Non Target, Breaking into Investment Banking

Hi fellow monkeys,

just wanted to post on here that I finally got the phone call for an investment banking analyst at a bank in SF...After 4 banking superdays, 2 wait lists, I was able to break in from a non target, semi target at best. I learned about investment banking in november of 2010 and wanted to get in. However, without much finance experience, i didn't get ANY investment banking interviews for internships last year. I ended up doing an internship in corporate finance and was able to get another internship in with a PE fund....This past summer ,during my internships , I expanded my network and sent out many random emails via linkedin and surprisingly, was able to meet many bankers...I went on networking trips to NY and SF right after my internship ended...I think I went to NY 3 times in 6 weeks....It was actually December and I didn't have any IBD offers...I had one in consulting and in corp. finance...I thought I would have to take the consulting offer but an opportunity came for an immediate start date with a bank in SF...I emailed them, spoke on the phone with the analyst, and he got me a first round over the phone. the phone interview went well and was invited to a superday on the spot..superday took place a week later and after 8 interviews, got the phone call a few days later saying I got the offer...In a short matter of 2 1/2 weeks, i went from having nothing, having exhausted my network and interviews, to having an offer...hard work and perseverance does pay off. Thank you WSO for helping me along the way and seeing the other success stories helped keep the fire in me going........Thanks for everything!!!

Comments (99)

Dec 19, 2011

congrats!

Dec 19, 2011

congrats bud! always like to see perseverance pay off.

Dec 19, 2011

Good stuff man.

Dec 19, 2011

Congratulations!

Dec 19, 2011

Thanks. feel free to PM me or ask me anything as I would like to pay it forward in the WSO community...

Dec 19, 2011

That's great man, best of luck with the new job

Dec 20, 2011

What school? just curious. Can you PM me if ur not comfortable writing online?

Dec 20, 2011

BYU. also some people have been asking about my previous experience...
i did an internship with a car company in detroit and a small pe fund in houston this past summer......on campus internships with a fixed income company and a mm investment bank were done during the school year...few years experience selling door to door and officer in the investment banking club...

Dec 20, 2011

congrats.

Dec 20, 2011

I thought BYU was like semi-target?

Dec 20, 2011

i'm sure it could be, that's why i put semi target at best......we had maybe 3 banks for ocr...one was a BB but for west coast....

Dec 24, 2011

Congrats! good job

Dec 31, 2011

congrats thanks for sharing your story

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Jan 10, 2012

Congrats...great story

Jan 14, 2012

congratz

Jan 14, 2012

Love this. Quit complaining and get to work. Like you said, they worked to get into their target school, you gotta do something to catch up. As a non-target in the middle of this process, I couldn't agree more with these statements.

Jan 14, 2012

Thank you, I hope this was in direct response to the fool complaining about being a nontarget.

Jan 14, 2012

If you fail there's always IT I heard the exit opps are great

Jan 14, 2012

Makes sense. Target schools provide differentiation for students, and while that's a great position to be in, not being from a target doesn't mean you can't differentiate youself. You offer a method of doing so here.

Jan 14, 2012

The cutoff for most firms is 3.5 GPA (for target school students). Get your GPA up (sandbag like hell if you have to) and start networking.

Jan 14, 2012

I have been getting the GPA up so far this semester im looking at a 4.0

Does it help having the research for the field? I have completed a best economic practices for the state of Michigan and am currently working on an oxford article for international economic development for small and medium enterprises and an exchange trade fund comprised of Michigan businesses.

Also with being at a satellite of a target school what can I read or get certifications in that might assist me in getting a leg up?

Thanks for the advise as well!

Jan 14, 2012

UMich Flint or Dearborn?

Jan 14, 2012

sadly Flint

Jan 14, 2012

Can you transfer to AA?

Jan 14, 2012

That is what I was going to do but I noticed that they have a Finance mathematics style degree and then Ross has just a BBA it seems

Jan 14, 2012

Good shit man, congrats.

Jan 14, 2012

Beast! Always great to hear non-targets break into the industry. I need to post my story once I'm done with finals >_>

Jan 14, 2012

Congrats. Considering you found WSO that late, that is great.

After your year is up, are you going to try and break-in to a BB/MM bank for their IBD?

The difference between successful people and others is largely a habit - a controlled habit of doing every task better, faster and more efficiently.

