My challenging situation

Hey guys, this is my first post on this site so I hope this is the appropriate forum to post this.

Here's my situation. I got accepted To Umass Amherst into the honors college with flying colors, as I was routinely an AP scholar with distinction, yadda yadda did well in hs. I could have easily gotten into some better schools like Boston University but my family and I immigrated from Russia and solidly middle class, so it was a little out of our price range. I went into Chemical Engineering, because there was somewhat of a default assumption that I would go into engineering. From my first semester I realized I hated engineering and was more interested in business and finance, but I figured I would push my way through and just grind to be an engineering. Well, I did this through sophomore year while hating every second of it and struggling in my engineering classes, while getting solid A's in every gen end not relating to engineering. I'm currently sitting with an abysmal GPA (2.4) and I switched into Managerial economics and am currently taking Macroeconomics as an online course, which I am on track to getting a solid A in.

Basically I screwed myself for my first two years by doing a major I hated but didn't know when to quit. Thankfully I took enough gen-ed requirements to finish on-track in business econ, assuming I keep up my current level of work I feel I can get essentially an A in every class I have yet to finish, from what I've seen, so I will have a major GPA close to 4.

I work retail about 48 hours per week over the summer, but since I was doing engineering, I missed the boat on finance internships for my sophomore year.
I would ideally like to get into investment banking and I'll forgo every facet of my personal life to make it happen. My girlfriend says I'm the most driven person she knows (frankly this probably says more about her friends), and I plan on networking my ass off and finessing my way into the main economics and investment clubs and joining the main professional business frat on campus.

I really missed the bus on my early progress, but what do you guys think I should do to maximize my chances of getting into investment banking or a similar finance related internship/career? Thanks a million

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Comments (12)

Jul 23, 2018

Unfortunately, a 2.4 from UMass is going to be tough to recover from. If you're that smart....just how did that happen. I get that you explained how it happened, and it makes sense, but just....yeah.

As it stands, no one is going to look at your CV. Maybe you should consider doing a combined BA/BS + Masters (some type of 5Y program) to reduce the focus on your terrible UG track record. It would give you extra time to recruit....network & recruit your face off for first, an internship and then analyst positions. You'll likely have more luck at regional shops / MM banks / Big 4. The bulge bracket banks are going to struggle enormously with a poor-to-mediocre GPA from a poor-to-mediocre state school.

I know this sounds harsh, but it's reality.

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Jul 23, 2018

I appreciate the feedback. Yeah I'm not going to try to make excuses for my previous performance, but yes I've been strongly looking into possibly pursuing a masters program in finance, depending on how the next two years go.

Jan 4, 2019

Has it been just one year? Could you consider transferring schools and starting over since you are already talking about doing another year

Jul 23, 2018

Hey update on my situation:
In January I applied to, interviewed, and took an offer for a spring internship as a private equity analyst at a Boston-based venture capital/private equity search fund.

The commute is a little rough but I find the experience to be invaluable. My position involves doing a lot of due diligence on possible acquisition targets as well as screening possible acquisitions within industries that fulfill our investment criteria.
Additionally I will soon begin analyzing CIM's prepared by brokers and conducting EBITDA adjustments.
A lot of the full time analysts and higher-ups at this company have notable MBA backgrounds and backgrounds within MM and some BB investment banks and private equity firms, so I feel lake there is a lot of potential to make valuble relationships.

I plan on leveraging this role and my experience gained into an internship at a boutique IB and even start reaching for MM summer analyst internships.

Jul 23, 2018

I actually respect your story (UMass on scholarship, working during the summer, immigrant parents). A lot of people will recognize that if you can turn that GPA around, it means you're hungry and can work hard and bounce back from failure.

Could you try an internship during the school year this coming year? Really ANY internship for a semester or two this coming year in business / finance (whether for credit / paid / unpaid - whatever you can swing). This will help you tell a convincing story when you're recruiting for a junior yr internship for next summer.

Can Career Services at UMass help you land something for during the year? Or perhaps a professor? And start using that alumni database....cold emailing & calling if you have to.

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Jul 23, 2018

I know this is late, but I just finished my fall semester with a 4.0 and am currently taking a winter semester online class.
By the time I return to campus for the spring I should be back to about a 2.8. I calculated that If I do well in the spring and do a credited internship over the summer, I should be looking at about a 3.05 when I come back for my Senior year.
In addition my current Major GPA is a 3.73, so hopefully embellishing that will help somehow.

Do you think I should stay an extra semester/year to pursue an IT minor and try to get my final GPA up to a 3.3 or 3.4? Should I pursue a CFA certification to show employers I'm willing to work hard?

Thanks!

Jan 4, 2019

Here's a tip, not saying you should do it.... How about just list your GPA as 3.73 on the resume?
Technically correct since its your major GPA. don't mention overall or major until someone asks, and if they do, try wording it in a way "since I've become a business major, my GPA is a solid 3.73". Also, if you did well in the Gen Eds and terrible on the Engineering classes, why not have the Engineering classes dropped from the transcript? It's possible to do so under certain circumstances at some schools. Essentially you'll be submitting an appeal to the Dean telling him "XYZ happened during the semester which placed undue stress upon me and my family which prevented me from doing my best in the extremely challenging engineering classes. Since then I have changed my plans, and am now in pursuit of a Business degree. I presently have a 3.73 major GPA, so you can see I am a hard-working student."
Solid shot the Dean will just drop the engineering classes from you transcript. That'll put a "W" on your transcript and will not impact your GPA.

Also unpaid internships might be the way to go for the first time around.

thots and prayers