Study Abroad Spring Semester or Stay at School and Network? Junior at a Non-Target, no Previous Internships

Pelli's picture
Rank: Senior Monkey | 75

Conflicted between studying abroad and staying at school to network for a summer analyst position at a regional boutique. How bad will study abroad hinder my abilities to network and interview with banks? I would be leaving mid-january to paris.

Comments (37)

Nov 16, 2015
  1. Study abroad
  2. Don't go to Paris
    • 1
Nov 16, 2015

Candid advice from frenchstudent

    • 1
Nov 16, 2015

I asked this same question to a WSO thread a little over 5 years ago. It was the beginning of my junior year fall semester at a non-target. The advice I was given was that the opportunity to study abroad and travel the world when you're 21-22 is once in a lifetime, banking will always be there. In spite of some of my concerns about networking/interviewing, I signed up to program in Barcelona (leaving in January), was invited to a study abroad super day at a BB in December, and landed the SA offer before I flew to Spain. Studying abroad was probably the best five months of my life and I wouldn't trade that experience for anything. I'll echo what people on WSO told me - if you seriously hustle before the New Year, you can lock something up and still go abroad to have the time of your life. I'm incredibly grateful that I didn't let concerns about breaking in stop me from 5 months of exciting travel, new and lasting friendships, and an unbelievably fun time.

Nov 16, 2015

I have a sub 3.5 a GPA and I'm aiming for regional boutique internships, you think it's possible before I leave?

Nov 16, 2015

mate just go abroad.

i was in your same position and I didnt. I regret it a lot. Prolly mu single biggest regret of my life so far.

Ofcourse if you dont have anything locked in you will be desperate and would think going is not right and peoople convincedd me to not go. But in the grander scheme of things its not the end of your life if you dont land a Summer SA gig at a BB. There is all likelihood that you wont giet your desired gig (due to the intense compeition) even if you stay.

But if you go it will be once in a lifetime experience which you will never have the possibility of doing again. (going later as a tourist with friends or gf for a few weeks is not the same fun at all).

Dont make my mistake. Even if you dont land anything great for the summer you can still hustle in senior year and do sth.

    • 1
Nov 16, 2015

bump

Nov 17, 2015

You need to figure out how likely it is to do study abroad-oriented interviewing or not. Call HR depts and ask them what the process would entail. Do you have any other connections / alums at those shops? Only then can anyone on here say for certain as there are a wide range of potential outcomes with that.

Nov 17, 2015

1,000% go abroad. do you know how many times the fact that I studied abroad has come up in interviews both finance/non-finance? It stands out a lot to be able to talk about a unique experience in another country. it shows adaptability. you will never have this chance again in your life. as others have said, banking will always be there. look at me, I've gotten interviews AFTER study abroad and coming from a non-target with no previous finance background or experience. Don't limit yourself and your opportunities just so you can maybe network your way in to a boutique.

"The only thing history teaches us, a wise man once said, is that history doesn't teach us anything."

Nov 17, 2015
equiTee:

1,000% go abroad. do you know how many times the fact that I studied abroad has come up in interviews both finance/non-finance? It stands out a lot to be able to talk about a unique experience in another country. it shows adaptability. you will never have this chance again in your life. as others have said, banking will always be there. look at me, I've gotten interviews AFTER study abroad and coming from a non-target with no previous finance background or experience. Don't limit yourself and your opportunities just so you can *maybe* network your way in to a boutique.

Absolutely agree with this post. It ends up coming up in every interview and shows well. You are most likely never going to have to chance to be abroad in a country with no real commitments (ie. family etc).

Nov 17, 2015

I'm not the OP, but the replies from this thread have definitely helped me, too. You all have my thanks.

Nov 17, 2015

I was in the same position a few years ago, I decided to go abroad and was lucky to get an internship offer before I left. If you hustle and get in early you can land an offer before you leave. Unfortunately, it's mid November and unless you already have things lined up, you're already pretty late to the game.

The way I look at it, you should work your but off to get some interviews lined up before you leave. Luckily a regional boutique will probably be much more flexible in terms of timeline so if you tell them you're leaving they might be able to expedite your process.

Also, why Paris? Are there any programs that let you leave later in Jan/ Early February? Might be something to consider.

Nov 17, 2015

Paris was one of the two programs that didn't have an end date in mid-June. Unfortunately due to recent events, I have to think about whether my safety/sanity would be harms way going over to Europe. Also, the program leaves on Jan 14th I think.