Jan 14, 2012
TheKid1:

This might be a little long so bare with me..its early in the morning

thats what she said

Best Response
Jan 14, 2012

Congrats man! Great to hear.

...not sure what you mean about your Resume Review not getting a follow-up though? We'd be happy to take a look at our communication with you back during the review. ALL customers get a follow-up unless they say they are happy with draft #1 (usually there are tweaks either way from draft #1 to draft #2). My guess is you didn't voice any complaints/concerns but were secretly not so happy?

Please e-mail [email protected] so we know what client you were and who you worked with. We will take a look at what happened and how we can improve the process. I want to see if you didn't get a follow-up, because I've never heard that before. We have a 100% client satisfaction rate to date, so I'm not going to let you be the first person even mildly disappointed.

Thanks,
Patrick

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Jan 14, 2012
WallStreetOasis.com:

Congrats man! Great to hear.

...not sure what you mean about your Resume Review not getting a follow-up though? We'd be happy to take a look at our communication with you back during the review. ALL customers get a follow-up unless they say they are happy with draft #1 (usually there are tweaks either way from draft #1 to draft #2). My guess is you didn't voice any complaints/concerns but were secretly not so happy?

Please e-mail [email protected] so we know what client you were and who you worked with. We will take a look at what happened and how we can improve the process. I want to see if you didn't get a follow-up, because I've never heard that before. We have a 100% client satisfaction rate to date, so I'm not going to let you be the first person even mildly disappointed.

Thanks,
Patrick

Thanks Patrick, don't get me wrong I'am happy with the service, it made my resume neat and sharp. In the section "what You'll get"- it says "Follow-up review to make sure you are satisfied with the final resume". I thought that the person who reviewed my resume would email me back a few months later too see how its going and if any other improvements can be made. It could be that I miss understood what that meant. Other than that I was happy with the service.

Jan 14, 2012

Congratulations! This is FT, right? I go to a complete non-target. Any advice would be appreciated. Again, congratulations. I am sure you earned it.

Jan 14, 2012

mhurriance- I am not sure what I'm going do later, but having IB will help open doors.

KKS- Yeah its F.T.. I didn't break in through networking, but I would recommend to network. I would recommend using the behavior guide- very helpful and go through each question and come up with your own answer or change it a little bit with the answer they give. I would also do practice interview with friends or just look at yourself in the mirror- sounds crazy but it helps...anymore question just ask away,

Jan 14, 2012

it seems like you should be able to find something.

Jan 14, 2012

Considering you have IB internship experience and a decent, though unspectacular GPA, you should at least get an interview from some MMs and lower-tier BBs. Do you have a solid amount of ECs? Any networking in's to a BB?

Jan 14, 2012

Im in the economics club at my school, no real connections with anyone in a BB

Jan 14, 2012

Yeah its possible... network!!

Jan 14, 2012

Very doable, private message me.

Jan 14, 2012

How do you network when everybody you know in the industry works middle office at best?

"One should recognize reality even when one doesn't like it, indeed, especially when one doesn't like it." - Charlie Munger

Jan 14, 2012

You sure no alums from your school are in FO? If you go to a school similar to Rutgers, there should be plenty of alums in the positions you're looking for. If your school doesn't have a formal alumni book, you just gotta be creative with how you find names... linkedin would be a good place to start if you haven't already searched through it.

Jan 14, 2012

Alumni book is a good idea thanks, I'll see what I can find

"One should recognize reality even when one doesn't like it, indeed, especially when one doesn't like it." - Charlie Munger

Jan 14, 2012

try reaching out to people who played the same sport as you, there are probably groups on LinkedIn

Jan 14, 2012

Also reach out to alumni to the schools in your sports conference.

Robert Clayton Dean: What is happening?
Brill: I blew up the building.
Robert Clayton Dean: Why?
Brill: Because you made a phone call.

Jan 14, 2012

Second both of the above. Also, Boston's pretty tight knit... I'm sure you've worked (directly on indirectly) with some one in IB/PE that might be willing to make an intro.

Jan 14, 2012

Use Phi Beta Kappa alum...Also reach out to BSAS (Boston Security Analyst Society)..then also try the Boston networking groups on LinkedIn. If all else fails, look up old employees at where you are working now maybe one crossed over and wants to help. There are also multiple alumni networking groups and conferences in the Boston area that allow anyone to go...I went to one at BU, BC and Babson College that were all geared towards IB M&A or S&T. Good luck sir.

