Princeton University
University of Pennsylvania
Stanford University
Vanderbilt University
University of Virginia
Williams

thx for doing exactly what i did. u could've shortened ur list a BIT by just saying "all the ivies."

btw Vanderbilt is not a target. neither is Notre Dame, neither is Georgetown, and neither is CMU....

Apr 8, 2018

It's Dartmouth College, not Dartmouth University.

"Target" schools, by the way, are more a function of people's alma maters at whichever bank you're thinking about, and not what the Vault Guide says.

Apr 8, 2018

Scat Bateman... put Columbia University on your list.

Apr 8, 2018

I didn't go there, so I'm not a homer or anything, but working in NYC, I know most banks recruit at UNC-Chapel Hill and view it pretty much on par with Duke, UVA, Georgetown, Notre Dame, etc.

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Apr 8, 2018

do what interests you. I was at a networking event last week with a variety of very successful wall st guys. They majored in everything from english to engineering. Just get good grades. If you want to add an econ major too, that's great. If not, that's also great. Comp sci teaches you how to think, which i think would be very useful in finance.

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Apr 8, 2018

Don't worry about grad school before you've even started undergrad. Major in something that you like that will provide you tangible and transferrable skills. Comp sci/engineering is a good start. Take a couple econ classes as electives to see if you like them. Knock out good grades, do some ECs, have fun, make friends. Come back here in a couple years.

Apr 8, 2018

Finance/Econ/Math

Apr 8, 2018
rayisdisturbed:

Hi, I'm currently a high school senior who is interested in going into corporate finance or hedge fund analysis, something of that sort.

I am planning on attending the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign to obtain a degree in Computer Engineering. Would it be beneficial for me to double major in economics, or minor in finance or business keeping in mind my ultimate career goal?

Also, for grad school, should I be looking at programs for Financial Engineering or looking to obtain an MBA?

Being a big 10 university, would I still have a shot at a top ten MBA school assuming I graduate at the top 10% of my class in college with a degree in computer engineering?

Thanks everyone! Please let me know :)

I don't really see what being in a big 10 has to do with anything, necessarily.
indiana state or whatever is also in the big 10, and it doesn't have good recruiting.

I agree with what that other person- i think you're thinking too far ahead
just study what you love and try to do well in it
the rest will come

however, if you do want some advice, i'd go for computer science instead of computer engineering- a little bit more practical, if you want to do hedge fund analysis

I'm not concerned with the very poor
-Mitt Romney

Apr 8, 2018

Looks like the general consensus on this forum is that GPA > major choice.

If you feel like you can maintain the same GPA in both econ and math - go math. I'm pretty sure most people understand the difficulty of STEM majors.

Apr 8, 2018

Depends what you want to go into. IB doesn't require hard math schools and while it might be impressive it still isn't as necessary as an econ/finance degree. If you wanted to go into trading, quant research for HF's, or just any quantitative field within finance then choose a hard math. No one will really look at your minor so use your own discretion with that. Choose music if that's something you love and are interested in, but again choose as you please.

Apr 8, 2018

No one cares - get good grades from a good school. Pick a subject you're good in as your major (Poli Sci is a joke and Econ isn't much harder - my two areas of study) and something you're interested in (music is pretty cool, math is useful, etc.) as a minor.

Don't go to law school though. Jesus.

Apr 8, 2018

Bumb!

Apr 8, 2018

@IlliniProgrammer

all 3 of your options are solid, btw

Apr 8, 2018

I think the most direct route to being a quant takes you through grad school. I'm not saying there are ways around it-- just that if you have $130K to spend (or better, if you can get into a PhD program), it's the most direct path (not necessarily the cheapest). The government of Singapore also offers free tuition to some smart students willing to work for their sovereign wealth fund, which is sort of a win on both fronts- free tuition and guaranteed employment.

Whichever degree you get, make sure you cover UChicago's minimum math requirements, which is probably a good target for most MFE, ORFE PhD, and Econ or Finance PhD programs, and maybe do real analysis and stochal if you can. Basic programming is something you should also get.

