Missed SA 2019 recruiting - delay graduation for SA 2020?

Long story short, I didn't even know what investment banking was until June of 2018 when I started my internship in REPE (friend connection). Had some other family stuff happen and a somewhat low GPA (3.4 at super non-target) that made me whiff on SA 2019. I'm set to graduate in May 2020, but given the nature of FT recruiting being next to impossible these days, I don't feel I have a chance to break into IB.

I'm currently studying abroad at the London School of Economics and did well my first semester, with a projected converted GPA of a 3.8 or a 4.0 depending on my last class. My current plan goes as follows:

1) Cold email every boutique IB firm in my school area (Boston/New York) and home (Washington, D.C.) for an internship, even if unpaid. Hopefully secure one - otherwise, I have a boutique investment consulting/asset management internship lined up that I can hop onto. Not optimal but better than nothing, and it'll pay enough to cover next semester's tuition.

2) Apply to BB/MM/EB SA 2020 positions over this spring and summer with a December 2020 graduation date. Explain that my study abroad program messed with my graduation schedule (the yearlong courses there only count for 1 credit at my school) along with my double major (economics and political science).

3) If I get a decent SA 2020 position, delay graduation to December 2020 and vacation for spring semester before starting my internship in June. If I can't secure one, graduate in May 2020 and look for FT opportunities outside of IB.

I've thought about it, and I feel this plan might be advantageous for me to pursue. One, it'd obviously allow me to enter a SA recruiting season actually knowing how it all works. Two, I'd be able to practice modeling and prep for IB for a few more months. Three, I'd be able to raise my GPA by a decent amount by the time I submit my resumes. I can't really think of any downsides to this, especially since if I don't secure a SA 2020 gig I can just revert to my original graduation date. An extra semester would cost about $30k, but given SA pay + future opportunities I feel it'd be worth it.

Is there anyone who's done something like this who can share any insight/is my plan stupid as fuck or could it work? Thank you all for your time.

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Comments (15)

Jan 10, 2019

Delay graduation - just write c/o 2021 on your resume. No need to explain anything if they don't ask. Cold email, network, and do everything now before applications open up. Apply the day that they open and ask your new contacts to help push your resume. Wish I would have done the same.

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Jan 11, 2019

Do you recommend applying to banks that have already opened 2020 applications where I have not networked yet, or network THEN apply? Because some banks have already opened applications.

Jan 10, 2019

Do both. Apply and network

Jan 11, 2019

Sounds like a solid plan

Jan 11, 2019

I would agree with everything you have laid out except for the graduate in May 2020 plan. I would still delay graduation and keep pressing for IB while simultaneously exploring other options. It will give you more time to turn over more rocks and the extra time in school will be meaningless to you in the context of your entire career.

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Jan 11, 2019

You could also try to recruit for London IB and then transfer internally to US offices after a year or two if that is something you'd want to do. In London very little networking is done, it's all about your school, and the LSE carries an amazing brand (top target and probably sending the most kids to IB out of all other schools in Europe).

Jan 11, 2019

I've considered it, but getting sponsorship in London is very difficult. Furthermore, I am currently in the midst of applying for American citizenship, so it isn't advisable for me to spend more than 1 year abroad and work abroad. So unfortunately, London IB is not an option.

Jan 11, 2019

Sponsorship in the UK isn't too difficult - way easier than in the US. But I understand your situation and desire to get the American citizenship.

Jan 12, 2019

If you're set on IB then delaying may make sense. I'm from a non-target and networked into a BB SA program, and it's just a matter of putting in the time. I started my sophomore year barely knowing anything about IB, but cold-calling, and networking persistently in general, helped me feel caught up quickly. Being able to ask questions on more calls and get more peoples' perspectives on different aspects of banking will help you come across as a more knowledgeable candidate. It really is just a matter of putting in the time and effort to get a SA position so if you really want it and can afford the extra college semester then go for it.

Jan 12, 2019

How hard did you go on studying technicals? Must be tough if there aren't any resources at your school.

Jan 12, 2019

I don't think there's a really high expectation on technicals in interviews for SA positions in general, but 400 question guide was more than enough for me. I had an internship at a regional boutique after my sophomore year, so my technical interviews tended to just be more skewed towards questions about my experience there. Most people I talked to told me to spend more time focusing on my story and thinking about my strengths and weaknesses so that in interviews I could present myself well.

Jan 13, 2019

good luck