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Jan 14, 2012

alumni/cold call. simple as that.
a million threads on WSO about how to approach both of those things.

"Success means having the courage, the determination, and the will to become the person you believe you were meant to be"

Jan 14, 2012

Network for the start, reach out to bankers in your city.

Jan 14, 2012

As others have mentioned - alumni networks and cold-calling.

Also important is to make sure you have top grades.

There are four possible candidates who get into investment banking:
1) Top school, High GPA
2) Top school, Low GPA
3) Non-target, High GPA
4) Non-target, Low GPA

1) top investment banks primarily fill their analyst classes with people from Group 1, a handful of well-connected kids from Group 2 will also be given spots as "relationship hires" and then a very small number of exceptional kids who hustled and worked mighty hard to break in will squeak in from Group 3. People in Group 4 generally don't break into top investment banking firms unless they are extremely well-connected (in which case, it is unlikely they would go to a non-target school in the first place, hence Group 2) or start at a very small no-name boutique and lateral (very challenging to do)

If you have a 4.0 or close to it from a non-target, the general perception would be "Okay, this kid was probably smart enough to get into a more competitive school, but he chose to go to this school due to finances, family, personal, etc.

The 4th category would have the highest uphill struggle for breaking into investment banking.

TL;DR - Keep those grades up!

Jan 14, 2012

Networking. Networking. Networking.

Cold call and cold email if there's no alumni on the Street. Call/email alumni if they work at banks, but not necessarily in IBD. They can point you to the right direction or put you in touch with right people.

Also, ask your professors if they have any connections in the industry.

Nothing is true; everything is permitted.

Jan 14, 2012

Swallow your pride and pitch yourself to anyone with a phone number and/or email address.

Jan 14, 2012

network but on your resume just put dancer and attach headshot in big bold letters and center it - guaranteed interviews @ all BBs

speed boost blaze

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Jan 14, 2012
torchic:

network but on your resume just put dancer and attach headshot in big bold letters and center it - guaranteed interviews @ all BBs

This is actually my favorite comment.

Jan 14, 2012
torchic:

network but on your resume just put dancer and attach headshot in big bold letters and center it - guaranteed interviews @ all BBs

This is actually my favorite comment.

Jan 14, 2012
torchic:

network but on your resume just put dancer and attach headshot in big bold letters and center it - guaranteed interviews @ all BBs

This is actually my favorite comment.

Jan 14, 2012

Transfer. No / less than 1% coming from Pace. Debt at this point in your life is a drop in the bucket. While not worth it at all schools, Columbia / Chicago / etc. are elite programs and your earnings potential coming out of the school's you mentioned will be phenomenal.

If this doesn't worj out, get a job for a few years and then go to b school if you still want it.

That said, keep on networking. You never know if some 50 yr old man will "help" a dancer out if you know what I'm saying. They typically are big patrons of certain kinds of popular dancing mostly found in dimly lighted clubs on the west side.

Jan 14, 2012
CountryUnderdog:

You never know if some 50 yr old man will "help" a dancer out if you know what I'm saying.

Ha !

Jan 14, 2012

You'll want to transfer not only to increase your chance to get into IB but also to gain friends that won't be working where you buy your clothes.

Jan 14, 2012

Hey I went to Pace, send me a pm if you have any questions. Honestly for finance majors you learn a great deal, most of the professors at Pace teach at NYU/the better schools, however career services is horrible. You'll have to break in on your own, last year there was about 5+ that made it into IB in MM/BB firms.

Jan 14, 2012

Definitely transfer if you can to a better school. If IB look on here at the top schools that place. Cornell was up there and I don't think is as hard to get into as other schools. I'm from a non-target and regret not going to a better school. I transferred to the school I chose with a 3.87 GPA and am a vet, I could have went to a way better school with way better career services. I regret it although I worked hard to get where I am now. I would say definitely transfer to a better school and make sure you research their career services before you go.

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Jan 14, 2012

I guess a better question to ask yourself is do you want to do IB for the long-term or are you looking to do the 2-year analyst route and go to PE/Hedge Fund route? That will determine your options.