3 sounds better, #1 or #2 could work, although I'd recommend a CS major along with an analytics or quantitative finance major if your school can offer it. If you want to do Econ, make sure you get through the intermediate courses there as well. (IE basic accounting and bond mathematics for finance and intermediate econ for Econ)

Edit: Princeton MFin admitted a student from Nanyang who studied Mathematics and Econ. She had an excellent GPA, research experience, and an internship at Barclays. I am not going to single her out by name, but the resumes of all Princeton MFin students are publicly available.

Here is what UChicago has to say on the matter for their MS Financial Mathematics program, and their requirements are similar to most schools:

UChicago:

All candidates should have a solid background in mathematics. Specifically, we strongly encourage the successful completion of at least calculus I, II and III, linear algebra, probability and statistics, and differential equations.

In addition to academic mathematical training and work experience, candidates with basic computer programming skills, especially in C++ or other object-oriented languages, as well as experience in MATLAB, will have an advantage in the Program.

For any of these programs, you need a GRE.Q> 165, ideally 170 if you can. You should be getting As, >90%, or first marks in most (not necessarily all) of your courses.

As far as MFE programs, you need to aim for the top ten. Baruch, Chicago, Berkeley and CMU are a bit easier to get into if you're competing on grades and test scores, but a bit harder to get a front-office job out of. Stanford, NYU, Columbia MSFE, Princeton, and Cornell admit fewer students and place more into the FO.

On top of the academic requirements for an MFE program, they're also looking for internships and American or British English skills, at a minimum.

PhD programs will be less concerned about an internship but they will look for research references.

The most competitive programs run out of stuff to select on by the time they've checked off the grades, GRE, and even internship or research boxes-- there's still 200 or so perfectly qualified applicants in the pile for a class of 30-70. So they start whittling it down further and start thinking about how they want the class to look. International Math Olympiad (IMO) medalists are in. Published research (in journals profs at those schools submit to) gets you in. Athletes are in. Interesting military service gets you in. This year, Princeton has two MFEs who competed at the national level in swimming. The year before we had a few triathletes and a guy who flew motorized hang gliders in South Africa to track poachers (not me). My year someone flew F16s in the Korean Air Force, another guy won his category in some big city marathon, and we had a few IMO people.

Coming from Nanyang, which to be sure is an excellent school but doesn't necessarily have the international reputation of Tsinghua, Peking, IIT, or Polytechnique, you are going to get to the top 200 applicants if you have the grades, coursework, and an internship, but you will need something more to make the cut to the last 30-70 applicants. (Edit: I take this back; Princeton admitted from Nanyang last year so to any extent this comment throws shade on the school, that's probably wrong.)

But if you want a Stanford PhD, Harvard MBA, or top ~2-5 MFE or MSCS, you need to start thinking about this now. Learning to fly a hang glider isn't as hard as it looks. If you are OK with a tier 5-10 MFE (and I use this term very carefully because some of the T5-10 schools do a better job of teaching their students stochal) and having a good shot at the FO in the US but knowing ~50% of students land in risk for their first job, sometimes outside the US, don't worry about that and just focus on grades and getting an internship.

Relax. You'll make it. Be patient, work hard, and be open-minded.

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Apr 8, 2018

@IlliniProgrammer
Wow, I never expected to receive such a detailed reply for my question. Thank you so very much for your reply, I read it quite a couple of times and am super appreciative that you took the time to type this out!

However, as an admitted student, it's likely i'm stuck with the 3 choices I listed above, i've also been keen on taking option 3 (Double Major in Finance and Business Analytics) out of the rest but that raises an issue; I won't be able to take the modules required to hit the mathematical requirements as stated by Princeton's MSFM course as you had stated. I'm afraid the only way I can achieve that would be to take Mathematics as a minor. And upon further inspection, the major's curriculum seems to focus more on the pushing students to become business consultants :/ Might have to reconsider.

