Q&A - IB Coverage / M&A From Non-Target School to Tier 1 Bulge Bracket and M&A Boutique

BankerBump2015's picture
Rank: Monkey | 64

Mod Note (Andy) - as the year comes to an end we're reposting the top Q&A's from 2015, this one was originally posted 2/21/2015.

I had a good, but not great GPA, and went to a similarly leveled college on the east coast. It's still a non-target university known more for sciences and engineering than for business and finance. I had to work my way into a 2nd-tier bulge bracket bank that is mostly US focused through a summer internship and then dealt with the crash and worst time in recent memory for wanting to break into Investment Banking. Once full-time I moved to a truly global bulge bracket bank (GS, DB, MS, CS, JPM) as we all know them and then transitioned a couple of years ago to one of the large M&A shops where I currently reside.

I enjoy helping others that come from non-target schools or might have GPAs that will be overlooked because they aren't 3.8+ and are interested in breaking into Investment Banking.

Status: Analyst, Associate Promote, VP

Deal profile: Completed more than 30 deals encompassing M&A (sell side, buy side, MoE), Equity (IPOs, follow-ons, block trades), Debt (Converts, IG, HY, RCF, Mezz) and LBOs

Industry specializations: TMT, Consumer Retail

Locations: East and West Coast Banking Experience

Comments (44)

Feb 17, 2015

Thanks for the AMA, let me kick it off:

Why did you decide to move from the BB?

How was the lateral process?

What has your thoughts been throughout the years reg. staying in banking vs. leaving?

    • 1
    • 1
Feb 19, 2015

Hey TheSanchize -

What has your thoughts been throughout the years reg. staying in banking vs. leaving?

I'm going to start with your last question first. Back when I was an analyst, I had a very wise VP. He was one of those guys where I would always think, "man I wish I could be like him". Super smart, Chicago undergrad, HBS MBA, incredibly charismatic, intelligent and compassionate. Doesn't sound like a banker. And I'd always wonder why he was doing this job. Anyway, I remember a particular rough patch in my 2nd analyst year where I was dealing with a string of 120+ hour weeks and more all-nigthers I could have imagined. From any given point in time, give it 2 weeks. If you're still as unhappy as you are right now in 2 weeks than leave. I took that to heart and always share that with others. This job is so fluid and is truly like a roller coaster. I've never said to myself after 2 weeks that "hey, I need to get out of this, time to quit."

If you like this job, if you like traveling, if you like working on various transactions, if you like working at really the only job where as an analyst you'll get to be in the room and interact with Boards and CEOs, if you enjoy modeling and the hours really don't bother you "that much" then I'd say stay in banking. Because the people who just stay in banking long-term for the money are the one's who end up cynical and empty people. Plus they're generally unhappy. This is why there is such an exodus after 18-24 months of being an analyst after associates finish their sub period.

How was the lateral process?

The lateral process is...interesting. I'll answer this best, I can, but it is a pretty nuanced question and can be tailored to different situations. The first time I went through the process I was at a bank that suffered in the financial crisis. I was in a position where after graduation I saw myself as an analyst at a place thinking there would be no way I'd ever have any good exit opportunities and I'd have a tough time getting good deal experience. So I started interviewing - and this was just hoping I'd find job openings on LinkedIn/Doostang etc. This process wasn't actually that hard, surprisingly, I ended up going through a process with a small firm focused on banks and financial institutions, a mid-market bank and then one bulge bracket. The BB was the no brainer for me. It was also the hardest process I went through, multiple phone screens, weekend super day. Then a few years later, as an associate I started thinking it would be a good idea to try to see what else is out there and if I could land somewhere to get better deal experience. At that point I was in a strong position, because if I didn't find anything I would stay at my current BB job. It also happened to be a time where a lot of people were leaving banking and so places were seriously looking for associates (I got really really lucky with this). This trend changes from year to year. So currently if you talk to a lot of people out there, this year has seen one of the smallest number of associates matriculating. At the time I talked to BBs and boutiques. One of them worked out and that's where I am now.