As I am sure you are already aware MBA=Associate which is not typically the route to a PE/VC/HF...so think about that and make a decision accordingly.

If you are comfortable with IB for the long-term it may not be a bad idea to just stay at Pace, do very well and then apply to a top MBA program to break in. Worked for me...(didn't go to Pace, but went to a non-target UG and top MBA)

Jan 14, 2012
bootsnapper:

I guess a better question to ask yourself is do you want to do IB for the long-term or are you looking to do the 2-year analyst route and go to PE/Hedge Fund route? That will determine your options.

As I am sure you are already aware MBA=Associate which is not typically the route to a PE/VC/HF...so think about that and make a decision accordingly.

If you are comfortable with IB for the long-term it may not be a bad idea to just stay at Pace, do very well and then apply to a top MBA program to break in. Worked for me...(didn't go to Pace, but went to a non-target UG and top MBA)

lol @ IB for long-term - how many career bankers you know out of your analyst class? I can count with my fist

speed boost blaze

Jan 14, 2012
Yllek:

I am so glad I discovered WSO and would like to introduce myself.

I am currently a Freshman double majoring in finance and computer science at Pace University. My senior year of HS my parents didn't let me apply for any reach schools, including NYU. I had a 4.0, 1990 on my SAT, and a flawless resume including several internships, national debate awards, leadership positions, & spearheading various initiatives for art and green technology in my city. Plus Im a trained vocalist, actress, dancer, and cellist.

I decided I wanted to be in IB my Sophomore year of HS and I don't plan on changing my mind regardless of how competitive it is. You guys sit on here and say IB is cut throat... try going to an audition. Musical theater is about as cut throat as it gets so Im prepared for the competition aspect. Now how competitive my credentials are going to be for Junior and senior internships is the real question.

I genuinely love Pace, and while I know I can get a good paying job in finance after graduating, I don't think its going to be easy getting into IB. Im setting my sights on Booth, Columbia, or Wharton for grad school. I currently have a 3.85 Gpa and plan to bring that number up by the time I finish undergrad,

So at the end of the day my real question is whether or not I should apply to target schools now (NYU, Columbia, UChicago, Red McCombs etc) and transfer risking the possibility of having to leave the city and having a lot of debt or should I stay at Pace, and continue being and honors student on a full ride and try to get as much work experience from internships that I can and save applying to targets for grad? Or could I break into IB either way?

I would really appreciate the advice especially from people who transferred from a non target to a target or went to a non target got undergrad and got an internship and/or job with a BB IB.

As a female applicant, you have access to a wide range of diversity events at nearly every bank. From J.P. Morgan and Morgan Stanley to UBS, nearly every bank will host a diversity event for young undergrad females. This is definitely to your advantage and you should research all of them online/bank websites.

I go to a tradition non-target that has an extremely small IB placement. However, since I'm an LGBT candidate, I attended LGBT diversity events and have had multiple offers for this summer (my sophomore summer). Build this network and use it because you can get into IB through it.

Jan 14, 2012

There are LGBT opportunities??? Thats strange, given that anyone can lie about being gay.

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Jan 14, 2012

Most of the LGBT opportunities are through existing pipelines and it would be very hard to lie about being gay in the process because its such a small circle and the events require a lot of networking. But yes, there are opportunities. If you lie about being gay though and someone finds out...bye bye career.

Jan 14, 2012
Coste:

Most of the LGBT opportunities are through existing pipelines and it would be very hard to lie about being gay in the process because its such a small circle and the events require a lot of networking. But yes, there are opportunities. If you lie about being gay though and someone finds out...bye bye career.

Bisexual is in there.... How hard would it be to lie about being bisexual? I'm not suggesting doing this, but simply keep laying the women and be slightly more friendly with the men.

Jan 14, 2012

I'm not even going to indulge the thought because of how unethical it would be to lie.

If you lie the community is so small that others will find out. This isn't a one-stop use application "highlight". You will be involved in the very small gay wall street world, your bank contacts that met you through LGBT recruiting will want you part of the bank's LGBT diversity program.

Everyone always thinks about playing this angle but it doesn't work out the way you might think and the repercussions of faking being LGBT to get into a diversity program is deplorable.

