time is running out. help!

needajobnow's picture
Rank: Chimp | 14

Hi guys, need your advice.

I am a third year undergraduate attending UC Berkeley, with a major in Environmental Economics and a minor in Mathematics. Until this semester, I had been a Biology major, through which my GPA has suffered tremendously. I currently hold a GPA of 3.06 and no finance-related work experience.

I just feel so frustrated that I decided to change my career-path so late and at the same time feel so discouraged at the fact that I haven't been offered a single interview.

I plan to stay an extra semester as an undergraduate, so I do have another summer for an internship. Therefore, my goal is to place myself in a better position for next year's internship.

What would give me the best option? So far, the only offer I have received is from Merrill Lynch Private Wealth Management. However, from searching the forums it seems that it would be much better for me to get an internship at a local boutique bank.

So, how do I go on finding internship opportunities there? Should I be calling around at different banks and asking for available opportunities? Should I email their offices? At this point, I don't mind doing an unpaid internship, given that it provides me with substance on my resume.

Thanks for any inputs in advance

Comments (14)

Mar 2, 2009
  1. Work at ML PWM so you have a BB name on your resume. It's not impressive, but it's a start
  2. Network the shit out of your ML PWM internship (both with ML folks and clients). You'll be surprised how well connected you will be after a few months.
  3. Look at Berkeley's career site and apply to every single hedge fund, investment bank, etc. you can. If you find a IB gig that is unpaid, still take it. There's a thread somewhere on the forum that lists every major boutique/BB in different parts of the US. Take a look at it, and apply to internships everywhere.

As for now, that's the best you can do. If you're overall GPA is 3ish, leave it off your resume. Take some finance/accounting courses and post your Major GPA if it's better.

I don't know about Berkeley, but NYC undergrads intern during the academic year. If possible, do the same.

Mar 2, 2009

Just out of curiosity, why did you switch from bio to finance? And why did you pick investment banking?

Some people might disagree with me, but I think you need to get your GPA up to 3.4, 3.5 would be perfect. It's not that hard, study your ass off & take easy classes to increase cumulative GPA. If you really want to become ibanker, you'll have to sacrifice A LOT in the next 2 years, but it's possible.

And definitely take that PWM internship. As of now you won't get anything better for this summer (unless your parents know MD of local boutique). Use your career site and apply to every single somewhat finance or econ related internships (both part time and full time).

You are competing in tough region. West Coast does not have as many boutiques/big offices as East Coast. CA has Stanford, USC, Cal, and UCLA; very competitive target schools. There are also UCI, UCSB, UCD, and Cal Poly. They are non-target schools, but they have very hungry, ultra-high-GPA, triple-major students who are willing to do anything to get SA/FT offers. Good luck.

Mar 2, 2009

your gpa will be a serious obstacle in your path ti ibanking

Mar 2, 2009

as thade said, your gpa will cause you a lot trouble

I have a 3.5 in EE in the "second UC" and a hedge fund internship before where I was actually on excel 12 hours a day , but only managed to get 3 OCR SAs interviews out of 10 banks. try to get an internship during the school year. I would say your competition is pretty tough considering UCB actually has a very good undergrad biz school, too , comapred to us.

Mar 2, 2009

Your gpa is going to be the biggest detriment. If you have any classes really dragging it down that you know you could ace, you might even consider retaking them. Doing so would also buy you time to graduation. Take the PWM internship for now. Begin cold-calling every boutique in california, asking to speak to someone about internships.

why are you majoring in environmental economics? It'd likely be better if you did straight econ, as Berkley's econ is fairly respected. environmental econ makes me think you're a hippy who'd rather save a tree than buy a lumber company. maybe consider applying to vc funds that focus on clean tech/environmentally sustainable projects? I'm sure CA has a few of those

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Nov 26, 2009

Time is running out, recruiting for internships is almost over by now except for a few left. BUT...

I would suggest you take summer classes as well during your internship if possible to boost that GPA. Very important that you get it up! Also switch to economics as people who do environmental economics are viewed as slacker economics students who can't take the vanilla stuff.

Do try and cold-call banks to find if they have any available positions, it definitely doesn't hurt. Also try for f500 finance internships or anything else that is reputable.

ML PWM isn't the greatest, but at least you can bank on the brand name. If you do take it, do network network network. It's possible that if you talk to the right people, they can help you get interviews for internships next summer. Be wary of unpaid-internships, generally they are a piece of shit, cough ftp cough, no matter how well they chock up the program take it with a grain of salt, especially when they have no brand name.

Mar 2, 2009

Thank you all for the responses!

It seems like there is a general consensus that Environmental Economics is viewed as a sort of slacker-major. While I would definitely prefer to major in Economics, I decided that I would go into finance after the deadline for Econ majors.

After talking to the advisors, it is highly unlikely that I would break through the bureaucracy and be admitted as an Economics major.

The only two related majors offered here are: Environmental Economics and Political Economy.

Would you advise me to switch to Political Economy, rather than Environmental Economics? The reason I chose Environmental Economics was because I was more interested in economics of natural resources and energy. However, if Political Economy would give me an edge in terms of future opportunities, I would be more than willing to switch it.

Mar 2, 2009

Would you advise me to switch to Political Economy, rather than Environmental Economics? The reason I chose Environmental Economics was because I was more interested in economics of natural resources and energy. However, if Political Economy would give me an edge in terms of future opportunities, I would be more than willing to switch it.