I will say the lateral process is difficult, long, and extremely time consuming. Trying to balance your current job and taking calls or traveling if needed to an interview is tough. Because you have banks that want to talk to you but your current job takes absolute priority. So I found myself having to change times with prospective employers constantly. It's also important to keep it confidential. And some recruiters are much better at this than others. I should also say, the second time around I almost exclusively went through recruiters. Happy to answer other questions about recruiters specifically.

Why did you decide to move from the BB?

For me it was a no-brainer, particularly given my choices when I was moving around as a first-year analyst. I wanted a firm with a global name, wanted international deal experience and wanted to work on an array of products

Feb 17, 2015

Thanks for sharing this. I'm also from a non-target with very few alum in IB.

What would be the best way to network my way into IB given I'm sophomore now?

    • 1
Feb 19, 2015

Hey JonLz - thanks for joining. Great question.

High level - I think you'll have a tough time getting an IB internship after sophomore year. There's really only 2 ways to do this from your stage. The first is to get into one of the sophomore internship rotation programs. Only a few of the BBs have these. The other and more practical way is to hustle your way into a small shop. Every major city - NY, DC, Boston, SF, LA, Chicago, etc have a lot of small banks that range anywhere from 10-50 people. These are where you should concentrate. And with these there is almost never a structure internship program. So you will need to reach out wherever you can. And I suggest including your resume in those emails. Trying to get calls set up with people at those firms, or trying for a coffee chat will be your best bet.

My personal path was an unpaid wealth management internship at one of the large firms. I was then able to express my interest in IB and get connected to some people in that firms front office.

Feb 17, 2015

Thanks for doing this. I'm a sophomore at a target 2 quality internships. My main concern is my GPA (3.55).

Question: how did you break into a Tier 1 Bank with a low GPA? How effective is networking in overcoming this?

Feb 19, 2015

littlefinger -

Well your GPA may be low by the standards of some firms, but I think you'll be okay overall. Something like a 3.55 can only really present a problem at places like MS/GS and perhaps a few of the more elite boutiques. You're also in a great position with real work experience under your belt.

I broke into a Tier 1 only after I went to an okay place right out of school. I was fortunate to be looking at a time when certain places really needed to hire a lot of people. And once you're in - small or large firm - it really comes down to how well you can perform in an interview. My internship after sophomore year was unpaid in wealth management, and my internship after junior year was at this 2nd tier bank.

From your particular position - decent but not outstanding GPA, target school, existing work experience - networking is the ideal avenue for you. And the way to do that is through alums that work or have worked in banks. I promise that's your single best resource right now. Unless of course you have on-campus recruiting. That's hard to beat. But I would go through your older friends, career center, perhaps members of a finance or investment club and reach out to as many current professionals that you can, whether they're analysts or MDs.

Hope that helps and good luck!

  • Anonymous Monkey
  •  Mar 9, 2016

Non target school. 3.6 GPA. Will be starting at a BB in June. I think your GPA is pretty decent. Focus a lot more on networking and having a solid story.

Feb 17, 2015

You mentioned you enjoy helping candidates from non-target schools, so I assume you prob receive a lot of networking emails on a regular basis.
Lets say a person reaches out to you and asks for a quick talk/meeting, what can that person do to make you say "I'll def go to bat for this person in case I hear a position opening up in my bank"?

Feb 19, 2015

conyak -

You'd be correct. I do receive a lot of cold emails. And I always try to respond one way or another.

This is a good, but tough question. On the one hand, I will always talk to someone interested in banking, on the other I can't exactly circumvent my firms hiring practices and a push/rec from me or anyone else for that matter only goes so far. Interviews and fit at the end of the day decide everything.

It also depends if this is someone in college like many of you on this forum or if it's a current analyst looking to make a move. If I'm talking to a kid from a school with a 2.9 GPA and really none or no good finance experience, I will either try to just offer advice or if they straight up ask for me to forward on their resume I will either say sure I can forward it on (that's really easy for anyone to do) and if they push more, I'll say this probably isn't the right firm for you.