But thank you again so much for the tips, seems like the best course of action I have for now would be to study hard as you said, grab a good GPA, find some research opportunities and hopefully land an awesome internship.
I might have a shot at an Investment banking internship at a regional bank in summer as a freshman, hopefully that'll help boost my chances a little bit.

Off to learn how to hang-glide ;)
(or maybe start a non-profit foundation, that seems a little more aligned with what I can/want to do)

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Apr 8, 2018
Joel-Tan:

@IlliniProgrammerWow, I never expected to receive such a detailed reply for my question. Thank you so very much for your reply, I read it quite a couple of times and am super appreciative that you took the time to type this out!

However, as an admitted student, it's likely i'm stuck with the 3 choices I listed above, i've also been keen on taking option 3 (Double Major in Finance and Business Analytics) out of the rest but that raises an issue; I won't be able to take the modules required to hit the mathematical requirements as stated by Princeton's MSFM course as you had stated. I'm afraid the only way I can achieve that would be to take Mathematics as a minor. And upon further inspection, the major's curriculum seems to focus more on the pushing students to become business consultants :/ Might have to reconsider.

But thank you again so much for the tips, seems like the best course of action I have for now would be to study hard as you said, grab a good GPA, find some research opportunities and hopefully land an awesome internship.I might have a shot at an Investment banking internship at a regional bank in summer as a freshman, hopefully that'll help boost my chances a little bit.

Off to learn how to hang-glide ;)(or maybe start a non-profit foundation, that seems a little more aligned with what I can/want to do)

Sure. Do whatever you're passionate about-- just make sure it gives you a big cross product if you're going for an elite private school. (To be sure, Chicago, CMU, and Caltech are notable exceptions that qualify as elite private schools but admit purely on academic merit.) The expectation is that quants have excellent mathematical ability, so the goal is to convince them that you can also excel in something completely different- like sports, feats of endurance, outdoor stuff, etc. Music or philanthropy might qualify. Maybe start a non-profit for teaching kids kayaking and stand-up paddleboarding? You'll figure it out. :-)

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Apr 8, 2018

This has been discussed many times before, but I'm in a good mood so I'll help out.

First, it would be helpful to know whether you will be going to a target or non-target school and what major you're pursuing.

If you'll be at a non-target and are a liberal arts major, it may be helpful to take on a more quantitative minor to show that you can handle such material. However, keep in mind that GPA is especially important coming from a non-target. You could either pursue the easiest quantitative minor or prove your capabilities through internship experience.

If you're going to a target, the minor is largely unnecessary, especially if it threatens your grades. If you're a liberal arts major, you can just take several of the more quantitative courses offered and list them on your resume to show that numbers don't scare you. A high math score on the SAT would help as well.

As far as taking courses pass/fail, that's not something you need to worry about. Banks generally don't ask for transcripts until you accept your offer. For those that don't, the pass/fail option will not raise any flags.

Apr 8, 2018

Well, except for one sentence.

No one cares too much about a minor; what is it, six classes? I think I have one, but I don't even know what it is. Maybe statistics. If you think it will lower your GPA, it is probably not worth it. If you don't think it will lower your GPA, which it shouldn't because college is easy, then take it. Personally though, I'd suggest adding extra majors if you want anyone to notice.

As for the above, I notice this makes no sense; maybe you'd like to explain?

DontMakeMeShortYou:

As far as taking courses pass/fail, that's not something you need to worry about. Banks generally don't ask for transcripts until you accept your offer. For those that don't, the pass/fail option will raise any flags.

Apr 8, 2018

I will be going to a target school. Thanks for the advice. However, what if the median grades are shown on the transcript? Will this make a difference or do recruiters not take the time to look at these and instead just pick whoever has a higher GPA

Apr 8, 2018

I don't think a stats minor would help that much, especially considering it could hurt your GPA. I would recommend a minor in accounting, if possible, since you will use that far more in the fields you mentioned.

