Should I go abroad next semester?

I am set to study abroad next semester and have an internship offer for the summer doing LevFin at a large foreign bank (think BMO Capital Markets, BNP Pairbas, Mizuho, MUFG, RBC, etc.). My GPA isn't too great (3.5 ish), but I go to a target school so that helps.

I want to study abroad and love traveling, but won't be able to boost my GPA while abroad (we are forced to take classes pass/fail). I was wondering if it was worth canceling my study abroad trip to stay in school, raise my GPA, and recruit again Senior fall, or go abroad and go back full time to my internship employer (assuming I get a full time offer).

Let me know what you guys think, and thanks for the help!

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Comments (17)

Best Response
Dec 8, 2016 - 6:13pm

This is a personal choice, but I'd say go abroad, kill it at your internship, and still recruit in the fall. For the below reasons:

  1. If you perform well, you should get a return offer at your bank.
  2. If you want to renege on your bank, you can still recruit full time in the fall. I would argue that performing well and getting a return offer at a known program is more likely to influence your ability to land a full time BB offer than a small boost to your GPA.
  3. You're 100% going to wish you'd gone abroad in a few years when you realize that you will likely not have the opportunity to live abroad for quite a long time (if ever).
  4. You'll have a ton of fun, I see it as a huge positive that your classes are pass / fail. Don't want to waste your time abroad by being a huge nerd and studying the whole time anyway.
  5. Your study abroad experience might allow you to develop a connection in an interview in the fall. ("Oh, you studied abroad in Italy, my wife and I just went on our honeymoon there", etc...). Certainly the weakest reason on here, buy, hey, it's a reason

Downside:
1. Sure, studying extra hard for one more semester and boosting your GPA isn't going to hurt you. It's possible, I wouldn't say likely, but possible, that the GPA boost could change the outcome of full time recruiting for you.
2. More importantly, you'll miss out on an extra semester of networking, which is far more likely to influence your ability to get a full time offer.

Dec 11, 2016 - 5:38am

5 is really important and I like it. I went for an exchange semester to a semi-target school in Northern Europe and did not really put much weight on the connection opportunities there. Then I had 2 interviews some 12 months later in London at well-known banks, and interviewers at both places recognized my exchange school ("my wife graduated from this school", etc.).

Dec 12, 2016 - 10:25pm

Just to add my two cents, you never know what's going to spark an interest with the interviewer so broadening your experiences is always a huge plus.

An example of some unlikely common ground. Somehow my interviewer got talking about my parents getting divorced. Turns out he just got one. Not exactly the happiest way to get a vote on a super day but I'll take it.

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Dec 9, 2016 - 12:09pm

Start now, 100%. However, you need to be VERY careful about how you go about it. You should only be reaching out to folks to build relationships and learn about the industry. DO NOT ask detailed questions about recruiting / hiring at another bank until you have first received an offer from the bank you'll be interning at. The banking scene can be a really small world. The last thing you want to happen is to not have an offer extended to you at bank X, because his buddy at bank Y calls him and says that his intern is already shopping other offers. However, there is nothing wrong with continuing to reach out to people just to further your understanding of the industry, learn about different products and coverage groups, etc.

The more you network and the earlier you begin to, you're better off. So I would start now if you haven't already.

Dec 8, 2016 - 8:52pm

Study abroad, dude. It can be a hell of an experience and will be much more memorable than holing up in the school library or going out to the same parties or bars every weekend. It's much more of a learning experience than any class you'll take in school and will give you something to talk about not only in interviews but also in general.

Your GPA's fine. 3.5 from a target checks the boxes. Either way, I'm sure the most it can move at this point is probably like .1-.15. As far as networking, reach out now to develop contacts and then reach out late spring/early summer to express your interest for accelerated FT. You can always use some Skype credits or whatever to call people from abroad.

Dec 9, 2016 - 12:38pm

Absolutely study abroad, I did and would not trade that experience for any job.

Be excellent to each other, and party on, dudes.
Dec 11, 2016 - 10:28am

Studied abroad just a semester, planned on organizing a second stint while I was still abroad. Even in a "boring" city, it was the best experience of my life. You'll learn about new cultures, LIVE in a different culture, meet new friends (and maybe network), perhaps have a few flings with some international babes, try new foods, learn some new language, travel other places (and rinse and repeat some of the prior items). Ended up having a severe itch to get back abroad and did my master's abroad.

Dec 11, 2016 - 4:38pm

100% study abroad dude. If you make a wise choice in locations( assume, go to London, Singapore, or HK and exchange to a prestigious bschool), you will get access to tons of local resources. Not a waste of time and you will feel much better than stay in school and be a nerd.
I studied abroad last year and met my mentor in Singapore. That's how I got my summer internship offer at a BB, as a sophomore.

Dec 11, 2016 - 6:14pm

I studied abroad - our classes weren't P/F but rather normal grading. Best memories were class 8am-noon, then we all ran back to the flats and dropped off our books, quickly finished the assignment due the next day. Scarfed down lunch and went out exploring London until 6pmish and then started pregaming. Pubs until 10-11ish and then hit the clubs.

Greatest time of my life. You gain a greater worldly view and realize that America is not the only country on the planet that moves the markets from a macro standpoint.

Also a great interview topic to talk about.

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