But say someone reaches out from a non-target, has a 3.7, did an internship at a small local investment bank, got some good experience and has a great convo with me I'll totally push for that person. Often times people from non-target schools that have to work their way into banking are more loyal and harder workers.

So credentials are key regardless. There's some things that without some experience or a compelling reason you just can't get around.

But ignoring that there's a lot of things you can say. I'll list a bunch here:

- Have good knowledge of the firm/group this person works in
- Know deals that the firm or more specifically that group has worked on
- Talk about why you want to do banking
- Don't ever mention money
- Give examples of how you've worked to get to this call/meeting your currently having and why it matters
- Have strong reasons for why you want to do banking, why this firm
- Don't just ask questions that help yourself - try to get to know the person you're having this call with. They took time out of their very busy day to talk to you, someone they don't know and have never met. Make an effort to get a little personal. Try to find a connection
- If you've worked on deals try to bring up that you have some of the relevant experience

Things not to do or say:
- Ask stupid questions (yes they exist)
- Remember this is your interview not the person you're talking to. Don't try to get them to explain why their firm is great. They'll remember you forever after this discussion and not in the way you want
- Don't mumble, make sure you come off articulate
- Don't ask how they view their competitors - again this is information for you
- Don't put down their firm or any firm in any way - no one ever wants to hire this type of person

Good luck!

    • 1
Feb 17, 2015

How did you started out? I mean many non targets transitioning to a offer often have plenty of work experience. How did you started? Where did you started for networking? Any seminars/events that you went to. Any advice for the guy who wants to do S&T but doesnt come from a target school

Feb 19, 2015

Hi William -

I started by having older friends at school that were also in the investment club and had done or were going to banking jobs. That was really where I started for networking. The finance club actually had lectures where they taught you the basics of banking. Those were very useful.

My advice for S&T would be that you need to be technical. S&T recruiters look for engineers, CS majors, financial engineering etc. It's a technical position. And if you don't fit that, then there's nothing better than proof that you've been successful managing your own portfolio. One of the kids I went to school with that got into S&T and has been very successful traded his own money since he was a teenager and then started doing it for his family

Good luck

Feb 17, 2015

If possiple can you give us a outline from freshmen to senior year? Break down of work experience/decision/time used

Feb 19, 2015

Freshmen year: Got involved in investment/finance clubs at school. Try to do things outside of academics (not just greek stuff). Investment clubs, student government, cultural groups, etc. Get an internship. It doesn't matter where or what, just try to get a real internship. And best if it's paid. Don't work at a restaurant. You should try to get real world work experience ASAP, it's competitive out there. Timing doesn't make a big difference here

Sophomore year: Start working your way into leadership positions in some of your clubs/organizations. Get responsibility and be responsible for managing a team or others. Mid-way through the year, or end of first semester, start thinking about a way to get an internship that will at least help get you on the path to where you want to be. For me this was an unpaid internship doing wealth management. Unpaid yes, but at a large global BB where I could network and get in touch with those I needed to be.

Junior year: You need to start off the year strong with a big focus on finding an internship even though interviews may not be until January. You should network with seniors just coming back from internships. Get as much information as you can. Grab coffee with people, go to lunch with them. Get the down low on their summer, what they learned, ask how they got the job. By this time you should be focused on increasing or more leadership within organizations on campus. Attend job fairs as well to get more information. After thanksgiving through mid-january start prepping intensively for the types of interviews you expect to get.

Senior year: If you're lucky enough to have had a good internship and received an offer, hopefully it won't matter much what you do senior year. If not, then you need to start leveraging your internship before it's even over (usually you'll have an idea if you're getting an offer based on performance). If you're in NY for the summer, ask to have coffee with people, or a quick call at the types of firms you want to work at. Back at school, full-time recruiting usually kicks off quickly and is almost entirely done by Thanksgiving. Figure out what firms you want to work at, prep for interviews and know everything you did during your internship like the back of your hand. You'll need to answer a lot of questions in interviews about what you did that summer.