There is a common misconception that being in banking, consulting, or corporate finance requires a great deal of quantitative skill. Most of the IBD work I did required only basic algebra and stats but 100% accuracy. You won't be doing complicated regressions or calculus when building a DCF, LBO model, etc.

One caveat: some trading desks can be very quant intensive, but a simple minor in stats is unlikely to qualify you for quant groups.

Apr 8, 2018

I fixed my post. Banks will NOT care about pass/fail on your transcript.

Apr 8, 2018

Sounds like the capital markets guy that sits behind me does do regression work. Doesn't do anything more difficult than that, though.

But yeah, in M&A, you only need a high school level of math. Besides that, be good at formatting documents, and finding shit on the internet.

Apr 8, 2018

that really helps guys, thanks a lot

Apr 8, 2018

Why banking?

Apr 8, 2018

What a coincidence! I am also a sophomore in electrical engineering too at USC and interested in iBanking! PM me

But from what I have heard from friends and people here, USC is a semi target so we can get offers from BB banks but only around west coast. Another thing is the regional offices don't hire a lot as compared to east coast especially NYC so our chances are significantly less. Even though its possible to get a job on the street, it would mean a really high gpa and you and I know that electrical isn't the best major to get a 3.8 + gpa. So your options are more limited to the west coast and still you will face competition from stanford and UCB kids!

I am thinking of doing a minor in Management consulting but I am still trying to figure out if that would help me anything in IB.

Apr 8, 2018

What a coincidence! I am also a sophomore in electrical engineering too at USC and interested in iBanking! PM me

But from what I have heard from friends and people here, USC is a semi target so we can get offers from BB banks but only around west coast. Another thing is the regional offices don't hire a lot as compared to east coast especially NYC so our chances are significantly less. Even though its possible to get a job on the street, it would mean a really high gpa and you and I know that electrical isn't the best major to get a 3.8 + gpa. So your options are more limited to the west coast and still you will face competition from stanford and UCB kids!

I am thinking of doing a minor in management consulting but I am still trying to figure out if that would help me anything in IB.

Apr 8, 2018

Also transferring to Rice may help a little but I really doubt it would give you any significant boost unless you are talking about Wharton or any ivy leagues. UMich , UVA are around the same level as USC but the thing is they are better catered towards the street, so if you want to work on the street then yes maybe UMich would be a better option then USC. But if you don't care about where you end up working I wouldn't suggest you to transfer.

Consider joining TIS ( I am going to do that starting this fall) and maybe take a few finance classes. That should help as an electrical engiener you have already proved to the companies that you are smart, good at math and willing to work your ass off. They just need you to understand basic finance and you can get an analyst position.

Apr 8, 2018

All your questions were answered in the previous thread. http://www.wallstreetoasis.com/forums/some-questions

Worry about what to do after IB later. You are facing an uphill battle coming from UNC and won't have many good IB options available to you -- focus on that.

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Apr 8, 2018

I see, good point! I guess I'll stick to just the business major with an emphasis in either corporate finance or finance. Thanks!

Apr 8, 2018

Transfer

Apr 8, 2018

Why are you terrible at it? Are you doing everything you possibly can to improve? Are you spending ALL of your time studying?

Apr 8, 2018

Major in what you want and where you have a genuine interest. I don't think you realize how difficult upper-level math gets once you get through all levels of Calculus. You can't really feign an interest in a subject like that, as most who don't have a desire to study the field, often don't put in the work necessary to do well in those courses. Get the highest GPA you can, there are plenty of social science majors at hedge funds.

Apr 8, 2018

not much difference between a major and minor.

Apr 8, 2018

study something you like to do. it always helps to be well rounded so a liberal arts minor may be good for you

Apr 8, 2018

yeah..minor in something you enjoy rather than double majoring in something you hate.

