Nontraditional Student, Community College Education, 30yr old lesbian latina woman

Hi! I need some crucial school and career advice. Quick background on me, I am a nontraditional student (30 yr. old woman, lesbian, Latina), and I've been working full-time for 8 years at a bank for auto finance. (Just call center and paper pushing type of work, went from $27K to $52K in my 8 years) I dropped out of community college years back, ruined my GPA, then returned back to school and got my GPA up to a 3.60.

I'm currently finishing up this semester for my associates in business and will be transferring as a junior to University of Texas @Dallas (a non-target) in Spring 2020 to get my BS in Finance. Money saved (working full/time, working a side job and attending school part/time), no debt, no kids, no partner, and I've decided to quit my job and attend school full-time to seriously pursue a career in IB.

OKAY! Now the advice I need: What can I do during my next 2 years of undergrad. to position myself to get into MBA program from a top school that is an IB target school. The closest to me is University of Texas @Austin. (Target school for Houston IB) But I want to shoot even higher and apply to UPenn Wharton and Cornell Johnson. Since I am a nontraditional student who came out of the workforce to attend school full-time would it be appropriate to pursue graduate school immediately out of my undergrad. to increase my chances of breaking into IB? Also, are there any diversity organizations that you could recommend that could help me also get into a top MBA school? I need all the advice, alternatives, & suggestions I can get. Thank you!

Comments (38)

Feb 24, 2019

Good luck

Swinging Through

Feb 24, 2019

You should try to get into IB from undergrad. A top-tier MBA is out of your reach right now. You would need impressive work experience and grades, and it's also a huge investment. You do have a chance directly out of undergrad though.

I don't know anything about UT Dallas but the best way to break in from a non-target is networking. Look up every alum on LinkedIn and email all of them, and then start with non-alums. You also qualify for diversity programs at just about every firm, so look for those.

If I were you I'd consider pushing graduation back a semester, as the timeline for recruiting into IB is generally the summer before/fall of your junior year - Summer 2020 is starting now and you don't even have a GPA from your transfer yet. You should get your GPA as high as you can, start networking, and hit the ground running for Summer 2021 recruiting once you're a year into school. In the meantime, get relevant internships if you have free time.

Good luck. This is not an easy path, but the opportunities are there.

Array

    • 4
    • 1
Feb 24, 2019

0

Feb 24, 2019

I think your expectations are a little high. Excuse me, but you seem to be banking on the fact that you are a significantly URM. To be blunt, your WE is not very impressive, you didn't list any special extras and a 3.6 from a non-target is not too competitive for the MBA programs you listed, let alone IBD.

That being said, if you are deadset on IB, I believe the best course of action is to network your ass off, do anything you can to gain relevant experience during undergrad, absolutely destroy the GMAT (750+), apply to more realistic schools in the NE (top ~25-50?), continue to network your ass off during B-school and see what happens. It will be a brutal 5 years, but it has to be done.

If you are willing to forget IB for the time being, still network your actual ass off and land a corporate finance/corporate banking/commercial banking role. If after a few years you still feel unfulfilled because you are not in IB, then get your MBA.

Good luck to you, your ambition is admirable.

    • 3
Feb 24, 2019

If you're set on the Houston area, I think you have a solid shot for summer 2020 if you network well. Recruiting for Oil & Gas group sin Houston tends to lag behind quite a bit, so I wouldn't rule summer 2020 out quite yet. That being said, it doesn't hurt to delay graduation if it will improve your chances. There are tons of diversity programs that you would be eligible for, and I would take advantage of all of them.

Good luck!

    • 1
Feb 24, 2019

While I think you could certainly make a top MBA happen (the other comments here are being unnecessarily harsh on a 3.6 GPA and someone who pulled herself up), I think you should think about what a career in IB is: you'd be starting your career at 33 working 80 hour weeks (that's 9-midnight M-F, 9-5 saturday/Sunday). Is that possible? Of course it is! But there is a reason so many people who enter IB do so at a young age.

Array

    • 2
Feb 24, 2019

I'm going to be real with you, IB seems out of the question for you.

By the time you graduate UT Dallas you will be 32-33 years old. While banks general don't mind older candidates (korean military, lateral from other industry) at max these individuals are 25-27. Heck even most MBA associates by the time they join are around 29-30. You will be 3 years older and yet you're an analyst.