Feb 17, 2015

Hey, thanks for doing this.

1) Can you share any networking tactics or tips you used that are not already covered in depth here or on M&I?
2) How did your personal experiences compare from bank to bank (or should I say group to group)?
3) That's quite a variety of transactions. Do you find yourself more attracted to certain types or industries more so than others? Did you develop your TMT and Consumer Retail specializations at the same shop or different?

Feb 19, 2015

Hey CKN -

1. I think WSO and M&I are pretty darn comprehensive overall. I'd say LinkedIn (reaching out to people via messages you want to talk to), friends of friends (asking for intros), alums (asking for a 15 min phone call), coffee chats and cold emails to firm address are really the key areas. I'm happy to go more in depth if there's a particular area, topic, or avenue you're curious about.

2. If you can be more specific here it helps. But I'll answer this how I think you're asking. So the place I interned and started at full time is where I met some of my closest friends. The analysts were fantastic people and years later we're still close. But the bankers - all of them - associate through MD, were terrible to work with and work for. A lot of them had worked their way down from BBs as they were laid off and moved from place to place. Some were just bitter and other just had no respect for our time or lives. This was a Tech group, but give the way it was structured all sectors were covered by everyone, leading even more to no one really being a successful banker.

At my second firm, the good global BB, it was a larger group it was a TMT team. I was on the tech side. There the team was split between Software, Internet/Consumer, Semis and Comms. The particular team I was on became my family. They involved me in every part of a deal, I got to attend lots of meetings, I was able to help with sourcing. When I left it was hard.

My current firm is a mix. I've worked on great deals, but the personalities and work styles vary widely.

3. Yes, I'm a particular fan of Tech and I enjoy IPOs. Although I'm now doing mostly M&A.

4. Same shop

Feb 17, 2015

Bumpdude -- thanks for offering your time with this AMA as it could not have come at a better time for me.

Recently (as of this morning), my girlfriend and I have decided to move to Los Angeles. She is moving for a med school residency and I am moving for the opportunity to pursue finance in a more finance-oriented city. Obviously, SF, NYC, Chicago come to mind; but due to family, we've decided on Los Angeles. Currently, I am at a large financial institution (Tier-1 BB) in a financial operations role in a East coast city that is not NYC. Naturally, a person with my work experience doesn't exactly whet the whistles of people in Front Office roles at elite firms in any major finance hub.

As for my background, I attended a non-target state school (in the Big 10). My GPA, like yours, was good but not great (around 3.3 Overall, 3.75 Major). In order to make up for this, I've completed Level I of the CFA and am due to take the GMAT in the next month with a target goal of 720+. As I'm writing this, I feel as if I'm being categorized in the same boat as all the hopeful monkeys with sob stories...so allow me move on.

First, I believe you mentioned that you had experiences on both the East and West coasts. In your opinion, how does each differ in the terms of recruiting (there are less "target" schools on the west coast so is that favorable for a non-target), work/life balance (most seem to believe that West Coast FO roles are more laid back), and diversity of the types of deals (west coast lends itself better to TMT/VC etc).

Secondly, do you have some tips for how you overcame the obvious recruiting obstacles in order to secure your first position.

Lastly, as a person nearing 2 years of work experience in a non-FO role, I feel more capable and competent than I would have ever been in UG but also realize that I am viewed as damaged goods in the eyes of recruiters and VP/MDs at these firms.

Would love to hear your take on the aforementioned questions and feel free to shoot me a PM if you have any questions for me.

All the best!

Feb 19, 2015

Hello Chancellor,

LA is great, it's my hometown. And still plenty of finance opportunities.

Your GPA is no longer relevant. Especially if you're more than two years out of school. Unless you have a GPA you're extremely proud of I would remove it from your resume.

