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.