Non-Target to Bulge Bracket IBD

Hi all,

Since this site was so helpful for me while I pursued opportunities in banking, learned about networking, and improved my technical finance skills during my years in college, I figured I would quickly tell my story. This post is intended for undergraduates in their freshman - junior year that are interested in pursuing an internship / full-time job on Wall Street.

I was an arts and sciences major my first year at a non-target school (think top-75 business school), with no intentions of pursuing financial careers. However, as I learned about the opportunities my friends were getting at target schools, I figured I would learn more. I ended up "getting" courses accounting, finance, and economics, and networked quite a bit to land a lower middle-market PE internship my freshman year (just shows you that with sheer work ethic you can create opportunities for yourself). However, I wanted to work in a large financial market like NYC, SF, etc. and had to decide whether or not to pursue a transfer to a school with a larger representation on The Street.

I ended up transferring to a semi-target school (think UVA, UNC, UT, UCLA), which was the best decision I could have made. It opened doors I did not know existed - the fact that major banks recruited on campus allowed me to take networking to the next level, having understood the scarcity of opportunities at a non-target.
I made a trip up to NYC before my junior year at my new school and set up meetings with 30+ alumni I had met at information sessions and over the phone. This was my competitive advantage over kids that had been at the school since their freshman year (would highly recommend this for anyone that has the time).

I got lucky enough after many interviews to land a summer internship offer at a BB IBD, and will be going back full-time after accepting the return offer. I'm happy to answer any questions regarding my transfer process; I feel like lots of students are very "back and forth" about it, as was I at the time.

Comments (53)

Oct 6, 2017

Do you think a regional target would by worth high tuition costs? Ex. Rice, Southern Methodist, Tulane all of these are targets for Houston and some have representation on the street but rather low. Thanks for sharing your story.

"The only thing I know is that I know nothing, and i am no quite sure that i know that." Socrates

Oct 6, 2017

I think it could be worth it depending on the strength of the school's alumni network. Look on LinkedIn and see how many kids from the schools you're interested place into banks / groups you are interested in.

You could also reach out to alumni at each respective school and ask them for advice. I'm sure they would be happy to help.

"When I find a short-seller, I want to tear his heart out and eat it before his eyes while he's still alive." - Richard S. Fuld, Jr.

Oct 6, 2017

Thanks, I've actually done this and gotten some solid connections before even transferring haha. I guess thats a good sign. What was your GPA?

"The only thing I know is that I know nothing, and i am no quite sure that i know that." Socrates

Oct 8, 2017

What are your networking tips for getting an internship your Freshman Summer? I have no experience and the MD/VP/Analysts all went to higher-ranked schools. There is a one boutique IB & PE,
and many wealth management firms.

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Oct 8, 2017

Be open to any experiences in finance your freshman year. Few banks and private equity firms are willing to have a freshman intern due to the fact they probably haven't taken any classes in finance or accounting, but if you are persistent in reaching out, you will find something.

An opportunity in wealth management, corporate finance, commercial banking, or operations are all solid options for freshman year. Also, if you're willing to work unpaid, even more options will arise for you.

"When I find a short-seller, I want to tear his heart out and eat it before his eyes while he's still alive." - Richard S. Fuld, Jr.

Oct 10, 2017

Yep this is 100% true. Honestly though if you read Rosenbaum or do WSP you'd be proficient enough to get in. Most pe shops won't give you real work as a freshman but it would definitely raise a few eyebrows if you already knew your technicals cold.

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Oct 10, 2017

How exactly did you approach networking? As in, when you met with your alumni, what were the conversations like?
I am kinda stumped at this point because I can get on the phone with some bankers I reach out to but I cant convert those calls into referrals to other employees or anything

Array

Oct 10, 2017

It depends on your situation. If you are considering a transfer and trying to figure out which program is best:

Go on LinkedIn and find alumni (and current seniors) from the school, shoot them a quick note making light of your situation. I usually asked to get on the phone to ask about the alumni network and the career options. People are usually pretty open to answering these questions since they know you're probably doing the same thing for other schools as well.

If you've already transferred, reach out to the same crowd and ask them how they recommend going about the recruiting process. If you are new as a transfer, they'll be happy to answer questions and give you the overall run-down. Generally, when you get on the phone with people and ask who they recommend you chat with after, and they recommend someone you have already talked to, you've probably done sufficient diligence. Ultimately, I think a mix of quantity and quality of conversations will yield the best results.

Feel free to PM me if you have more specific questions.

"When I find a short-seller, I want to tear his heart out and eat it before his eyes while he's still alive." - Richard S. Fuld, Jr.

Funniest
Oct 11, 2017

"Non-target to BB IBD, number one tip, leave your non-target for a bigger school"

... okay

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Oct 11, 2017

way to go

its one way or the other: hate me or admire.

Oct 11, 2017

Congrats

Oct 11, 2017

Good shit

If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses - Henry Ford

Oct 11, 2017

congrats bruh

Goodness is the only investment that never fails.

Oct 11, 2017

was it as a lateral? congrats buddy

Oct 11, 2017

yup, as a lateral, didn't 'lose any time' even though my first experience wasn't IB

Oct 11, 2017

congrats!!!