Congrats on passing CFA Level I. But to be blunt, bankers don't care. I've reviewed a ton of resumes and seen many with people that have passed Level I. It is not a differentiator. The CFA Institute actually disapproves of people putting that on their resume I believe. Most people don't even go further than Level I, so it doesn't say much. It is more impressive if you're someone who's tackling it while in undergrad. CFA is important if you're going for a HF or IM role, but not IB. Similar with the GMAT. It's not something that will really make a difference at the analyst level. But if you get a 720+ I'd say go to b-school BC that's a great score. Once you're in B-school and recruiting for IB then GMAT becomes the only quantitative measure of you vs your peers so it's more important then. This isn't to say you shouldn't include a good score on your resume. Apologies if this is too blunt. Always happy to go into more depth on things that may be more helpful.

For E and W coast recruiting, it's interesting. The recruiting itself is pretty similar, it's the actual culture and work environment. On the east coast there are some banks where bankers still wear a tie to work every day. Some have gotten more casual to slacks and a dress shirt. On the west coast I can come to work in jeans and a polo. It's just much more laid back here. I know that sounds crazy in banking. The target/non-target thing really isn't an issue here either. West Coast target schools are usually Stanford and Berkeley. With UCLA and USC coming after those. And all the west coast groups will go back east to Chicago, Harvard, Wharton, NYC and others to recruit. You should keep in mind there are lots of people that want to come to SF/LA.

Work/life balance isn't any better on the West Coast at all. It's probably less stressful because it is a more laid back place, plus the weather is better. But you need to remember that the groups HQ'd out here are either Tech or Healthcare and just like in NY for groups HQ'd there they do deals on a global stage. In reality, there are some groups on the West Coast that have reputations for being the worst on the street in terms of work/life balance. And the deal flow is just as good if not better than other groups. Tech and Healthcare are mostly what you get on the West Coast although a lot of banks also have a FIG team in SF or LA as well. Also almost every bank has a media team in LA. West Coast tech is weighted towards IPOs by far. Then followed by M&A and debt. There are a lot of P/E firms based in SF that do a lot of big deals - TPG, Vector, Vista, H&F, Francisco Partners, KKR. So deal flow is heavy. If you want to do Tech and have any interest in VC than you're wasting your time on the east coast.

I overcame my first recruiting situation by taking an unpaid internship doing wealth management at one of the Tier 1 BBs that had a great IB front office. During my summer I expressed my IB interest and brokers intro'd me to the bankers. Then I talked to others and eventually got some interview. I wouldn't call you damaged goods, but you are in a tough position. It'll be hard to prove yourself and why you'd go toa bank. Also with your experience you'd need to go in as an analyst. And a firm will be hard pressed to take someone with 2 years experience as a first year analyst. So my rec is do B-school than recruit to an associate role, or try getting in touch with one of the many smaller banks that LA/OC has to offer.

Good luck!

Feb 18, 2015

1. It seems like if your plan isn't to do tech/healthcare, west coast IB groups are seen as weaker or second tier compared to NYC (or Houston for energy). I'm wondering if you can identify any strong banks/groups on the west coast that are not tech/healthcare related?

2. Can you speak a little to how you lateraled to a better bank for FT after your internship?

3. Did you find value in starting at a BB before going to a boutique? What're your thoughts on starting out FT in a elite boutique vs putting in your time at a BB (if your answer is any different if confined solely to west-coast, non tech/healthcare banking, I'd love to hear that)?

Thanks for doing this!!

Feb 19, 2015

Hey Redacted -

1. The West Coast is definitely geared towards Tech and Healthcare. And a lot of banks have those groups HQ'd as such. And obviously it's best to be at a head office where possible. Other groups that are Tier 1/very strong Goldman and Morgan Stanley both have West Coast region groups that cover everything other than tech. Almost every bank has a Media team in LA - GS is particularly strong here. DB has a FIG team in LA that is strong. Either GS or MS (I forget which one) have a strong Industrials team in SF. Those are your best bets.

2. So I went back full time to the bank I interned at. Once there I waited about 4-5 months before looking to talk to other banks. All the jobs I found were posted on Linkedin type sites. So I submitted my resume and went through those processes.

