Q&A: Non-Target International Student to BB IB Internship

Background:

Moved to the U.S. in 2013 to pursue my undergraduate degree in finance (non-target). I was fortunate enough to secure an IB internship at a BB bank through their non-target recruiting program (NY location). I also had no prior internship experience and had no pre-established contacts working in finance prior to moving to the U.S. Finding a company to sponsor my visa after graduating was challenging, so I was tossing up moving to Canada / Australia / England / Hong Kong etc. I ended up securing a job in corporate development (healthcare) with an employer that was willing to sponsor my visa (received my H-1B visa this year!). Currently an Associate on a 5+ person team; my day-to-day is supporting all M&A execution at my firm.

Happy to answer any questions at all, but likely most helpful with regards to IB / CD recruiting or advice for international students trying to stay in the U.S or break into finance.

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Comments (16)

  • Analyst 1 in IB - Gen
Nov 17, 2020 - 7:10am

Any tips for those who just accepted their 1st full-time job offer? Any job search advice?

Most Helpful
Nov 17, 2020 - 9:44pm

Networking struggles were typical of any non-target (no real base of folks to connect with that would help create a path). What I leveraged was looking for people that were from the same country as I am working in finance in the U.S. regardless of where they went to school. I would say you just have to be relentless and just keep pushing until you break in and make progress. I used to give my self daily / weekly goals of how many networking calls I would do (I think I used to target like 3 a day in my peak recruiting efforts). You just never know how things will shake out and the next person you call might be someone you hit it off with that could line up an interview etc. it's a numbers game where you can make your own luck, but you gotta keep pushing. 

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  • Analyst 1 in IB - Ind
Nov 18, 2020 - 12:40pm

How long did it take for you to get your H1 visa? Did you have STEM OPT? 

I was just wondering if you had any suggestions on how to stay in the country if you don't get the H1? For example, what was your plan if your OPT ran out? Master's program? Would your firm transfer you to an international location?

Nov 18, 2020 - 7:19pm

I am fortunate enough to hold a Canadian passport, so directly after college I transitioned to a TN-1 (visa under NAFTA). The last company I worked for didn't really want to try for the H-1B. I ended up switching jobs, getting a new TN-1, and then my new employer just got me a H-1B. I applied earlier this year, and won the lottery in April and just moved onto it as of 10/1.  

Honestly, if I didn't get the H-1B, I would have left the U.S. In my mind, doing a masters here would have been expensive just to try for the H-1B again. If you leave, you can always work for an American company for a year and come back on the L1 visa. I thought to myself that although I wanted to stay in the U.S., I knew I would do okay if I worked anywhere that I could move to - nonetheless, it is still super stressful navigating the visa situation. 

Nov 19, 2020 - 3:07pm

Nice to see a fellow Canadian. I also plan on studying finance at a non target American school. Any tips on picking what area to specialize in and also any tips on securing a visa because I figured it would be harder since I plan to go to a lower ranked school in the south? Also the H1-B visa situation sounds stressful but at least it worked out in the end for you! 

  • Intern in IB-M&A
Nov 20, 2020 - 2:31am

A good strategy for you might be calling up Canadian folks at banks in the US and check the visa situation with them upfront. It's definitely an uphill battle year over year but having that information edge can at least help you prepare in advance when things don't work out / turn sour mid-process due to sponsorship issues.

Nov 19, 2020 - 7:25pm

For what it's worth, I was a finance major. The H-1B is incredibly stressful (most of my foreign friends weren't able to stay in the U.S. after graduation). When I first came to the U.S. the path was easier as more companies were willing to sponsor the visa, but as it has become more competitive to get selected as well as the govt's stance towards immigration, it has become more difficult for sure. The old way was to go work for a big bank, large tech firm or big 4 accounting firm - but many of them no longer sponsor for the H-1B at the entry level. My strategy was to find a company that was small enough to not just apply a blanket rule of not hiring foreigners, but also wanted the top talent for employees so they were more open to letting foreigners interview etc. My team had a foreigner that they got a H-1B for, so they were open to it. Try and look through the databases and see which companies are sponsoring - it's worth a Google. It's certainly difficult to make it all work, and very stressful, but definitely possible and rewarding. 

Nov 20, 2020 - 2:24am

Also an international just signed for MM SA 2021. Did your SA bank not sponsor FT? I thought if you already got picked as a SA it means you're gonna get sponsored for FT? Thanks! 

Nov 20, 2020 - 11:37am
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