On top of that, aside from being URM, LGBTQ there is nothing that stands out. Also UT Dallas is a non-target which makes it harder.

Sorry but just being honest. Sure it isn't impossible but thats the same thing as saying its possible to win the lottery.

Good luck but id look at other jobs

Feb 25, 2019

I'll be 29 when I graduate and 30 when I start full time. I haven't had any problems with recruiting and my age has been nothing but a positive quality in my interviews; many of my interviewers have remarked on how well I interview due to maturity and life experience.

Feb 25, 2019

Good for you (and I don't mean that sarcastically). But once again 30 and 33 is 3 years of difference. By the time you're 33 you would be an associate. There comes a point where being too old is a negative and banks will draw the line.

Also once again not to shit on OP, but there is literally nothing that is special about her stats

Feb 25, 2019

diversity recruiting.

Feb 25, 2019

UT Dallas is a fine regional school that has good connections to many corporate jobs in Dallas, which you should investigate. IB jobs generally require very high test scores and evidence of strong quantitative ability, as shown on the GMAT. GMAT scores decline, on average, with age, sadly

Feb 26, 2019

I wouldn't blame her too much. The mainstream media has brainwashed half of this country to think like that

    • 2
Feb 26, 2019

There are plenty of good schools out there that can help her. Just not Cornell/Wharton.

Feb 26, 2019

Sorry but almost no one makes it to IB, not even Houston, from UT Dallas. If you are still in CC I would strongly suggest you transfer to a stronger school like U of Texas

Feb 26, 2019

Why are you so deadset on IB? What got you interested? What about the work is appealing to you?

Feb 26, 2019

I've actually always had a love for business and finance without actually knowing it. I originally started school for psychology. When I had to drop out and find a full-time job, I just ended up at a bank. I became complacent there until I was recruited to be a part of a project for a new finance product. It was a pilot team! I thrived in that environment. It was fast paced, things changed every moment, the president of financial services was always there. I loved it! I got recognized for my contributions and was given a promotion. I had always read finance, investing, and business strategy books just as a hobby. I never knew I would be in a position to apply what I know. Due to my complacency, it just never crossed my mind to make a career out of what I loved. I went back to school for accounting because I wanted to learn how to speak "the language of business." Since I'm finishing up my associates now and transferring into UTD, I've been awarded some scholarships. I realize I needed to figure out if I would take a CPA route or what. I did research, came across IB. Since I am so behind and I have so many odds against me, IB is the only route that will give me the skills and the experience I need in a shortest amount of time. I need to be somewhere where I can be able to hit the ground running and learn a ton. I want to learn all about M&A, "sell-side" & "buy-side," and work on deals. & I'm willing to quit my job and go all in and do whatever it takes. I'm already use to 100 hour weeks, between 2 jobs, gym, class, and school work. Side note: I'm also a fitness enthusiast, so I workout and eat super health (I benchpress 130lbs). Just to paint a picture of my energy levels at my age. On this site, I read how many women, latinos, and LGBTQ are in IB and the numbers are so low statically. Not to mention my age is not common to enter IB without a career-changer background or whatever. So that was the purpose of this post. To address one of the largest finance communities online to gather information on how I can increase my chances of breaking into IB. I am not sure if I'll land exactly where I am aiming but I figure I'll be significantly better off than where I am now.

    • 2
Feb 26, 2019

I know this will be hard to comprehend...but being LGBTQXYZ does not directly help you in IB. Therefore, I don't think it's going to be a great selling point.

Greed is Good

    • 1
Feb 26, 2019

I'm glad you are healthy, and trying to better yourself is commendable. Getting a CPA certification would be outstanding and could lead to much career success, and is a realistic goal;Getting into IB is as likely as becoming an Olympic gymnast. That ship has sailed, so focus on what is left of the fleet.

Funniest
Feb 26, 2019

Yes, there are many LGBTQ diversity programs. So if you are a 19 year old math major at Harvard with a 3.8 GPA who happens to be gay, that can help lead to a targeted program. That isn't you.