3. This is a great question Redacted. After spending time at a few different types of firms, I can share my thoughts on this. My personal opinion is if you want to do banking as a career a boutique is a terrible place to start. You will be at a strong disadvantage. You won't get the opportunity or experiences you get at a BB. At a boutique you'll never get to participate in an IPO, you won't learn processes or how to advise clients as well. You'll also miss out on debt, LBOs, etc. It becomes very one tracked. I know this first hand, as I've worked with analysts that just don't know how an IPO works. It's something you'll want to experience. If you want to exit to a HF or P/E than a boutique can be great. Becuase you'll build a very technical skill set. At a boutique you probably also wont' build as much industry expertise. I don't think there's any difference to this answer west vs east coast.

Let me know if you have anything else to ask.

Good luck!

Feb 17, 2015

Thanks for this AMA!

I am a sophomore at a non-target with a 3.4 GPA in Industrial Engineering. I am currently interning at a boutique bank through the end of the spring. I have 2 options for this summer: pursue another boutique IB internship, or take summer classes to boost my GPA.

If my goal is to land a BB SA position for next summer, what scenario would be more beneficial for me at this point?

Feb 19, 2015

Absolutely pursue another internship. Hands down, no questions asked! I understand the impetus for wanting to boost your GPA, but I'd almost say take "easier" classes during the year to do that if possible. In the long-run the professional experience you have will matter most. It'll be what helps you in interviews, what makes you a better analyst. And if you have 2 intnerships under your belt, it'll make getting a BB internship after junior year that much easier.

Feb 18, 2015

Can you talk about hours and how vacation time is used/viewed in finance. You are only in your 20s once. And as much as I love being chained to a desk ... I like my two week+ haitiouses.

Feb 19, 2015

Hey karypto -

Glad you're asking this here and not in an interview :-) because this and money are the two points to not bring up until you get the job or after! And I will be blunt - if this is a legit concern for you, banking might not be the best job.


I can tell you what I know about S&T from friends in the job. FX and mortgage (I know right?!) traders basically have a 24 hour a day job because there's always a market open somewhere in the world. A good friend of mine in NY who works at one of the large global banks has told me stories about getting calls from traders in Japan in the middle of the night wanting to make a trade. They'll read it off to him their quote/offer and he'll have to be able to say right then what he's will to buy/sell, at what price and what quantity. He'll then go into the office the next morning and confirm the trade. So clearly smart people. But he usually gets his weekends mostly free (I can only dream)


I can talk more at length on IB since it's been where I am for a while now. If you're going to a strong firm, as a first year analyst you should be prepared to maybe get a week off. Especially in a group where deal flow is strong. In the last 2 years most of the BB have adopted a protected weekend once a month for analysts (and some for associates). This usually means that for your ASSIGNED weekend you won't be expected to work from 6pm Friday until Sunday 9pm/Monday morning. You will be expected to work and you may lose your protected weekend if you're on a live deal. Associates and VPs hate these. Because a lot of firms associates don't get this and no where do VPs get this, so they end up taking the slack for those out for a weekend. I didn't see a solid thanksgiving weekend until I was a third year analyst. I did always at least get Thanksgiving day, but then might spend the rest of the weekend at the kitchen table working 18 hour days. Typical analysts will have 100+ hour weeks their entire first and maybe second year. Busy weeks will be 110 or 120+ plus. It is not uncommon for people to eat, sleep and shower at work. A lot of people have yoga mats or sleeping bags at their desk, use a shower in the office or at a nearby gym and expense all their meals. In terms of vacation for analysts I'd say at a high level you could hope for going home for Thanksgiving weekend, getting a week around the holidays and if you're able than a week in spring/summer. That's the extent of it. And there's not guarantee that you won't have to cancel last minute. There is also an expectation that at all times, even on vacation you are accessible by your teams. There's nothing wrong with telling them you'll be out of pocket for a few hours or a day, but communication is key.

Feb 18, 2015

What is RCF?