Oct 11, 2017

Go dublin! Did you apply for an open spot, or did you land it through the "backdoor" i.e. networking? I'm curious to hear how networking could be utilized to lateral, that is, if you did indeed network and if you don't mind sharing a bit. Congrats.

Oct 11, 2017

Dude that is fucking awesome, congratulations man! Now you get to stick around and help the rest of us out, right? :)

Oct 11, 2017

congratulations!! best of luck going forward!

Oct 11, 2017

Congrats man! Best of luck to you as well.

People like Coldplay and voted for the Nazis, you can't trust people Jeremy

Oct 11, 2017

Thanks y'all.

Swagon, I did try applying to listed positions, but what ultimately was successful was networking. I reached out to alumni, had them refer me to other people they knew, and so on and so forth. Each link in the chain ended up with a copy of my resume and (hopefully) a good impression of me. That, patience, and persistence are all you need to make the magic happen.

Oct 11, 2017

thanks dublin

Oct 11, 2017

Congratulations dublin. Glad to hear that your efforts paid off.

Oct 11, 2017

Thanks y'all

Oct 11, 2017

This gives me hope. Good shit though bro!

Oct 11, 2017

Keep your head up amigo, you'll get there

Oct 11, 2017

dublin, how exactly did networking lead to the interview? Did you just keep getting referrals until you ran into a banker needing an analyst? Were you explicitly asking about opportunities, or just purely networking/asking advice?

And how do you think it would be different for someone who has been out of school a year or two, but is more qualified for first year spots (not lateral positions)?

Oct 11, 2017

Baller, good job dude. Enjoy the freedom before starting!

Oct 11, 2017

What was your GMAT score/want to sell me your books if you're done haha? I'm gonna start studying this winter break and take it possibly in June.Completely serious btw. Don't want to drop dough and new books.

And props! I hope to achieve the same from a non-target as well. Always inspiring.

Oct 11, 2017
droking7:

What was your GMAT score/want to sell me your books if you're done haha? I'm gonna start studying this winter break and take it possibly in June.Completely serious btw. Don't want to drop dough and new books.

And props! I hope to achieve the same from a non-target as well. Always inspiring.

My GMAT score was in range for a top MSF. I already sold the books, but if you decide to get some, Manhattan GMAT coupled with the official guides is definitely the way to go.

Oct 11, 2017

Congrats on the offer and good points on the advice to other prospective monkeys. Networking is key. Just remember that it's perfectly normal to be excited about landing the gig because it was an uphill battle and it certainly is a great accomplishment but stay humble. You seem hungry and your approach comes from a place of humility and work ethic so that's awesome. Just realize that being an analyst doesn't really make you a bad ass to anyone but yourself. It's a very empowering thing and I completely remember the feeling I had when I landed my offer. I felt invincible. Just know that you will be humbled quickly, harshly, and often once you start this job. You will become a glorified bitch to all your senior bankers, but you will develop a polish from the constant reprimands and work dumps that fall on you. Never forget where you came from because a day will come when you can delegate to less senior people and you want to remember how much you hated being treated poorly.

Best of luck in the new gig!

Oct 11, 2017
rufiolove:

Just remember that it's perfectly normal to be excited about landing the gig because it was an uphill battle and it certainly is a great accomplishment but stay humble.

Best of luck in the new gig!

Thanks for the congrats, and I definitely agree about being humble. I know this job is going to be very hard, especially at the junior level, but like you were, right now I am just excited to know that I reached my goal of not only getting into banking, but also getting the bank and location I wanted to work at.

It's nice to get advice from someone in the industry, so thank you!

Oct 11, 2017

What school

Oct 11, 2017

Congrats dude, I am a complete non-target guy myself. Ball out!

Oct 11, 2017

you been had money now.

Oct 11, 2017
DonVon:

you been had money now.

?

Oct 11, 2017

just kidding man, congrats!

Oct 11, 2017

that's what hard work is man. good job

Oct 11, 2017

Most alumni are pretty good at putting the resume's of individuals from their institution into the laps of hiring managers/directors regardless of the firm's relationship with that particular school. I would say keep in close contact with the alumni you networked with, (don't pester) and allow them to do the hardest part, getting you a face to face interview. After that it's up to you.

Remember that coming from a non-target, you have to be better than your ivy-league counterparts, as inequitable as this is, there is zero margin for error. Continue to develop your resume (provide them an updated copy when you are 95% sure of it's finality), prepare rigourously and in the end it's their decision...Good Luck!!!

"Cut the burger into thirds, place it on the fries, roll one up homey..." - Epic Meal Time

Oct 11, 2017

I know that it's better to choose a boutique offer over Big4 TAS (yes i used the search function). (period)

Oct 11, 2017

Although it has no real reputation / brand recognition?

Oct 11, 2017

Correct. I went into SA recruitment with two no name boutiques ibd internships and people loved that -- got multiple offers. Very Relevant experience is all that matters. If possible do both. Since it is a regional bank then they may be more flexibile with dates?

Oct 11, 2017

Especially since you have already done big 4. THat confuses your "story" if you did another one. Do you want to do banking or big 4 ?

Oct 11, 2017
Maverick91:

Especially since you have already done big 4. THat confuses your "story" if you did another one. Do you want to do banking or big 4 ?

Yeah, that came to my mind, too. Thank you very much for your advice!

Are there any other opinions?

Oct 11, 2017
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