Apr 8, 2018

I was thinking about double majoring in finance and economics and someone told me "finance and economics as a double major is stupid...finance and economics, what's the point? you study theory and then practicality. you can argue you get some quant level courses but really if you want to show you're not just a finance major who knows math really well you should do finance (practical) with something more high level, stats, cs, math, whatever." Is this true?

Apr 8, 2018

Double majoring in finance and economics would show a concentrated interest. I'd agree with whoever said "what's the point." However, if that's what you like, then go for it. As far as a possible minor in Computer Science; just "liking" computers shouldn't be a reason to put yourself through that misery. Programming skills are valued in the industry, but remember, it's writing code not playing with computers. You can learn VBA stuff on your own time if you want.

Apr 8, 2018

Major in finance, minor in economics and global business

Apr 8, 2018

I think what you're looking for is Computer Information Systems minor, not a Computer Science minor... CS is fucking horrible for someone who just "likes computers".

Apr 8, 2018

yeah maybe CIS is what im looking for. Im not sure my school offers it though. what would be another major that would augment a finance major?

Apr 8, 2018

There are not set majors that augment a finance major. You were given good advice to select a second major or a minor in something you like. I know your still a young chap, but you have to be able to think for yourself a little bit in these situations.

So do yourself a favor, and take the time to look through your school website. Find out everything that is offered, and if something interests you, CHECK OUT THE INDIVIDUAL COURSES. The course descriptions will give you a much better idea of what you'd learn. From this you can decide if you are interested or not. And once again, you'll enjoy college more if you're studying something you find interesting. And if you enjoy it, you're more likely to excel in it.

Apr 8, 2018

Finance major in Wharton, with double Math major here

The math major is doing really badly for my GPA (I have a B average in Math compared to an A- in Finance), but I think it would make me a lot more marketable (not to mention , I find math a looot more interesting). What do you guys think?

Apr 8, 2018

hey metaljack, that is the best advice ive received. thanks alot. will do

Apr 8, 2018

well since you haven't mentioned what exact type of VC, I'd say to do that Bio & Comp Sci double major.

But it also depends on ur work experience as well after graduation. If you go work in IT/programmer versus working as a Biotech equity analyst or some type of design engineer.

Networking helps out as well. I know a finance major who worked at a big pharma company for a year and through his network/knowledge (through work and through "personal education"), he ended up at a start up VC fund.

I'm sure that the comp sci background will help out as will econ and biotech.

Its more the work experience and how you can gear it towards VC.

I'm making it up as I go along.

Apr 8, 2018

I'm particularly interested in IT/biotech venture capital.

I agree that work experience is probably more important. I have some good undergrad biology research experience, am working at a tech company this summer, and am looking at management consulting for a full-time job. In a few years I'm planning on b-school.

Like you said, I think it's all about how you play your cards. I just want my degree(s) to be as helpful as possible -- to strengthen my hand even more, if you will. CS/Bio double major is probably the least attractive option to me in terms of coursework required, so if it really wouldn't be a big deal in the scheme of things, I'd probably go with something else.

Thanks again for the help. Any other thoughts?

Apr 8, 2018

By the way, what exactly do you mean by "biotech equity analyst"? Are you talking at an i-bank? Do you think it would be possible to land such a position without finance experience and given the current job market?

Apr 8, 2018

He means a biotech equity analyst in research. They keep up with publically traded companies and try to figure out where their earnings/value/price are going in the coming quarter/year, etc.

As for your studies, I think option 1 is great. Maybe it comes easy to you (I never understood how that kinda stuff good, clearly I'm not that smart, haha), but adding biology will marginally add value to you in the long run. So unless you don't have a great passion for it, or see yourself going to med school/into the sciences directly in the future, keep it at the minor and be able to talk intelligently about bio.

I think for going into VC, you've got a great set of studies there. You've got to think about when you'll be applying.

Are you going to try and throw your name in the hat for an analyst position at VCs? This is really tough, but possible (I suppose VC Monkey is a good example of this). If so, I'd focus on setting up informational interviews with as many as you can in the coming months and reaching out to any and all Duke alums (I'd imagine quite a few are out there, you've gotta tap into the alumni network).