Nov 17, 2015

Hmm, I know it seems like a tough call, but its honestly one of the best opportunities you'll have in school. Every person I talk to who didn't go abroad regrets it, literally every single person. There's also really no way to ever replicate it again unless you do a masters in Europe and even that is different. Paris is one of my favorite cities and there's a tremendous amount to do and it will be easy to travel to other places. Safety is definitely something to consider;however, I would think that with the increased security measures there shouldn't be too much to worry about.

Nov 18, 2015

I completely understand the worry about security in Paris (I go to school in DC and you can feel the tension here), but the odds of you being in an attack in Paris (or anywhere in western Europe) are so, so small. Please don't let that hold you back! Paris is awesome. I hope you can get it all to work out and have a fantastic time.

Nov 19, 2015

I wouldn't worry about safety -not sure what the media tells you guys across the pond- but there are just much more fun places to go imho.

Nov 17, 2015

The big questions is what you want. Do you want IB FT offer or life experience. If you go to a target and don't need to network a lot to get into BB, then go aboard. Otherwise, I would stay be serious about the summer internship search, and networking for BB FT. Regional boutique don't start recruiting until Spring and there is ~1month left in Fall semester. Don't think you can secure an offer by then.

Nov 17, 2015

The other thing that I think is worth mentioning is that in my experience many regional banks have very informal processes which don't always entail in-person interviews. If you can find some banks where this is the case then you really are not even at any disadvantage by going abroad.

Nov 17, 2015

Thanks for your input everyone.

Nov 29, 2015

bump

Nov 29, 2015

What is there to bump? You thanked everyone for their input in your last message.

Nov 30, 2015

Definitely study abroad. International experience provides a fantastic talking point during interviews, whereas the regional boutique experience would just give interviewers an opportunity to grill you on specifics of deals you've worked on. Banks don't expect you to have IB experience when going for internships, and won't hold it against you at all if you don't.

Jan 9, 2016

Thanks everyone, I chose to go abroad and I leave for Paris tomorrow. I also landed a SA IBD position at a boutique two days ago.

    • 1
Jan 9, 2016

If you are a native English speaker, going to London is not "study abroad".

Jan 9, 2016

I spent my sophomore year studying abroad in a non-English speaking country. I enjoyed it and learned a lot. I would do it again.

Jan 9, 2016

LSE Summer School is expensive

"Every man should lose a battle in his youth, so he does not lose a war when he is old"

Jan 9, 2016

Consider doing both....?

Jan 9, 2016

It's through my college, not through LSE, but it would probably cost around 10k for the program. And yes, I know it's not a true study abroad experience, but I've been to Asia many times, so Europe the is the one place I want to experience still.
Are local firms strict about having a 10 week internship usually? I was thinking that I could at least take the two classes until the end of June and then spend July and most of August interning instead of going to London to take two more finance classes.

Jan 9, 2016

Option 3>Option 1>Option 2. Does your school allow you to overload to the max so that there are more courses to divide by so that your GPA gets pushed up higher?

Jan 9, 2016

Yes, typical courseload is 4 credits per semester, I'm taking 5 now and will be taking 5 next semester. If I do go abroad over the summer, I'm hoping to gain 2 or 3 credits.

Jan 9, 2016

If you're interested in doing banking long term (or any job with a quantitative requirement), not sure why you'd drop Econ. French majors aren't really in high demand.

Jan 9, 2016

Not exactly sure if I'd be interested in banking for long term, more interested in the exit oppurtunities and the line of work, but things could change.

Also still weighing law school, so I know gpa is just as important. I feel as though as a French major it would be potentially higher than an Econ/French double major. As of now I'm trying to make things work for Econ but I'm gonna end up getting at best an A-/B+ in the class and I'm trying to maintain a A average to outweight my poor freshman year. I've seen many students from my school major in Interdisciplinary Studies, Art History, Spanish, English, etc and still come out with decent IB/consulting offers. I think if I can convey my interest, network my ass off, and gain experience I might be OK.

Jan 9, 2016

You applied to diversity programs? Don't those have a 3.5GPA cutoff? I highly doubt you will get those if you have a 2.2 GPA.

Jan 9, 2016

I refrained from disclosing gpa to the programs that didn't explicitly ask or had 3.4+ cut offs (but most were 3.2 and above). That may mean an automatic rejection, but I figured my 2.2 freshman gpa would be a bigger red flag. I currently have roughly a 3.0 but my grades haven't registered onto my official transcript, but semester is about over. The majority of the diversity programs have deadlines in December/January and by then my transcript will reflect my current gpa.

Jan 9, 2016
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