Political econ is more similar to straight econ, probably more theory less quant imo. It is certainly not going to come off as bad as environmental econ. I don't see why you are being so pessimistic about getting in to straight econ though. Go and talk to a few of the professors, be sure you know your stuff, and explain that you really want to study econ, and were hoping that during the switching process they'd help you out. Just be sure you have your reasons down and can intelligently discuss theory and why it interests you... I work as a TA for my econ dep't and a kid sent me an email asking about "the enzymes of economics." He's just lucky I don't decide grades

Mar 2, 2009

Would Political Economy be really that much better than Environmental Economics? What are others' inputs on this? There is absolutely no chance that I will be accepted into Econ program here, as I've already taken all possible measures.

Mar 2, 2009

you can't simply rank them. if you go into IBD for a natres, industrials group, you would do better with environ econ. if you go into broad equity research, poli econ would be better. but there are so many permutations of possible opportunities that you can't simply rank and choose between the two. do what you like, and people prefer that over you choosing a major to get a high paying job. in the beginning, you're in it for the money. in the end, you're in it to be happy.

Mar 2, 2009

Alright, you're right that it is a tougher choice than I thought. The political econ major looks like total bullshit. Here is what berkley's website had listed as courses for the two

Environmental Econ:

EEP001 Introduction to Environmental Economics and Policy Perloff
EEP101 Environmental Economics Zilberman
EEP115 Modeling and Management of Biological Resources Getz
EEP142 Industrial Organization with Applications to Agriculture and Natural Resources Villas-Boas
EEP145 Health and Environmental Economic Policy Anderson
EEP152 Advanced Topics in Development and International Trade Magruder
EEP154 Economics of Poverty and Technology Boettiger
EEP162 Economics of Water Resources Hanemann
EEP175 Economics of Climate Change Traeger
EEP180 Ecological Economics in Historical Context Norgaard
EEP181 International Trade Wood

Political Econ:

AS 10 Introduction Asian Studies
AS 150.2 Korean Vernacular Heritage
AS 150.3 Urbanization in the Era of Globalization: China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan Connected
DS C10 Introduction to Development Studies
IAS 20 Perspectives in International Education
IAS 45 Survey of World History
IAS 45.2 Survey of World History
IAS 102 Scope and Methods
IAS H102 Scope and Methods - Honors Section
IAS 102.2 Scope and Methods
IAS 105 The Ethics, Methods, and Pragmatics of Global Practice
IAS 106 Intermediate Microeconomic Theory
IAS 115 Global Poverty: Theories and Practices
IAS C118 Introductory Applied Econometrics
IAS 150 The Indian Diaspora in Silicon Valley
IAS 171 Agroecology Intern
IAS 172 Brazil Agroecology
IAS 180 Issues in Foreign Policy
LAS 10 Introduction to Latin American Studies
LAS 130 Gender and Education in the Americas
LAS 150.2 Latin America's Development and Labor Markets
LAS 250 Graduate Studies in Latin American Studies
MES 102 Scope and Methods in Middle Eastern Studies
PACS 10 Introduction to Peace and Conflict Studies
PACS 94 Theory and Practice of Meditation
PACS 100 Peace Theory: Approaches and Analyses
PACS 119 International Peacemaking: Diplomacy, Peacekeeping and peace processes in the 21st century
PACS 125AC War, Culture, and Society
PACS 126 International Human Rights
PACS 135 Perspectives for Sustainable Rural Development in Latin America
PACS 149 Global Change and World Order
PACS 164A Introduction to Nonviolence
PACS 170 Conflict Resolution, Social Change, and the Cultures of Peace
PEIS 100 Classical Theories of Political Economy
PEIS 101 Contemporary Theories of Political Economy
PEIS 130 The Politics of European Integration
PEIS 150 Political Economy of Colonialism and Imperialism in Asia
PEIS 150.2 Constitutional Politics in the European Union
PEIS 150.3 Media and Politics in Comparative and Historical Perspective
PEIS 150.4 History of Economic Thought
PEIS 192 International and Area Studies Capstone Experience Course

Honestly, half of the political econ classes look like a joke, and are completely unrelated to economics or business, whereas most of the environmental econ classes look relevant, especially in a micro framework. However, there are certainly enough good ones in political econ to make it a decent major if you go that route. The other thing you should consider is how the major looks on a resume, which you'll have to decide based on what your goal is.

I still refuse to believe you can't get in to regular econ - you just need to fight harder. Approach it like you would getting a job, and start networking so you can get someone on your side. Talk to every single econ professor. Start auditing upper level seminars, and ensure you are the smartest one in the room - they'll all be worried about the grade, you can soak in the material and engage the professor. I'm sure cal will let you go to classes without enrolling, and I think that is your best shot at econ.

Mar 2, 2009

wtf is korean vernacular heritage, non violence doing on poli econ?

Mar 3, 2009

To the OP: unfortunately, your stats are so much lower than those of a huge amount of other aspiring bankers, that it's unlikely you will be offered an interview. And even if it's the case, I am afraid that with your background you simply lack knowledge of finance and investments to compete for these scarce spots. For now, I would suggest putting time and efforts to get the job elsewhere, or accept the position in PWM of ML.

Mar 2, 2009