Sophomore looking for advice on going abroad

longbeach's picture
Rank: Chimp | 11

Hi everyone! (I hope I am posting this in the right spot.)

I am a sophomore at Penn State main campus who took until the end his freshman year to decide what he wanted to do, that being investment banking. I am humbled by the posts of other freshman and sophomores who have been dead-set on finance for years. Reading about some of their qualifications and I feel like I'm already miles behind!

Anyways, I'm not too dull, I think. 3.8 GPA heading toward 3.9, I've gotten involved in the finance club at my school, been learning a bunch about the industry, and have started to network a bit. I'm a finance major with Spanish and international business minors, by the way.

I want to go abroad to Spain at some point before I graduate and am having a hell of a time deciding when. Junior year in the spring seems to be the popular time to go around here, but I'm thinking about summer analyst recruiting and seeing a problem. I don't have an internship lined up for this summer, but plan on getting my first relevant (i.e. financial anything) experience then. I guess I should sort this mess out into some actual questions....

1. Relevant experience is generally a prerequisite to getting a summer analyst position, right? That is, I shouldn't consider going abroad this summer, should I?

2. Is a semester abroad valuable for recruiting? You have to take a bunch of easy classes (likely zero business classes b/c of college policies) in lieu of more relevant classes at PSU. If it's something I want to do for fun more than a resume line, would delaying it to senior year be a good idea? Spring vs fall semester senior year?

3. Do you think there is any point at which the opportunities available by staying put overweigh leaving for a semester? I know of more than one leadership opportunity I have coming up that would be impossible if I left for a semester.

Any advice you could give would be appreciated. Thanks!

Comments (6)

Oct 22, 2014

I would personally wait till senior year to go study abroad, especially if you want to break into IB without any prior experience till now. It won't be easy but it's doable - will be much, much harder if you go overseas for a semester and essentially lose a semester worth of networking etc. Work hard, get a SA position and convert it to a full-time offer and then go - you'll have a full-time job locked up, presumably most of your major classes will be done already. Basically a semester-long party in Spain with easy classes to boot.

That's what I'd do anyway.

Oct 22, 2014

it wasn't too long ago that studying abroad was for fun not for IB recruiting. I'd study abroad this summer personally. I'd imagine PSU has some sort of deal with a euro university so that you can get experience in a business setting. that way you have your junior summer for SA.

be careful, had 3 friends go to Spain, only 1 came back, it's a great time.

Oct 22, 2014

I'm currently studying abroad in Europe for this semester my junior year so I thought I'd chime in.

First off let me start by saying all the OCR opportunities (which are only a couple) for i-banking SA spots at my school are in the spring. Therefore, I feel the big thing for me is to make sure I keep networking when I am out of the country. I have been using Skype calls to make phone calls to alums/other contacts when I'm here for about 2 cents per minute. For actual phone interviews, if I have to pay roaming charges, so be it-- not the end of the world. I have also heard of other people from my school getting an SA position after studying abroad fall semester junior year.

Course-wise, I am still taking a couple finance courses here. However I personally feel as if it wouldn't have made a difference as I was originally planning to take more culturally relevant courses and alumni I spoke with seemed more interested in that.

That being said, it definitely has not made things easier, and I felt that spring semester would be even more difficult as the vast majority of superdays would be during that time (thus my choice to go in the fall).

Also, regarding senior year, I would check with your study abroad office if that is possible. I know at least at my school, we do not allow study abroad senior year.

Hope this has been a help, and obviously if anyone on the recruiting side of things here disagrees with anything, please do.

Oct 22, 2014

Thanks for all the replies. brofessor, I *do* want to go to have fun, I just don't want to mess up more important things!

So from what I understand, if you can get a SA position and not blow it, you're likely to get an offer in the fall of your senior year. But to get an SA spot, my next summer seems too valuable to spend abroad. I think getting one with zero previous experience would put me into the "extraordinary success story" territory, right? So senior year is starting to sound like the time to go. (PSU does allow seniors to go, but you can't take any classes related to your major while abroad)

Oct 23, 2014

You won't get a SA with zero previous experience.

Oct 23, 2014
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