My path from non-target to BB IB

I am posting this because this site has been a tremendous help when I was first getting started. In no way do I view my story as special, I actually believe that people from my background are extremely common in my experience, but people on this board seem to think going to a non-target is a death sentence.

I attend a non-target, but top 50 liberal arts school. I am a history major with a minor in philosophy and I am an athlete. My school is fortunate to have a small, but extremely helpful alumni network. I started reaching out as a freshman to everyone and anyone. By casting a wide net at first, I believe that I learned more and was introduced to more people. I interned in PWM after freshman year. During sophomore year, I started to target IB alumni specifically. The contacts I met my freshman year helped put me in touch with a hedge fund with ~$40bn in assets. I interned here after my sophomore year. This is a huge factor because I was introduced to recruiters at every bank by our sales guys. This gave me a huge leg up in recruiting going into my next year.

During junior year, I hit the ground running and started to contact every contact I had made over the past two years. This paid huge dividends because I had interviews at every BB and most MM and boutiques. In mid-october I had 4 super days and converted all four offers. I took the bank that had the best fit and best location which was New York. The bank is not the most prestigious but I have enjoyed everyone I have met at the bank and I love New York. I finished up my internship this summer and despite the low offer rate at all banks, I received and accepted an offer.

My advice to everyone who has asked? Love your major. College is four years of fun and you should love you major, you only get to do it once. Second, network with everyone, even if they are not in the finance sector you want, you never know who they know. Grades matter up to a point, I had a 3.48 when I went through recruiting, but in my super day I beat out kids who had 4.0's.

When you finally get an internship, be fun and personable, be the intern they want to drink with and party with, but also be the intern who works harder than anyone else. The smallest things for analysts go the longest way. I used to car all the books for my group, even on deals that I did not work on, because it meant the full-times could go home. They MD's never knew I was the one who sent the books out to their houses, but the analysts did and they went to bat for me during the final review.

It does not matter where you come from, network, be personable, be fun and work hard. Everything else will work out.

Mod Note (Andy): Best of 2016, this post ranks #44 for the past year

Comments (21)

Oct 17, 2016

congratulations and thanks for sharing your story!

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Oct 17, 2016

I like the emphasis on personality, I think often times it gets overlooked. Kids want to lock themselves in a room and study technical guides when all you essentially need is to be enthusiastic and personable (assuming you have the credentials already).

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Oct 17, 2016

Honestly, was going to be a dick about calling an "athlete at a top 50 liberal arts school with an alumni base in the industry" a "non-target" or other wise non-traditional candidate, because you are. But you're post has really changed my mind because it is honest, thorough and pretty much the model for any newbie reading this board.

If you are one of said noobies, follow this advice to the T. Work hard, be personable, network, be passionate and develop your interests (other wise you wont be interesting). And don't forget to Work hard.

SB and congrats OP, you da man.

Oct 17, 2016

So network like crazy, everyone gets lucky eventually?

Gimme the loot

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Oct 18, 2016

@Gratisfaction this seems to be the case. I think its important to note that if you're not getting anywhere and an MBA is possible, go get an MBA at a top tier program and then leverage this to land an IB gig. You may not be able to control MDs and VPs and whether or not they respond to your networking attempts but, you can control how well you do on your GMAT and try to get into a top MBA program.

Point being we can only control so much so perhaps find what you can control, focus on doing the best you can at it, and hopefully you get what you want.

Congrats to OP and not to take away from his post but for every successful story there are 100s of failures who realize IB won't happen and its time to move on to something else, something that has a greater likelihood of happening.

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Oct 17, 2016

but did you get into the Goldman Sachs? i want to work at the Goldman Sachs.

Jokes aside. Good job op.

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Oct 18, 2016


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Oct 18, 2016

But do you think this would have been possible if you had a 3.47?

j/k good post thanks for sharing

Oct 19, 2016

Congrats OP!!! As someone sweating bullets going through soph sa recruitment right now I'm slightly jelly.

Oct 22, 2016

Congrats man! Keep pushing hard and there will not be limits to what you can achieve.

Oct 22, 2016

Congrats! I'm a freshman from a non-target public school. I agree on your point on networking and personality... But I don't really know what to put on my resume especially if I am going to get a finance-related intern in summer.

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Oct 24, 2016

Congrats. You're officially in


Oct 24, 2016

If you didn't go to a sexy non-target like the strong LACs out there, I would say this is still good advice. You have to be open to network with everyone within your network, because you never know where the path will lead you. One of the things that I noticed about kids that go to top schools (targets or non-targets, but strong names nonetheless), is that they all have really developed social skills. I've seen kids at my no name school teetering on 4.0s get interviews everywhere and get dinged, because you're never as smart as you think you are, but you can be as likeable as anyone if you have enough self-awareness to develop the skills to socialize well. Lastly, something that I think is true and is shown in this post is that if you want to get into banking, you should have the grit to keep going even when it gets tough.

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Dec 27, 2016

Sexy non-target... I like the way you put that.

Oct 25, 2016

Thanks y'all!

Oct 26, 2016

Great job and congrats OP, thanks for sharing your story and sound advice.

Jan 8, 2017


Oct 31, 2016

I am from an Engineering degree and my gpa currently is 3.4/5.0. I am in my Junior yr and can push my gpa to abt 4.0/5.0
Do you think it is possible to get in to IB via networking?

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Dec 27, 2016

Thanks for sharing your story man, you are an inspiration!

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Dec 29, 2016
Jan 3, 2017