P.S. Thanks for AMA!

Feb 19, 2015

Revolving Credit Facility.

You'll know this as a Revolver

Here's an example: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2013-10-22/...

Feb 19, 2015

Revolving Credit Facility.

You'll know this as a Revolver

Here's an example: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2013-10-22/...

Feb 18, 2015

Hi BumpDude,

So great to hear from a non-target who made it. I am a fellow non-target and very much want to get some IB experience pre-MBA, but I'm almost 2 years out of college and feel like that window is closing; I may just need to do the MBA now and enter as an associate. I'm currently working in the back office of a BB bank, and have decent stats (3.75 GPA cumulative w/ major in mathematical econ/780 GMAT), but have been unable to leverage this effectively. Wondering how you went about networking, etc, as my undergrad has no alums in IB that I have been able to find - or front office in general for that matter! Did you find people on LinkedIn?



Feb 19, 2015

Yoshi is indeed awesome -

But unfortunately you're in a tough spot. And to be blunt, I'd say there's slim to no chance of being able to get IB experience pre-MBA But that's not a bad thing! Don't worry.

Being two years out is hard, because anywhere you went you'd need to start as a first year analyst, which you may or may not be okay with. Also the people I've seen able to do what you want, have already been in strong financial roles say a corporate finance Analyst at IBM having gone to a top 20 college for undergrad. I say all this not knowing what your back office role is. Depending on what it is, you could start networking with some of the bankers at your BB and see if they're looking to hire analysts mid-year.

While you do have a great gmat score, that won't matter when looking for an analyst role. It's similar to saying you've passed CFA Level I, because it just means you're 1/3 of the way done. Also banks aren't looking at SAT/GMATs really when you're two years out for an analyst role.

I know tons of people that have been successful getting and in banking post-MBA. And I mean all that matters is going to a good MBA program and getting a job that way. The only thing that would be hard to do post-MBA without having done it first is private equity. But consultants, IT people, etc an definitely get into banking post-MBA.

I fortunately was able to network with enough alums to get my foot in the door, travelled to NY for info sessions and did what I needed to get meetings / calls with people. Your two best bets are your career center/alumni database for people in similar jobs, maybe S&T, Asset Management, investment management - people that may interact with bankers, or linkedin. LinkedIn is a great resources. I've had a lot of kids reach out to me cold on LinkedIn that have wanted to have a conversation.

You all should remember, it costs you nothing to ask, and most people like helping other people.

Good luck!

Feb 20, 2015

Thank you! This honestly all makes a lot of sense. My back office role is relatively technical in nature, involving a lot of excel/access coding etc and probably not all that applicable to banking. It definitely seems as though all of this recruiting process stuff is a lot more structured than one would initially think. Sounds as though business school is my closest and best option for transitioning into banking.

Side note: glad to hear that you are also a Yoshi fan

Feb 18, 2015

It's always great reading these success stories. I'm at a sophomore at a non-target myself. I already have an offer for the summer in a back office role, but I was wondering what at this stage were you doing in order to gain experience pertinent to IBD? The position I've accepted for this summer is compliance at MM, which I realize isn't directly related to finance, but I figured that at my stage and particular experience, I couldn't do much better. I'd appreciate any advice you could give.

Feb 19, 2015

Hey Baileyoffski -

At your point, I wasn't really doing much to prepare for IB. I didn't know a whole lot about it and didn't have a lot of friends doing it at this point. Where you are, I hadn't even secured an internship yet. So good job on being ahead of the game. I think the best thing you can do is talk to friends or alums that have made it into banking roles. See if they can spare 15 minutes to chat with you to share how they got to where they are and any advice they might have. If you're going to be working in a city where any of them are, ask if they'd be up for grabbing coffee or lunch when you're in town.

And wherever you're working this summer, even if you're in a back office role, leverage whatever access you have at the firm. Whether it's to people in positions you want to be in, or people who know other people. It's all about making the most of where you are and seeing how you can use it to help get to where you want to go.

Good luck.