    • 6
Feb 26, 2019

ROMBA is a reaching out program for MBA students. So there are opportunities beyond 19yr. I still have junior and senior year of undergrad. to get my GPA up. Not to mention that is all my core classes not even my major classes GPA. Several admissions advisers are saying to focus on getting a 4.0 on my major classes, join leadership and finance organizations, be a volunteer, and have a 710+ GMAT to be a highly considered candidate for a top-school MBA program. If I get my CPA, reenter the workforce in my field with one of the Big 4 (the Big 4 recruits heavily from UTD out of a PPA program I qualify for) & then apply for an MBA and take a "career-changer" path. As I have read many examples on the site about. What other holes would you then see in taking this particular route?

Feb 26, 2019

Why don't you take it one step at a time? Try to transfer first, even apply to Columbia general studies if you want to try. See how that goes and how you compare academically in a very different setting than community college. See if you can handle a CPA and what jobs might recruit you for that.

    • 1
Feb 26, 2019

It seems as if you already have your answers. Why are you asking the forum for advice? Just go do it.

    • 1
Feb 27, 2019

I can offer some insight on transferring from a community college to a great school and the challenges to get into IB. I am a non-traditional student(+27age) who followed the same path you are on (minus LGBTQ). Some of the information they are giving on your post is completely wrong just because they've followed the high school> target school route and some have no idea what it's like being a minority doesn't mean.

  1. There are a lot of banks looking to reach out to URM and LGBQT folks through various programs starting sophomore and junior year. In my opinion, there is a bigger push for getting diversity candidates in the door than looking specifically for LGBTQ folks. So I would lead with being a URM in corporate finance than LGBTQ. Once you are in the door at whatever bank you go to there are tons of internal groups and clubs that offer mentorship for those who identify as LGBTQ.
  2. It is imperative you do your best to transfer into a target school if it at all possible. There are several programs called "professional studies" or "general studies" at schools like Yale(Eli Whitney),Columbia(GS),NYU(SPS),UPENN(LPS), and tons more. Not to mention the UC's(Berkely or UCLA) are very transfer friendly however you'll be competing with transfer students in Cali. These are feeder programs for those students who are considered "non-traditional" and may have taken a separate route to get to college and finish their degree. The most important aspect is that when I was looking at colleges, I wanted to get as close as possible to every resource and opportunity that would get me in front of the decision makers at all of the banks(i.e., recruiters and senior employees). If you don't close that gap, it will be much harder although possible with a school like UT-Dallas( I don't know the school's presence on wall street). UT-Austin should be your first choice in my opinion followed by some of the schools above. Regardless of your race or background if you are not in front of the right people or have a large enough network to get your resume seen, then you are simply not relevant to banks. These roles are still competitive to get so you need every advantage you can.
  3. Apply to both SEO and MLT programs. Both of those are strong URM programs that get you direct exposure to banks and consulting firms.

I would focus on getting into the best college you can get into with your background and credentials while putting a "top mba" on the back burner for now. Tackling the feat of getting into IB regardless if it MM, BB, EB or even small boutique will require a lot of effort. PM for anything else and good luck!

    • 2
Feb 26, 2019

I get it, everyone has a different path and experience. But it is nauseating to hear that because someone is an "unconventional" candidate that it somehow makes them more deserving.

You may have not had complete control of your life, but take some ownership and realize that you could have made better choices earlier in life that would've set you up better. Stop using your sexuality and race as a crutch to get ahead.

Find a way that you can add value, work hard and sell your story on why you want IB without all the excuses. I really wish you the best of luck but at some point, there has to be some sort of ownership for where you are at.

    • 5
Feb 26, 2019

Listen, you're clearly a very driven person and that goes a long way. I get the whole LBGQT thing. I think it may help you with MBA apps at the margin, though I doubt IBs give a shit. At this point, it's absolutely vital that you kill your GMAT. You need at least a 730. I honestly don't give you much of a shot at Wharton, or even IB for that matter. What do I know? Prove me wrong.

That said, with a good GMAT score (~700) you could get into a good program and end up in corpfin with a nice salary. Schools like Rochester, Vandy, Foster, etc., all punch above their weight class.

It's good to be ambitious, but if things don't work out as planned, it's not the end of the world.

    • 2
Feb 28, 2019

Could always do Equities in Dallas...

    • 1
Feb 28, 2019
Comment
    • 3
Mar 1, 2019