Good luck man. Oh, and fuck Duke. Chef-Chafe-skiiiii babayyyyyyyyyyy

Apr 8, 2018

Thanks, Alphaholic. Not so sure about that snide Duke comment, but given your otherwise good advice, I'll let it slide...

Yeah, I used to be a big biology guy, back in the day. Wanted to get a PhD, all that good stuff. In fact, I spent last summer doing biology research, and have won some prestigious research-related awards. However, there came a point where I realized I no longer wanted to spend my time doing research in a lab. It simply was no longer fulfilling, and the prospect of making 20K a year for 7 years while all my friends made great money in industry started to get to me. My long term goal was to get into business anyway, so I decided enough was enough. I dropped my Bio major down to a minor and started taking a few Econ courses, which I loved. This now leaves me in the position, with a year remaining, to decide between finishing the Bio major, finishing an Econ minor, or doing neither.

This summer I'm working at a tech company and working on a startup on the side. I've become very interested in business, am also looking at consulting full-time next year, b-school in a few years, and my long-term career goal is VC. So yeah, that's where I am right now.

I am going to seek out some VC analyst positions next year as well, though. I think I'd make an attractive candidate given my resume, but you're right: it will be very tough. My plan was to start emailing a bunch of VC firms and asking if they have any open analyst positions, attaching my resume for reference. I'm in the Valley this summer, so maybe I should try to snag an informational interview before I head back east. Once return to school, I'll see if I can track down any alums. Do you think this is the best way of going about finding a position?

Apr 8, 2018

Sorry, I hate your school's basketball team and lol all up and down the street at your football "team".

Haha, all jokes aside, I think that's a good idea. I'm really interested in VC too. I started reading a few venture blogs, which are really great to get an idea of how the industry operates. Red Herring, VentureBeat and Silicon Alley are great resources to keep up with the Jones' on current stuff.

As for blogs, look for those too. Alot of top-dog VCs keep up blogs. Robert Kasaki (sp?) is a good example. His blog, "How to Change The World" is pretty good. He puts it well, "Venture Capital Should Be The Last Job You Ever Take, Not The First". While I disagree on the absolutism of that statement, it's worth thinking about.

The info. interviews is an awesome idea. Set up a few before you go. You'll find VCs are incredibly open to speaking to you. Hell...I've got an informational interview with Tim Draper in the fall...haha, so I'm betting you could set some good things up.

Apr 8, 2018

Hey Duke kid,

I do DD work on VC managers for a career, so take my comments in that light. VC is excruciatingly difficult to get into, particularly without a defined set of skills and/or one or more graduate degrees. Teams are small, and only a select few managers are established considering the number of firms out there. The NEAs and KPs of the world have such massive networks that generally they need only recruit through their company/CEO contacts in order to on-board junior professionals.

There are several avenues into the industry, though. I see you are approaching it from perhaps the portfolio company angle-- having the technical skills first (instead of a finance/M&A dept route). Considering your studies so far, this is probably a good tactic. However, I would advise you to explore your options beyond just trying to break into a VC firm as an analyst (most shops have no more than 1-2, if any-- this is an industry that establishes a team over several funds, not just 2-3 years and out like in FS). Working for a biotech/biopharma/HC company or start-up is a fantastic starting pad, especially if you have entrepreneurial aspirations.

Also, are you interested in IT or HC more? Most managers and investment professionals in VC specialize in one or the other, since VCs make their case based on a differentiated strategy. Also, if you want to do HC/life sciences, consider getting an advanced degree/MD in a specialty sometime in the future. An MBA is great, but good managers need both industry expertise and investment experience. Unless you want to be a serial CFO or VP...

If you need more advice, PM me. Also think about googling a ton of top managers and check their team charts. The bios should give you a great idea of what kind of avenues people walk to get into VC.