Feb 19, 2015

Thank you so much, Bumpdude! I just found out I have an informational interview next week, so I'll take your advice to heart.

Feb 20, 2015

Hi BumpDude-

I have a shitty undergraduate GPA but managed to get into a top 15 MBA program that I start next year. How much does undergraduate GPA matter in MBA Banking recruiting? I
If I do manage to land a job will my undergraduate GPA ever come up again?

Mar 2, 2015

It shouldn't matter at all. The top lines of your resume as your career advisor at b-school will tell you should be your school and your gmat score. Your GMAT score should be the only quantitative differentiator from others when you're interviewing.

I even get asked my GPA from time to time and I'm 6+ years out. I hate it, and it's a stupid question. And honestly shouldn't matter. If I've been a successful banker why should anyone care? Got me.

Once you're done with your MBA, I say leave GPA out of online apps (not worth it to add) and if people actually happen to bring it up in an interview, I always allude to something like greater than 3.5 and act like I don't even know it. I mean honestly I'd have to get my actual transcript to see my real GPA. It just doesn't matter. Other ways to approach it are to say things like "I don't understand how that's relevant at this point in my career" or "I had a more difficult time than some, but I've worked extremely hard and my GMAT and success in MBA as well as career show that"

Feb 20, 2015

Hi BumpDude-

I have a shitty undergraduate GPA but managed to get into a top 15 MBA program that I start next year. How much does undergraduate GPA matter in MBA Banking recruiting? I
If I do manage to land a job will my undergraduate GPA ever come up again?

Feb 20, 2015

Hey bumpdude19

Really appreciate again you taking the time to do this:

I'm about to start working in the credit risk department of a BB and while I can't say for sure what I'd want to do in the future, I do see myself wanting more client interaction after maybe 2-3 years, and I think LevFin or DCM would be the most sensible transition.

You already mentioned that the lateral process is quite difficult as it is, but I will also have the difficulty of location since I'll be in Salt Lake City and far away from NY or other financial centers. What advice would you have for someone in my kind of situation?

Mar 2, 2015

Hey Anaconda -

You're only real option for a BB (as far as I know) is Goldman's operations group. I don't know what the broader banking landscape looks like in Salt Lake. But I do know Park City has great skiing - I spend a lot of time there. I will say that LevFin/DCM are not places to go for client interaction unless you're at a Director/MD level when you're actually traveling to clients with bankers. up until that level you'll spend 90% of your time in the office. You will be on diligence calls but bankers will be running the show. LevFin is significantly more client focused than DCM as well.

I'd suggest looking for a boutique with an office in Salt Lake / Provo. Sorry I can't offer a better solution.

Feb 21, 2015

Hey dumpdude29,

May I ask if I have British education background mainly, is it possible to apply for job in US without much networking?


Mar 2, 2015

Absolutely - shouldn't be an issue in any way whatsoever broadly speaking.

It might be more difficult coming straight out of undergrad/university. But once you're full time somewhere it should be easy to lateral to another bank.

I've interacted and worked with people with a UK background at boutiques and BBs in SF, LA, NY and Boston

Feb 21, 2015

Hey bumpdude,

Thanks for taking the time to do this. I'm from a semi target junior with a sub par gpa. I got an opportunity to do public finance for the summer at a BB(one of the top shops in pubfin). I was hoping you could give me an idea of how those in corp fin groups look at this type of experience and how best to network into a more traditional role for FT.

Thanks again!

Mar 2, 2015

Hey semi-

Those in corp fin might not look quite as highly upon someone who's coming from a pub fin background. But that also depends on the actual role. some banks have Pub Fin that is very similar to trading and/or actual investment banking. Others have a more back office role that isn't very technical. if you're more of a front office technical role than you shouldn't have much trouble getting into a banking role. And even thought it's public finance you really aren't too far out of their wheelhouse.

Plus I think you'll have an easy sell when networking with them as to why you want to get into typical front office IB.

Mar 13, 2015
Mar 19, 2015
May 5, 2016