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Jan 14, 2012

Are you mad that you put Native American on ur harvard app but still got rejected?

speed boost blaze

    • 1
Jan 14, 2012

I went to a "prestigious" (hate that word) private high school and actually know someone from there who ended up at Pace. He was one of those guys in high school who was smart but incredibly lazy / poor work ethic. He had a total "I just don't give a f**k" attitude. Low GPA and ranked near the bottom of the class because he never did homework, turned in papers late (which were mitigated by good test/quiz scores), no extracurricular activities to speak of. The only thing he had going for him were decent SAT scores (1400+ out of 1600)

Somewhere along the way, he must have straightened out because he ended up working at Goldman Sachs upon graduation.

I don't think it's fair to say that BB firms are out because you go to a non-target. It will be harder, certainly, but definitely not impossible. It will take hustle, grit, networking and a little bit of luck but I think you can do it. You should go read some of those WSO success stories that are some variation of "non-target background, got a BB offer" for inspiration.

Jan 14, 2012

OP, you are so Asian it hurts

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Jan 14, 2012

Hahahah

Jan 14, 2012

Haha seriously. Honestly, are you that risk averse that you would not take out some loans for 3 more years at some programs that offer great career opportunities? This appears to be your deciding factor so far.

I'm too drunk to taste this chicken -Late great Col. Sanders

Jan 14, 2012

laughing at the stereotyping because Im actually Italian and Im from Texas. Anyway, Taking the full ride just seemed like the best option, but Im now seeing that the debt is probably worth it.

Jan 14, 2012

Lol at people throwing monkey shit at me for the comment about diversity events.

Don't be mad bro.

Jan 14, 2012

Yes transfer - getting into IB is really tough even from a target. But targets have it exponentially easier since everyone comes to you. I would try to stay in New York actually since it helps you out a lot if you could get some internships under your belt before your junior year. If you can get a boutique IB internship before jr. year and have excellent stats you would be golden especially coming from a non-target b/c you would really stand out against your peers at the same school. Also if you put in the hard work to learn what you need to know for interviews and reach out to places as much you can its not that hard to do just that especially considering you are in living in NY 24/7.

I would focus on NYU, Columbia and Baruch (In spite of what everyone thinks they get a decent number of kids into IB and other Front Office positions ). If transferring to NYU try to transfer to Stern b/c CAS students have an uphill battle unless exceptional.

If looking outside of NY then I would focus on Dartmouth, Haas, Ross, and Wharton. I honestly wouldn't go to UChicago. Great for Finance at MBA level but no so much for at undergrad level in other locations than Chicago.

Jan 14, 2012

Not trying to be sexist.....but being a female that actually is interested in doing banking will set you apart a lot. Aside from the school part, just show that you are interested in finance and a likeable person - many doors will open up to you. You can also try to set yourself apart by going to a "target" like NYU etc.

Jan 14, 2012

Reach out to the contacts that you have made as recruiting season draws closer to the finish and tell them you applied online and how you could put yourself in the best position to secure an interview with their firm. If they are close enough contacts, they'll pass your resume along to the right folks.

Jan 14, 2012

Consider transferring schools.

Jan 14, 2012

great advice. Honestly, if possible, do everything in your power to transfer to a target. It just makes things so much easier, honestly. I know a few folks who didn't want to do IB before November of their junior year, but were able to make up for it because of OCR, experience, and memorizing the OCR guides

Jan 14, 2012

Build a network. Go to your school's career center and ask for an alumni referral (if there are any in the field) or alumni database and start networking. Just do informational interviews with them and around February you can reach out and try to get something for the summer. I have networked and afterward my network has CREATED an internship for me at their respective firms twice now. Find a networking guide on this website or another and read up on how to do it effectively and not shoot yourself in the foot. At my semi-target many sophomore internships don't even get spoken of until around March. Also, we place multiple students in IB all over the country each year, you don't have to have previous BB, or IB,experience to get in. When you go for it next fall, you just need a couple of internships that show you are passionate about finance and a GPA that shows you aren't an idiot. There are so many ways for you to do this, you've got this!

"Do I need to be liked? Absolutely not. I like to be liked. I enjoy being liked. I have to be liked. But it's not like a compulsive need to be liked. Like my need to be praised."

Jan 14, 2012

Thank you so much for your advice and words of encouragement. Do you think it would be a good idea to cold email different firms such as boutique investment banks seeking an internship?

Jan 14, 2012
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